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PHYSICAL symptoms of overstocking



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 7th 05, 05:25 PM
Gfishery
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Default PHYSICAL symptoms of overstocking

What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

When fish die?
When Ammonia leveles go up?
When Nitrite/Nitrate levels go up?
When water becomes cloudy?
When fish try to jump out of the tank?
When fish stop eating?
When fish stop growing? (How does one tell if a fish is stunted?)
When fish seem stresed?
When fish have no place to swim properly? (a relative term)

If none of the above happens, can one conclude that the tank is NOT
overstocked, regardless of any "rule of thumb"?

Do goldfish have some special spacial-sensing mechanism that
biologically/genetically prevents them from growing larger if they are
raised in a small tank, even if the water quality is excellent?

Thanks!

  #2  
Old April 7th 05, 05:48 PM
dfreas
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Gfishery wrote:
What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

When fish die?


Well hopefully it doesn't come to that, but yes if you suspect your
tank is overstocked and you have fish dying then it almost certainly
is.

When Ammonia leveles go up?


No. In a well established tank even overstocking won't cause you to see
ammonia unless you are extremely overstocked. If you detect any ammonia
at all after initial cycling something is certainly wrong but a tank
can be quite a bit overstocked and still show no ammonia.

When Nitrite/Nitrate levels go up?


Yes and no. High nitrate levels are inevitable if you never change the
water so high levels could easily indicate an inadequate maintenance
schedule rather than overstocking. What is more important is the rate
of change of nitrates. If nitrates are going up quickly then your tank
may be overstocked. Quickly is a relative term though. If nitrates are
going up faster than you can control with your maintenance schedule and
you aren't willing to change your maintenance schedule then your tank
has too many fish in it for you. That might not be too many fish for
someone else though - so this is a completely subjective indicator.

When water becomes cloudy?


No. Water can become cloudy for a number of reasons. Overstocking is
among them though so if you have cloudy water it may be an indicator
but it is not necesarily one. Rule out other possibilities before
jumping to conclusions on this one.

When fish try to jump out of the tank?


That depends entirely on what sort of fish you are keeping. Some fish
jump regardless of water quality. Some fish that normally don't jump
will jump out of the water when fighting with other fish. Some fish
will jump to get out of bad water. This is extremely subjective - if
your fish are jumping then first research your fish to see if this is
normal behavior for the species, if not then start checking water
quality parameters to figure out what's wrong. Also watch the tank a
bit, if there is a lot of aggression going around it may be because you
have a tempermental fish rather than an overstocked tank.

When fish stop eating?


Fish will not stop eating as a result of overpopulation. If fish stop
eating something else is wrong. Possibly disease, extreme aggression,
or wide swings in temperature or pH. Other things may also cause this
but I've never seen a fish not eat because of crowding.

When fish stop growing? (How does one tell if a fish is stunted?)


Possibly but not usually. Fish will keep right on growing in most
circumstances. There will be many warning signs along the way before a
tank gets bad enough to stop a fish from growing.

When fish seem stresed?


Quite possibly, but fish get stressed for many reasons, be sure you are
diagnosing the right problem. Check your water parameters - changes in
pH, temperature, acts of aggression, low dissolved oxygen, high
nitrates, ammonia, or nitrites. Many things cause stress,
overpopulation is on the low side as far as the amount of stress caused
except in extreme conditions.

When fish have no place to swim properly? (a relative term)


If your fish are packed in that tight then yes the tank is overstocked.
Fish should always have room to swim freely.

If none of the above happens, can one conclude that the tank is NOT
overstocked, regardless of any "rule of thumb"?


If your water quality is ok, the fish have plenty of room to swim, and
the fish are happy (exhibiting normal behavior, bright colors, breeding
activities, good apetites, healthy growth, etc, etc) then your tank is
probably not overstocked regardless of rule of thumb. Again this is
subjective - someone who has not kept fish for long would probably not
notice many of the warning signs that would be obvious to a person with
years of experience.


Do goldfish have some special spacial-sensing mechanism that
biologically/genetically prevents them from growing larger if they

are
raised in a small tank, even if the water quality is excellent?



No, your goldfish will continue to grow. In my experience however they
will grow slower in a tank that is too small. You will see the evidence
of this when you switch them to a larger tank and observe an immediate
growth spurt.

-Daniel

  #3  
Old April 7th 05, 10:29 PM
Gill Passman
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Default


"dfreas" wrote in message
oups.com...
Gfishery wrote:
What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

When fish die?


Well hopefully it doesn't come to that, but yes if you suspect your
tank is overstocked and you have fish dying then it almost certainly
is.

When Ammonia leveles go up?


No. In a well established tank even overstocking won't cause you to see
ammonia unless you are extremely overstocked. If you detect any ammonia
at all after initial cycling something is certainly wrong but a tank
can be quite a bit overstocked and still show no ammonia.

When Nitrite/Nitrate levels go up?


Yes and no. High nitrate levels are inevitable if you never change the
water so high levels could easily indicate an inadequate maintenance
schedule rather than overstocking. What is more important is the rate
of change of nitrates. If nitrates are going up quickly then your tank
may be overstocked. Quickly is a relative term though. If nitrates are
going up faster than you can control with your maintenance schedule and
you aren't willing to change your maintenance schedule then your tank
has too many fish in it for you. That might not be too many fish for
someone else though - so this is a completely subjective indicator.

When water becomes cloudy?


No. Water can become cloudy for a number of reasons. Overstocking is
among them though so if you have cloudy water it may be an indicator
but it is not necesarily one. Rule out other possibilities before
jumping to conclusions on this one.

When fish try to jump out of the tank?


That depends entirely on what sort of fish you are keeping. Some fish
jump regardless of water quality. Some fish that normally don't jump
will jump out of the water when fighting with other fish. Some fish
will jump to get out of bad water. This is extremely subjective - if
your fish are jumping then first research your fish to see if this is
normal behavior for the species, if not then start checking water
quality parameters to figure out what's wrong. Also watch the tank a
bit, if there is a lot of aggression going around it may be because you
have a tempermental fish rather than an overstocked tank.

When fish stop eating?


Fish will not stop eating as a result of overpopulation. If fish stop
eating something else is wrong. Possibly disease, extreme aggression,
or wide swings in temperature or pH. Other things may also cause this
but I've never seen a fish not eat because of crowding.

When fish stop growing? (How does one tell if a fish is stunted?)


Possibly but not usually. Fish will keep right on growing in most
circumstances. There will be many warning signs along the way before a
tank gets bad enough to stop a fish from growing.

When fish seem stresed?


Quite possibly, but fish get stressed for many reasons, be sure you are
diagnosing the right problem. Check your water parameters - changes in
pH, temperature, acts of aggression, low dissolved oxygen, high
nitrates, ammonia, or nitrites. Many things cause stress,
overpopulation is on the low side as far as the amount of stress caused
except in extreme conditions.

When fish have no place to swim properly? (a relative term)


If your fish are packed in that tight then yes the tank is overstocked.
Fish should always have room to swim freely.

If none of the above happens, can one conclude that the tank is NOT
overstocked, regardless of any "rule of thumb"?


If your water quality is ok, the fish have plenty of room to swim, and
the fish are happy (exhibiting normal behavior, bright colors, breeding
activities, good apetites, healthy growth, etc, etc) then your tank is
probably not overstocked regardless of rule of thumb. Again this is
subjective - someone who has not kept fish for long would probably not
notice many of the warning signs that would be obvious to a person with
years of experience.


Do goldfish have some special spacial-sensing mechanism that
biologically/genetically prevents them from growing larger if they

are
raised in a small tank, even if the water quality is excellent?



No, your goldfish will continue to grow. In my experience however they
will grow slower in a tank that is too small. You will see the evidence
of this when you switch them to a larger tank and observe an immediate
growth spurt.

-Daniel

Maybe we should open a whole debate on this. When I first posted on the
newsgroups the response was that I am overstocked in my tank. However, every
single reading on the chemicals of the water and my observations of the fish
seem to negate this.

Overstocking in my mind is when my fish die or my nitrite/ammonia levels
rise to an unacceptable level. I stock the tanks to the level that the fish
are comfortable and I am comfortable maintaining.

