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Bottom feeders don't "count"


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#1 fishlips

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 02:12 AM

Hello! I was talking to my fish loving friend about catfish. I was telling her that I got two cory catfish and that I'd like to get more, but I'm at my maximum number of fish if going by the "inch of fish per gallon" way of thinking.

She said that bottom feeders; cory cats, plecos, etc. don't count in that number and I was wondering what the thoughts were on that here? Sure, they're not in the swimming space of the other fish; however, they are still in there and even if they clean up the gravel a bit, they still produce waste themselves? I was confused (not hard to do).

It would be awesome if they didn't count as I'd love to have 4-6 of them rather than 2. I have a 55 gallon and it's long, so there's plenty of bottom space for them. However, I don't want to overstock my tank either.

Curious!

Thanks! :)

#2 semper fi

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 03:52 AM

imo bottom feeders do count. they contribute to the load on the biological filter of the tank. they do contribute waste and do clean up the bottom, but not all of the waste that contributes to the increase in toxins. do need to count them in the load of the tank as they also do contribute to the waste remaining in the tank.

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#3 Jamnog

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 04:08 AM

this is where the equation gets immencely complicated because alltho they do count on the waste if you have a larger filter than the tank needs then that can be discounted. tho i dont see why people want to put so many fish in their tanks... well i kinda do but i resist the urge if the inch per gallon thing was right i would be able to have umm allmost 100 inches of fish and i think ive got allot less. i think ive got less than 50 inches of fish in my tanks right now. anyways umm yea bottom feeders still eat the food that the other fish dont eat doesn't mean you can discount them as you would hopefully not over feed the mid fish to the point where it would have any effect on the bio load. tho they wont normally use the same arias of the tank they still interact with the other fish and will feel crouded sometimes. so to some extent i think they count a little less than other fish depending on the footprint. however they are often active fish and need room.you have to weigh it up from experience. best to ask cfc or graeme if the fish will fit as they have been around them for allot longer and seem to be doing better with them than me. good luck choosing the right bottom feeder. :alien:

#4 Alia

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 04:14 AM

This question will open the proverbial "can of worms"!! :lol:

You will find that there is a great deal of disagreement on this forum, not so much as to whether or not bottom feeders "count" at all (so, if you have all bottom feeders you can keep an infinite # of them in any size tank? I think not! :no: ), but as to whether or not the inch per gallon rule is a good rule of thumb or a ridiculous bunch of hooey. :rolleyes:

My opinion, and I am only giving it here because no one else has jumped in yet (well, I see that while I was writing this you did get some answers, but I'm not going to change this whole thing now -- we all seem to agree anyway), is that "it depends". First of all, of course they count. Many bottom feeders grow to be quite large fish, and from what I have heard, many are also "messy". Granted, cory cats are worth their weight in clean-up detail, but as you say, they do produce waste just as the other fish do, so although their total 'bio-load' may be less than a fish of similar mass that simply eats what floats and poops, the bio-load does exist, so saying they don't count is silly (no offense to your friend) ;)

To my thinking, beginners are told "one inch per gallon" like it's our mantra simply because they are less likely to overload their water chemistry (which is not fully mature for about six months) if it is emphasized that overcrowding is a bad thing. It takes time for the nitrifying bacteria to develop, and more time to "catch up" every time you add fish, plus the fish are growing, and it is keeping up with that, and so forth. :S

On the other hand, lots of more experienced fishkeepers have crowded tanks, especially those that breed, like CM. They increase filtration, have lots of healthy plants, test their water regularly, do extra vacuuming and water changes, whatever they find that it takes to keep their particular fish happy and healthy. Different fish have different needs, and someone experienced will know that and act accordingly. 8)

The beginner generally will have a difficult enough time getting his/her tank parameters stable and at acceptable levels and keeping them that way until they've been at it a while to really spend a great deal of time/effort learning the idiosyncrasies of a bunch of different fish, which is why fishkeepers tell them to get hardy fish -- so they don't kill them off right away and get discouraged. :sad:

So what people will ask you is, what other fish are in the tank? What kind of filtration are you using? How often do you do water changes, and how much do you replace? Do you have live plants? What are your parameters? And so forth. Then they will either tell you that you can have ten cory cats without a problem (jk--lol) or that you may need to add a second filter or do more vacuuming or add some plants, something like that. :huh:

So the good news is, corys count, but you can have more, if you're willing to take the advice of whomever comes along and provides it. :hyper:

Edited by Alia, 23 June 2003 - 04:18 AM.


