Small Saltwater Fish Tank: The Best Options in 2024


Small Saltwater Fish Tank: The Best Options in 2023

Hey there, fish enthusiasts! Have you been thinking about dipping your toes into the saltwater aquarium game, but feeling a little limited by space?

Well, fear not! I’ve got the lowdown on the top small saltwater tanks for 2024 that are packed with all the beauty of marine life, without sacrificing square footage.

Nano fish tanks are a great option for beginners that don’t want to put too much money into a saltwater tank. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and find the perfect tank for your home!

Small aquarium reef tanks, otherwise dubbed “nano reef tanks” or “nano reef aquariums,” have become a beloved option for hobbyists everywhere.

Nano tanks basically mean tiny aquarium, typically under 20 gallons, that’s filled with colorful and fascinating creatures from the ocean, that provide a stunning underwater world for marine creatures such as fish and stony corals, LPS corals, and SPS corals.

Quick Rundown:

And the best part? For hobbyists looking to start this hobby, the best nano reef tanks often come as complete marine Nano Tank kits, I’m talking lightsfiltersand other equipment – you’ll just need to buy pre-mixed saltwater!

The water chemistry of a nano reef tank is an integral factor for the coral’s growth and health. Consequently, monitoring water parameters like water quality and volume is a must to ensure the stability of the tank water.

A heater, too, plays a crucial role in maintaining the temperature of the water. Comparatively, larger reef tanks, also known as saltwater nano tank, necessitate more sophisticated equipment, such as protein skimmers, to maintain water quality.

Despite this, nano reef tanks remain a popular choice for hobbyists due to their compact size, making them ideal for pico tanks or for those who lack room for a larger tank.

And, don’t forget about regular water changes to prevent any unwanted guests like salt creep.

These beautiful reef tanks can be found at numerous pet stores and make an excellent choice for those seeking to begin a new hobby with a limited water volume.


Top-Rated Mini Saltwater Aquariums of 2024

Let’s discuss each Reef Tank Feature in detail.

1. Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit – Editor’s Pick


For a saltwater aquarium setup, the Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit is a comprehensive and modern solution. The 13.5-gallon nano reef is accompanied by a 3-stage filtration system with mechanical, chemical, and biological Fluval filter media.

The kit also features a multifunctional canopy with an easy feed door, a sleek, all aluminum waterproof casing, convenient LED nano reef light touch start day & night illumination, a power cord to run the filtration system and LED light, and a comprehensive manual to guide you through setup and maintenance of your reef aquarium hobby.

  • 13.5-gallon nano reefs for saltwater fish
  • 3-stage filtration system with mechanical, chemical, and biological Fluval filter media
  • Multifunctional canopy with easy feed door and sleek, all aluminum waterproof casing


  • Advanced filtration and lighting options


  • Ineffective light and filtration
  • Difficult to control light settings

2. Aqueon LED Aquarium Starter Kit – Value Choice


The Aqueon LED Nano Aquarium Starter Kit is designed to help you get started with its 20-gallon micro saltwater tank, a low-profile LED hood with cool white LED lights, and a QuietFlow LED Pro Power Filter with a medium cartridge. These tanks make a great option for Mandarin Dragonets and other peaceful fish for your tank! 

The kit also comes with a 100-watt preset heater, premium fish food sample, water conditioner sample, fish net, stick-on thermometer, and a setup guide.

  • 20-gallon saltwater tank
  • Low-profile LED hood with cool white LED lights
  • QuietFlow LED Pro Power Filter with a medium cartridge


  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to set up
  • Good for beginners


  • Quality control issues
  • Insufficient heater for larger setups

3. Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Kit – Premium Choice


The Coralife LED BioCube Nano Aquarium Kit offers a stunning and functional setup with its glass tank that has a rounded edge design and comes in sizes 11 to 20 gallons.

The kit features a low-profile hood with vibrant LED lighting, a 4-hour timer to control three independent light channels, a quiet and efficient submersible pump, dual intakes, an adjustable return nozzle, and a built-in filtration chamber.

The lighting is suitable for both fresh and saltwater environments and is capable of sustaining and growing healthy corals and live plants.

  • 16-gallon glass tank with built-in filtration chamber
  • Vibrant LED lighting with 24-hour timer and 3 light channels
  • Automatic 30-minute sunrise/sunset and 60-minute moonrise/moonset function


  • Good size
  • Advanced filtration options
  • Mid-range cost


  • Not bright enough for some plants/corals
  • Weak filtration for demanding setups

4. JBJ Nano-Cube WiFi LED Canopy Upgrade Kit – Upgrade Pick


The JBJ Aquarium Nano-Cube 40W Wifi LED Fish Aquarium is a 28-gallon all-in-one (AIO) Nano reef designed for marine fish.

It features a beautiful curved glass design and is equipped with WiFi-controllable 40-watt LED lighting and dual return pumps for optimal fish health.

