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Pico Reef Tank

This all in one kit can be put into your aquarium to step up your tank game. As long as you purchase the right size kit for your tank, you’ll be able to deck out your fish’s home and make your tank look just a little classier. It has a reliable filtration system, submersible pump, and other features to up your game. The main advantage with corals like these is they have a weaker stinging ability compared to other corals. This means that they are able to be in close proximity to each other without too much stress. There is always some type of territory combat in a reef aquarium, but soft corals are less likely to kill each other off and you are given more leeway for to make up for mistakes. #1 is my top pick, but 2 and 3 work amazing. Others are on the list because they have unique features or they are so well known at pet stores. Let’s dive in!Some nano reef kits will actually come with features for lighting and this lighting is plenty for soft coral or fish only with live rock setups. Even for a high end lighting system, you will likely not spend more than $200 on lighting for a nano reef tank (and in most cases much less than this). Chinese Black Box lights are often used for nano tanks as they are well sized and have the light intensity to accommodate all setups and are cheap.

Keep in mind when it comes to stocking fish in a nano reef tank, we want to lightly stock our tank. You are dealing with a small amount of volume, limited space which will increase aggressiveness, and limited bioload capacity from having a smaller tank. I know that movement and personality of the fish is the big draw with aquariums, so this takes me to the next section of our article.
The Wi-Fi system is easy to use and the wavemakers make this a true self run system. It’s one of the better all-in-one systems out there. The price just keeps it lower on this list.We are going to discuss nano reef tanks in this post only. Pico tanks are the subject of an advanced aquarist nature and definitely not for the faint of heart, so it’s best to wait for the pico tank of your dreams until you know what you’re doing. So now that the term nano reef tank has been defined, let’s talk about why they are cheaper.

Both bird’s nest and pocillopora will gave you that branching look of an Acropora coral while the chalice coral will give you a look similar to a Montipora coral.
Finger leather corals are fast growing and great for filling vertical space while mushrooms, polyps, and zoas can fill the mid and low spaces. Their rapid growth will cause them to fill out a nano reef within a few months.It is a full aquarium that has an easy set up and high quality nano protein skimmer. It runs day and night and is one of the high quality saltwater aquariums we recommend that comes equipped as a full kit.This fiji cube kit is available in sizes ranging from 10 gallons to 40 gallons and all the way up to 75 gallons. It includes a plumbing kit with an adjustable nozzle and a filter sock holder. Well constructed, this reef tank kit features just enough space for all the filter media you’ll need.

The new JBJ Nano Cube 28 Wifi is the successor to the well known JBJ Nano Cubes and a great upgrade for a larger cube aquarium. This new model features a wifi enabled 40W LED lighting hood with 3 stage filtration system baskets that are easily removable. The main cost savings with this aquarium is the wifi-enabled LED lights which is easy to control with the app and will handle most light and medium light demand corals.

If you are looking or a top of the line aquarium kit with premier equipment, the Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium kit is where to go if you are on a higher end budget. It’s a 20 gallon aquarium that comes with high quality Red Sea 50 led light that is suitable for most corals in a nano reef system. The Red Sea Max Nano aquarium kit is equipped with features such as European built pumps, micro filter bag for mechanical, an automatic top-off unit, and a protein skimmer this comes with every single major piece of equipment you will need to run a successful reef all in a complete integrated package.
Any sudden change in water or light can suddenly kill multiple colonies in an SPS tank. Their combative nature is known in nature. What typically happens is that two colonies will grow over time and eventually touch each other – which causes a die off in both colonies.So now that I have gone through the selection factors for corals in a nano reef tank, let’s talk about setups. I’m going to focus on coral type tanks as those are the easiest ones to explain. I will go through the following:

Is salinity 35 ppt?
The average salinity of seawater is about 35 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of seawater, or 35 ppt.
The hardiness of your fish is another important factor. A nano reef tank will have parameters fluctuate no matter how much try to prevent it. Because of that, you want to make sure you have the most resilient fish you can buy. Look for tank bred fish or fish labeled as easy to keep or hardy.This nano saltwater aquarium tank holds 20 gallons of water and comes is a fully equipped kit with just about everything your aquarium fish could need. The Fusion Nano 20 has plenty of room for giving your fish a fun environment and comes with a water stage filtration system. It fits perfectly on the back of the tank, well hidden and out of the way, and runs quiet. You won’t be woken up by the noise of it or hardly notice it at all.

