Best Nano Reef Tank: Reviews (Top Picks), Side by Side Comparison & Buyer’s Guide

Last Updated on February 13, 2021 by Anne Thynne

Presence of colors indeed help a lot to reduce the stress you get from the rush life. And if they appear in the form of corals, it’s gonna add hues to your day.

Be it a beginner or seasoned aquarium hobbyist, you might get yourself in a particular phase where you wish to have corals somewhere around you.

And for this you will be needing all the stuffs as well that your corals will demand. The best part is that, many of the manufacturers have thought of making their customer’s life easier and hence they are offering all the requirements of the corals as a kit.

In this article we will be talking about the best nano reef tanks that you can have for your corals so that they can get the best homely environment they deserve.

Best Nano Reef Tank

The Top 4 Best Nano Reef Tanks in 2020: Side by Side Comparison

To keep things simple we have picked our top 4 nano reef tanks and prepared a comparison chart to help you take a quick decision. Here is the list –

Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Kit, 32 Gallon
Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit, Black, 13.5 gal, 10531A1
Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium
~25 Gallon
13.5 Gallon
20 Gallon
Built-in back filtration. Compact & customizable.
Concealed Back Sump with 3-stage Filtration
Back filtration with compact design, circulation pump & auto top off
Integrated LED with 24 hours timer. Automated Sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset function
Integrated LED with day & night simulation
AI Prime HD LED Light
Average Rating
Number of Reviews
Protein Skimmer Recommended
Detachable surface skimmer & Protein skimmer already included
Best Overall
Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Kit, 32 Gallon
~25 Gallon
Built-in back filtration. Compact & customizable.
Integrated LED with 24 hours timer. Automated Sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset function
Average Rating
Number of Reviews
Protein Skimmer Recommended
Check Price
Best Value for Money
Fluval Sea Evo XII Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit, Black, 13.5 gal, 10531A1
13.5 Gallon
Concealed Back Sump with 3-stage Filtration
Integrated LED with day & night simulation
Average Rating
Number of Reviews
Protein Skimmer Recommended
Check Price
Best Complete Package
Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium
20 Gallon
Back filtration with compact design, circulation pump & auto top off
AI Prime HD LED Light
Average Rating
Number of Reviews
Protein Skimmer Recommended
Detachable surface skimmer & Protein skimmer already included
Check Price

In the following sections we will be reviewing only the reef aquarium kits. For generalized aquarium kits please check out –

  1. Best Betta Fish Tanks
  2. Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks
  3. Best 10 Gallon Fish Tanks
  4. Best 20 Gallon Fish Tanks
  5. Best Large Fish Tanks

What is a Nano Reef Tank

No matter what you are, a saltwater aquarium hobbyist or a beginner, a nano reef is a great way to go. Although chances are there that you might get mistaken for its small size but trust me they are staggeringly satisfying when it comes to the cultivation.

A nano reef tank is simply a solution to the people who wish to cultivate a reef tank but do not own much room for a bigger tank. A nano reef tank is basically a small aquarium that holds less than a 30-gallon of water whereas a nano reef is a miniature reef tank setting.

Owning a nano reef tank makes your way a lot easier to maintain reef. It’s a kind of marine aquarium holding capacity of less than 140 to 180 liter. However, the exact limit that would distinguish a nano reef tank from the regular one is still obscure to people. Hence, the limit varies from people to people.

Nano reef tanks are fairly becoming a trend thing for the people because of their mini dimension, easy maintenance and budget friendly nature. So, manufacturers have started providing kit system rather than selling a single nano reef tank.

The kit might include lighting system, UV sterilizer, heater, filtration system, skimmer, mini circulation pump and many more. Such system does not only help corals to shine but also support them to grow healthily.

Reviews of Top 7 Best Nano Reef Tanks

1. Coralife Biocube 32

coralife biocube 32 review
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Coralife seems to have thought of making their products even better and after the upgrade of their BioCube, it proves that all.

However, if you get the size 32, you can actually make it hold 25 gallons of water for real. Not only that, this tank also provides all in one pack that includes an LED light bar, a light filter, a top, a filter pump and an integrated filtration setup.

In addition, there is also a 24-hour timer option that consists of 3 channels that are, sparkling blue, bright white and LEDs for color enhancing.

Besides, its automatic 30-minute sunrise or sunset and 60-minute moonrise or moonset options are another factors that you would love the most. So, having this nano reef tank for your fish would not be a bad idea.

Read our full review on Coralife Biocube 32.

