Alluring Nano Fish: Top 10 Species for Smaller Aquariums

Dive into the mesmerizing and often underrated world of nano fish—aquatic life specifically designed for smaller aquariums. In recent years, the popularity of nano fish has skyrocketed as aquarium hobbyists realize the immense charm and beauty that these little swimmers bring to a compact space. Limited living areas and the desire for low-maintenance setups have fueled the rise in smaller aquariums, and, with them, interest in appropriate fish to populate these tanks. By carefully selecting the best fish for your diminutive underwater haven, you can create an alluring aquatic display teeming with color, activity, and intrigue, all within the confines of a small aquarium.

In this article, we'll explore the top 10 Nano Fish species that are perfect for smaller aquariums, delving into their unique traits, behavior, and care requirements. The fish we introduce are compatible with tanks ranging from 5 to 20 gallons in size, and they thrive within these space limitations, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a minimalist aquatic experience that doesn't compromise on aesthetics or excitement.

A Glimpse into the Tiny World of Nano Fish: Discovering Their Unique Appeal

Nano fish are small, captivating aquatics specifically suited for, and thriving in, compact aquarium environments. Their delicate size, low bioload, and non-aggressive temperament make them perfect candidates for smaller aquariums ranging from 5 to 20 gallons. As you delve deeper into the world of nano fish, you'll come across numerous species, each exhibiting its unique charm, colors, and behavior. As we unravel the world of these remarkable creatures, let's explore our top 10 picks that capture hearts and minds with their endearing presence.

1. Celestial Pearl Danio (Danio margaritatus)

Celestial Pearl Danio are small, brilliantly colored fish originated from Myanmar and stole the hearts of aquarists worldwide with their elegant, celestial-like appearance. Celestial Pearl Danios feature an enthralling combination of iridescent blue body spots and accentuated orange fins. These fish are relatively peaceful and do well in a densely planted nano tank. A group of 6-8 Celestial Pearl Danios will create a stunning contrast within your aquatic paradise.

2. Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Undoubtedly, Neon Tetras Fish are one of the most iconic nano fish species. Native to South America, these fish shimmer with a perfect balance of bright blue and red hues, making them an eye-catching addition to any nano aquarium. Neon Tetras are schooling fish and exhibit impressive social behavior. It's best to keep them in a group of at least six with plenty of hiding spots within plants or decorations.

3. Endler’s Livebearer (Poecilia wingei)

Originating from Venezuela, Endler’s Livebearers are small, active, and colorful cousins of the much-beloved guppy. Males are adorned with bright, vivid colors that are sure to bring flair to your small aquarium. Though not a schooling fish, they enjoy company, and it's best to keep them in a trio or more. These fish are livebearers, and their vibrant colors and energetic behavior provide a constant source of entertainment.

4. Pygmy Cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)

Often referred to as the "tiny vacuum cleaner," pygmy cory catfish are small, schooling fish that contribute to a cleaner substrate and charming activity near the bottom of your nano tank. These unique little catfish showcase a simple yet attractive silver and black stripe coloration, remaining relatively peaceful and compatible with other nano fish species. Keep Pygmy Cories in groups of at least six to ensure their well-being and comfort.

5. Scarlet Badis (Dario dario)

If you seek a fish that resembles a vibrant jewel, look no further than the Scarlet Badis. These striking red and blue fish are relatively shy but offer immense visual appeal to any nano aquarium. Scarlet Badis prefer a densely planted aquarium plants with ample hiding spots, as they can intimidate small prey with their territorial behavior. Keep them as a single specimen or a pair and relish their fiery beauty in your underwater world.

6. Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila)

With their shimmering iridescent blue spots on a golden body, the Sparkling Gourami species can make for a spectacular centerpiece in a nano aquarium. These labyrinth fish don't require large amounts of oxygen, thanks to their specialized air-breathing organs. They can thrive in a well-planted tank with gentle water flow, remaining relatively peaceful and compatible with other nano fish species.

7. Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)

The Ember Tetra is yet another colorful nano fish that stands out in any aquarium setup, with its fiery, orange-red coloration. These peace-loving shoaling fish can create a striking visual harmony when kept in groups of 6 or more. Embers Tetras prefer a densely planted tank with hiding spots, dim lighting, and clean water conditions. They make an excellent fit for community nano aquariums.

8. Chili Rasbora (Boraras brigittae)

These minuscule fish make a substantial impact on your nano aquarium with their vibrant, chili-red bodies and black stripes. Chili Rasboras are schooling fish, and keeping them in groups of at least 8 brings out their illustrious visual appeal. Pacifistic by nature, they are compatible with other small, peaceful nano fish species and thrive in a well-planted tank with dark substrate.

9. Dwarf Pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)

Dwarf Pea Pufferfish are an intriguing nano fish species that exhibit fascinating behaviors and impressive intelligence. With their greenish-brown spotted bodies and curious personalities, these fish can recognize their owners and provide endless entertainment. Serving as excellent snail control, they have unique requirements and may need a separate nano-aquarium setup with plenty of hiding spots and live plants.

10. African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus spp.)

A slightly unconventional nano pet, the African Dwarf Frog is an amphibious species that adds an irresistibly cute and quirky aspect to your nano aquarium. These little, webbed swimmers are fully aquatic but do need access to air at the surface. Ensure your tank has hiding spots and shallow areas where these frogs can bask and watch your nano tank teem with charm and entertainment.


The world of nano fish offers a diverse range of possibilities to exhibit exceptional beauty and serenity within a small aquatic space. By understanding the unique care requirements of these captivating creatures, you can create a spectacular underwater scene that rivals the grandeur of larger aquariums. Our top 10 nano fish will help you embark on your journey toward creating an enchanting and magical underwater world that resonates with the charm and allure of these mesmerizing swimmers.

Check out Splashy Fish today for the finest, most sustainable nano fish specimens and many other live fish for sale, ensuring your nano aquarium's unending splendor and health—one that captures the enchanting essence of these awe-inspiring creatures.