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What Size Tank Do Your Tropical Fish Need?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 1 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Fish Tank Tropical Fish Aquarium

If you're thinking of keeping tropical fish as pets, the most important piece of equipment you'll need to invest in is an aquarium or tank. But how do you know what size of tank you need for your tropical fish? We've got the low-down!

Tropical fish are renowned for their wonderful display of glorious colours and shapes and many people find themselves mesmerised when watching tropical fish darting around in a tank. It's not surprising, then, that tanks are often found in places where people may benefit from a calming atmosphere, like in a dentists or doctors waiting room.

Explaining Different Tank Sizes

When you first come to look for a tank it can be a bit mind-boggling that there are so many different sizes available. As a general rule of thumb, the tank size you need is determined in part by the fish you're intending on putting in it, and the space you've got available to house it. For example:
  • A very small tank would be one that hold 45 litres / 10 gallons or less. This is best for small sizes of fish that are generally inactive, such as bumblebee gobies, neon retras or Siamese fighting fish. Do be aware that it's not suitable for small but very hyperactive fish (like danios) as the tank size would not give them enough space to zip about it.
  • A small tank is one that holds 90-150 litres / 20-30 gallons of water. This size of tank is suitable for small types of tropical fish that enjoy swimming about in schools with other fish. For example, fish such as danio, tetra, dwarf catfish, angelfish and corydoras.
  • A medium sized tank is one that holds 180-225 litres / 40-45 gallons of water. This size of tank is best if you want to have a large selection of different fish, or very active fish. For example, fish that would thrive in this size of tank include mollies, swordtails, rainbow fish or puffers. Sometimes this type of tank is also used to house special collections of goldfish.
  • A large tank is one that holds 700 litres / 150 gallons of water or more. A tank of this size can be used for large schools of small to medium sized fish, or fish that need particularly high quality water. Alternatively, they're ideal for very large fish - what are often referred to as 'tankbusters' - such as stingrays, predatory catfish, or arowanas.

A good sized tank will mean that there's plenty of room for you to put rocks, wood, gravel, plants and other forms of decoration to brighten up the tank. It's only purely for aesthetic reasons though, as fish will welcome the chance to have various areas to explore and places to retreat to and hide in should they wish. If they don't have hiding places, they run the risk of becoming unhappy, which in turn increase the risk of the fish developing health problems.

When you're putting elements such as these into your tank, it's always best to buy them from a professional aquatic store, as this will ensure the items are perfectly save for use in tanks.

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