Pico Tanks

Pico Tanks

Recently, the trend in reefing has been towards smaller and smaller tanks.  While a decade ago it was almost unheard of to find a reef tank under 20 gallons, today tanks under 20 gallons, or nano tanks, are the largest segment of the market.  In keeping with this move towards smaller aquariums, a new category of reef tank is taking the hobby by storm, the pico tank.  So just what is a pico tank and why have they become so popular?

What Is A Pico Reef Tank ?

While there is no official definition of what constitutes a pico tank, generally any reef tank under about 5 or 6 gallons is considered to be a pico tank.  For example, the Reef Casa Flat 6 would fit into the category of pico tanks.  While there are a number of these types of aquariums available, the Reef Casa Flat 6 is the only lagoon style pico tank on the market today.  Combine that with the simplicity and clean design common to all Reef Casa aquariums, and you have a great way to get in on the pico tank craze.

So why are pico tanks so popular?

While there are lots of reasons for their popularity, the key factors are likely their low cost and the fact that they can be placed pretty much anywhere.  Due to the fact that they are small, pico tanks are less expensive to set up, maintain and stock.  While they require all the same equipment as larger tanks, such as a heater, return pump and light, the fact that the equipment is smaller means it will be significantly less expensive.  A smaller tank is also less expensive to maintain, as it will require smaller water changes and very little to no dosing.  A pico tank will also be much less expensive to stock with corals, fish and invertebrates since there is far less space to fill.  Usually a reefer will keep only one or two small (and likely inexpensive) fish, a few easy corals or anemones and a collection of small invertebrates.  When compared to the stocking requirements of a larger system, it is easy to see why pico tanks are a great choice for reefers on a limited budget.

Some hobbyists will also choose to set up a pico tank as a special project tank to focus on single coral type or symbiotic relationship.  For example, if you have always wanted to have a clownfish and host anemone or a pistol shrimp and goby combination, a pico tank is a great option.  The design of the Reef Casa Flat 6 makes it a great choice for hobbyists looking to set up a tidal lagoon style tank, with mangroves and rockwork that rise above the water’s surface.  One of the major attractions of a pico tank is that they encourage creativity and “outside the box” thinking.  A reefer may be hesitant to do something experimental with a 200 gallon system costing thousands of dollars, while a pico tank offers a great canvas to try something out of the ordinary.

The other major advantage of a pico tank is that they can be set up literally anywhere.  Because they do not require a specialized stand they can be set up on a kitchen counter, desk or anywhere else you can imagine.  Due to their small water volume, water changes require only a small bucket and siphon; no sink required.  This means that a hobbyist can have a little piece of the ocean anywhere they desire.

How hard are pico reef tanks ?

Because of their small volume water of pico reef tanks need attention like any other salt water aquarium. The most important consideration is evaporation as the salinity can change quickly in such a small volume of water. The maintenance of pico reef tanks is many ways is significantly easier that larger reef tanks.

Pico Reef Tank Limitations

While pico tanks do have some limitations, such as the number and size of fish they can accommodate, their low cost means that they are a great way to try something new and unique, or just set up a little piece of the reef in your kitchen.  If you have any questions about the Reef Casa Flat 6 send us an email, we are happy to help.  Happy Reefing!