I'm still in the early planning stages, but I've pretty much decided my next tank will be a saltwater tank of some sort. I've been doing freshwater tanks for the last 20ish years, so I'm ready for a challenge. I love the look of the various corals, so I'm leaning toward a reef tank... I've gotten my fish wish-list pared down fairly well, but I'm running into some issues trying to figure out what size tank I would need for them all. There seems to be wildly differing ideas on what's a good stocking level, so I'm getting numbers for anywhere between 300 gallons (doable) to 900 gallons (waaaaay not happening). So far I've seen the following ways to calculate stocking:
Method 1 (seems way too general since it doesn't account for activity/swimming level)-
2" of small/medium fish per 10 gallons
1" of big fish per 10 gallons
Method 2 (sounds logical, but gives me about half the required tank size compared to first method, seems too good to be true)-
Group A (Rock dwellers):
Basslets, Pseudochromis, Gobies, Jawfish
Group B (Open swimmers):
Dwarf Angelfish (Centropyge genus), Hawkfish, Firefish, Cardinalfish, Blennies, Chromis, Anthias, Flasher & Fairy Wrasse, Clownfish, Damsels, Six Line Wrasse, Dragonettes
Group C (Large Fish):
Tangs (Naso Tangs count as 3 units), Large Angelfish (count as 3 units), Pufferfish, Triggerfish (count as 3 units), Rabbitfish, Lunar Wrasse, Lionfish, Butterflyfish, Squirrelfish
1. (When tank length under 6') Adult size of fish x 10 can't exceed tank length
2. (When tank length under 6') Don't add more than 1 of a genus to aquarium unless same species, compatible as pair, and added at same time.
3. (When tank length under 6') Try to add 2 of group A and 1 of group B per 15 gallons.
4. (For over 6' long tanks) Length + width of tank should be 5 times fish size AND fish size is less than tank width.
5. (For over 6' long tanks) Add members of group C of same genus at same time. Doesn't matter when you add A or B fish.
6. (For over 6' long tanks) 1 unit of fish per 10 gallons. 1 unit = 2 of Group A, or 1 of Group B. 1 Group C fish = 2 units (unless earlier noted to count as 3 units).
Are either of these methods good to follow, or is there a better rule of thumb? How does everyone like to figure their levels?
I have actual stocking compatibility questions too, but I'll leave that for another thread