Is a Nano Aquarium right for me?
In recent years, the nano aquarium section of the aquarium hobby has been exploding in popularity. 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.
There are many definitions of “nano aquarium”, and each person’s interpretations will differ. For this article, I will be referring to tanks between five and twenty gallons, with five gallon aquariums only being appropriate for a hand full of species. Aquariums with fish smaller than five gallon are not suitable for aquatic creatures and should be avoided. I will also be referring to freshwater set-ups exclusively, as salt water is outside of my base of knowledge.
Let’s start with acknowledging the difficulties of a smaller aquarium. If you’ve been involved in aquaculture for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “bigger is always more” in relation 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. Most people acknowledge the even greater need for regular water changes to maintain proper water chemistry. 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. You should also consider heat when deciding on the type of light to use because some light fixtures can produce enough heat to warm nano aquariums. You must take into account the adult size and aggression of each species when deciding which species to keep. 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.
But, maintaining a nano-aquarium is a great option. The reason that most people start with smaller aquariums is the cost. There are inexpensive options for nearly all the necessary components, such as heaters and filters. Some places offer all-in one kits at an affordable price. It is also possible to get smaller quantities of many aquarium necessities such as substrate or chemicals. This allows for lower initial costs. Due to their small size, these aquariums can fit in just about any home. It is important to place the aquarium somewhere that can tolerate at least a little moisture.
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. If you prefer more of a centerpiece fish, there are several apistogramma species that would do well in twenty 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. Certain types of snails such as mystery or nerite snails can be used to add color and cleanliness to the nano aquarium. If you are looking for a fun breeding project for the whole family, many type of livebearers, such as guppies or endlers, can thrive in smaller tanks.
In a nano aquarium, live plants can be a wonderful accent. 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. There are even some all in one co2 kits to complete a high tech environment, though these are far from the most cost effective option in the long run.
A nano aquarium is a great option for fish keepers, regardless of whether you’re new or experienced. There are some advantages and also some disadvantages to a nano aquarium. 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