Pico Saltwater Tank: A Beginner’s Guide to Pico Reefs

In case you have been thinking about setting up the Pico saltwater tank, you are in the accurate place. Pico Reef aquariums are a distinct type of very tiny reef tank that are normally fixed to be about 5 gallons or even less. Like a ‘full sized’ small reef fish tank, nano and pico reef tanks can be hard to maintain and keep looking attractive in the long run if you do not know what to do and how to maintain them.

While the pico reef aquariums can seem difficult to maintain, they are truly a great method to both get started in keeping a reef or arrange a display that displays smaller corals and tinier reef life. Corals are well recognized worldwide for their thrilling coral strains. However, just like their method of reef keeping, their work is expert in the fine art of all sizes of reef keeping, together with the minor end of the variety.


While it is no top-secret that, more or less, we all cherish the reef tanks, it is similarly no top-secret that the reef junkie is not ever satisfied. We are at all times looking for the subsequent piece of gear, the following challenge, or one more place in our home where we can set up a tank. This should come as no astonishment then that we see a growth in the acceptance of tiny pico reef tanks across the interest.

. We will discuss the choices for stocking options, equipment, and obviously the different aquariums that make an excellent choice for the pico setup.

What Does It Mean By The Pico Reef Or Pico Saltwater Tank?

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The Pico reef tank is the tiniest reef aquarium that exists out there. They need plenty of patience as well as ‘top-class’ gardening care for the reason that the tanks have a very small volume of water in them.

The Pico reef tanks hold five-gallon of water only or even less. They need greater maintenance care than larger fish tanks, but the time of maintenance is very nominal.

Due to their size, it’s not suggested to place bigger fish into this type of aquarium, rather you can put something from that of the Gobiidae family which is a great option in case you want to add any fish in the tank.

Maximum aquarists with influential pico reef tanks generally choose just strong coral and small invertebrates, for example, crabs, snails, and shrimps.

The most significant ‘take-home’ note to anybody thinking of buying the pico reef tanks is not to overstock it!

It is recommended to change the water after every two days in order to regulate the pH level, ammonia, and also the salinity levels since the volume of water is very small.

Cautious intensive care of the evaporation is needed because of the possible speedy swing in saltiness if left lacking corrective action. Based on the tank, you are trying to install, the micro Programmed Top Off structure may be effortlessly installed to systematize this task.

Beforehand these small tanks began to become recognized, it was believed it was not possible to put a coral reef in such a tiny water body, but aquarium hobbyists took the challenge as well as have proven it wrong!


With the commitment and difficulties that can happen with keeping the pico reef tanks, they aren’t recommended for learners, but in case you have at least a little involvement and you’re up for taking a challenge, then go for it!

Animals That Can Live in Your Pico Reef Tank?

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Adding lives into the tank can be awe-inspiring, but it’s most undoubtedly the most thrilling part. So, here are a few super-splendid critters that are appropriate to add to your pico reef tank!

  • Neon Blue colored Goby
  • Nassarius Snails
  • Green or Yellow Clown Goby
  • Corals Croucher Goby
  • Peppermint Shimp
  • Anemone Shrimp
  • Scarlet Reefs Hermit Crab

Similarly, what a reef tank would not be completed is without a colorful collection of corals! So, here is a list of the top 6 corals that’s suitable for the pico reef aquarium:

  • Ricordi and Yuma
  • Zoanthids and Palythoas
  • Mushroom Corals
  • Feather Dusters
  • Green Star Polyps
  • Frogspawn and Hammers

Pros & Cons Of Keeping The Pico Reef Tank At Your Place

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Pico Reef tanks have their paybacks, but you have to ensure that you recognize what you are devoting your valuable time into.

Their surroundings are subtle. That is why several aquarists will state you to initiate a bigger tank at first. Big tanks have fewer variations in water settings, making them informal to maintain. However, let’s now know the pros and cons of the pico saltwater tanks below.

Pros of Pico Reef Tanks:

Because of its size, keeping the aquascape is less problematic for the time you need to clean spots that would typically be hard to get to in a bigger tank.

They use a smaller amount of electricity, which is beneficial as no one wants to add a few extra pounds to their electricity bills.

Pico reef tanks consist of more saltwater as compared to the bigger tanks. This means that changing water is cheaper.

Cons Pico Reef Tanks:

Corals will expand in the tank with a lesser volume, and thus, more care of the corals will be needed.

You will need to perform a water changes process anywhere between 1 time or a couple of times a week, with most favorably 100% water changes.

The tank can’t support fish (on top of small invertebrates), or else it won’t take the bio-load either keep a pleased fish.

The charge of the tanks may overdo the price of purchasing a standard tank in case you choose to utilize custom equipment.

