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Well, I think the fish-inch rule has as much to do with the chemistry as the sociology of it. Plenty of people have covered the chemical factors of the rule. There are also the social parts of it. Certain fish need a certain amount of space to feel comfy, and some schooling fish will even break away and hide for a bit of peace if the tank is too crowded.

Now, so far as that goes, the pleco is not a big space-taker, so long as you don't have 1 cave and 10 cats.

This isn't to say that the biological needs aren't also very important, but if you have fish with "greater" personalities that take up more space than their tummies, a pleco won't interfere with them as much.

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