View Full Version : Stocking question

04-20-2016, 08:52 PM
Hey Folks,

So I'm plugging away at stocking my 65 gallon, and keep coming back to the all important stocking questions. There does not appear to be a clear or concise rule to follow.
So that brought me to a few questions.
How do you guys determine your stocking limit. Do you include your inverts or CUC? Do you include the volume of your sump or refugium.

Also just a random thought..... if you had tankmates with no territory and a massive amount of macro and live rock could you stock say 30 fish in a 50 gallon if you had a 200 gallon sump.

04-21-2016, 12:53 AM
I wouldn't include sump volume myself. I look it as a guide line for swimming space so no I don't think 30 fish in a 50 gal will work long term

04-21-2016, 02:06 AM
I would just list what u want in your tank and see what others have to say

04-21-2016, 04:25 AM
When I first started out, I went by a rule of 4g/inch of fish.
When I had my tank stocked, I had probably closer to 2g/inch, but this doesn't apply to all fishes.
No problems maintenance wise, and no issues with fighting. But I had mostly wrasses who tend to wander the whole tank.
When I had a clown and a bangaii, they became aggressive with age and started pushing everyone around. In this case I'm sure it's due to not enough territory so these kinds of fish need more space.
With freshwater fish, the more crowded a tank is, the less aggressive it can be. But with SW fish, at least in my opinion, overcrowding causes stress.
There's a big difference between having a shoaling group of fish who are bunching up for protection, and a group of schooling fish who are happy to just hang out together.
Just like us, they need elbow room, and space to get away from each other.

30 fish in a 50, regardless of sump size, is way too many.
It's not a matter of filtration/water volume capacity, it's all about floor space.
A big sump is awesome for extra capacity (and is what I use), but has no bearing on the fishes 'mental health', at least IMHO

Put yourself in a room 10 x 10 with 1 other person for hours on end. By the end of the work day you're tired of that person, but you get to go home.
Then try it with 20 people for months with no breaks ... would you go crazy ?

I wouldn't put more than 10 fish of a max size of 2-1/2" in a 50, and that is still too many for most that need swimming space.

What you need to consider, instead of volume or fish size, is how much space does each individual fish need. Some need to swim, and some like to stay in one area.

So, in your tank, you've 36" x 18" of space before 'scaping.
Subtract all your LR that takes up the footprint of your tank, and an internal overflow if you have it.
Now what do you have left ? 24" x 6" maybe ?? ... hope you see where I'm going with this.
In this case, you only have 1 square foot of space for your poor fishies to swim in ... !!!! (24*.5/12)
BTW, with my thinking above, the area above the sand to the surface doesn't come into play. Just the open space is considered.

Look at your overall footprint after 'scaping and come up with a square foot measurement.

Then think about what kinds of fish would be happy with that limited amount of space to meander through.
Some will be just fine with never roaming, such as firefish (in my experience), and others need room to rocket around your tank. Think about fast swimmers instead of 'dither' fish in this case. I think about small tangs, foxes etc in this category.

When I finally settled on my fish, I had more wrasses than any others and they fought with each other occasionally.
Mostly the squabbles were between the ones that pick at LR all day, such as a Coris or a Melanurus. These kinds of wrasses can be very territorial as they 'graze' all the time for small morsels/critters and will fight with each other for 'space'. In my 75g I had 1 of each and they did not get along at all !!

Other things to consider are fish with the same habits/diet.
I had a yellow eye kole tang who eats film algae. He constantly chased my starry blenny who has the same diet. Once the kole tang was removed from the tank, the blenny became a prized critter with lots of character and is still around now.

Hope you get it sorted out and some of what I've typed is useful :smile:

04-21-2016, 12:26 PM
Hey All thanks for the input. The questions were mainly aimed to see what other members use as their guideline. The second part was just sheer curiosity what the upper limit of stocking would be if filtration was never an issue.

As for me, so far I have 2 ocellaris clowns, a bangai, and a firefish. For inverts I have a handful of blue and scarlet hermits, mix of snails, a cleaner shrimp and a tuxedo urchin.
I plan to add
-Blue Linckia Starfish
-Blood Red Cleaner Shrimp
-Holloween Hermit
Mandarine Dragonette
Flasher wrasse <- Next on my list

I believe this would leave me fully stocked but I would LOVE to add a goby or blenny and one more wrasse (Hoeven's Wrasse would be awesome)

04-21-2016, 02:40 PM
If you get a Linkia starfish be prepared to hand feed it often.
And I'd suggest you make a decision; either a mandarin or a hoeven's wrasse, but not both in your tank, or the mandarin will starve.

04-21-2016, 04:34 PM
If you get a Linkia starfish be prepared to hand feed it often.
And I'd suggest you make a decision; either a mandarin or a hoeven's wrasse, but not both in your tank, or the mandarin will starve.

I agree, in a 65 I would take a pass on a Dragonette. Unless you are absolutely certain it is eating frozen or pellets it will perish. Even then you will have to make sure it gets the food at each feeding. Its seems like people who have success with these have big big tanks.

04-21-2016, 06:13 PM
Dragonette a long time dream on mine, and one of the things that drew me to the hobby. I will be setting up a 20 gallon gravity fed fuge with macro and pods, so it should supply a crazy amount of live food at a steady rate. From what I understand its more about the space to grow pods and less about the tank size. Larger tanks also have more rock for the pods to hide in but I've heard of "success" in as little as 20 gallon tanks with large fuge's.

As for hand feeding, I'm totally fine with it, as I assume I would eventually have coral that needs spot feeding (I occasionally chop up some Mysis and spray some on my ricordea's cause its cool to see them "eat")

I would definitely take the mandarin over the Hoven since as I said hands down one of the most beautiful and unique fish (just one mans opinion)

So based on my current stock and planned stock should I count that as full or can I fit a small wrasse and goby?

04-21-2016, 08:03 PM
The gravity feed fuge is a good idea. Give it lots of time to establish before you add the mandarin and know you can feed your pods once they get going. Reef roids and cyclopeeze get them multiplying. Good luck.

04-21-2016, 08:43 PM
you are fine in a 65gl with the fish you have.

They are all generally small fish, so you won't have any issues. Gobys will stay low, clowns and firefish mid tank and cardinal.. well .. they usually float on a corner! You can fit a flasher wrasse in there without an issue

04-22-2016, 04:41 PM
If you get a Linkia starfish be prepared to hand feed it often.
And I'd suggest you make a decision; either a mandarin or a hoeven's wrasse, but not both in your tank, or the mandarin will starve.

What do you hand feed your Linkia?

04-23-2016, 06:37 PM
If it's a blue the OP is after, then there's nothing known to hand feed it, but apparently the reds will eat shellfish