Knowing how many fish to put in your tank may seem like a simple question, but it’s one you should treat with great care and caution. It can significantly affect the overall health of your fish. Luckily, no matter how big or small your tank is, the rules are generally the same. So if you’re curious to know how many fish you can put in a freshwater tank, this article will provide you with the answer.
Consider the Behavior of Your Fish
Before anything, you have to consider what the overall behavior patterns of your species of fish are. Some fish are schooling fish and get along well in large groups or are just simply very social fish. One example of this is an angelfish. Why it isn’t a schooling fish, it loves being social.
On the opposite end, some fish are extremely territorial and only do well with a tank mate of the same species. Sometimes, fish are so territorial and aggressive that they can only live on their own. For example, betta fish can have a tankmate or two but should never be with another betta. Additionally, pufferfish can be so aggressive that they should only live alone.
Follow the One-Inch Rule
As a general rule, you should provide s gallon for every inch of fish. The size your fish will ultimately become should determine how many gallons you should have in the tank at a minimum. For example, a fish that will grow up to be 5 inches should have no less than a 5-gallon tank. However, this doesn’t account for additions to your tank like filtration systems and waste production.
Additionally, differently shaped fish will fit differently in a tank. A long West African lungfish will fit very differently in a tank as opposed to a shorter silver arowana. Many fish need more than the minimum to be happy, so it may be prudent to double the gallon size. So our 5-inch fish would have 10 gallons instead.
Think About the Overall Space
Ultimately, you need to think of the overall space that will be available in your tank. Before introducing fish, set up your tank with your heater, filtration system, and any other additions, along with the substrate, plants, and any decor you’ll be adding. This will give you a better idea of how many fish can fit in your tank and be comfortable. If you’re noticing lots of waste production, unusually quick algae buildups, or territorial aggression, it’s probably time to take some fish out of the tank.
Knowing how many fish you can put in a freshwater tank can be complicated, but if you know what to look for, you and your fish will be just fine. Luckily, here at Natural Environment Aquatix, we have freshwater aquarium fish for sale online with their max sizes listed. Therefore, you never have to worry whether a new tank mate is too big.