#5 pebbles

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 05:03 PM

imo bottom feeders have to count , the y do all the other things all the other fishes do and more... i count mine into the tank but they do help with tidying the bottom but as far as i am concerned that is an added bonus and just makes sure if i err on judgement its on the right side . pebbles

#6 Dragonslair

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 05:51 PM

Sorry to have to disagree with your friend fishlips, but I must agree with the majority in this case. ALL fish count in an aquarium, even the humble eel which you never see, but they count. The reason all fish count and not just fish but snails and any other inverts you may have, is that they consume nutrients(no matter how small) and produce waste. This excretion needs to be dealt with,especially in a closed environment.

#7 dolphin

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 09:33 PM

Hi All

Just to add my two pence worth.

Any fish will produce ammonia, from its gills and it's urine. Yes fish pee. Fish poo will produce ammonia when it breaks down, if it left in the tank. Any fish in the tank has to be counted in a stocking calculation.

Another thing to take into account is not the qty of fish inches, but the fish volume, i.e. 10 inches of guppies will produce a lot less ammonia than a single ten inch Oscar, yet according to the inch/gall rule they can be housed in the same tank volume.

#8 fishlips

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 11:07 PM

Thanks to everyone who replied.

I received the answers/input/opinions that I thought I was going to receive. I couldn't imagine "not counting them", but I was hopeful at the same time. lol!

I go by the inch of fish rule loosely. I have a 55 gallon that has been set up (and cycled) for 4 1/2 months. I have:

1 large Angel
3 New Guinea Rainbows
2 Bosemani rainbows
1 turquoise rainbow
2 male swordfish
2 male dwarf gouramis
3 baloon mollies
2 cory cats
1 pleco (which I bought knowing I'd be getting rid of him later. "rid of", I mean, donating back to the store).

My Ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0 and nirtrates are 0. I do 20-25% water changes with vacuuming once a week. I have an aquatech power filter. I was thinking of getting another filter to add to it, but wasn't sure if that would be too much? My tank "kit" was from Walmart and I had read that it wasn't all that great???? Thus far it's been fine....

I have one live plant....

Anyway....... I calculate my fish based on their adult sizes not their current sizes. Although I must say I get alot of different reports, so size.. we'll see!!! Like the rainbows I read are 3 inches, but some other sites I read they get to 4 or 5! Hmmm?

Thanks again for the input! I appreciate it! :)

#9 CFC

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 06:30 PM

Can i just ask is your friend a cichlid enthusiast?I have heard of a cichlid society in America which refuses to call catfish by any other name than "scavengers" so it sounds like the same sort of cr@p that they spout.

#10 Jamnog

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 09:11 PM

hey cfcyou know that all us cichlid lovers arent anti cat eh?

#11 Tanked

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 09:31 PM

Jam,

I think CFC was referring to bloody yanks like my self, not to the brits. but I could be wrong, it's in my nature. cfc, don't get me wrong I love catfish. on my way after work actually to get a couple pictus.

Edited by Tanked, 24 June 2003 - 09:32 PM.


