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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys, I've been having some thoughts that didn't really add up in my head and would like to get some clarifications.


I'm quite aware of the cycling process, the toxicity of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and how having a large amount of fish correlates to that.

However, if we were to assume that the fish's personal preferences of space/territorial issues is compensated with the proper dimensions of the tank, and the tank is already cycled, what is so bad about overstocking the tank?

The ammonia and nitrite levels are taken care of by the bacteria, and the only problem with overstocking would then be rapidly increasing levels of nitrate correct? However, if you have a very good filtration, and are diligent in your water changes, thus keeping the nitrate levels down, what is wrong with overstocking then?


Additionally, is gravel vacuuming really necessary? I understand that there is a build up of bio waste, but won't these eventually decay and ultimately be converted to nitrate anyway? This is rectified by water changes, thus, doesn't that mean that gravel siphoning is only really useful for slowing down the process of nitrate buildup? I guess what I'm asking is, is there any benefit of gravel vacuuming other than reducing nitrate buildup, if you are doing frequent water changes?


Also, what is considered too high of nitrate concentration?


Furthermore, it is my understanding that adding live plants to aquariums help reduce ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels because apparently (from what I've been reading), the plants do use these compounds as nutrients. I'm not sure how accurate that statement is, most of the resources I've read tend to say something different. However, if that is the case, doesn't that mean you can theoretically have a tank without doing water changes (or at least as often) if you have enough plants to take care of the nitrate buildup?


Now to combine the gravel vacuuming question and plant question together, wouldn't it in a sense be better not to gravel vacuum to optimize the amount of nutrient resources for the plants to use?


On an unrelated note, I've been using aquarium salt but am unsure as to whether or not I should continue to follow the written directions. Do you guys really find aquarium salt a necessary benefit? And if so, do you put exactly how much is "necessary" with each water change? The reason why I am asking the latter question is because I'm not sure if the ionized Na and Cl particles stay distributed throughout the water constantly. If it does, then an even amount of the ions would leave whenever I do water changes, and I can just replace it back with an equal amount. However, do you guys know if that is not the case, and perhaps the salt builds up within the gravel, or the filter, etc? If that is the case, then eventually there would be an accumulation of salt particles if I continue to add the appropriate amount with each water change. So what should I do?

Also unrelated, I've been contemplating the use of black sand or similar very fine particles as my substrate in the future and am just wondering if gravel vacuuming would suck up the sand or I would be fine?


Lastly (hopefully for now), what are your opinions concerning having too much filtration? I currently have a 50 and a 20 AquaClear running for my 30 gallon, but realized that it's somewhat foolish to buy filtration simply based on what I currently have. I figured this is the case considering that I want to switch this sometime soon for a 55 gallon (which then I'd have to get another filtration to match that), and then later on within a couple of years to get a 90+ (which then I'd have to again change to an appropriate sized filter, or use a bunch of the small ones. Thus, I was just wondering if instead of doing that, I buy for instance a Fluval (Fx5 or whatever it's called) canister filter and use it for what I have now, and it would also handle whatever else I may buy in the future. But uuh, would the flow rate or something be too much to handle for the fish, or are there any other possible consequences I may have in doing this decision?


Please keep in mind that these questions aren't an implication that I'm trying slack off and ignore the safety parameters of my tank. They are just the various information that I've accumulated over the past few months, but doesn't add up to why things are done the way they are. My logic seems sound based off of what I was taught, but things aren't done that way, thus I know that some of the things I have been taught aren't correct. So I decided to ask you guys what is wrong with my rationale.


Thank you for any replies.
 

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Hello,

"The ammonia and nitrite levels are taken care of by the bacteria, and the only problem with overstocking would then be rapidly increasing levels of nitrate correct? However, if you have a very good filtration, and are diligent in your water changes, thus keeping the nitrate levels down, what is wrong with overstocking then?"

I have quite a few fish in my tank, I have a 55 gal and I think I have about 20 fish in it. If you keep all the blahblahtrates (nitrates, phosphates, and all the other *trates) down and the water is healthy that won't hurt the fish from that stand point. What may cause them some stress is constantly having to dodge other fish in the tank every time they turn around. Think of it like being in a small crowd walking. You can walk comfortably and maybe have to dodge someone every once in a while. Now imagine being in a huge crowd walking different directions and having someone about a foot away from you on all sides at all times. After a while that would get to me, the same with the fish.

"Also, what is considered too high of nitrate concentration?"
If your nitrate test doesn't show the color yellow, it's too high. Either more often water changes or higher % of water changes will help bring it down.

"On an unrelated note, I've been using aquarium salt but am unsure as to whether or not I should continue to follow the written directions. Do you guys really find aquarium salt a necessary benefit?"
You'll get mixed emotions on this. I haven't seen the real benefit in adding salt to a healthy aquarium, but if you need to treat a disease like ick salt is good. I also add it to the tank whenever I add new fish, just in case they have something that salt will get rid of.

