Ideal Books For Reef Keepers

Before buying anything to do reef keeping, it is absolutely essential that you carry out thorough research into all aspects of the hobby. It is said that maintaining a reef tank is far more difficult than a freshwater tank because of the increased need for stability, and the greater care requirements of the livestock. However, with proper research and planning, keeping a flourishing marine tank can be just as easy and much more rewarding.

As well as the plethora of online resources, such as this site, there are many excellent publications available for you to buy. Highlighted here are some of the best books that are available for both someone who is thinking about setting up a marine tank and for the more experienced hobbyist. There are even links at the bottom of each review to online stores that stock each title.
Beginner Books

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists


by Robert M. Fenner

Price: ~ $45

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Bob Fenner is by far the best book available to both new and experienced reef keepers. It has been a the best selling marine book since being first published in 1998. The new 2008 2nd edition is packed with the latest innovations in reef keeping and offers full guides on setting up a tank, chemistry, stocking and caring for your inhabitants. Its 456 pages are full of superb colour images and invaluable information.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $44.07

Your First Marine Aquarium (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)


by John Tullock

Price: ~ $10

This is a relatively inexpensive and contains useful information for the new reef keeper (more experienced hobbysists will probably not find this as useful). This book’s author discusses many aspects of marine aquarium maintenance and presents clear instructions on creating the correct water chemistry and environment in which saltwater animals can flourish.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $8.99

More experienced hobbyists

The Reef Aquarium: Science, Art, and Technology, Vol. 3


by Julian Sprung

Price: ~ $55

Perhaps not the ideal book for absolute beginners, it is however, a must read for all hobbyists at some point. This book outlines all the latest technologies in reef keeping and considers the role of biology, chemistry, and physics in successful reef keeping. This third volume in The Reef Aquarium series, provides the most thorough description of the science behind the creation of a captive reef, and critically reviews and explains the different philosophical approaches to reef aquarium design. It also describes and illustrates the existing as well as emerging technology for building reef aquariums, to help guide the selection of equipment, its proper use, and installation.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $56.67
Drs Foster & Smith - $76.99

Fish & Invert Books

A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Species

by Scott W. Michael

Price: ~ $20

This small guide features hundreds of species of fish all presented with stunning colour photographs and essential information for care, husbandry and feeding. It is organised by species to allow for easy reference and is a must have guide.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $19.77
Drs Foster & Smith - $25.49

A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates: 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species

by Ronald L. Shimek

Price: ~$20

Exactly the same as Reef Aquarium Fishes above but for inverts. This book may not be suited to the average reef keeper but if you have a special interest in inverts then this is the book for you.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $19.77
Drs Foster & Smith - $25.49

Coral Books
Aquarium Corals : Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History

by Eric H. Borneman

Price: ~$35

Put simply, this is the best coral book available today. It contains guides on coral care, identification and husbandry. If you are serious about keeping any type of corals then this is an essential purchase.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $37.77

Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1 Edition 2: Reef Gardening for Aquarists

by Anthony Calfo

Price: ~$60

Written by one of the world’s leading experts in marine aquariums, this pioneering publication is the most comprehensive work on the care, display and cultivation of reef corals. The book comes fully illustrated with almost 1,000 images and contains guides on tank setup, water chemistry and how to grow, prune and propagate your favourite corals. An excellent book for both the beginner and experienced reef keeper.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $59.95
Drs Foster & Smith - $42.49

Nano Tanks
The Nano-Reef Handbook

by Chris Brightwell

Price: ~$22

With the forum nano build contest on the horizon, this book has been chosen as it is tailored to the sub 15 gallon aquarium. The first half of the book discusses water quality, filtration, lighting, and temperature. The second half provides descriptions of suitable fishes and invertebrates.

Buy this book:

Amazon - $19.77
Drs Foster & Smith - $22.94
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