When it comes to finding your new aquarium, we bet you have heard the phrase nano aquarium. These tiny aquariums are fantastic additions to your home or office desktops. But how do you find the right small fish tank for you?
It can be overwhelming to make your new choice. There are so many on the market, ranging in price and quality, making your decision challenging! Especially if you are fairly new to the aquarium world, it can be a tricky world to navigate.
But that’s where we come in to save the day! We have the best nano aquariums on the market that will make your decision a lot easier to make! Whether you are new to the aquarium world or an advanced hobbyist, we have the nano aquarium and solution for you!
Keep reading for all your nano aquarium facts and the best tanks for you!
What is a nano aquarium?
Before we get into which aquarium is the best and why let’s have a little recap for those in the room that need it! A nano aquarium is essentially a reef tank that holds 30 gallons of water or less. Compared to other aquariums on the market, nano aquariums are much smaller, giving them their name, nano.
Determining the size of a nano tank does differ from person to person, though. Some hobbyists will only consider those that hold a maximum of 15 gallons as a nano tank, whereas other aquarists say it should be ten gallons or less. There are even some that think only tabletop aquariums should be classed as nano!
Here, we are working on the assumption that a nano aquarium holds 30 gallons of water or less and have used that as the basis to select our products today. Everyone has a different opinion, and the size of your tank is one to consider when making your purchase today!
But for those of you who have these traits or are interested, let’s get into the reviews and find you the best nano aquarium on the market!
In a hurry? Then look no further than our top pick today!
OUR TOP PICK
Today’s winner is the Marineland 5 gallon tank! One of the smallest tanks you can get, and a lightweight one too! The tank measures 11.81 x 11.62 x 17.05 inches and is one of the lightest, weighing just 12 pounds! It's ideal for those with limited space that still want an aquarium in their homes.
What’s great about the fishtank is its rounded design. The sleek model features rounded corners and a clear glass canopy that leaves you with no seams and a stunning view into the tank. It's perfect for those that want to spend their afternoons watching their tanks like a God over their creation.
The tank’s build is fantastic; overall, you don’t need to worry about parts breaking or needing replacing. You can access the parts easily thanks to the hinged LED lighting and the sliding glass canopy, perfect for cleaning the tank or adding any parts!
It also comes with fantastic lights that can be adjusted to daytime or nighttime, depending on your needs. The LED lights are extremely bright, which most customers loved! However, some customers did find adjusting them difficult and were concerned about the longevity of the plastic casing.
There is also hidden filtration with an advanced three-stage filtration hidden out of view. The hidden filter keeps the tank clean without interfering with your view of the aquarium! The filter and pump are also extremely quiet, making it the perfect choice for those wanting a bedroom or office aquarium!
Marineland’s tank is super easy to clean and maintain, thanks to the sliding glass canopy. You won’t find yourself overwhelmed with this aquarium and can join hundreds of owners already loving the nano tank!
Be sure when selecting your fish that you ensure they can survive in a small environment. We would strongly avoid any territorial fish in a nano aquarium this small, as quite quickly you would have a serious situation on your hands!
- Strong and sturdy build - unlikely to break during use
- Bright lights - perfect for fish that need a bright, sun-like light
- Hidden filter for discretion - doesn’t block your view
- Stylish design and view - rounded edges make this tank stylish and enjoyable to look at
- Quiet filter and pump - perfect for the bedroom or office use
- Some customers found the light settings hard to adjust
- They also weren’t convinced of the durability of the plastic casing on the lights
Got some more time today? Then keep on reading, because we have plenty more fantastic tanks for you! Remember, these are all 30 gallons or under, ideal for use as a nano tank!
Next up is this wonderful tank from Fluval that we are sure you will love! The 13.5-gallon tank is larger than others we have looked at and is also available in a smaller 5-gallon tank if you are after a more compact design.
The tank features a honeycomb design that conceals the filter compartment and water line. Instead of seeing bulky and unattractive filters, you can enjoy a pleasant and stylish tank with lots of great viewing angles!
The honeycomb edging also gives it a modern and futuristic look that is sure to look wonderful in your home!
