By Bob Goemans
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Marine Aquarium Handbook, Beginner to Breeder (Revised & Expanded Third Edition)

Authored by: Martin A. Moe, Jr.

A book review by Bob Goemans

TITLE: Marine Aquarium Handbook, Beginner to Breeder (Revised & Expanded Third Edition)

AUTHOR: Martin A. Moe, Jr.

PUBLISHER: T.F.H. Publications/Microcosm Ltd. (2009)

ISBN 13: 978-0-9820262-1-2

PAGES: 352

PRICE: $24.95 (Softcover)

This third edition encompasses several decades of major contributions to the marine aquarium hobby and offers an expanded and up to date ‘A’ to ‘Z’ approach to marine aquarium keeping. And whether new to the hobby or an experienced aquarist, its content is fashioned to enlighten all that read it and does so in a non-technical format that is not only enjoyable to read, but extremely informative as it also contains over 150 color photographs, numerous illustrations and diagrams and comprehensive reference guides covering various areas of interest. Martin also mentions a more technical companion book, The Marine Aquarium Reference: Systems and Invertebrates, is being revised and updated and may soon be available for those wanting more technical/advanced know-how when it comes to maintaining reef aquariums.

As to this work, it begins with ‘Acknowledgements,’ where the author thanks those who have contributed to his knowledgebase and those who directly contributed to this publication. A table of ‘Contents,’ and a ‘Foreword’ written by Julian Sprung follows that rightly notes Martin’s various contributions to not only the hobby, but also the environment. A two page ‘Preface’ follows noting Martin’s thoughts on changes the hobby has seen over the past few decades and his hope this third edition will be very helpful to those wishing to involve themselves in this fascinating and educational hobby. A ten page ‘Introduction’ follows noting some of the changes the hobby has seen, the importance of a good local shop and aquarium society, and the hope this new ‘mature’ edition will be useful to all that read it.

Chapter 1, ‘The Aquarium - Size, Shape, Style, and Construction,’ has several subtopics, e.g., Before you start; Aquarium size; Materials and construction; Types of marine aquariums; The age of live substrates; and, Simplified marine aquariums. All something to consider before jumping in so to speak!

Chapter 2, ‘The Water - Composition, Collection, Mixing, and Preparation,’ discusses subtopics such as Composition of natural seawater; Collection of natural seawater; Synthetic seawater; Freshwater preparation; Chlorine and chloramine; and, Synthetic sea salts. With water quality aquarists’ number one goal, this chapter is well worth reading more than once!

Chapter 3, ‘Filtration - Mechanical, Chemical, Biological, and Sterilization,’ has appropriate placed subtopics devoted to Ion-exchange resins; Phosphate binders; Protein skimming; Ozone; UV sterilization; along with other subtopics titled Natural Systems; Live rock; Live sand; and, Macroalgae.

Chapter 4, ‘The Biological Filter - Live Rock, Live Sand, and, External Options,’ has several subtopics, e.g., Live rock origins and collection; Rocky disasters; Types of rock; Wild sources; Beginner’s rock; Uncured rock; Live sand; Curing live sand; Other biological filters; and Overcrowding and the biofilter.

Following Chapter 4 there is a ‘Chapter 4 Appendix’ titled ‘The Undergravel Filter, Function and Construction.’ (And you may have thought they no longer have value as live rock has replaced this item! Think again, as Martin voices his thoughts on this valuable contribution to aquarium husbandry/history!) Subtitles include, Function; Feeding the new biofilter; Selecting an undergravel filter; The filter bed; Cleaning the filter bed; and, Deep sand beds (DSB).

Chapter 5, ‘Physics & Chemistry - The Essential Information for Marine Aquarists.’ Subtitles include, Light; Temperature; Salinity; Oxygen; Nitrogen; pH; and Dissolved organics. Per Martin, all designed to tell you in simple language only what you really need to know!

Chapter 6, ‘Setup & Maintenance - The First Day, the First Year,’ which includes subjects titled, Cycling the tank; Water testing; Routine maintenance; and, Marine troubleshooting. It also contains an extensive four page-troubleshooting chart that is alone worth the price of the book!

Chapter 7, ‘Fish Selection - What to Look for: Condition and Compatibility.’ Subtitles include Predator/prey relationships; Territory defense; Sexual territory (mate protection); Reproductive territory (spawn protection); Random aggression; Shy, delicate, and dietarily restricted fishes; and, Survival. Included in this chapter are illustrated charts for hardy fishes for 10 – 30 gallons; 40 – 75 gallons; and systems that encompass 90 – 300 gallons.

Chapter 8, ‘Introduction & Quarantine - Purposes and Methods.’ Subtitles include, Introductions; Introducing a new fish; and, Quarantine. A somewhat short chapter, but one well worth reading and heeding!

Chapter 9, ‘Diseases & Distress - Identification and Treatment.’ And if you didn’t take heed to the thoughts voiced in the last chapter, then the following topics and their subtitles will be of ‘major’ interest – Problems; Disease identification; Diseases, symptoms, and treatments; Amyloodinium (Symptoms; Treatment; The freshwater bath; Treatment in reef systems; Copper treatment; Now a word or two about Copper treatment preparation); Cryptocaryon - White Spot Disease (Symptoms; Treatment; Formalin treatment; The formalin bath; Quinacrine treatment; and, Malachite green treatment.); Brooklynella – Clownfish Disease (Symptoms; and, Treatment); Poor Diet/Starvation (Symptoms; and, Treatment); Head and lateral line erosion – HLLE; Poor environment (Symptoms; and, Treatment); Toxins - Internally generated toxins, Symptoms, and, Treatment – Externally introduced toxins, Symptoms, and, Treatment; Harassment (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Fungus diseases (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Sporozoa; Fish tuberculosis (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Bacterial disease (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Lymphocystis (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Metazoan parasites; Turbellarian worms – Black ich (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Fish flukes (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Fish lice – crustacean parasites (Symptoms, and, Treatment); Old age (Symptoms, and, Treatment); and Tank sterilization. This long and extremely informative chapter ends with a Summary that includes ‘Treatment do’s’ and treatment don’ts.’ Extremely informative and another chapter worth the price of the book!

Chapter 10, ‘Foods & Feeding - What, When, and How.’ Subtopics include Natural foods; Available aquarium foods - prepared diets (dry flake foods; The seafood paste mix; The gelatin mix; and The plaster mix); Animal foods live – (Brine shrimp; live fish; Small shrimp and other crustaceans; live coral & substitutes; Tubifex worms; and, Other possibilities); Animal foods: dead – preserved (Frozen krill; mysis; brine shrimp; Table shrimp; Mollusks; Processed plankton; Fish; Other meats; and, Plant food); Feeding invertebrates; Anemones; Corals; and concludes with a ‘Summary’ well worth reading at least several times!

Chapter 11, ‘Breeding Marine Fish - The Basic Process and Easiest Species.’ Subtitles include Captive breeding: a brief look back; Marine fish families bred in captivity; Modes of reproduction; Spawning; Hatching; Larval rearing; Rotifer culture; Juvenile growth; Other species; Invertebrate culture; and, Mariculture;

The work closes with an Index; Selected References; Photo Credits; and, About The Author.

In closing, the Marine Aquarium Handbook, Beginner to Breeder (Revised & Expanded Third Edition) is a well written; informative, and nicely illustrated work, besides being extremely fair priced! And whether a beginner or well versed in the marine hobby, you’ll find the information in this work extremely enlightening and well worth having as it provides a common sense approach for maintaining marine aquariums.

TFH/Microcosm Ltd. has again presented the reader an unsurpassed value!

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