You may have heard that a fish will grow to the size of its tank. Sometimes, fish totally OUT-grow the size of their tank!
When we started our initial 10 gallon fish tank, my boyfriend and I bought a 2-inch hifin Plecostomus. Pleco’s are algae eaters and are community fish. They are very intriguing fish with a soft belly and an armor-like hard back. Our pleco began growing right away. He soon outgrew our 10 gallon tank, so we borrowed a 20 gallon from a family member and he happily swam and ate in that tank for many months. Living in the 20 gallon tank he eventually grew to 14 inches from nose to the tip of his tail fin! Our 20 gallon was rapidly becoming too small for our pleco.
A few months ago we moved to a larger apartment, and we also purchased larger accommodations for our pleco (and our other fish!) He now resides in a 40 gallon tank and is quite happy with lots of room to swim. Our pleco is an awesome fish which we love having, but we definitely didn’t expect to grow a 14 inch fish!
Also, I’ve found that fish of the same species will not always grow to the same size. We bought 2 angelfish of the same size at the same time and one grew only a small amount, while the other angelfish’s body grew to the size of the palm of my hand, not counting the fins! Choose your fish with the assumption that they will grow to their maximum size and you’ll be prepared it they do!
Researching the maximum size of the fish you want to buy will let you know what you’re getting into! You should base the size fish you buy on the size tank that you want. The big pet store chains list maximum fish size online and in the store.
We honestly love our 14 inch fish, but I never imagined I’d need a 40 gallon tank!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!