nano tanks

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by midthought, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. midthought

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    nano, or rather pico, tank

    I'm not finding as much info out there on nano tanks as I'd like, so I thought I'd make a thread on them. I have a 2.5g that is currently sitting empty. It used to house a betta, but I upgraded him to half of a 10g tank with better lighting, more planting, etc. It's even too small for most QT/hospital tank purposes, *I think*, so I'm considering what's involved with setting up a nano tank now.

    Are there any fish one could recommend I put in such a small (freshwater) setup, or do you suppose that it's only recommended to put in some kind of shrimp? If only shrimp, what kind(s)? I've seen tiny tiny fish at the LFS in little nano setups (some of them I saw were practically tadpole-looking, less than half a centimeter and dark), but I don't know what their adult size is. And I've seen slightly larger fish (like 2 guppies) in there as well, so I'm wondering if that's just not too cruel. Any opinions? Any resources out there that people could recommend would also be good; I'd do my own reading if I could find something comprehensive on the topic. And lastly, I also need to know doing a CO2 setup and strong lighting is also basically a necessity for a nano tank.

    Edit: my research has led me only to Boraras maculatus (dwarf rasboras) as a possible fish for such a small setup. I've also learned that people refer to such small nano setups as "pico" tanks so I have changed the title to reflect that. How I love geeks. <3 (I am one.)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  2. ppate1977

    ppate1977Well Known MemberMember

    I don't know much about nano tanks, but my favorite lfs has a section just for them. The neatest fish I can think of I've seen in that section are Endlers Livebearers. Pretty little fish, like tiny guppies.
  3. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Heh, my LFS has them somewhat scattered across from the goldfish and among the dry goods. They're just so lovely, but most online resources I find are on saltwater nano setups.

    Oh and I just want to add one more fish I found: Microrasbora sp. 'Galaxy'.

    Guppies and endlers are definitely something I'd look into. I think in many ways they're more interesting to look at than the small schooling fish. I just want to make sure it's not a cruel environment for the inhabitants.
  4. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    fancy guppies get up to 1 1/2" (male) and 2" (female), endlers are your best bet between the two
  5. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Actually it appears there's a sticky over at for the fish list: . This site in German also looks promising: I'd still be interested to know what people think about nano/pico tanks generally though. I know many of these species are recommended for much larger tanks than any nano or pico setup.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  6. Rhan

    RhanWell Known MemberMember

    Would you be doing a planted set up? If you had it well planted, a colony of red cherry shrimp would look amazing, especially if you use a dark substrate. They stand out fantastic against the green of plants and the dark substrate. And they are fun to watch too, they are such little busy bodies :)

    I would be a little iffy about swim room, with the fish... Even small endlers still need room to swim. Is the tank long or cube shaped? Perhaps if it's longer than it is tall, it might be ok.
  7. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Hmmm... could you do one sparkling gourami? I always read about 2 in a 5 gallon, so I am not sure if this would work - just throwing it out there.
  8. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I kept a trio of sparkling gouramis in a 5 and they did fine... but I don't think a 2.5 would really be enough space for one. That's JMO.

    In a 2.5, I'd go with a shrimp tank. In a 5-10 gallon, I'd do a school of nano fish like celestial pearl danios, ember tetras, microrasboras, etc.
  9. OP

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    It would be planted, yes, with probably riccia, baby tears, hairgrass, glosso, etc. or some combination. And it's a long tank, 12 inches across.

    Shrimp might be the way to go, although these super tiny fish that are only 1-2 cm are really tempting. I think probably anything that grows to 1-2 inches like neon tetras, cardinals, harlequin rasboras, etc. would be too cramped, especially because they school/shoal.