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New Fish and Invertebrates for Nano Tanks

The “craze” for nano tanks can no longer really be called a craze—it is a well-established and important part of the aquarium industry.


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Some owners I have spoken with report that their stores are selling many more nano tanks than larger tanks, and why not? Nano tanks can be set up in many different places, are not all that expensive and are an attractive and easy way for someone to get started in the wonderful world of fishkeeping. However, when nano tanks first came on the aquatics scene, there were not many fish that would thrive in such a small volume of water. Bettas were, and still are, very popular for nano tanks, and small tetras, guppies and zebras also were commonly sold to populate these tanks.

In recent years there has been a veritable explosion of new and different fish and invertebrates that are ideal for nano tanks, and there are more on the way. Ornamental shrimps are now available in a wide variety of colors and forms, and these little guys are perfect for a nano tank. They can do well at room temperature (many nano tanks do not have a heater), will eat all kinds of different foods, and are always active. Many of them will breed easily, even in a small tank, and soon their population increases dramatically. Small crayfish are also available in a wide range of colors, but these are limited to being the only inhabitant of a nano tank.

When it comes to new fish for nano tanks, the opening up of Myanmar, India and that portion of southwest Asia has brought an explosion of new fishes for the hobby, and many of these very small and beautiful fish are great for nano tanks. These new nano fish started with the celestial pearl danio/galaxy rasbora, which hit the hobby like a storm. Full grown at an inch, with bright spots on a dark blue body and red in the fins, the celestial pearl danio is now a staple in the hobby/industry. A variety of small rasboras are now available, as well as small danios. With all of these fish, when they first are introduced the prices are somewhat high, but if the new fish is popular with hobbyists, and ships well, within six months or so the commercial fish farms in the Far East are usually providing tank raised fish, and the prices come down dramatically.

How a store displays nano tanks and fish for these tanks is very important for the sales of these tanks and fish. The most successful setups I have seen are where there are a number of different nano tanks set up on the checkout counter, or in a display nearby. Nano fish do not lend themselves to being sold out of the regular tanks in a typical fish room, but sell better when they are displayed in small tanks, with plants, and where customers can see them from all sides. Making these little jewels easy to see close up leads to excellent sales of both the tanks and the fish.

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