Fish make excellent pets. Their vibrant colors, distinctive markings, and interesting behaviors will have you watching them for hours on end in a state of wonder and relaxation.
If you’re thinking about purchasing some fish, but would rather not spend a great deal of money on a tank, then a nano aquarium could be a good choice. They are perfect for first-time fish owners and are equally as good for people a little more familiar with keeping fish.
Nano aquariums are also available in a wide range of designs, meaning that there is something for everyone while remaining a budget-friendly option.
However, with so many options available to choose from online, finding the perfect nano tank for your needs, and the needs of your new fish, can become a little confusing. How many gallons of water do you need per fish? And how do you even begin cleaning a nano aquarium?
Don’t worry - we’re here to help! Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best nano aquariums available. We’ve also put together a buying guide that is designed to answer any of your burning questions and make finding the right nano aquarium an easy, enjoyable experience.
In a hurry? Let’s start by taking a look at our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The MarineLand 5-gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium has a sleek design made up of rounded corners and a clear glass canopy that is guaranteed to look stunning in any home. It also features an advanced 3-stage filtration system that is cleverly hidden out of sight, allowing for unobstructed angles and optimum aquarium viewing.
The tank has daylight and moonlight lighting effects that help to create the perfect aesthetic for your room at any time of the day or night. It’s easy to switch between the two, and the bright white settings create a shimmering sunlight effect whilst the blue LEDs produce a realistic moonlight glow.
You don’t need to worry about the lighting getting in the way of feeding your fish or cleaning the tank either, thanks to its innovatively hinged design that simply lifts out of the way. The glass canopy simply effortlessly slides out of the tank too, giving you easy access whenever you need it.
Fitting the filtration system is super easy to install too and is designed to help make maintaining the cleanliness of the tank and health of your fish easier than ever. This five-gallon curved glass aquarium is perfect for both experienced fish owners and someone who is seeking a new hobby.
- A stylish fish tank designed with optimal aquarium viewing in mind
- Features two LED light settings that allow you to choose between white and blue lights
- The hinged lights and sliding glass canopy give you quick and easy access to the inside of the tank whenever needed
- Has a hidden filtration system that keeps the water clear and doesn’t obstruct any viewing angles
- Is quick and easy to assemble
- Some people found the LED light to be a little brighter than they would have liked
With a 5 gallon capacity and three portrait-style heavy-duty plastic sides, the GloFish Aquarium Kit offers you unobstructed viewing angles of your fish. It also has a super stylish and would look amazing in any home setup.
The tank includes tetra hidden filtration with an adjustable flow filter pump and a hinged GloFish cycle light suspended over the tank allowing easy access when the time comes to clean the tank. It also includes one tetra Whisper Bio-bag medium filter cartridge.
One of the standout features you’ll find in this fantastic fish tank is the choice of four different lighting modes. Cycling between sunlight mode, moonlight mode, midnight mode, and twilight mode allows you to find the perfect ambiance for the room. This also gives the tank a fluorescent appearance, which is perfect for enhancing the natural beauty of fish such as neon tetras.
This aquarium is easy to set up and is ideal for experienced fish keepers and new hobbyists alike. It also comes with a black aquarium background to further enhance the lighting effects and is the entire set up includes a 12-month warranty.
- Features 3 portrait-style plastic sides for optimum aquarium viewing
- Gives you the option to switch between 4 different lighting modes
- Includes a hidden filtration system and hinged lights that allow for easy access to the tank
- Super easy to set up and would suit both experienced and novice fish owners
- Also includes a black background to enhance the lighting and a 12-month warranty
- The plastic construction can make the tank feel a little flimsier than you’d expect, however, it is still capable of holding 5 gallons of water safely
The Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit has a 2.6-gallon capacity, making it the ideal choice for smaller rooms and for any children that are interested in keeping fish as pets. It also features portrait-style glass panels that provide the best aquarium viewing angles possible without any obstructions.
