It’s hard to disagree with us when we say that choosing and buying a nano reef tank is just as confusing as it is exciting.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve gone through and tested all the popular nano reef tanks available out there to bring you this extensive list.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss what makes a good nano reef tank and how you can get the most out of yours.
We experimented with countless nano reef tanks for months and we can say without a doubt that these three stood out as the best ones by a great margin.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the best 8 nano reef tanks.
Best Nano Reef Tank - Best 8 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Nano Reef Tank - Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium Review
The Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium is a small 15-gallon aquarium which was very easy to set up and get started with.
It features a curved glass in the front which helped us observe our corals and fish very clearly. It comes with a built-in filtration system and LED lighting. The filtration system is completely hidden away in a compartment at the back which makes the tank look very clean and minimal.
You will find that feeding is also extremely easy in this tank due to its easy-to-use feeding hole at the top.
Features of Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium – Best Nano Reef Tank
- Size: 15 gallons
- Curved glass exterior
- Built-in filtration system
- Built-in LED lighting
- Feeding hole
- Cords and equipment completely hidden
- Easy to clean
- Filter is extremely silent
- Convenient lid for feeding
- Powerful LEDs for illumination on a wide spectrum
- Hood is flimsy
- Plastic back is prone to scratches
If you want an easy to set up reef tank that gives you complete control over its LED lighting, this is the one for you. Its clever design makes sure all extra equipment and cords stay hidden.
2. Best Nano Reef Tank with Most Effective Light - Marina LED Aquarium Kit Review
This lightweight reef tank comes equipped with everything you need to get started which makes it perfect for you if you’re a beginner fish-keeper.
The clip-on filter that comes with it is designed to have a special focus on biological filtration. Biological filtration is the most essential filtration type in reef tanks and you’ll find it’ll do a great job keeping your tank clean and your fish healthy.
The built-in LED lighting is extremely bright and adjustable so you can use it to give your corals and fish the most appropriate amount possible.
Features of Marina LED Aquarium Kit
- Comes in three sizes: 5 gallons, 10 gallons and 20 gallons
- Built-in LED lighting
- Comes with clip-on filter
- Comes with dechlorinating agent
- Comes with biological supplement
- Easy to set up
- No need to cycle. Can add fish immediately using supplement
- Quiet filter
- Lid seems cheaply built and flimsy
If you want a reef tank that you can start using immediately without having to cycle it, this product is ideal for you. It has a great lighting system and is very lightweight.
3. Best Rimless Nano Reef Tank - Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit Review
This glass aquarium features curved corners without any rims or borders which you’ll find is great for getting the maximum view of your fish and corals from a number of angles.
It feels very sturdy and durable when you set it up. The glass is scratch-resistant and the lid features a hinge which makes it very easy for you to feed your fish or to clean the tank.
The internal filter it comes with is very effective and does not need to be maintained or cleaned very often.
Features of Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit
- Comes in four sizes: 3.4 gallons, 5 gallons, 7.5 gallons and 10 gallons
- Built-in internal filter
- Fixed LED light
- Plastic lightweight lid
- High-quality thick glass
- Hinged lid makes for easy access
- Easy to set up
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
- LED light is not adjustable
If you want unobstructed viewing of your brilliant corals and fish in a beautifully designed tank, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s made from sturdy glass and comes in four different sizes.
4. Best Impact-Resistant Nano Reef Tank - SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set Review
This reef tank is made from acrylic but unlike the usual things you hear about acrylic, this reef tank is actually super durable, impact-resistant and less prone to cracking or scratching.
You will find that this tank is extremely lightweight and easy to handle. The acrylic exterior makes it much more clear and a lot lighter than its glass counterparts.
It comes in a number of different shapes and sizes so you can pick which one is most suitable for your home.
Features of SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
- Available in hexagonal and rectangular shapes
- Number of different sizes ranging from 20 gallons to 50 gallons
- Comes with a reflector
- Built-in 24-inch light fixture
- Acrylic material 17 times stronger than glass
- Highly durable
- Easy to set up
- Easy to clean
- Lifetime guarantee
- Light fixture doesn’t include a light
- Doesn’t come with a filter
If you’re looking for a nano reef tank that is both durable and lightweight, this product is perfect for you. Its high-quality acrylic material will really make your corals’ and fish’s colors pop.