It’s the perfect tank for home or office use without taking up too much space! The sleek casing is all waterproof, too, and features durable aluminum to ensure the longevity of your tank. The aluminum keeps the tank fairly lightweight, too, with it weighing in at 26.7lbs.
Speaking of the filter, this three-stage filtration system is wonderful! It is a little large compared to others as it features oversized components, but few customers reported issues with it.
They did find that there wasn’t much room in the back due to the pump and heater being in the same column, but not everyone found this an issue. You might just need to be creative with your tank layout!
You can access the tank easily thanks to the multifunctional canopy and easy feed door. No more will you be struggling to gain access to or feed your fish; instead, in one simple slide, you have access!
The same goes for lighting the tank! The LED lights are easy to operate and adjust; in a few moments, you can have bright daytime lights or a dim evening setting, depending on the lighting you need. Always check the lighting that your aquarium needs before beginning to ensure you are providing the best environment possible.
For those with live coral, the LED system will be ideal for you! The super bright 14,000 K LED lights will ensure your coral grows healthily and ensures its color and condition remains as it should—wonderful news for those that have previously struggled with healthy coral growth.
Many customers enjoyed the tank and found it the perfect introduction to saltwater tanks. However, it's the perfect size for an introduction to that world of aquatics and one we think you will enjoy immensely! We recommend that you still do your research to ensure you can properly care for a saltwater aquarium before purchasing, though.
- Two size options - perfect for smaller spaces
- Powerful filter - keeps your tank clean and running smoothly
- Fantastic LED lights - perfect for growing and maintaining coral
- Durable construction - aluminum design ensures longevity
- Stylish design - will look great in a home or office environment
- Not much room at the back of the tank due to the pump and heater
That’s right; we have another fantastic tank from Fluval for you to enjoy today! Their SPEC tank kit is perfect for those after a compact aquarium for freshwater creatures. And when we say compact, we mean compact. This tank is a measly 2.6 gallons!
While that size might be too small for some users, we think it's still a fantastic option that we couldn’t not mention. Its compact size makes it the perfect tank for those after a tabletop tank or one for a bedroom or small apartment.
The kit also comes in a 5-gallon option for those after some more space to work with.
It's incredibly lightweight, too, weighing less than 5 pounds! It measures 10.8 x 11.8 x 8.7 inches, perfect for those after a compact. Despite how light the tank is, it’s incredibly durable too.
The aluminum construction ensures that you can enjoy years of use from the tank worry-free. Many customers have had the tank for years without any issues! How's that for some peace of mind?
The waterproof casing is completed with a stylish honeycomb wrap around the tank. The wrap conceals the filtration compartment for a sleek and modern style tank without restricting much of your view inside.
The stylish tank would look perfect at home or your office; why not add some color and life with a small freshwater tank?
You can expect excellent results from this tank. The LED lighting is super bright, with a high output of 7,000K, perfect for ensuring plant growth and fish colors. Remember, this is a freshwater tank, and you should only put the appropriate species or plants here!
Customers have reported fantastic success housing bettas, with them surviving for years and thriving in their environment! This tank size is perfect for them, and providing you fill it appropriately; you can expect lots of success!
You get a whole kit with this tank, making it the ideal purchase, although you will need to purchase a heater separately. In all honesty, at this low price point and size, you will often find yourself needing to purchase a separate heater.
Thankfully you can pick these up for an affordable price.
In the kit, you get the glass aquarium with cover, LED lighting system, a safe and low voltage transformer, circulation pump with output nozzle, foam filter block with handle, activated carbon insert, and BioMax insert. See? Almost everything you need to get started!
The kit is perfect for anyone, whether you are a beginner or a keen hobbyist looking for a small tank to care for!
- Incredibly lightweight and compact - perfect for small spaces
- Powerful filter system - keeps your tank clean and well maintained
- Great tank for bettas - customers reported bettas living happily in these tanks
- Long-lasting - can expect years of near-perfect use
- Sleek design - honeycomb edging is sleek and discreetly hides the filter
- You will need to purchase a heater separately.
Yes, here is another fantastic offering from MarineLand! Their contour glass aquarium comes with a rail light that you and your fish are sure to love! The 3-gallon tank will make the perfect addition to even the smallest spaces without weighing too much too!