I hope that this article helped provide clarity for any questions you had about keeping a nano reef tank. The best nano reef tanks are amazing when running well and are more favorable than larger systems. With careful planning and some good maintenance habits, you can enjoy a nano reef tank of your own. Thanks for reading and leave a comment to let us know which kit you chose!
The movement of corals will create a flow in the tank and make the aquarium pop. Without the movement, you are going to have very little moving life in the tank because you will likely have one or two fish in the tank. Lots of movement sometimes comes with added aggressiveness.A bullet proof setup in the best nano reef tanks would comprise of easy-to-care corals such as soft corals, polyps, zoas, and mushrooms. These types of corals are great choices for a nano reef tank as they are tolerant of a few fluctuations in chemistry and temperature in the tank. Not only are these corals hardy, but they will also provide much needed motion in the tank.

Does carbon lower pH in reef tank?
A common cause of low pH in a reef tank is the use of a calcium carbonate/carbon dioxide reactor. These reactors use acidic carbon dioxide to dissolve calcium carbonate, and the effect is to deliver a substantial, but transient, amount of acid to the tank.
Nutrient stability is the last issue with a nano reef tank. Because you do not have a larger volume of water, weekly water changes are a must for a nano reef. In a larger system, it is reasonable to perform bi-monthly or monthly water changes. There are even cases where other hobbyists go months after establishing a complete nitrogen cycle in the tank.While they are on the hardier end of the SPS care spectrum, it is all relative. This type of setup is far from a bullet proof setup. SPS corals are still an advanced level coral and you would still need to keep a watchful eye on water parameters. Temperature is another concern, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Temperatures can swing during the summertime especially if you live in a home without air conditioning. When in doubt, a cooler room is easier to deal with than a warmer room in the home. You should also utilize an open tank setup. Your lighting system must be suspended above the aquarium either with a suspension kit or the suspension mounts your LED light system comes with. Your fish’s size is the next consideration. We really want to purchase a fish that is going to get no larger than 3 inches for a nano reef tank. This means no large fish like Tangs. I do know some hobbyist placing a tang in larger nano reef tanks like a 40 gallon tank in the short term, but if you are new to nano reefs or do no have the money for a future upgrade I would not consider a Tang for the sake of the fish’s livelihood.This glass tank is great for saltwater fish. It fits nicely in smaller spaces while still giving your fish ample room to swim around and explore. The glass tank is sleek with a smooth design and made from aluminum casing. It also comes with an led lighting system for both during the day and at night. The led system has a just as easy set up so that rest of the aquarium, so you won’t have to search for help.

Informative and well written. Great advice. I’ve just started a 20 gallon setup. – softies, acans, mushrooms, pair of clowns. I know it’s not zaktly a nano but a beautiful challenge anyway. Much and many water changes often is what I do. Skim heavy, tons o rock and keep it cool as I can. (75 ish)

The lighting requirements of SPS corals are also very high, which means the intensity of your lighting in a small space might increase your temperature to deadly levels.
Feel free to pay less and attempt to DIY or use a shotty brand name tank. But if I were you, I would go with the major brand names that have helped shape the nano scence and one that has everything you need to be successful.What I am doing here with these recommendations is replicating the big draws of an SPS setup (branching and plating corals), but selecting SPS corals that are on the hardier and less light intensive end.

