Everyone’s having a lot of fun with pico tanks at the moment and there are some surprisingly sophisticated “reef-ready,” models complete with tiny sump and LED lighting. But pTank’s Pico tank range stands out for one very special reason – the tank comes flat-packed and you assemble and glue the tiny tank’s panels yourself.
Beginning as a diminutive tank for aquascapers pTank’s current range comprises the Pico Float, Column, Classic, X1.5, and X2, which range in size from the tiny tray-like 4”x4”x2” Pico Float X0.5 to the 11”x8”x6” pTank X2. All panels are made from 5mm/0.2” thick clear cast acrylic which has been masked for a neat build, along with a build guide. Several acrylic bonding agents are recommended although not supplied, and are available separately. We asked its creator how a flat-packed pico came about:
“I developed the Pico tank during Lockdown, my circumstances changed and I wanted something I could take with me and move around Airbnbs, with freshwater Aquascapes in. I didn’t want to have to construct each tank, so thought the kit idea would be good, making them easy to post and appealing to other people who like to tinker. Since then the salt and reef community has taken a keen interest. With @bearded.reef running a very popular Pico challenge and designing a media basket for 3D printing. Early kits were made in China but I have since found a UK supplier and all kits are now UK designed and made.”
If you only like the salty side then the cube-shaped Classic or Lagoon Style X1.5 and X2 will appeal not only because they hold more water, but also because a rear filter compartment “baffle kit,” can be installed making these tanks into mini AIO aquariums. No pump or pico lamp is supplied but again links are provided with some real-life images of pTanks set up and running on Instagram. And at just over 2 gallons you may be able to put some ornamental mobile inverts in the X2. A drop-off tank and a peninsula are penciled in to launch in the future.
If you’ve never glued acrylic before it can be a messy job, you need to be neat and accurate while placing and holding the edges together and you only really get one go at it before the cement goes off.
One cute touch is the 3” Pico Practice cube, enabling you to have a dry run on an even smaller model to get you used to gluing before you attempt the main event. These cost just £5/$7 and they’ll give you 5% off the purchase of the proper pico if you want to take the next step afterward.
We love how Lockdown drove creativity and the story behind the need for a truly portable travel tank. We were just starting to see flat-packed glass terrariums coming through for the reptile community but the idea of a flat-packed aquarium seems like a new one. Everyone has room and budget for a Pico tank and the idea of actually forming the very walls of the tank as well as setting it up, scaping it, and running it must really add to the satisfaction of owning one.
The pTank Pico Classic with rear filter chamber (featured below,) costs £45, or approximately $60.