Dec 4, 2013

Freshwater Aquarium

Your Happy Healthy Pet
by Gregory Skomal

This book is a great beginner's resource, much more thorough than the kids' books I've been reading on the subject. It's the first one I've considered actully acquiring for my home library, to keep on hand.

Like all fishkeeping books, it starts out with facts about fish evolution and biology. I learned that fish body and fin shape can tell you about their swimming habits, just like the mouth shape can suggest how they feed. And did you know that although saltwater covers 68% of the Earth's surface and freshwater 3%, the numbers of species are saltwater: sixty percent, freshwater: forty.

I learned more details about tank setup, and this was the first fish book that addressed the nitrogen cycle. There is information about different kinds of filter systems and all the other required equipment. The book recommends popular, easy fish for beginners as well as advising against fish that require more specialized care (but look so temptingly beautiful when you see them on display for purchase!) The fish are described in groups: catfish, live-bearing fish, tetras (characins), killifish, labyrinth fish, rainbowfish, cichlids and knife fish. It makes good recommendations for a community tank by selecting fish that not only have compatible temperaments, but also that occupy different levels of the space in the tank. There is also a chapter on proper feeding, (including how to prepare foods for your fish in your own kitchen) maintenance and cleaning schedules, and disease control. Also a chapter on breeding fish at home, which is not really applicable to my plans but was interesting reading. Each species has its own requirements for success, whether it be the temperature and feeding that trigger breeding behavior, or how to care for the parents, eggs and fry at each stage.

I have a long list from this book of more species I want to look up and read about for possibilities in my own aquarium. The book also cleared up my confusion from a prior read that said algae was a fungus. This one tells me that algae used to be listed in the kingdom thallophyta but now it is classified in its own kingdom, protoctista. So the other book was giving factual information, based on what was known when it was published.

Rating: 4/5  128 pages, 2005

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