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Old 03-04-2008, 01:41 PM   #1
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Inch per gallon?

what do you guys use for stocking? I work at petco and they told me one inch per two gallons. I thought it was three inches per gallon. Any ideas, I just forgot because I have had an established tank for a while and haven'r had to use this info in a while.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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Some Freshwater people live and die by one inch per gallon. Truth be told there's no formula that will work.

But I've often heard saltwater is 2 gallons to every inch of fish.
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Old 03-04-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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Saltwater and freshwater rules are different. Rules are not good because 4" of clownfish is an entirely different bioload than 4" of puffer.

With that said though, you'll find different people giving different rules, but they all are between 1" fish per 2 gallons and 1" fish per 5 gallons. It will all really depend on your total filtration. I would never recommend 1" per 2 gallons to someone though. That's just a LOT of fish.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:56 AM   #4
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the inch per gallon rule is completely bogus. the real deal is having enough space for your tank mates to have room for themselves and to live happily with others.. for example in a 30 gallon tank you might put a goby and 2 clownfish. and maybe a psuedochromis. this most certainly isnt thirty inches but it probably would be the max amount of fish i would put in a 30. the point is that all fish need their own space. dont think they are going to stick to the four inches they are in, they want to swim and be free to swim
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:00 AM   #5
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I agree. It all depends on the fish and their needs.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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the inch per gallon rule is completely bogus. the real deal is having enough space for your tank mates to have room for themselves and to live happily with others.. for example in a 30 gallon tank you might put a goby and 2 clownfish. and maybe a psuedochromis. this most certainly isnt thirty inches but it probably would be the max amount of fish i would put in a 30. the point is that all fish need their own space. dont think they are going to stick to the four inches they are in, they want to swim and be free to swim
Agree kinda... but no one is saying 1"/1 gallon is the rule. If you go with the 1"/5 gallon "rule", then that 30g tank should be able to hold 6" of fish... which is about 2 clownfish. If you go with 1"/3 gallons, then it's 10" fish which is about where your suggested stocking level is at.

I agree that the "inch/gallon" rule for stocking has a lot of assumptions built into it and doesn't distinguish between "fat" fish and "skinny" ones - but at least it's a start for people when they're getting into the hobby. It would at least keep people from stocking their 55g with 8 tangs wondering why they're having water quality issues!
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:05 PM   #7
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take the "inch per gal." rule and throw it out the window. I agree with the others in that it is a VERY poor measure for stocking. You must first find the appropriate biological filtration needed for a tank (be it reef or FOWLR) then slowly build a stocking list around that. Some fish require larger tanks, while some do fine in smaller tanks. The point being...there is no "rule". Pick the appropriate fish for the size of tank it is going in and ensure enough biological filtration.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:38 PM   #8
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take the "inch per gal." rule and throw it out the window. I agree with the others in that it is a VERY poor measure for stocking. ...
OK... so how do you suggest a new person make a stocking plan? We preach "add the more docile fish first, then work your way more aggressive" which implies you have your entire list figured out to start with. (Which is a good idea, by the way.)

So how do you plan that list if you only know the tank size requirement for each fish? If you have 1.5 lbs/rock per gallon (another poor rule probably, but it's a start), just how do you know how much filtration that is? Is the amount of fish you can support one less than you had before your tank crashed? (I read that one somewhere and kinda liked it!)

I agree... it is a poor rule. But it's a starting point. Or is there a better starting point for people starting out?

I've helped teach people things where there's more than one way to do something and in reality there really aren't set rules on how to do things. There's always exceptions. But doing it the wrong way could get you killed. So you teach them one way, and one way only. That gives them the basic skills to progress without killing themselves. Only later do you teach them the other ways and then explain the pros/cons of the different ways. At that point, they have some experience under their belts to comprehend and make informed decisions. But when they're just starting out, that experience has yet to materialize and even if you did teach them the different ways it wouldn't make sense to them. I kind of see this as something like that.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:56 AM   #9
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The inch/gallon rule and all other measurement/housing rules are outdated. It does not make reference to an animals girth, territorial attributes, or locomotion. A basic example would be, if a one inch/gallon rule was in effect, then a 10" fish would be properly housed in a 10g tank. False.

There are plenty of resources that enable people to research their fishes needs other than aquarium size, a very important site such as fishbase.org.
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:12 AM   #10
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That's a great database, but I'll ask the question again...

How do you give a new saltwater person a place to start with understanding how much fish their tank will be able to hold?

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but just saying "the XX inch/gallon rule is junk" doesn't help anyone. (And note that nowhere here, anyone is saying the "rule" is 1 inch/1 gallon.) What advice do we give people, other than "post your proposed stocking list and we'll critique it?" Seems like folks at least need to start with some type of crutch - along with the disclaimer that there's other things that factor into the equation like minimum tank size, etc.
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