Holistic Small-Tank Planning


AquarioScenario, our new tool following the SAIA FishSelector, offers the aquarium hobbyist guidance on selecting organisms for stocking a tank in an ethical and sustainable way, thus avoiding impulse buying. For this tool, we decided to present full stocking scenarios by tank size – resolving an issue we never were fully satisfied with in the SAIA FishSelector. AquarioScenario incorporates our work on the Lists of Unsuitable and Unsustainable Species, and also ensures the combinations of marine life suggested are suitable and compatible, considering not only size, but also behavior and needs of the species.


Small Can be Beautiful!


In AquarioScenario we focus on nano tanks. While nano tanks are a natural response to rising electricity costs and economic crises, and thus a trend in hobby and industry, we don’t advise anything smaller than 30–50l (8–13 gallons) for sustaining marine life. Aquaria are always a snapshot of natural coral reefs, which are vast ecosystems and, even in a snapshot, you need more than just a few pixels to get the picture.


Nano tanks help us aquarists to focus: with limited space, we need to make thoughtful choices about what we want to display. These small tanks offer smaller critters a chance to take center stage, where they might be lost or overlooked in larger displays.


Although the selection of marine life suitable for nano reefs is more limited than what is available for show tanks, there is still a plethora of species that can ensure nano tanks are interesting and fun. And, a nano aquarium can realistically be fully stocked with captive-bred or cultured specimens only, making it a real Green Choice.


However, their smaller size doesn’t make them easier to maintain – this relates to livestock as well as the water body and water parameters. The limited buffering capacity of the reduced water volume requires the aquarist to closely observe and react quickly to any changes in water quality. On the bright side, this is easily accomplished in nano tanks with regular, weekly water exchange. Read more here about Basic Requirements


While “less is more” might be a good motto when it comes to stocking a nano aquarium, you might be overwhelmed with the many decisions to make and options to choose from when planning your small reef. This is where AquarioScenario can assist you by suggesting possible combinations of marine life for each tank size range, while still ensuring an interesting display.


Enjoy your mini reef!