What is the difference between Nano and Pico reef tank?
So what exactly is it? Well, let’s define it here as many hobbyists will break out the nano reefs into two categories: Nano Reef Tank – Aquarium that is 40 gallons of water or less. Pico Reef Tank – 5 gallons of water or less.
This saltwater tank comes in sizes between 4 gallons and 20 gallons, shaped in a cube with 5-6mm thick glass. The back of it is smooth and well covered so you won’t have to look at awkward parts or an ugly set up. It’s complete with a built in water overflow system and 3 stage filtration system chambers as well. During the day and night, you’ll hardly notice the sounds of the three stage filtration system or water pump.The BioCube is what created this category in reefing. This cute little LED biocube nano tank is great for putting on a nightstand or another small space. It measures 15” x 16.75” x 17.5” long, wide, and high. This small square won’t hold a hugely diverse collection of fish, but it will give your few fish a nice little home to play in.Protein skimmers are not necessary, though many hobbyists will use them. When a protein skimmer is used a hang-on back protein skimmer is typically used. Due to the small size of the tank often times a hobbyist will opt for purchasing distilled or RODI water from a local fish store instead of investing in a RODI system. Your electrical bill will also be cheaper as well since you will not be using that much equipment.Because of our lack of space, aggressiveness is a bigger consideration than in larger tanks. Spacing aggressive corals too close to each may cause coral deaths, especially with corals with strong stingers like some LPS corals. The preference would be to house corals that are known for living in dense spaces.question. In just got a 10 gallon and the question is temperature!! would I need a small chiller or a hang on back fan would do the work! I live on an apartment but AC is not always on. The tank is a nuvo 10

The main issue with LPS is their aggressive nature. Careful spacing will need to be provided especially when it comes to Hammer, Frogspawns and Torch corals. These corals are know to kill off other neighboring corals if placed to close to each other.Thank you for visiting! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon and other stores/partners are affiliate links. Aquarium Store Depot earns a commission if you make a purchase. Lighting is another cost savings. One of the most expensive pieces of equipment for larger tanks are the lighting systems required for higher intensity and the number of LED lights needed for longer tanks. With nano reef tank kits, the lighting cost is cost down drastically. Mobility is another great benefit of a nano reef. These aquariums often are placed in tight areas like a desktop, bedroom, or on a stand in a living room. Because they are able to be moved easily, one can move them throughout the home to suit the home decor changes you make over time. They are also one of the aquariums that you can safely place upstairs.Because of the more aggressive nature of Frogspawns, Hammer, and Torch corals, it would be best to only have a select few of these. In smaller nanos, it is probably best to avoid these corals because of their aggressive nature and their size, or consider a Frogspawn/Hammer coral only setup. and all Euphillya setup is a great way to mimic an anemone tank look.If you are happy with only one fish in the tank, we can do that as well. But we have to keep in mind any invertebrates that you want to add – especially shrimp. Some fish like damselfish are known for attacking shrimp when space is lacking. It may be best to consider avoiding any damselfish if you are considering shrimp.

So now that I have outlined the important factors, let’s talk about fish that fit this criteria. Several fish from my top 10 best saltwater fish for any reef tank post make great nano reef tank fish. You can check out that post for further info, but here are several fish that would fit well in virtually any nano reef tank setup:
Hardiness is our number one factor when it comes to selecting corals in our nano reef tank. We want corals that can take a few parameter swings. This makes soft corals the prime candidate for nano reef tanks.A fan is probably best. A chiller is probably going to be overkill. You will want to control the fan with a temperature controller. Temperature stability is one of the killer issues with nano tanks because the water volume is so small. I would suggest moving the tank to the coolest area of your apartment. It’s easier to work with an area that is too cold than too hot, though ideally you have the area where the tank is as controlled as possible. Because of the inherent stability issues with a nano reef tank, it is not uncommon to spend extra time monitoring the tank. Leaving your tank unattended for more than two days can be disastrous if something would happen like a heater failure. While a nano reef aquarium is still expensive compared to a freshwater tank, you will not need to shell out thousands of dollars on a small setup. With proper preparation and care, one can successfully keep a smaller nano reef and often times produce a stunning aquarium that rivals the looks of larger aquariums – at only a faction of the cost! As we covered earlier, one of the issues that nano reef tanks face is their lack of size. The very thing that makes them an attractive option for small spaces also puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to stability. Chemistry and temperature changes happen quickly in a nano reef tank. Because of this some corals are going to be ill suited for a nano reef tank. We talked about fish earlier. So what are some good choices when it comes to corals? The first part are the setups. Nano reef tanks will usually have a bare bones type of setup. There is usually not a sump involved which means there is no plumbing to deal with. A simple powerhead or aquarium wavemaker is used for flow and flow tends to be less complicated because nano tanks will often be coral reef type dominant vs. mixed.I have not even mentioned the color variety available – especially for zoas. I have seen many beautiful Zoa only nano reef tanks that are absolutely stunning. It is very easy to get addicted to Zoa collecting and building up your own mini water garden.