Great because:

  • Easy to maintain.
  • Comes with all in one package so you get all the basic stuff with the tank.
  • The water filter pump is quite quiet.
  • The lighting simulation starting from sunrise and sunset to moonrise and moonset makes it a great tank.
  • Automatic feature does almost everything.

No so great because:

  • Confusing instruction.
  • Unclear lighting instruction.
  • Might not be suitable for beginners.

2. Fluval Evo “V” Marine Aquarium Kit

Fluval Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit
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Fluval Evo 5 could be another good option to go for. It does not only provide a complete package aquarium system but also offers great performance.

However, the package includes a 5-gallon tank with an internal 3-step filtration system.

It’s sleek looks and clear glass can make you go awe and incite you to buy one.

However, you will find a dark honeycomb section that hides back filtration area so that your tank does not look awkward.

In addition, you will also get a set of powerful 11000K LED lights that will go really well with the coral and for its growth.

Moreover, there is also a touch start day and night time functions so that it can mimic the natural environment and sunlight cycle that your coral and fish are used to.

Hence, taking this nano aquarium into consideration can let you make a wise decision.

Great because:

  • Sleek design with clear glass tank.
  • 3 step filtration system.
  • Filter is disguised for a dark honeycomb section.
  • Offers high powered LED lights.
  • Includes day and night time function.
  • Features removable hood.

Not so great because:

  • There is no water heater included.
  • Not suitable for freshwater.

3. JBJ 28 Gallon Nano Cube Review

jbj 28 gallon nano cube review
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Considering the bigger tanks, this is another awesome reef tank available. This pool will hold a considerably 28 gallons of water that does cross the border to call it a Nano.

However, this tank is basically made of high quality glass and features almost all the things that you require for the tank.

Starting with the bright side, this product comes with high powered LED lights that are placed into the removable hood. You will find the lights featuring a lot of function and you can set them to day or nighttime for the growth of your coral and fish.

Moreover, you will also get a hinged lid with the product. And just like the previous product, it too has a concealed section that has been blacked out so that it does not display the filter.

Speaking of the filter, the tank includes 3-stage filtration system so that it can keep the water just like crystal clear.

Great because:

  • Easy to setup.
  • Can hold 28 gallons of water.
  • Removable hood.
  • Long-lasting clear glass.
  • 3 stage filtration system.
  • Blackened section to hide the filter.
  • LED lights with multifunction feature.

Not so great because:

4. Innovative Marine Fusion Peninsula 14 Gallon

Innovative Marine Fusion Peninsula 14 Gallon
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Innovative Marine state this product to be a tank that builds a welcoming environment for yourself. If you look at its features included, you might end up believing in it. The product offers all the kits to build a perfect home for your corals and fishes.

The fusion peninsula comes with a kind display space that holds 14 gallons of water and a filter wall that complete the reef tank system. Besides, you will get a detachable 3 stage filter basket with pump that will help to maintain and keep the water clean.

Moreover, it also includes rubber leveling mat. And to add more, you will get LED lights as well that that you can alter the color pattern so that it can help your fish and coral live healthily. Thus, all of the features prove it to be one of the superior quality nano reef tanks that you can think of buying.

Great because:

  • Can hold 14 gallons of water.
  • 3 stage filtration system with pump.
  • Includes Detachable basket.
  • Comes with Rubber leveling mat.
  • 6 mm ultra thick high quality glass.
  • 211 gallon per hour pump to facilitate skimmer.

Not so great because:

  • Pump might feel noisy.
  • The heater and skimmer are not included.
  • Does not come with a stand.

Additional Read: Nuvo Fusion 20 Review

5. Fluval SEA EVO XII Aquarium Kit- 10531A1

Fluval Sea Evo XII Aquarium Kit
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This is another in the class of quality nano reef tank that can be taken into consideration. Holding 13.5 gallon of water, it knows how to do its job with internal filtration system.

Moreover, the filtration system that comes with it appears to be 3-stage that uses foam filter block to captivate debris and other dirt.

In addition, you will get a submersible pump as well that has been tucked away behind the filter and there is a honeycomb design that helps in concealing the whole system.

To add more, the kit features dual multi-directional water outlets that helps in creating currents in the tank. Although it does not have skimmer or heater, but you will get a space for it if you wish to add one.

Like most other kits, it too comes with LED lights that emit 14000k lighting which mimics the sunlight cycle with day and nighttime presets.

Great because:

  • 3 step filtration system with pump.
  • Honeycomb design that conceals the filtration system.
  • Powerful LED lights.
  • Great water circulation.

