You asked peoples experience and opinions and that's what's being given. Red Tails get almost as wide as they do long, between that and their penchant for being active cruisers one can consider keeping them in a confined space cruel. Especially when the result of that confined space is a fish that's stunted. Bones don't form correctly causing discomfort for the animal as it's body searches for a way to adapt to the limitations a small tank puts on them. For most animals deformities cause pain so why would it be any different for a fish even if a fish can't fathom complex thoughts I imagine they can still process the same kind of pain as most animals as well as stress from feeling an instinct to cruise that's being suppressed in a confined space.How is it animal cruelty?? Keeping a fish to the size of a tank!!?? They are fish not dogs. I paid good money for it and feed it a great diet by going to the market spending good money on food and live feeders and a balanced tank. What is wrong keeping it 2.5-3 feet?