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The Best Desktop Aquariums

Whether you’re looking to downsize from a larger aquarium, or you’re on the lookout for a nano aquarium that fits comfortably in a home office or confined living space, then a desktop aquarium is the recommended place to start. Desktop aquariums, more commonly known as nano aquariums are smaller-scale fish tanks that hold all the function and capability of a regular-sized tank, but in a compact, minimalistic way.

Experiencing a surge in popularity over the last few years, nano tanks are an excellent affordable alternative to large reef tank aquariums. Particularly if you’re new to fishkeeping, as these compact, sleek tanks remove the hassle of maintaining a large aquarium, which can quickly become expensive and time consuming. For newcomers who are looking to keep a number of small cold water or tropical fish, starting your journey with a desktop aquarium is ideal.

In order to help you find the perfect desktop aquarium, here at Aquacadabra, we’ve put together a list of the top small fish tanks for 2020 that won’t break the bank. Keep reading to find a list of our favourite nano tanks along with key information about their price, quality, and innovative features.

But first, let’s get into the benefits of nano-aquariums.

Cheaper to run

Whilst it’s possible to invest in a larger-scale fish tank at an affordable price, space-saving tanks generally come at a lower price point. Due to their smaller size, they inevitably end up being a lot cheaper to run too. Desktop aquariums typically come as a complete kit for beginners, and these kits can include filters, lights, pumps and decorations - making your upfront equipment costs a lot more manageable than it would be to buy these separately.

Due to the nature of a small-scale fish tank, you won’t need to invest in many plants, live rocks or decorations as there’s less space to work with. There’s also the opportunity for fishkeepers to save money on utility bills, through smaller lighting fixtures and other electrical components which more complex aquariums require.

Space isn’t an issue

The unique ‘nano’ design of desktop fish tanks means that they’re able to fit into almost any living space, making it easier to find space in your home, office, workplace or bedroom. As well as offering endless placement opportunities, the lower gallon capacity of a smaller fish tank means that weight will rarely ever be an issue. This gives fishkeepers the flexibility to move their aquarium from one place to another, as it’s much easier to change a smaller fish tank set-up, instead of manoeuvring a high capacity aquarium.

Many leading aquarium brands have also used the constraints of small fish tanks to create eye-catching, unique designs in a variety of colours and styles. So if you’re on the market for a small, but striking aquarium, a nano aquarium ticks all of the boxes.

Less time-consuming

Nano aquariums hold anywhere between 20-40 gallons of water depending on whether the tank is a freshwater, or reef aquarium, meaning it’s a much easier, less time-consuming process to regularly change the water. For example, a weekly 20-25% water change for a 20-gallon capacity tank is much faster than a larger scale 125-gallon tank, as you’re only changing 4 gallons of water. And due to the very nature of a small fish tank, everything, in turn, will be a much faster process: including the set-up of the tank, maintaining and cleaning the tank and you won’t need to replace filters as often.

Whether you want to invest in a small freshwater tank, or a nano reef aquarium, keep reading as we look at the best desktop fish tanks available online at Aquacadabra.

 

Aqua One NanoReef Marine Aquarium - £219.99

aqua one nanoreef on desk

The Aqua One NanoReef aquarium is a great example of a desktop tank that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Sleek and minimal, this fully functional desktop aquarium holds all the capabilities of a regular-sized tank, with added innovative features. Made with high-quality Opti White glass, this specially developed float glass is crafted intentionally to provide ultra crystal clarity and strength, giving customers a clear view of their thriving aquarium.

Whilst glass fish tanks are arguably more fragile than plastic alternatives, the powerful NanoSkim40 protein skimmer filter in the Aqua One fish tank allows fishkeepers to remove organic waste easily and efficiently. Resulting in a cleaner and healthier water for your aquarium inhabitant, meaning less frequent need to manoeuvre your glass aquarium during cleaning.

Another key feature of the Aqua One NanoReef is the added MariGlo LED lights. These powerful, energy-efficient lights enhance the colours of the fish in the aquarium, all whilst providing a spectrum of blue light designed intentionally to enhance and support coral growth. If you’re looking to create your very own small-scale marine world, then the Aqua One NanoReef is the perfect, sleek tank to accommodate your fish.

Whether you’re wanting to place the NanoReef on a predetermined space, or you’re in the market for a stylish cabinet for your aquarium to sit in, the Aqua One Nano Reef gives fishkeepers the flexibility of both - as this small fish tank is built to fit comfortably within our range of Aqua One Cabinets.

  • Dimensions: 33cm wide x 33cm high x 33cm deep
  • Volume: 35 litre
  • How many fish?: As 35 litres roughly equates to 7 gallons of water, the general rule of thumb is to aim for one small fish per gallon. Recommended fish species for this tank would include Dwarf Corydoras, Neons or Cardinals.

Read our blog on fish compatibility online at Aquacadabra for further information on which fish are suitable to home together.