The micro tank weighs just 8lbs, making it ideal for placing on top of bedside tables, desks, or sideboards. Thanks to its small measurements (9.5 x 10 x 10 inches), you are sure to find space for this beauty!
Like the other MarineLand tank we looked at, this one also features rounded corners and a sleek glass canopy, allowing you to view the tank from all angles. The canopy slides, too, providing easy access to your tank when you need it!
You won’t need to struggle cleaning the tank or adding the feed to the water; simply slide, and you are good to go!
The hinged LED lights are bright and located on a stylish rail above the tank, providing your aquarium with plenty of light! You can adjust the settings of the lights too to suit the life in your tank.
For those that want sunlight, you can create a shimmering sunlight effect or adjust the lights for a blue moonlit glow. The adjustable lights offer you ample choice when it comes to filling your tank.
Some customers did note that the LED lights were not bright enough for some species of fish and plants. They struggled to keep bettas successfully in the tank due to the poor lights and found the filter too powerful for them.
A few customers only made these comments, but they are worth being aware of, especially if you intend to keep plants in the tank. As the aquarium isn’t too expensive, some customers have resorted to purchasing additional lighting, whereas others have found the lights bright enough for them.
It's worth seeing how the lights work on their own before purchasing additional lighting; like other customers, you might not need to and can save yourself some money!
The tank is an excellent option for beginners, thanks to the included filter. The advanced three-stage filtration keeps your tank clean with minimal effort from yourself!
Simply use the included filter cartridge, and the filter and adjustable pump will maintain a clean and healthy tank, making a beginner’s job even easier!
Marineland’s tank is easy to set up, too, meaning you can have your aquarium up and running in no time! Customers praised how easy it was to set up and how attractive it looks in their homes!
You can also purchase a larger 5-gallon version if you wish, but be mindful that the larger tank is significantly taller.
After a small but reliable tank that will be a wonderful addition to your home? Treat yourself to the MarineLand contour aquarium today!
- Rounded design - allows for better viewing angles of your fish and plants
- Quick set up - easy enough for beginners to set up and get started
- Easy access - hinged lights and glass canopy means you don’t need to worry about getting into your tank when you need to
- Built-in powerful filter - keeps your tank clean and healthy with minimal effort from you
- Adjustable lights - create the perfect environment for your fish
- Some customers found the lights dim.
- Some fish (bettas) might find the filter too powerful for them.
For those with a bit more money to spend, why not treat yourself to GankPike’s saltwater aquarium? The 8-gallon tank features a lid, LED lamp, quiet power pamp, protein skimmer, heater, LCD thermometer, two biochemical filter sponges, and ceramic rings, offering you everything you need to get started!
It's a little more pricey than the other tanks we have included so far, but when you consider all the added extras you get, we think it's worth the money! The 8-gallon tank is perfect for saltwater fish, coral, and reef and has a fantastic 6.5-gallon front viewing area, allowing you to enjoy your aquarium!
There is less viewing capacity than other tanks, as a 1.5-gallon filtration area takes up the back. Providing you place this against a wall or angled out of sight, it shouldn’t be much of an eyesore, but you should be mindful that you have less tank to work with and only select species that can thrive in this environment.
The tank measures 13.8 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches, making it perfect for small apartments, bedrooms, and offices. And with the quiet power pump, you are unlikely to be kept awake at night by loud filtering and heat!
You can also adjust all of the filter and cleaning tools to suit your tank's needs too. The ability to adjust the pump and protein skimmer was popular among customers and allowed them to customize the tank to their exact needs without using unnecessary energy.
GankPike also added a heater to their kit, setting it apart from others on the list today. The heater can be adjusted using the knob thermostat, meaning you can customize the tank to suit your needs.
You can also check the temperature using the LCD digital thermostat and adjust if necessary.
Perfect for when you are in a rush! It's perfect for those whose fish needs might change over time; you won’t need a new tank; simply adjust this one, and you are good to go!
There is also a handy lid with a feeding hole for easy access to the aquarium! No longer do you need to fuss and fiddle; simply deposit the food, and you're good to go!
The tank also features aluminum alloy LED lights that can be dimmed, placed on timers, and have three color modes. We don’t often see that level of customization at this price point, do we? It's a fantastic addition and is one that makes growing coral easy!
