Unfortunately, aquatic pets aren’t quite as versatile as other pets. It’s not like you can hook up a leash to your aquarium and take it on a walk through the park. Aquascapes are almost more like pieces of furniture than family pets, because they’re usually permanently rooted in one spot. But don’t fret! You can bring the joy of your aquarium anywhere you go thanks to the marvels of modern technology.
You can easily set up a high-resolution webcam to monitor your aquarium. A live stream feed of your aquascape serves a dual purpose — it allows you to constantly track the status of your aquascape to ensure that everything is running smoothly and it also gives you access to the tranquility of your home aquarium no matter where you are.
Setting up a live webcam is actually pretty easy, even for those of you who aren’t very technically inclined.
Step 1: Buy a Webcam
Obviously, higher-quality webcams will provide a better picture image. If you’re using webcams to monitor the status of your aquarium, then you can probably get away with a cheaper, low-end webcam. If you want a clear image, then you’ll definitely need to spring for a high-end model.
Step 2: Double Check Local Surveillance Laws
If you’re recording stuff, then you might want to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up. Secret surveillance is almost always legal in your home, but you can’t do it in part of your house where people expect privacy. For example, if you have a webcam set up in your bathroom to monitor your aquarium, then a guest who uses the bathroom may very well get you into trouble because bathrooms have expectations of privacy.
The same goes for businesses. If you’re a business owner, then you can record your place of business as long as you don’t trample over expectations of privacy. If you’re an employee and you got a thumbs up on an office aquarium, then you definitely need to get the owner’s approval to install a 24/7 live stream webcam.
Step 3: Create a Webcam Page
There are dozens of different ways to create an online live stream feed. I promise you that it isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. Usually it’s simply a matter of copying something from one program and pasting it into another. Follow this tutorial or this tutorial for webcam instructions. You can also host your footage on Ustream or Livestream, which provide the infrastructure for a 24/7 feed.
Step 4: Password Protect or Share Your Footage
Should you password protect your live stream or leave it open for aquarium fans everywhere to enjoy? That depends on a couple of factors. First of all, I highly recommend password protecting your stream if you have audio enabled. There’s no telling what sort of intimate conversations you might accidentally broadcast over the Internet. You have a lot more control over your visual feed because it’s fairly easy to point a camera so that it doesn’t include private areas of your home. The aquarium might occupy 100% of the frame, making it impossible for onlookers to spy on your family. Just be careful with reflections. Aquariums have glass and water, which might show reflections of your home.
Interested to see a live stream in action?
Here’s a somewhat grainy stream from the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
And here’s a live stream of a beautiful freshwater tank: