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Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sat May 23, 2020 1:54 pm

This post follows on from my last post about shelldweller behavior.

How many N similis can live in a 29 gallon tank? I have 6. It looks like one of them is being bullied. It has moved over to the planted side and stays up in the hornwort all of the time (the hornwort is there for the killies, who ignore the shellie), I think it must be hiding.

It should probably be out of the tank but the only place I have is a 3.5 gallon tank that has 1 Betta and 1 Otoclinus (the other 2 died). The Betta doesn't seem to bother the Oto. Could the shellie live there with a few shells?

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Mon May 25, 2020 11:34 am

The tank isn't overstocked... do you have shells at both ends, and do the plants/rocks provide a visual barrier? You should be able to keep more than one male in such a tank, if aquascaped properly. Move the dominant male to one end... and make sure he can't see past half way in the tank.... then see what happens.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sat May 30, 2020 8:16 am

Thank you for your reply. I don't think there are enough rocks and plants to block off one end or the tank so I will do something about that right away. I didn't see the bullied fish at all yesterday.

Yesterday morning, the remained 5 shelldwellers were fighting amongst themselves/ Even the 2 smallest ones were biting each others mouths. I checked the water parameters and it all seemed fine.

One of the things I liked best about the shelldwellers is that they are peaceful. It was relaxing to watch them hovering over their shells and tidying up their area. They don't do that any more, is it their age? They must be 6 months old.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:51 am

Fogelhund wrote:The tank isn't overstocked... do you have shells at both ends, and do the plants/rocks provide a visual barrier? You should be able to keep more than one male in such a tank, if aquascaped properly. Move the dominant male to one end... and make sure he can't see past half way in the tank.... then see what happens.


I agree. Providing more rocks/plants will not only break up the sight lines in the tank, it will also give the subdominant fishes more places to hide. Good luck.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:30 am

I did what you advised, above. The dominant male (the largest of them) is by himself at one end. I don’t know whether he goes into the shells or not.
Will he be alone permanently? I have fry, now, and wondered if some will move when it gets crowded at their end.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:12 am

If you raise fry you will have to sell or rehome some fish eventually.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:54 pm

Can I move some of the fry to the dominant male’s end of the tank? Aren’t they social fish, and need others?

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:46 pm

Better to either remove the fry to another tank or leave them with their parents. When they are mature and want to breed they will need their own spots and may run out of real estate.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:08 pm

How many can live in a 29 gallon without being overcrowded?

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:14 pm

I have never had a colony, the most I ever got to get along in a 30" tank was two pair.

Re: Overstocked tank? What to do?

Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:22 pm

mmerose wrote:How many can live in a 29 gallon without being overcrowded?


If you're talking about adult pairs- 2 pairs easily; 3 pairs, perhaps even 4, if the tank is set up properly, as described earlier in this post. That said, you are eventually going to have more fry than you know what to do with. This situation tends to self-regulate to a certain extent, because once you have decent-sized juveniles, they will prey on new fry. Even so, you will eventually get to the point where you have to remove some fishes.

I have a friend who set up some N. multifasciatus in a 100 gallon tank, and before he knew it they had absolutely filled the tank with fry, hundreds of them. It was quite a cool tank, actually. :)
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