best books/opinions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-14-2011, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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best books/opinions

Wanting to put a couple of aquarium books on my Christmas wish list. Definitely want a plant book. I have heard Byron refer to Kesselman a few times, so I assume that is a favorite.
Is this the "Planted Aquariums: Creation and Maintenance" book?
Other good references out there? I would like a book that has good plant pictures and profiles, rather than just guidelines for plant keeping.
For instance, I was asking about Dwarf Hairgrass, and was told I would probably have to double my light to grow it well. Need to know light needs, grow rate, info on how to balance fish population with plants to be sure I am getting enough CO2 in the tank and not add CO2.
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-14-2011, 11:24 AM
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I'm a fan of 'Ecology of the Planted Aquarium' by Diane Walstad... Unfortunately, it doesn't really have what you're looking for and reads more like a textbook.

I've checked out "The Encyclopedia Of Aquarium Plants" by Barron's from the library a few times... Might be more what you're looking for. Unfortunately, it seems to favor the 'high tech' approach.

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post #3 of 4 Old 11-14-2011, 12:10 PM
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I have browsed through most of the books one can find in fish stores, which isn't usually much. And I have acquired books recommended by botanists and biologists. For a good, reliable reference work, Peter Hiscock's Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants (published by Barron's) is about the best. I am referring to the full book which is available through Amazon and other sellers; the Mini-Encyclopedia is available in some fish stores and is good but just not as complete. Hiscock has about 100 of the most commonly-seen plants included. The first part of his book is a thorough description of the biological components of an aquarium so much info on water chemistry and such that applies as much to fish as to plants.

My second choice would be Christel Kasselmann's Aquarium Plants. She is a botanist, and this is a scientific reference text as well as a superb listing of almost all aquarium plant species with data on cultivation for aquarists. More "advanced" than Hiscock. Originally in German, the English translation was published in 2003 by Krieger in the USA and I got my copy through Amazon.

I have not come across the Kasselmann Planted Aquariums: Creation and Maintenance book in stores so I've not had the opportunity to read it. From the publisher's blurb, it would seem to be along the lines of the Hiscock book. One issue I would have is the use of soil; this book seems to go down that road, same as the Walstad text, even going so far as to say you cannot grow plants without soil, which of course is nonsense. The detrimental side effects coupled with the lack of any significant benefits does not recommend this method.

The Walstad book redchigh mentioned is very scientifically-oriented and there are no plant species descriptions with cultivation info like the other two books mentioned. This is an excellent book on the technical side, written by a microbiologist, with thorough references to scientific studies. Very limited use to the average aquarist.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-14-2011, 12:43 PM
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I love this one too. Peter Hiscock's Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants (published by Barron's)

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