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Fishes personal space
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Josh Hansen
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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Location: Dayboro, Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.04.30(Sat)22:34    Post subject: Fishes personal space Reply with quote

I do find it interesting most of the fishes growth are larger than most fish tank can carry e.g.clownloaches, bala sharks need room bigger than tank space or krib needs 50 gallons. Apart from the obvious in fighting the question I have is what space does the fish need before the fish starts to suffer. Can you put the fish in a bigger tank later on. IF you go by some of the literarture recommendation such as Alexelrodi Mini Atlas you only have 3 or 4 fish in a 105.8 gallons. What is your opinion in fishes personal space?
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Vancouver Canada

PostPosted: 2005.04.30(Sat)23:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Josh,
Good question.
Fish vary of course, so generalities don't apply, but I usually try to think in terms of having enough space to allow a fish to exhibit its natural behavior.
It's a combination of both tank size and layout in my opinion. I like to break up the visual field in my tanks to allow fish places to hide and to give them the perception that there is something "new" around the corner, particularily if they are foragers. In a smallish bare tank, on the other hand, a fish can view it's total surroundings and might become bored or anxious (boredom is probably an anthropromorphic term). I think fish experience something like boredom, or restless anxiety though, as fish in poor set ups often exhibit unusual and even self destructive behavior.
However, I don't think most fish are aware of their natural surroundings as a whole per se, just their little part of it (so a wild caught Discus probably doesn't look around its 75 gal. tank and think... Hum, this isn't as big as the amazon basin that I grew up in?).
Unfortunately, the aquarium hobby is usually approached in terms of what the fish can do for us (impress us, entertain us, amuse us) instead of what we can do for the fish (but that's what this site is all about Very Happy )

An interesting experiment would be to take a species of fish and put them in differing tank sizes and watch their behavior (using the same fish to avoid differing personality traits). First a 10gal., then 20 then 30 and so on. It would be interesting to note at which point the tank size stopped influencing behavior. For example, would a school of six danios utilize the full length of of a 200 gal. tank or would they stay at one end or the other. From this type of experiment one could at least derive some sense of appropriate tank sizes based on fish behavior patterns.
Hey!!! I think I just found an excuse to set up more fish tanks, Bonus Very Happy
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Josh Hansen
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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Location: Dayboro, Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.05.03(Tue)4:08    Post subject: Fish personal space Reply with quote

Hi Dale sorry I took a while to respond I was waiting to see if other people on the site were offering their opinion on the issue. What about bala sharks verses clownloaches on personal space. People criticise other people on keeping bala sharks in small tanks but when it comes to other fishes like clownloaches people seem to be cool about it. Do certain fish species suffer more in smaller spaces and can the fish species grow in small space in a temporary time frame before moving to a larger tank. When I have enough money, a fulltime job and a permanent address I will buy more tanks to allow large fish to grow to their full size.

from Josh
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Destany
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Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: 2005.05.03(Tue)7:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Josh, I think it comes down to what dale was saying and the particular habbits of a species of fish.
For instance, zebra danios are very energetic fish that like to swim around a breakneck speeds, turn on a dime, play in currents, and so on. I had 6 zebra danios in a ten gallon tank, they did alright, about as well as could be expected atleast, I didn't notice anything unusual about them just lazing about and nibbling on the plastic plants and substrate. But I put them in my 55 gallon and WOW! What a difference! I'm seeing new behaviors all the time! They swim along the top, zip around the tank, they play in the plants and are far more interesting. I find their behavior much more natural for how I think a fish would behave in a natural habitat.
But some fish are lazy by nature. Fish like pleco's often don't move around a lot, and they can be happy sucking on a peice of glass for hours at a time. I don't know much about clown loaches, but I do know that one of the reasons bala sharks don't do well in smaller tanks is not only their size, but their behavior is more resemblant of the zebra danio. The activity level is such that keeping them in a tank that is too small can be disastrous to the shark, and to the enviroment. For instance, my brother in law has a freind who kept a silver arrowana in a 70 gallon tank. The fish was only about a foot long when it crashed through the side of the tank one day, killing itself and ruining the tank! Most fish that are a foot long in size wouldn't do such a thing, but we know arrowanas get much larger than that. Apparently, the arrowana did too! It all comes down to the traits, behaviors, activity levels and preferences of the fish.
Personally, I think fish are more interesting and entertaining to us if we keep THEM happy.
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Josh Hansen
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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Location: Dayboro, Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.05.03(Tue)8:18    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the information Destany and Dale I will definitely in the future buy a large fish tank to allow for my 4 clownloaches to be able to grow to its full 30cm length and it will maybe improve their behaviour that I have not seen before.

from Josh
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Psyfalcon
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Joined: 14 Feb 2003
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: 2005.05.03(Tue)10:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of the reason clown loaches don't get the same amount of "you need a bigger tank" posts is their growth. My tinfoil barbs grew about an inch a month. Similar growth would be expected out of a bala shark. Most people however, are lucky to get an inch a year out of clown loaches. Part of that may be bad keeping and small tanks, but the fish just does not grow as fast as some other big fish. They would be easier to grow out in a successive number of tanks, partially since they don't have the habit of killing themselves by running into the walls that some balas have.
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