Top 5 FREE Reef Magazines

Top 5 FREE Reef Magazines

If you found this blog post, there is a good chance that you’re surfing the internet looking for helpful information about setting up or maintaining a reef aquarium. I’m well aware that this site is just one humble stop on the information superhighway–a small detour to through a town with a single blinking yellow light on your road to much success and enrichment in the saltwater aquarium hobby. But I don’t have a monopoly on useful or interesting FREE reef aquarium information. I put together this list of the Top 5 FREE Reef Magazine Resources.


Top 5 FREE Reef Magazine Resources

  1. Advanced Aquarist Magazine–every month, the folks at Advanced Aquarist put out a scientific and relevant reef magazine. Only the most recent issues are free, although older issues are available for a small fee. There is a lot of useful information on this website. It really is a tremendous resource. The only downside, if there is one, is that the magazine (as labeled) is written for an advanced aquarist audience and the articles are written with a technical/scientific flourish that can read more like a textbook (at times) than a magazine. Still, content is king, and this free reef magazine is regal.
  2. publishes a quarterly reef magazine. The articles are accompanied by stunning photography. Perhaps the feature I like best about this free reef magazine is the fact that the articles for each issue are linked to from an index page. It feels like you’ve just opened the reef magazine up to the index–next, you just scan the page for the article you want to read and click to go right to it. Did I mention the awesome photography?
  3. Reef Hobbyist is a quarterly publication you can find in some local fish stores and also online. The magazine tends to cover a range of fish and coral topics. I find this publication to be the least aesthetically pleasing of the Top 5, but the content is fresh because the magazine doesn’t cover ‘the same old things’.
  4. Reefkeeping Magazine–Published by ReefCentral. If you don’t already know, ReefCentral is a huge online community of reef aquarists. Navigation can be a little bit tricky. My preferred way to navigate is by using their list of articles by topic to find what I want to read about.
  5. Redfish is a combination freshwater and saltwater aquarium magazine, published monthly. Out of all of the options on this list, Redfish is a highly produced magazine that looks fantastic. Of Top 5 Free Reef Magazines, it looks the most like a traditional magazine to me. It reminds me of a Tropical Fish Hobbyist or Aquarium Fish International style magazine. Skim through the hyposalinity stuff (and by that I mean freshwater…) and get to the good stuff.
  6. Tropical Fish Hobbyist–TFH does have a free, no-frills, content-only version of their magazine on the website. The reading experience is not quite the same as a  magazine, per se, but did I mention it’s content-only?

UPDATE SINCE ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: A few of the online reef magazine titles mentioned in this post are not published anymore. Even though I can’t control that, I’m sorry about that, because I know that is what a lot of you are looking for. You can still find a lot of great information from the archives of the magazines listed above, thanks to the beauty of the world wide web, nothing is lost. If you know about other free online magazine resources, please leave a comment and let me know, so I can add it.

One other major caveat here: if I was to rank the best coral magazine here, regardless of price, it would have to be Coral Magazine, the bi-monthly aquarium magazine. It is a little bit pricey ($39/year), but its worth it because every page of the magazine is written for the coral aquarium hobbyist and the information is high quality. You can get your subscription from the Reef to Rainforest site, or from, if you are like me and want to have your subscriptions all managed through a single portal.  Please note, those links to Amazon are considered to be affiliate links–which means that if you subscribe as a result of clicking through those links, I will earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. But please note, I recommend Coral magazine with or without a referral link because it is the best coral magazine out there.


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Written by Al Ulrich


  1. I have a question ,
    I have been reading a lot about doing a salt water tank. I see that crushed coral will raise the PH. I was doing salt water years ago and I remember how hard it was . would you recommend sand instead?

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