Review: Interpet Nano LED aquarium

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Nathan Hill gets to play with yet another new nano tank — this time from Interpet.

I promise that real soon, I’ll be laying off of nano tanks. I’ve got one in the pipeline (and only because it’s an entirely new brand) but for the forseeable, I want to concentrate on tanks for fish rather than shrimp. Manufacturers take note.

Interpet’s nano tank is an almost-24cm/9.6in cube design (24 x 24 x 25.2cm) that holds a volume of 12 l/2.7 gal. Unfortunately, I suspect most fish are out of the picture, unless you’re planning to use the set-up as a spawning tank for a pair of killifish, or some tiny Paedocypris. Aside that kind of specialist livestock, your safest option is one of invertebrates — namely shrimp. The packaging on the box takes a different approach, however, suggesting a total length of 12cm/4.8in of fish if the tank is temperate, and up to 18cm/7.2in of fish if tropical. You pays your money and you takes your choice, I guess.

The kit itself is respectable enough, if basic (and with tiny tanks, basic can be a virtue rather than a drawback). You get your curved acrylic tank, with integrated black, rear filter compartment. I’ll take nothing away from the design, which is smart, and the quality of the moulding is exceptional. Just don’t scratch it, or try to clean it up with a coarse pad — you’ll regret it.

The integrated filter comprises a pump encased in the rear housing, along with two filter media components. The first appears to house biomedia with a high surface area, while the other is a foam sachet containing carbon, so that’s all stages of filtration covered.

The pump powering all of this is an adorably diddy little thing (pumping out a less than diddy 200 lph) that sits at the bottom of the chamber and connects by a length of tubing to a return, via a well-thought out duckbill nozzle, so you can direct flow as needed. It’s surprisingly good. The pump/pipe combo works admirably when new, but loosens a little over time. If you can source some spare piping to replace it when it starts to push itself off, then do so. You’ll save a little frustration later down the line. Cleaning is a breeze, and just involves pulling off an impeller cover and getting in with a small brush. It only consumes 5W at full pelt, so the running cost weekly is literally pennies.

The lighting is LED (hence the name of the package) and gives a nice enough 8000K-looking glow. The packaging claims 'high performance' for 'lush growth' but I don’t feel invited by the illumination to try out the most demanding Riccia or Heminathus types. For your generic Hygrophila, Echinodorus and Vallisneria types, I’m sure it’ll excel, though. Even better, with 12 diodes running at 0.2W each, it won’t break the bank any time this century. Splash out a bit more on the Interpet Auto Sunrise and Timer (auto timer, basically), and you can have a 10 hour on/14 hour off cycle without you needing to flick a switch ever.

The tank is advertised as 'ideal as a tropical or temperate' aquarium, but note that a heater isn’t included. If you want to go trop you’ll need an additional heater, and conveniently enough Interpet does make some very good nano tank heaters.

You also get a cover glass with a smart and simple bracket system to keep it attached.

Finally, the package includes some dechlorinator for your initial fill. You just need to buy the gravel, decor, etc.

Verdict

It looks smart — real smart — and hats off to Interpet for making it both functional and simple to use. But — and I apply this to all manufacturers of tiny tanks — why do we have to have images of ill-suited fish on the packaging (in this case a none-too-tiny Synodontis species)?

As a shrimp tank, I’d say it’s definitely up there with the best. As a fish tank, I’d say I’m very, very reserved.

Ease of use: 5/5

Features: 4/5

Value for money: 3/5

Overall score: 4/5

Price: RRP £73.99; shop around and you’ll find it somewhere around the £50 mark.