Dave's book list
In my time here on AC, I've been asked several times to suggest books for a certain aquarium subjects, like planted tanks. So I decided to comb my aquarium library for books appropriate for people just learning to experienced old hands. Most are available at amazon.com, others from other places on the 'net. Some are quite expensive, but I wouldn't suggest them if they weren't important to have.
There are, of course, hundreds more aquarium books out there, most of them good to fair, some of them with erroneous information. The books in this list are in my personal library and I know they are excellent.
General Freshwater Aquarium
Exotic Aquarium Fishes, by William T. Innes, Innes and Sons Publishing - First published in 1935, this seminal work was the first 'modern' aquarium book. Though much equipment information is dated, his descriptions under photos of fish are usually right on, though some total lengths are off quite a bit, for instance a Pacu reaches a lot more than five inches. His books were published with meticulous care.
Do yourself a favor and get an edition (or two, as they updated editions as new fish were discovered) from the 40's or 50's, because they'll have his beautiful color plates in them, unlike the editions published since the mid-60's by TFH.
Doctor Axelrod's Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes, TFH Publishing - A tome of literally thousands of species. If you want to see what all is out there, this the granddaddy of aquarium atlases. A photo, with male and female fishes if possible, tops each of the thousands of fishes listed. Underneath is a set of symbols delineating habits, temperament, pH, hardness, method of breeding and temperature.
Information on aquarium keeping and plants, breeding and diseases, bracket the front and back pages of the book.
The book is essential as it gives one a chance to pick fishes they are interested in and do further research on them. Get the latest edition, as they reflect new scientific names and new fishes in it.
You and Your Aquarium by Dick Mills, Knopf Publishing - A good first book for beginners who are setting up their first aquarium. Nice set-up and maintenance sections, a decent overview of plants, and information on several common diseases. The Nitrogen cycle is a bit dated, but the salient information is there.
About 75 pages of fish profiles, about 2/3rds of them freshwater fishes. Each fish is fully described. Technical terms are kept to a bare minimum, making the book easy to read.
The Complete Aquarium, by Peter Dale Scott, DK Publishing - Worth the price of admission for the tank designs. Lovely photography. Good information on tank setup and building tanks for various biotopes. Lists of fish and plants (if applicable)suitable for those biotopes, Decent information on water quality and foods; breeding and diseases are brief, so look to the other books in this section for more on both.
Baensch Aquarium Atlases, Volumes I through IV, by Hans A. Baensch and Rudiger Riehl, with Gero W. Fischer, and Shelie E. Borrer, Hans A. Baensch Publishing - Perhaps not the end all, be all of aquarium books, and not in any sense cheap, this four volume set belongs in everyone's freshwater library - I do not say this lightly. Tons and tons of information on everything from setting up nearly any kind of tank to growing plants to curing disease to breeding fishes, etc. etc. Useful to beginners and old hands, a rare combination.
These books are translated from the German, and some of the translations are awkward, but if you going to buy any freshwater aquarium books this year, buy these.
Freshwater Planted Tanks
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarium, by Diana L. Walstad, Echinodorus Publishing - If you buy plant books for pretty pictures of planted tanks, this one isn't for you. If you want to learn the hows, whys and what's of planted tanks, there is none better. Anyone who's ever asked me for a reference on how to keep a planted tank, I point them to this book.
Though its written in a textbook style, its easy to read and understand. I recommend keeping a notepad and pen with as you read this book, as there is so much wisdom in it, you'll want to write down certain passages of what you want to remember. I very highly recommend this book.
Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants, by Peter Hiscock, Barron's Publishing - A book on nearly every aspect of Aquarium plants, from Biology to substrates to water to light to Co2. Good work on balancing levels of light, Co2 and temperature for optimum plant growth. Especially valuable for the more than 150 plant species listed, each with photo and information on keeping them. An excellent reference to have in your library.