5. Best Nano Reef Tank with Timer - Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED Review
This beautiful reef tank is a product that kept impressing us over and over again.
At first, we tinkered with the air pump to find out it was adjustable and worked very quietly. The ability to adjust flow rate in a built-in air pump is very rare in nano reef tanks.
Then we found out about the timer that can control the bright lights of the aquarium. You can adjust them to your liking so they turn on and off at appropriate times. Furthermore, they have a sunrise and sunset feature that allows them to mimic natural environments.
Features of Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED
- Comes in two sizes: 16 gallons and 32 gallons
- Vibrant LED lighting
- Sunrise and Sunset functions
- Built-in submersible air pump
- Customizable filtration system
- Easy to maintain
- Air pump is extremely silent
- Adjustable timer to control the lights
- Air pump has an adjustable flow rate
- Hinge-top lid for easy feeding
- A little confusing to set up
If you’re looking for a completely automated nano reef tank, this is the product you’re looking for. It requires little monitoring since everything is automatic and hinge-top lid makes it easy to clean.
6. Best Stylish Nano Reef Tank - Fluval Edge Aquarium Review
This sleek, compact and stylish reef tank is something that you’ll love to have in your room as the main attraction. Its cubic, minimalist shape is cleverly designed to hide all the cords and equipment that are built into it.
It comes with a built-in filtration system that works very discreetly and quietly. When we first turned it on, we thought we hadn’t connected the wires properly because it operated so quietly.
It even comes with water treatments that you can use to jump-start your aquatic fish-keeping journey.
Features of Fluval Edge Aquarium
- Two sizes available: 6 gallons and 12 gallons
- Comes with Nutrafin Cycle and Nutrafin Aquaplus water treatments
- Built-in filter
- Built-in LED lighting
- Can be viewed from every side
- Stylish and compact
- Filter is silent
- LEDs are extremely bright
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
If you’re looking for a nano reef tank that becomes the attention of the room, this is it for you. Its elegant design combined with its completely clear exterior makes for great, unobstructed viewing.
7. Best Nano Reef Tank with Circulation Pump - Fluval 10531A1 SEA EVO XII Aquarium Kit Review
This tank is also fairly stylish and comes with a very effective built-in circulation pump.
This air pump is as quiet as it is effective. It agitates the water just enough for it to become highly oxygenated without stressing out the fish or coral.
The tank is made from high-quality scratch-resistant glass. You’re going to want to keep looking at your brightly-colored corals and fish as they look absolutely gorgeous underneath this aquarium’s built-in LED lighting system.
Features of Fluval 10531A1 SEA EVO XII Aquarium Kit
- 13.5 gallons in size
- Circulation pump with an output nozzle
- Built-in filtration system
- Built-in LED lights
- Day and night illumination modes
- The hood is removable for easy cleaning
- Feeding hole makes for easy feeding
- All equipment is completely hidden
- Good value for money
- Effective water circulation
- LED lights are not adjustable
If you don’t want to go out and buy a separate air pump for your reef tank, you might want to invest in this product. The built-in pump is very effective and helps keep your tank well-aerated.
8. Best Nano Reef Tank with Cabinet Stand - SCA 50 Gallon Starfire Glass Aquarium Review
If you have the space and some money to spend, this could be a great addition to your home. The SCA Starfire Glass Aquarium is a premium quality, heavy-duty reef tank that we can assure you, will last you a lifetime.
The cabinet stand is very sturdy and holds up the heavy glass aquarium with ease. The inside of the cabinet has ample space that you can use to either hold other aquarium equipment that you might want to add or you could use it to store supplies for your reef tank such as fish food or water conditioners.
