1 Gallon Planted Tank

1 gallon fish tank

My 1 gallon planted tank was set up in May of 2019, and it sat on my desk at work. It had a custom built wooden canopy and a built in refugium area. I originally set up the tank at home and had it running for a couple months to make sure it was stable before bringing it into work. In the tank, I had various plants and a small colony of blue velvet shrimp. Eventually, I added a baby female betta and used it as a nursery until it outgrew the tank.


Aquarium: 0.9 gallon Marina Cubus
Heater: Aqueon Preset Aquarium 50W Heater
Pump: Rio+ 50
Lighting: Fluval C.O.B. For Nano & Desktop Aquariums
Controller: Fluval 2 Channel LED Lamp Timer
Filtration: Biological Sponge
Algae Scrapper: Two Little Fishies Nanomag


Blue Velvet ShrimpBlue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)
Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Pond Snails
Java moss
Java fern
Anubias nana
Chain Sword – Narrow Leaf (Echinodorus tenellus)
Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae)



The tank itself was a 0.9 gallon Marina Cubus tank that I modified and built a wooden canopy for. I ended up taking a spare piece of acrylic and cutting it for the divider to act as a refugium and to be able to hide the equipment. As you can see in the picture to the right, the compartment in the back houses the pump, sponge filter, and the heater. I also put some java moss clippings in the back to make it act a little more like a refugium for the baby shrimp. Personally I’m a fan of the Rio+ pumps, because they come with a bunch of different connectors and pieces. This one came with a flow valve which was important because on a tank this size, I needed to control the flow quite a bit.

LED Lighting

For the aquarium top, I built a wooden canopy that I mounted the light to. I also added a small fan for ventilation because there was too much humidity in the canopy and water droplets were forming within a few hours on the inside. I also, tried adding an acrylic top to cut back on the evaporation, but without the fan, there was still a lot of condensation that built up quickly. This was the first wooden canopy I’ve ever built for an aquarium and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I pretty much just made a wood box with no bottom and a removable top. The light and fan are mounted directly to the main part of the canopy so I can remove the top part without removing the light.

Acrylic TopThe acrylic top I built for my 1 gallon planted tank can be seen on the left. The big hole offset to the side was so the driftwood would fit without needing to cut it. I didn’t want to cut the wood because I liked the look of it and I’m always thinking of the next tank I’ll use it in :). Also, I had already set up the tank before I built the acrylic top, and didn’t want to disturb the setup. The smaller hole in the front is where I put the food in for the shrimp. The small hole in the back is how I added the water to the tank. I used to take a turkey baster without the bulb part and used it as a funnel to get the water in. It’s all the way in the back so the water landed in the refugium part and didn’t disturb anything in the main display.

1 Gallon Aquarium

As I mentioned earlier, I set up the fish tank at home and had it running for a couple months before bringing it into my office where it hung out on my desk next to Link. I tried to make it as low maintenance as possible since it was in my office. I changed the water with a turkey baster, and it took me about 5 minutes. Other than that, I added water every other day and fed the shrimp ever few days. I wasn’t sure how my company would react to me bringing in a fish tank, so I wanted to make the tank small enough where it might not be super noticeable and would be easy enough to bring home if I needed to.

All in all, I really liked my little fish tank and am proud of how the build came out. I ended up taking this tank home with me in March of 2020 when my office was shut down due to Covid-19. I ended up breaking the tank down and moving the inhabitants to a 5.5 gallon tank and used this tank to set up a pico reef. After everything was said and done, I definitely learned some lessons from this tank and things I would change in the future.

Canopy No Top
Canopy With No Top
1 Gallon Planted Fish Tank
1 Gallon Planted Fish Tank
Top View
Top Down View
Female Blue Velvet Shrimp
Female Blue Velvet Shrimp
Baby Blue Velvet Shrimp
Baby Blue Velvet Shrimp
Side View
Side View