by Dick Mills
The subtitle of this volume is: The visual guide to more than 500 marine and freshwater fish varieties. It has nice, glossy pages and shows a stunning variety of fish species, but I found it somewhat lacking. It\’s got the usual intro section, in this case with more about the biology of fish than aquarium setup and care, which was fine with me. The pages on fresh- and saltwater habitats was interesting (did you know that freshwater constitutes only 2 or 3 percent of water on the planet? and yet freshwater habitats are far more diverse than saltwater- which covers over seventy percent of Earth). The bulk of the book, of course, is profiles of individual fish species and varieties. Most of them freshwater, with a few uncommon fishes I\’ve never seen before, and just sixty pages of marine species. The big disappointment was in the quality of the images. A lot of the fish shown look stressed with completely washed-out colors. If you want to identify fish solely by their fin shape, well okay but for me, I want to see their colors. The accompany text often said \”males of this species in prime condition will show-\” or \”content individuals will be-\” describing the colors and patterns I always think of for them. When you browse a book to enjoy the visual appeal of such a variety of aquatic life, there\’s something really amiss in not having them shown at their best. Also, the descriptions on individual temperament and care needs were very brief. I was appalled to read on the page about goldfish that \”the maximum size a twin-tailed goldfish attains depends on the size of the tank in which it is kept.\” That\’s not entirely accurate. There are a few other tidbits of outdated info in here, but that was the worst. And this is rather petty- but my current favorite, the paradise fish, was mentioned in another description as a comparison, but never actually featured. It\’s a shame to leave out one of the oldest ornamental fish in the hobby.
Rating: 2/5 304 pages, 1993