The Nano Reef Aquariums also includes a three-stage removable basket filter for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration, as well as a surface skimmer and directional return nozzle.

  • Provides adequate light and can be controlled with a mobile device.
  • Offers mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish.
  • Help maintain proper water volume to circulate water and provide gentle water chemistry flow for your fish.


  • Larger aquariums
  • Advanced lighting options
  • Wifi connectivity


  • Slow/unreliable WiFi
  • Insufficient ventilation from canopy

The Ideal Size and Cost for Your Nano Reef Tank

If you are considering setting up a nano reef tank, there are several options available in terms of size and cost, ranging from budget-friendly to premium setups.

Here are a few options to consider:

For those looking for a smaller nano reef tank with advanced filtration and lighting, the Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit is a mid-range option. This 13.5-gallon kit includes LED lighting and a protein skimmer, making it a smart choice for many hobbyists who don’t have much room but still want a high-quality setup.

However, for those seeking a slightly more substantial nano reef tank, the Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Kit presents another mid-range option. This kit boasts a 29-gallon tank and incorporates additional features, such as a protein skimmer, making it a suitable choice for hobbyists with a more advanced level of expertise.

For those searching for a saltwater tank with cutting-edge lighting options, the JBJ Aquariums Canopy Upgrade Kit offers a 28-gallon tank and a 40W WiFi LED canopy upgrade.

Lastly, for the beginner hobbyist, there’s the Aqueon LED Aquarium Starter Kit, a great choice that offers a 20-gallon tank complete with LED lighting and a filter.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your own preferences and needs. If you’re just starting out, the Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit is the best choice for you!

If you’re looking for a slightly larger tank with good LED lighting, the Aqueon LED Aquarium Starter Kit or the Coralife LED BioCube Marine Aquarium Kit may be a better fit.

If you’re looking for a larger tank with advanced lighting options, the JBJ Aquariums 28 Gallon Nano-Cube 40W WiFi LED Aquarium Canopy Upgrade Kit may be your best option.


Factors to Consider When Buying a Nano Reef Tank

When choosing a nano reef tank, consider both the size and cost of the entire tank, as well as the filtration and lighting options that are included.

The size of the kit will depend on the type of fish you want to keep and how many. Make sure to choose a kit that will provide enough room for your fish to swim and grow.

You should also consider any additional equipment you may need, such as a heater, a filter, and a protein skimmer.

The Components of The Small Tank Kit

A majority of small reef setups are procured as kits, comprising of multiple pieces that play a crucial role as accompaniments to the aquatic habitat. These elements are indispensable, as they aid in the seamless operation even for the smallest saltwater fish tank, and abate the expenses that would have otherwise been incurred through individual purchases.

As you set out to acquire a nano reef tank kit, ensure that it is equipped with top-notch LED illumination, a filtration mechanism, and a timer or a remote control to oversee the lighting conditions. Heaters also prove to be a desirable addition, rendering the kit even more utilitarian and cost-effective.

Nano Tank

The size of your Nano Reef Tanks matters! Now, sure, nano reef tanks can be great for those just starting out, but it’s important to choose a pico tank that is big enough to accommodate the type of nano fish you want to keep.

Having a nano tank can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but remember that it requires careful planning, management, and maintenance to keep your tank and its inhabitants healthy.


It’s super important to make sure you’ve got a killer filtration system in place. It’s the key to keeping your underwater world healthy and happy.

A thriving habitat for your aquatic pets is contingent upon an adequate filtration system. It’s recommended to invest in a kit boasting a built-in filtration mechanism that is effortless to sanitize and keep in good condition.

When choosing a filtration system, remember, it’s not only the type that matters, but also the quality. The right filtration system will not only create a healthy and hygienic environment for your fish, but it will also alleviate the stress of frequent maintenance.

With various options such as biological filters, chemical filters, and mechanical filters, the task of selecting the right filtration system may seem daunting.

However, it is essential to pick one that aligns with the dimensions of your nano tanks and the specific needs of the fish you aim to keep.

Compared to smaller tank, larger ones require more advanced equipment, such as protein skimmers, to maintain water chemistry quality.

So, don’t skimp on the filtration, folks! Your fish will thank you for it.


Lighting is key when it comes to keeping your reef, live rocks, and SPS corals beautiful.

You gotta check out the lighting system that comes with that kit you’re eyeing, and make sure it’s got some major adjustability so you can mimic the natural light of the ocean.

When procuring a saltwater aquarium, lighting plays a vital role in the well-being of your marine organisms and vegetation. It’s imperative to opt for a light source that emits the correct spectrum of light to guarantee the survival of your aquatic life and vegetation.

LED lighting has gained widespread popularity among nano tanks enthusiast due to its brightness, energy-saving properties and longevity.