A canopy is a no-no for a nano reef tank. You can ensure proper control of temperature with a controller like an Ink Bird controller. This controller will guard against aquarium heater failure – the #1 reason for tank crashes.
Candy Canes, Acans, and Micro corals, however, are more peaceful. Your lighting is going to need to be more intense than with the bullet proof setup, but any reef grade LED should work for an LPS setup.

Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping – both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.When thinking about the fish’s natural temperament, we really want to focus on getting a fish that has a mellow temperament. This is likely going to be the only fish or one of the only fish in the tank. So if you are considering placing more than one fish in the tank, we really want to purchase a peaceful fish.

The main reason why there is lack of stability is due to having less water volume in the tank. Evaporation in particular, is extremely brutal to a nano reef tank. Every other day freshwater top-off is usually needed to keep salinity parameters in check. Sometimes, the task is a bit overbearing so you will often see an auto top off system (ATO) installed in a nano reef tank.
This saltwater nano tank features a 24 hour timer to replicate a natural day and integrated LED lights. There is a built in 3 stage filter and an easy flip lid that nicely covers the top of the aquarium. The 3 stage filtration system and led lights really make this kit great.

While not as hardy as a soft coral setup, a LPS setup can provide one of the most stunning looking aquariums. With many LPS corals to chose from, they provide a variety of colors and motion in the tank.
I want to concentrate on the hardiest SPS corals out in the market that would be appropriate if one desires to keep SPS corals in their nano reef tank. When looking for SPS corals in a nano reef tank, we want to find SPS corals that are hardy and tolerant of subdued lighting conditions. Reef safe fish is our last consideration. It actually many not be a factor if you are considering a fish only with live rock setup, but nevertheless you do not want to house a known coral picker in your tank. Your space is small and you will not have many corals. Waterbox has really shook the industry with very precise and classy glass nano aquariums. The Waterbox Nano Aquarium is a perfect saltwater tank for someone looking for a nano aquarium kit with an all in one set up. It comes with all the stage filtration system parts you need to start and it’s easy to upgrade with the space given in the all in one chamber.A good aquarium kit will include features such as a filter, submersible pump, and a protein skimmer. Some may even have LED lights to provide light day and night.

Unfortunately, this is not a reality in a nano reef tank. You will not have enough volume and space to establish a complete system and with the stability issues – it is a best practice to continue weekly water changes even after running the desk successfully for some time.
An added bonus to this high quality aquarium kit is that it comes with a magnetic glass cleaner. It’s super easy to use and great at cleaning the glass, so you won’t have to get wet when scrubbing down the tank. It makes keeping the water quality good easy, so you don’t have to spend valuable time. Besides, who wants to contribute to poor water quality that harms your aquarium unknowingly?Variety is our last consideration. We want to have a variety of colors available in our corals because we will not have many fish. The good thing is with the availability of aqua cultured and fragged corals, the variety of colors are ever increasing with this hobby.

Most hobbyists and fish keeping experts will recommend starting out with a larger aquarium typically anywhere from a 40 – 75 gallon. This is because a larger tank will have more water volume for added stability. However, not everyone can afford a tank this size (or have the space for one) so a nano reef tank is a legitimate consideration for those with small budgets.
Small Polyps Stony Corals or SPS corals are a very popular reef tank setups in the hobby. If you have been to any of the big reefing forums, you will see that many of the feature tanks on those forums are dominated by SPS setups. They are the hardest of the three setups I have outlined.

