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What Does It Mean To Overcrowd Your Fish Tank?

fish tank

Few years back, I went to a family friend’s house. When I came to know they have a fish aquarium, I couldn’t control my curiosity and asked them if I could see it. They took me to the bedroom to show me their aquarium. Long story cut short- my feelings were a mixture of shock and disappointment.

You see, their tank was approximately 5 Gallons and they had around twenty fishes swimming in it! This included two goldfishes, two anglefish and a bala shark! I was stunned to see how crowded the aquarium was. My first question was, ‘why so many?’ and they replied, ‘our little son is really fond of fish and he feels terrible when they die. So, we bring home a new fish almost every week!’ If I wasn’t trying to be pleasant I would have held my head in my hand. No wonder their fishes were dying! With so many in one tank, it was really a bloody battle waiting to happen!

If you want to keep an aquarium, there are some rules you need to follow. Fishes make amazing pets, but in order to keep them we need to respect their personal space along with their personalities. Some fish get along with others while others are very selective with those they’d like to hang out with, and ultimately there are a few who like to be on their own. So, it is important to do your research and find which fish works with which.

Other than finalizing the kinds of fish you want in your aquarium, it also becomes very important to know how many you can keep. Many don’t understand the importance of this step but trust us, if you want to make a home for healthy and happy fishes, you have to stress on this step so that they can live stress free! One inch per gallon, or one centimeter per liter of ‘full grown fish’- that’s the golden rule (it does have its limitations and highly debated but in general, gives a good idea).

Overcrowding can lead to many severe problems in your fish tank. Here are some of them:

  1. Stunted Fish Growth

Most fish are indeterminate growers. This means that they grow till they die. Some have very slow growth while a very few stop growing after they reach a certain level of maturity. However, most fish grow all life in their own pace. A growing fish is a sign of a healthy fish and if you take away their space it affects their growth.

  1. Aggression

As we said earlier, fish need their personal space and if they are deprived of it, they can get pretty agitated. This is a very common behavior and can happen to anyone. With an overcrowded fish tank you can expect more tail nipping to take place. Larger fish can also attack smaller fish to show their dominance.

  1. Increased Ammonia

Fish produce waste; more fish produce more waste. No brainer isn’t it? There is more to it that meets the eye. The goldfish, for instance. is a really heavy fish and known for its high waste production. Increased ammonia is really hazardous for your fish. It burns their gills and makes breathing very difficult for them. This can be another reason why your fishes are being aggressive with one another. High levels of ammonia can actually fatal for your fishes, so never take this lightly!

Being a fish tank owner has wonderful experiences on its own but being responsible for a healthy and harmonious fish tank is really something to be proud of. By giving a fish it’s space you not only keep it healthy but you also keep it stress free. What would you rather look at- A tank full of stressed aggressive fishes? Or a tank with a few healthy happy fishes harmoniously swimming with each other and carrying out their day to day business?

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