Top 10 Saltwater Fish For Nano Tanks

Nano tanks are charming, but more difficult to run than larger tanks due to the limited options in regards to choices of fish species and equipment. But today I am here to help you make the right choices by sharing the best saltwater fish for nano tanks.

There are plenty of fish species that can do really well in a small tank, like Chromis, Cardinal Fish, Clownfish, Blenny, Neon Gobies and more. We’ll go in depth with all the species perfect for a saltwater nano tank below.

10 Most Popular Saltwater Fish for Nano Tanks

Usually, a fish is a perfect fit for smaller tanks – no matter if we’re talking saltwater or freshwater ones – if they are small. You can’t expect a large fish to do very well in a nano tank, but smaller ones are different.

With these in mind, here are my recommended species of saltwater fist for nano tanks:

1. Cardinal Fish

Although there are various types of cardinal fish, the most common saltwater fish for nano tank species are those with black stripes, white spots, and long fins.

They are small, peaceful fish that are not very active. They enjoy planted tanks, so make sure to prepare by choosing my recommended, best substrate for planted tanks.

2. Chromis

The blue and green Chromis Viridis are not picky eaters, but they do love their space and being in charge. They thrive in groups and look beautiful swimming together.

It is easy to keep and a great fish for nano tank beginners. However, a minimum tank size of 30 gallons is required.

3. Orchid Dottyback

 Bright and lavender in color, this fish can be quite territorial and can be found chasing smaller fish away from places it has claimed as its own. 

They need places to hide away and they tend to like their hiding places to remain private. This fish will also do best in a 30-gallon or larger-sized aquarium.

4. Firefish

This is yet another beautiful fish, but have in mind that it has the reputation of being a jumper. So always have a canopy over your tank to prevent them from escaping.

Other than that, it is a peaceful fish that brings a spark of personality to any aquarium. These fish are known for their bright colors and long, flowing fins. They are also relatively easy to care for and can coexist with other fish.

5. Clownfish 

clownfish for nano tanks

This hardy fish will thrive in any saltwater nano tank and do best in pairs. They’re also one of the best tankmates for Basslet Fish, as we’ve seen in my previous article.

There are more than thirty breeds of clownfish from which one can select depending on the size of tank one has in mind as some clownfish grow bigger than others.

However, they are all easy to care for and can peacefully live together with other fish – although it’s not recommended to have too many in a nano tank.

6. Royal Gramma

These fish have a stunning purple and yellow coloration and are great for beginners. They are also peaceful and can live with other fish.

Usually considered safe to have in tanks of at least 30 gallons, they can do well in smaller tanks as long as they don’t have many companions (as they are really shy and usually hide all day). So make sure to offer them hiding spots!

7. Blenny

Blenny fish such as Midas and Bicolor is well worth considering for a nano tank. These fish are known for their fun personalities and are great for beginner aquarists. They also have a unique body shape that adds visual interest to your tank.

For optimal care, it’s advisable to provide rocks and crevices in which they can hide or rest on.

8. Dwarf Angelfish

Dwarf Angelfish are saltwater fish for nano tanks that are very easy to keep. They enjoy being able to swim around and graze off and hide in live rock.

It is a beautiful fish to watch as it moves around the tank. However, it is not suitable for very small tanks.

9. Neon Goby

These fish are known for their bright blue color and are great for controlling algae growth in your tank.

As a result, they can be used as companions for all the other fish on this list and are actually a great addition to any type of saltwater tank.

I also have an article about the best algae eaters in freshwater tanks. Make sure to check it out if you’re planning to start one.

10. Damsel fish

The Damsel fish is very territorial which makes it challenging to keep them in large numbers.

Other than that, it is a great fish for nano tank environments because it is a small fish and is also very hardy.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, there are many beautiful and colorful saltwater fish that are perfect for nano tanks – and you have plenty of great options above.

As you select your saltwater fish for nano tanks, take a little time to understand which other fish get along with your favorite or selected fish, or, even better, consider creating a single or maximum two species tank, since you don’t have plenty of room available.

This will ensure that the fish can live in harmony with each other and also enjoy the environment you create in the nano tank.

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