Due to the limited amount of space and stability issues of a nano reef, your options for fish are very limited. When thinking about fish to put into a nano reef tank, we need to consider the following:The other great thing about a bullet proof setup is your lighting requirements are pretty simple. Virtually any type of LED fixture available for a nano reef tank is going to provide ample lighting for these corals and the lighting solution will be easy on the wallet.

In a larger system, sometimes you can get away with rushing things because you have the buffer of a larger volume of water. That is not the case in a nano reef tank. I showed you a quick list of the best out there. Before I go into detail on each tank, Let me go through the 5 things you must know before you venture into the Nano Reef Tank journey. Aquarium Store Depot is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This allows for ASD to promote items that are more effective to promote via Amazon versus selling on this site due to shipping costs, the vendor’s choice to only carry through Amazon, or order minimums. We seek to promote and sell equipment that works and understand that sometimes these will be products we do not carry so we are happy to part folks in the right direction :).

What is the best nm for reef tank?
This is more accurate considering that corals respond best to wavelengths between 400-550 nanometers and 620-700 nanometers. These wavelengths are called PUR (Photosynthetic Useable Radiation), and this is the most desirable spectrum for growing corals.
In a larger system, you can sometimes get away with rushing things because you have the buffer of a larger volume of water. That is not the case in a nano reef aquarium. Take the time to cycle your tank correctly, ask a ton of questions, and do not impulse buy. Any mistake or impulse purchase gone bad will get ugly very quick in nano reef aquariums.So while they are not a good fit for a nano reef tank, many hobbyist will still place SPS in corals in the tank. I am not going to get into harder-to-keep SPS corals as that is the subject of a more advanced coral keeping post for another time.

The rimless design of this waterbox aquarium makes it appealing and sleek, easily blending into your home decor. There is plenty of room to landscape the aquarium to your liking. It doesn’t have a cover, but as long as you don’t have other animals that might get into it, you’ll be fine.
If you have a coral picker, it will not take very long for your fish to wreck havoc on a small tank. This means that even borderline reef safe fish like dwarf angels are out of the consideration for a reef tank. It’s best to take the risk with a larger tank with fish like that as you can remove the picker before things get our of hand.

I’ve been in the reefing hobby since I was 11 years old. I’ve kept everything from large reef tanks to nano reefs through my 25+ years in the hobby. This post lists out my 7 most recommended nano tanks.
Because we know that our fish choice and stocking is limited, we really should focus on corals. Picking a variety of the correct corals will add lots of color and movement to a nano reef tank that will mitigate the lack of space and stocking options. I will break down the consideration factors below: The Fluval Evo marine aquarium kit has a straight forward set up and features a powerful mechanical filter. It isn’t loud and won’t bother you during the day or at night, allowing your fish to have high quality filtered water without annoyance. The 3 stage filtration works day and night without aid and keeps your glass tank from growing algae as quickly. You’ll also find this tank has an easy feeding door located at the top of the tank. It is best to know a friend in the hobby if you are planning to be out of town to watch your tank. You can use my earlier blog post of a list of hobby clubs near you to find other hobbyists in your area.With larger systems, one has to consider the structural support of the home to ensure it can support the weight upstairs. If your home does not have the proper weight support for a large system, it is likely that you would need to increase the support or consider a different location. There is also water spills to consider with a larger tank upstairs.I do my best to respond to comments and emails as soon as possible. I’m really excited and passionate about pico reef keeping. I truly want to make pico reefing a larger topic in the marine hobby and in marine sciences.

What is the correct PPT for reef tank?
32 – 33 ppt Recommended salinity levels for a reef tank are 1.024 – 1.025 (32 – 33 ppt) and if you are slightly below or above that level (1.022 – 1.027), your tank will be just fine.
Pico Reef Lighting – Lighting is often a big expense in the marine hobby. Here I discuss what I use to keep all types of corals including LPS (Large Polyp Stony) and SPS (Small Polyp Stony) corals for less than $50.Equipment & Livestock Checklist & Prices – In December of 2016, I started another pico system in a Fluval Spec V. Here is an ongoing checklist of equipment and livestock. This is a SPS Dominate reef.

