How to make a mini aquarium


Mini Aquarium

We all have ever dreamed of having a fish. So nice to watch their calm and measured life. However, not everyone will decide to start a large aquarium, and there are many reasons for this, for example:

  • lack of funds for its purchase and maintenance;
  • lack of space for location;
  • lack of knowledge in the field of aquarium;
  • protest from the rest of the inhabitants of the house, etc.

A mini-aquarium that doesn’t take up much space and does not require comprehensive care will be a completely acceptable alternative. Pet shops in the city offer quite a satisfactory assortment of this type of aquarium, but they are all standard and a little boring. Alternatively, there is a very real opportunity to make a mini aquarium with your own hands. Let's look at the main stages through which you will need to go, deciding to make a mini aquarium yourself.

How to make a mini aquarium?

You need to stock up with transparent silicone, glue, glass, any degreaser and perseverance. Think over, and better delineate the dimensions of the proposed design. Remember that to fully live the fish volume should not be less than 4 liters. If such an aquarium is great for you, then it is worth thinking about replacing the fish with beautiful algae or shells. So, the sketch is ready. Using a glass cutter, cut the glass into pieces of the required size. Grind the edges with acetone or other solvent and glue. After drying, it is worth carefully sealing the seams with transparent silicone and let it dry well. From that, how slowly work will be performed, accuracy and esthetics of the final product directly depends. It is better to make a round mini aquarium out of a transparent vase of the required size and shape.

Soil and plants for a mini aquarium

The finished aquarium is dry, now you need to take care of its design. Any kind of aquarium stones, previously boiled in a weak solution of potassium permanganate, can serve as the soil. Of course, it is better to choose the pebbles of the original shape and color. Landscaping will be plants for a mini aquarium and algae, which are small in size and will not occupy space for fish. In some cases it makes sense to apply a special decorative film imitating an underwater landscape or plastic aquarium plants.

Light and mini filter for aquarium

Make yourself a mini aquarium with light is not a big deal. It is enough to build a cover of glass, plastic or other material and equip it with a light bulb, a powerful diode and a battery - and let there be light!

It should be understood that the equipment of this type of aquariums with all kinds of devices will greatly reduce its aesthetic qualities. If the look of your pet requires constant water purification, you should purchase and install a small filter, a compressor for a mini aquarium. The need to purchase the latter will disappear if the inhabitants of the aquarium will be fish that can breathe atmospheric air. You may also need a mini pump for the aquarium and a pump. Their purchase also depends entirely on the needs of the "settlers" for the living conditions. Install them is not particularly difficult.

Desktop mini aquarium - ideal for desktop in the office or in the room of the student. This piece of furniture is able to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, to create conditions for concentration, or vice versa, to give an opportunity to escape.

Marine mini aquarium. The maintenance and arrangement of this type of aquarium requires a large degree of responsibility, care and money. There is a need to constantly add water, observe the necessary temperature drops, certain lighting and composition of water.

Many thought about acquiring the most silent pets - fish. But they need an aquarium that can take up a lot of space and cost a lot. In small apartments or offices this can be a problem. Therefore, in this article we will consider small options.

A small aquarium and everything you need to know about it.

What aquariums are considered small?

Small consider aquariums less than 30-40 liters, usually from 5 to 20 liters. Often they are called nano aquariums (from the Greek nano - "small, tiny, dwarf"), emphasizing with this term not only size, but also their modernity and manufacturability. There are also microaquariums, their capacity is 1-2 liters, and animals do not lodge in them, with the exception of some species of snails. The world's smallest aquarium with fish was created by Omsk miniaturist Anatoly Konenko and his son Stanislav. They placed in 10 ml of water a primer, a specially designed mini-compressor, small cladofor bushes and a few danio fry.

We will immediately agree that we will not call a round ten-liter jar with a goldfish a nano-aquarium because it is not an aquarium, but a mockery of fish and all the principles of aquarism.

An aquarium, no matter how large, is an equilibrium biological system whose inhabitants feel comfortable.

To achieve this in a small amount is a whole science. But, if this is possible, the results can be simply amazing. Such aquariums, where a living biotope is reproduced in a tiny volume, resemble Japanese bonsai art or large-scale models of luxury cars: small ones, but everything is real.

Of course, not all small aquariums are worthy of aquascaping competitions or books of records, but each of them should please the eye of its owner and create a comfortable environment for its inhabitants.

Care of a mini aquarium

As for the maintenance of the aquarium of small size, here you can get under the influence of stereotypes. Often, parents buy aquariums for their children, considering that a small aquarium is easier to clean than a large one. Rather, the "underwater world" of a small size is subject to temperature changes and requires frequent water changes.

