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By Bob Goemans
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Reef Fishes, Volume II: Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes

Authored by: Scott W. Michael

A book review by Bob Goemans

TITLE: Reef Fishes Volume II: Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes

AUTHOR: Scott W. Michael

PUBLISHER: T.F.H. Publications/Microcosm Ltd. (2004)

ISBN1-890087-33-5

PAGES: 296

PRICE: $44.95

Have you been waiting for Reef Fishes Volume II? If you're like me, I've been waiting at least three years! I was so impressed with Volume I that I pestered Microcosm folks at every marine conference for the past three years for a publication date. The answer was always the same - "we only have a few more pages to complete." Yet, with Scott's tenacity for accuracy and completeness, there always seemed to be one more thing that just had to be added. What was originally planned to be a four book series, has now been expanded to a five book series. This book, which contains those families mentioned in the title and an additional seven aquarium fish families, i.e., Groupers/Soapfishes, Longfins, Jawfishes, Bigeyes, Morwongs, Cardinalfishes, and Tilefishes, now comprises Volume II of this five book series. I assume this further subdivision of the series has made it possible to get completed families into print while awaiting details on those not yet complete, and which were scheduled for the original Volume II. Those additional families were to be; Remoras, Jacks, Snappers and Fusiliers, Grunts, Spinecheeks, Drums and Croakers, Goatfish, Monos, Butterflyfishes, Angelfishes, and Damselfishes. The updated Preface in this book lists what families have occurred in Volume I & II, and what is scheduled to be in each of those volumes still awaiting publication. This business decision makes it possible to get the show on the road again so to speak while awaiting completion of those other families mentioned above, which will comprise Volume III.

With over 500 beautiful photographs, many of them depicting new species and the color variations between adults and juveniles and/or geographical variants, and a text that covers hundreds of species including their social behavior and eating habits, it makes this second volume an absolute necessity for your library.

Following the aforementioned Preface, a brief "Acknowledgments" written by Scott pays tribute to those who have helped him write and publish this immense work including his wife Janine Cairns-Michael, herself a widely published underwater photographer, and the Microcosm staff.

The book contains ten different families of marine fish, all of an interest to aquarists. The species described in each family denotes its scientific name, common name, maximum length, range, temperature, aquarium care and suitability, biology, and applicable remarks. All in understandable grammar and all of which will be quite helpful to the average aquarist. The book completes with Photography Credits, Bibliography, Index, and, About The Author.

All in all a well-written and informative book. T.F.H. Publications and Microcosm Ltd. has again supplied the reader a beautifully illustrated, high quality publication. And I must say the wait has been well worth it, however, I hope we don't have to wait three more years for Volume III!

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