Customers loved the range of LED lights and functions, although some customers reported difficulty figuring out how to use it.
Be sure to consult the manual or look online for one and further advice should you also encounter any difficulty along the way! If a full kit is what you seek, then look no further than this tank from GankPike; it is sure to make a wonderful addition to your home!
- Full kit - comes with everything you need to get started!
- Adjustable cleaning settings - ensures you can tailor the tank to your needs.
- Quiet pump- won’t keep you up at night if it's in your bedroom
- Range of light settings - perfect for growing and maintaining coral
- Easy to set up - beginners shouldn’t struggle with this tank
- Viewing space compromised by filter compartment
- Some customers had difficulties using the LED lights.
Here we have the smallest tank of our entire list! Freesea’s Betta aquarium is a tiny 1.2-gallon tank that is perfect for bedrooms or small spaces. Along with the small tank is a very small price tag that is sure to suit every budget.
The tank is designed with bettas in mind and has enough water and space for them to thrive and be happy. You could also use the tank for guppies, angel face, and some other small ornamental fish. Ensure that any fish you place in the tank will have enough room and water.
The small size does put some customers off, as it isn’t as diverse as other tanks on the market.
However, if you only intend to keep small, ornamental fish, you can’t go wrong with this tank! You get LED lights and some decorative plants, too, allowing you to create a pleasant viewing experience for yourself.
Freesea has even hidden the filter at the back of the tank so that it doesn’t deter from your view. If you placed the tank next to a wall, you wouldn’t even see it! It's the perfect tank for bedrooms as it's fairly quiet too.
As long as there is a power source (5V USB) nearby, you can place the tank wherever best suits you!
The filtration system is powerful and is sure to keep your tank clean, and your fish are thriving in a healthy environment. However, some customers have noted that the filter was too powerful for their bettas, even on the lowest setting.
Showing just how good their customer service is, Freesea has updated their advice and recommends that you disconnect and remove the filter if you find it too powerful.
Disconnecting is easy to do, and at this low price point, you don’t mind making some adjustments, do you? What's more, not all customers had this issue, so it's unlikely to affect you too!
It's a tank that's easy to set up; even beginners will have no trouble maintaining it. Whether it's a gift for a friend or a child, they are sure to maintain the tank and enjoy a small slice of the ocean in their home!
- Affordable -suitable for all budgets
- Suitable for bettas - perfect if you are keen to keep bettas only
- Powerful filter - keeps the tank clean and healthy, so you don’t have to!
- Easy to set up - will take no time and is beginner-friendly
- Hidden filtration system - leaves you plenty of room to enjoy and view your bettas.
- Only suitable size and water capacity for bettas
- Some customers found the filter too powerful for the fish
Best Nano Aquariums Buying Guide
What are the benefits?
Now you might be wondering, what is so good about a nano aquarium? Well, there are lots of advantages these tiny tanks have! Let’s take a look at some of them now. For those of you on the fence, these benefits should sway you!
Compared to larger tanks on the market, nano aquariums are a lot cheaper! These smaller tanks are cheaper to buy, and as you need less lights, gravel, fresh rock, and substrate, your expenses are a lot lower too!
You will use less synthetic sea salt and less power in saltwater tanks, saving you some money on your energy bill! Fish tanks can be expensive, especially their maintenance, which is why many people opt for a smaller tank. There is less tank, meaning there is less to maintain, making them a cheaper option for many.
We even see large aquarium owners purchasing nano aquariums to add to their collection without much of an added cost!
Easy to maintain
We touched on this briefly, but let’s get some more detail here! Nano aquariums are easier to maintain than their larger counterparts. Charging 20% of the water takes far less time (energy) when it's only a small tank!
Compared to larger tanks, you will only be charging a few gallons of water. When we think some larger tank owners will charge up to 25 gallons of water to do this, you can sit pretty smugly next to your nano aquarium and enjoy the easier ride!
Nano aquariums are also a lot lighter than traditional tanks. Weight is normally an issue for people when it comes to larger 125-gallon tanks (how do you move that on your own?). But those with nano aquariums are much lighter and can be placed on most surfaces with ease!
