An aquarium can be a great way to brighten up a room in your home, dorm, or office. However, sometimes there is not enough space for a standard-sized tank. Nano aquariums are a great way to enjoy decoration and entertainment without needing to worry about having a stand for holding it.
You get all the great benefits using only a fraction of the space, and these compact tanks are often best for first-time fish owners who may want to dip their toes into owning aquatic pets before they commit to a more expensive aquarium.
Children, young adults, office workers, and students living away from home where there is very little space will find nano tanks to be a cheerful addition to their environment. They are much cheaper and can fit on almost any surface, making them convenient for experienced and new fish owners.
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Best Nano Aquariums Reviewed
There are a wide variety of sizes and shapes available to buy, so you can choose one that is aesthetically pleasing and capable of handling the type of fish you want to buy. We have gone through the nano tanks on the market and found the five best options for new and experienced fish owners. All information was taken directly from the product pages to ensure accuracy.
Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium
Dimensions: 15″L x 16.75″W x 17.5″ H
The Coralife tank comes in sizes 16 and 32, which have a two-inch height difference so you can find the right fit for your home or office space. The LED lights change color based on a day and night cycle with white light for the day, a sunset/sunrise dimming effect, and a blue light for at night. This function makes it a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to put their tank in a room without natural lighting because it will keep your fish on a healthy day/night cycle.
There is a customizable filter compartment, and the hinge-top canopy makes it easy to access the tank. The quiet running air pump is submersible with dual intakes and an adjustable return nozzle. All Coralife tank accessories are compatible with this aquarium, which is convenient if you already own a larger Coralife tank or any of their products.
- LED lights change color
- Quiet air pump
- Built in timers
- Maintenance is a breeze
- Some complaints of fan noise
- Acrylic tank can be hard to clean with the wrong tools
Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium
Dimensions: 19″L x 11.8″W x 9.6″H
This eight-gallon tank has a convex arc curve that gives it a unique appearance. It comes with some great starter accessories, including a detachable 3D rock background. You can use it to place plants, and it has a few inches of space at the bottom to give your fish a convenient hiding spot.
The Hygger Horizon tank also comes with an internal power filter not recommended for tiny fish, so this tank is better for a single larger fish. There is an external controller for the LEDs with multiple light and brightness settings. The LED light bar at the top of the tank has extendable brackets that can adjust up to nineteen inches.
- 3D rock wall gives tank depth
- External digital controller with light timer
- Durable power filter
- 2 stage filtration system
- Does not come with a lid
- Rock background takes up space and reduces number of gallons of water in tank
MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit
Dimensions: 9.5″L x 10″W x 10″H
A sleek overall design and contoured glass sets that MarineLand tank apart from the competition. It makes for a beautiful accent in a business setting or as a conversation starter at home. The 3-gallon aquarium has an LED light rail with two settings, a 3-stage filtration system, and an adjustable flow filter pump.
There is a glass canopy for added visual effect, and it has a conveniently placed gap for daily feeding. The canopy comes in a hinged and a sliding version. With all these great features, you can turn this into an ideal freshwater or saltwater showpiece for almost any type of nano fish.
- 3-stage filtration system
- Has glass canopy
- Adjustable flow filter pump
- Comes with small pedestal for base
- Does not include heater
- Lid is secure, but can form condensation on top
Penn Plax Prism Nano Aquarium Kit
Dimensions: 8.15″L x 10″W x 10″H
The Penn Plax Prism is a basic 2-gallon tank perfect for a solitary fish like a betta or other small aquatic creatures. You can easily fit it on a nightstand, dresser, or work desk. The attached overhead lamp has eighteen LED lights to make sure it shines clearly through the plastic covering.
The tank also has an option of black, blue, or orange backing which means you can use it to accentuate the color scheme of the room. This is an excellent tank for classrooms or children’s rooms because it is plastic and not glass. The material is less likely to break if something impacts it.
This Penn Plax aquarium is better suited to freshwater fish. It has an attractive cube design and comes with a quiet water filtration system to keep the water crystal clear.
- Built in water filter
- Integrated filtration system
- Option of black, blue, or orange backing
- Modern, cube design
- Condensation can build up on cover
- Some complaints that filtration flow is not adjustable
Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit
Dimensions: 16.6″L x 11.2″W x 13.2″H
The Tetra Crescent 5-gallon tank has a curved crescent shape along the front for added appeal. It comes with an internal Tetra Whisper power filter and LED lights lined along the inside of the low-profile cover. The top has a feeding hole, and you can easily remove the whole lid for cleaning or maintenance.
