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Plant Books (long)

Hi Everyone,

Alysoun McLaughlin was asking, in APD V3 #248, about recommended books.

> However, now that I have gotten involved with my fish and plants
> hobby more
> seriously, I need some remedial help.  I really do WANT to understand some
> of these discussions...
> Serious hobbyist books aren't available at my LFS (I guess they
> don't sell),
> and the best I've been able to find are the cheap books from Tetra and
> Barron's.  And since I can't peruse the various books available
> online, I'll
> have to go on the basis of a recommendation.
> Can anyone recommend a comprehensive, detailed book or set of books?

First of all, don't automatically discount the "cheap" books from Tetra and
Barrons. Both companies have produced some of the best aquarium related
literature to ever hit a bookshelf. It all depends on the author writing the

Here's a list of what I think might be a good list of required books for
plant growers (in no particular order):

1. Windelov's Tropica Catalogue Aquarium Plants, text by Jiri Stodola,
published by TFH 1987 (ISBN 0-86622-289-8) - Absolutely beautiful
2. Water Plants in the Aquarium, A Complete Owner's Manual, Ines Scheurmann,
published by Barron's 1987 (ISBN 0-8120-3926-2)
3. Aquarium Plants Manual, Ines Scheurman, published by Barron's (year ?)
(ISBN 0-8120-1687-4)
- Both of the Scheurmann volumes are dirt cheap and excellent.
4. A Fishkeeper's Guide to Aquarium Plants, Barry James, published by Tetra
Press (Salamander Books 1986) (ISBN 3-923880-57-X). Another book well worth
5. The Complete Book of Aquarium Plants, Robert Allgayer and Jacques Teton,
published by Ward Locke Limited 1987 (originally published in French in 1986
as Plantes et Decors d'Aquarium) (ISBN 0-7063-6614-X). Another excellent
over-all plant book.
6. Dennerle Nature Aquaristic System for a Problem-Free Aquarium, published
by Dennerle (year ?) (ISBN - ? I can't find one) This is more a catalogue by
a European company specialising in Dutch Style plant aquariums but it has
great photos of plants.
7. Aquarium Plants, their identification, cultivation, and ecology, Dr.
Karel Rataj and Thomas J. Horeman, published by TFH 1977 (ISBN
0-87666-455-9) Here for completeness, it is poorly organized and way out of
date. I don't trust it very much.
8. The Optimum Aquarium, Kaspar Horst and Horst E. Kipper, published by Aqua
Documenta 1986 (English translation done, quite poorly, by Albert J. Thiel)
(ISBN 3-925916-02-4) George Booth's Bible, this is the official Dupla
manual. Sadly, out of print. If you must, buy the video.
9. The Natural Aquarium - How to Imitate Nature in Your Home, Satoshi
Yoshino and Doshin Kobayashi, published by TFH 1993 (originally published in
Japan as Aquatic Scene) (ISBN 0-86622-629-X) One look at the quality of the
photographic reproductions in this book will tell you why Herbert R. Axelrod
ruled the aquarium trade for years. They are magnificient. Highly
10. Nature Aquarium World, Takashi Amano, published by TFH 1992 (ISBN
11. Nature Aquarium World, Book 2, Takashi Amano, published by TFH 1994
(ISBN 0-7938-2077-4)
12. Nature Aquarium World, Book 3, Takashi Amano, published by TFH 1994
(ISBN 0-7938-2078-2)
- These are books I would like to be buried with - Amano is an artist both
with his aquariums and with his photography. TFH did a another magnificient
job with the color reproductions in these three volumes. Sketchy on
technical details, but worth it for the inspiration provided by the
photographs. I am in awe, quite literally.

There may be others, my library is not yet complete (is anyone's?).
Certainly you can find some plant info in general aquarium books, but these
are the main plant books which should form the backbone of any aquatic
gardner's library.

As for the subject of water chemistry - don't trust the books. There is more
confusion and just plain false information concerning water chemistry in the
above list of plant books than I care to discuss. I have learned more about
water chemistry from this list than I ever did from the aquarium literature.
Be especially leery of explanations of Water Hardness and Alkalinity in most
plant books - a lot of authors get the two terms totally confused. This list
has some excellent chemists on it - check the archives.

Hope this helps.

James Purchase
jpurch at interlog_com