Features of SCA 50 Gallon Starfire Glass Aquarium
- 50 gallons in size
- Cabinet comes with dual opening doors
- Built-in filtration system
- Built-in skimmer and return pump
- Total weight: 250 pounds
- Comes assembled before shipping
- Extremely sturdy
- Spacious cabinet for placing equipment or storing aquarium supplies
- Quiet, effective filter
- High-quality, effective pump
- Quite heavy; Difficult to handle
- Does not come with a light
If you want a sturdy base for your nano reef tank, this is the product for you. It’s extremely sturdy and well-built, complete with an effective filter and air pump.
What Should I Look for when Getting a Nano Reef Tank?
There are a number of factors that should influence your decision on what nano reef tank to get. These factors are:
Nano-sized tanks can be anywhere from 1-gallon to 30-gallons so, you need to be wary of how big of a reef tank you can handle and get one accordingly.
You need to consider things like how much space you have in your home and if you’ll be able to devote enough time to maintain the nano reef tank if you end up getting a slightly bigger one.
If you are a beginner, we recommend starting small so that you are able to gain experience in how to set up and maintain your reef tank.
If you are a beginner, we highly recommend that you get a nano reef tank that is more horizontal than it is vertical. It’s much easier to manage light, marine life and feeding in a wide, shallow reef tank than a deep, narrow one. They are also easier to clean.
Material of the Reef Tank
Nano Reef Tanks are generally made of either glass or acrylic.
Glass tanks are generally much heavier than acrylic ones. A small glass reef tank can be as much as ten times heavier than an acrylic tank. The good thing about glass tanks is that they are very durable and resistant to scratches and yellowing.
Acrylic tanks are lighter and easier to handle but they are more prone to scratches and they can get yellow and wither over time.
What Types of Corals are Appropriate for a Nano Reef Tank?
There are mainly three popular types of corals that you can get to populate your nano reef tank. These three types are:
These are great for you if you’re a beginner. They can thrive in aquariums as small as 1-gallon. Soft Corals don’t have a stony skeleton like regular corals and have soft, squishy texture instead. They also require very little light for growth and are easier to maintain.
Large-Polyped Stony Corals
These corals are hard as their large, fleshy polyps grow out from their calcified skeletons. You need to invest in good, strong lighting if you’re going to have this kind of coral in your reef tank. Also, be sure to keep this coral away from other varieties.
Small-Polyped Stony Corals
These corals are, by far, the most difficult to maintain. If you’re an advanced aquarist looking for a challenge, these are the ones to get. They are the most light-hungry and are highly sensitive to changes in water conditions.
How Do I Set Up a Nano Reef Tank?
Setting up a Nano Reef Tank is not as straight-forward as setting up a freshwater aquarium. Most nano reef tanks come with their own unique set of instructions that you can follow in order to set them up. However, there are some steps which are universal to the setup process of all nano reef tanks. These steps are:
- Nano reef tanks are saltwater aquariums and thus, the first thing you’ll need is salt. You should pre-mix your water with the salt before adding it to the tank. We recommend investing in a refractometer in order to test the salinity to make sure it’s appropriate before adding it to the tank
- Place your aquarium on the aquarium stand and level it. It’s very important that you level your reef tank as an unbalanced one could lead to catastrophic consequences such as cracking of the glass due to stress or the reef tank falling over.
- Next step is aquascaping. Putting in cured rocks that are free from pesticides and any other harmful chemicals is a good idea. You can use aquarium saltwater sand to give your reef tank a nice, natural aesthetic.
- Set up all the external equipment on your reef tank. This includes any lights, filters and heaters.
- Add your saltwater into the aquarium and turn all the equipment on. It’s important that you don’t add any fish or coral yet.
- After about six weeks of letting your aquarium run empty, you can add fish and coral to your reef tank.
What Other Things Do I Need for my Nano Reef Tank?
Most nano reef tanks come in the form of aquarium kits or packages that already have all the equipment you need. If you don’t get one of these packages, it’s important that you get all the other equipment separately in order to have a complete running reef tank. This equipment includes a filter, a heater and lighting.
How do I Maintain a Clean Nano Reef Tank?