Nature Aquarium World, Volumes I through III, by by Takashi Amano, TFH Publishing - If you want inspiration for your planted tanks, get these three books. Amano, the acknowledged godfather of the modern planted aquarium, shows off his work with glorious photos of his layouts. Serious eye candy for the planted tank enthusiast. Some information under each tank with water parameters, Co2, temp, etc, but that's not what you buy these books for. You buy them for the drop dead gorgeous planted tank photos, from tiny 1 liter tanks to 18 foot monsters.
Planted Aquariums: Creation and Maintenance, and Aquarium Plants, both by Christal Kasselmann, Krieger Publishing - I've listed two books by Ms. Kasselmann because they are both so useful to planted tank keepers. The first book, Planted Aquariums, is concerned with the set-up and maintenance of a planted tank. The information is well presented and accurate, and the photographs are lovely. Also included is the light requirements of many aquarium plants. Since both books are translated from the German, a good deal of the equipment she talks about aren't easily found in the US.
The second book, Aquarium Plants, is rift with gorgeous photos of plants. The first 85 pages are about aquarium plant habitat, care, propagation and choosing the correct plants for your layout. The rest of the 400-odd pages are photos of plant species, each with in-depth information on keeping them. This and the Hiscock book are the two I refer to the most.
Aquarium Plants: The Practical Guide, By Pablo Tepoot, New Life Publications - A simple and authoritative book on how to exactly set up your planted tank and have lush plant growth. The book is detailed, exact and to the point. What makes this book worth buying is, without doubt, the best up-close and accurate plant photos I've ever seen. More than 200 species are listed, along with their care. A must-have book for your library. A beautiful book, and perhaps the second one to buy after the Walstad.
Miscellaneous Fresh Water Books
This section will be books on particular families of fishes.
Aquarium Care of Cichlids, by Claudia Dickenson, TFH Publications - I just recently purchased this book, as I know Ms. Dickenson's work from her award-winning articles in popular aquarium magazines. I wasn't disappointed. The information is right on accurate, and Ms. Dickenson writes in such a clear and engaging style, I have no trouble recommending this book even if you are not new to Cichlids. Pretty much all you need to keep them. A very inspiring book if you are into these fish. Top Marks.
Baensch Cichlid Atlas, 2 Volumes, by Uwe Romer, Mergus Verlag Publishing - A pair of books that belong in any Apisto lovers' library. Volume 1 is over 1100 pages with the most complete and in-depth information I've seen on the dwarf Cichlid Genus Apistogramma. Over 1400 high quality photographs accent the work. If you EVER want to keep Apistogrammas, buy this book first. Volume 2 is more on Apistos, plus many other dwarf Cichlid genii, including the Ram genus Mikrogeophagus. It also has over 1200 top shelf photographs.
The research and effort in providing these books must have been a gargantuan undertaking for the author and his research team. An awesome set. I highly recommend them.
At this writing Volume 1 is being updated with new information, and will be re-published later this year to reflect new research and changes in scientific names. Volume 2, though currently available and is a slightly later work, is also due to be updated in the future.
Back to Nature Guides for Malawi and Tanganyikan Cichlids, both by Ad Konings, Cichlid Press Publisher - Both books are perfect if you want to know about the Cichlids from those two African Rift Lakes. As more and more research and changes in nomenclature occur, Konings takes the book off the market and updates it. The second edition (1996) of the Back to Nature Guide: Tanganyikan Cichlids has doubled its photos of fish from that lake to more than 600 from the previous edition, each with husbandry information. Malawi, published in '97, is just as comprehensive.
If you plan on keeping Cichlids from those two lakes, these are the two books you should buy first.
Enjoying Cichlids, by Ad Konings, Editor et. al, Cichlid Press Publisher - A good, general work on Cichlids, with sections on those fish from the African Rift Lakes, Madagascar, Central and South America, and Asia. Many hands wrote this book, as a dozen authors wrote about their specialty in each section. Two-hundred profusely illustrated pages. A good overview of several different families of Cichlids, and thus a good first book for someone planning a Cichlid tank.
Continued on Part 2
Last edited by Dave66; 02-12-2008 at 08:47 PM.
When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.
Omnia mutantur nihil interit.
The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go