Best All In One Nano Reef Tanks | Great For Beginners

Updated Nov 16/2020

In this article, I will show you the best all in one nano reef tanks that are great for beginners.

All in one tanks are becoming more popular these days and with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you.

In the article Saltwater tanks for beginners, I mentioned that sometimes a larger saltwater aquarium can be more forgiving and easier to maintain.

While that is true, I know many beginner hobbyists plan on starting with a nano tank.

With so many different styles of aquariums available on the market today, you can pretty much buy any tank you want, and if you can’t find it, you can have it custom made.

The nice thing about having an all in one tank, is they are basically plug and play systems.

So if you are a beginner or even an advanced reef keeper, an all in one tank might be the perfect fit for you.

Best all in one nano reef tanks

  1. Coralife Biocube
  2. Red Sea Max Nano
  3. Fluval EVO
  4. Innovative Marine Nuvo

1. Coralife Biocube

The Coralife Biocube is a very popular all in one aquarium set. I currently have the new 32 gallon LED model and love it. The new design has built-in LEDs under the hood which are controllable with moonlights and timers. The built-in filtration section can be used for any filter media you choose. If you decide to build a refugium in the center section, Coralife was smart enough to have a clear panel on the back of the tank to incorporate light for any macroalgae you want to grow. This set also has an optional matching stand, which of course I had to have!

Features and specs:

  • Available in 16 or 32-gallon sizes
  • Built-in LED canopy
  • Quiet operation
  • Matching stand
  • Strong return pump
  • Dimensions 16 gallon – 15″ long X 16.75″ Wide X 17.5″ High
  • Dimensions 32 gallon – 20.25″ long X 21.875″ Wide X 21.5″ High


  • Affordable
  • Built-in refugium window
  • Built-in canopy with LED lights
  • Modern looking design


  • Lights not suitable for SPS corals

Check today’s price of the Coralife Biocube on Amazon here.

2. Red Sea Max Nano

If you are looking for a high-end plug and play all in one system, the Red Sea Max Nano is for you. This is the highest quality system on the market today in the nano tank size. But you will pay a higher price for it and it’s well worth it. Red Sea includes everything you need to run this setup properly. Its modern design makes a true aquarium showpiece for any room in your home.

Features and specs:

  • 20-gallon tank
  • Matching stand
  • Rimless ultra-clear glass
  • New reef LED lighting
  • Built-in filtration with a protein skimmer
  • Return pump 240 GPH
  • Auto Top Off system
  • Tank size 20″ x 20″ x 20″
  • Total system height with the stand 54″


  • High-end quality
  • New reef 50 LED lighting
  • Built it auto top-off system
  • Rimless ultra-clear glass


  • None. Red Sea has built a great product

The Red Sea Nano Max is available at Marine Depot here.

3. Fluval Evo

The Fluval Evo is the most affordable all in one system on our list. It is available in 2 sizes. 5 gallons and 13.5 gallons. Both include built-in filtration and a full canopy with LED lights that are reef capable and would be best for low light corals. The Evo is energy efficient and doesn’t take up a lot of space. Inside the filtration area, there is space for a protein skimmer and heater which are sold separately. If you are looking for an all in one system and are on a budget, the Fluval Evo is for you.

Features and specs:

  • Available in 2 sizes – 5 gallons and 13.5 gallons
  • Energy efficient
  • Built-in filtration system
  • Included canopy with LED lighting
  • Return pump 80 GPH – 5 gallon
  • Return pump 132 GPH – 13 gallon
  • Dimensions 5 gallon – 20.5″ x 11.6″ x 7.5″
  • Dimension 13 gallon – 22 x 15″” x 11.5″


  • Affordable
  • Canopy with built-in LED lighting
  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Compact design which is great for small spaces


  • Lighting is not suitable for SPS corals

Check today’s price of the Fluval Evo on Amazon.

fluval evo upgrades

4. IM Nuvo Fusion 20

The Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 20 is another great all in one tank. This setup comes with low iron beveled crystal clear glass. It includes a full-length built-in filtration system that comes with a return pump, custom caddy media basket, filter sock, and other flow nozzles, hoses, and connections that are required. It also includes a leveling mat and mesh covering for the top of the tank, which is a great feature to have. The IM Nuvo 20 has a compact design and is easy to place anywhere in your home. You can also purchase a matching stand from Innovative Marine separately which makes an awesome looking setup.

Features and specs:

  • Low iron beveled glass
  • Built-in filtration
  • Includes leveling mat and mesh cover
  • Strong return pump – 326 GPH
  • Dimensions: 24″ x 15″ x 13″
  • Media basket, filter sock included
  • Available matching stand and lighting purchased separately


  • Affordable
  • Low iron beveled clear glass
  • Strong return pump flow
  • Includes leveling mat and mesh cover


  • Lighting is not included

The Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 20 is available at Marine Depot.

nuvo fusion 20

What is a nano reef tank?

A nano tank is just a compact or small tank that is usually less than 30 gallons.

It’s for people who may have limited space to keep a larger tank but still want to set up a reef aquarium. The nice thing about nano tanks is that they can pretty much fit anywhere and don’t require custom-built heavy-duty stands for them.

A basic desk or table will often be all that is needed. Smaller reef tanks are visually stunning, and with some creativity, you can build an awesome little reef tank.

Some people will keep nano tanks in their office or bedrooms and others will use them as a showpiece in their main living space.

Nano tanks are easy to transport and not such a big deal when they have to be moved.

Are nano reef tanks hard to keep?

Nano reef tanks are not hard to keep, but they do require lots of attention and proper care.

Smaller tanks can be less forgiving with respect to water quality and can be more challenging to maintain. As with any aquarium setup, planning ahead is important, and learning as much information as you can prior to setting up save headaches afterward.

Of course, you may make mistakes along the way but that is expected. Just learn from them and move on. If you take things slow with a nano tank, things should work out just fine.

Marine Depot Aquarium Supplies

Advantages of a nano reef tank

So we already know that nano reef tanks can be a bit less forgiving than larger tanks. But they do have some advantages.

  • Cheaper to set up and operate
  • Take up less space
  • Easier to move
  • All in one tanks are plug and play
  • More energy efficient
  • Don’t require external equipment and plumbing

What is an all in one tank?

An all in one aquarium is a complete packaged aquarium system. Basically, when you buy an all in one tank, you are getting supplied with everything you need to set up and operate right away.

The aquarium will come with a built-in filter system, filter padding or sponges, bio media, return pump, and some even have a canopy with built-in lighting. The only thing you will need to add is a heater if it’s required.

All in one tanks are very modern in design, don’t require additional equipment to hang on the back, they are affordable, and don’t need any extra customization.

They are ready to operate out of the box.


An all in one nano aquarium is an excellent choice if you are a beginner or someone with plenty of experience in the saltwater hobby. These systems are generally quite affordable, easy to set up, and make a great showpiece. Any of the mentioned nano tanks will be a great choice.

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