Our Guide to the Best Nano Tanks

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Short on space, but love fish? A nano tank may just fill that empty space in your home. Here are the best nano tanks we’ve found that’ll fit perfectly into your life.

There is nothing more beautiful than a giant aquarium filled with lush green plants and brightly colored fish. As beautiful as it is, however, it takes up a great deal of space and can take a lot of work to maintain. If you like the idea of keeping an aquarium but you don’t have the time or space to accommodate a monster tank, a nano tank might be more your speed.

If you’re looking to learn more about nano tanks or want to know what some of the best options are, you’ve come to the right place! Here you’ll learn everything you need to know about nano tanks before you start shopping – you’ll also see our top 10 picks for the best nano tanks.

Related: Top 5 Freshwater Fish Species for Planted Tanks

What Do You Need to Know About Nano Tanks?

A nano tank is just what the name implies – an aquarium that comes in a miniature size. Technically, the term applies to tanks about 30 gallons or less, but don’t let the name fool you. Even a 10-pound tank can weigh over 100 pounds when completely full.

Cultivating a nano tank can be an exciting challenge for any aquarium hobbyist, but there are a few things you need to know before you try:

  • The best way to ensure success is to start with a nano kit – a tank that comes with the filtration, heating, and lighting systems you need to get started.
  • You’ll need to be very mindful of where you place your nano tank. Small changes in temperature caused by exposure to direct sunlight or proximity to a cooling vent can have a greater impact in a small tank.
  • Keep it simple. When it comes to choosing your tank inhabitants and your decoration plan, pick a theme and stick to it – this will make it easier to keep all of your tank parameters on target.
  • Be very careful about overpopulating. You may be familiar with the old rule of one inch of fish per gallon, but even this could be too much for a nano tank. Stock only a few fish or corals over several weeks (or months) so the system has time to adjust.
  • Include live plants as much as possible. Live plants are a much more valuable foundation for biological filtration than fake plants and they can help keep the water quality in your tank high.
  • Use caution when choosing lighting. In a small tank, lighting systems that produce heat can wreak havoc on your tank – LED lights work well for nano tanks.

In addition to knowing how to properly set up your nano tank, you also need to be proactive about maintenance. It actually takes more work to maintain a small tank than a large one because small changes can have a big impact.

Related: Top 8 All-In-One Aquariums

The Best Nano Tanks

When shopping for a nano tank, you need to think about the type of tank you plan to cultivate. Some nano tanks are designed specifically for reef environments while others are more versatile. If you’re not sure, take a look at the options to get some ideas.

Here are our top picks for the best nano tanks:

  1. Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit – Featuring integrated 3-stage filtration and a overhead LED, this 5-gallon aquarium kit is the perfect desktop tank. It comes with both blue and white LEDs to produce a shimmering daytime light and relaxing moonlight glow.
  2. Fluval Sea EVO XII 13.5-Gallon Kit – If you’re looking for something slightly larger or want to create a reef tank, this 13.5-gallon aquarium kit might be a better option. It features a stylish honeycomb design to conceal the filtration system and comes with a multi-functional canopy with an easy-feed door and sleek waterproof casing.
  3. Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium – Available in a 16- and 32-gallon size, this cube-shaped nano tank features a compact, built-in filtration system with a quiet submersible pump and bright LED lighting. It comes with an integrated 24-hour timing as well with three lighting channels.
  4. Tetra LED 3-Gallon Cube Aquarium – Another popular option in desktop aquariums is this 3-gallon cube from Tetra. It features a simple design with 360-degree viewing and comes with an LED overhead light and Tetra 3i filter to keep the tank clean for your fish.
  5. Marineland Contour 3-Gallon Aquarium Kit – Available in 3-gallon and 5-gallon sizes, this contoured glass aquarium kit is easy to set up and maintain. It comes with a hidden 3-step filtration system with adjustable flow filter pump as well as daylight and moonlight LEDs.
  6. Hagen HG Fluval Flex 15-Gallon Aquarium – Featuring a contemporary design and sleek, modern features this 15-gallon aquarium kit is designed for freshwater environments. It comes with an integrated multistage filtration system and 7500K LED lamp for bright illumination. All features are conveniently hidden to keep the look sleek and modern.
  7. Fluval Spec III 2.6-Gallon Aquarium Kit – Great for desktop use, this 2.6-gallon aquarium comes with a powerful 3-stage filtration system, a 31-light LED system, and the necessary filter media to get started. Simply choose your fish and your decorations!
  8. Hagen Marina 360-Degree Aquarium Kit – This nano tank clocks in at 2.65 gallons and it features a unique 36o-degree design that looks great from any angle. This tank comes with custom LED lighting and can be used for cold water or tropical fish.
  9. Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit – Another miniature option in nano tanks, this 2.7-gallon tank features a unique bent glass and frameless design. It comes with a hang-on water filter, thermometer, and fish net so you have just about all you need to get started.
  10. Fluval Edge 6-Gallon LED Aquarium – If you’re looking for something a little bigger than 2.6 gallons, try this 6-gallon nano tank. It features a unique cube shape with the integrated filtration and lighting systems hidden in a decorative column.

These are just a few of the options out there for nano tanks. If you don’t see one here that suits your vision, don’t be afraid to keep shopping. Just keep in mind the tips above to help you make a smart choice for yourself and your future tank inhabitants.

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Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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