If water is rarely changed, the waste products of fish begin to accumulate on the walls and it will be rather difficult to clean the container with your hands. In addition, the slightest excess feed, stale at the bottom of such an aquarium, instantly spoils the water and shifts the biological equilibrium. But if you decide to start a small aquarium, get it "fully loaded". Specialists will select all the necessary equipment for lighting, water filtration and water heating. And, despite the equipment, place the aquarium in a room whose temperature is constant.

With such a small amount of water, a drop of even 1-2 degrees negatively affects the fish. When feeding fish, give off a small amount of food so that after feeding there will be no leftovers. Remove excess feed immediately. When caring for an aquarium, you will have to carry out frequent water changes, until the bacteria stabilize their numbers in the filter.

Bacteria convert waste decomposition products into safe substances. A stock of settled water should always be at your disposal. Water in the aquarium should be changed every three to four days, replacing at least a quarter of the volume of water in a small aquarium.

To prevent algae, an aquarium should not be placed close to the window. Direct sunlight should not fall on it, and the duration of the active daylight should be smoothly increased from six hours immediately after the arrangement of the aquarium to ten hours by the time the biological equilibrium is stabilized.

Small aquarium and equipment for it

Nano aquariums are rectangular, cubic or close to it. They are usually covered with a transparent cover glass that allows you to admire them from above. Keep them away from drafts and direct sunlight and closer to the outlet that you need to connect equipment.

Equipment for nano aquariums is generally the same as for large ones, that is, a filter (in some cases it is enough to have a pump with an aerator), lighting devices, a heater if necessary, better complete with a thermostat, and a carbon dioxide supply system.

For those who do not have the experience and time to select aquarium technology, fully equipped nano aquariums are on sale. The best in terms of price and quality are the complexes of the Aqua El Shrim Set and Dennerle Nano Cube series.

And if you want to save money or it is interesting to choose all the stuffing for your nanocube yourself, there is plenty to choose from.


For a small aquarium, filter is vital. Since the balance in this system is very fragile, and a small deviation of the parameters of the aquarium water can be fatal for its inhabitants, it is necessary to minimize the risk of these fluctuations. Therefore, pumps without a sponge or with a small sponge the size of a matchbox do not fit. Rather, they can be used, but only in aquariums with a very large number of live plants and without fish, with some invertebrates. However, with such a population, you can do without a filter or restrict the compressor.

If there are fish in the aquarium, the requirements for the filter are very serious. It should have a large filler surface to create a biofiltration, skip 8-15 volumes of the aquarium per hour, but not create strong streams of water that will damage plants, fish and crustaceans. In addition, small inhabitants of an aquarium should not fall into its water intakes. And, of course, it should occupy a minimum of space in the aquarium or be well decorated and fit into the landscape. Another optional, but very desirable condition is that the filtering material must be taken out of the water for rinsing without dismantling the filter itself, this greatly facilitates the maintenance of the aquarium.

The following types of filters satisfy these conditions partially or completely:

  1. Internal filters with open lips. They do not have a body, therefore, no one will suck in them. A large sponge (it is better to replace it with a finely porous at once) serves as a good material for mechanical cleaning and a substrate for the reproduction of bacteria of the biofilter. Some models of such filters can be placed with a sponge up, respectively, it is easily removed.
  2. External mounted filters, waterfalls. Take up little space, since the main part is outside. They have a large enough volume, which can be filled with various filter materials. Do not create a strong flow. The disadvantage is that when using these filters the aquarium can not be closed with a lid. It is required to put on a sponge or a fine mesh on the water intake tube of such a filter in order to avoid the inhabitants of the aquarium being sucked into the filter.
  3. External canister filters. Currently, there are models designed for small volumes. Provide very good mechanical and biological filtration, without taking up space in the aquarium. As with mounted filters, the water intake tube should be closed with a sponge or mesh. The only downside is the high cost.

In addition to these models, in aquariums of small size, you can use a variety of home-made designs - airlifts, Hamburg filters, plastic bottles with a fibrous or porous substance, connected to the pump. The requirement here is one: water under pressure must pass through a sufficient amount of material that provides mechanical filtration and can serve as a substrate for bacteria involved in the nitrogen cycle.

An additional filter in a small aquarium is live plants, sometimes they are even placed in a mounted waterfall, making a fit filter out of it.


