Acquiring and reading the best saltwater aquarium books in my library has helped me learn from the experience of others and has inspired me on my own journeys with my tanks, fragging, breeding, and blogging (you know, all the “ings”).
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have added 33 saltwater aquarium books to my library–many of which are not in print anymore but can be picked up used. Sharing those books with you today in the hopes that we can each help each other find a helpful, valuable read. If you have a book that you highly recommend that isn’t on the list, please leave a comment and let me know.
31 Saltwater aquarium books (and 2 magazines) in my personal library
Without further ado (I always wanted to use that expression…it’s so old-timey and fancy…and just learned the spelling “ado”), here are the 31 saltwater aquarium books in my library. Immediate following the list, I will put them into sub-groupings to help refine where I would and would not recommend them.
- 107 Tips for the Marine Reef Aquarium, by Albert B. Ulrich III
- Algae: A Problem Solver Guide, by Julian Sprung
- Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History, by Eric Borneman
- Banggai Cardinalfish: A Guide to Captive Care, Breeding, & Natural History, by Ret Talbot, Matt Pedersen, Matthew L. Wittenrich, Ph.D.
- Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes: Plus Seven More Aquarium Fish Families with Expert Captive Care Advice for the Marine Aquarist, by Scott W. Michael
- Book of Coral Propagation: A Concise Guide to the Successful Care and Culture of Coral Reef Invertebrates, Volume one, Version 1.0, by Anthony Calfo
- Breeding the Orchid Dottyback, by Martin Moe
- Clownfishes: A Guide to Their Captive Care, Breeding & Natural History, by Joyce D. Wilkerson
- The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes, by Matthew L. Wittenrich
- Conditioning and Rearing of Fish- Emphasis on Clownfish by Frank H. Hoff
- The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, by Robert M. Fenner
- Coral Magazine
- Corals: A Quick Reference Guide, by Julian Sprung
- Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, by Edward J. Noga
- Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species, by Scott W. Michael
- How to Frag Corals: Step-by-Step Guide to Fill Your Frag Tank & Enjoy the Reef Aquarium Hobby, by Albert B. Ulrich III
- How to Set up a Saltwater Aquarium, by Jeff Hesketh
- Invertebrates: A Quick Reference Guide, by Julian Sprung
- Marine Aquarist’s Quiz Book, by Martin and Barbara Moe
- Natural Reef Aquariums: Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms, by John H. Tullock
- The New Marine Aquarium: Step-by-Step Setup & Stocking Guide, by Michael S. Paletta
- The New Saltwater Aquarium Guide: How to Care for and Keep Marine Fish and Corals, by Albert B. Ulrich III
- The New Reef Aquarium, by Laurren Schmoyer
- A Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Invertebrates: 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species, by Scott W. Michael
- Practical Coral Farming, by Miguel Tolosa
- The Reef Aquarium, Volume 1, by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung
- The Reef Aquarium, Volume 2, by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung
- Reef Hobbyist Magazine
- Reef Invertebrates: An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility, by Anthony Calfo & Robert Fenner
- Reef Journal, by Albert B. Ulrich III
- Reef Secrets, by Alf Jacob Nilsen and Svein A. Fossa
- Ultimate Marine Aquariums: Saltwater Dream Systems and How They Are Created, by Michael S. Paletta
- Your First Marine Aquarium, by John H. Tullock
Sharing my entire collection of coral reef aquarium books with you–vulnerably and transparently–makes me humbled and thankful at my good fortune. But I don’t want my transparent sharing here to be misunderstood as advice that all of these books are required or should be purchased by the conscientious aquarist. Pun intended. You will be missed, Mr. Fenner.
Well, that is the list. Now let’s dive deeper into a few recommended categories.
Best saltwater aquarium books beginners
These are the saltwater aquarium books, from my library, that I would lend out to those of you who are just beginning your journey in this hobby. That is not to say that there isn’t wisdom here for moderate or more advanced aquarium owners, but rather, is intended to suggest the books listed below are a great place for a beginner to start.
You may recognize the amazingly good-looking author of two of these books. To offset the bias of your author here, I encourage you to read the reviews of these books, which I am comfortable support their placement here.
Best saltwater aquarium books for advanced reef aquarium owners
For those of you who know the basics already and are looking to dive deeper in some texts that feel a bit more like text-books in a reef aquarium college course, check out these books by Delbeek and Sprung.
Not sure if you caught this in the list-section of the article, but I actually don’t OWN book3 in the series. I borrowed it from our public library. However, I included it here in this sub-section, since you may want to acquire all three books in the series if you have the interest and the money.
If you are looking to add these books to your collection, I do recommend that you sort of stalk them online. You’ll see that used books in our hobby can go anywhere from $1.50 to $350 for seemingly no reason at all.
For the record, I’m not recommending you drop serious money on these–but they are dense, color, hardcover textbooks, so do expect to pay high double digits, at least.
Must-have coral reef aquarium books recommended for every library
Regardless of where you are in your own saltwater aquarium journey (beginner-advanced), these are the saltwater aquarium books that should anchor your bookshelf
Best books for coral propagation and fragging in a reef aquarium
Out of print, may not be practically priced
Best saltwater aquarium books for breeding saltwater fish in a marine aquarium
Best troubleshooting books
Best coral reef aquarium books recommended for their focus on aquarium corals in a community tank
The best coral reef aquarium book, in my estimation, is:
I’ve broken-in the spine on this book.
Best saltwater aquarium log book workbook to walk you through your aquarium setup step-by-step and help you log and track your progress
In 2016, the one-of-a-kind Reef Journal was published. It is equal parts saltwater aquarium log book, planner, and journal. There are step-by-step prompts that help take you through the set up of a new saltwater aquarium–from planning, through aquascaping, livestock selection (and order of addition), and helpful grids to track your quarantine observations and water parameter test results.
Best saltwater aquarium books with a focus on aquarium invertebrates in a marine reef aquarium
Best magazines about the saltwater aquarium hobby
I recommend you get both of these magazines. Two for the price of one!
Best quick reads
One thing I noticed about a few of the saltwater aquarium books in my library, is that they are heavy, dense reading books–more like biology textbooks than how-to guides (in many instances). When I wrote my own books, I set-out deliberately to make the content equally helpful/authoritative, but more easily snackable and consumable.
Here are the resources I recommend that also achieve a level of helpful-and-infinitely consumable
Best selling saltwater aquarium books
Each year, I publish an article, based on the unique readership on this site about the best selling saltwater aquarium books.
You can read the most recent report here.
If you would like to learn more about the reef aquarium book series before shopping for them online, you can dive a bit deeper here.
The best way to develop a deep understanding of a topic is to gather multiple, diverse perspectives, to help you understand where there is consensus, divergence, and where the nuances are. While I attempt to provide my best version of helpful, distilled information here and in the books I’ve authored, you would be best served to know that my own opinions have been shaped by what I’ve learned as well as experienced–and you would likely benefit from experiencing other voices as well.
I do hope that sharing this with you here helps you find an opportunity to expand your horizons, and also sincerely hope that if there is anything you recommend reading that you will share that here with me and the readers of this page so we can continue to expand ours.