Stocking Schemes

September 8th, 2008
6:25 am

Stocking Schemes

The following suggested stocking schemes which I found most informative, reliable and accurate came from an excellent book written by David E. Boruchowitz, entitled "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums."

Your tank is set up. Everything's working. It's almost cycled. Now what?

In an attempt to address the commonly asked question of 'What kind of fish should I get?" I am offering some suggestions simply as
"food for thought" type of ideas for stocking your aquariums.

Naturally you should research the fish prior to purchase, and although these suggestions are not "goof-proof", I have tried my best to make them as accurate as I could. All of the fish suggested here are common and inexpensive, and can usually be found in most LFS tanks.

*Please note: These groupings will not resemble the "average" beginner's tank, since that is usually "one-of-those-two-of-those-and-oh-two-of those" which unfortunately are not successful. These groupings are designed to avoid the pitfalls that uninformed impulse buying of fish can create.

To keep the length reasonable, I have set the schemes for a 29-gallon and a 55-gallon tank only. The numbers for the species are given in brackets like this [6/8] indicating the 29gal / 55gal.

Scheme#1: Community Tank. No attention to biotype or habitat, but focus on color, beauty and form.

Platies [3/5] hardy. Danios [8/8] active, Lemon tetras [6/6] beauty, Cory cats [4/6] bottom comical.

Scheme#2: An Asian Accent. Sticking within a region of beautiful and small fish.

Gold barbs [6/8] colors, Rasboras [8/15] iridescence and behavior, Dwarf Gouramis [2/4] smaller group = 2 males, larger group one pair dwarfs & one pair honey dwarfs. Red&Blue of males with SilverGreenishGrey of females for larger group.

Scheme#3: Just a Little Bit Larger. Obviously fewer fish, but nice collection.

Blue Gouramis [1pair/2pairs] either male/females or just females this will keep the tank peaceful, Swordtails [2/4] color, Rosy barbs [5/8] schooling.

Scheme#4: Barbs, Barbs, Barbs. An always lively and interesting display.

Cherry barbs [6/10] color, Black ruby barbs [6/8] school, Tiger barbs [6/10] wild type. You can buy all same color or mix & match.

Scheme#5: A Tetrad of Tetras. Very popular and impressive display.

Black neons [6/10] glowing, Bloodfin tetra [6/10] streamlined, Glowlight tetras [6/10] Serpae tetras [6/10] beautiful red coloration.

Some bright colored fish such as Neons and Cardinals sometimes bring out the predatory nature of any fish that sees them. This makes it difficult in a community situation, where they also do not compete well for food against more aggressive fish. The solution?

Scheme#6: Species Tank - Neon Madness. Fluorescent bon-bons of the fish world.
What's the matter, you never thought of a species tank? There is nothing more impressive than a huge school of spectacular color swimming together. While six or eight are beautiful in a community tank, a couple dozen in a tank of their own are magnificent!
Neon tetras [24/40] or Cardinal tetras [24/40]

Note: Although both are same species and will indeed school and get along with each other, my personal reason for not mixing them is purely aesthetic. Although they are breathtaking together, the viewer will be led to focus on their differences. Your tank will succeed either way, but will look better if you stick to one or the other.

Scheme#7: Species Tank - Guppy Extravaganza. The perfect setup and more.
These colorful little livebearers have been around since the beginning of the hobby.
A group of guppies all the same color make a startling display.
Guppies [24/35] These can be pairs but can be all males. Do not try a few females with the idea of not having many fry. They will be harassed, possibly to death, and the males will fight more amongst themselves if females are present. On the other hand a thankful of females with a few males will work well, but soon overrun with young fish.

I did not include Cichlids or Angels, etc, as they require a little more research and can be slightly more difficult, however, can surely be included.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other various combinations that will work, however, as stated, this was simply to offer "food for thought."
Regardless of your choice for stocking, most importantly, enjoy your finned friends.


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5 comments on "Stocking Schemes"

  • webman27
    September 8, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Very cool post RJR. If I was starting from scratch this would be a huge help. I am sure this will make life much easier for a lot of newcomers to the aquarium world!!

  • guitarlaxdude
    October 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    you totally stole that from a book called "the simple guide to freshwater fish" by a guy named david e. boruchwitz

  • RJRofFL
    October 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Hello guitarlaxdude, and welcome to FTF.

    In my efforts to advise, educate and provide accurate information to our members I always research information prior to posting. I have currently well over a hundred pages of research on various subjects of this wonderful hobby, which I often refer to. Admitedly, I sometimes don't remember the exact source I obtained information from. Thank you for bringing this particular source to my attention.

    I have gone back and edited my post to reflect this and most certainly wish for proper credit being given where credit is due.



  • roland0
    April 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I got this book. I like the stocking schemes. However, there seems to have a lot of fish in the schemes. Are these going to work, or are they potentially overstocked?

  • Judge
    April 18, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Personally I think they are a bit to much, and I would not put that much in a 29 or a 55, (Unless I am reading it wrong). I like the groupings though, so say instead of 5-6 of one I might have two..etc.

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