10 Best Fish for a Planted Nano Tank

Posted by on 10/20/2023

There are tons of livestock options to choose from when it comes to planted nano tanks. It seems like every year we see new and creative aquascapes featuring all sorts of different fish!

If you're looking to get your creative juices flowing, you're in luck, because we're going to recommend 10 excellent stocking options for your planted nano tank. 

Centerpiece vs Schooling

As a nano tank owner, the first decision you'll need to make is whether or not you should look to acquire a single centerpiece fish or a group of schooling fish. Both have their pros and cons. Schooling fish (technically most of the fish we keep in the hobby aren't true schooling fish, they're "shoaling") move in a group formation. This can be quite a sight to see in an at-home aquarium and will draw the eye towards your tank. 

Centerpiece fish tend to be a bit more extravagant. They may be the only fish in the tank, or are the only species, and often display vibrant colors and unique behavioral traits, such as a puffer fish's ability to puff itself up, or a male betta fish's ability to flare. 

Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and whether you decide to go with a centerpiece fish or a group of schooling fish, we promise you won't regret either decision!

Our 10 Favorites

Now that we've reviewed the differences between schooling and centerpiece fish, here are 10 of our favorites for planted nano tanks.

Kerri Blue Emperor Tetras

Cardinal tetras and green neon tetras tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to tetras in planted tanks. However, the rare Kerri Blue Emperor Tetra is a lesser-known variant that displays an active personality and a shimmering iridescent color. If you can find these for sale, don't miss out on the opportunity to experience these rare and beautiful fish.

Image of a Blue Emperor Tetra
Pavaphon Supanantananont/Shutterstock.com
A Kerri Blue Emperor Tetra

Green Kubotai Rasboras

Green Kubotai Rasboras are small fish - growing to be only about 3/4 an inch in size. Hobbyists with Iwagumi aquascapes, or aquariums that feature a black backdrop, will appreciate these uniquely-colored fish.

Keep in mind that if you have a lot of green background plants, these fish will blend into the background!

Image of a Green Kubotai
Rays Aquatics/Light Fish
A Green Kubotai Rasbora

Galaxy Koi Betta

Betta fish are some of the most common fish in the hobby. Due to their extreme popularity, it's no surprise that these fish have been crossbred to produce a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Enter the Galaxy Koi Betta

While no two Galaxy Koi's look alike, the unique coloration seen on these fish rivals some of the most exotic in the saltwater hobby.

Image of a Galaxy Koi Betta
Ron Kuenitz/Shutterstock.com
A Galaxy Koi Betta

Midnight Black Moscow Guppies

Similar to Bettas, Guppies are crossbred to produce different patterns and colors. One of our favorites is the Midnight Black Moscow - and instead of intricate patterns and colors, this fish sports an all-black coloration. 

With its long-flowing tail, the Midnight Black Moscow is a showstopper. Keep in mind that these fish are livebearers, which may be seen as a drawback for some.  

Medaka Platinum Blue Ricefish

Ricefish are small and unique, but the rare Medaka Platinum is truly a sight to behold. These fish, originating from Japan, make a great addition to any nano tank.

Hobbyists will appreciate the fish's unique, iridescent line that runs along the back of the fish.

Neon Green Tetras

One of the big misconceptions about these fish is that they have a neon-green coloration. In reality, the fish is a bit more blue than green.

Neon Greens will tend to "color up" quite dramatically when your aquarium lights turn on. These fish are also quite a bit smaller than the more common cardinal tetra.

Orange Speckled Mickey Mouse Platy

With a bright orange color, this fish sports a Halloween-themed appearance that stands out in a planted tank full of green plants. Similar to the Red Mickey Mouse Platy, this fish has a black-colored tail and a body adorned with small black speckles. While the "Mickey Mouse" logo that appears on the fish's tail will be less pronounced compared to the traditional red Mickey Mouse platy, the tail fin is outlined by a bright orange coloration.

Orange Speckled Mickey Mouse Platy
Elizabeth Oliva/Light Fish
An Orange Speckled Mickey Mouse Platy

Rocket Clown Killifish

Rocket Clown Killifish are known for their alternating white and black stripes along their bodies, and their tail fins which resemble the colors seen in rockets blasting off!

These fish look amazing in a planted tank, but hobbyists should be aware that these fish are known jumpers. A tight-fitting lid is an absolute must-have for hobbyists looking to acquire these fish.

Image of a Rocket Clown Killifish
A Rocket Clown Killifish

Celestial Pearl Danio

The Celestial Pearl Danio, often abbreviated as CPD, is a planted tank staple. Native to Myanmar, These fish are known for their pearlescent spots and small size.

Hobbyists with a 10-gallon tank will have no issues keeping a small group of these spectacular fish, which look fantastic in any aquascape.

Celestial Pearl Danio
A Celestial Pearl Danio

Bumblebee Goby

Bumblebee Gobies are highly sought after, and it's no surprise as to why. These adorable fish have an upturned mouth and a bumblebee-like appearance. Hobbyists looking to acquire the fish must have an aquarium that's at least 10 gallons in size. 

Their laid-back personality and striking appearance make them an excellent centerpiece fish in a small aquarium.

Image of a Bumblebee Goby
A Bumblebee Goby


That wraps up our list of 10 of our favorite fish for planted nano tanks. While these are only a small selection of the many choices you have available, are there any on the list that you think will make a great addition to your tank? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our marketplace where you can buy some of these fish from hobbyists just like yourself!

Image of Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!