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Female Reefer
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I know I am going to get a lot of opinions by asking this question, but that's fine. I want to see what the general consensus is and in general how many fish do you have in your tank.

Right now I have a 110 gallon with a 40 gallon sump, but it's about half full, so that's probably really only 90 gallons of actual water when I add in the 90 lbs of live rock, and sand.

Ok, with that being said, I have heard all different rules on how many fish can be kept per tank. Everything from every inch of fish per gallon of water, to one fish per 6 gallons! I am sure everyone has heard varying rules as well.

In my tank, for fish, I have the following.

1. yellow tang (4 inches)
1. kole tang (3 inches)
1. mandarin (3.5 inches)
1. watchman goby (3 inches)
2. picasso/snocasso clowns (1-1.5 inches)
2. blue reef chromis (2 inches)
1. pajama cardinal (1.5 inch)
1. Bellus Angel (3 inches)

that's 10 total fish, but as shown, none are large fish at all, like naso tangs or blue hippo tangs, and also none of them will get over 7 inches long full grown.

I also do NOT plan on adding any more fish, unless I take something out, or something dies and I replace, etc.

Though I am wondering if this tank is overstocked as is?

All my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels have always been fine. So i am basically just asking this question in general, and not because I am having any problems, but I don't want to run into problems later on.

I am also just curious as to what people's general rules are about stocking fish, and what guidelines successful reef keepers follow themselves when adding fish to their own tanks.
 

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Hello! I have a 34 gal tank, with about 25 pounds of live rock. I have pretty small fish too. I have two tank bred clowns, a striped fanged blenny, a indigo pseudo fridmani and a starry blenny (Although I will probabaly be taking the clown fish back to the LFS before long). I change 9 gallons of water once a week. Everyone has got along fine for the past few months, no squabbling and since I don't have ALOT of live rock, there is plenty of swimming room for everyone. I won't be adding anymore fish. As noted, the clowns will probabaly go back to the LFS, just to free up some space.
 

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Premium Member
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Well, you have fish that are young and still growing. I was told the general rule to follow is you can add fish until your bio load cant handle it anymore. once you start to see an ammonia creep, then you know you have too many fish. However, remember the fish will grow to a much larger size then they are now and will create much larger/more waste amounts later. What is good now wont be good in a year or 2.
 

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The best rule of thumb is less is more approach. The more fish you have the more stress they will feel.
 

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there is not a rule of thumb. the differences is in the fish and not in the biological filtration ability of the system. you can fit a lot more fish in the system if biological filtration was the limiting factor. we are really limited by the interaction between the critters and how they lived in the wild. what amount of area does the fish need in the wild in order to live. how large of an area does a mandarin/tang need to patrol in order to get enough food to eat. how much larger is this area than our glass box? lots of critters are actually territorial when confined that are not aggressive when in the wild. tangs are a great example. they school in the wild, yet when they are in the aquarium they become aggressive towards each other because they are not allowed to graze over large distances. damsels are another example. they are very territorial in the wild. unfortunately our tanks tend to be smaller then their territories in the wild, so when we add other fish to the box it is not a pretty sight.

in order to come up with a good stocking level one must know the requirements of the critters in the wild and then make decisions based on these facts. very seldom is the biological filtration ability of the system going to be the limiting factor in stocking levels.

G~
 

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i like to go more how big of fish in a tank. if you have a tank lest say 50gallon. and i go out and by all fish that are no more then 1 inch when fully grown i would get about 15 in there but if i was going for fish that grow to about 4 inch in size when adults i would then only keep 5-6 fish. but this is just my personal veiw, no facts behind it.
 

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I personally think filtration has to have something to do with it as well size of tank, but you can even work around that if your creative. I'm new to the reefing hobby (only about 2 years total in saltwater) but I cant count the times I've heard someone say "you cant do that" or "yeah that works", only to hear 10 minutes later the complete opposite, from someone else.

The conclusion I have come to. If its right for you, thats all you can worry about! Mainly because of things like Geoff said above, I've second guessed every decision I've made from day 1. I was told that clowns dont do well in groups, tangs should only be kept with other tangs of unsimilar characteristics, or insert any other broad spectrum approach. Each situation is unique and requires you to be the sole judge of, "does this work"?

