A Complete Pet Owner\’s Manual
by Axel Gutjahr
This is a book from one of those educational series, the kind of pet manual you\’d probably find in a store alongside fish supplies (my copy came from the library). Barron\’s, in this case. It has lot of the solid, basic information I\’m looking to brush up on, plus plenty of bright, enticing photographs of fish species. Like most fish-keeping instructionals, the book goes over basic aquarium necessities, fish care, some disease control, easy live plant choices, how to balance and maintain water quality and so forth. For such a short book, it has a lot of information! I read about some things I\’d never heard of- that some people use computers to regulate the lighting in their aquariums and simulate sunrise/sunset conditions?! (sounds expensive), that some filters pass the water through ultraviolet light to sterilize it?! And while the book advises to test for pH and water hardness and to control oxygen exchange, it makes no mention at all of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates, which is what I\’ve been monitoring. It\’s only five years old, I didn\’t think the chemical testing I\’m doing was such a very new thing…
Regardless, it\’s also given me plenty of new ideas on how to beautify my aquarium with water plants. And has suggestions on finding and making your own decor out of bamboo stems, coconut shells, river rocks and driftwood (must be cleaned and prepared, but I\’m going to try some of this!) The pictures and descriptions of popular fish have changed my lineup a little bit. I\’m now adding zebra danios, swordtails, black skirt tetras, blue gourami, striped panchax or other killifish varities to the list of possibilities for my tank.
Rating: 3/5 64 pages, 2008
For many years I kept goldfish. Not just the little feeder ones, though I did have one that lived 12 years, but lots of more exotic fish, fantails, black moors, bug-eyes, etc. that you could find at the Japanese aquarium store on Geary Blvd. in San Francisco where I lived. I enjoyed them. I think I even have a book or two about how to keep them around here somewhere.
Hey, I know Geary! I used to live in San Francisco, but didn't keep fish when I was there. I had goldfish much further back, when I was a kid. I was into the black moors too, and always wanted to have koi in a pond but never was able to dig one in the backyard.