Nano tanks are a great option when space is limited or if you want a splash of life occupying space on your desk. These tanks can be simple and straight forward to set up and maintain, and a fun challenge depending on your goals and preferences. Nano tanks refer to tanks smaller than 10 gallons. The information found in this collection of articles “starting your first aquarium” can help you with the setup and maintenance of your nano tank.
3 Tips to Help with your Tank’s Success
Parameters fluctuate quickly – Staying on top of weekly 50% water changes, keeping feedings small, and choosing livestock with a small bio load as well as limiting stocking will increase your tanks stability.
Plants are your friends – Live aquatic plants are a wonderful addition to nano aquariums and will assist in the stability of your parameters. Floating plants, and fast-growing plants are your best friends in these tanks, especially if it’s your first nano aquarium.
Filtration media is important – Depending on what you stock your tank with, especially with bio load levels, chemical filtration media can be highly beneficial. Biological media is also a must. Carbon will assist you in keeping your water clear, reducing pollutants, and remove any odour. Zeolite media will help keep ammonia and nitrite levels lower while your tank stabilizes in the beginning stages. Finally, biological media should be plentiful as the bacteria that will begin to inhabit it. They will be your main force in converting ammonia and nitrite into nitrate and keeping levels stable.
3 Great Nano Aquariums
Available in a 3- and 5-gallon bowfront, 5-gallon “bullet” and 5-gallon cube sizes, these nano setups from Aquatop come with lighting, and a built-in filtration box. The filtration box includes a simple drop in filter cartridge with carbon for mechanical and chemical filtration, and a bio-plate and bio-rings to harbor and grow your beneficial bacteria colonies. The light is a small but bright touch sensitive LED with a moonlight mode, and the kits also include a lid with mounting clips!
Available in 2.6-, 5-, and now 16-gallon sizes, these setups from Fluval are super simple to get started with. Including a 7000k led well suited for plant growth, it also includes a simple 3-stage system for mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. The built-in filtration chamber will also fit an appropriately sized heater!
These sleek tanks from Aqueon are available in 6- and 10 gallons and make for a great conversation piece with their unique design. The frameless aquarium is on a “floating” base and has an angled top edge for a more contemporary feel that helps conceal the water line. The canopy sits flush with the internal filter and the angled design helps further conceal the LEDs!
3 Beneficial Plants
This floating fern is great for providing shade for your livestock and removing excess nutrients from your water column. It’s relatively undemanding and grows quickly even in low light conditions. It can assist greatly with the stability of a new aquarium. Salvinia can also help control algae caused by excess light and nutrients.
This stem plant is amazing for providing refuge and hiding places for your aquarium’s inhabitants. It also looks gorgeous and can help bring a sense of depth to your tank. With low light demands, and a high growth rate it may need some regular trimming to not overshade its lower leaves. This allows you to trim and replant it frequently though, meaning you will have a lush jungle of green quickly!
Also known as Java moss, this hardy aquatic moss grows quickly with little demand for anything. It also lends very well to aquascaping, growing on any surface it is affixed to. It can provide plenty of hiding spots for fish fry and offers lots of microflora and fauna for shrimp and smaller fish to scavenge.
3 Easy Inhabitants
Betta fish make great inhabitants for smaller tanks due to their lower activity levels and ability to tolerate parameter swings better than other fish. The absolute minimum tank size for a betta is 2.5-gallons, but a 5+ gallon aquarium would be ideal. Read more about Bettas Here!
African Dwarf Frog
These little aquatic frogs can make great inhabitants of nano tanks. The smaller size suits them very well with their clumsiness when it comes to feeding. They are a joy to watch crawl and swim around a tank and will make use of the space you have to offer. Every one dwarf frog should be given 2.5 gallons of water.
Red Cherry Shrimp
Finally, one of the best inhabitants for nano aquariums are Red Cherry shrimp. While many Neocaridina shrimp do fantastic in nano tanks, red cherry shrimp are the best to start with. They are very hardy shrimp, with a super low bio-load and breed fairly easy so you’ll have a colony of your own quickly! Experienced keepers have had colonies of red cherry shrimp breed in tanks as small as 1 gallon, but for the sake of stability and ease of care we recommend no smaller than 2.5 gallons for a small colony.
Nano tanks are an amazing choice for the aquarium keeping hobby, especially when you’re limited on space. Be sure to plan ahead and do your research on any livestock you want to keep making sure they are compatible with the size tank you have and maintenance schedule.
If you have any questions about keeping nano aquariums, give us a call or visit us in store today!