Fish Tank Guides

Nano aquariums and “Jarariums”

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A short guide to Nano aquariums and Jarariums.

Nano Aquariums

Nano aquariums have increased in popularity recently, a tiny aquarium is a great way to spruce up your desk at work or any small area that needs brightening up. Many aquarium manufacturers have started making Nano aquarium setups so that you can buy them ready to go.

A nano aquarium is considered to be an aquarium that is smaller than the smallest standard aquarium size, 60 x 30 x 30 or 54-litres.

Nano aquariums really are great, but being nano (tiny), they aren’t really suitable for fish. Whilst there are some fish species that stay very small, shrimp and snails are far better suited to add life to a nano aquarium. Even tiny fish need room to swim and will create a larger bioload, making your nano set up more difficult to maintain due to the tiny volume of water.

It’s possible to create an aquarium in as small a container as a Jar, this seems to have been informally named the “Jararium” and it is an ideal solution if you don’t have much space to fill and are working on a budget. Plus there is the added benefit of recycling an old Jar that would otherwise end up in the bin, which is nice.

nano aquarium jararium




A large Jar can become a great little nano aquarium, they are ideal if you want to practice some aquascaping techniques without forking out for an actual aquarium. Whilst space is limited, it is still possible to create an amazing underwater scene using plants, stones and wood.

It can be very difficult to establish a cycle in such a small body of water, plus there are very few filters that will fit inside a Jar without filling it. So planting it is essential to keep waste down, particularly if you are going to have livestock in there. Plants will also improve the look of you mini little aquarium, filling it with bright colours will make a fantastic little scene for your office desk.

Plants will act as a little filter for your Jar, plants remove nitrogenous compounds from the water, such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, so providing that you have enough plants and a small enough bioload they will keep the water safe for any tiny inhabitants that you add.

This is why shrimp and snails are ideal, but keep an eye on them as if they breed, that load will increase. Ideal inhabitants are a couple of Amano shrimp and maybe a nerite snail, both these species are unable to breed in freshwater which makes population control very easy.

If you do add livestock it is important to keep a close eye on your water parameters. Regular testing will be necessary to ensure that you haven’t lost the balance and that your plants can keep up with the waste being produced. Shrimp and snails produce relatively low amounts of waste but it will still become lethal quite quickly if the plants can’t keep up with it.

A good way to do this would be to add one shrimp at a time. Once it is settled in test the water, if your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are still zero, add another. Then continue until you have a good little group which the plants can keep up with. The size of the container will determine how much livestock you can keep in there, but the less you add the more chance of success. If you pack a Jar with 50 shrimp then the chances are that it won’t go too well. 2 – 4 shrimp is probably a safe enough number for a large Jar as long as it is well planted.

Nano aquarium shrimp



Jararium how-to

Here’s a short video from RJD Fish Tanks on how to create a simple Jararium:


Here RJD’s comments on the Video:

Here we have a plastic jar that I have made into a little grow tank with no filter, no heater and no CO2 – just going to use the sunlight indirectly.

This is a nice quick and easy way to get plants to grow cheaply.

Get the soil out of the garden and rinse thoroughly before putting it into the tank so that the water does not go brown and is not dirty. There is also a sneak peek of the two-week update on the Dry planted Seed Carpet nano cube. Please like and subscribe for future videos 🙂


If you would like to see more from RJD then you can find his youtube channel here. Don’t forget to subscribe!!




About the author

James @Seriously Fishy

I am a fish keeping enthusiast with over 20 years experience. I currently keep American Cichlids (CA) which are my favourite fish to keep so far. I started Seriously Fishy as I noticed a large volume of people on various web pages looking for help with Aquarium basics. I created the first Seriously Fishy book to solve the issue in 28 pages, that led to the Seriously Fishy UK fish forum and blog.

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