Reef Aquarium Stocking Calculator

When stocking a 55-gallon reef aquarium, prioritize small, peaceful fish like clownfish and gobies. Add invertebrates like cleaner shrimp for maintenance. Incorporate hardy corals like zoanthids and mushrooms. Maintain stable water parameters with a pH of 8.1-8.4, a temperature of 72-78°F, and a salinity of 1.023-1.025. Research and choose species carefully to ensure compatibility and avoid overstocking.

Reef Aquarium Stocking Calculator

Creating a table for stocking a reef aquarium involves listing various species of fish, invertebrates, and corals along with their compatibility, care requirements, and other important information. Below is a simplified example of a reef aquarium stocking table:

SpeciesQuantityCompatibilityCare LevelMax Size (inches)DietWater ParametersSpecial Notes
Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)2Peaceful, with cautionEasy3.2Omnivore (flake, pellet, frozen)pH: 8.1-8.4, Temp: 75-82°F, Salinity: 1.023-1.025Best kept with anemones for symbiosis.
Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)1Peaceful, with cautionModerate3.5Carnivore (small meaty foods)pH: 8.1-8.4, Temp: 72-78°F, Salinity: 1.023-1.025Prefers hiding spots in rocks.
Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)1Peaceful, with cautionEasy2.5Carnivore (copepods, detritus)pH: 8.0-8.4, Temp: 72-78°F, Salinity: 1.023-1.025Excellent for cleaning parasites.
Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)1Semi-aggressiveModerate4.0Omnivore (algae, small inverts)pH: 8.1-8.4, Temp: 72-78°F, Salinity: 1.023-1.025Watch for coral nipping tendencies.
Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens)1N/A (coral)ModerateVariablePhotosynthetic (supplemental feeding)pH: 8.0-8.4, Temp: 72-78°F, Salinity: 1.023-1.025Provide adequate lighting and flow.

This table includes the following columns:

  1. Species: The name of the species you plan to include in your reef aquarium.
  2. Quantity: The number of individuals of that species you plan to keep.
  3. Compatibility: Information about how the species interacts with other tank inhabitants (e.g., peaceful, semi-aggressive).
  4. Care Level: An indication of the species’ care requirements (e.g., easy, moderate).
  5. Max Size (inches): The maximum size the species can grow in inches.
  6. Diet: The primary diet of the species.
  7. Water Parameters: The ideal water parameters (e.g., pH, temperature, salinity) for the species.
  8. Special Notes: Any additional notes or requirements for keeping that species in a reef aquarium.

Remember that this is a simplified example, and each species may have specific care requirements and compatibility considerations that you should thoroughly research before adding them to your reef aquarium. Additionally, be sure to consider the size of your tank, its filtration system, and the overall compatibility of the species you choose to avoid potential conflicts and ensure the health and well-being of your aquarium inhabitants.


What is the rule of thumb for aquarium stocking? The general rule of thumb is to stock 1 inch of fish (measured without the tail) per gallon of water for freshwater tanks and 1 inch of fish per 2-5 gallons for marine tanks, but this can vary depending on factors like species and tank setup.

How many fish can you put in a 60-gallon reef tank? Estimate around 12-20 small to medium-sized fish in a 60-gallon reef tank, considering factors like species, compatibility, and filtration.

How many fish can you put in a 13-gallon reef tank? For a 13-gallon reef tank, estimate 2-4 small fish, as smaller tanks have less water volume to support fish.

How many fish can you put in a 25-gallon reef tank? You can estimate around 5-10 small to medium-sized fish in a 25-gallon reef tank, taking into account compatibility and filtration.

What is the rule of 3 aquarium? The “rule of 3” is not a widely recognized term in aquarium keeping. It may refer to stocking levels or some other aspect, but it’s not a standard guideline.

How often should you do a water change in a regularly stocked aquarium? A general guideline is to perform a 10-20% water change every 2-4 weeks, but the frequency may vary depending on tank size, fish load, and water parameters.

What fish can you mix with clownfish? Clownfish can be mixed with other peaceful, non-aggressive species such as gobies, blennies, and some damselfish. However, compatibility varies, so research is essential.

Can you add too many fish at once to a reef tank? Adding too many fish at once can overwhelm the biological filtration and lead to water quality issues. It’s better to add fish gradually, allowing the tank to establish a stable biological balance.

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How many clownfish can you have in a 60-gallon tank? You could estimate having 2-3 pairs of clownfish in a 60-gallon tank, as long as they are introduced gradually and have appropriate hiding spots.

What is the first fish to add to a reef tank? Generally, hardy and peaceful fish like clownfish, royal gramma, or firefish make good choices for the initial fish in a reef tank.

