Is a Nano Aquarium right for me?
The popularity of the nano aquarium segment of the aquarium hobby is on the rise in recent years. With many small fish becoming more available in the hobby, increased popularity of shrimp and other inverts, and even a few striking new discoveries in the last several years, the appeal has never been higher. Many people find the convenience of small aquariums to be very appealing. However, there are potential problems.
The definition of a “nano aquarium” differs from person to person. This article will refer to tanks between five- and twenty-gallons. Five gallon aquariums are only suitable for a handful of species. Fish aquariums smaller than five gallons are too small to keep any aquatic creature in long term, so they should be avoided if possible. As salt water is not within my realm of expertise, I will be referring only to freshwater aquariums.
Let’s start with acknowledging the difficulties of a smaller aquarium. If you have been in the aquatics hobby for any amount of time, you have probably have heard the saying “bigger is always better” in reference to aquarium size. As with many sayings, there is definitely some truth behind this. You have more room to make mistakes if there is more water in your aquarium ecosystem. Regular water changes are a necessity to maintain good water chemistry, which is something most people recognize. However, you should also consider that smaller tanks are more susceptible to temperature swings. Avoid placing them near heat vents or drafty doors that could cause them to cool down. Consider heat when choosing the light fixture you will use. Some fixtures can heat nano aquariums. When considering which species to keep, you really must consider their adult size and level of aggression. This is important for all aquariums. However, small aquariums are less tolerant to overstocking because there is less space for fish to escape from each other.
However, there are some real advantages to setting up and maintaining a nano aquarium. Most people begin with smaller aquariums because of the high cost. Nearly all the required components can be purchased at a low price, including filters and heaters. Many places even offer all in one kits for an affordable price. Also, you obviously need smaller quantities of several aquarium necessities, such as substrate or necessary chemicals, which help to keep initial costs affordable. Due to their small size, these aquariums can fit in just about any home. However, you should make sure that you place it somewhere that can handle at least a little moisture as well as the weight of an aquarium.
The options are limitless when it comes down to what you can keep in your nano aquarium. Stock with many of the smaller danio and rasbora species, if you are a fan of schooling fish. Many apistogramma varieties are suitable for 20-gallon aquariums. Freshwater shrimp from the genus neocaridina are suitable for even the most beginner hobbyist, with just a little bit of research, and are available in just about any color imaginable. The nano aquarium can have some color added by snails like mystery and nerite, which are both beautiful and tidy. You can breed many types of livebearers in smaller tanks, including guppies and endlers. This is a great way to have fun with the family.
Live plants are a great accent in a nano aquarium. Aquatic plants are a great asset in these petite environments as they assist hobbyist in removing nitrate and other pollutants from the water, keeping the tank in better balance. Because nano aquariums are shallower, it is easier for plants to thrive in high-light conditions. Even though they are the most cost-effective option, there are some all-in-1 co2 kits that can be used to create a high-tech environment.
Regardless of if you are new to the hobby or an experienced fish keeper, a nano aquarium can be very rewarding. There are many benefits, but also some drawbacks. A nano aquarium is a great option if you are limited on space or want to enjoy aquarium hobby with a lower budget.
– Josh Phillips