- Aquarium Stocking Calculator with Intelligence!


Aquarium Stocking Calculator with Intelligence!

Author: Yeo-Hoon Bae
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2010

Yet another boring aquarium calculator?

There are many aquarium calculators on the internet. Just try "aquarium calculator" on Google. Most of the calculators simply function as unit converters. Few calculators do attempt to calculate bioloads for selected species but uses simple generalized rules such as "1 inch per gallon" or "x inches per y square inches of tank". Both approaches fail miserably in reality. And these problems are just beginning to scratch the real problem underneath. The real challenge behind stocking calculators is determining the compatibility between selected species. Most experienced aquarium hobbyists believe this is an impossible problem to solve using a computer application due to huge number of variations that need to be considered.

The goal was to solve these challenges. is an intelligent online aquarium stocking calculator with knowledge database that expands!

Summary of features will:

  • calculate bioloads of selected aquarium species. Algorithm is based on the attributes of individual species stored in the tropical fish knowledge database.

  • recommend common pH, temperature and hardness for the selected aquarium species.

  • determine filtration capacity for the selected aquarium species for your filters. Do you have enough filtration in your setup?

  • recommend water change schedule based on the total bioload of the selected species.

  • determine compatibility between selected aquarium species. Will your species be able to live together? Are they aggressive? Will they become territorial later on?

  • Knowledge Databse that grows!

    There are over 850 species and 300 filters to choose from and the numbers are increasing every week. Internal knowledge database features over 40 different attributes per each species. These attributes are used to describe individual species including their physical and behavioral traits. uses these attributes to determine if potential issues could arise between the selected species. Both number of species and number of attributes increase over time and data itself is being fine-tuned. So time is our friend - database will become larger and more accurate as time goes by. was designed ground up to be extensible and flexible.

    Weekly releases allows frequent introduction to the new features and refinements to the knowledge database. User feedback/comments are collected and if make they sense, most of them will eventually show up in Request for any missing species, filters or tank dimensions in this forum!

    Attributes galore!

    Here are some of the attributes considers before displaying warnings:

  • Size - used to calculate bioload of the species.

  • Bioload Factor - used along side Size attribute. Size alone isn't enough because species of the same size don't always produce same amount of waste.

  • Mouth Size - although there is a general rule that figures out if two different sized fishes can co-exist based on their size, this attribute is also used to further refine the result. Some fishes are large but with small mouth hence safer to be with smaller species.

  • Minimum number - e.g. some shoaling species require to be in groups.

  • Maximum number - e.g. some species cannot tolerate its own kind at all. e.g. male betta

  • Minimum tank size - minimum footprint required to keep the species happy and healthy.

  • Aggression factors between same species, different species, during breeding and ability to defend aggression.

  • Water pH, temperature and hardness - will cross compare these ranges for all selected species and if there are conflicts, warnings will be displayed.

  • Biotope - in many cases, species from different biotopes should not be mixed. Good example is mbuna. Currently only mbuna species leverage this attribute. Obviously this attribute will be used more frequently as appropriate groups are identified.

  • Diet - currently capable of storing "H", "O" or "C". doesn't use these attributes for any analysis yet but it is a possibility later on to figure out diet compatability.

  • Water level - can be assigned with any combination of "B", "M" and "T". Currently only "B" flag is checked and if it turns out to be aggressive, required bottom space will be calculated and if this space exceeds tank space, a warning will be displayed.

  • Minimum tank height requirement - some species require taller tanks (e.g. Discus)

  • Territorial requirements to identify any species that are either naturally terrotorial or those species that become territorial after pairing off. During required bottom space calculation, these flags are referenced.

  • Brakish water requirements.

  • Interbreeding (or other) incompatibility between species.

  • Harlem breeding behaviors - currently not used.

  • Collective breeding behaviors - species such as Neolamprologus Brichardi likes to take over even large tanks. If this flag is set, these species will take over the whole tank up to specified footprint but will live happily in a smaller tank if no other species exist in the same tank.

  • Caution notes - any special notes that should always be displayed for the selected species.

  • Etc.

  • I do expect this list to grow further quite rapidely. As you can see, this calculator is far more than what most calculator does using "inches per gallon" rule.

    It's not perfect!

    Far from it. There are reasons why most experienced aquarium hobbyists think this is impossible. There are so many factors to take into account. Although has accumulated a good deal of knowledge already, there's still much left to collect. Data for common species are in good shapes but rarer species need more input. More it collects, more accurate it will become. If you find wrong results, please leave feedback. Every feedback is helpful!

    This tool is not a replacement for experienced keepers' advices. Please do continue to ask questions and even talk about stock suggestions in your favourite forums. See forum listing page for the listing of aquarium related forums.

    You can further discuss or leave suggestions in this forum.

    Try out our Intellegent Aquarium Stocking Calculator.