Gallons per 1" of fish rule for bigger fish - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Gallons per 1" of fish rule for bigger fish

I know the usual 1 gallon per1" of fish such as tetras and minnows but what about larger, fatter fish such as chiclids? Thanks to this forum I've learned a 29 gallonn is not a good chiclid tank but if I wanted to get into larger fish in the future, is there a guide line to follow?
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 10:09 AM
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Actually the 1" per gallon is not a good rule to follow!! 100 Gallon tank.... 100 1" fish vs a 100" fish... just doesn't make sense either way really. lol. The big guy won't be able to turn around in his tank.
Some fish, like my 3" Congo Tetra actually requires a minimum 75 Gallon to give it min swimming room horizontally of 4 feet. And he races end to end.... he really would prefer a 6 footer or 110G to 120G to be really happy.
So try not to look at it this way. Look at the species you like, what space does it require? see how many are required to make that fellow happy, i.e. 5-6 to school, and if it won't fit into the biggest tank you can afford then find a diff species to keep. And will keeping multiples cause spawning... babies....a place needed to raise and sell the babies....
My suggestion... do lots of research, buy the biggest you can afford, and make it as natural a home as you can for that species. Good luck. Post pics once you are all set up and running!
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 10:46 AM
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There aren't really any good stocking rules to follow. And that's one of the problems with helping people get started (which is why that "rule" was made). I stock based on horizontal swimming room as well as tank volume. For example, I could have my school of cardinal tetra in a 20 gal long but there might not be enough water column space to also have my gourami in that tank. This is why that particular setup is in a 29 gallon tank. And always stock based on adult size!

As Jakie said, you're probably going to be better off buying the tank to fit the fish than the fish to fit the tank. Research the (reasonable!) fish you want, and use the guides for tank size made by the experts.


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post #4 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 12:05 PM
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I've learned to start/stock slow and just by room available. My "rule" is that every fish should have ample "territory" in a tank.

Unfortunately, my 29 gallon is a bit overstocked at the moment. I took in a few extra fish due to the poor fish keeping of a relative. I'm getting a tank set-up and ready for the extra fish but until that tank is cycled, it will be a bit cramped.

Some hobbyists are stickers for the one inch per one gallon rule. Some even think it should be as much as 3 gallons per one inch. Me personally? I think it just depends on the type of fish and how your tank environment is. Even with my current 29 gallon situation, my fish don't seem overcrowded. Perhaps I just have a lucky mix of fish who's personalities and size have accommodated the numbers.

My rule is, if it looks and feels overcrowded, then it is. Just be mindful. If you think "well, maybe I can't fit just one more in", then don't do it. If you have to think about it, then don't add any more.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-10-2012, 02:45 PM
First, it's not a rule, it's a guideline and it does work...sortof. For instance, I could see 10 neon tetra's living just fine in a 10 gallon tank. But, as mentioned, the guideline fails with larger fish. I have seen large Ottos and Plecos in tanks where they can barely turn around and can't swim and just 'sit' there, barely alive. How sad. Imagine being confined in a 4 foot by 8 foot room! Don't try to keep large fish in small tanks as it's just plain cruel.

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