Can you have too much filtration in a reef tank? Excessive filtration can be detrimental, as it may strip essential nutrients from the water. Balanced filtration tailored to your tank’s needs is crucial.

What is the most common reef tank size? Common reef tank sizes range from 20 to 120 gallons, with 40 and 75 gallons being quite popular.

What can I put in a 20-gallon reef tank? You can consider a pair of clownfish, some small gobies, blennies, and reef-safe invertebrates like corals, shrimp, and snails.

How much flow does a 20-gallon reef tank need? Estimate 10-20 times the tank volume in gallons per hour (GPH) for adequate water circulation, so approximately 200-400 GPH for a 20-gallon tank.

Can I do a 20-gallon saltwater tank? Yes, a 20-gallon saltwater tank is suitable for smaller marine setups, but it requires careful maintenance and stocking choices.

What is No 3 in a fish tank? Nitrate (NO3) is a common parameter measured in a fish tank. Elevated nitrate levels can indicate water quality issues.

What is considered an overcrowded tank? An overcrowded tank is one in which fish have insufficient swimming space or territory, leading to aggression, stress, and water quality problems.

What is the golden ratio in aquascaping? The golden ratio is a design principle that some aquascapers use to create visually pleasing layouts in aquariums, but it’s not a strict rule.

Should you ever do a 100% water change in an aquarium? A 100% water change is generally not recommended unless there is a severe water quality issue. Partial water changes are more common and less stressful for fish.

How often do you vacuum gravel in a fish tank? Vacuuming the substrate should be done during regular water changes, typically every 2-4 weeks.

What is new tank syndrome? New tank syndrome refers to the initial challenges faced by newly established aquariums, including ammonia and nitrite spikes due to incomplete cycling.

What fish cannot live with clownfish? Avoid aggressive or territorial fish that may harm clownfish, such as large angelfish, groupers, and predatory species.

What is the lifespan of a clownfish? In captivity, clownfish can live for 6 to 10 years or longer with proper care.

Can you over-oxygenate a reef tank? It’s challenging to over-oxygenate a reef tank, as fish and corals can benefit from higher oxygen levels. However, excessive surface agitation can lead to CO2 loss, affecting pH.

How often do you add pods to a reef tank? Adding copepods (pods) every few weeks can help maintain a healthy population for natural feeding.

How many times a day should I feed my reef fish? Feeding 1-2 times a day is typically sufficient for most reef fish, but adjust based on the species and their feeding habits.

What size tank does a full-grown clownfish need? Full-grown clownfish can thrive in tanks as small as 10-20 gallons, but larger tanks offer more space and stability.

What is the best clownfish for beginners? The Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and the Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) are popular choices for beginners.

What is the best tank setup for clownfish? A simple tank with live rock, anemone (if desired), and appropriate lighting and filtration is a good setup for clownfish.

What is the rarest fish for a reef tank? The rarity of fish in a reef tank can vary, but some uncommon species like the Clarion Angelfish or certain deepwater anthias can be considered rare.

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What’s the easiest coral to keep? Soft corals like mushrooms, leathers, and zoanthids are often considered the easiest corals for beginners.

What is the most expensive fish to put in the aquarium? Rare and exotic species like the Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum) or Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei) can be among the most expensive.

Can you run too much carbon in a reef tank? Excessive use of activated carbon can strip essential nutrients from the water, so it’s important to use it judiciously.

How important is a skimmer in a reef tank? A protein skimmer can help maintain water quality by removing organic compounds, making it an important tool in many reef tanks.

Is carbon dosing bad for a reef tank? Carbon dosing (such as vodka dosing or vinegar dosing) can be beneficial when used properly to reduce nitrates and phosphates, but it should be carefully monitored.

What is the best size marine tank for a beginner? A 20 to 40-gallon tank is often recommended for beginners, as it provides a good balance of space and manageable maintenance.

What do you put in a saltwater tank first? Start with live rock and a good-quality saltwater mix. Allow the tank to cycle before adding fish or corals.

What is the difference between a reef tank and a coral tank? A reef tank typically refers to a system that houses a variety of marine life, including fish, corals, and invertebrates. A coral tank may focus solely on coral cultivation.

What is the best clean-up crew for a 20-gallon reef tank? For a 20-gallon reef tank, consider snails, hermit crabs, and small cleaner shrimp as part of your clean-up crew.

How many powerheads do I need for a 20-gallon reef tank? One or two powerheads with adjustable flow rates should provide adequate water movement for a 20-gallon reef tank.

How many clownfish can you have in a 20-gallon tank? You can keep a pair of clownfish in a 20-gallon tank, ensuring they are compatible species.