What this little tank lacks in size, it more than makes up for in power. Capable of producing 20% more light illumination than its competitors, it will enhance the striking colors of your fish. This extra boost of illumination also helps to ensure that any live aquatic plants in your aquarium can grow strong and healthy.
The Fluval Spec III does not disappoint when it comes to the included filtration system either.
It uses an innovative 3-stage system with a wide mechanical, chemical, and biological scale which guarantees water clarity. This means you’ll spend less time cleaning your tank and more time enjoying your fish.
When the time to clean your tank does come, you’ll be able to get quick and easy access through the fully removable plastic canopy. The light is also hinged and can be moved out of the way whilst you change the water, giving you unrestricted access and keeping the light safe at the same time.
- Has a 2.6-gallon capacity that makes it ideal for smaller sized rooms or as a children’s aquarium
- The portrait-style glass panels allow for optimum, unrestricted aquarium viewing
- Features a powerful lighting system that produces 20% more light to enhance fish color and stimulate plant growth
- The powerful 3-stage filtration system keeps the water clearer for longer
- Also features an easy-access lid and hinged lighting system
- As the filtration system is so powerful, this tank may be a little noisier than expected
If you’re interested in the idea of keeping saltwater fish, you’ll need a specialist tank to help you. Luckily, the Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Aquarium comes with everything you need to keep your fish healthy and happy. The 13.5-gallon tank gives your fish plenty of freedom to swim too, and it will fit comfortably on countertops around your house.
The ultra-modern design conceals the filter compartment and aquarium waterline meaning you can keep in with your own room’s styling whilst your saltwater fish can live comfortably. Meanwhile, the landscape-style glass panels give you plenty of unobstructed angles to view your fish from.
This saltwater aquarium has a powerful 3-stage filtration system with mechanical, chemical, and biological Fluval filter media. As with all tanks, this filter media will need changing from time to time to ensure the water is in good condition at all times, but it will reduce the number of times you need to clean in between filter changes.
The multi-functional canopy with an easy feed door will allow you to get food to saltwater fish such as clownfish, goby, and shrimp. You’ll also be able to see all of the beautiful, vibrant markings on your fish in high definition with a choice of day and night illumination.
- The perfect tank for anybody interested in keeping saltwater fish
- Has a sleek, stylish design and offers unobstructed views of your fish
- Features a powerful, 3-stage filtration system to keep the water cleaner for longer
- A multi-functional canopy with an easy feed door gives you access to the inside of the tank when needed
- Offers you the choice of day and night illumination
- This is a tank that is designed for the more experienced fish owner and should only be used for keeping saltwater fish
Made in the USA and featuring scratch-resistant glass, the Tetra 20-Gallon Fish Tank Kit is built to last and comes with a lifetime warranty to prove it. It’s also the largest tank on our list and is perfect for creating a real focal point in any house without taking up too much space.
This tank comes loaded with an LED hood that provides a natural daytime effect, allowing you to create a super realistic aquarium setup. It also features a Whisper Filter that is super quiet while providing powerful, dependable water flow.
There is one boxwood plant and four artificial plants included with this fish tank kit too. This gives you more bang for your buck and saves you from having to purchase additional accessories, leaving more money in your pocket.
You’ll be able to get unrestricted access to the interior of the tank for cleaning too as the cleverly designed hinged lid lifts back and stays firmly in place. There’s also an easy-access feeding hole located directly in the hood of the tank so you can feed your fish without having to remove the entire lid.
- Is extremely durable, features scratch-resistant glass, and comes with a lifetime warranty
- LED hood provides a natural, daytime glow that allows you to create a super realistic setup
- Features a Whisper Filter that provides powerful filtration whilst operating in near-silence
- Includes one artificial boxwood plant and four additional artificial plants
- The hinged lid allows you to get unrestricted access to the interior of the tank for cleaning
- Only has one lighting option which may be a bit too bright for nighttime illumination
Best Nano Aquariums Buying Guide
Whether you’re a first-time fish owner or are upgrading your current tank, finding a new nano aquarium can almost be overwhelming. This doesn't have to be the case though!