On this site alone, I've seen threads about an entire tank of nothing but flame angels. There are pics on the photo contest, this month, with tons of powder blue, yellow tangs and 100's of clowns in the same tank (all things people told me could never work). So I would tend to agree with Quik that your bioload is a good indicator of how your tank is doing? While using other peoples experiences is a great way to save yourself headaches, each tank is a completley different story and can yield completely differnet results.
 

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Female Reefer
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I guess the only thing I wonder with following the territories that are found in the wild, is that won't we always be "overstocked" in that regard? Other than a few fish, like clowns, who will tend to stay right next to their host, won't all fish tend to go in larger territories than what we allow for most tanks 100 gallons and under?
 

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there is not a rule of thumb. the differences is in the fish and not in the biological filtration ability of the system. you can fit a lot more fish in the system if biological filtration was the limiting factor. we are really limited by the interaction between the critters and how they lived in the wild. what amount of area does the fish need in the wild in order to live. how large of an area does a mandarin/tang need to patrol in order to get enough food to eat. how much larger is this area than our glass box? lots of critters are actually territorial when confined that are not aggressive when in the wild. tangs are a great example. they school in the wild, yet when they are in the aquarium they become aggressive towards each other because they are not allowed to graze over large distances. damsels are another example. they are very territorial in the wild. unfortunately our tanks tend to be smaller then their territories in the wild, so when we add other fish to the box it is not a pretty sight.

in order to come up with a good stocking level one must know the requirements of the critters in the wild and then make decisions based on these facts. very seldom is the biological filtration ability of the system going to be the limiting factor in stocking levels.

G~
geoff, while i agree with everything you said but schooling is a survival instinct.

http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/factsheets/schooling.html
 

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Female Reefer
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Ok, still wondering if MY tank is "overstocked" by the list I gave above.
 

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Premium Member
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as long as ammonia and Nitrite are 0, and there is no aggressive fighting for territory, and you are able to keep up with overall water quality, IMO your ok. but each fish has its own needs, and I don't think that it will fall under the "over stalked" area, for example, and 18" tang has no place in a 29g tank no mater how well the parameters are.
 

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Ok, still wondering if MY tank is "overstocked" by the list I gave above.
i am not sure where you are getting your growth numbers from. yellow tang 8". Bellus angel 7". while you might be fine now, as these fish grow they will find swimming room a problem.

the question is: are we trying to create an environment that is as comfortable for these critters as possible in order to live out the rest of their lives or are we just making something for us to look at? which is more important?

geoff, while i agree with everything you said but schooling is a survival instinct.

http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/factsheets/schooling.html
ok, but i do not think that changes what i have posted. the behavior in the wild is different then the behavior in our boxes.

I'm a newbie here.
i come here to say hi to everyone of you
hope everyone of you could enjoy your life.
Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

G~
 

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Female Reefer
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Discussion Starter #16
First, those numbers I gave are what my fish actually are in length right now. Second, I said that none will get past 7 inches in length when full grown, so I guess I mispoke, the yellow tang will get 8!
 

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Officer Tang
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well, maybe the yellow tang could get 8 inches....it depends on other factors, and space is one of them. In a smaller tank, the fish simply wont grow as large as it would in, say, the wild. Another factor is feeding. The more you feed, the more quickly they reach their full CAPTIVE potential. And this varies tank to tank.
 

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Female Reefer
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Discussion Starter #18
That was my exact thinking with saying 7 inch max, because of the captive max size
 

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i know you listed the current lengths, and i know that you said none will get more than 7". i am not sure what you are asking for? do i think the tank will survive, yes. will i think 15 years from now all of those fish will still be alive, no, though i hope they will. have you looked at how long fish live in the wild? 40+ years for the yellow tang. if you do a search for life expectancy for yellow tang you will find many claims of over 12 years regularly. you can also read through Paul_b's 40 year tank to get an idea on the life expectancy of some of the critters we like to keep. here is an interesting thread on RC about this.

these are critters lives on the line here. just saying.

G~
 

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ok, but i do not think that changes what i have posted. the behavior in the wild is different then the behavior in our boxes.




G~
geoff, i was just refering to that if they were the apex predator then they would probably set up territories and fight even in the wild.
 
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