Read reviews and compare prices on these overall basic saltwater and reef aquarium set up and care books considered by your About.com Guides to be some of the best to get started with. Excellent choices for beginners, from planning and setting up the kind of saltwater system you want to keep, to selecting and caring for marine fish and invertebrates, to maintaining the system, and more, these top pick saltwater systems starter books cover it all.
This great book by Hans A. Baensch and Helmut Debelius is a valuable source of information, especially for the new reef hobbyist. "Baensch Marine Atlas 1: The Joint Aquarium Care of Invertebrates and Tropical Marine Fishes" begins by covering all the functioning aspects of setting up and maintaining a reef aquarium, then profiles selecting and caring for Invertebrates, Sea Anemones and Crustaceans, and finishes up by profiling 600 marine fish species. Over 1,000 full color photos are included. Important Buying Tip: Be careful when ordering these atlases online. The overall name Baensch Marine Atlas shows up in the title search results, but a book cover picture and volume number is not given, and you can easily get the wrong atlas.
Authored by John H. Tullock, "Natural Reef Aquariums: "Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms" is based on the theory of less technology, more biology. Combining John's simple approach of how to create and care for a natural reef system with over 200 color photos and illustrations to look at, step-by-step formulas for creating miniature reef aquaria that are simpler, cheaper, healthier, and truer to nature's own systems, this is a top pick book recommended for all reef keepers new or experienced.
Don Carner gives his review on "Reef Invertebrates - Volume 1: An Essential Guide To Selection, Care and Compatibility" authored by Anthony Rosario Calfo in partnership with Robert Fenner, the crew of WetWebMedia. This book is a complete and concise guide to understanding, setting up, and caring for true reef aquariums, and the invertebrates in them.
"Reef Secrets: Starting Right, Selecting Fishes and Invertebrates, Advanced Biotope Techniques" by Alf Jacob Nilsen and Svein A. Fossa is highly recommended for anyone that wants to start a reef aquarium, convert an existing system into one, or simply is planning to add new marine livestock. With a fresh, easy-to-follow approach to setting up and stocking a reef aquarium, "Reef Secrets" is not only a complete guide to reef keeping, but has a chapter that contains a large collection of full-color marine fish and invertebrate pictures that include at-a-glance profile notes on their identification, feeding, compatibility, and more.
A bestseller since it was first published in 1998, Robert M. Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist - A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists is filled with respected, time-tested information and advice. What makes it even better is the 2008 published 2nd edition has been revised with updated information and includes never-before-seen photos. This is an excellent reference guide recommended for all beginners and intermediate level saltwater aquarium keepers.
A reference we still use today, "The Marine Aquarium Handbook: Beginner to Breeder" by Martin A. Moe was the first book we bought when we began our saltwater fish collection business in 1989, and referred to it as our aquarium "Bible". Although it is a little more technically written, Moe covers all the aspects of setting up and caring for a fish-only system. From getting started, to selecting fish, to taking care of them and maintaining the aquarium, and even including a chapter on the basics of breeding marine fish, this is a book we recommend for anyone to start out with.
For anyone that would like to set up and keep a tiny slice-of-the-ocean, "The Nano-Reef Handbook" by Christopher Brightwell contains all the information you need to get started. Covering a wide range of topics about nano-reef keeping, this guide includes complete details on the importance of water quality and tips on maintaining stable water parameters, what the components of a nano-reef are and how to choose the appropriate aquarium, lighting, and accessories for a tank, which fish and invertebrates are best for these types of systems, and much more information.
If you are just starting or want to get into the saltwater hobby, "The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step Setup & Stocking Guide" is for you! Michael S. Paletta has done a excellent job of putting this simply written starter saltwater aquarium book together. It contains all the details you'll need to set up a fish-only or a fish-only with live rock system from start to finish. Including valuable information on how to cure and add live rock for filtration, select and take care of livestock, maintain the aquarium, and much more, it's easy to see why this publication is at the top of our list for beginners.
If you want input on what equipment to get, filtration to use, lights to have, and more about how to set up a saltwater aquarium, change or add to an existing system, "Ultimate Marine Aquariums: Saltwater Dream Systems and How They Are Created" by Michael S. Paletta is for you. Simply structured in a profile type format, each aquarium highlighted in this book includes stunning full-color photos with an introduction from Micheal that profiles the system and its creator, and outlines Tank, Circulation, Controllers, Filtration, Lighting, System Parameters & Chemistry, Livestock & Feeding details. This book really provides insight into the many ways you can set up a saltwater system, clearly showing there is no real right or wrong way to do it.