You can take several steps to ensure a clean reef tank. 10-15% water changes every week is a great way to keep your tank clean. You should also make regular sweeps to remove any leftover food or dirt inside your tank. Lastly, keep an eye out for algae breakouts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Best Location for a Nano Reef Tank?
There are some things to keep in mind in order to find the best location in your home for your nano reef tank.
The surface that your nano reef tank rests on needs to be a hard, solid and flat surface. It should also be completely level in order to avoid any slipping.
You should choose a room in your home that has a fairly consistent temperature. Putting the nano reef tank in a room where the temperature fluctuates a lot might be a source of annoyance for you as you would have to monitor and adjust the water temperature in your nano reef tank constantly.
Lastly, make sure that the location doesn’t have direct sunlight on it. Sunlight is not a factor that you can control in terms of intensity and this inconsistent factor can lead to problems such as algae inside your nano reef tank.
What is “Cycling”? Do I need to Cycle my Nano Reef Tank? How do I do it?
Cycling is encouraged while setting up all sorts of aquariums but it is especially important in nano reef tanks since they are saltwater aquariums.
Cycling refers to the process of letting an aquarium run for a few weeks empty so that it is able to grow beneficial bacteria that help in the neutralization and removal of dangerous toxins within your tank water.
There are two steps to the cycling process: the first step is cycling with just your aquarium equipment and the second step is cycling with a small batch of fish and cured rocks.
We recommend that you set up your aquarium equipment such as the filter, heater and lighting and then let them run for about 6 weeks. After that, add a small batch of living creatures into the mix. These can be some cured rocks and a small number of fish. Let them live in your nano reef tank for a couple of weeks. This will complete your cycling process and now, you’re all set to add the rest of your fish into your nano reef tank.
My Nano Reef Tank has a lot of Algae in it. How do I fix this?
The most common reason for algae breakout is an uneven or erratic amount of light given to the reef tank. A sudden increase or an overall over-abundance of light can lead to a lot of annoying algae in your nano reef tank.
If you’re tank has developed algae, we recommend placing your nano reef tank in complete darkness for a few days while constantly keeping an eye on the temperature to make sure it’s appropriate.
Steps to prevent algae breakouts in the first place include keeping your reef tank away from direct sunlight and turning your LED aquarium lighting off at appropriate times.
My Reef Tank’s pH has risen. How do I fix this?
There are a couple of easy methods to bring your tank’s pH down and solve alkalinity problems:
You can perform 20-25% water changes daily for a few days until you get a pH in your tank that is acceptable to you. This is not a very exciting way to lower your pH but it is the most common, the most simple and arguably, the most effective way to fix alkalinity problems.
Addition of Organic Acid
Acids are essentially the opposite of alkaline materials and they can help bring the pH of your tank water down. A small dose of white vinegar in your nano reef tank can help bring the pH down to an acceptable level.
Just add the acid into your tank and agitate the water surface to help it mix into the water. Agitating the water can also help oxygenate the tank. You can do this by pointing your air pump outlets of your filter(s) and air pump(s) towards the water surface.
How is a Nano Reef Tank Different from a Regular Aquarium?
A nano reef tank is a tank that is specifically built to house saltwater creatures inside it. A nano reef tank is typically home to animals such as live rocks, live corals, saltwater fish, starfish, sea urchins.
Nano reef tanks are typically small in size and thus, this can limit how many and what kinds of fish you can keep in these tanks humanely. You have to keep in mind how big your fish will grow up to be and ensure that there will be enough space in the tank to prevent overcrowding.
How Big can a Nano Reef Tank be?
A nano reef tank can be anywhere between 1-gallon to 50-gallons in order to be classified as a nano reef tank.
Nano Reef Tanks are a great starting point for beginner fish-keepers as they are small and easy to maintain. The bright colors of saltwater corals and fish definitely make nano reef tanks worth having in your home.
Coming to the conclusion of our post, we have to go with the Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium as the best nano reef tank available in the market. Its sleek, minimal design coupled with its effective built-in equipment which is completely hidden from sight makes it the ultimate choice when it comes to nano reef tanks.
Let us know in the comments what nano reef tank you’re using.