That being said the general guidelines are good if someone just wants to
keep some fish looking pretty in a tank without too much hassle. Personally,
if I stuck to the stocking levels I would spend a lot of time looking at two
pretty empty 50UK gall tanks (one planted and one rocks and caves)....but
I'm willing to do the work to maintain this....maybe not everyone is so
therefore it is safer to come up with an arbitary level for the majority.
BTW I also enjoy some of my lesser stocked tanks but that is down to the
tank decor and the type of fish kept there...and you can still lose sight of
a single fish in a planted 5gall tank but I'm not pushing it there.

I do know people who overstock and see their fish die and generally will say
that they have too many fish for the size of tank and THEIR FILTRATION AND
MAINTENANCE ROUTINE. Just spoken to a friend in such a position and having
followed the routine I suggested all three of her tanks are now stable....

Now, overstocking a new tank that is still cycling is a different
matter....fish should be added gradually...to allow everything to stabalise
before the next batch go in...

BTW for the record this is how the tanks are stocked

Tank 1 - 50UK gall (which I believe is around 57 US galls)

6 Clown Loaches (largest keep growing and are around 3.5" at the moment)
4 3 spot Blue Gouramis
3 SAEs (that are growing at a very rapid rate)
1 Queen Arabesque Pl*c
5 Fantail Guppies
9 Neon Tetras
2 Orange/Black Platys
4 Green Platys (1 of these grew up in the tank and as he is now larger than
the orange ones can't be classed as a baby anymore)
Last count a further 3 Platy fry at about 1/4 inch

Ammonia and Nitrite readings are 0. Around 5 on the Nitrate - planted tank

Tank 2 - 50UK gall

17 assorted Mbuna
2 Peacocks

Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. Around 20 on the Nitrates but I can't plant too
much of it coz of the Mbunas

Tank 3 - 5 UK gall

1 Betta
Around 5 Platy fry that I couldn't catch without too much stress to them -
later

Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. Not sure about Nitrates - planted tank

Tank 4 - belongs to my son - around 17UK gall

4 Rosy Barbs
3 Mollies

Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. Nitrates 5 - planted

Tank 5 - belongs to my son - 30UK gall

2 Pearl Gouramis - total love match all they need to do now is get their act
together and spawn
6 Harlequins
2 Glowlight Tetras
8 Mollie fry - evicted from the 5gall so I could get my betta in
8 Platy fry - as above

Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. Nitrates 5 - planted

Now lots of people would say at least one, if not more, of these tanks are
overstocked....but everyone is happy....


  #4  
Old April 8th 05, 01:24 AM
dfreas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


Gill Passman wrote:
Maybe we should open a whole debate on this. When I first posted on

the
newsgroups the response was that I am overstocked in my tank.

However, every
single reading on the chemicals of the water and my observations of

the fish
seem to negate this.


We could debate this but in the end little will be accomplished. I'm
obviously of the opinion that overstocked is subjective but I also
agree that beginers should usually stick to the guidelines. I think
people often forget that mileage varies considerably and are quick to
attack new people about the population level of their tank because it's
an easy way to appear experienced. There are limits though - I don't
think it's a good idea for a beginner to break the "rules" but I won't
tell them they are doomed to fail if they do anyway - I'll encourage
them with what advice I can and hope things work out well for them.

[snip]
Now lots of people would say at least one, if not more, of these

tanks are
overstocked....but everyone is happy....


Yeah, a couple of your tanks have more fish in them then I would be
willing to deal with. But obviously it's working for you.

I once had a tank with five severums in it - that tank was severely
overstocked. It was well within the rules of inch per gallon but these
were territorial little guys and the big ones really took it out on the
little ones. OTOH I have a 20g tank now with between 30 and 40 inches
of fish in it, it isn't overstocked at all because I carefully planned
the fish in it to occupy different spaces and generally not interfere
with eachother - also there is about 10 inches of plant per inch of
fish in there.

-Daniel

  #5  
Old April 8th 05, 01:31 AM
Gfishery
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Gill Passman" gillspamattaylorpassmanspam.co.uk wrote in message
.. .
Maybe we should open a whole debate on this. When I first posted on the
newsgroups the response was that I am overstocked in my tank. However,

every
single reading on the chemicals of the water and my observations of the

fish
seem to negate this.


I didn't mean to open a can of worms (I'm sure some fish will like that ,
but the only thing that seems logical to me with respect to tank size is
that the smaller the volume, the less time one will have to react to (and
deal with) a chemical problem that may arise that could harm the fish. More
fish in the tank contributing to the chemical problem will further reduce
that time.

