Dec 8, 2013


by Oliver Lucanus and Gary Elson

Another Barron's book on fish (my library seems to have a large number of books from this series). This one was a surprisingly good read, written in a very conversational style. It has, of course, the usual basics on aquarium setup, maintenance, fish selection and care, with particulars to the needs of small catfish in home settings. Most interesting to me was the more scientific information, about where catfish live in the wild- a wide range of habitats, how new species are being discovered all the time, and about the difficulties in classifying and naming them. There are over two thousand recognized species. 

The section of the book that lists different species is quite interesting, but of course each species gets only a brief outline so that sent me online to look up more stuff. It was a bit frustrating that the paragraph headings used common names, while the photos were labeled with scientific names, plus the photos of various fish were not on the same pages as the text about them. So I had to flip all over the place trying to see which photos matched the particular fish I was reading about. That could have been better organized. I was fascinated by all the variety. There are catfish that like soft water, others like hard, some from rivers that prefer moving current and vice versa. Some will dig under the substrate and hide, others swim out in open water. Most like to live in groups or grow too large for my tank size. I didn't realize they were so gregarious! There is an electric catfish, also one that emits poison and can sicken other fish in your tank. And a catfish that lays its eggs in the mouth of a chiclid (which keeps its own eggs and fry protected there)- aptly named the cuckoo catfish! Intriguing stuff.

Rating: 4/5    95 pages, 2003

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