Top Rated Nano Aquarium Reviews

For most people, when they think of having an aquarium the idea is that bigger is better. However, there’s a class of aquarium where smaller is better. You can sort of think of them as the bonsai trees of aquariums.

Desktop aquariums are an awesome way to experience the pleasure and beauty of an aquarium when you don’t have the space for a larger one. It’s also a great second aquarium for a workspace.

One of the things I love about small desktop aquariums is that they let you keep very small species of fish that would usually be almost invisible in a bigger tank, and also a bad match for bigger fish that would simply eat them.

Small volumes of water are, however, a bit more of a challenge to maintain, since bad changes in the water quality happen much faster than with a bigger aquarium.

Still, nano aquariums are affordable and beautiful additions to any office or, really, any tight spot.

Here is what I think is the best nano aquarium you can buy today.


Best Nano Aquarium: EcoQube Aquarium- Desktop Aquarium Kit for Betta Fish

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I’m actually not a huge fan of keeping Betta fish. I haven’t had much luck with them, but I can’t help but be impressed with the concept and design of the EcoQube.

The inventors of this tank claim that it is the lowest maintenance tank in existence. Amazingly, they say that the water never needs to be changed. How is this amazing feat achieved? Through something called aquaponics, where a live plant is used to absorb all the waste from your betta. So all you have to do is feed it and that’s it. Pretty impressive concept.

Clever Girl

The plant in question is a basil plant; it acts as the chemical filter along with the bacteria, which are the biological filter, and a sponge as the mechanical filter. The waste from the fish is therefore fertilizer for the plant.

All aquariums are ecosystems, albeit rather inefficient ones. The EcoQube just tries to improve that efficiency to the point where you don’t have to constantly add or remove things to keep it viable.

Of course, the basil plant is not traditionally what you would call an aquatic plant. In fact, it very much should not be in an aquarium. That’s why you’ll find it growing in a separate chamber with the leaves coming out the top of the tank. It’s all very cool and technically makes this aquarium also double as an office plant.

Light Work

The other cool feature I like about this aquarium is the included LED that can change color and match the day and night cycle, creating a little bit of nature.

You do have to cycle the tank for three weeks before you can add fish, but once you have a betta and one or two snails or shrimp, you’ll have a lovely, healthy water environment. I have found bettas to be notoriously finicky when it comes to water quality, so perhaps this tank will be the first that works for me.


The Next Best Thing: Penn Plax Simplicity 5.5

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This 5.5 gallon nano tank is much more traditional than the EcoQube, but your options in terms of fish stock is much wider. This tank can accommodate about four or five one-inch fish.

The main thing I like about the the Penn Plax is that it’s simple and straightforward, while including just about everything you need. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but other than that I have few negative things to say about it.

The main element that is missing from this setup is some sort of heater, so if you don’t want to spoil the clean aesthetic it may be better to stick with cold water fish. On the other hand, the heater you need to warm this is tiny, so it may be possible to conceal it quite effectively. The tank includes a built-in thermometer, so clearly warm water is in the cards.

The light cluster has 39 individual LEDs and uses a neat touch control that does away with the need for physical buttons. You can see the temperature and time on an LCD display, which makes it even better for an office environment.

The only downside of this tank is that the flow from the filter is a little strong, so without something to diffuse it you can’t have bettas in it.


The Next Next Best Thing: Tetra 29095 Cube Aquarium Kit

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This 3-gallon nano tank from Tetra is utterly gorgeous and I love the fact that it is so panoramic. That plus the stylish built-in stand makes this look like a premium aquarium in miniature.

Given how small this aquarium is you’ll get away with two or three fish, or perhaps one medium-sized goldfish. There is a lid with a feeding hole, which should cut down on evaporation.

The filter is extremely quiet and the power adapter plugs into the integrated pedestal. All in all, this is one of the prettiest and slickest nano aquariums I have ever seen.


Honorable Mentions

It was pretty hard picking out my favorite in this category and there are two more tanks that I feel have to be included here. The first one is actually about the same as the 3-gallon cube I mention above, but at half size.

Tetra Water Wonders Aquarium Kit

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Yes, if the 3-gallon cube is just not nano enough for you, this is the hardcore, teeny-tiny version. Same slick premium looks, but more space is saved. Getting a heater in here will be a real challenge though, so coldwater fish only, I’d say.

The last honorable mention I have to make is this unique and interesting little beauty.

Tetra 1.8 Gallon Waterfall Globe

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This unique 1.8-gallon waterfall bowl gets around the problem of strong current in a nano tank, making it perfect for cold water fish species with elaborate fins that can’t swim in current.

There’s no heater though, so if your room temperature is prone to get too low you’ll have to invest in a betta heater of some sort. Otherwise this is an eye-catching aquarium that’s well worth a look.