Originally Posted by iamrayn
yea man i appreciate the response and advice. i know all the facts about the fish though. that's what i meant by not wanting lectures.. i have a 150 gallon tank waiting for me to set it up and switch everything, I just am avoiding the monumental task as long as possible, I don't intend on keeping him as a lone tin foil for much longer.
i guess what i'm really wondering about is if there is some 'rule of thumb' like the (not %100 accurate) 1 gallon per 1 inch of fish 'guideline' that applies to length of a fish in relation to the dimensions of a tank?
There are no reliable rules in this hobby, and I am being frank in saying this. Any of the "guides" like fish per gallon have considerable limitations and while they can sort-of work for one fish species they fail terribly with many others.
There are many factors in providing a suitable environment. The decor of the tank is extremely important; example, a fish programmed by nature to live in a dimly-lit forest pool with thick vegetation will be very highly stressed in a relatively bare tank or one with a bright overhead light--the fish does not know it is "safe," it only knows from its instinct that the surroundings make it vulnerable to predation and it has no escape. The type of filtration (thinking more here of water movement) and light can impact the fish. The other fish species in the tank have a high degree of impact. And the need of the fish to be solitary or in a group.
And stress from any source leads to health issues that often cannot be seen until the fish suddenly weakens or dies. The first scientific study was recently reported [I posted on it at the time, a few weeks back] in which proof was found that shoaling fish kept in groups less than 5 develop internal problems and health issues and show significantly increased aggressive behaviour even in fish normally considered very peaceful. All this from the stress.
Fish obviously need space; the activity level of the fish partly determines the space needed. As do all of the above-mentioned things. Water quality is an important part of the space issue, as smaller volume obviously means faster-deteriorating water quality. And this itself can somewhat vary from fish to fish. And the "appearance" of the fish is not always a good guide to what may be happening internally.
There are so many variables that must be considered that coming up with any sort of guidelines is risky at best. This is a case where each aquarium is different.