Dec 6, 2013


the Complete Guide to Fish and Saltwater Aquariums
by Thierry Maitre-Alain and Christopher Piednoir

This book felt like an encyclopedia on fishkeeping. It is big, heavy and attractive to look at. I spent hours during my vacation poring over its pages. Of course, it's going to be a bit dated from the publication year, but I still found a lot of information here useful for a reader like me who is looking for a general overview on the subject and not delving into individual topics yet. The book starts out by describing the water cycle and the components of water, what the fish and plants need from that and how they use it. Good to know! It then goes through all the usual instructions on setup, maintenance and care, with more details on a wider variety of species than I've seen before in my reading. There is a section just about plants- which I found very informative- including plant compatibility with different water conditions, and how to propagate them. Most of my notes from this book are names of fish species I want to look up.

There's also a feature that I found intriguing at first but then a bit puzzling. Throughout the section of the book that details fish species, there are a series of double-page spreads that show numerous fish grouped by the habitat they originate from (as far as I could tell). But the spreads didn't always correspond directly to the text on nearby pages, and closer inspection revealed that these photos were not of fish living in communal aquariums- but instead some obviously photoshopped work. I suspect quite a few of the fish in those pictures could not at all live together, but it was an interesting visual regardless.

There was, on another page, a terrible picture- not very large- of a fish that had been cut out from its surroundings- only whatever was in front of it in the original picture obscured the fish. So parts of the body were entirely missing. It was horrible and made me wonder what else in this book might suffer in quality, and I just don't recognize it? Or is it just the images that are sub-par? (Most looked beautiful to me, but the errors I did see and point out here, were rather glaring).

Rating: 4/5   281 pages, 2005

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