By equipping yourself with the proper gear and adhering to a meticulous maintenance regimen, maintaining a nano tank can prove to be a fulfilling and exhilarating experience.

The Other Nano Tank to Consider


The Red Sea MAX NANO is a type of tank that is designed for use in small spaces, such as a home or office. The tank typically holds up to 130 liters of water and is suitable for keeping a variety of saltwater fish and corals.


Why Do You Need a Nano Aquarium?

Do you have limited space in your abode or workplace, yet yearn for the beauty and serenity of an aquatic ecosystem? A nano reef tank with reef safe fish may be the ideal solution for you. Not only does it save you space, but it’s also more wallet-friendly compared to larger fish tanks.

The advantages of owning a top-notch nano aquarium tanks are many:

  • Space-saving: It’s small size makes it ideal for your desk or single-bedroom dorm.
  • Promoting Coral Growth: The lighting system in a nano reef tank provides the right spectrum of light for coral photosynthesis and growth.
  • Thriving Ecosystem: With the right lighting setup, you can enjoy a colorful and thriving small reef tank right in your own space.
  • Budget-friendly: From lighting to live rock, corals, power heads, fish, and other supplies, you’ll find that nano reef tanks come at a more reasonable cost.
  • Low maintenance: With proper care and adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions, a nano reef tank can last a long time. For example, water replacement of at least 15-25% every two weeks and weekly checks of water parameters are necessary.
  • Complete package: Most nano reef tanks come complete with everything you need to start your fishkeeping journey.
  • Portable: If the need arises, moving a mini reef tank is not a hassle.
  • Convenient setup and maintenance: No need for exterior plumbing, sumps, or protein skimmers- setup and maintenance are a breeze.
  • Energy-efficient: A marine tank does not consume much energy to operate.

Compatible Species for your Nano Tank

When choosing a tiny fish for your nano tank, it’s important to consider the size of the tank and compatibility. To ensure a healthy and harmonious environment, it’s best to select species that are similarly sized and have similar requirements for water quality and temperature.

Here are some popular options to consider for your nano tank:


Frequently Asked Questions About Nano Reef Aquariums

What size Nano Reef Tank should I get?

The size of the Reef Tank will depend on the type of fish you want to keep and how many. As a general rule, each fish should have at least 2 gallons of water volume.

Do I need a heater for my Nano Reef Tank?

Whether or not you need a heater will depend on the type of fish you want to keep. Those coral and reef fish are used to the warm waters of the tropics, and without a good heater, they won’t be too happy in your tank.

That’s why if you are planning to keep coral and reef fish, your gonna need a heater. A high-quality heater that will keep your tank at the perfect temperature.

Before purchasing a Nano Reef Tank aquarium kit, make sure to research the specific needs of the fish you want to keep.

What kind of lighting is best for a Nano Reef Tank?

Good lighting is essential for the health of your fish and plants. LED lighting is a popular choice for Nano Reef Tank aquariums as it provides a natural light cycle and is energy-efficient. Make sure to choose an appropriate light for corals if you choose to keep them.

What type of filtration system is best for a Nano Reef Tank Aquarium?

A good filtration system is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your nano reef fish. Look for a kit with a built-in filtration system that is easy to clean and maintain. Canister filters, hang-on-back filters, and internal filters are all popular options.

What are the benefits of using live rock in a small volume reef tank?

The integration of live rock into a confined coral reef ecosystem yields a plethora of advantages, including serving as a natural purification system, elevating the aquatic environment’s wholesomeness, and fostering the growth of indispensable microorganisms.

Furthermore, the presence of live rock confers a more eclectic and organic habitat for the coral communities and other tank dwellers.

Why are small tanks becoming popular among reef enthusiasts?

Small tanks are becoming increasingly popular among reef enthusiasts because they offer a compact and manageable option for keeping a miniature reef ecosystem.

These tanks allow hobbyists to have a close-up view of their corals and live rock, and they are also easier to maintain and keep in terms of water parameters.

Want to Learn More about Small Aquarium?

If you still have questions about the Nano Reef Tank or would like to show off your awesome fish, be sure to join our Facebook Group to join the discussion!



In conclusion, a Nano Reef Tank tank can be a great way for many hobbyists to enjoy the beauty of a marine aquarium. With the advancement of technology, nano reef tanks have become a popular option for those who have limited space.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, there are a variety of options to choose from that cater to different needs and preferences.

Regardless of the product you choose, it’s important to remember that a Nano Reef Tank requires a lot of effort to maintain its water quality and chemistry, which will directly impact the health of your pet fish and the growth of your corals.

A proper filtration system, water changes, circulation pumps, and live rock or live sand will all help to maintain a healthy and vibrant tank. Additionally, a UV sterilizer, heater, and adequate light intensity are also important factors to consider when selecting the best nano reef tank for your small space. With these key components in place, you can enjoy a beautiful and thriving nano reef aquarium in your home.


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