Nano Aquarium: The Ultimate Guide 2020

nano aquarium

You have always been fascinated by aquaristics, but are unsure about aquariums? Then you should learn more about nano aquariums

  • You can get a nano aquarium as a set with everything included which save you a lot of time
  • With the modern cube shape, which goes particularly well with the nano size, it stands out clearly from the conventional aquarium shapes
  • Nano aquariums are ideal for aquascaping designs
  • Ideal for keeping shrimp and snails

Ok, now you need to know what a nano aquarium is.

This ultimate guide gives you everything you need to know including tips for stocking and planting your nano aquarium.

What is a nano aquarium?

Nano aquariums are smaller and compact versions of your aquarium

They are popular because:

  • They come in different capacities
  • They normally have a maximum volume of around 60 liters
  • They also come in cube-shapes – hence the market name “nano cube”
  • Nano cubes range in size from 25 x 25 cm (20 liters) and 30 x 30 cm (30 liters).


  1. Please note that you will have to be careful about the size of the nano aquarium you buy. It will decide the type of fish or other inhabitants that you can keep. Some species do not thrive well in limited space.
  2. It’s not advisable to keep fish in an aquarium that has less than 30 liters.

Advantages and disadvantages of the nano aquariums


  • They are easy to transport
  • You do not have to worry about space since you can have them anywhere in the house
  • They look beautiful and offer the opportunity to look at smaller inhabitants such as crayfish, crabs abd snails upclose.


  • Maintaining a nano aquarium requires more effort. Make sure you avoid overfeeding because decomposing leftover food affect the water chemistry. Check the water regulary and do not forget to change the water
  • Nano aquariums are a bit expensive. The equipment of nano aquariums are compact because they need to incorporate everything that is required for the ecosystems. That is why they tend to be a bit expensive than conventional aquariums

Stocking for a nano aquarium

You should take the same precautions when setting up a nano aquarium that you would with a normal aquarium.

Adjust your choices based on the fact that a nano aquarium is limited and choose your plants. You should then stock base on the nano aquarium needs.

Plan everything before starting. This guide gives you an introduction to nano aquariums and all that you need to know about possible inhabitants.

Choosing the right fish for a nano aquarium

FACT: Not all fish species are suitable for a nano aquarium. Make sure that you do not overcrowd the aquarium.

Select fish and other inhabitants that will not grow larger than 4cm due to the the limited conditions in the nano aquarium.

Remember: Every liter of water should accomodate an 1centimeter of fish.

  • A 30 cube needs: 5 to 10 fish
  • A 60 cube needs: 10 to 20 fish

You should first observe the inhabitants: Calm fish do not like to live with fish who love to swim and vice versa.

Thinsgs you should pay attention to:

  • Buy fish that have the same behavior
  • Make sure that the inhabitants strive in the same environment

Fish that are suitable for a nano aquarium

The following two types of fish are suitable for nano aquariums.

Mosquito rasbora / Chili rasbora (Bororas brigittae)

Mosquito rasbora are very pretty and can visually enhance your nano aquarium noticeably.

nano aquarium
Mosquito rasbora

Origin: The small fish originally come from the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Sulawesi and South Borneo and rarely grow to over 2 cm.

Color: They have a bright orange-red color with black markings on the sides of the body.

Ideal conditions: Their bright color comes into its own when the aquarium is well planted. They do not make great demands on the water quality, but feel most comfortable in slightly acidic and soft water. The ideal water temperature is 23 to 28 ° C.

Feeding: In nature they like to feed on worms, crustaceans and plankton, but in the aquarium they also like to eat granulated or dry food with a bit of getting used to.

Behavior: Mosquito rasbora tend to be nervous, so keeping them together with calm fish is recommended.

Celestial Pearl Danio / Galaxy rasbora (Danio margaritatus)

Celestial Pearl Danio or Galaxy rasbora are well suited for tanks that are packed with vegetation and other colorful fish that mimic their peaceful nature. 

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Celestial Pearl Danio

Origin: The guinea fowl harlequin comes from Burma and Thailand and is only about 2 cm tall.

Color: Because of its bright colors and its peaceful demeanor, it quickly became a favorite for aquarists. It has a blue basic color, its belly is white to orange in color and it has golden yellow dots on the sides of the body.

Ideal conditions:  Since the guinea fowl is a fish that needs a place to retreat, dense planting of the aquarium is recommended. It is also a schooling fish and should not be kept in groups of less than five. The ideal water temperature is 18 to 22 ° C.

