Newest Review: ... species and even some that the author states have never been imported for the fish trade (but may some time in the future). The book is pu... more
Over 600 species of fish for your aquarium!
Aquarium Atlas: v. 1 - Ruediger Riehl
Member Name: markos9
Aquarium Atlas: v. 1 - Ruediger Riehl
Advantages: Excellent advice for setting up a tank. Huge number of fish species described.
Disadvantages: The text for the fish descriptions is tiny and terse.
There are literally hundreds of species of tropical fishes that can be found for sale to stock an aquarium. Many of these, such as the common barbs and tetras can be found in almost all tropical fish stores, whilst others are offered for sale only occasionally. Due to the way wild tropical fishes are caught; using nets ensuring all fishes in the area are captured, unusual fishes do turn up in shops from time to time.
Many books on keeping tropical fish just detail the 'bread and butter' common fishes, so if a rare species is encountered in a shop, the potential buyer must rely on advice from the retailer on its husbandry requirements. This is not ideal as the retailer may, in fact, have as little idea of what the fish is as the purchaser!
The aquarium atlas by Baensch is an attempt to give the tropical fish keeper information about all of the fishes that he or she may encounter at the local tropical fish store. Of course, the common species are covered, but so are very rare species and even some that the author states have never been imported for the fish trade (but may some time in the future).
The book is published in an unusual format: at 7x5 inches, it's small, but contains just under 1000 pages. The first 148 pages cover the setting up and maintenance of an aquarium, together with a review of the sorts of plants that can be kept in tropical tanks.
These initial sections are extremely well written and informative. For the newcomer to the hobby, it's important that the aquarium is set up correctly, with adequate filtration and appropriate water conditions and this guide gives the beginner all of the required information.
The reader is taken, step by step, through choosing an aquarium, decorating it, setting up the water chemistry, effecting adequate filtration, and ensuring correct maintenance after set up. This section is written in a no-nonsense manner which will help the beginner to the hobby enormously.
Of particular note is the section on lighting. Plants need a lot of light, much more than most aquarists provide and the author emphasises this and give some measurements of how much light plants need and how to achieve the correct level. Following this advice could ensure that, unlike many aquarium plants, yours thrive!
The rest of the book (over 800 pages!) is devoted to the fishes. The section starts with a real in-depth look at ichthyology; detailing the make up of the various fish families and how they're classified. This would be of no interest to most people, but useful for those who want to know.
From then it's on to the fish descriptions. The layout follows the standard taxonomic format so that the fish are described in families rather than alphabetical order. Each two page spread describes two species, with the descriptions on the left and pictures on the right.
The photographs are all of the highest quality, showing the fishes at their best and allowing the identifying features to be seen. The text is another matter. Written in a completely different style to the introduction sections, with tiny text, the descriptions are terse, with much use of abbreviations. This makes the information much harder to read than usual, but does save space.
All of the important information is here, however. The fishes' sizes are described; their country of origin, aggressiveness, preferred temperatures, as well as the degree of difficulty in keeping each species.
Armed with this information, the aquarist can pre-select a wish list of potential tank mates that will work in his or her aquarium for when the fishes are available to buy. The book can also be used to research new species that turn up to see if they are suitable for the type of tank and fishes already kept.
With over 600 species of fish described, the book is extremely comprehensive and the buyer is unlikely to see many species for sale that are not contained within these pages. For the tropical fish keeper who's interested in keeping more unusual species, this is an excellent buy. What is surprising, however, is that this is only volume one of four books!
The book is available from Amazon from £3.59.
Summary: A very comprehensive guide for setting up and stocking an aquarium.
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