Taking the time to consider your needs and preferences is the first step in finding the perfect nano tank. Below, we’ve highlighted some key points to bear in mind when you begin shopping around.
Paying attention to these will help guide you towards the ideal choice the first time around and could even save you some money in the long run.
Let’s start by looking at the size of your potential new nano tank. For their small-scale, nano tanks provide multiple advantages. Many of these compact tanks can be conveniently positioned on desks, tables, or countertops around the home and most nano aquariums do not need a separate stand.
However, do not underestimate the weight of these tanks when full of water, make sure you have a sturdy and supportive surface for the tank to reside. Nano tanks are also the perfect size for a first-time tank buyer and are particularly suitable for children's aquariums.
Next, give some thought to the species of fish you’re looking to keep. There are two main types of nano aquariums – freshwater aquariums and saltwater aquariums. Freshwater fish like bettas, tetras, and guppies will thrive in the right environment in a nano aquarium.
Clownfish, Coral Beauty Angelfish, and Gobies are perfect for saltwater nano tanks. You can also keep shrimp, snails, and small crabs in your nano aquariums if you wish, as long as they can be accommodated with your other fish.
If you are planning on keeping tropical fish, you may want to consider buying a heater for your aquarium as fish are not able to regulate their body temperature, so you need to be able to control this for them. Many nano tanks include a heater as part of the overall kit, and this is a good thing to look out for. It’ll save you some money too.
Filtration & Cleaning
In contrast to traditional fishbowls, the fish and plants remain significantly healthier with nano aquariums, with even less upkeep due to filtration and water circulation being built directly into the tank.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t require regular cleaning though. If you don’t keep on top of your weekly maintenance, or even if you accidentally overfeed your fish, it can lead to poor water quality.
Nano aquarium filtration systems minimize the number of water changes needed but do not completely remove the need for it, so you need to keep an eye on it each week. If you feel the water is getting a little cloudy or notice a build-up of algae on the glass and ornaments, it’s time for a water change.
When purchasing a nano aquarium, you may want to consider aquascaping. Aquascaping is a form of underwater gardening that’s very popular in nano tanks; it focuses primarily on the plant and the ‘environment’ of the tank with maybe only having a few fish to tie it all together, this mimics natural ecosystems around the world.
You can, of course, use artificial plants if you prefer. However, fish tend to prefer live plants and they also help to oxygenate the water and keep it cleaner for longer. Live plants are also much less likely to suffer from algae build up.
Depending on what kind of fish you choose to keep will decide what food they will require, most generic fish food (flakes, pellets, and wafers) can be found online or in pet stores.
Ensure that you do not feed saltwater fish food to freshwater fish and vice versa as it can cause health problems such as liver disease. You should also make sure that you’ve researched how much your breed of fish should be eating every day, to make sure you are not overfeeding or underfeeding them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of fish can I keep in a nano aquarium?
Saltwater nano aquarium fish - Pajama Cardinalfish, Coral Beauty Angelfish, Neon Goby, Coral or Crown Goby, Dartfish, or Firefish Goby, Shrimp Goby, Royal Gramma, and Blue Chromis.
Freshwater nano aquarium fish - Chili Rasbora, Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetras, Bettas, Harlequin Rasboras, Fancy Guppies, Endler's Livebearers, and Zebra Danios
How many fish can I keep in a nano aquarium?
You shouldn’t add too many fish to your tank, but also consider that some nano-fish thrive living in small groups. Don’t add too many fish to your tank and limit yourself to about 1-inch of fish per gallon of water in the tank.
How often should I clean my nano aquarium?
For tanks that are 5-gallons and under, you should change at least 20% of the water once to twice a week as a minimum. For tanks from that range from 5 to 10-gallons, you should aim for weekly water changes. For tanks 10-gallons and up, you may only need a water change 1 to 2 times a month but it’s important to keep an eye on the filter and tank every day regardless.