Welcome To The #1 Source In Everything Related To Planted Nano Aquariums!

With so many nano aquarium choices on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one to buy.  If you are undecided, you've come to the right place.

We will review what we believe are the top 5 nano tank choices available today.

A few considerations we took into account when creating this list include: affordability, light intensity, and filtration efficiency. We sorted through many nano tank customer reviews to provide unbiased accounts of pros and cons for each aquarium model.

One of the all in one tanks listed below is sure to meet your needs.

Best Nano Aquariums

Name/Image Learn MoreBrandRatingDimensionsGallons
Fluval Spec – Makes A Great Desktop Glass Aquarium

Fluval Spec – Makes A Great Desktop Glass Aquarium

See ItRead Review Fluval4.5 Star Average Rating 7.2 x 9.2 x 102
Marineland Portrait – A 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit With LED Lighting

Marineland Portrait – A 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit With LED Lighting

See ItRead Review Marineland4.5 Star Average Rating 11.8 x 11.6 x 175
Fluval Edge – The World’s First 3D Water Cube Aquarium

Fluval Edge – The World’s First 3D Water Cube Aquarium

See ItRead Review Fluval4 Star Average Rating 13.7 x 17 x 14.312
Fluval Spec V – The Perfectly Designed Desktop Aquarium

Fluval Spec V – The Perfectly Designed Desktop Aquarium

See ItRead Review Fluval4 Star Average Rating 6.3 x 17.2 x 10.65
Aqueon Evolve – An Affordable Nano Tank For Beginners

Aqueon Evolve – An Affordable Nano Tank For Beginners

See ItRead Review Aqueon3.5 Star Average Rating 12 x 12 x 128

What Is A Nano Aquarium?

In general, a nano aquarium is considered to be a tank that has a volume capacity of 10 gallons or less. However, you will get a wide array of definitions from all over the web.

Some people also refer to smaller sized aquariums as pico tanks. Many hobbyists have defined a pico tank as an aquarium that is in the 2 to 4 gallon range.

The compact footprint of these tanks make it a perfect fit to space limited areas such as your desktop or bedside table.

How Much Does It Cost?

Look to spend approximately $50-100 for a decent nano tank. Most of these tanks are considered “all-in-one” aquariums, meaning it comes complete with the tank, lighting and filtration system. All three components are the main staple for setting up an aquarium.

Keep in mind, as with any other hobby, pieces of other equipment you may want or need can set you back a few more bucks. Consider purchasing a heater and cleaning accessories on your way to checkout.

Things To Consider Before You Buy A Nano Tank


Many of these aquariums can be conveniently placed anywhere your heart desires. An obvious requirement is placing the tank near an electrical outlet. Using extension cords is not a good idea for an electric device that will be running 24/7.

You also want to avoid placing any aquarium in an area that will receive direct sunlight. If you do, be prepared to combat unwanted and unsightly algae.


Many of the so call “all-in-one” aquarium kits provide adequate lighting for most domestic aquatic plants and fish. Customers have stated time and time again that their tanks look great and thrive with the included stock lighting.

The advances in lighting technology, with a huge shift to LED lighting, has significantly decreased the operating costs of aquariums and heat generation, while increasing the longevity of the light itself.

In contrast, prior to the LED movement, compact fluorescent bulbs were the standard with numerous negative attributes such as heat, increased electrical use and the need to replace more often than LED lights.

In general, LED light fixtures can last 5-7 years while CF bulbs usually need replacement after a year as the effectiveness in light output diminishes.

Now For The Bad News:

Majority of these nano aquarium lights are meant for mainstream customers. On the other end of the spectrum are customers, like myself, that prefer to create aquascapes that use high light loving plants. In the saltwater arena, different types of lights are needed altogether such as actinic lights for living organisms to thrive and survive.

The bottom line:

Cost! If the manufactures of these small aquariums were to include specialized lighting, the price point would be unreasonable for most newcomers to the fish tank hobby. Overall, these aquarium kits do provide a fantastic value for what you pay for.


You will often come across most companies advertising 3 stages of filtration. This includes the chemical, mechanical and biological filtration process that almost all filters are capable of.

I will say that it’s not just hype or another marketing ploy. All three stages of filtration are required to ensure a healthy fish tank environment and I am glad that these manufacturers have addressed that need in their aquarium kits.

The Good News:

If you are a planted tank hobbyist like me, you’ll be happy to know that nature has provided us with the greatest filter of all time: Plants! Not only are they a beautiful addition to any aquarium, but they naturally filter out water pollutants that may be harmful to your fish.