#12 Alia

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 04:59 AM

Since you've had plenty of answers to your original question of "do bottomfeeders count?" you may want to cut and paste all the info about your tank in a post with a new topic of "how can I increase my fish inches in this tank?" or some such, specifically, how can you add more corys without throwing things off balance. But wait a day or so and see if anyone picks it up, then if they don't you can do what I said. New topics sometimes get more attention. ;)

#13 Jamnog

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 08:48 AM

im shure its all about the fish with cfc i read about it before i dont think he like libe bearers ither i think it was swords or mollys or something. my mind is not what it was

#14 fishlips

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 02:32 PM

Cat fish Crazy,

No, my friend isn't a cichlid enthusiast. Please don't misconstrue the post. It isn't a do they count in life, it's do they count if one goes by the inch of fish per gallon "rule". She is a fishy lover and have 4 tanks (non-cichlid actually).

We got on the subject as she's setting up her 4th tank right now and we were discussing stocking options. She said she wanted to add a cory, just one. I had read that they school and would be happier with at least two........ of course, having said that, could start a whole 'nother topic. :blink:

I've learned when it comes to fish, everyone has a different opinion and what works for one may not for another. Someone told her that they don't count, so she took that as "true" and passed on that information to me. She has over the years only had one in her tanks and they did fine, so ..........

I like to read what the majority tends to think and go from there.......

#15 CFC

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 03:24 PM

Sorry if my post has upset anyone,it was not intended to be anti American or cichlid it was just a comment that a certain society of cichlid keepers had refused to allow catfish to be called anything other than scavengers which myself and many other catfish lovers find offensive (why do you think planet catfish censor the word cichlid?),and was wondering if their ideas were spreading. Many catfish are anything but scavengers and in fact probably feed on cichlids in their native enviroments.

If you are going to add corys please add more than two,they prefer to form large groups so i would recomend at least 3 and prefferably 4 to 6,and they will need food of there own and will suffer if left to just scavenge.

Jamnog your right i cant stand livebearers,nothing worng with them its just a personal thing and i always stay out of posts concerning them,cichlids are growing on me and i now have a few,and even plan to start a breeding program with Malaiwi eyebiters eary next year.

Tanked,did you get your pictus cats? If you havent got them yet get 3 instead of 2,when kept in a group they will be a lot more active and wont fight as much.

#16 fishlips

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 12:25 AM

I, personally, didn't take offense; however, I wanted you to know that we weren't disrespecting or disregarding the wittle catfish. We love them :) I love them so much, I want MORE. :)

I do feed my corys and I feed my pleco too. Although that's sometimes hard as my Angel loves those algae chips and swoops them up pretty fast. I have to distract him. ha ha.

#17 semper fi

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 12:50 PM

try feeding him at night about half an hour after the lights are off. he should be able to get some of the chips.

semper fi

#18 cichlidmaster

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 01:13 PM

Guess it's time for the Cichlid (enthusiast) Master to pipe in........Yep ya'll knew it was coming right????

I have a deep respect and passion for ALL fish!! In the past I just didn't keep them. I have my favorites and my not so favorites.

Since expanding my stock list to include tropicals I have come to enjoy a variety of different species.....cories to be one of them.

I still have 20 or so of the C. julii in stock and may decide to keep them for myself. I also just brought in 50 Pimelodus angelicus. FANTASTIC little cats. Always active and when food hits the tank....well reminiscent of the movie "JAWS"!!

They twist their bodies in all sorts of ways to catch a piece of flake or frozen bloodworm that may be passing them by.

I will probably never bring in live bearers (much to the disappointment of Les ;) ;) ), because, although there is a market here I cannot compete with the bigger wholesalers in price!!

I am curious as to the cichlid society you refer to...not to start a war, but because I know most of the reputable ones and they are fish lovers first and foremost and would never bad mouth another species of fish.

As to the original question of stocking yes all fish are to be considered when figuring the total bioload of the tank.

A very easy way to think of it is this......a pleco by some is considered a scavenger (although with the L# being anything but. These are very specialized feeders)would not be calculated in the total bioload, but when you look at it realistically a pleco is probably one of the MESSIEST fish there are!! I would even go so far as to say a 12" pleco can out poo a 10" oscar and believe me I know!!

Those 10.5" goldy plecos I brought in....well I have one in a 70 gallon tank and this thing makes a daily mess of it!!

Nuff said!!!

CM




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