The "one inch per gallon" rule

BenPen

Gambusia
MFK Member
Jul 5, 2018
42
5
8
MA, USA
This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.
Good to know, that seems like an important factor to leave out.
I'm wondering if anyone has a good resource for adult fish sizes as most sites just give you the length of the adult fish and not how tall or wide it gets. Or is that something you just have to figure out as you go along?
 

cktyu

Black Skirt Tetra
Aug 28, 2018
36
16
13
21
Thanks for the insights!

I come from the Philippines, and over here the one gallon per inch is widely practiced and accepted, giving a few gallons of allowance. Based on my observations their fishes are quite healthy and happy, as long as they have good water quality and good filter. It is very frustrating to see a filipino post his fish in facebook groups only for westerners to brutally bash and impose what they should be doing, like I mean come on they've been doing it for the longest time and it works fine. Maybe just maybe the 1 gallon per inch works after all.
 

Deadliestviper7

The Necromancer
MFK Member
Aug 6, 2016
7,423
4,137
178
25
Thanks for the insights!

I come from the Philippines, and over here the one gallon per inch is widely practiced and accepted, giving a few gallons of allowance. Based on my observations their fishes are quite healthy and happy, as long as they have good water quality and good filter. It is very frustrating to see a filipino post his fish in facebook groups only for westerners to brutally bash and impose what they should be doing, like I mean come on they've been doing it for the longest time and it works fine. Maybe just maybe the 1 gallon per inch works after all.
In some cases, it's not a end all strategy, but yeah I get the bashing, but it's sometimes warranted and sometimes not.
 

Exp

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Aug 12, 2018
151
30
31
Lol a
This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.
a man saw the gar in my house he asked me if i would sell him when i asked his tank size ( his answer 2 feet) wtf 1 feet gar in a two feet tank i was thinking of giving him for free lol but ended up teaching him
 

Ritz.edm

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Sep 25, 2018
26
10
3
35
Canada
Very enlightening. I never knew how that works. Through all the flaming always done I thought it was truly supposed to be 1" per gallon not 1 sq" per gallon. Great
This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.
Very nice i formation
 

FINWIN

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Dec 21, 2018
1,204
1,083
149
Washington DC
This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.
 

FINWIN

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Dec 21, 2018
1,204
1,083
149
Washington DC
This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.

My own guideline is this...fish up to 4 inches with a thin (or tall) profile, safe to use the inch rule (though not necessary)

Over 6 inches take the measurement CUBED i.e (H x W x D) so that three gallons per inch now becomes nine. Apply this to thick fish like goldies and cichids. Ignore fins in length / height measurements.
 
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This is something that comes up fairly often and is rather misunderstood therefore I will attempt to clarify the original meaning of the general guideline of "one inch of fish per gallon of water".

This is a suggested guideline for a well maintained and filtered tank.
It does not apply to all fish as some have differing requirements.

Here is the part that is being misunderstood.

The "rule" does NOT refer to the length of the fish!

The "rule" applies to the cubic inches of fish in the tank.

This means that a 5" gourami should be measured in this manner,
length overall (5"),
thickness, (1/2"),
height, (2 1/2"),
so for this fish you multiply the following, 5x 1/2x 2 1/2, this gives you a total of 6 1/4 gallons of water.

For small fish like glo-light tetras you will end up with something like this,
1 1/2"x 1/4"x1/2", this comes to 3/16 of a gallon (about 1/5), and that gives you 5 fish of this size per gallon (quite reasonable)

For larger fish you end up with something like this, my example here will be a silver arowana at 24" long, 24"x 4"x 1", which gives you 100 gallons of water.

As you can see this works fairly well.

You do also have to apply some common sense and allow for such things as potential growth, the fish types' tolerance for crowding, and of course the width and length of the tank (a 24" gar will not work in an 18" wide tank even if the tank holds 100 gallons).

So please people, accept that this is just a generalized guideline to figure potential stocking levels, not a hard and fast rule.
Also remember that just because you don't like it doesn't mean you should slam somebody for using it.
And lastly, please don't flame someone by saying a 10" oscar doesn't fit in a 10" tank.
Of course it doesn't,
but the rule never said it would.

I don't think a 24 inch arowana could fit in an 100 gallon.
 
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