"Also unrelated, I've been contemplating the use of black sand or similar very fine particles as my substrate in the future and am just wondering if gravel vacuuming would suck up the sand or I would be fine?"
If you stick the vacuum tube in the sand as is done with gravel you will suck the sand up somewhat. Some of the sands are heavy enough where it will fall back down. I have black tahitian moon sand in my tank and I've tried to stick the vacuum in it just as gravel. The sand swirled around in the tube, some of it actually went all the way through. Most of it fell back out the tube though. With sand you have to swish the tube lightly above the gravel while vacuuming, this is enough current to push around the poop, but not the sand. Also with sand you have to stir it around at times so you won't get pockets of sand where water can't get to.

"Lastly (hopefully for now), what are your opinions concerning having too much filtration?"
I don't think you can have too much filtration within given limits. Meaning you wouldn't want to kill a fly with an atom bomb.. :) As long as the fish aren't being pushed around the aquarium by all of the current you should be good.

Hope this helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello,

I have quite a few fish in my tank, I have a 55 gal and I think I have about 20 fish in it. If you keep all the blahblahtrates (nitrates, phosphates, and all the other *trates) down and the water is healthy that won't hurt the fish from that stand point. What may cause them some stress is constantly having to dodge other fish in the tank every time they turn around. Think of it like being in a small crowd walking. You can walk comfortably and maybe have to dodge someone every once in a while. Now imagine being in a huge crowd walking different directions and having someone about a foot away from you on all sides at all times. After a while that would get to me, the same with the fish.

I don't think you can have too much filtration within given limits. Meaning you wouldn't want to kill a fly with an atom bomb.. :) As long as the fish aren't being pushed around the aquarium by all of the current you should be good.

Hope this helps..
Well it appears that you have quite a number of fish in your 55 gallon, though that may not mean much if you have just a bunch of small fish. How do you keep your nitrates down assuming you have overstocked your tank? I've been doing anywhere from 15-25% water changes on a weekly basis, with an AquaClear 20 and 50 running constantly, each containing sponge, polyfill, and bio-max, and my nitrates are at 5 ppm. I have a 30 gallon with about 15 fish, most of them being about an inch to two inches at best.

Concerning the whole overcrowding thing, I did mention that I was going to try my best to prevent that by having the proper dimensions, focusing on length and width more so than height.

Finally, concerning the filter, would a fluval fx5 count as an atomic bomb for a 30 or 55 gallon tank?
 

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no, the filtration thing is 4x the flow/per total tank capacity.

my 55 has a hot 250,mag350,penguin 660ph on it w/ prefilter I have alot more then I need but my tank stays cleaner longer. Im overstocked but I dont have issues with illness or cleanliness.

my 40 tall has an ac70 hob on it and an ac50, its overstocked but again clean and sick free.

I do 10% weekly 20% once a month on my water changes.
 

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Most of my fish are small, but there are a couple of bigger fish in it too.

I have two marineland biowheel 350's hob filters running. On one side of each I have a bag with carbon and phosphate remover, the other side of each is flosslike material.

I do a 40% weekly water change because of the one goldfish (4 inches) and the one koi (about 6 inches), they're pretty much poop factories..

"Finally, concerning the filter, would a fluval fx5 count as an atomic bomb for a 30 or 55 gallon tank?"
Looking at the specs it handles 300-400 gph. I'd say that's a good deal for a 55gal, as long as the fish aren't being pushed around endlessly by the current created when the flow comes back into the tank it's all good.. :)
 

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I agree with everything said so far.

-Overstocking is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you are fastidious about water changes, have a strong biological filtration system, and the fish are not stressed because of over-crowding. Most of my tanks are over-stocked (not severely), but I test my water regularly, do 25% weekly water changes, and make sure the fish have plenty of room and hiding places. I think having plants and rockwork to break up their line of sight greatly reduces aggression in tanks with lots of fish.

-Gravel vacuuming is important in my opinion because it not only gets rid of excess waste, but because it removes potentially dangerous pockets of anaerobic bacteria(bacteria that proliferate in the absence of oxygen). If you have a planted tank, it is less necessary to vacuum the substrate because plants do use up nutrients produced by decomposition, but there will still likely be pockets of waste that build up in the lower levels of substrate that can be harmful if released all at once. These pockets of waste can be sealed off from oxygen flow at the bottom of the tank, and are consequently "dead zones" that are full of anaerobic bacteria and toxic gases. These dead zones can be dangerous if large enough, and gravel vacuuming gets rid of these, so I think it's a good thing to do periodically.

-It's difficult to have too much filtration. As long as the fish are comfortable and aren't getting tossed around by the water flow, you should be fine.

-I personally don't use aquarium salt unless the fish are sick. I just don't see the need.

-In a fish only aquarium, I'd say to not let your nitrates get above 40ppm. Lower is always better though.
 

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I use the powerhead for most the flow and bring in current from the canister and HOT250 at different points to stir it up and create slack zones as well as STRONG current for them to swim in or coast around the tank in.

I have angels in this tank, two around 6" and 6 around 2-3" they use the current alot and do get blown off center a bit but they turn and ride it out and come up to where they were trying to go in slower current.
 
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