Jump to content

Favorite aquarium books?


Recommended Posts

I still like a traditional hard cover book with good photos. Any recommendations for aquarium books, fish guides, etc? I have bought a few so far including:

- The Manual of Fish Health

- Dr. Axelrod’s Mini Atlas (not yet delivered)

- Encyclopedia of Aquarium & Pond Fish (also not yet delivered)

Hate how long it takes used books to arrive, love the low risk of DOA. 

I am interested in learning more about guppies, goldfish, aquatic plants, aquascaping, and realistically anything else. Any classics or resources you swear by? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Streetwise said:

Organic soil aquarium keepers are lucky to have this text:

Ecology of the Planted Aquarium — Diana Walstad


So this is a case where the kindle version is different enough in price I start to waver. Are the photos in it worth the $$ difference or is it mostly text? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, RovingGinger said:

So this is a case where the kindle version is different enough in price I start to waver. Are the photos in it worth the $$ difference or is it mostly text? 

I have the hardcover. I've definitely got my money's worth, so if either is affordable I don't think you can go wrong. There aren't many photos but there are lots of supporting graphs, tables and illustrations throughout the book.

Should also mention it goes into the science of plants in an aquarium in general. While she discusses dirted, low tech tanks, there's a lot of info in there that would help anyone trying to keep healthy plants in an aquarium.

Edited by dublicious
"Should also mention"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my all time favorites is the the 1936 version of the "The Complete Aquarium Book The Care and Breeding of Goldfish and Tropical Fishes" by William T. Innes. I think I picked up my copy from ABE books for $20. (Just now checked ABE and this book runs from $19.96 - $50 depending condition).


It is amazing how little has changed in the last 86 years!


The illustrations are gorgeous!




The section on fish food is still up to date in the summer of 2020. Pretty much every section in this book is still up to date.


Don't let @Cory see this but he has a rant called "A Word for the Pet Store Man"


"Let us regard the pet store man 'more in sorrow than in anger.'" LMAO

From the inner cover, who wouldn't want this tank?


Angelfish, goldfish, killifish, zebra danios, Harlequin Rasboras, blackbanded sunfish, Jungle Val, Cambomba, and Anacharis. Nothing really ever changes.

Just think, no heater, no cannister filter, no LED lights, and no internet to tell you that you are doing it wrong!

All in the deep dark part of the Depression.

Maybe especially because it was the deep dark part of the Great Depression. Like now when the world seems chaotic and stressed, your little aquatic world was/is a refuge from the outside unpleasant realities.

It is not just nostalgia though, if you can get your hands on one, the information in the book holds up very nicely because the plants and the animals haven't changed.


Edited by Daniel
Pet Store Man
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I don't see in bookstores is a good beginner book that covers the basics, that isn't a self-published goulash. The one that worked for me was You and Your Aquarium, by Dick Mills which touched on everything from anatomy, cycling, common species, common diseases and how to set up your tank. Aquarium Coop should get into publishing and reprint this.one...a Classic from 1986 :)

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny to me that some of the books I open the most are $5-10 Barron's "manuals".  



Tanganyika cichlids

Guppys, mollies, and platys

Freshwater stingrays


But I do have a couple that I had to look for that I really enjoy flipping the pages of.  

South American eartheaters

The endemic cichlids of Madagascar 

These two are probably my favorites.


Honorable mentions...

culturing live foods 

All of the auqualogs  (for when I need to look at a picture book or ID something)

All of the encyclopedia of tropical fishes (I like the 13th edition "with special emphasis on techniques of breeding")


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely Walstad. It’s text heavy but I’m a biologist and chemist so it doesn’t bog me down much. I have Barron’s plant encyclopedia. I used to have plenty of betta references but most I know by heart by now. 
there is one that is out of print I do want to get my hands on. 

Edited by Tre
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/18/2020 at 7:10 AM, MickS77 said:

I'm hoping to get a copy of Blehers Biotopes eventually 

Now that you mention it, me too!  It sounds fascinating. 

Seattle has an antiquarian book sale ever year (well, probably not this year) and you can find rare newer books as well.   I'll have to ask a couple of my fellow bibliophile friends that also haunt book stores to keep their eyes open.  It looks like it's not super available online.   I wonder if my local library system has it?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I just picked up “Aquarium fishes and plants”. K. Rataj and R. Zukal are the authors and J. Maly is the illustrator for the 56 illustrations. 

I am a sucker for fish and plant illustrations, but I thought their advocacy for a sand substrate and aeration was pretty interesting given the discussion in the Walstad thread. 



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Mail just came by!

When I was a kid, I could only dream of having Dr. Alexrod's Atlas. I checked it out of the library so much, our librarian actually limited how many times I could take it.

When I saw it today, all those old feelings came rushing back. Can't believe it took more than 40 years for me to have my own copy. LOL. 



Oh and all 4 of these cost less than $20 shipped. If you don't mind old library books, checkout (library humor!) betterworldbooks.com. A large portion of their proceeds go to charity and you can find a ton of books for $3.99 each.


{EDIT} This says the book was first published in 1987... that can't be the book i am thinking of then. Was there an older book that was as big as the mini atlas? Pretty sure Dr. Alexrod was the author. Maybe it was just the Handbook of Tropical Fishes or Encyclopedia of Tropical Fishes.

Either way, so happy to have a copy!

Edited by Rikostan
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I just recieved my copy of "The Complete Aquarium Book"  by Innes. I found it on EBay for $10 plus shipping. I had already downloaded it on here, but there is something special about going through this old book and seeing passages underlined, pages that are creased from repeated reading, and the names of people who might have checked it out.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...