Choose A Pico Reef Tank & Lid – Find out why I’m using a cookie jar for my reef tank and why a flower vase is also a very suitable option over traditional tanks. If you’re looking for a larger tank, scroll down to my Fluval Spec V posts.
This site also serves as a pico reef archive. Reef keeping in general is still largely misunderstood and pico reefs even more so. All documentation recorded will be beneficial to the marine hobby and possibly global marine sciences.

Temperature Control – Maintaining a stable temperature is extremely important. Most of us will require a heater and thermometer. Here are some options and best practices.My goal is to help people like you create a successful and beautiful pico reef at home with minimal investment of both time and money. I’ll be showing you:

Hi, I’m Justin the creator of If you want to keep a small reef tank but don’t have the space, money, or time to keep up with a larger tank you’ve come to the right place.
I’d love to hear from you about your pico reef keeping journey. I’d also love to know how I can help you better. That’s one of the ways how we can learn and grow together, including me!

What is the best reef tank size?
If you speak to experienced reef tank owners, you will find that many of them recommend a 120-gallon or a 180-gallon tank for a beginner. This may seem extremely large to you – especially if you’ve also considered freshwater tanks – but it really is the best option.
Circulation & Flow – Corals need moving water to help keep them clean and your tank needs movement to prevent it from becoming stagnant. Here is why air power is the most ideal option for a jar or vase pico reef. Algae – The best solution to killing algae that I’ve come across is by using H202. Check out How To Kill Algae With Hydrogen Peroxide for the method I use. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

How long does it take a Pico tank to cycle?
Keep in mind you’ll want to allow for at least six weeks for your tank to cycle before purchasing all the fish you will want. You must add the fish only a few at a time into the aquarium during the cycling process to not overwhelm the growing nitrifying bacteria.
Well, there are situations where a Pico Tank is particularly useful, such as if you have a small office or living space. You might live somewhere where driving to an LFS for water is costly.Mushroom corals do not need bright lighting and are hardy for a tank of this size. They tend to reproduce quickly and will move slowly around the tank, so you must keep an eye on them in case they move into another coral’s domain.

Another problem is flow. Many Pico Tanks do not have the space for water pumps. Corals such as clove polyps may build up detritus around the base of the coral, requiring more maintenance and care.
Originally, many Pico Reefs would be done in small Vases and glass containers. A heater and a small pump/air stone would be placed under the sand for filtration.

Finally, there are also tanks in the larger range of 3-4 gallons, such as small desktop tanks, children’s tanks and the more expensive hobbyist’s tanks.These corals are one of the hardiest. Do beware though, as they reproduce fast and will need cutting back once per several months in such a small tank.

The pulsing of these corals keeps the tank looking very lively, which also plays a part producing light water flow. Despite this, they have a reputation for spreading fast in a tank and taking over the space available. This is controlled by trimming the corals and separating them from the main rock of the tank.This coral will need to be in at least moderate flow; but it is tolerant of water conditions and can adapt well to low light. Sometimes aquarists new to keeping this coral will notice an unusual skin covering the polyps. This is a natural part of the growth process for the coral and usually only lasts up to a week, where afterwards it will return to normal.

If you want a tank designed to hold smaller volumes of water, a newcomer in the world of Pico Reefing is the Minicompletetank. This tank is different as its volume is on the very low end for Pico Tanks at 0.2 gallons, while retaining most of the functionality of a larger tank.
Their environments are delicate, which is why many aquarists will tell you to start with a larger tank first. Large tanks have less fluctuations in water conditions, making them easier to maintain.

Is 36 ppt good for reef tank?
The most common measurement is specific gravity and should fall in the range of 1.023 to 1.028 for a reef tank. If measuring PPT or parts per thousand, it should fall in the range of 34-36. does not intend to provide any kind of veterinary suggestion. The content of this website is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Remember to always ask a veterinarian for help regarding all of your pets.

