Although many of us would love a huge aquarium stocked with large species of decorative fish, this is not always practical. If you’re limited by space and can only install a modest aquarium, you will need to think carefully about the kind of fish species you are introducing to your tank. However, even the smallest of tanks can be heavily stocked with the right kind of fish.
Nano fish are becoming increasingly popular with aquarium keepers short on space. Unlike larger varieties, nano fish can thrive in relatively cramped conditions, with less restriction on the number of tank mates you can introduce. Need some inspiration for stocking a smaller tank? Below are some of the most beautiful nano fish breeds around.
Asian Stone Catfish
The Asian Stone Catfish is one of the tiniest catfish varieties in the world. Because of their small size and fairly timid nature, they make excellent additions to any nano tank. The Asian Stone Catfish boast neutral colourings, with black, grey and brown hues aplenty. This provides them with excellent natural camouflage. These nano fish also require very little maintenance. They thrive in average aquarium conditions, although you’ll need to ensure your tank water is properly oxygenated. Introducing aquatic plants and an air bubbler system is definitely something to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing a few of these compact catfish.
The Neon Tetra takes its name from its vibrant colouration. This variety of nano fish boasts eye-catching stripes of red and blue. Although all Neon Tetras tend to be vibrant in colour, the male of the species tends to be more vivid in appearance. These are also a fairly active fish species. They thrive in larger groups and engage in shoaling behaviour. If you’re looking for a nano fish breed that requires next to no maintenance, Neon Tetras are a good option. You will however need to keep an eye on the pH balance of your tank water, as well as ambient water temperature.
Although Cardinal Tetras look fairly similar to their Neon cousins, they are a distinctly unique species and carry their own specific requirements. The red and blue striping is much the same as what you will find with Neons, although Cardinal Tetras have slightly different shapes and patterning. As with Neon Tetras, Cardinals tend to prefer larger groups and exhibit shoaling behaviour. Just like Neons, this type of tetra fish prefers warmer water temperatures.
However, they will require a slightly lower pH level. As a general rule, aim for a pH level of around 6.0 to keep your Cardinal Tetras happy. These South American natives will benefit from a more natural aquarium environment. Therefore, you should think about introducing plenty of rock ornaments, driftwood pieces and floating plants to your tank to provide these nano fish with plenty of hiding places to encourage active behaviour and healthy routines.
Although they’re small, Fancy Guppies are incredibly beautiful. These nano fish not only offer eye-catching colours and patterns, they also boast relatively long tails and caudal fins. When it comes to colour varieties, there is no shortage of options with guppies. Most guppies will come with spotting or stripes, although fish in solid colours are also common. Orange, blue and red are the most common colours you are likely to encounter.
Unlike some other species of nano fish, Fancy Guppies are a fairly docile breed. They will usually avoid the substrate layer of your aquarium and remain higher up in your tank. They can also be kept alongside other guppies without the worry of aggressive behaviour come feeding time. However, if you plan on keeping your guppies alongside larger fish varieties, you should bear in mind that their vibrant colours make them an easy target for potential predators.
Although Betta Fish are known to be somewhat aggressive, few other species will add as much colour and character to your aquarium. You’ll find several common colour variations out there, with most Betta Fish boasting long fins that float in the water as they swim. Because of their aggressive nature, you should avoid adding more tan one male Betta Fish to your aquarium at any one time.
Females are generally less aggressive, but they tend to lack the rich colourisation of their male counterparts. Although they look fairly delicate, Betta Fish are surprisingly resilient and don’t require that much space. This doesn’t necessarily make them easy to care for. Their elaborate fins and tails are prone to conditions like fin rot, so you’ll need to keep on top of water changes and regular maintenance.
Although Least Killifish are not the most eye-catching of breeds, they are a good option for the beginner looking to experiment with nano fish. This breed of nano fish is known for its reserved nature, which is an innate behaviour that helps them avoid larger predators. However, you should avoid keeping them alongside larger fish that might look to Least Killifish as a food source. However, a single species tank populated by Least Killifish can still provide you with gorgeous display. These nano fish will happily live alongside other animals of the same species and exhibits dramatic shoaling behaviour.
If you’re looking for nano fish that will stand out against natural backdrops, the Chili Rasbora is a breed worth considering. These nano fish are instantly recognisable thanks t their distinctive red and pink colouring. They are also known for their telltale black stripes. Although they look impressive, Chili Rasbora fish are surprisingly docile in nature.
If you’re introducing some of these nano fish to a tank for the first time, they will need to acclimatise to their surroundings before they become more active and engage with their environment. To avoid constant hiding behaviour, it is recommended that you introduce Chili Rasbora fish as a group. These nano fish will stick together and shoal, providing you with vibrant displays in red, pink and black.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance nano fish to incorporate into your aquarium, the Zebra Danio is a good option. This nano fish gets its name from its signature black and white stripes, which provides a spectacular display when multiple fish shoal together. The Zebra Danio doesn’t do well as a solitary animal, so you should consider introducing multiple fish to your tank at any one time. A unique feature of Zebra Danios is that these nano fish exhibit hierarchy behaviour when kept as groups. This will add another dimension to your fish collection.
Although small, the Peacock Gudgeon is an incredibly eye-catching species. This nano fish breed has a fairly slender body, but the rounded head more than makes up for it. The dorsal fin is also relatively large which, combined with vibrant colourisation, makes for a spectacular silhouette in aquarium waters. The exact colourisation of the Peacock Gudgeon will vary from fish to fish. However, most fish will have a significant amount of black and blue colourisation.
Compared to other nano fish, the Peacock Gudgeon is fairly docile and will not cause any disruption to other tank mates. They are also best kept in groups. Although fairly easy to care to for, the dietary requirements of the Peacock Gudgeon is slightly different to that of other nano fish. As these fish require a diet rich in natural proteins, live food is often the best option.
These are just some of the most popular types of nano fish out there, but you’ll find dozens more varieties readily available from pet stores and specialist breeders. Unlike other types of fish, nano breeds are fairly easy to care for and have minimal requirements. You can get by with a small tank and basic maintenance schedules, although you need to be careful when selecting tank mates.
Some nano fish, including Betta varieties, will need to be considered with caution. Because of their aggressive natures, you should never add more than a single male Betta to any tank. Many other varieties of nano fish will prefer company. This not only encourages more active behaviours, it will also prevent predation from slightly larger species that call your aquarium home.