Starting your new aquarium hobby can be as easy as A-B-C if you’re following the proper guidelines in proper fishkeeping. A fish tank is considered to be a “nano tank” when it could hold 30 gallons of saltwater or less. Though an aquarium within this size looks stress-free to maintain, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Experts agree that bigger tanks are easier to maintain for beginners due to the fact that the higher volume of water provides a buffer to any sensitivities in water quality and temperature. However, it isn’t THAT much more difficult if you’re following the proper guidelines in fishkeeping.
One thing that you should consider when you start your new nano reef tank is the choice of small saltwater fishes that could be best suitable for your tank. Keep in mind that the fish species should not be aggressive and the choice of fish you choose to stock is compatible with each other.
To help you get started, here is a list of 10 best nano saltwater fish for your nano reef tank:
1. Pajama Cardinalfish
Considered one of the best starter fish, Pajama Cardinalfish is among the most commonly bought fish for nano tanks for they are cheaply priced and remain small even until their adult form. These fish aren’t also picky when it comes to food and would generally feed on anything you put on your tank. Also, they are characterized by their bold patterns and their mouth-brooding features – their tendency to carry their eggs inside their mouth before the eggs hatch.
2. Coral Beauty Angelfish
A member of the angelfish family, dwarf pygmy coral beauty angelfish tend to be an asset in every nano aquariums for hobbyists. They are passive, reef safe fish growing only up to a few centimeters, which enhance the color and continuous motion in your tank. Although some species of angelfish are sold expensively in some pet stores, the value for your money is definitely worth for the beauty, color arrangement and durability of angelfish.
3. Neon Goby
Referred as “perching fish” or “cleaner fish”, neon gobies show a great mix of personalities while swimming inside a tank. Sometimes they park themselves on their pelvic fins, with their flat stomach along their chosen area in the terrain. Oftentimes, they wait for floating food around them or for a bigger fish to stop by. Neon gobies eat the tiny dirt or algae sticking into the body of bigger fish.
4. Coral or Crown Goby
Another type of goby suitable for nano tanks is the coral or crown goby. These species grow only up to 2 inches in maximum and can be kept alongside with other species inside your aquarium. They mix well with other species but also have a tendency to multiply rapidly. That is why it is best to start with a pair or two pairs for your own convenience.
5. Dartfish or Firefish Goby
One of the favorites in the goby family would be the dartfish or firefish goby, which displays a charming and innocent appearance together with their colorful body often in purple or orange shade. What makes it extra unique is the additional fin found near its head that habitually ways with the fish during swimming.
6. Shrimp Goby
The difference they have from other gobies is that they tend to spend much of their time at the sandy or rocky bottom of the tank. This is great if you want to avoid your fish fighting over their territories. However, shrimp gobies could jump out of the tank at certain times, so it would be advisable to own a tight-lid tank when you own them.
7. Royal Gramma
This fish is referred to as royal due to its vibrant purple and yellow color throughout its body, symbolizing royalty in the ancient times. Royal gramma prefers to inhabit the rock and coral formations inside tanks. They also provide you a nice array of colors when swimming across the water.
8. Blue Chromis
Blue Chromis also identifies itself as one of the famous fishes when it comes to nano reef tank. As much as they eat anything you feed them, they also stay small and do not grow much later. They also maintain their awesome blue color and would definitely look better when in groups.
9. Green Chromis
Like its sibling blue Chromis, green Chromis also do better when they are grouped together. You would enjoy their perfect green coloring in dainty tank illumination. Though they often quarrel with other species in nibbling motion, they are still considered tough and could last longer than others.
10. Clownfish (Ocellaris Clownfish)
Being famously known in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’, clownfish starts to be totally in demand in aquariums especially nano tanks. Since they are territorial, it is advisable to put only a pair for small tanks due to its ability to breed rapidly. A pair of clownfish would look good as they will be seen always swimming together inside your tank.
Random interesting fact: Did you know that when clownfish are born, they are naturally males? Yes, they actually are! And they only become female when the female in their school dies. The most dominant male clownfish could turn itself to a female surprisingly! And the average lifespan of a clownfish is six to eight years – that’s a lot for a small fish!
Now that you have an idea on what type of fish to purchase on your local pet shop, it is best to stock up knowledge on fish characteristics before you make your purchase. Take note of these tips:
• First, make sure that the fish would stay small in size until their adult form.
• Next, research on the space they need to acquire for swimming as others prefer living in wide tanks and not in nano reef tanks.
• And lastly, ask the pet shop on what kind of food your fish would prefer, e.g. pellets, flakes etc.
With these basic guides, I wish you’ll be successful with your first nano reef tank!