Not all corals are ideal for tanks of this size. Most will stick to soft corals since hard corals need brighter lighting. Some also need the occasional dosing of nutrients and very stable conditions. Soft corals are able to tolerate larger changes and higher concentrations of nitrates leaving more margin for error.

But what really counts as a Pico Tank? The term “Pico” is an arbitrary term and the boundary on what counts as a Pico Tank is not well defined in the community.
Zoanthids are a very common choice in reef tanks, and for a very good reason. These are hardy corals will grow fast and are tolerant to changes in conditions.What also must be mentioned are tanks on the larger side of the spectrum at 4-5 gallons, such as the Fluval Evo, among others. These tanks tend to be expensive in comparison with prices over 100 dollars. Their benefit is their quality, which tends to be much higher given the more reliable reputation than with other brands. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. In ranking of difficulty, most beginners to keeping Pico Reef tanks may want to stick to the Minicompletetank and hobbyist tanks. These provide most of the important equipment for you. For more experienced aquarists, reef jars and consumer tanks are also suitable.Whether you call them mini reefs, nano reefs, or pico reefs, there’s no doubt that human nature has an innate fascination with miniature versions of all things, and especially reef tanks. Commercially available nano reef aquariums have gotten smaller and…

Small tanks need a small heater, and we’re usually left to choose from a small, 25-watt glass heater or a 10-watt plastic, preset one. But Aqua Medic’s new Micro Heater is tiny and adjustable, and it comes with a remote…
Under the very curious watch of the American reef scene, nano and pico reef aquariums have blossomed into an art form all their own. Nowhere is the culture of nano reefing more evident than at Elite Reef in Arvada, Colorado. This…Whoever says that reef tanks are hard to keep needs to seriously reconsider their life choices. Because if you’ve ever seen a decent nano pico reef tank like Ali’s at Amazing Aquariums & Reefs, then you know you only need…

We’ve looked into a crystal ball, and this is what our future holds. A thriving mini-ecosystem contained in the most mystical crystalline orb. We were spellbound by this “show de bola” saltwater crystal ball and reached out to Flávio Akira…
The JBJ Rimless Desktop all in one nano tanks really caught our attention at the fish store the other day. JBJ has been releasing a litany of different small all in one tanks for many years, trying to see what sticks,…

It never ceases to amaze us how many of these nano and pico desktop aquariums are created every year. With such a deluge of offerings in this ‘aquarium’ space it’s getting tougher to find ideas and designs that stand out…
Pico Reef tanks are a special group of very small reef aquarium which are generally agreed to be around five gallons or less. Just like ‘full sized’ mini reef aquariums, nano and pico reef aquariums can be difficult to maintain…Without hesitation, we can say that the Mame Mini-Light LED is the the ‘most pico’ aquarium light we’ve ever seen. This tiny cube of power and color LEDs cranks out up to ten watts of power for mission-critical lighting of…

Small reef tanks can be a lot of fun, allowing reefers to experiment with different ideas and techniques with a much smaller investment of time and effort. For years reef builders have been wondering how small we can go and…Brackish waters occur where saltwater from the ocean mixes with a fresh water source, like a river. The concentration of salt can vary widely but is rarely the salinity of seawater.

And there you have it! There are many ways to mix and measure saltwater for your aquarium. Hopefully, this overview gave you a basic understanding of these principles to make informed decisions on your purchases.
Swing-arm Hydrometer: A swing-arm hydrometer is a small clear plastic box with a tear-shaped swing arm. The calibrated arm will float at a specific height dependent upon the salt concentration of the water. The scale printed on the box will indicate the specific gravity. A swing-arm hydrometer is affordable; however, it is generally not as accurate as other types. A good option for fish-only aquariums since consistency is more important than the actual salinity level.