To me, a rule of thumb like 1 gallon per fish-inch, or 10 gallons per
goldfish is like saying I need to change the oil in my car every 2500 miles,
with no regard to my driving patterns or environmental conditions. My theory
is that under the right conditions, I can go 5000 miles between oil changes
with no noticeable degradation in performance or lifetime of the engine (if
I may draw an analogy between engines and fish). Or, I may have to change
the oil more frequently if I detect that the oil is breaking down before
2500 miles. I am by no means trying to determine the maximum number of fish
that will fit into a 10 gallon tank, or the maximum number of miles I can
put on my car between oil changes.
Still, I suppose a "rule of thumb" is better than having no guidelines at
all, but there must be a better yardstick, and that is what I am seeking
here.


  #6  
Old April 8th 05, 03:35 AM
Elaine T
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Posts: n/a
Default

Gfishery wrote:
"Gill Passman" gillspamattaylorpassmanspam.co.uk wrote in message
.. .

Maybe we should open a whole debate on this. When I first posted on the
newsgroups the response was that I am overstocked in my tank. However,


every

single reading on the chemicals of the water and my observations of the


fish

seem to negate this.



I didn't mean to open a can of worms (I'm sure some fish will like that ,
but the only thing that seems logical to me with respect to tank size is
that the smaller the volume, the less time one will have to react to (and
deal with) a chemical problem that may arise that could harm the fish. More
fish in the tank contributing to the chemical problem will further reduce
that time.

To me, a rule of thumb like 1 gallon per fish-inch, or 10 gallons per
goldfish is like saying I need to change the oil in my car every 2500 miles,
with no regard to my driving patterns or environmental conditions. My theory
is that under the right conditions, I can go 5000 miles between oil changes
with no noticeable degradation in performance or lifetime of the engine (if
I may draw an analogy between engines and fish). Or, I may have to change
the oil more frequently if I detect that the oil is breaking down before
2500 miles. I am by no means trying to determine the maximum number of fish
that will fit into a 10 gallon tank, or the maximum number of miles I can
put on my car between oil changes.
Still, I suppose a "rule of thumb" is better than having no guidelines at
all, but there must be a better yardstick, and that is what I am seeking
here.


Have you seen NetMax's article on stocking?
http://www.2cah.com/netmax/basics/st...stocking.shtml He covers a
lot of different things to think about when stocking an aquarium. For
example, my 10 gal guppy tank currently has a 2 guppies and 2
otocinclus. 4" of fish. I expect that to change any day now, though.

OTOH, I have 7 fish comfortably inhating a 5 gal "jungle" planted tank.
It's definately above the inch per gallon rule. However, the plants
keep the water quality very high and the less water I change, the
healthier the fish look and the better the plants grow. That tank has 5
Espei rasboras, one very small SAE who thinks it's a rasbora, and a
pygmy chained loach.

For the time being, stocking is an art, not an exact science.

--
__ Elaine T __
__' http://eethomp.com/fish.html '__

rec.aquaria.* FAQ http://faq.thekrib.com
  #7  
Old April 8th 05, 04:27 AM
NetMax
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Gfishery" wrote in message
ups.com...
What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

When fish die?
When Ammonia leveles go up?
When Nitrite/Nitrate levels go up?
When water becomes cloudy?
When fish try to jump out of the tank?
When fish stop eating?
When fish stop growing? (How does one tell if a fish is stunted?)
When fish seem stresed?
When fish have no place to swim properly? (a relative term)

If none of the above happens, can one conclude that the tank is NOT
overstocked, regardless of any "rule of thumb"?

Do goldfish have some special spacial-sensing mechanism that
biologically/genetically prevents them from growing larger if they are
raised in a small tank, even if the water quality is excellent?

Thanks!



All of the above and none of the above, depending on circumstances, but I
can offer you an easy test. The problem is that for almost every issue
which comes from over-stocking, there is some kind of compensation
available to us. Territorial problems (?), keep community fish.
Cross-species problems(?), have a single-species tank. Water pollution
problems(?), increase filtration, maintenance and water changes etc etc.

