Q:What is really the proper formula for fish/tank ratio? I have heard 1"/1Gal to 5-7"/1Gal. I have 2 swords, 3 plattys, 2 kuhli loaches, 1 betta, 2 full grown cory's and 2 1/2-3/4" skunk cory's, 1 african frog, 1 4" pleco and one 4" iredesant shark in a 10 gallon tank. I have an air stone, a sponge filter and a whisper mini filter. I have live plants which the fish enjoy eating, the plants are healthy enough that they are getting roots. I am doing water changes, gravel cleanings about every other day. I know this is too many fish, but I don't want to kill any of them. I rinse the filter regularly, and feed them a little several times a day. I put black gravel in so that I could see left over food. The Ph and amonia levels are fine. I haven't lost any fish in a week or so, they seem healthy and the only "fin clamping" seems to be in response to the aggression of other fish rather than an illness. So how many is really too many? I have read that you have to! consider what layer the fish hang out in, I have quite a few bottom feeders, but I have also read that they prefer to be schooled. Any suggestions?
A:Good question! The 1" to 1 gallon is a general rule of thumb that has been around for years. It is a good general reference to start when you are stocking your tank. like all starting points you should not take it literally, you must also look at the fish you are keeping. A 1 "cute little pleco can grow to be a 14" monster, so you want to count the inches in full grown inches. Also take into account the fishes activity levels, very active fish like the Barbs and Tetras need more room per inch than the less active anabantids like the Betta. Another thing to look at is whether or not your fish are solitary or prefer to be in schools, a fish that is kept alone that likes to have company will never thrive and show it's best colors. So look into the fish you want to keep, their growth rate and other factors for their care. Tank maintenance can affect the amount of fish you can keep too, if your willing to do water changes more often than your fish load can be increased, but if you lessen in your efforts your fish will be put under stress that will lead to disease and death. This is a fairly simple question without a simple answer. Looking at what your keeping I would say that your tank is very overcrowded and I wouldn't add any more fish at this time.
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