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Readers Respond: Mini Aquariums, Adorable or Deadly?

Responses: 43


From the article: Mini Aquariums
Mini aquariums are very popular with some, but others say they are nothing more than death boxes for the helpless fish. What do you think? Share your experiences.

Not Really Safe For Fish

Mini aquariums are sometimes really cute- as long as they are filtered, well cared for, and maintained by an experienced fish owner with AN (notice I mean one) appropriate fish or maybe shrimp or snail(s). But, honestly, the way most people keep them is most certainly NOT safe or okay. Most people just say it's okay for beginners, but really, it's TERRIBLE if you've never kept a fish. Yes, there are some exceptions, but they really aren't safe for fish.
—Guest razzamatazz

Great with proper care

@Gabby Watts - filtered aquariums require 4-6 weeks to cycle. Anything can die in those first 2 months. Your poor little goldfish may have survived a couple years in a bowl but never would have lived his potential 20 years. You had good intentions buying a proper tank but not the knowledge to make it happen successfully.
—Guest Stephanie

mini tanks

I would say mini tanks are not for beginners. I have a 4+ litres planted mini tank with 3 endlers, 1 rasbora and 2 yellow shrimps. They are all doing good, water is ensured to be kept clean. More effort is definitely needed for mini tanks. First week I do 10 to 20 percent water changes with aged water daily. 2nd week I do 10 to 20 percent water changes every 2 days until I reach the 4 weeks mark, I will have to wc twice a week. I do wc by siphoning the gravel gently. This is how much effort it takes for mini tanks. I just added 2 more shrimps today. If my shrimps get preggy, I will either rehome the fishes or shrimps to another mini tank. You need to add floating plants too, to help to keep up with good water quality since mini tanks water parameters will not be as stable as the bigger ones. And small fishes only please! But hell, no neon tetras though they are small!
—Guest jamie

Fish Keeping

I love my tank but I have mixed feelings about keeping any fish at all. I know we try but they still have pretty terrible and short lives because we can not duplicate every fishes habitat. Small bowls and aquariums are the worst. For any fish I say 5 gall. min...that being said I had a betta in a 1.5 gallon in horrid conditions for a very very long time...years...but I would never do that again. My personal secret to longer living fish is go large with the tank and low on food. And only use bottled drinking water. NEVER use tap water even if you treat it...it kills the fish. Reverse osmosis water from a shop is ok too. So yeah I am totally against tiny tanks unless they are just for a few minutes for photography purposes...
—Guest Brianna

I have a nice 2 1/2 gal. it's just fine!

I have a 2 1/12 gal. with a double sponge filter it's just fine! In it is 1 red veil tail male Betta & 2 African dwarf frogs. The H2O is heated & filtered & the chemistry is consistant & the pH is a healthy 7.2! It's a nice little tank.

Little friends

My first goldfish (Fred) was kept in a small tank of around 5 litres, literally he loved it. He was in there for 2 years, no filter, just a few plants and gravel. He was never ill, or anything. But after hearing how they get lonely on their own and need a bigger tank, I got a 15 litre tank with anther goldfish. I also got recommended to add a filter, so I did so. Well, thanks for nothing, both fish died after about 2 months. Very sad to see Fred go as he was my little buddy. So not everything these 'experts' say is true, nor do they work.
—Guest Gabby Watts

For the right thing

I have a Betta in my 3.5 gallon glo-fish tank with a heater and filter and is thriving. Later I plan on adding some cherry shrimp. But small tanks (under 5 gallons) are great, but should only really be used for a betta or maybe a few male fancy guppies.
—Guest Fishlove


I have a betta and he is doing fine in a 1 and a half gallon tank filtered and heated. I had a fish before in a halfgallon and it is okay for a betta but not there favorite.
—Guest Bob

Fine for a betta

I have an Aqueon mini bow (1 gallon) and the fish I have had seemed ok in it. the author is right about small aquariums being very sensitive, though. I lost my first betta after a water change, even though I'm not sure weather the temperature or the water chemistry killed him. small tanks are sensitive to both though, just because there is such a small amount of water. my current betta seems content in his one gallon tank, even though im looking into getting him a bigger one. my current setup is a hiding place, a small sculpture, and a plant, and it looks great and provides a nice place for the fish
—Guest paxx


I have 5 tanks, a 120 gallon(gallons are 3.8 times bigger than liters) that is 48x24x24... I have a 75 gallon that is 48x18x21, a 65 gallon that is 36x18x24, a 36 gallon bowfront that is 30x13x21 and a 29 gallojn that is 30x12x18(remember, gallons are 3.8 times biger than liters)... all my tanks are freshwater exept my 29 gallon. honestly to me 29 gallons are small but most people think they are not so you should say the range in liters or gallons on how big a "small tank" really is to you beacause every boudy has diffrent opions... besides that great article and 100% acurate...
—Guest gc

Not cruel just selfish

I study bettas at university and the difference is is that I have a betta in ten gallon filtered and heated and he swims around so happily! And I also own a betta that's in a half gallon and he's a miserable sump on the floor:( and will soon be putting him in 10 gal heated and filtered but then again it's up to you but just think would you like to be in a cupboard?
—Guest Henry

Mini tanks-Good4kids, bad4serious adults

I say mini aquariums are good for children and beginners, but are really not good for adults or serious hobbyists. a 5 gallon or 21 liter is good for the littlies, but not good if you want a large community. Also not good because they are hard to keep stable (chemically) and just often look way to crowded. With a betta and a couple of say, feeder fish a 5 gal might be o.k. (be careful, not all betta's are friendly towards other fish) Sources: experience
—Guest B.J.

happy beta

My bet lives in a 29 gal tank, plenty of live plants the gravel is full of scuds, the fish swims all over the tank chasing scuds, putting him in a small tanks would depress him, he loves teh big tank. I could nver put him in a small tank, it's like a small jail.
—Guest daffy duck


I would never let any of my fish get near something so cruel. It's like getting locked into a room for the rest of your life. And to fish that means a lot. Face it, their life is in your hands..... and if you do something like this.... its just to evil.
—Guest Stella


I don't think that its that good to keep a fish in a small tank. Because I'm sure that you would not like to live in a attic! But sadly my poor Betta only has a 2 gallon so I am going to save up all of my allowance to get him a ten gallon tank with natural colored gravel and live plants.
—Guest sandra

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Mini Aquariums, Adorable or Deadly?

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Shirlie Sharpe
About.com Freshwater Aquariums

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