Is My Tank Overstocked?


Mostly New Member
Feb 20, 2016
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OK my tank has been running about 6 months I originally had 15 fish 11 African cichlids from the 3 lakes, 2 red jewel cichlids, a red devil, and a midas cichlid 2 months in the red devil killed my midas now it seems everything is at piece I have a 55 gallon tank. So question is is my tank overstocked??


Fish Herder
Tank of the Month!
Oct 28, 2014
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Carnoustie, Scotland
Your African cichlids and the S.A. cichlids would normally be classed as incompatible as regarding water requirements. African cichlids tend to be fairly agressive as do Jewels and Red Devils so its a toss up who will come off best. The bigger question is whether your water is best suited to African (mainly hard water) or South American (soft water). Water quality will determine which of the two types are more suited to your aquarium, but they certainly both aren't. The best thing to do would be to find out what your water qualities are and then concentrate on the fish that prefer these conditions.


Fish Expert
Feb 25, 2009
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As Neil mentioned, water parameters enter into stocking and they also affect a fish's behaviour.  Fish that are having to work harder, physiologically, because of parameters for which they are not suited will be under significant stress and this impacts their level of aggression (it can either increase or reduce a fish's inherent behaviour/aggression level), weakens the immune system, and other things.
Leaving that, there are other issues here.  The Jewel cichlid will attain around 6 inches normally, though in the wild it can easily attain 8 inches.  If the two are male, trouble will inevitably ensue; if they are a pair, spawning will likely follow and the other fish in the tank will not be well accepted.  But then there is the Red Devil, a fish that should reach a foot in length, and requires a 50g tank on its own.
So yes, on more than one front, your tank is overstocked, which partly includes mis-stocked.
Coming back briefly to the water parameters, the rift lake cihclids must have moderately hard to hard water with a basic pH that should be at or above 8.0 if they are to be healthy.
And a last comment, picking up on the "now it seems everything is a peace,"...this is not a good omen.  None of these fish are "peaceful," and as I alluded to above, fish that are forced into unnatural conditions, be it parameters, inappropriate tankmates, tank too small, or an improper environment (the aquascape), will be stressed and this is going to weaken them and shorten their lifespan, inevitably.  Unnatural behaviours is a sign this has probably begun.

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