The Tetra Crescent tank is made of plastic and is perfect for small living spaces like dorms or apartments. It makes an excellent tank for first-time fish owners, and the size is large enough for either a solitary fish or a small school.
- Internal power filter
- Quiet filter
- Has top feeding hole
- Has a lid
- Top is not attached and can easily fall into tank when cleaning
- LED lights are not very bright
What is a Nano Aquarium
Technically any tank up to 30 gallons can be considered a nano aquarium, but most of them are around 10 gallons or less. These small fish tanks can come in a variety of sizes, materials, and shapes. They are specifically designed to take up as little space as possible, and they house tiny breeds of fish and crustaceans.
Most people who purchase nano aquariums need something that will fit in an office or apartment. These tanks are ideal for creating a beautiful corner where you can enjoy having some aquatic pets without worrying about fitting a large tank. Nano aquariums are more affordable and also make maintenance like cleaning much more straightforward.
Types of Nano Aquariums
Nano aquariums can be used to house either freshwater or saltwater fish. They can come in various sizes and geometric shapes, but most are pared down to only the basics to provide a minimalistic, attractive home for one or several tiny fish. Most nano tanks do not come with many accessories, so you may need to purchase additional things like substrate and decorative plants.
Freshwater fish and flora are hardier and easier to care for if you are a new fish owner. There are also many more nano fish breeds to choose from if you want to get a freshwater tank. Most people think that colorful fish need to be exotic and from the ocean, but there are plenty of very bright colors and patterns to be found among freshwater fish.
Saltwater nano tanks require more attention and upkeep than freshwater tanks. They are not recommended for first-time aquarium owners or anyone who will not have the time to care for the tank ecosystem properly. You can use nano tanks for the smaller breeds of saltwater fish.
Benefits of a Nano Aquarium
There are many advantages to owning and maintaining a nano aquarium. You have a wide range of options to choose from when looking for tank designs and fish to fill it.
Doesn’t Take up a lot of Space
A nano tank’s primary benefit is that it takes up so much less space than more standard-sized aquariums. You can fit them in pretty much any room as long as there is a wall plug-in for the equipment and a surface capable of handling the tank’s weight when it is full. Teachers, office workers, and people living in one-room apartments are the most likely to buy this size.
They are also great for children’s rooms. The small creatures best suited for living in them can make an excellent first pet option for parents wanting to teach their children responsibility because they can fit easily on a dresser or desk and do not require constant care.
Cheaper to Run
Even if you have a filter, lights, and other equipment hooked up to your tank, there will be much less energy used on these smaller tanks. You can also add accessories like larger LED light bars without it causing an energy surge.
Easier to Clean and Maintain
Because of their size, everything is within easy reach, making cleaning more convenient and faster. Daily or weekly maintenance will be easier to do, making it more likely that you will do it, leading to a cleaner tank and happier fish.
Don’t Need to Worry about Weight
These tanks are usually around 10 gallons or under, meaning that almost any surface can handle the weight. This also makes it easier to move them if you find yourself needing to relocate the fish to a different area of your home. Instead of having to go through the process of removing the water and fish and then re-introducing everything, you can pick it up and carry it to the new spot.
Drawbacks of a Nano Aquarium
Many nano aquariums are made of plastics that can yellow over time. They are especially prone to this discoloration if they are not properly cleaned or if you have them sitting directly in sunlight. Another drawback is that you have a limit to the size and number of fish that can fit safely in the tank.
If you want to create an ecosystem including fish and live plants, it will take a lot of monitoring to ensure that the tank water remains clear of debris and in the right state to keep both healthy. There are fewer gallons of water, so you will need to be careful of overfeeding. Any extra debris will overwork the filters, which might leave you needing to replace filters more often, or the water might take on a murky appearance.
Although it is easier to fit them into places with very little extra space, a nano tank will also come with added danger. Because they are lighter, it is easier to knock them over accidentally, so you want to make sure that wherever you put them, it is away from heavy traffic areas within your home or workspace.
How to Set up a Nano Aquarium
Many nano tanks do not come with all of the set up equipment that you will need, so it is vital to check and see what is missing to know what to buy for the set up process. Things that you will need that may not be included with your tank kit involve a heater, thermometer, water treatment sachets, pre-filter, substrate, protein skimmer, plants, or other decorations.
To start with, you need to find the right place for your tank. You want to put it somewhere that will not get direct sunlight, away from high traffic, loud areas. A simple set up procedure is listed below.
- Add substrate to the bottom of the tank along with any decorations like rocks or fake plants.