Feeding: Celestial Pearl Danio eat live, frozen and dry food but you should be careful not to add more food to the aquarium than can be eaten immediately to avoid overfeeding.

Behavior: Galaxy rasbora are normally timid and a bit scared and shy but very uncomplicated to keep. That is why it is very suitable for keeping in the nano aquarium.

Choosing the right shrimp for a nano aquarium

Dwarf shrimp should be on your list of inhabitants to buy because:

  • They are easy to maintain
  • They are peaceful
  • They require very little space
  • They prevent excess algae growth
  • They are bred in many different colors and can significantly beautify your underwater world

For 20L: Stock 10 to 20 inhabitants.

Fully grown dwarf shrimp do not grow larger than 3 cm and do not have any special requirements.

Dwarf shrimp are good algae killers and omnivores with a preference for plant-based foods. A varied diet is nevertheless important. For example with special shrimp and / or fish food, but they also like crushed peas and spinach.

Shrimp are also easy to care for in socialization. They are very sociable and behave peacefully towards other aquarium residents. Therefore, they can be kept together with fish, snails and peaceful crabs without hesitation.

Shrimp are tolerant of the water parameters, but keep an eye on the water parameters and check them daily. Make sure you researches on which prawns go with your plans, especially if you are a beginner. In the following we will introduce you to three types of shrimp.

Shrimps that are suitable for a nano aquarium

The following are types of shrimps that are suitable for nano aquariums.

Red Cherry shrimp

nano aquarium
Red Cherry Shrimp

Origin: The red cherry shrimp comes from Southeast Asia

Color: The red cherry shrimp is one of the best-known dwarf shrimp due to its beautiful red color.

Ideal conditions: It is also easy to reproduce – you can expect around 25 baby shrimp per month. You will soon have to transfer them to other tanks so as not to endanger the delicate biological balance in your nano aquarium. You should maintain water temperature between 22 and 28 ° C.

Feeding: They feed on commercial food like fish flakes, shrimp pellets, fish pellets, and algae wafers. Red Cherry Shrimp diet can also include edible plant matter shed from live aquarium plants.

Behavior: It is easy to maintain and suitable for beginners. It grows up to 2.5 cm long and is absolutely peaceful with its roommates; therefore it can be socialized with everyone.  

Orange Sunkist Bee Shrimp

nano aquarium
Orange Sunkist Bee Shrimp

Origin: The Orange Sunkist Bee Shrimp shrimp comes from Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Color: It has a bright orange color and is up to three centimeters tall.

Ideal conditions: Although it is difficult to breed in aquarium conditions, it is still suitable for beginners in the aquarium hobby. From 20 liters capacity you can hold a group of ten individuals.

Feeding: She loves algae and dried leaves for food, but is also not averse to commercial dry and granulated food for shrimp and / or ornamental fish.

Behavior: The tangerine shrimp is peaceful and frugal and can be socialized well with other shrimp or ornamental fish.

Redtail shrimp

Redtail Shrimp

Origins: The Redtail shrimp comes from Taiwan

Color: It is not as colorful as the other two species, but is still very suitable for beginners. Their name is derived from their red-colored tail area. The rest of the body is light and transparent and has different drawings, for example many small dots.

Ideal conditions: Redtail shrimp like dense vegetation and like to eat algae. They become about 2.5 cm tall, are peaceful and easy to socialize. In principle, you can keep redtail shrimp together with all other dwarf shrimp species. But then you should note that the beautiful colors of the other shrimp species can be lost through undesired crossings – at some point the offspring will turn gray-brown and unspectacular.

Feeding: Feeding the Redtail shrimp is very easy – they are omnivores so are not fed with fish food in the long term. In nature, these dwarf shrimp feed mainly on so-called growth, i.e. on algae and plankton.

Behavior: Redtail shrimp are very easy to breed because the females do not give birth to larvae, but give birth to 20 – 40 fully developed, almost transparent young animals once a month. As with the red dwarf shrimp, you should soon move the shrimp offspring to other tanks.

Choosing the right Crayfish for a nano aquarium

Most crabs get pretty big. If you want to equip your nano aquarium, you should stick to dwarf crayfish (for example of the genus Cambarellus) because they do not grow larger than three to five centimeters.

They can also be kept in nano aquariums with a capacity of ten liters or more. The reason for this is that dwarf crabs hardly swim – for them the size of the base area is more important than the height of the tank.

Dwarf crabs are also animals that are tolerant of water values. They also have no interest in destroying plants, which means that you can design your underwater world however you want.

