Last Updated on February 15, 2023 by Jakob

Correctly setting up and maintaining a fish tank can be quite a difficult and confusing task, especially if you are new to the hobby and haven’t had an aquarium before. There is much to learn about the aquarium nitrogen cycle, filters and more. 

Knowing where to begin and what you should do is important in order to not make mistakes that will come back to haunt you and your fish. 

There are many great resources available online (including this website we hope!), but sometimes a book just feels right. Sometimes specific species can be hard to care for, like the Ribbon Eel or the Cherry Shrimp

From aquascaping ideas and how to culture and maintain a beautiful aquarium, to freshwater and marine fish lists, to finding the best aquarium heaters, there are a multitude of aquarium books available.

In this article we will list what we perceive to be the best aquarium books available at the moment. We will try to include a broad range of fish tank books, such as set-up guides, fish species ID books, and plant lists


Best Aquarium Books

Best Aquarium Set-up Books

To get started we have compiled a list of some great books that are incredibly helpful in the best setup of a new 10 gallon aquarium. These books are extremely useful if you haven’t had previous experience in setting up a new tank, and will walk you through each stage. 

From which fish to choose, to the substrate and decorations, to how to properly cycle a fish tank, and how to properly maintain an aquarium, these books have all the information that you need.

Freshwater Aquariums: Basic Aquarium Setup and Maintenance (CompanionHouse Books) Beginner-Friendly Guide to Keeping Fish, Choosing Varieties, Setting the Tank, Achieving Optimum Water Quality, & More
  • Hardcover Book
  • Alderton, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 02/01/2003 (Publication Date) - CompanionHouse Books (Publisher)
Freshwater Aquariums for Beginners: The Simple Little Guide to Setting up & Caring for Your Freshwater Aquarium
  • James, Walter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 126 Pages - 02/02/2021 (Publication Date) - Admore Publishing (Publisher)
The New Marine Aquarium
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Paletta, Michael S. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 09/01/2002 (Publication Date) - TFH Publications, Inc. (Publisher)
Freshwater Aquariums For Dummies
  • Heleine, Madelaine Francis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 10/08/2019 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)
Aquascaping: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting, Styling, and Maintaining Beautiful Aquariums
  • Hardcover Book
  • Farmer, George (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) - Skyhorse (Publisher)
Sunken Gardens: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Freshwater Aquariums
  • Timber press or
  • Language: english
  • Book - sunken gardens: a step-by-step guide to planting freshwater aquariums
  • Randall, Karen A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
The Reef Aquarium (Mini Encyclopedia Series)
  • Hunt, Philip (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 05/01/2012 (Publication Date) - Sourcebooks Trade (Publisher)

Best Freshwater Fish Books

500 Freshwater Aquarium Fish: A Visual Reference to the Most Popular Species
  • Jennings, Greg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 528 Pages - 06/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Firefly Books (Publisher)

This is a brilliant freshwater fish guide, with 500 freshwater aquarium fish listed. Each fish page is complete with amazing pictures to allow you to see them in all their glory, and also has an informative paragraph about them. Not only this but it also has easy to read points that tell you common names, distribution, diet, behavior, aquarium requirements, and breeding.

Freshwater Aquariums (CompanionHouse Books) Essential Beginner-Friendly Guide to Setting Up Your Tank, Filtration, Health, Fish, Plants, Substrates, Lighting, and More (Aquamaster)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Thraves, Stuart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 08/01/2007 (Publication Date) - CompanionHouse Books (Publisher)

An awesome general freshwater fish and aquarium guide, this book details how to properly set up and maintain your freshwater aquarium, and also presents a selection of popular freshwater fish and plants that you could potentially stock in your tank.

Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish (DK Pet Encyclopedias)
  • Alderton, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 02/12/2019 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)

A complete encyclopedia of aquarium and pond fish, you are guaranteed to find what species you are looking for in this book. With more than 800 species listed, it details both tropical and coldwater freshwater fish, pond fish, and saltwater fish.

Best Saltwater Fish Books

The 101 Best Saltwater Fishes: How to Choose & Keep Hardy, Brilliant, Fascinating Species That Will Thrive in Your Home Aquarium (Adventurous Aquarist Guides)
  • Aquatic
  • Books
  • Michael, Scott W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 04/18/2024 (Publication Date) - Tfh Pubns Inc (Publisher)

Suitable for both new and intermediate hobbyists, the 101 Best Saltwater Fishes features brilliant tips on the basics of selecting fish; from mixing and matching fish in aquariums of various sizes, building compatible communities, husbandry basics for each species, and expert tricks for keeping fish healthy and colorful.

Designed by a team of marine enthusiasts and aquarium professionals, this information-packed book covers 500 popular saltwater species. There is a clear one species per page layout, with information such as scientific and common names, maximum length, range, minimum aquarium size, foods and feeding, aquarium suitability, reef aquarium compatibility, behavior, and captive care advice. The fish covered include angelfish, butterflyfish, cardinalfish, surgeonfishes, blennies, wrasses, and many more.

Best Coral Books

A ReefBum's Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success
  • Berkelhamer, Keith (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 191 Pages - 11/28/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

This book is a brilliant guide to SPS corals, or small polyp stony corals. SPS corals are one of the two types of hard corals which create skeletons from calcium carbonate. The other type are large polyp stony corals

This book is a fantastic beginners guide to aquarium corals. It has tons of incredibly useful information, from acclimating corals successfully, their life cycle, coral handling, and much more. It has information on both hard and soft corals, such as Acan Coral and Xenia Coral.


Hopefully this guide to the best aquarium books out there at the moment has been helpful and informative. 

If you have found any other books that aren’t on this list please let us know in the comments and we will add them in! If we like them of course!

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About Coral Realm

Hello and welcome to! is a platform that aims to educate people about the ocean and the marine life that inhabits it.

Our team of writers, researchers, and marine biologists are passionate about sharing knowledge on various topics that relate to the ocean, including marine biology, oceanography, ecology, and conservation. We believe that the more people know about the ocean, the better equipped they will be to protect it.

We have written articles on conservation but also plenty of fish keeping content like, how often to feed a betta fish, which talks about betta fish feeding habits. Or review content like, the best hang on the back filters, where we review top HOB filters to answering questions like can betta fish live in a bowl?

We also explore the weird and wonderful, like what do aquarium snails eat, or do fish sleep? Just a few for example. And even the benefits of aquarium LED lights or the best protein skimmers.

There is something for everyone!

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