So you have a beautiful reef tank and you want to share it with friends, family and fellow reef keepers who might not have a chance to see the tank in person. Taking great pictures does take a different skill set and to do so there are some best practices one can follow to take great photos of an aquarium.
Once the basics are learned there is an accessory you can use to take those aquarium photography skills to another level. It’s called a top-down viewer or photo box.
A top down viewer is an accessory attached to a camera that makes it possible to safely submerge a lens underwater to take stunning photos or videos. Yes, there are water proof housings available for cameras used primarily by scuba divers but they can be expensive and are overkill for an aquarium. Top down viewers are much less expensive and are made specifically for aquariums, including a “porthole” viewer manufactured by Avast Marine.
Avast Marine’s original porthole, called the “shorty”, was designed to fit most standard DSLR lenses, although they now have mounts to fit smartphones and point and shoot cameras. Ok, what about a long macro lens? Well, they have a porthole for that as well.
As is the case with the original porthole, the extra long porthole has three thumbscrews that are used to mount the housing to the barrel of a lens. Slide the camera inside the porthole, tighten the screws, dip it in the water and you are good to go.
One thing I would like to see at the end of the thumbscrews is some sort of padding to prevent the screws from scratching the lens barrel. I have not noticed anything yet on my lens yet but it would give me more peace of mind if there was something there to protect it. There are rubberized pads at the end of the porthole that make it possible to set the camera down while it is still in the housing, a feature I like since it protects the end of the housing.
Overall, I am really pleased with both the pictures and videos I have taken with this top-down housing. It is simple to use and I have no worries about water getting inside the housing. I would recommend turning off all re-circulating pumps to keep any water from splashing onto the camera. And make sure you have a good grip on the camera. You don’t want it to fall into the tank!
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.