- Add conditioned water.
- Install filter, pump, and any other equipment. You will need to check the temperature, so make sure you have a thermometer set up.
- Before you can add any fish, you need to give your tank a couple of days to build up a colony of bacteria in the substrate. This will help balance your little ecosystem. During that time, the temperature and pH balance of the tank water will stabilize.
- After approximately three days, you can start introducing fish. You want to do this a few fish at a time instead of all at once. You should check to see the recommended number of fish for your tank size and the breed you have chosen. Then you can determine how many to put in at once.
Introducing fish to the tank is done in the following order.
- Keep your fish in their bag and let it float at the top of the tank for around ten to fifteen minutes until the temperature changes to match the aquarium.
- Introduce a little aquarium water into the bag, close it, and sit for another five to ten minutes.
- Let the fish loose in the tank.
- They will not need to be fed for the first twenty-four hours and will likely be too nervous to eat at first.
How to Clean a Nano Fish Tank
You will know that your tank needs to be cleaned if the water is cloudy or buildup of algae along the tank’s edges or on the equipment. Whether you notice these details or not, you should be sure to clean your tank once every two or three weeks or as recommended by the manufacturer. You should test the water once a week.
Cleaning a nano fish tank does not take long, and the size makes it easier to replace water and remove equipment. Below are step-by-step instructions depending on the tank you have.
Freshwater Nano Tank
- To clean a freshwater nano tank, you will need to first remove around 30% of the water.
- Clean the filter, protein skimmer, and pre-filter in whatever way is recommended by the manufacturer. Each type of filter has its own cleaning requirements. You may need to replace the filter.
- Trim any plant life that has overgrown.
- Clean the substrate using a siphon or other tool. If your substrate is very dirty, you will want to start with one section and then work on another section during your next cleaning day. Cleaning it all at once may damage the delicate ecosystem in such a small tank.
- Scrub out the inside of the tank and any submerged equipment or large decorative pieces using a scraper or algae pad. For plastic tanks, you can use a soft cloth to cut down on the possibility of scratching the surface.
- Pre-condition the new water and then place it in the tank.
- Clean off the outside of the tank, the outer casing of the filter and pump, and the lid.
Saltwater Nano Tank
- To clean a saltwater nano tank, you first need to test the water to determine how you may need to adjust it after cleaning.
- Then remove 25% of the water.
- Remove and clean the filter and protein skimmer. Rinse your pre-filters.
- Clean the substrate the same way you would for a freshwater tank.
- Use a cloth or sponge to clear off any salt or calcium deposits and remove algae from the glass, decorations, and any submerged equipment.
- Treat your new water to ensure it is at the right salinity and temperature before replacing it in the tank.
- Clean off the outside of the tank. You can use vinegar to remove any stubborn salt stains on the outside of the glass.
Every six months or so, you should do a deeper clean of your tank, which involves taking apart and thoroughly cleaning any pumps, skimmers, filters, heaters, thermometers, hoses, or anything else that is submerged.
Cleaning can be a shock for the fish if you do too much at once. By adopting weekly cleaning routines, you can cut down on how much deep cleaning you have to do throughout the year and lower the amount of stress your fish experiences. Daily cleaning routines can involve:
- Using a net to manually remove any debris caused by overfeeding.
- Using a cloth to remove algae buildup.
- Checking the water content and temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people are not sure what to expect from nano tanks and the fish that fit in them. We gathered together a list of the most asked questions about these tiny aquariums so that you know how to shop for the right tank for your lifestyle and the type of fish you want to own.
Final Thoughts About Nano Aquariums
If you are looking for a nice home for some smaller aquatic pets, then a nano tank is going to be perfect. These are convenient, cost-effective, and excellent for anyone wanting to try their hand at raising some fish. Upkeep will be a little more involved and frequent for smaller tanks, so you need to be prepared to spend time once a week doing some minimal maintenance, and then once or twice a month, the tank will need to have water replaced and things scrubbed down.
Nano tanks are a great way to bring a little light and movement into any room. Almost every surface can support their weight, and the wide variety of styles means that you can find one to fit pretty much any space. Although they are an attractive option, you need to keep in mind that the smaller a tank is, the more limited the type of fish that will fit in it.
You will want to make sure that you do comprehensive research on nano fish and their needs before starting with a new tank to make sure that it will have everything you need. Nano tanks are a fantastic alternative for anyone looking to create a beautiful set up without sacrificing space.
Looking for more gear for your aquarium? Head over to our Aquarium Gear section to see more reviews.