Truth is, that no matter how long you’ve been in this hobby, everyone has more fish than the rule of thumb would suggest. I have a tank that currently has 6 discus, 11 angelfish, 6 roseline sharks, 6 Siamese algae eaters, 5 clown loaches, 10 harlequin rasboras, 8 cherry barbs, 2 common plecos, 5 rams, 2 bristlenose plecos, 1 royal pleco and a couple of others in it, and they have been in the tank for a little over a year now, with minimal casualties over this time. now here’s the kicker, this tank is a 75 gallon tank and the old way of thinking would suggest that this tank is well overstocked and it is to a certain degree, however this just goes to show that the old advice may have applied back then but now things have certainly changed. My motto is: stock what you’re filter can handle!! That 75 gallon tank has a sump filter on it that filters 800 gallons of water per hour, with enough biological filtration to seed at least 10 other tanks, the fish are fed twice daily and there are plants to assist in the nitrogen breakdown in the system. The point is this: water volume is fine as far as gauging how many or what type of fish you’d like to keep, but the real key to successful husbandry is proper filtration.
As my general rule of thumb, filtration should be 10 times as much as the overall tank volume, this will help in maintenance. Even in overstocked I only perform a water change, once per month, if that. My discus and angels even clear breeding sites from time to time. Fish need certain intangibles that aren’t usually covered in most websites or books. Unfortunately those will have to wait until my next post. See you next time!!!!