Stocking and water maintenance
Now that my new aquarium is about three months old and showing signs of not only being cycled, but of stability, I am ready to follow through with my stocking plan. I know I need to add the fish slowly to allow the bb to adjust to the additional bio-load. I have read that one fish per week until you reach the end of the stocking plan is the way to go, but putting a more precise point on it, by what percentage can you increase the bio-load weekly without affecting the water chemistry?
I went from what AqAdvisor considers 46% capacity to 53% capacity and 24 hours later I noticed a small rise in the ammonia level (to approx 20%). Nitrites are at 0. It should be noted that in my area chloramines added to the water supply break down into ammonia so the water goes in to the tank already containing about that level anyway... because of this I rarely get a perfect 0 on the API test... it always lies somewhere just between 0 and 25%.
Anyway, my plan is to use aquarium capacity per AqAdvisor as my guideline and go from the 46% I started with to 83% as my max load. I will do it in increments of 7% to 10% weekly (which may mean one fish, or two fish, depending on the bio-load they will add based on their size. Does this seem like a reasonable approach?
Finally, during this phase if the ammonia rises a little in the first couple of days after adding fish each week, as long as it doesn't go over 25% should I refrain from doing interim water changes and stick with the weekly PWC's to allow the bb to work, or should I take action on any ammonia level I see above 0?
Please elaborate on how you feel it is showing signs of cycled.
Are you fishless cycling by adding ammonia and testing the water?
If so then once the cycle is complete based on the test readings you stock the tank significantly because you have built a significant BB colony. Adding fewer fish to start will have parts of your BB will die off from starvation.
Are you just moving the water through the filter?
In which case you are not cycled. And you stock slowly to build the BB in a fish-in cycle.
And 0.25 Ammonia is not 25% Ammonia. Its 0.25 Parts per million... a significantly smaller amount.
No mention is made of the tank size nor the intended fish. Some fish are shoaling fish, and with these it is always best to add all of them together. This should not have an impact of significance on the ammonia/nitrite, though having live plants will ensure this doesn't happen; even some floaters, which are good for most fish anyway.
There are other fish that should always be added together, thinking here of many cichlids and anabantids. Males are territorial, and can quickly form an hierarchy; when other fish of the same or closely-related species are added, the existing male may not be willing to accept them. This is also a concern with some shoaling fish.
I would get the nitrates down to 10ppm max. Do you have nitrates in the tap water, or are these just in the aquarium?
On the chloramine, yes ammonia is involved, but I assume you are using a water conditioner that deals with chloramine, and the "ammonia" will be ammonium which is basically harmless. Test kits (unless very scientific ones) read ammonia/ammonium as "ammonia." Here again plants help enormously by grabbing lots of ammonia/ammonium.
Last edited by Byron; 08-25-2013 at 05:50 PM.
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]