Nano fish tanks are one of the most popular items in the aquarium industry at the moment, and interest in them only seem to be increasing.   Aquarium hobbyists have been drawn to their unique challenges and the distinct habitat they provide.  But what is a Nano tank?  As its name suggests, a Nano tank is a compact fish tank designed to nurture a small ecosystem in a small space.  While the term “Nano tank” is not well-defined in the industry, it is typically taken to mean tanks that are ten gallons or smaller.  It provides an alternative to large, expansive tanks that are cumbersome, use too many gallons of water, and take up too much space in the home.  A Nano tank can cultivate a brilliant, complex environment right the living room without becoming an overly obvious focal point.  It has a small footprint, and Nano tanks can hold a plethora of fish, invertebrates, coral, and plants. Fish as bright and eye catching as the Catalina Goby (considered the most beautiful goby) or the small Clown Fish (one of the most popular in the industry) are all at home in these smaller homes, so no owner needs to sacrifice beauty for convenience.  Nano tanks are known beyond the aquarium industry for these very reasons – interior design has begun to take notice of the way these tanks are capable of transforming a living space by sitting in the corner or on a desk.   Nano fish tanks kits on the market today address issues with filtration and lighting that are needed for the smaller scale of the smaller tanks.  The compact filtration and light systems  are more complex than the ones that are used in standard tanks of thirty gallons or larger.  A breakdown in the filtration system or stress on the fish will be magnified in the small space because there is simply less room for error.  One way to help minimize the risk of filtration systems is to go the natural route.  Instead of using fake plants, try live ones and other organic accents that will help work to keep the water clean on its own.  Another way to keep things clean and crisp is to do frequent partial water changes.  Recycling 10% to 20% of the water each week will keep your inhabitants happy and healthy.  Keeping the tank in good shape usually means testing it at least once a day and maintaining a balance, which can be time and energy intensive.  This is why it is best for a hobbyist to already have the basics of tank care down and in their repertoire of skills before trying their hands at a Nano tank.   Setting up the Nano tank is actually the easiest part of the process, but the planning that precedes the set up requires thought and care.  Choosing the inhabitants of the tank is the first step in the process – it’s important to choose a fish that will not grow too large for the size of the tank. Otherwise, it will need to be given away or transported to a larger tank.  But that is not the only consideration.  It is also important to carefully plan what plants and corals will populate the tank so that the fish is not crowded out of its own home. The next point of order is to sensibly choose the equipment – such a small tank requires high quality equipment.  The good news is that one of the reasons why Nano tanks are becoming much more popular is because the equipment used to care for them is becoming easier to use and more readily available.   Some of the equipment, such as the tank itself and the filtration systems, is usually available at any pet store.  The real challenge can be the light.  Adequate lighting for tanks ten gallons or under can be difficult to come by, and lighting is important for the healthy growth of the aquatic plants that are an integral part of the ecosystem of the tank.   One option is to have the hood of a tank retrofitted for a lighting system, but a second option requires less customization but perhaps a little bit more money.  Karen A, Randall of Tropical Fish Magazine points out that some vendors import tanks from the Far East that are specific to “aquascaping” hobbies.  These tanks often come with better lighting and are seamless; these fashionable tanks range in price from moderately priced to overly expensive.  The choice of tank most often depends on what kind of fish and plant life you select to populate your Nano aquarium.   The small size of the tank leaves a hobbyist with more options in some ways.  The use of a substrate with a higher organic content can help balance the water of the small container, something that would be too pricey for a large tank.  Nano tanks are also small enough that nicer rocks or accents like driftwood are entirely more affordable.  For a fair price, a Nano tank can be beautifully accented and decorated to make a lovely home for the fish and plant life previously selected.   Research from the past thirty years testifies to the therapeutic value of aquariums.  People with high blood pressure or stress levels often see reductions in both when tending to and watching aquariums with their lovely colors and soft movements.  Effects are more noticeable when the aquariums are fished, even if the fishless ones are impeccably decorated.  Aquariums are also affective in calming children with hyperactive disorders.  And with Nano aquariums, it is possible to have these benefits without having to redesign an entire room to house a large tank.  Instead, the Nano tank allows a family, business, or waiting room to find all of these benefits with a small, manageable size.  Nano tanks are only growing in popularity as they become better known and more accessible, and it does not seem as though the trend will be reversing any time soon!  

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Aquatic Eperience Chicago | November 7-9, 2014 | Schaumburg Convention Center