Simply because you cannot tolerate pet dander or don’t have the time to play with a dog does not mean you cannot have a pet! An aquarium (or nano aquarium if you’re short on space) is a terrific option. You can use the aquarium to add a little bit of brightness and fun to your space, but without having as much responsibility as if you had a dog, cat or bird.
In this guide, we are going to provide you with 5 of the best marine nano aquariums you can get on the market today. If you want to continue shopping around, we are also going to provide you with information that will help you make a well-informed decision on what is the best nano aquarium for your home.
Best 5+ Gallon Nano Aquarium
Best 2+ Gallon Nano Aquarium
Here are our top picks for this category:
The Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium features a design that allows you to be able to view your fish from numerous angles. The tank features curved corners so you can easily reach in and clean the algae off the glass without struggling. Notable features of the Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium include:
The base of the tank is constructed from a durable and sturdy black plastic, adding to the overall sophisticated look while ensuring the tank will not move around for any reason. The aquarium comes with an LED lighting system that mimics natural sunlight and the gentle glow of the moon at night.
The filtration system and pump that is included with this tank are hidden behind a panel in the back of the aquarium. Because these units are hidden, you don’t have to worry about the two units cluttering your tank.
Not only does this provide you with a clear view of your fish, but it gives your fish more space to swim around. The filtration system uses three methods of filtration: biological, mechanical, and chemical. These three methods of filtration ensures your water is clean and safe for your fish.
When looking at what people had to say about the Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium, they had great things to say. Customers appreciated the solid construction of the base and they felt the filter and the pump were also nicely made.
They reported the motor on the pump is virtually silent and they were able to watch movies, sleep, or have a normal conversation without being bothered by the sound of the motor running. Several people liked that the filters were available in their local pet store, meaning they didn’t have to worry about trying to find them online or pay extra in shipping.
On the other hand, while many people had great things to say about this aquarium, there were some people who had some major complaints.
Customers felt it was challenging to clean the aquarium because the filter at the top would collect a lot of debris, uneaten food, and fish waste. Since it would collect so much stuff at the top, the customer needed to clean it more often than they had anticipated – otherwise the tank would begin smelling foul.
The Fluval Spec V 5-Gallon Aquarium features an all-in-one configuration. This means the pump, filtration system, and the light is housed in a single package. When you are setting up the tank, you’ll notice the components of this system closely resembles that of a high end marine aquarium. Notable features of the Fluval Spec V 5-Gallon Aquarium include:
The aquarium is divided into three sections: the main compartment is where your fish will live and on the side is where the filter media and the pump will go. The sections where the filter media and the pump goes are hidden behind a black plexiglass barrier and surrounded by frosted glass.
The light for this system is unique features a bent aluminum frame that will fit into the slotted bracket on the backside of the aquarium. The lighting system will hang over the main compartment of the aquarium and the 35 white lights will illuminate the fish brilliantly, and the two blue LEDs will gently cover the aquarium in a soft blue glow that resembles the nighttime.
When looking at what people had to say about the Fluval Spec V 5-Gallon Aquarium, they had great things to say. Customers were most impressed by how quick and easy setup was. They liked that the working parts of the aquarium were “hidden” from view. Customers liked the overall look of the aquarium.
They stated the frosted glass was a nice touch, and the aluminum covered corners gives the tank a slight modern edge. Customers also commented they liked the light that comes with the aquarium and they feel it creates a lovely atmosphere for the fish. People have had the aquarium for several years and it still looks and works as good as the first day they purchased it.
A small handful of people were not impressed with this aquarium. Though the unit is nice to look at, they felt it could have been better. One customer reported they had purchased this unit a while ago and they were so impressed, they ordered another one.
They went on to say the new one they received was not like the original and it was not as nice. One of the major complaints was that the light bar that is included was not as nice or as bright. Some people commented the filtration could have been better. One stated there was always film on top of the water as a result of the poor filtration.
For those who are looking for the best desktop nano aquarium, the Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light may be a contender. This small aquarium is able to create a unique visual effect that other aquariums cannot provide. Notable features of the Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light include:
This model is one of the world’s first 3D water cube aquarium. It features a sealed glass top that allows you to fill the aquarium to the brim. The sealed top prevents evaporation, which reduces how much time you will have to spend on cleaning the aquarium. The hidden aperture encourages oxygen exchange so your fish will always be healthy.
The aquarium is designed to only take a few seconds to assemble. The removable, perforated cover disppates the heat generated from the lamp, but it also avoids moisture build up. You can easily access the filter media by lifting the filter out.
The motor on the filter operates silently. This allows you to keep this stunning aquarium anywhere in your home without disturbing anyone around it.
When looking at what people had to say about the Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light, they had great things to say. Customers reported that this aquarium is truly stunning. People like that it is very easy to set up, but also cleaning it is easy too.
Several people reported that this is one of the best all in one saltwater nano aquariums they’ve had because it is easy to use, clean, and it runs silently. People felt the lighting on the aquarium is perfect and it illuminates the contents of the aquarium beautifully.
Many customers agree that this aquarium looks great, but they still had some issues with it. Customers reported this tank is not suitable for fish that requires atmospheric oxygen, which is impossible if you fill the tank as instructed.
This includes Bettas, African Dwarf Frogs, corydoras, catfish and the like. A small handful of people commented their tank arrived broken and they had to wait a long time for a replacement. Others commented that this tank is nearly impossible to clean because the opening is so small and there were too many corners to try to clean around.