These smaller tanks are designed for table and desktop use, so you won’t need to worry about them being too heavy to have on your office desk or a bedroom table (check the maximum weight before, though).
Their lightweight nature also means that you can change their location frequently without any problems. We manage to do it every few days trouble-free!
These smaller tanks are far more compact along with their lighter weight, too, taking up less space than larger aquariums. These nanocubes are fantastic options for dorm rooms, small apartments, or even offices! Capped at 30 gallons, these tanks can be placed on desks or tables without taking up too much room.
You won’t need to worry about shimming around them or being pushed for space with one of these beauties! We recommend that you measure the space beforehand to buy the correct size tank for your needs. As we mentioned earlier, you can find tanks smaller than 30 gallons that perfectly suit those working with limited space.
What about any drawbacks?
What kind of guide would we be if we didn’t mention any downsides or drawbacks to nano aquariums? While they are fantastic and we are avid fans, some downsides should be discussed.
As the tank is much smaller, the amount of fish you can safely house inside it is a lot less. You will be limited to one or two fish (depending on the size of the tank), and you will need to ensure that they aren’t territorial.
Placing two territorial fish in a limited space is sure to lead to a blood bath or gladiator-style fight between the two! Pay attention to the fish species that you are placing in the tank too.
Keep an eye out for those with “dwarf” or “pygmy” in their names like dwarf rasboras, dwarf gourami, pygmy sunfish, and slender pygmy swordtails.
We know they aren’t the most politically correct of names, are they? But these smaller and less territorial species are more likely to thrive in a smaller environment and should not attack one another.
No room for error
In small tanks like these, the margin for error is much smaller. You need to be careful that you don’t make a mistake as the consequences can be severe. For example, putting too much food can cause bacteria to form and pollute your nano tank quickly.
When situations like these arise, you need to act quickly to prevent any significant damage from occurring.
While these events can sound dangerous and even off-putting to some people, there are plenty of books, websites, and forums out there designed to help you and prevent these issues.
We strongly recommend doing your research before investing in a nano aquarium. These small margins for error mean these tanks aren’t for everyone, and doing your research beforehand can help make sure it's the right call for you!
Accidents happen...and fast!
As we just mentioned, with small tanks, things can go wrong quickly. And when they do, they can be disastrous! With nano aquariums, you can have a serious and potentially fatal situation on your hands in no time at all.
Take your water heater, for example. If your water heater failed in a larger aquarium, any temperature changes would take a while to happen. It's a lot of water that would cool down or heat up, and you’ve got a fighting chance of rectifying it before any damage occurs.
However, if your heater fails in a smaller nano tank, the water will change the temperature in a few hours. Regular maintenance and fixing any issue immediately is the best way to prevent these events, but even then, accidents can happen!
Meaning if you head out on a dinner date and your heater breaks, there's a good chance you are returning home to dead fish.
Who are nano tanks for?
We’ve covered the basics, but before we get into the reviews and the tanks, let’s touch on who best suits a nano aquarium.
Generally speaking, these smaller tanks are fantastic for those on a budget or looking to add an affordable tank to their collection or large fish tank. And while you might think smaller means easier, nano aquariums aren’t always the best option for beginners.
As we have mentioned, a small mistake can have severe consequences and quite quickly too! These tanks aren’t suited to those that don’t know how to maintain a small tank properly or don’t want to learn how to care for them.
Instead, you must be a conscientious owner that can regularly maintain and monitor their nano aquarium. These traits aren’t always applied to new or young fish tank owners, and purchasing a nano tank should be carefully considered.
And just like that, we have come to the end of our guide! As you can see, there are plenty of fantastic options when it comes to your new nano aquarium.
Whether you want the smallest tank possible or a larger nano tank, we have got you covered!
Any of the tanks we reviewed today would make a fantastic addition to your home and be a wonderful home for your fish or plants(or both!). When it comes to nano aquariums, take care to ensure that the plants and species you select can live in these small spaces without impacting their wellbeing.
There are many friendly experts both in fish stores and online that can help you with this if you run into any difficulties along the way!
Remember to check our earlier sections for advice on these nano aquariums and use our top pick and other fantastic choices to have a new nano aquarium in your home!