Nano Aquarium- The Perfect Introduction To Aquarists?

Nano aquariums enjoy great popularity. The small glass cubes are usually a little more complex to maintain than you would expect from a small aquarium. Therefore, we show you what you should consider when buying, setting up, and caring for nano aquariums.

What Is A Nano Aquarium?

A mini or nano aquarium is the smallest type of aquarium. The volume is usually between 12 and 36 liters. The larger variants hold 45 to 60 liters. Often the aquariums are filled with freshwater, but saltwater nano aquariums are also becoming increasingly popular. The aquarium size differs depending on the type. Typically, the size is about 30 x 30 x 35 cm for a 30-liter aquarium. However, there are also cube-shaped Nano Cubes with a size of 30 x 20 x 20 cm. They have a capacity of only 12 liters.

Tip: If you want to keep small fish in your nano aquarium, a size of 60 liters is recommended, as the animals need as large a bottom area as possible. When choosing fish species, make sure that they are suitable for nano aquariums and do not grow too large.

Setting Up Your Nano Aquarium

If you want to buy a nano aquarium, then you will definitely need the usual basic equipment. The tank, a filter, lighting, and a C02 system must not be missing even with a mini aquarium.

The Right Tank And A Good Filter

As you know, the basin is the basis of every aquarium. You can choose between different sizes and should place it in a quiet place. Sunlight on the tank should be avoided and a stable base or cabinet is another important requirement so that you can enjoy your mini aquarium for a long time.

With a filter, the biological cycle in the aquarium is promoted. The water is cleaned by different filter materials. In the material itself microorganisms accumulate, which convert ammonia, which is released by the fish and is toxic in high quantities, into nitrate. Nitrate is only harmful to the animals in the aquarium above a high concentration. Values between 50 and 100 mg/l are considered harmless.

Tip: If the nitrate value in your aquarium is too high, there can be several reasons for this. Excessive feeding, insufficient filter performance, too few water plants, or insufficient care with few partial water changes could be just some of the reasons.

You should only clean the filter in a nano aquarium if you notice a change in the flow rate or if the filter is visibly clogged. Since the microorganisms are located in the filter, they should not be washed out with hot water. This would damage the biological cycle and kill the organisms.

Lighting In The Nano Aquarium

Lighting in an aquarium is the artificial sun for living creatures and plants, and therefore indispensable, as it is for us humans. With the lighting, you can imitate the day-night rhythm and ensure in dark rooms that the small creatures in a nano aquarium get enough light. The light stimulates the metabolism of the animals and the plants perform the photosynthesis we all know.

In recent decades, LED lighting has become increasingly popular. The power-saving lights allow for RGB light. The RGB light uses three light-emitting diodes in the colors red, green, and blue. Most often, aquariums are illuminated with a light temperature of 5000 to 6000 Kelvin.

The lighting time depends on the planting and the species of animals in your aquarium. However, a lighting range of 8-10 hours has become established and is sufficient for most animals and plants.

CO2 Systems

Your aquatic plants need additional CO2 because the content underwater is much lower. The growth of the plants will be limited without additional CO2 and in particularly heavily planted aquariums the supply is no longer sufficient without a CO2 system.

Tip: You do not always need a CO2 system. Only if your nano aquarium is to be set up with many plants or you even want to keep exclusively plants in the tank, the CO2 requirement is significantly increased and the purchase makes sense. This way you can keep different plant species in your tank and watch them grow fast.

Living Creatures In The Nano Aquarium

Small creatures can be kept well in a mini aquarium. Nevertheless, not all species are suitable for keeping in this special habitat.


Different shrimp species like the dwarf shrimp can be kept well in a nano aquarium. The dwarf shrimp usually do not grow larger than 3 cm and enjoy abundant planting and a good bottom.

Other species for small aquariums:

  • Bee Shrimp
  • Taiwang shrimp
  • Neocaridina
  • Amano shrimps

Tip: Bee and Taiwan shrimp require soft water. Neocaridina and Amano shrimp prefer hard water and are slightly more adaptable.


Snails are quite helpful in the aquarium. They clean the tank by eating food remains, algae or dead plant remains. Most snail species do not require additional feeding.

Tip: If you have many plants in your aquarium, you can usually keep many snails, as they will find enough food. If you have only a few plants planted, you should also keep the number of snails low.

It often happens that the snail population multiplies unintentionally and much too fast. Then it makes sense to remove some snails from the aquarium. Another possibility is to add snail species that eat other snails.


Most fish require some swimming space and are not suitable for keeping in 20 or 30-liter aquariums. An exception is the Siamese fighting fish. It can be kept in a nano aquarium, but it is important to control the water values constantly. In a Nano Cube, this is sometimes quite difficult, because the amount of water is very small. As a beginner, you should refrain from keeping the fighting fish or choose a larger aquarium.

If the aquarium has a volume of 60 liters, it is possible to keep other small fish species. Here you can find some examples:

  • Mosquito danio
  • Guinea fowl danio
  • Dwarf goldringel goby
  • Dwarf Rice Carp
  • Neon tetra

Tip: Even in 60-liter aquariums you should keep only a few fish. Mixing different species of fish is possible, but it is best to take care not to keep too many species in one aquarium. Already at the time of purchase it is important that you pay attention to some things, here you can learn more.

If you want to admire especially many and larger fish species, you should switch to a large aquarium.

Criticism of nano aquariums

Not everyone likes small aquariums. Especially the keeping of fish is viewed critically. Due to the small amount of water, it is quite difficult to keep a good water quality. Many beginners hope for less work with a small aquarium. However, most of the time there is just as much effort in the small aquariums as in larger models. Small mistakes usually have big consequences in a nano aquarium. The mini home provides a habitat for plants and animals that requires time-consuming care.

With the right equipment, creatures and plants, even beginners can become successful nano aquarium owners.

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