If you have never seen a planted tank in person, do yourself a favor and go find one. A properly maintained planted tank is a marvel to behold. The water is so clear; it’s as if your fish are floating in air. It’s a difficult image to describe and I can’t do it justice with my words, but I digress.

Disclaimer: I am an enthusiastic planted nano tank fan that started in the hobby in 2011. My obsession grew so much that I created this website. Prior to that, I have always enjoyed keeping aquariums with a wide array of freshwater fish.

A lot of the content on this website is based on personal experience. I have owned a lot of these tanks as well and have documented journals on plantedtank.net that I occasionally refer to when writing my reviews.

Top 5 Nano Tanks

Now that you have a better understanding what to look for when you’re deciding which nano aquarium to buy, lets take a brief look at the 5 aforementioned tanks listed in the above table.

Fluval Spec

The original Fluval Spec has definitely made a huge imprint on the aquarium hobby. Designed with elegance and simplicity in mind, this nano tank has been purchased by thousands of hobbyists.

Many agree that this tank is just plain awesome. Both freshwater and saltwater fans have enjoyed creating beautiful ecosystems in such a small form factor.

Being such a hit in the aquarium scene, Fluval has made a few iterations based on this platform including the Spec 3 and Spec 5.



Marineland Portrait

marineland 5 gallon aquarium

Not to be left behind, Marineland introduced the Contour 5 as a contender in the nano tank market. To simply put it, they succeeded. It’s successor, the Marineland Portrait, provides subtle upgrades to the Contour 5 including an upgraded LED lighting design.

Now touting the title of #1 Best Seller in Aquarium Starter Kits, the Portrait is a hit amongst beginners and advanced aquarium hobbyists.

This nano aquarium, backed by a trusted brand, was a sure fire recipe for success.

Fluval Edge

Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light

The Fluval Edge made a huge statement in the aquarium world. Boasting the first, one of a kind, 3D water cube aquarium, Fluval achieved a “wow” factor that can only be obtained by introducing new and innovative designs.

The tank can be viewed from above while maintaining high clarity due to its integrated sealed glass top. You will be amazed at the sight of your tank’s inhabitants as many don’t get this viewing perspective from the standard aquarium.

If you are looking for an aquarium to be the focal point of your room, and don’t mind keeping up with the routine maintenance to keep it nice and clean, consider the Edge.

Fluval Spec V

Fluval Spec V

Following the footsteps of the Fluval Spec, this nano tank is basically an elongated version capable of holding approximately 5 gallons of water.

The dimensions of the Fluval Spec V provides aquascapers and reef tank enthusiasts more room to work with while creating aesthetically pleasing aquariums.

The combination of good lighting, filtration and design makes this a popular choice amongst those looking to start an aquarium.

Aqueon Evolve

Aqueon provides a sensible and affordable solution to those looking for a slightly “larger” nano aquarium. At 8 gallons, the ability to house more fish and plants is always a positive. One of the few small tanks made of acrylic, the clarity and viewing experience is second to none.

Because of it’s inherent clarity, this tank has to be mentioned in the top 5 aquariums despite its shaky ratings.

This is a slightly older model so availability may come and go while shopping on Amazon.com.

A Few Other 5 Gallon Fish Tanks To Consider

The 5 Gallon GloFish Tank

5 gallon glofish tank

The whimsical style of the GloFish tank  is sure to be a favorite amongst children who want to get started in the fish keeping hobby. Specifically designed to highlight the fluorescent colors of GloFish, this aquarium kit is easy to set up so you can enjoy viewing your fish right away.

The aquarium is made of acrylic and provides great clarity for fish viewing. It is sure to be a relaxing experience when watching your colorful gloFish in this tank.


Marina LED Aquarium Kit

Marina LED Aquarium Kit

The Marina Aquarium kit is truly an all in one 5 Gallon Fish Tank kit that is sure to provide you everything you need to get your aquarium up and running from day one.

The sleek, streamlined hood includes built in LED lighting suitable for growing live plants.

With the inclusion of Nutrafin Cycle Biological Supplement, cycling your aquarium can be done safe, effective and quick.




Determining the right nano aquarium for your needs can be tricky. With so much options to choose from, narrowing down the list of “which to buy” can be time consuming.

If you’ve stumbled across this website, be assured that you can make an informed decision based on many nano aquarium reviews I have looked at. My personal experience with the majority of these tanks are favorable as well.

I hope to have made your decision a little bit easier. For more in-depth information, be sure to click on the pictures above and take a look around this site.

Plantednanotanks.com would like to wish you good luck if you are new to the aquarium hobby.