aquarium camera equipment is no match for crystal clear water and a clean tank

What aquarium camera equipment do you need to take great photographs? Read on to learn how the pros do it – and the gear they use that will help you take great fish tank photos.

Your tank is beautiful. Time to pull out that aquarium camera equipment and take some pictures to share with the world.

Pristine Clean Aquarium

a python vacuum at work as part of my aquarium camera equipment

Have you ever seen a photograph of a dirty aquarium? Or one that has the submersible heater showing, or electrical wires showing? Not a pretty sight. You certainly would not like the world to see your fish in those conditions, right?

So, clean your tank. Your fish will love it and your aquarium photographs will look 100% better.

Do a partial water change before the shoot and clean the gravel substrate. When I began my aquarium maintenance service, I purchased my very first Python. Up till then, I had always used a siphon hose and bucket to change the water.

The Python is a total game changer, trust me. It makes aquarium maintenance a helluva lot easier!

Aquarium Camera Equipment: Clean the Glass or Acrylic

Make sure the glass or acrylic is clean. Check for streaks, smudges, algae, scratches, etc. Remove the algae, smudges, and streaks with a microfiber cloth. Simply wipe away the offending smudge and you have chemical-free, flawless aquarium glass ready for your photo shoot.

A scratch in the glass or acrylic surface impacts your photo only if you are focusing on subjects really close to it. If your subject is further away and deeper in the aquarium, small scratches and cracks will not be in your depth of field, so they won’t affect the photo.

Give your tank a final inspection. Look at it with a critical eye. Is the glass clean? Any algae on the glass? Can you see any wires going to the submersible heater or water pump heads?

If everything checks out, you are ready to shoot some pics. Keep in mind, clear water makes the best photography medium, so take your pictures before feeding time – while the water is relatively clear.

Aquarium Camera Equipment: Minimize Reflections

This is possibly the biggest obstacle for a lot of fish photographers. Aquarium glass reflects easily and you end up with more than you wanted in your picture. Unless you really are trying to show everyone your messy living room, or you taking pics in your pajamas….

Turn off the room lights when you take pictures of your aquarium. Also, wear dark clothing. This will help with reflection.

Luckily, reflection is easily prevented with the use of a soft rubber hood on your camera lens. The soft rubber will not scratch your aquarium glass or acrylic, and the hood prevents reflections. It also ensures that your camera is held perpendicular to the glass surface, preventing refraction as well.

There are many soft rubber hoods for DSLR cameras, but the versatility of the Ultimate Lens Hood is hard to beat. It fits all DSLR cameras and it is just as effective with my smartphone camera as it is with my Canon DSLR camera.

Use a Tripod to Stabilize Your Camera

Every aquarium camera equipment setup requires a tripod.

Another crucial item of aquarium camera equipment is a tripod to stabilize your camera. This convenient tool makes macro photography possible – especially when a long exposure time is required in low light conditions. Vibration from your hands can ruin your shot.

Set up your tripod in the exact spot you need for macro photography or that long-exposure shot. You will probably need to try different exposure times. I know I did. LOL, I also experimented with ISO settings and lenses.

Make sure your tripod can handle the weight of your camera and lens, especially if you have a big DSLR. You want your tripod to be functional and portable, but it needs to be easily adjustable, too. Pros recommend using a tripod with a ball head which can be quite expensive. If you can’t make that big of an investment in a tripod, there are a bunch of lower-priced alternative tripods. Just shop around and find one that fits your budget and works well with your camera.

Remote Shutter Release

remote shutter is part of my aquarium camera equipment

What good does a tripod do when your camera moves every time you push the shutter release button? This is not usually a problem, but in aquarium photography, you are shooting in low-light conditions and possibly using a macro lens. You need a tripod to stabilize the camera and a remote shutter release.

The remote shutter release allows you to take the shot by pushing a button on the remote. Your camera is mounted on the tripod and your hands never touch the camera during the shot. This completely eliminates vibrations from your hands.

A remote shutter release is a relatively inexpensive addition to your aquarium camera equipment – but it is an important addition. It can make all the difference.

Shop around and find a remote shutter release that works best with your camera and fits your budget.


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens

  • Close-up and macro photography
  • Versatile enough for virtually any photographic situation
  • Maximum Angle of View: 23.4 degrees
  • Features Canon’s sophisticated image stabilization technology
  • Focal Length: 100 mm
  • 100 mm lens with f2.8 aperture
  • Minimum  Focus Distance: .99 feet
  • Near silent Ultrasonic focusing system
  • Maximum close-up magnification: 1.0x
  • Compatible with 67 mm filters

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8

  • Close-up and macro photography
  • Versatile enough for virtually any photographic situation
  • Maximum Angle of View: 23 degrees
  • Features New VR 2 vibration reduction technology
  • Focal Length: 105 mm
  • Minimum  Focus Distance: 1.03 feet
  • Internal Focus – fast and quiet auto-focusing
  • Length doesn’t change while focusing
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1.0x
  • Lens does not zoom

Articles for Further Reading

Best Camera For Aquarium Photography

Best Aquarium Camera Settings