Due to the obligatory presence of living plants, the issue of lighting a small aquarium becomes urgent. There are almost never used lamps built into the cover, lamps are installed at a certain height above the aquarium. Usually used fluorescent or LED lamps. In general, the rule is this: if the lamps are fluorescent, then for unpretentious plants the light should be 0.5 W per liter of water, for whimsical ground cover plants or those with a reddish tint - 1 W per liter. If the lamps are light-emitting diode, the ratio of the lamp power and the luminous flux is different, and here they are already looking at the number of lumens. For undemanding plants there is enough illumination at 25 lm per liter, for demanding ones - 50 lm.

Which fish is suitable for settling in a mini aquarium?

What kind of fish can you keep in mini aquariums? In a small 10-20 liter tank you need to settle pets with miniature body size. Fish 2-6 centimeters in length will carry such a volume of water. But remember that even small fish want to swim in a spacious environment. They can not be kept in containers that will restrict movement. Territorial and aggressive fish cannot be accommodated in mini aquariums. Which do not need to settle in a 10-liter aquariums? These are swordtails, barbus averages, cichlids, gourami, danios. They have an active and energetic disposition, they need more space for shelter.

In the aquarium of 10-20 liters, you can settle small barbs, pseudomogil gertrudy, rice fish, cherry barbus, rasbor, erythrosalonus, neon, tetra Amanda. Also there you can keep such fish and shrimp: catfish ottsinklyus, corridor, shrimp amano, cherry shrimp, copper tetra. A representative of the genus Pecilia, viviparous fishes get along well in mini tanks.

You need to buy breeds of fish with a strong immunity, that is, not actually thoroughbred, but hybrids. If you do not have the opportunity to buy a spacious "house" for your small pet, you need to buy a small aquarium with a capacity of 10 liters. There are also often settled well-known Siamese cockerels. The cockerel can live alone, does not get along with relatives, this is after all a fighting fish.

We carefully study the compatibility of species.

Fish for a small aquarium should be selected depending on many factors. For beginners, it is problematic to consider them yourself, so contact the professionals who will help determine which fish can be kept together, and which neighborhoods should be avoided.

Factors important at settling:

  • The ability to survive one by one. Some species can live only in flocks, so pay attention to this moment in the first place;
  • Water characteristics for species should be approximately the same;
  • Peaceful nature of the inhabitants;
  • The number of individuals depends on the surface area of ​​the water. The larger the footage, the more fish you can start;
  • Compatibility of rocks. Sometimes peace-loving fish separately do not tolerate each other's neighborhood.

It is important to remember that small aquariums - a zone of increased danger to fish. Therefore, the choice of neighbors fully determine the fate of your wards. If you add predatory fish to a small aquarium, they will eat peace-loving neighbors. For the angelfish fit gurus, other fish with them will not get along. You can get one fish, which will be the mistress of your reservoir, or keep a whole flock of miniature fish.


Living plants are needed in small aquariums, as they help remove hazardous substances from the water - nitrites, nitrates and ammonia. Plants in a mini-aquarium create additional insurance and reduce stress in fish. They are also very convenient for growing some small species of plants, because in a mini-aquarium it is easier to create good lighting, and in large light simply does not reach the bottom level in necessary quantities.

To choose the right plants for your aquarium - read the materials on the Internet and talk with experienced vendors, they will always help.


The most important point. The food you give is the main source, and in some cases even the only one, of various decay products. The less you feed, the less dirt and the more stable the aquarium. Of course, the fish must be well fed, and your task is to keep the balance between the well-fed fish and the overfed fish.

A good way is to give as much food as fish eat in a minute so that no food will fall to the bottom. Factory feed for fish, in the form of flakes, a good choice for a small aquarium, it slowly sinks and gives less waste, but also gives small waste and feeds they need not excessively. It is better to feed the fish in the new aquarium for them. When the balance is established, or you start the bottom fish, for example, catfish, you can add other types of feed for a full diet.

Making a small aquarium

You can decorate a nano aquarium in a different style. Among aqua-designers, the Iwagumi styles are popular - they are decorated with stones of various shapes, the dressage is decorated with snags, and the wabicusa is in the form of a bump with plants. But here the taste and preferences of the owner are crucial. For example, if an aquarium is in a child’s room, it is appropriate to place a mermaid's castle or a sunken ship and toy scuba divers into it. The main thing is that the scenery should not take up too much space (as a general rule, not more than a quarter of the bottom surface and half the height), hide the aquarium equipment and leave room for plants and fish. Кроме того, если в аквариуме есть креветки, надо иметь в виду, что любые выступающие из воды предметы могут способствовать их побегу из аквариума.

Грунт в небольших аквариумах обычно используют двухслойный: нижний слой - питательный субстрат, верхний - гравий, общая толщина слоя должна составить 3-4 см.





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