By Bob Goemans
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Tropical Fishes, 500+ Essential-To-Know Species (Freshwater)

Authored by: Mary E. Sweeney, Mary Bailey, and Aaron Norman

A book review by Bob Goemans

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

ISBN 0-9820262-0-X

PAGES: 448

PRICE: $29.95 (Softcover)

Yes, I’m considered a ‘marine’ hobbyist, but did get my start in the hobby by keeping freshwater fishes for many years prior to my fulltime entrance into the marine side of the hobby several decades ago. Nonetheless, I really did find this work not only quite interesting and informative, but may consider keeping a freshwater aquarium once again since so many new and colorful species have arrived in the freshwater hobby since my departure many moons ago!

As for this ‘PocketExpert Guide’ to freshwater tropical fishes, it begins with a brief ‘Acknowledgments’ followed by a table of ‘Contents’ that includes a lengthy list of ‘Family & Species’ (shown below) that will no doubt include those of interest to its reader. An informative ‘Introduction’ follows having various subsections such as ‘Water Parameters’ containing subtitles devoted to Temperature, pH and Hardness, Salinity, and Water Quality. Another of its subsections, titled ‘Sizes,’ includes discussions on Fish Sizes, and Tank Sizes. ‘Systematics and Taxonomy,’ another subsection, follows and discusses the science in determining the relationship of living things and the naming of them. It completes with a subsection titled ‘Read around the subject,’ an explanation of what to expect to find in the forthcoming text and how to use the information presented in the most useful way.

The Family & Species chart, as mentioned above, is immense and contains the following: Freshwater Stingrays (Potamotrygonidae), Lungfishes (Protoperidae), Reedfishes (Polypteridae), Bichirs (Polypteridae), Arawanas (Osteoglossidae), Butterflyfishes (Pantodnotidae), Knifefishes (Notopteridae), Mormyrids (Mormyridae), Barbs (Cyprinidae), Danios (Cyprinidae), Rasboras (Cyprinidae), Minnows (Cyprinidae), Sharks and Minnows (Cyprinidae), Hillstream Loaches (Balitoridae) Loaches (Cobitidae), Distichodus (Citharinidae), Halftooths (Hemiodontidae), Headstanders (Anostomidae), Trahiras (Erythrinidae), Splash Tetras (Lebiasinidae), Pencilfishes (Lebiasinidae), Hatcheyfishes (Gasteropelecidae) Pike Characins (Ctenoluciidae), African Tetras (Alestidae), Characins (Characidae), Claroteid Catfishes (Claroteidae), Mountain Catfishes (Amphiliidae), Electric Catfishes, Dwarf Squeakers, Upside-down Catfishes, Schilbeid Catfishes (Schilbeidae), Walking Catfishes (Clariidae), Bagrid Catfishes (Bagridae), Glass Catfishes (Siluridae), Frogmouth Catfishes (Chacidae), Talking Catfishes (Doradidae), Pimelodid Catfishes (Pimelodidae), Driftwood Catfishes (Auchenipteridae), Banjo Catfishes (Aspredinidae), Mailed Catfishes (Callichthyidae), Loricariid Catfishes (Loricariidae), Halfbeaks (Hemiramphidae), Ricefishes (Adrianichthyidae), Old World Killifishes (Aplocheilidae), New World Killifishes (Rivulidae), Goodeid Livebearers (Goodeidae), Four-eyes (Anablepidae), Poeciliid Livebearers (Poeciliidae), Silversides (Bedotiidae), Rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae), Blue-eyes (Pseudomugilidae), Glassfishes (Ambassidae), Archerfishes (Toxotidae), Badis (Badidae), Cichlids (Cichlidae), Mudskippers (Gobiidae), Climbing Perches (Anabantidae), Combtails (Osphronemidae), Fighting Fishes (Osphronemidae), Paradise Fishes (Osphronemidae), Gouramis (Osphronemidae), Snakeheads (Channidae), Spiny Eels (Mastacembelidae), and Puffers (Tetraodontidae).

Once through this enormous amount of information, which covers not only those commonly available, but also rare species, over 700 full color photos, and details on behavior, native range, maximum size, feeding, and captive care, the work completes with References, Species Index, Common Name Index, Photography Credits, Further Reading, and About the Authors.

All in all, an informative book for the freshwater hobbyist, and well worth the price! T.F.H. Publications and Microcosm Ltd. has again supplied the reader a beautifully illustrated, high quality publication.

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