Saltwater Nano Aquarium? Starting With Small One.

Colorful saltwater nano aquarium

So you want to have a small saltwater nano aquarium? For beginners into saltwater, nano aquariums offer great introduction to familiarize them self`s to saltwater tropical aquariums and for advanced aquarists these are perfect for some show off-s. With quality filtration (natural or chemical), proteins skimmers and little research they can be a true eye-candy for any living room or office, and with some more special care in these tanks your fish, invertebrates, and plants tend to get special view that would be lost in most of large aquariums.

Nano tanks are a smaller version of bigger aquariums but they are perfect for people who are low on space and budget (not necessarily true with budget as nanos can get quite costly also) as well as those that would like a drop of tropical reef in their office space. Saltwater nano aquariums are considered mini saltwater aquariums (some have them as small as 2-gallons) but can be as beautiful as big ones. You just need to be careful with selection of fishes and corals you put in them with taking special care not to overstock them, especially with fish which will produce too waste.


So if you decide to start one small tropical aquarium we recommend you start with researching and buying these things first:

Live Rock:

Number one in all saltwater aquariums. A base of your filtration system. Always take care to acquire good quality live rock. Better quality means more natural filtration and stable water parameters.

Live Sand:

Was popular a while back, now not so much. If you cannot acquire one, buy dead aragonite sand and get small quantity of live sand from somebody who has established tank, in month or two it will turn into live one.

Salt (for creating salt water):

Better quality of salt less micro-elements you will need to buy (these can get quite pricey) and considering that this is small amount of water you will not need huge amount of salt so buy the best one you can find.

Circulation Pumps For Saltwater Nano Aquariums:

One thing you need to be careful is circulation pump, you need to buy high quality one because this is a “nano” tank, low quality means more generated heat and this can be a problem in any nano aquarium (you also don´t want it to malfunction in middle of night)

Heater / Chiller:

This is one that is tricky, there are people that have both, some have only heater,some chiller? I am using a nano chiller because in my apartment temperature is always high which is OK for winter time but on summer a chiller is a must with that small quantity of water!

Lightning in nano reef aquarium:

Lightning was a problem years back for small tanks. Today with LED lamps things are much more simpler and cheaper. Lightning can have a article of it`s own as it totally depends of what you plan to keep in your aquarium. Keep in mind that if you want nano reef aquarium witch corals you will need much stronger lightning setup than for fish only tank.

Protein Skimmer:

I never used one on nano or pico aquarium, although there are some nano skimmers and hang-on designed specifically for saltwater nano tank.

RO/DI unit:

RO/DI stands for reverse osmosis and Deionization. This is a multi stage water filter which takes ordinary tap water and produces high quality filtered water.

Hydrometer / Salinometer:

There are expensive ones like refractometer, but for start any one of those glass hydrometers will do fine. This thing measures salt concentration in water (when preparing your new aquarium or doing regular water changes)

Glass Aquarium:

Whatever you prefer, i personally love nano cube aquarium, circulation tends to be much better in them and you can even choose one of those nano aquarium kit (cube shaped usually) that has already lightning installed.


And that is it what you will need for start, research, buy and dive into your saltwater nano aquarium. Just remember not to overstock, plan fishes for your nano aquarium regarding tank size and do not overstock it.

So this are some basic stuff you need to consider and research before diving into world of saltwater nano aquariums with not going to specific details as any of this would need a article of its own.

Happy fishkeeping!

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