Overstocked?

ALAW

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Hi all I'm wanting opinions on my current stocking level, I have a 13 gallon, with 4 platys, 5 Guppys and 4 amano shrimp, Im doing 30% water changes 2-3 times a week, but still having problems getting my nitrates down and keeping them down.
I planned on adding a honey gourami and maybe another guppy, but worried I'm already overstocked, my plants are artificial albeit some frogbit multiplying like mad atm, I was hoping the frogbit would soak up some of the nitrates but they seem to be innefective.
 

Circus

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I would add more live plants, hornwort grows fast and soak nitrates up pretty well. It seems like it is nicely stocked, but if you have a mix of male and female livebearers, you will have a LOT more in short order.
It looks like you already have the tank stocked with hard water fish, while the gourami is a softer water fish. Do you know your ph and hardness level, or gh?
 
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ALAW

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Yeah I might have to look into replacing some of the artificial ones with real ones, maybe that will help.
I have moderately hard water, so maybe the gourami might not be best choice, all the inhabitants are male to avoid the breeding.
So first I need to get down to the nitrate issue, I'll certainly look at adding more live plants, I used to use seachem stability after water changes, but I figure I have plenty of BB now, so. I use seachem pristine instead, maybe that has something to do with the nitrate issue.
 

Sgooosh

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Yeah I might have to look into replacing some of the artificial ones with real ones, maybe that will help.
I have moderately hard water, so maybe the gourami might not be best choice, all the inhabitants are male to avoid the breeding.
So first I need to get down to the nitrate issue, I'll certainly look at adding more live plants, I used to use seachem stability after water changes, but I figure I have plenty of BB now, so. I use seachem pristine instead, maybe that has something to do with the nitrate issue
no, the stability (ben bac?) i think helps get rid of ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate, so just get some hornwort to soak it up, and then add ferts if needed
 

Circus

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I am glad you did better than me, and went for all males! Until you get more live plants in, I would do more frequent water changes. The only chemicals I use regularly are Prime and my ferts. It also doesn't need to be hornwort, but any fast growing plant would probably work. I have bucopa, hornwort, guppy grass, water sprite, anacharis. All are fast growing plants that can be left floating or anchored to the substrate.
 

Essjay

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Increasing water changes and cutting down on the amount of food will also help. Fish need a lot less food than you'd think. Most of our food goes to keeping us warm, but fish get their warmth from the water so they only need food to provide energy for swimming and growing.

Live plants help too as the previous posters have said. Plants take up ammonia and fertiliser and they turn it into protein rather than nitrite and nitrate.
 

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A few observations. First, to answer the question in post #1, this tank is already overstocked so there is no room for a gourami or any other fish. The platy will grow, and fairly quickly if healthy, and at 2 inches/5 cm (for males, females reach 3 but you only have males fortunately) and the guppies--there is not much space left in a 13g tank though we do not know the dimensions.

On the water changes, you can save time and improve benefits with larger volume changes. Do 60-70% once a week, assuming parameters (GH and pH here) are close between tap and tank water. The larger volume removes more pollution/crud than smaller changes which allow more to "carry over" so to speak. This is for the future, normal state. If nitrates are increasing between water changes, there is something wrong, so let's look at that. Once you have nitrates at "x" and not increasing at all between the weekly water changes, you are probably OK. Water changes need to be substantial and regular to not only control nitrates, but the other "bad" things you cannot measure, and these occur in all tanks with fish.

To the nitrates...what is the level now? And have you tested the tap water on its own for nitrate; it is possible for nitrates to be present in tap water and this is another aspect requiring different action. Nitrates do affect fish negatively over time, depending upon the level and the species, and the duration they are exposed to them. Keeping nitrates as low as absolutely possible, as close to zero as we can, is the goal. I will have more when I know the level, and if any occur in the tap water.
 

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