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Opinions: Fish Size And Tank Size

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Online Matt

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Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« on: April 02, 2019, 08:01:10 PM »
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I found myself thinking today about fish tank size recommendations... if we assume that 60cm is the 'norm' for a 3cm fish, then does it not stand to reason that for say a 7cm fish, that a tank of 140cm would be considered appropriate? That said, I look at my 100cm tank and I don't for a minute believe that the 3cm fish look lost in there, 2cm fish look perhaps more "at home" and less "caged in" to me personally. I appreciate that different fish have different requirements eg. schooling fish vs otocinclus vs gourami. In my tank I would say that the cories, gobies, gourami, ember tetra seem to be ok space wise, but I always feel like the rummynose, goldeneyes, pencilfish would probably benefit from more space for territories, or simply swimming space in the case of the rummynoses.

But random rant over... I just wanted to ask the overall question as to if anyone knows how the minimum tank sizes are formulated? Is there any science behind them?

Offline Sue

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Re: Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 08:18:33 PM »
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I don't think there is any rule for working out tank size. A lot of the recommendations come from personal experience of keeping the fish - but recommendations from people who study fish, not just keep them. Anyone can set up a website saying "I keep these fish in this tank and they are fine" when anyone who really knows about fish can say those fish are "surviving not thriving"

There is more to consider besides size.
Shoaling species need a bigger tank than the same sized solitary fish simply because you have to keep more of them. A single male betta can be kept in a tank as small as 20 litres, but a shoal of Boraras needs a bigger tank.
Fast swimming fish need a longer tank that sedate fish. For example, on size alone zebra danios are fine in 60 cm but because of their swimming type they need at least 100 cm with some experts recommending 120 cm.

The most reputable site, Seriously Fish, gives a minimum tank size, but someone who writes fish profiles for the site has made the comment that their sizes refer to species-only tanks, something I had not realised before. As soon as you add other species, the tank requirements are bigger than those given on SF.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 03:23:57 PM »
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The minimum size fishtank does seem to increase as time goes on, as more information and experience becomes more readily known, and I can understand why. Observing my own fishes' behaviour, I wouldn't feel comfortable with anything larger occupying my tank - cherry barbs and lemon tetras would have been considered ok for a 54-litre/60cm-long tank until recently but my own feeling is that they would be too large when fully grown, and particularly when younger and much more active (albeit smaller in size). Interestingly, fishkeeper.co.uk's databank seems to be a bit more realistic/pragmatic in terms of both appropriate numbers of fish and size of tank to have.

Online Matt

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Re: Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 08:22:45 PM »
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I can't find the tank sizes on their site... could you post a link @fcmf ?

Offline fcmf

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Re: Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 09:42:15 PM »
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Hmmm - it doesn't seem to be a universal feature on their species profiles. My recollection was that in the prose section / Care for some of the species' profiles I'd looked at on the bottom left. Now you have me doubting myself as I've just put in a few species and am struggling to find the info - I wonder if they've revamped the profiles and have removed that info...  ???   

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Opinions: Fish size and tank size
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2019, 12:32:11 PM »
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They updated their site in the past year or so. I just checked on the black ghost knifefish profile, as it was a fish I considered keeping a couple of years back, and in the prose that still has the information (at least 6ft long and 2.5ft wide) in the further information/care section. A lot of other fish don't seem to have tank size information.

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