What is the best turnover for a reef tank? A turnover rate of 10-20 times the tank volume per hour is a good guideline for water circulation in a reef tank.

Do I need a sump for a 20-gallon reef tank? A sump is not necessary for a 20-gallon reef tank but can be beneficial for adding additional water volume and equipment.

How do I know if I have enough flow in my reef tank? Observe coral health and watch for dead spots where detritus accumulates. Adjust flow accordingly.

How much does it cost to maintain a 20-gallon saltwater tank? The cost can vary widely, but on average, expect to spend $30-$50 per month on maintenance, including water changes, electricity, and consumables.

How much rock do I need for a 20-gallon saltwater tank? A good rule of thumb is 1-1.5 pounds of live rock per gallon, so approximately 20-30 pounds for a 20-gallon tank.

What do I need to start a 20-gallon saltwater fish tank? You’ll need a tank, filtration system, heater, lighting, live rock, substrate, salt mix, and test kits to start a 20-gallon saltwater fish tank.

What is a dirty fish tank? A dirty fish tank refers to a tank with poor water quality, often due to high ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate levels, or excess waste.

Are nitrates bad for saltwater fish? High nitrates can be harmful to saltwater fish, causing stress and health issues. It’s essential to keep nitrate levels in check.

What’s worse nitrite or ammonia? Ammonia is more toxic than nitrite to fish. Both can be harmful, but ammonia is generally considered more lethal.

What happens if I put too many fish in my tank? Overcrowding can lead to poor water quality, stress, aggression, and increased risk of diseases, ultimately harming fish health.

What happens if you have too many fish in your aquarium? An overstocked aquarium can experience reduced water quality, insufficient oxygen levels, and increased aggression among fish, leading to health problems.

How do I know if I have too many fish in my aquarium? Signs of overstocking include poor water quality, stressed fish, aggression, and visible signs of fish health issues. Regular water testing and observation are key.

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What is the rule of thirds in aquariums? The “rule of thirds” is a design principle that suggests dividing the aquarium into three horizontal sections to create an aesthetically pleasing layout.

Do water changes remove beneficial bacteria? Water changes can reduce the concentration of beneficial bacteria in the water column but do not significantly affect bacteria residing in the filter media and substrate.

How do I keep my fish tank clean without changing water? Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the substrate, cleaning equipment, and proper filtration, can help maintain a clean tank without frequent water changes.

Does vacuuming gravel remove beneficial bacteria? Vacuuming the gravel can disturb some beneficial bacteria, but the majority reside in the filter media, so it won’t significantly impact the overall colony.

Should I remove fish when vacuuming gravel? You don’t need to remove fish when vacuuming gravel, but be cautious not to disturb or stress them too much during the process.

What does fish depression look like? Fish depression isn’t a scientifically recognized condition, but stressed or unhealthy fish may display lethargy, reduced appetite, or abnormal behaviors.

How long will new tank syndrome last? New tank syndrome can last for several weeks to a few months until the aquarium establishes a stable nitrogen cycle.

What will clownfish host besides anemone? Clownfish can host corals, invertebrates, or even objects like PVC pipes if they don’t have access to anemones.

Will clownfish eat live shrimp? Clownfish are not typically predatory towards small shrimp but may coexist peacefully or even form symbiotic relationships with certain shrimp species.

Are clownfish high maintenance? Clownfish are considered relatively low-maintenance compared to some other marine species but still require proper care and attention to thrive.

What are clownfish predators? Predators of clownfish include larger fish, such as groupers and large angelfish, and some invertebrates like mantis shrimp.

At what age do clownfish lay eggs? Clownfish can start breeding and laying eggs at around 6 to 12 months of age, depending on species and conditions.

Do you need 2 clownfish in a tank? While it’s not necessary to keep two clownfish together, they often form pairs in the wild and tend to be more active and comfortable in pairs.

How do I know if my saltwater tank has enough oxygen? Monitor fish behavior; if they gasp at the surface or show signs of distress, it may indicate insufficient oxygen. Adequate water movement also helps oxygenate the tank.

How long can a reef tank go without oxygen? A reef tank can go without oxygen for only a short time, typically a matter of minutes to an hour, depending on factors like temperature and stocking density.

How fast do copepods multiply? Copepod reproduction rates vary, but they can multiply quickly under ideal conditions, potentially doubling their population in a week or less.

Can you put too many copepods in your tank? Overloading your tank with copepods can lead to competition for food resources and potential nutrient imbalances. It’s essential to maintain a balance.

What time of day do corals typically feed? Corals usually extend their polyps to feed at night when they capture plankton and other small organisms from the water column.

How long can reef fish go without food? Reef fish can go without food for several days to a couple of weeks, depending on their species and overall health.

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