How to Calculate the Volume of Water to Fill a Rectangular Tank

••• Eak8dda/iStock/GettyImages

When it comes time to fill a rectangular tank, whether it’s an aquarium or a swimming pool, the number of gallons the task may seem mysterious. That’s probably because many people don’t have a very good sense of how much space a gallon takes up. Calculate how much water (or any other liquid) a tank can hold by measuring the tank's volume and convert that figure to gallons.

  1. Measuring the Tank

  2. Measure the length, width, and depth of the interior of the tank in feet and inches. Convert the dimensions to decimal feet by dividing the number of inches by twelve and adding to the number of feet. For example, 7 feet 9 inches is 7.75 feet.

  3. Calculate the Volume

  4. Calculate the tank’s volume in cubic feet. The product of the length, width and depth equals volume. For example, 7.75 feet long by 4.5 feet wide by 3 feet deep would be 7.75x4.5x3 = 104.625 cubic feet.

  5. Convert Cubic Feet to Gallons

  6. Convert the volume in cubic feet to the capacity in gallons. Multiply the tank’s volume by 7.48, the number of gallons in a cubic foot. For example, 104.625x7.48 = 782.6 gallons.

    Things You'll Need

    • Tape measure
    • Calculator (optional)


About the Author

Kelvin O'Donahue has been writing since 1979, with work published in the "Arizona Geological Society Digest" and "Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists," as well as online. O'Donahue holds a Master of Science in geology from the University of Arizona, and has worked in the oil industry since 1982.