Salt concentrations in the ocean’s reefs vary depending on the location. As low as 1.023 and as high as 1.028 are generally considered safe for corals, however, most hobbyists keep their salinity in the range of 1.024 – 1.026 (32 – 35 ppt).
Looking for products and accessories for your reef aquarium? Browse our catalog here or find a store near you. If you have any questions about salinity or other topics about reef aquariums, click here to contact us. Saltwater fish and coral have evolved to live in water with a specific concentration of salt or salinity. Most fish and coral can tolerate minor changes in salinity. However, the more significant the salinity change or, the farther away salinity is from the recommended level, the more stress it will cause, eventually leading to death. Refractometer: A refractometer is more accurate but also more expensive than a swing-arm hydrometer. A refractometer is a hollow tube with an angled piece of glass at the end. Sample water is placed on the glass and then held up to a light source. The sample water density changes the light’s direction, called the angle of refraction, which correlates to a specific salinity value. Results display on a scale inside the tube. Most economical refractometers measure just the concentration of salt in the water. Higher-end refractometers measure the concentration of seawater, making them more accurate. It is best practice to rinse the slide with fresh water after each use and re-calibrate the device regularly.

How do you cycle a Pico reef tank?
This is probably the most beneficial. Way to cycle an aquarium because it happens extraordinarily. Fast not harming any fish you’re not using any type of food. Products so you’re not increasing.
Digital Refractometer: Operates with the same principle as a manual refractometer; however, rather than a user’s eye reading the value, the machine will measure the refraction of the light itself and display the salinity as a number on a screen. As with a manual refractometer, it is best to rinse the slide with fresh water after each use and calibrate it regularly.

What is a Pico reef tank?
Pico Reef Tanks are small saltwater aquariums under 5 gallons consisting of coral, invertebrates, and small fish. Regular maintenance is required to maintain water stability as the small volume of water is very susceptible to parameter fluctuations. Preferably for seasoned saltwater aquarists. Cached
Generally only used for aquariums with saltwater fish as the salinity is too low for the vast majority of corals. Fish usually tolerate these lower salinity levels; however, parasites and other pests have a harder time coping with this level of salt concentration. For fish with ich, the salinity can be dropped to as low as 1.010 for up to 2 weeks to eradicate the ich infection.Pico Reef Tanks are small saltwater aquariums under 5 gallons consisting of coral, invertebrates, and small fish. Regular maintenance is required to maintain water stability as the small volume of water is very susceptible to parameter fluctuations. Preferably for seasoned saltwater aquarists.

You can’t have a saltwater aquarium without salt! Using a high-quality brand like any of THESE from will ensure the aquarium is off to a solid start. Making a new batch of saltwater for a pico aquarium is so simple as the amount you need to change each week can be done in a measuring jug!With the dedication and complications that can occur with keeping a pico reef tank, they are not recommended for beginners, but if you have a little experience and are up for a challenge, then why not?Micro Wavemaker – For those that want programmable flow control, varying flow rates, and patterns then this micro DC-controlled wave maker from Aqamai is the greatest choice for small tanks. Its small form factor allows it to be positioned anywhere while remaining unobtrusive.Adding things into a tank can be overwhelming but it is most certainly the most exciting part. Here are some super-awesome critters that are suitable to add to a pico reef tank!

However, if you have a bit of time to dedicate every day or so, understand the space limitations of the tank, and are a patient person willing to learn something new then take a dive into these miniature aquascapes!
Although these aquariums look cute, I do not advise beginners to saltwater to attempt setting up a pico reef. Their small size makes them very susceptible to changes in their water parameters and the livestock added will need very careful selection to ensure success! As pico reef tanks only hold 5 gallons of water or less, they require greater maintenance attention than larger aquariums, but the maintenance time is very minimal. Because of their size, it is not recommended to place larger fish into the aquarium, but something from the goby family is a great choice if you wish to put any fish in there. You may already have a full setup at home just from spare parts lying around. Setting up a pico tank is simple and straightforward but let’s take a look at some of the beautiful, purpose-made pico reef tanks on the market.Pico reef tanks are the smallest reef aquarium you can get. They require a lot of patience and ‘top-class’ husbandry care because of their small water volume.Water changes are advised every couple of days to control the ammonia, pH and salinity levels, as the water volume is so small. Careful monitoring of evaporation is required due to the possible rapid swing in salinity if left without corrective action. Depending on the tank you are looking to install, a micro Automatic Top Off system may be easily installed to automate this task.