Are you thinking about setting up a live webcam for your aquarium or something else you would like to broadcast or monitor in real time?  If so, read on!

For years I have employed webcams to monitor my reef tanks while I was away from home.  They provide me with peace of mind when I am on vacation or a business trip and they allow me to show off the tank to someone who has never seen it in person.

Two Types of Live Streaming: Private & Public

There are two basic types of setups: one for private viewing and another for public consumption on a streaming platform such as YouTube.  Today I employ both types.  For private viewing I use a Nest Cam to monitor my aquarium sump.  It delivers crisp 1080p HD video, is extremely easy to setup and allows you to zoom in and view things at close range.  You can even view in the dark with the built-in infrared feature. Overall, it is a great way to see if the water in the sump is too low or if something else is wrong.

As for my public streaming setup, I broadcast my display tank 24/7 live on YouTube with an AXIS M1145 Network Camera.  Not only can I monitor my tank, but I can share it with the rest of the world!

Below is a step by step guide on how I set this up. It only works with AXIS network cameras and you will need to spend money on some live streaming software.  You will also need to have Windows to download the setup software for the AXIS camera.  I have a Mac but I do have a Windows license to run the camera software, which is called AXIS IP Utility, a copy of which can be downloaded here:

AXIS IP Utility

One more thing, I recommend you have a minimum internet upload speed of 8 Mbps. The setup requires a direct ethernet connection and the speed can be tested by visiting

Step by Step Guide on How to Live Stream a Webcam to YouTube

Ok, here is what you will need to do.  Note this procedure is specifically for YouTube but you can set the camera up for other streaming platforms.

  • Go to and download CamStreamer.  It costs $299 but you will not have to pay a monthly streaming fee.  Be sure to download the software for your specific camera model.
  • Next, you will need to load CamStreamer onto your AXIS camera.  Go into “Setup” on the AXIS IP Utility and select “Applications” and then click on “Browse” to find the CamStreamer file you downloaded.
  • Click on the CamStreamer file listed under “Applications” and click the “Upload Package” button.
  • You will then have to setup CamStreamer
  • Double click on the CamStreamer file under “Applications” to get into the setup mode.
  • Here you have the choice to select different platforms.  As I mentioned, this guide is for YouTube so once it is selected you will have to enter in your YouTube login credentials.
  • Next, fill in the broadcast title and choose a setting for “Video quality”.  On my live webcam I am using the following custom settings (you can choose them by clicking on “Video options”).
    • Resolution: 1920×1080 (16:9)
    • Frame rate (max 30): 25 fps
    • Compression: 30
    • GOV Length: 41
    • Bit rate limit: 4800 Kbps
    • Text overlay: Disabled
    •  Vapix RTSP parameters: leave blank

AXIS IP Utility

  • For Audio you have the option to enable or disable the sound.
  • Under “Privacy” select “Public”
  • Hit the “Start” button.  You are now live!

Is this all Greek to you?  If you are not the tech savvy type and need some professional help, please reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction.



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If you are looking for additional insights and information, please explore my many other articles on photography and videography, including the one on how to use a DSLR to broadcast live to Facebook. And don’t forget to check out all of my reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my book, A ReefBum’s Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success. And you can see all of my reef tank videos online now as well as my Live HD Webcam.


Happy shooting and happy reef keeping!