Let's take a look on our top recommendations for the best 2+ gallon nano aquarium:
The Penn Plax Vertex 2.7-gallon Aquarium Kit is one of the best nano cube aquarium because it is small, but it also includes everything you need to start your foray as an aquarist. This aquarium is made from bent glass and features a frameless design. Notable features of the Penn Plax Vertex 2.7-gallon Aquarium Kit include:
The overall look of the aquarium is polished and quite a statement for something so small. The kit includes a whisper quiet filtration system with an adjustable flow control and a silent motor. The filter uses disposable cartridges that are simple to replace when the time comes to do so.
Also included with this kit is the Penn Plax Aqua Life Thermometer and the Penn Plax Aqua Life Fish Net. The thermometer is an essential accessory that is going to help you ensure the water remains at a safe and comfortable temperature for the fish.
When you need to clean the tank, instead of using the cup method where you catch the fish in a cup and pour it out, you can scoop the fish up in the mesh net and safely put them into their new or temporary home.
When looking at what people had to say about the Penn Plax Vertex 2.7-gallon Aquarium Kit, they had great things to say. Customers liked being able to control the filter’s water flow. They were afraid the filter would create too much movement for their fish, but the ability to change the flow was greatly appreciated.
Customers also liked that the tank runs silently, thus allowing them to keep it on their bedside table and sleep soundly. Others commented on the overall construction, stating it felt solid and durable – exactly what they were looking for.
On the other end of the review spectrum, there were some people who had a few concerns with this aquarium. Of these critical reviews, customers felt the adjustable flow knob was worthless because no matter what setting they put the filter on, it created too strong of a current. One person even stated the filter was too strong and it sucked up their shrimp!
Other customers had construction issues. One stated the hinge on the lid was installed in the wrong direction, making it impossible to use the lid correctly. Others reported the hinges on their tank were either broken or missing.
The Fluval Spec III 2.6-Gallon Aquarium Kit is a small unit that does not take up much space at all. The aquarium features an all-in-one design, which means the filtration system and light is combined in one uniform design. Notable features of the Fluval Spec III 2.6-Gallon Aquarium Kit include:
This glass aquarium features an acrylic lid that will help keep hands and pets out of the tank. The bottom of the tank does feature a plastic base, but that doesn’t make the overall unit look cheap at all. In fact, the overall look of this tank is right up there with the best rimless nano aquarium.
There is space in the pump chamber where you can incorporate a heater if you need to. The light that is included with this aquarium is bright white and it can be mounted on the side of the aquarium and it will hang over the opening in the lid.
The filter with this unit is functional and it works well. When the motor is running, you cannot hear it at all. The pump can be adjusted to achieve the desired flow rate.
When looking at what people had to say about the Fluval Spec III 2.6-Gallon Aquarium Kit, they had great things to say. The majority of customers loved the design of the aquarium. They commented the size wasn’t too big and it was perfect for their betta fish.
People liked that the working parts of the aquarium were “hidden” away in their own area, making the overall look of the aquarium more aesthetically pleasing. Customers felt the light was on the bright side, but not so much that it bothered the fish.
Customers were also grateful that the aquarium was made from glass and not plastic because it was less likely to scratch and mar the look of the unit.
There were a few people who had some issues with the aquarium. Of these critical reviews, customers were most disappointed that they had to make some alterations if they wanted to have a betta fish in the tank. Customers felt the filtration was too strong, even when adjusting the flow strength.
Customers also didn’t like that this didn’t come with a heater. Some people commented the light on the aquarium stopped working only after a few days. Other customers said the pump stopped working only after a few months. When they tried contacting customer service, they didn’t receive a response.
Looking for the right nano saltwater aquarium should be fun and exciting, but with so many options, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some of the things you will want to pay attention to when you’re shopping for the best nano saltwater aquarium for yourself or a loved one:
When choosing the size and shape of your aquarium, you will want to first consider what kind of fish you are going to put inside it. Some fish need to be in a vertical or a tall aquarium because of their swimming pattern.
Some fish are territorial and need a larger aquarium. When you know the kind of fish you want and the type of tank they do the best in, then you can choose the right size and shape of aquarium.
Many modern aquariums will be rimless, but you can find some with a rim. A rimless aquarium is going to be made of thicker, higher quality glass and silicone that will support the weight of the water.
You want a strong enough filter that is going to be able to filter and circulate the water. Ideally, the filter should use all three methods of filtration (biological, mechanical, and chemical). You want a filter that is going to be easy to replace the cartridges, but also have a way to adjust the water flow.
While the inclusion of a lighting system isn’t a make-or-break feature for a nano aquarium, it is nice to have one included. Some kits will include lighting that will mimic both sunlight and the moonlight.
Everyone likes getting more bang for their buck! Accessories that may be included with your aquarium will include additional filters, a fish net, a thermometer, and more. The drawback of having some accessories included is that they may not be of the best quality, or you simply may not need them because you have your own.
The most common material an aquarium is made from is either glass or acrylic. A glass aquarium is going to be harder to scratch than an acrylic aquarium and they are easy to find.
There is going to be less visual distortion with a glass tank and any chemicals or light will change the color of the glass. An acrylic aquarium is going to be much lighter and easier to move. The acrylic is much more durable and less likely to break. You can drill through the acrylic to accommodate other accessories such as a heater or a thermometer.
A nano cube aquarium is a lovely focal point in a communal space, but it can also be a source of relaxation after a long day. There are many wonderful nano aquariums available and which one is the right one for you depends on how much space you have and what kind of fish you want put in it.
If you have a large area designated for your tank, the Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium is a great option. We love this one because the pump and filtration system is neatly contained in a hidden compartment on the back of the tank. This means you have an unobstructed view of your fish at all times!
If you only need (or want) a small aquarium, the Penn Plax Vertex 2.7-gallon Aquarium Kit is a great option because it is compact, lovely to look at, and everything is all contained!