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Review of North American Native Fishes for the Home Aqiarium

Book Review
North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium 
169 pages over 130 color photo's
by Dave Schleser
Publisher Barron's Books,  price $12.95
By Robert Rice

With the increased interest in the Temperate Fishes for the home aquarium
it was inevitable and needed that some new books would hit the Press.
Well the first of the new generation of books is out and it sets the
standard for books that will follow it. The Works from the 70's and 80's
of John Quinn , Tom Baugh and others laid the groundwork for this fast
growing movement that is coming to full fruit. Well Dr. Dave Schleser
former curator of the Dallas Aquarium and all around fish guy has put
together a must have book for the Aquarist, Teacher , Sportsmen ,
Students , Naturalist or anyone interested in North American Native Fish.
It is written in a simple no nonsense style with the average reader in
mind. No PHD. needed to enjoy this gem. However I'll bet you, that before
it's all said and done this book will sit on the shelf of many a college

This book is a throw back in many ways. Much like the old Innes books ,
Schleser's book starts out with the fundamentals. Topics like why to keep
natives, fish taxonomy, conservation issues, collecting information,
aquarium keeping tips and such cover the first 8 chapters. I like that.
It starts the reader off right with a good foundation. Instead of just
dumping you into a glossy book of pretty pictures of fish  , this book
starts you off with the how's and the why's of native fish keeping. This
old fashioned nuts and bolts approach gives the reader a better chance to
become a conservation minded Aquarist instead of just a pet store
consumer. For Conservation efforts to be a success it must reach the
grassroots level. The average person must be able to apply in a practical
way, learned conservation ethics. I like to apply my housewife from
Dubuque Iowa test to any book about collecting and keeping fish. If a
housewife (or hubby) can read this book and apply it to activities with
their local youth group, school or their own children then this book is a
success. Well following my Dubuque test , this book is winner. I give it
a 8.9 out of 10.

After 8 chapters of the basics , chapter 9 is all about fish. It breaks
the fish down into basic types and goes into excellent detail about
suitable aquarium species within each genus. Almost 100 pages is spent
highlighting North America's unique aquatic heritage. Beautiful and
obscure fish like the banded pygmy sunfish, dollar sunfish, gulf darter ,
Flagfin shiner , Fundulus Chrysotus , brindeled madtom and scores of
other unloved North American fishes get the exposure they deserve . Full
color photo's , range maps and  rearing information follow each species.
If you are interested in Longear Sunfish for example (page 139) you get 2
pages of great information , 3 photo's of the various strains out there
and the basic information to keep , rear and enjoy this temperate fish.
That's the kind of stuff anyone interested in Native Fish wants needs and
got's to have. Get this book it's a winner.

If you have internet access please purchase this book (or any others you
are interested in) off of the not for profit Native Fish Conservancy
website at Http://nativefish.interspeed.net/ . They have partnered with
Amazon .com to offer books at a discount price. The NFC then receives a
small percentage of the sale to use in their further conservation
efforts. Buy at the NFC site because everyone wins, especially our native


Robert Rice
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the NFC
email us at NFC at actwin_com
website  http://nativefish.interspeed.net/

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