Conditions of water can vary very easily because of its small volume.

Equipment Needed For Pico Reef Tanks

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Irrespective of the size of saltwater aquariums you want to install, a few elementary necessities will be needed to keep the inside water constant and the livestock in the tank healthy.

So, let’s now check out the necessary equipment you need for your pico saltwater tank.

Salt For Saltwater

No matter what, you can never have a saltwater tank lacking salt in it! Using a first-class brand will make sure the tank is all set to a hard start. Producing a new bunch of saltwater for the pico tank is so straightforward as the volume you have to change every week can be completed in the measuring jug only!

Make sure the aquarium is filled day-to-day with fresh water in order to substitute the water that got lost due to evaporation and thus, will also keep the saltiness level persistent.

To assist with this routine, many Pico holders arrange an ordinary vase just next to the tank that acts as a reservoir for freshwater and also installs a small Automatic Top-Off (ATO) system to routinely substitute the evaporated water.


For the reef tank, experts suggest a Pico All-In-One (AIO) aquarium. The foremost reason is that the all-in-ones have all the purification hiding away in a section at the back of the aquarium.

This lets the attractiveness of the tank be front as well as a center without the interruption of equipment being displayed.

Live Rock And Live Sand

Since the space of a reef tank is at the top, providing the extreme superficial area for microbes to gather in order to make the organic filter is dominant. Among the best conducts to deliver a solid purification, the basis is to utilize Live Rock and Live Sand.

Both of these products come directly from the marine or harvest services as well as are packed with helpful bacteria in order to get the aquarium started.

Since the tank develops, these two products will undoubtedly play a vital role in accomplishing the aquarium in the long run.

Using small parts of Live Rock’s debris, the possessor can produce some imposing aquascapes for your aquarium, although it’s a small part to function with.

Indeed you have discovered several of the incredible work that the model creators can make! A Pico Reef tank isn’t different!

Temperature Control

Keeping a persistent temperature in the pico reef is among the most thought-provoking thing without a bit of assistance.

The water volume is so small that it can be effortlessly pretentious by the adjacent room temperature and temperature swipes can take place fast. This’s the customary offender to the disaster of many more pico reefs out there!

Depending on the fact that where you are going to keep the pico reef tank, you may have to keep its water from turning too warm or stop it from turning too cold.

Fortunately for you, there’re two great devices for that purpose, which can help you get a rock-solid temperature for water:




In case you are planning to keep corals in the reef tank then a proficient, but smooth light will be needed. The LED lights available in the market explain this with several great choices obtainable to suit your style and your budget equally.

Water Movement

For those people who want a programmable flow controller, fluctuating flow rates, as well as patterns, this microcomputer DC-controlled wavemaker is the best choice for tiny tanks. Its tiny form feature lets it be placed somewhere while remaining inconspicuous.


Pico reef tanks are indeed thought-provoking, but it looks amazing in case you correctly set this up. In case you wish to have the pico reef tanks, ensure not to burden them with livestock, or else you’ll have too much waste for the purification to deal with. Keep in mind that to keep on checking and testing the reef tank often as well as you do not overdo the water.

In case you wish to keep a huge number of fish in the reef tank, or if you like to take long holidays frequently, then the pico reef tanks are certainly not your cup of tea. An elevation to a small tank will be a better choice for you.

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However, if you have a little time to devote daily or so, know the space limits of the reef tank, as well as if you are a persistent person eager to acquire something new every day, then take a challenge to have and maintain these tiny aquascapes!


What is a pico saltwater tank?

The Pico Reef tank is a distinct set of tiny reef aquariums which are normally fixed to be about 5 gallons or even less. Just like the ‘full sized’ small reef tanks, nano, as well as pico reef tanks, can be hard to keep and also maintain the attractive look in the long run in case you do not know what to do so.

What should I put in my pico tank?

By means of an overall rule, no matter what, which is 5 gallons or less, falls into the array for the pico reef tank. You will need to justify the exact necessities with the pico reef tank that you need to do with the other sizes (with a few exceptions only). To be exact, that you will want to ensure that you have the source of lighting that is suitable for the livestock, a substantial amount of live sand and/or rock, as well as obviously water circulation.

What is considered a pico tank?

By means of an overall rule, no matter what, which is 5 gallons or less, falls into the array for the pico reef tank. The 3-gallon Pico tank takes a different approach to some extent, choosing for the hang-on-back archivist instead of the all-in-one system.

What is the best small saltwater tank?

A. Once handling the nano aquariums, it is significant to keep in mind that the smaller tank is, the further careful and attentive you have to be with the quality of water. In case you are just starting with aquariums as well as wanting to have reef tanks, you will probably have to choose a nano tank that is at least 15 gallons or even more. That will be the best small saltwater tank for you.

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