Re: Amano's books

> I would merely like to get a concensus of opinion on a book that I was told
> about.  The book is called, -Nature Aquarium World- by Takashi Amano.  I
> will look forward to any reviews.  Thanks a million!  David Curtright in
> San Diego, where paradise is a bit damp these days but still looks good
> to most of us!
> ------------------------------

The Amano books have been reviewed here before, but I'll give you my
opinion - they are eye-candy. I have only had the three volumes for
about a week and they have already been devoured several times. The
photography is stunning, done with large format cameras so that there is
more detail visible in the photographs than you can imagine. TFH has
done a superb job in printing the books, they almost seem three

That said, I'm afraid that I'm not anal-retentive enough to maintain an
aquarium in the state typical of the Nature Aquarium. Those tanks look
like they require enormous amounts of time and effort to keep everything
looking just so - there isn't a dead or decaying leaf visible anywhere.
In my opinion, they just aren't natural. Personally, I also don't like
not being able to see gravel - in most of Amano's designs practically
every square inch of the substrate is covered with plants. Any F/W
habitat I have ever seen in Nature has always been much sparser than his
tanks. Of course, as others have said before, forget Nature, this is an
artificial environment. But my prejudice remains. As well, tying a
floating plant such as Ricca to rocks and then constantly mowing it to
keep it looking "fresh" just isn't my idea of a hobby - I'd classify it
as an obsession.

One nice thing about some of Amano's designs is the artful use of a
limited variety of plants. Rarely in Nature would you find 30 different
species of plants in a three or four square foot area. Many posts to
this list concern problems people have in trying to match the needs of a
multitude of different plants in such a small space. By selecting plants
which have the same requirements, and by using them en mass in an
aquarium, the average person is much more likely to produce a
successeful, good looking aquarium. As Martha Stewart would say,
"Restraint is a Good Thing".

I also like the fact that Amano follows several tanks over time, showing
how they evolve as the plants grow. It helps to remind people to
consider the full mature size and shape of plants when initially
planting young specimens. It might help some people avoid constantly
having to uproot their plants as they grow. 

Amano's technical details are muddled by bad translations from the
original Japanese and misidentification of several species but I'm
willing to overlook that - I certainly didn't buy them to learn how to
maintain an aquarium. I bought them to be inspired.

As a source of inspiration, as a Utopian dream, the Amano books are the
best things I've seen in years (and I have almost every book on F/W
aquariums that you can name).

James Purchase
Toronto, Ontario
jpp at inforamp_net