Here is a fool-proof litmus test. Turn off the power to the tank (no
lights, heater, filters or circulation of any kind). Now time how long
before the fish are gasping at the surface. With an under-stocked tank,
it could be hours (if it even occurs) and in an over-stocked tank, it
might be less than an hour. Either way, this is the time you have to get
home to the tank during a power failure before fish start dying off.
Figure out yourself how much time you want to give yourself to reach the
tank. Would you want it to last one hour, or perhaps overnight if you
were sleeping, perhaps half a day if you were at work and the power there
didn't fail at the same time. You decide.
--
www.NetMax.tk


  #8  
Old April 8th 05, 11:52 AM
dfreas
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Posts: n/a
Default

Ha! I hadn't thought of that - that's an excellent test.

-Daniel

  #9  
Old April 8th 05, 12:59 PM
Gail Futoran
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Default

"NetMax" wrote in message
news
"Gfishery" wrote in message
ups.com...
What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

[snip]
All of the above and none of the above, depending on circumstances, but I
can offer you an easy test. The problem is that for almost every issue
which comes from over-stocking, there is some kind of compensation
available to us. Territorial problems (?), keep community fish.
Cross-species problems(?), have a single-species tank. Water pollution
problems(?), increase filtration, maintenance and water changes etc etc.

Here is a fool-proof litmus test. Turn off the power to the tank (no
lights, heater, filters or circulation of any kind). Now time how long
before the fish are gasping at the surface. With an under-stocked tank,
it could be hours (if it even occurs) and in an over-stocked tank, it
might be less than an hour. Either way, this is the time you have to get
home to the tank during a power failure before fish start dying off.
Figure out yourself how much time you want to give yourself to reach the
tank. Would you want it to last one hour, or perhaps overnight if you
were sleeping, perhaps half a day if you were at work and the power there
didn't fail at the same time. You decide.
--
www.NetMax.tk


Thanks for posting that useful test. I have experienced
an inadvertent version of it whenever power fails around
here (not as much now as a few years ago). I keep
battery powered air pumps as backups just in case. So
far I haven't had to use them. I probably am overstocked
a bit on most tanks but all my fish are small (largest are
common Cory cats) and that might help, plus the tanks
are heavily planted.

Gail


  #10  
Old April 8th 05, 08:36 PM
Gill Passman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"NetMax" wrote in message
news
"Gfishery" wrote in message
ups.com...
What are the PHYSICAL symptoms of an overstocked tank?
(I am not looking for a "rule of thumb" here)

When fish die?
When Ammonia leveles go up?
When Nitrite/Nitrate levels go up?
When water becomes cloudy?
When fish try to jump out of the tank?
When fish stop eating?
When fish stop growing? (How does one tell if a fish is stunted?)
When fish seem stresed?
When fish have no place to swim properly? (a relative term)

If none of the above happens, can one conclude that the tank is NOT
overstocked, regardless of any "rule of thumb"?

Do goldfish have some special spacial-sensing mechanism that
biologically/genetically prevents them from growing larger if they are
raised in a small tank, even if the water quality is excellent?

Thanks!



All of the above and none of the above, depending on circumstances, but I
can offer you an easy test. The problem is that for almost every issue
which comes from over-stocking, there is some kind of compensation
available to us. Territorial problems (?), keep community fish.
Cross-species problems(?), have a single-species tank. Water pollution
problems(?), increase filtration, maintenance and water changes etc etc.

Here is a fool-proof litmus test. Turn off the power to the tank (no
lights, heater, filters or circulation of any kind). Now time how long
before the fish are gasping at the surface. With an under-stocked tank,
it could be hours (if it even occurs) and in an over-stocked tank, it
might be less than an hour. Either way, this is the time you have to get
home to the tank during a power failure before fish start dying off.
Figure out yourself how much time you want to give yourself to reach the
tank. Would you want it to last one hour, or perhaps overnight if you
were sleeping, perhaps half a day if you were at work and the power there
didn't fail at the same time. You decide.
--
www.NetMax.tk


About 2-3 months ago before the Malawi tank was stocked we had a power
outage - around 8 hours evening til around 3am....I checked the fish in the
main Community Tank a few times by candle light - my major concern was any
temp drops. Didn't see any signs of distress at all.....I confess I have
added the three SAE's since then for the algae problem but have also added a
lot of plants as well...

Sounds like a good test to me

Gill




 




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