It is important that you offer the crabs enough hiding places such as roots. They also like to dig a shelter in sand or gravel. It is also important that you make the nano aquarium escape-proof, because crabs can climb well.

There are more peaceful and more aggressive species. If you want to socialize dwarf crabs with dwarf shrimp, make sure that you get crabs that the shrimp do not consider food. Crabs and shrimps usually live in different habitats – socialization must therefore be well planned. Dwarf crabs can be socialized very well with snails.

Crayfish that are suitable for a nano aquarium

Below is an introduction to a type of crayfish that is suitable for nano aquariums.

Pygmy crayfish (Cambarellus)

nano aquarium

Origin: In nature they like to live in stagnant to slowly flowing river sections in East Asia and North America. Due to their small size, you can also equip your nano aquarium with them.

Ideal conditions: Here, too, you have to make sure that you never add too much food to the aquarium. What has not been eaten after an hour has to go. They can be kept at a water temperature between 15 ° and 25 ° Celsius (optimally: room temperature), the carbonate hardness should level off in the range of KH 5-15. The pH should be between 6.8 and 8.0.

Feeding: The feed should be as varied as possible. Basic feed is available in stores, but the crayfish also like cooked peppers, peas or Brussels sprouts. You also have no problem with food that is actually designed for fish. But the most important thing is foliage. Fall leaves should never be missing as a dietary supplement in a dwarf crayfish tank. Dwarf shrimp also take part in the decomposition process of leaves, but the real eaters are the dwarf crabs.

Choosing the right Snails for a nano aquarium

Because of their size and easy management requirement, they are well suited for stocking your nano aquarium.

Make sure you always keep at least three animals together. To keep the algae in check in the aquarium, snails are a very good choice because they love to eat them.

Crayfish that are suitable for a nano aquarium

Below is an introduction to the types of snails that are suitable for nano aquariums.

Zebra racing snail

nano aquarium
Zebra Racing Snail

The zebra racing snail is two to three centimeters tall and has a pretty drawing on its shell, from which its name is derived – it is yellow with black stripes.

Ideal conditions: It is particularly interesting for the stocking of your nano aquarium because it primarily feeds on leftover food and algae, but not on plants. So it’s really useful and can help you maintain a healthy biological balance in your nano aquarium. . If they only have access to fresh water, the zebra racing snails cannot reproduce in the aquarium either – so you don’t need to be afraid of a snail plague.

Behavior: It is also recommended to socialize with shrimp because it is peaceful and gets along well with shrimp

Antler snail

nano aquarium

The snail’s antlers, from which its name is derived, are not the antennae, but are in the form of tips on its shell. Antler snails appear in many pretty color drawings.

Ideal conditions: She diligently cleans furnishings and windows and tirelessly eats up algae. Of course, there must be a sufficient supply of algae for this. That’s why you should only put antler snails in the aquarium after it has been set up for a while. In addition, they cannot reproduce in fresh water either.

Behavior: The antler snail is also recommended for keeping in the nano aquarium because it cleans. They too have a peaceful disposition and can therefore be kept well with shrimps.

Choosing the right Plants for a nano aquarium

The planting plays an important role in the nano aquarium.

  • It makes the nano aquarium look beautiful
  • It also offers protection and care options for the animals

In principle, you create a habitat with the plants that mimics that of the animals in nature. This ensures that the animals feel comfortable and also improves the water quality.

Plants that are suitable for a nano aquarium

A small aquarium obviously requires small plants. There are also special nano plants that are particularly suitable for the nano aquarium.

Below is an introduction to a plant that is suitable for nano aquariums.

Moss balls

Moss Ball

Contrary to what the name suggests, moss balls are not made of moss, but of algae threads.

But they have a moss-like structure and some other properties that moss also has. They look like fluffy little balls of fabric. They are particularly suitable for beginners because they do not grow uncontrollably and generally do not have high demands.

The placement of the moss balls in the nano aquarium is easy. Simply drop them somewhere in the aquarium and let them soak up water.

They reach a maximum diameter of ten centimeters – a diameter of three centimeters is recommended for the nano aquarium.

Moss balls can be combined particularly well with a shrimp stock. Microorganisms that the shrimp use as a source of food settle on the plants.


Nano aquariums will make every small place beautiful.

It’s feasible to achieve a viable ecosystem within a nano aquarium if the conditions are kept optimal.

  • Do not overcrowd your aquarium
  • Check the water chemistry and temperature regularly

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