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Guidelines For Stocking Your Aquarium

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If you’ve decided you want to set up your own aquarium, then there are a few guidelines you need to consider to make sure the stock of fish you choose is just right for you and your tank. For a community aquarium, not only do you need to consider the compatibility of your fish choice but, also the size of your tank. 

We’ve put a few things you need to think about all in one guide to help pinpoint just how you can get started on creating your dream aquarium, the correct way, once you’ve chosen your tank size.

Choosing Your Aquarium Stock

Fish are exquisite looking animals; with a wide range of species, colours and designs to choose from it’s no wonder home aquariums are becoming so popular in home interiors. As much as you’re tempted, however, choosing the fish in your community tank has to be given more thought than just what fish looks good to you or which are aesthetically pleasing. Instead, considering the compatibility of your fish species and looking further forward to what size they can grow to as adults, are both huge factors to consider before you take the plunge and purchase your stock.

Consider What Species of Fish Can Live Together

Different species of fish communicate with their peers in very different ways; this means that placing two incompatible fish types into your community aquarium could end up in a battle. Opposing fish species typically compete for space and become territorial of their claim to the tank – overall creating a disruptive community in your fish tank, rather than a stable home. 

Before you stock your aquarium, you need to spend time researching the species you have in mind to ensure there won’t be any aggressive clashing and to keep all of your fish happy and healthy. A few things to consider include:

Full Adult Size of Your Fish

When calculating your stock density, you must take into account the size of your fish when it reaches its maximum adult measurements. This will ensure you’re prepared and that you don’t end up with an overstocked tank environment that’s uncomfortable for all.

Fish Personalities

Believe it or not, like humans, different species of fish have differing characteristics. When doing your research, you need to make sure that the species of fish you choose have complementary personalities that won’t result in a clash, i.e. do they like to share their space with other species or do they prefer to stick to their own? 

Another thing to research is understanding how your chosen fish like to swim. Find out whether or not they like to swim at the bottom, top, or middle of the tank as well as whether it is an actively fast swimmer or prefers a casual stroll around the tank. Choosing fish types that have different preferences will help spread your fish around the aquarium’s space; making it prettier to look at and easier for the fish.

It is important to note that not all fish stick to the generalised ideas we have about their species. Always be prepared to make changes after stocking when the unexpected happens.

Gender of Your Fish 

For many species of fish, the males are often more territorial and aggressive about their space in the tank. This is something you’ll need to research before you implement different genders and species into one community tank as this can often get worse when stocked with females, which can result in an inhospitable environment. 

The Fish Hierarchy 

A lot of these issues that you need to consider are related to the fish hierarchy; understanding what types of fish are predatory (spoiler: they’re not always the bigger ones) and understanding the role that the tank’s space plays in how aggressive species can get.

Fish Waste

Spend time researching the waste levels your chosen fish species is estimated. The more waste a fish produces the more water space it will need to ensure they’re living in a healthy environment; otherwise, you’ll end up with a series of algae or discoloured water problems.

How Many Fish Should Be in Your Fish Tank?

With that being said then, you need to ensure that the fish you stock your tank with are not competing for space. The more space you can provide your fish with the better they will interact with each other and get along; this requires you to plan the size of your fish tank carefully and to consider the size of your fish when they are fully grown. 

With so many different factors to consider when choosing what size tank you will need for your stock, there are a few different ways you can decide on your fish tank size. The best and most recommended way is stocking your tank by its volume. 

Calculating Your Aquarium’s Stocking Density

By multiplying the length, width and height of your tank this will give you the volume of it. From here it is generally advised you minus 10% of the volume for any decoration that might take up space from your tank. 

A most commonly used rough guide for working out how much stock you can put in your aquarium is 1cm to every 2L (although this doesn’t always work for larger fish sizes). 

Introducing Your Fish to The Aquarium Water

Your aquarium’s water chemistry, again, depends largely on the species of fish you choose to keep. 

Acclimatising your fish

Once you’ve chosen your fish and it’s ready to welcome them to their new home, you need to get them acclimated to your aquarium’s water. This will reduce any risk of shocking them and will make an easier transition for them into the tank. You need to slowly get your fish used to the water by dripping some of your tank water into the fish’s quarantine water and letting it flow naturally.

Now you’re ready to take care of your new fish community!

Stocking Your Aquarium

Overall, the most crucial piece of advice we can give before you stock your aquarium is to do your thorough research. Learn as much as you can about the different species of fish you’re considering, learn about how big they can grow as adults and if you’ve already bought your tank, work out just what capacity of fish to water you can be aiming for. The advised calculations are generalised rules; most importantly, it is better to understock your aquarium than to overstock it.Once you’ve decided exactly what fish and tank you’re going to get, spend some time exploring our full aquarium range to get everything you need to help look after your fish in the best way possible.

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