Recommended Reading


What works for one may not work for another!
Apr 8, 2008
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Leeds, UK
The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert M. Fenner

This is like the holy bible of marine aquariums, at 430 pages a first it does look a little daunting. But consider that from page 175-403, Robert gives us a quick overview of his experience with the marine life he has encountered over the years. Giving us the general feel of the genus with: classification, Range, Size, Selection, Habitat, Behaviour, Reproduction, Feeding, Disease and then a quick Summary. However the gold of this book is not in the wonders of the aquarium fish but in the what he calls it “Demystifying the Marine Aquarium”. In this he goes through the following chapters: to

Basic Equipment,
Setup and Aquascaping,
Marine Algae,
Foods and Feeding,
Fish for the Marine Aquarium,
Marine Invertebrates.

A great book for both the more experienced and beginners alike. Is pricey at around £55 or $48.

A PocketExpert Guide Marine Fish by Scott W. Michael & A PocketExpert Guide Reef Aquarium Fish by Scott W. Michael

Want to know what will co-exist with what in a marine aquarium or Reef Aquarium? If so then these are the books for you. With over 500 species in side each book. They are a great little books to own. Inside Scott gives you the needed information in short easy to read pages each with a photographed picture helping you in your selection of desired aquarium fish. Scott gives us an accurate run-down of each species with the following information:

Scientific Name,
Common Names,
Natral Range,
Minimum Aquarium Size,
Foods and Feeding,
Aquarium Suitability,
Reef Comaptibility,
Captive Care.

Ideal book for everyone easy to use giving you quick essential information when needed. Both are evenly priced of around £20 or $19.

A PocketExpert guide Marine Invertebrates by Ronald L. Shimek

A book that follows on from the Marine and Reef fish of Michael’s collection. This time this one concentrates on the other life forms in a marine aquarium. The Invertebrates. Again with over 500 of the most common found species going from the Sponges, Hydroids, Gorgonians, Soft Corals, Sea Anemones, SPS (Small Polyp Stony corals), LPS (Large Polyp Stony), Worms, Shrimp, Crabs, Clams, Snails, Cephalopods, Sea Stars, Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and finally the Tunicates. Again we get a photograph picture and the following:

Scientific Name,
Common Name,
Maximum Size,
Minimum Aquarium Size,
Lighting Requirement,
Foods and Feeding,
Aquarium Suitability/ Reed Suitability,
Captive Care

Again an ideal book for everyone easy to use giving you quick essential information when needed. Priced at the same as the others of around £20 or $19.

Angelfishes of the World by Kiyoshi Endoh

Want to know a little more about the different species of Marine Angelfish? You do, then consider this a book for you. A great book that contains many images of extremely rare species and hybrids along with those more commonly found fish. Making the identification of Angelfish easy. It contains basic info on the fish and aquarium husbandry but not very much else. Still it is a good book to have if you plan or are looking into keeping Angelfish. Prices are around £20 or $30

Feel free to add any others that you may have come across and think are worth adding to the list.
Will add Paletta, Kurtz, and the venerable Borneman tonight. Excellent work, Andy! :good:
Bornemans corals book is a must. I found it extremely useful when buying corals. In fact sold my copy yesterday to a guy its easy to read and has lovely pics in there
Adventurous Aquarist Guide The 101 Best Saltwater Fishes by Scott W. Michael

-This is a slender, concise guide that details the 101 best fish commonly found in the trade for the new SW hobbyist. It also profiles 33 species that are often available but to be avoided by the novice hobbyist.

-Species profiles are arranged alphabetically based on the family's common name and are further color-coded based on minimum tank size and behavior towards tank mates (peaceful, mildly agressive, etc)

-Each species profile has a clear image of the fish and information on its size, native range, an overview, feeding, habitat, compatibility, and behavior in the home aquarium.

-The book also provides some examples of model aquariums of various sizes and stocking options.

-Not every book is perfect and there are some odd choices in this book, especially in the model aquariums, and some inaccurate information, but other than that, it's a good book for the hobbyist who wants to know about the fish before they buy it. I found myself just going to local fish stores with the book in tow (it's small enough to fit in a purse or bag) and reading about various species as I saw them.

Adventurous Aquarist Guide The 101 Best Marine Invertebrates by Scott W. Michael

-like the above in form and organization, but this time common invertebrates are profiled.

-It's also organized based on families, what type of invertebrate it is, and it's suitability for a reef

-A nice aspect of the book is the emphasis on keeping smaller CUC (Clean up crews). Many lfs will sell overly large CUC's and this can lead to organism death if they are not provided with food. This book treats the CUC as an important part of the aquarium that warrants preservation.

-Some of the inverts in the "inverts to avoid" list are actually quite easy to keep now because of advancements in the hobby, the sun coral being one of them.

-Like its counterpart on fishes, the invert book also includes basics on invert care and several ideas for model invert aquariums.

The New Marine Aquarium Step-by-step Setup & Stocking Guide by Michael S. Paletta

-If you've never had a Marine aquarium before and want to understand how a Marine system works, this book is arguably one of your best first stops. It's a very simple first guide and it's readily available. I picked up my copy at a large chain pet store. It isn't expensive and Paletta does an excellent job explaining the general concepts behind setting up a successful Marine aquarium

-It was initially written in 1999, so it's a bit out-of-date with regard to technological advances and some ideas (10x turnover vs 20x, hydrometer vs refractometer, there are others)

-It's organized into chapters that cover Basic choices, equipment, Live rock, the cycling process, selecting fish, system maintenance, and health

-page 20 features a very nice check list of the basic equipment that you'll need to start up. Again, you need to add a refractometer to the list, but from what I understand, refractometers were way more expensive back in 1999/2001
The Simple Guide to Mini-Reef Aquariums by Jeffrey Kurtz

-Another excellent book for the beginning Saltwater aquarist. This book goes into a bit more detail than Paletta.

-Published in 2005, it's also a bit more modern, though it still doesn't mention a refractometer, sigh...

-Some excellent chapters include...

Chapter 3 - Live Sand Beds
Chapter 4 - Live Rock
Chapter 6 - Water quality
Chapter 10- Water changes

There are many others. What I like about Kurtz is that he'll address both sides of an argument if he's writing on a subject that inspires debate. An example is substrate.

I suggest starting with Paletta which explains general concepts in an easy to understand manner, then following up with Kurtz, which presents things in more detail. I'm due for a reread of Kurtz as I like the general information and how it's presented.

Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History by Eric Borneman

-At a hefty 464 pages, Borneman looks very much like a college textbook rather than the simplified guides that are commonly available, yet it reads very easily.

-This is the definitive source on corals in the hobby today. Period.

-Written in 2001, with 2004 & 2009 updates, it presents the most up to date information.

-Most people skip right to chapter 7, which goes into detail on the various coral families and their species, but I can't stress enough to invest the time and read through the introductory chapters which delve into the natural history and anatomy, and then on to Chapters 8-11 which focus more on husbandry.

-This book gives well-rounded profiles on many species that are commonly available in the trade. Before I planned each of my systems, I consulted Borneman extensively to determine which corals were the best for my goals in Saltwater

-This book is complete in every way, even providing the hobbyist with a list of contacts, including Borneman's own email; a glossary of terms; and pronunciation guides for the scientific names of each of the species profiled.

-If you are serious about keeping corals, while expensive, this book is worth every cent.

Other owners of this book, please feel free to add your own two cents to this.


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