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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an acrylic 5' x 18" x 24" tank with a floor covered in stacked rocks. I have aquired an assortment of different species of mbuna over the years and would like to do some adjustments to stocking to have more defined family groups and fewer singles of species. Will probably get rid of extra males.

What is a good target range to try to stay between as far as numbers? Right now I have many adult fish but also many babies. I figure I can choose to keep my favorite adults to number the lower end of the range and count the babies in to end up somewhere between the lowest stocking and the highest stocking recommended, adjusting a couple of times a year buy buying/restocking.

i find that higher stocking levels really help with aggression, but want to find that great balance between easy upkeep and lower aggression. Would like to have a goal of weekly water changes, but not end up in trouble if other responsibilities or travel occasionally pushes me out to a monthly water change. Amount of water change doesn't matter to me, I guess I would do 50% if parameters are good and 80% if high nitrates.

The filter I bought with this tank is weird, it has a 30 gallon sump, but the previous owner removed one of the baffles so it only has 1 baffles. It has 2 hang on back filters in sump which have what appear to be ancient charcoal filters in them. I don't see the biologic media in the front compartment. I added a bunch of pot scrubbies, but with the baffle situation they float randomly in the sump. I also added a bunch of pot scrubbies in the overflow to keep fish from swimming in there. With this odd set up I'm not sure what's really doing the filtering.

I'm planning to replace this with a home built sump in an old 55 gallon that I have using build instructions from DIY kind's book. I'm hoping that a larger and better built filter will allow some overstocking to reduce aggression with some flexibility on water changes.

Thoughts?
 

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I would do 20 fish...no more than 25. Four or five species.

Additional filtration does not enable more fish. The 20 to 25 fish is a good level of overstocking to manage aggression. Shoot for weekly 50% (or more) water changes as a minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is what I have in there right now, more or less and guessing on species of some since they were unlabeled at purchase. So I could grow some groups and rehome others.

How did you come up with that number? Is there a formula that you use? I have heard others say that stocking is dependent upon filtration. The more waste you can filter the more fish you can stock. What are your thoughts on that?

I have #35 now, but some are babies. I do feel like it looks a little crowded, and I do have to do frequent water changes to keep the nitrates down. It's so hard to choose which little friends to keep or rehome!

cynotilapia ? - greenish/blue with strong black bars - 2 @ adult
cynotilapia zebroides - 5 @ adult
iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty) = 4 @ baby
labeotropheus trevewasae zimbawe = 1 @ adult
labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab) = 1 @ adult
melanchromis auratis = 1 @ adult
metriaclima (Blueberry OB) = 1 @ baby
metriaclima callainos (Blue Zebra) = 3 @ adult
metriaclima estherae (Red Zebra) = 1 @ adult
metriaclima greshakei (albino) = 1 @ adult, 2 @ baby
OB peacock = 1 @ adult
otopharynx lithobates female = 1 @ adult
pseudotropheus acei black = 1 @ adult
pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (maingano) = 5 @ adult
pseudotropheus elongatus chewere = 1 @ adult
pseudotropheus johanni = 1 @ adult
pseudotropheus socolofi = 2 @ adult
synodontis petricola = 1 @ adult
 

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The numbers were recommended to me (for mixed gender 20 in a 48x18 tank and 25 in a 72x18 tank) and after 13 years of having more or less than that in my tanks of those sizes...I have realized that these counts work really well.

Regarding more filtration = more fish I understood the same when first starting out but I don't think it is that simple. You need adequate filtration to keep your fish healthy, but the number of fish is related to minimizing aggression...another way to keep your fish healthy.

For all male I would not go between 12 and 18. You are stocked more like an all-male tank because you have so many species with one or a small number of each.

If you plan to switch to mixed gender with 1m:4f of each I would choose one blue barred fish and one Metriaclima. I would not save fry in that tank.

For a start, I would lose the auratus, peacock, lithobates, and johannii. And I would add 4 more Synodontis lucipinnis (formerly known as dwarf petricola).
 
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