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Picking Plants and Animals For Your Nano Tank


If you've read Abby's previous article on Nano Tanks, you might be looking for some guidance on picking plants and animals that work well in small spaces!

Let's dive into the exciting world of fish selection for your nano aquarium.

Choosing the right fish for your tank is crucial to creating a thriving underwater ecosystem. 

Here's our list of low-maintenance fish species and plants that are suitable for beginners and won't require a lot of upkeep or expensive equipment:


Animal Species:

  • Betta Fish: Add a splash of color to your nano aquarium with these vibrant and low-maintenance fish. Also known as Siamese fighting fish, Betta fish are perfectly suited for small tanks and can thrive in as little as 5 gallons of water, (Although 10 should be the minimum). They prefer a slightly warmer temperature range between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them happy and healthy. Plus, they don’t require a filtration system and can enjoy a varied diet of commercial fish food and live or frozen treats.


  • Guppies: These tiny, colorful fish are perfect for beginners. Hardy and adaptable, Guppies can live in a wide range of water conditions and have a low bioload, meaning they produce minimal waste. No need for a powerful filtration system with these little guys!


  • Neon Tetras: Peaceful and easy to care for, Neon Tetras don’t require much space or high-maintenance equipment. However, they do appreciate a planted tank with plenty of hiding spots.


  • OtocinclusExcellent flat algae scrubbers, Otos are super peaceful, and only get about 1.5 inches long.



  • Corydoras: These small, active catfish make great additions to any community tank. They are active substrate sifters and can help keep your tank clean by eating algae, fallen food and other debris.



  • Shrimp: Shrimp are another great option for nano aquariums. Very low maintenance, shrimp can help keep your tank clean by picking at recyclables- just like Corydoras. Popular shrimp species for nano aquariums include cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp, and amano shrimp.


  • Snails: Ramshorns, Malaysian Trumpets, Nerites, Assassins, Japanese Trapdoors, Sulawesi rabbits, Mystery snails... the list goes on! There ain't too many aquatic snails that don't work as another clean up crew layer in nano aquariums.


  • Pea puffer: Looking for something a little out of the way? Try an uber tiny, hovering Pea puffer. They are live snail murderers, so watch out! 1" size as adults.



  • Mosses: Mosses are a great way to add some greenery to your nano aquarium. They are easy to care for and can help keep your tank clear by absorbing excess nutrients, filtering mulm, and increasing the beneficial bacteria surface area. Some popular moss species for nano aquariums include java moss, flame moss, and weeping moss.


  • Anubias: These slow-growing plants are a great choice for nano aquariums. With a variety of sizes and colors to choose from, Anubias are low maintenance and provide shelter and hiding spots for fish.


  • Cryptocoryne: Cryptocoryne is another popular choice for nano aquariums due to its low-maintenance requirements and its ability to provide a natural look to your tank. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, so you can choose the one that best fits your tank setup.


  • Java Fern: Java Fern is another popular choice for nano aquariums as it is easy to care for and provides an attractive natural look to the tank. It also comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors so you can choose the one that best suits your nano aquarium. 




  • Floaters: JUST KIDDING! No, seriously, don't do it. They just grow too fast and take over all your available surface space. This will starve out your plants underneath for oxygen, nutrients, and light. It's just not worth the hassle, friend.


Got some good ideas? Let's explore some more Nano ideas:

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