Not so great because:

  • Heater and skimmer are not included.
  • There is no timer function for LED lighting.

6. Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium

Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium
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The Red Sea Max Nano owns almost all the stuffs that make it the best reef tank kit in the “nano aquarium” category. The aquarium looks so impressive for its sleek design that makes your corals and fish more adorable.

This happy home for the corals can hold 20 gallons of water with its super clear glass so that you can view the whole underwater world clearly. The water enters the in tank filter system across a skimming overflow. So you can understand that the kit includes the skimmer that helps to improve the quality of the water.

However, the kit has a filter bag that tosses out the debris while activated carbon filtration takes in water discoloring compound. To talk more about the package, it possess an automatic top off system where the water gets pumped back to the tank with the pump that rates at 240-gallon per hour.

Moreover, it also comes with a powerful LED fixture  which you can control wireless through the control app, and I think that’s the best part of this package.

Read our full review on Red Sea Max Nano.

Great because:

  • Plug and play aquarium system.
  • Includes skimmer.
  • Wi-Fi lighting control app to use the LED fixture.
  • Multi directional eyeball nozzle flushes tank with water movement.
  • Circulation pump filters the tank up to 12 times an hour.
  • Automatic top-off systems maintains the tank for three days.

Not so great because:

  • Does not include stand.

7. Nuvo Fusion 10 Aquarium

Nuvo Fusion 10
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You can call it the little brother of Nuvo Fusion 20. As the name suggests, this Nuvo Fusion tends to hold 10 gallons of water with its super see through glass and super sleek design. So it already achieves half of the marks for its look and appearance.

Speaking of its functions, it features filtration system with pump that complete the aquarium system to a great extent.

And the best thing about the pump is that you can control it. Besides, you will get a skimmer and media caddy as well with the product. Thus, if you wish to have the best nano marine tank for your corals and fish, this could be one of them.

Great because:

  • It includes skimmer.
  • It features filtration system with pump that you can control.
  • Super see through glass and sleek design.
  • Easy to setup and maintain.

Not so great because:

  • Lights not included.
  • The pump is somewhat flimsy.
  • It might look smaller than advertised.

Lighting Recommendation – Best Nano Reef Light

Marine LED Light Coral SPS LPS 2018

Marine LED light coral SPS LPS grow
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Corals love to get all the limelight and for this, they deserve something that can mimic the setting of day and moonlighting. And if this is what you consider at very first while buying an aquarium kit, then I think this is the best Led lighting system for your nano reef tank.

However, before having this, you have to keep in mind one thing, which is that, this kit is aimed to be offered exclusively for small scale coral growth.For regular tanks with the intention of growing all types of coral please read our reviews of best LED reef lights.

If your nano reef doesn’t come up with a built-in lighting system or you simply want to upgrade the lights with a more suitable option to grow corals then this is your best option.

Marine LED light works best with square shape tanks and comes with a bend fix stand holder which gives it more aesthetic look.

Great because:

  • Compact and controllable.
  • 2 channel for blue and white light.
  • Works from 110-240v and 50/60 Hz
  • Great for small scale coral growth.

Not so great because:

  • No remote control option.
  • Only on/off option, no dimmer.

Factors to Consider Before Buying The Best Nano Reef Tanks

1. Size:

Nano reef tanks hold 5-gallon and then again they can hold 30-gallon as well while still they are considered to be nano. So if you are planning to have nano reef tanks its better you go for the smaller one if you are a beginner, because the lesser the space is, the lesser the maintenance.

2. The Package:

Nano reefs come in as package. The availability of kit package has made the setup faster and easier. However, having kit does not mean that they will have all the requirements. You have to think about the components that will come with the kit. If you get the basic components like filtration, sand, lighting system, you are good to go.

3. Lighting System:

Corals too need lighting setup for them to thrive and perform better inside the tank. Besides, lighting is also great for giving your tank a different view while bolding the color of corals. Other than that, the plants and animals too need continuous lighting, hence it is considered to be the most important component of the reef tank.

But the best thing is, many of the manufacturers are selling the lighting system with light intensity adjust ability. So you must check out if the kit owns such benefit or not.

4. Filtration Media:

This is another important part of reef tanks. Although it is a bit complex to get a tank that provides better filter system. Many of the reef tanks come with 3-stage filtration system. And this system keeps the water cleaner all over the tank.

5. Temperature Regulation:

They are usually known as heater. It helps to maintain the water at right temperature that is required to ensure that it works the best for aquarium residents. So it is important that you get such tank where you can regulate the temperature properly for the proper maintenance of reef tank.