 

biORB Life MCR Aquarium - £129.99

biorb life mcr aquarium

Designed intentionally for beginner hobbyists or fishkeepers with a creative flair, the eye-catching biORB Life Aquarium features everything you need to start your new hobby. 

The biORB life 15, is a clear acrylic innovative fish tank, offering fishkeepers a completely blank canvas to build and design their own aquarium to their exact style preferences. Designed with the intention of blending into any compact living space, this chic, oval-framed aquarium boasts a number of exciting features, including a customisable multi-colour, LED light unit.

Whether you choose specific aquarium colours to blend in with interiors, or you scroll through a full spectrum of colours to simulate a natural light cycle for your fish, the clever lighting remote offers fishkeepers complete flexibility. Simply choose your favourite colours, use the in-built timer to set a light phase and the MCR light will do the rest of the work on its own, meaning you have peace of mind that your fish’s routine is not disturbed.

Like all biOrb fish tanks, the Life 14 uses ceramic media to provide biological filtration, which has a surface area equivalent to the size of a football pitch - so aquarium maintenance isn’t a complex task. Placed at the bottom of the aquarium where solid waste naturally settles, this innovative filter creates vigorous water flow, which is constantly changing the water surface to maintain oxygen saturation. Whilst this is happening, the filter then collects any fish waste and draws the waste through the ceramic media, where natural filtration absorbs toxins and feeds bacteria, which guarantees easy cleaning and care to ensure your ecosystem is kept well in balance.

  • Dimensions: 29cm wide x 40cm high x 19cm deep
  • Volume: 15 litres
  • How many fish?: This small, tall designed fish tank would comfortably home a few small species of fish. Guppy’s, platies or swordtails would be best suited to this tank.

 

Fluval Flex Black Aquarium - £113.99

Fluval Flex Black Aquarium

The Fluval Flex Black Aquarium series provides the style-conscious among us with a contemporary desktop aquarium design. With a unique curved front, this eye-catching fish tank comes with a multitude of customisation preferences and special effects. Available at Aquacadabra in a nano, 34-litre option, or a 57-litre option for those looking for a slightly bigger tank variation, this popular aquarium is equipped with a number of fantastic features. 

One of our favourite design elements of the Fluval Flex is the infrared remote control that allows you to select several colour hues and effects. Much like the bioORB Life range, the Fluval Flex comes equipped with a convenient remote control with a wide range of colours to select from, to create a beautiful atmospheric setting. However, one of the more unique aspects of the Fluval Flex, is that the remote allows fishkeepers to have fun with a whole host of special effects. Particularly beneficial if you’re thinking about placing this nano fish tank in your home with children, the Fluval Flex special effects include faded cloud cover and lightning bolts - so you can have fun and personalise your growing ecosystem with entertaining special features.

The nano tank is also equipped with powerful 3-stage filtration, housed at the back of the tank and disguised with a sleek honeycomb print. The multi-stage filtration system also provides optimal water clarity.

This compact, contemporary fish tank design also makes feeding time fun and effortless, thanks to a super-easy lift up feeding lid, offering maximum space at feeding times.

  • Dimensions: 35cm wide x 33cm high x 33cm deep
  • Volume: 34 litres
  • How many fish?: Although fairly small, the unique curved design of this tank holds more space than the typical 34-litre tank. Mollies, gouramis and rasboras would be best suited to this style of tank.

 

Fish R Fun Deco Tank - £79.99

Fish R Fun Deco Tank

For those among us who are looking for a small-scale fish tank without all of the bells and whistles, then the Fish r Fun Deco 20L tank is the recommended choice.

Suitable for beginners who require something a little less complex, this decorative tank is a minimalistic style resembling the traditional fishbowl. Creating a calm, and natural way to add aquatic life into your surroundings, this sleek, small nano aquarium brings nature to your environment in a subtle way, with the ability to blend into any confined space.

The Deco tank’s advanced touch-control HPLED lighting works to create shimmering, sun-like ripples in your aquarium, creating an eye-catching scene in the daytime, and a calming moonlight effect in the evening, simply touch the magic panel to filter through light variations.

Sold with gravel, decorative rock and an aquarium plant, this beginner’s tank offers everything you need to add an extra touch of personality to your fish’s new home. Particularly useful in a home-office space, as both filtration and LED lights are powered by USB. Stylish, simple, fun.

  • Dimensions: 39.5cm wide x 18.7cm high x 37.5cm deep
  • Volume: 20 litres
  • How many fish?: 20 litres roughly equates to 4 gallons and whilst using the general fishkeeping rule, this suggests this tank could comfortably hold four small fish. Neon tetras, guppies or platies would be top freshwater fish species to consider.

 

Desktop aquariums at Aquacadabra

At Aquacadabra, we are one of the UK’s biggest aquatic equipment suppliers, providing fishkeepers with everything they could possibly need to get started. With over 6000 products, from nano-tanks, fishkeeping supplies, pond accessories, and more, view our complete range of aquatic products and supplies online.