A Fishkeeper’s Guide to Aquarium Plants is by Barry James and is published by Tetra Press. The first edition was out in 1986, however this is the revised edition 1997.
I have to admit that this is one of the better plant books that I have found. It’s easy to understand and to follow. In other words it’s written in a way that I can understand it. It has 116 glossy pages with lots of colorful pictures to help the hobbyist identify plants.
It starts with an introduction, then goes on to talk about photosynthesis, respiration, water hardness and pH. Fertilization, filtration as well as heat and lighting are also explained. Attention was also given to substrate and additives. There is a 16-page section on aquascaping. This is great because it helps with plant placement, as well as ecological aquascapes. Then there are two pages on algae and algae control.
There are six pages explaining plant propagation. I was really impressed with this section. It explains in full detail and simple English how to propagate most aquarium plants. It even discusses tissue culture, which is not for the ordinary hobbyist, but is very interesting anyway.
Along with the classification of plants, is a full page on recognizing and treating plant diseases. Very informative!
Part two of this book is the species section. This author freely admits that there are thousands of species, however this book features a representative selection of 68 species, plus references to similar species of interest to the hobbyist. It starts with descriptive terms used in the species section. Which contains black and white pictures of leaves and plant stems and the descriptive term underneath. Have you ever read these terms and wondered what they were talking about. Now it’s much clearer.
The rest of this section describes the plants with very nice photos of most. Each description contains substrate, lighting, pH values, hardness, and temperature. It also contains height, distribution, characteristics, aquarium use, propagation, and varieties or closely related species.
It ends with a three-page index and a page of picture credits.
The only down fall that I can see with this book is that it could contain many more plants. With the limited number of plants in this book, it may be possible to have an aquarium plant that is not included.
Other wise, I was quite impressed with this book as is obvious by my rambling, I just wish I would have found it a few years ago (the first edition).
This is a good starter book for anyone just starting out with aquarium plants. Or for someone like me who has been keeping aquarium plants on and off for years, and have been wondering what some of these other books are talking about.
Happy reading ! ?