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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Who decides?

I see recommendations everywhere for minimum sized aquariums for various fish. Who makes these decisions? The recommendation for Angelfish is minimum of 30 gallons. But many years ago before I read any such guidelines, I kept a pair of Angels in a 15 gallon high and they bred all the time. I had a deal worked out with the LFS to trade baby Angels for store credits. Angels can be notoriously picky but that pair was very happy. So, who decides? Where do these guidelines come from?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 09:44 PM
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I don't think such guidelines should be taken seriously. It's not like your fish is going to die if it's in a tank that's 5 gallons less than the recommendation... The guidelines are simply just that--recommendations.

However, if you really want a fish to reach it's full potential/size, you can't put them in a small tank and i think that's what these recommendations revolve around... You aren't going to be able to get an angelfish to grow 6" in diameter if you keep them in a 15G. Having owned angelfish myself, i personally wouldn't put a pair in anything less than 40-55G.

Who decides these guidelines? Who knows. Maybe chain pet stores, or maybe some of them are just based on a general consensus...

Just my opinion.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 09:52 PM
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I think they come from years of experience from different aquarists. Opinions may vary of course.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 10:19 PM
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For the record, just because a fish will breed does not mean it is healthy or what is best for the fish.

Full size angelfish easily are 5 inches in body alone. Two 5 inch(plus 4-9 inches of fin!) in a 15 gallon tank is pretty small....

Experience, practicality and a little common sense are used in the guidelines. They certainly aren't definitive rules.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 10:30 PM
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In my opinion they are general recommendations for someone new to the hobby. I don't know how many times I have seen or heard someone putting a Oscar in a 10 gallon. Besides the size of the fish you have to take into account how they would live in nature for example territory, how much they swim, etc.

When I first started keeping fish I wanted a pair of convicts, everything I read said you needed a 20 long, I tried to keep a pair in a 20 high and the female killed almost every fish I put in the tank with her. I could see how that extra 6" of tank would give them more territory.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
For the record, just because a fish will breed does not mean it is healthy or what is best for the fish.
This is so true. Just look at humans and how those who live in poverty and poor conditions tend to breed the most. Anything will breed if given the chance as that how nature has designed it. Doesn't mean it is living in ideal conditions.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 05:18 AM
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I think the opinions are probably a good idea. A full grown angel probably should be in a 30g. That said, I think the numbers are vastly padded for the novice aquarium keeper.

Kind of like speed limits. I assure you 65mph is not the top, nor ideal speed for many roads that I travel. But it's not a terrible idea for a 16 year old.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 05:39 AM
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I think it might have more to do with the tank dimensions than how much water it holds. I think a 30g is the smallest tank with its footprint.

On the other hand, oscars, goldfish, and various plecos can get to over 12" long, so I wouldn't put them in a tank that was less than 18" in its smallest dimension (usually front to back width). Yet many places recommend things like "20 gallons for the first fish and 10 gallons for each additional fish" for goldfish. No one seems to mention that goldfish are a schooling species and should be kept in groups of 5 or more... It seems to be more of a "don't poison the fish with its own waste" thing than a "give the fish the room it needs" thing.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 12:37 AM
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Up to a certain point, an angel's dorsal fin will often kink instead of growing up tall and straight. You need around 20"+ of depth for this to happen so it is an obvious, and not ideal effect of too small a tank. An Angel pair also usually will not coexist in a tank that is too small with other angels. Somebody will die. If the tank is large enough more than a single pair can have a territory.


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