Aquarium Stocking Tips

Seeing the fish in distress or finding them diseased is something no aquarist would look forward to. The situation becomes even worse when there is a dead fish in the tank. Isn’t it?

To escape encountering such dreadful situations it is essential to keep an eye on the stock. Stocking an aquarium is not a child’s play. One needs enough information about the right upkeep of aquarium, proper knowledge of the fish and a lot of experience.

Generally, people get attracted towards the beautiful and colorful looking fish in the store and stock them up. Online information makes them more alluring. It ends up having-

  • Too many fish in the aquarium
  • Fish that are not compatible with each other
  • Fish whose care is not possible from the aquarist’s end

It often leads to a miserable aquarium experience.

Therefore, here we will discuss how you can stock your aquarium with no blunders. A successfully stocked aquarium will eventually make you and your fish happy, healthy and gay. So check out the tips below.


Planning before stocking might feel a waste of time, but if you consider it beforehand, you could become a successful aquarist. It is the most important step which is unfortunately skipped by most of the people, especially new hobbyists.

As soon you enter the store, gather enough information about the different fish. Don’t get tempted by the colors and exoticness of the fish on display. It’s a trap that store owners build.

A detailed insight about the fish would help you get the fish which are suitable to your aquarium. A stocking plan in mind will assist in the following ways-

  • You will not get a fish that might outgrow your tank size
  • You will not pick highly aggressive or very sensitive fish
  • There will be enough color variants in your aquarium
  • The fish you choose will complement each other and live with harmony inside the tank

Therefore it is imperative to get all the information about the aquarium fish. You must not get lured with the colors and shapes especially if you are new in the arena. A good stocking plan beforehand always ends up having a perfect and long-lasting fish eco-system.


Once you go through the literature, you will find that every fish love to reside in a particular layer of water. They all have a specific water layer which is their comfort zone. Fish love to swirl and swim in their respective zones to flourish well.

For instance, the fish that prefer movements in the lowermost layers or the bottom of the tank is Corydoras catfish. Likewise, some of the fish love swirling in the middle layer.

Therefore, you must try to make things easier for the fish in your aquarium. You can do this by choosing fish based on their comfort zone. Try to keep the number of fish ideal enough to move in their respective zones with no hindrance. Having multiple fish of one layer will not only make things messy for them but also make the tank look overcrowded in a particular space.

It is not only important to know the behavioral pattern of fish through literature but by viewing them as well. Taking a glance on the fish videos will help you determine which their favorite layer in the water to dwell is. Ultimately it will help stock the right fish in the aquarium.

Take a look at some of the examples:

  • Top layer species: Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna), Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus), Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata)
  • Middle layer species: Threadfin Rainbowfish (Iriatherina werneri), Ghost Catfish (Kryptopterus minor), Mosquito Rasbora (Boraras brigittae)
  • Bottom layer species: Cherry shrimp, Corydoras, Zebra Loach ((Botia striata), Rhinogobiusduospilus

Other than these, there are fish that prefer to live in all the layers like Pufferfish and Otocinclus catfish.


Other than knowing the nature of fish it is also important to know the ambiance of the aquarium. In this aspect, the size of the aquarium is the essential criteria to look upon. Moreover, keeping an eye on the following requirements of the fish will also help:

  • The most suitable range of temperature
  • Water layer for thriving
  • The optimal water values
  • Nature of fish- aggressive, sensitive, social, like to live alone
  • The level of activity of fish
  • Most suitable lightning condition range
  • Preferences of substrate

If you know these requirements of the fish, it will become easy to choose the apt fish for the aquarium. The right stocking occurs when all the conditions are appropriately met. It will never let you see your creatures in stress, suffering or diseased.


Taking the advice of fish experts or those who are into fish keeping for a long time can help to a great extent. You could find many forums which deal with fish keeping. Moreover, there are forums dealing with particular fish species as well. Putting up your queries there could help you fetch the right advice.

Once logged in with a forum you may find many aquarium mates for stocking up in the aquarium. You may start by stocking up as per the advice and later do modifications and improvisations as needed.

Members in the forum love to share their experiences and help the fellow aquarists. Once you get enough experience, you may do the same. Getting a second or third opinion is never of no use. Instead, it might lead you stocking the aquarium with great perfection.

Wrapping up- When we think about getting an aquarium, we never give heed to the above points. The sole reason becomes getting an aquarium and flaunting it to the guests. However, until you are not serious about fish keeping, you will only end up having fish that are in distress, disease or suffering.

Therefore proper and intense research before stocking the fish is essential.  Other than this, you must inquire whether it is okay to bring the fish back to the store if it is not showing compatibility with other fish. Many times in spite of your research some fish turn out to be aggressive and hostile. This is when it becomes essential to separate them from the others.

One wrong choice and your fish may suffer. So, make sure you are stocking up the right fish and getting a good fish keeping experience.

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