You will find many models that include the heater controls and fans that do all the job on its own. If you are from tropical regions or hot areas then you may need a chiller to get the optimum temperature for your corals and fishes. Unfortunately a chiller is a large unit that you may need to buy separately.

6. Selection of Corals:

There are 3 types of corals available out there. They are generally known as Soft Corals, Large Polyped Stony Corals (LPS) and Small Polyped Stony Corals (SPS). Whenever you are planning to buy corals especially for nano tanks, you must keep one thing in mind that you don’t mix them all together closely.

Soft Corals:

They are basically the best for nano tanks especially corals like mushroom or green star polyps. They can live and thrive really well even in 1-gallon nanos.

However, the reason they are known as soft corals is because they lack stony skeleton and possess squishy texture. Besides, soft corals are great for beginners because they are both least light-hungry and easier to maintain.


Bubble corals, plate corals, torch corals and brain corals fall under the category of LPS corals. Although they are usually hard corals for their big and fleshy polyps grow from calcified skeleton but you will get quite a lot of them being soft.

However, this kind of coral requires feeding through their mouth. The corals can be dangerous if they are kept closer to other varieties and extend their sweeper tentacles while feeding.


This kind of corals build the calcified base of living coral reef in the ocean. They are the most light-hungry and grow great under metal halide lighting. They are the kind of corals that you will find sensitive to water parameter.

How to Setup a Nano Reef Tank

Setting up a Nano reef is not as straight forward as a freshwater setup. Also different nano reef aquarium starter kits come with their own piece of instructions.

However the basic setup and starting process can be generalized to some extent and considering expert’s advice I have prepared a process guideline.

Before you jump into adding corals and fishes follow the below –

  • As we should already know this is a saltwater setup, so first thing we need is salt! And before putting the water in the tank the salt should be premixed. Use a refractometer to test the salinity of your water to get the desired level. It is recommended to keep the premix over night and then add to the tank. You may install a heater or thermostat system as well to get your preferred temperature level.
  • Next you need to select the area carefully for your aquarium. Direct sunlight should always be avoided for unwanted temperature rise and algae issues. Occasional spill over is also a possibility. The perfect location should be a suitable one for any other type of aquarium setup as well.
  • You should not forget to level your aquarium after putting it on the stand. If the tank is not leveled there is a chance of stress and as a result the tank could break in extreme cases. You should also consider the load of the tank. If it is not a nano aquarium the volume of water have a significant weight.
  • Next thing is to aquascape the tank. You need cured rock for this which should be free from pesticides or unwanted live creatures. Use saltwater aquarium sand for a good natural look. Sand is also the natural habitat and playground for some fishes. Both rock and sand works as natural biological filter for your marine tank.
  • Now you can follow the instructions from your aquarium kits and setup the equipment comes along with it. This may include filtration, pump, heater, light, skimmer and many more.
  • Flood the tank with your premixed water and start all equipment. You should not rush now because the cycling will begin from this point.
  • Cycling of a saltwater tank may take up to six weeks. Follow the water change schedule as per cycling instruction and occasionally add foods (ghost feeding method). This will give the required ammonia for your beneficial bacteria colony to grow.
  • While cycling it is safe to add corals according to your choice. However please consider the light and other water parameters to carefully select your choice of corals.
  • After six weeks you can add fishes. But please remember it is a nano tank and you should select fishes that matches the requirements accordingly. The fish should be reef safe!

Final Words

Corals can be very vibrant and also finicky when it comes to living inside nano homes. It is important that you get the best nano reef tank where it provides all the other components that corals basically require.

And for this, manufacturers have started offering the tank with the starter kit so that it can get easier and faster for you to build one for your corals with its basic components.

However, as we have mentioned the 7 best of them with the bonus one that will be great for its lighting, we hope the write up will help you picking up the perfect one.

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5 thoughts on “Best Nano Reef Tank: Reviews (Top Picks), Side by Side Comparison & Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Sybil Finkelstein

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something that I believe I might never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely vast for me.I am looking ahead in your subsequent put up, I’ll try to get the grasp of it!

  2. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.I will certainly return.

  3. Free Online Dating

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve
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  4. I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing
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  5. I have read somewhere similar point of view and I totally agree with what you said. However, there are also some other things could be mentioned on this topic, but overall I like what you described.

    A nano reef system could be harder to manage because sudden change in water chemistry affects adversely and you get less time to fire fight. But sure it is convenient.

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