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.