Author: Hans A. Baensch, Rudiger Riehl, Hans A. Smith, Eberh Schulze
Publisher: Microcosm Ltd. (1997)
Format: Hardcover or Paperback, 13x19 cm.
Baensch's Aquarium Atlas Vol. 1 and Axelrod's Mini-Atlas are the two most popular and widely sold aquarium books available. Every serious aquarist, beginner or advanced, should have at least one of them. Baensch's Aquarium Atlas Vol. 1 doesn't have as many species and photos as Axelrod's Mini-Atlas, but every listed fish has a wealth of detailed info about its origin, care, feeding, breeding, and so on. The first 70 pages contain very well written and illustrated info on aquarium basics, technology and accessories. Then comes an excellent 77 page section with beautiful photos and info on 100 species of aquatic plants. Next is a 723 page section, thoroughly characterizing and showing great photos of 600 fish species. The book ends with a section on care and maintenance, a section on diseases, and finally a huge Index sorted by Scientific Names, Common Names, and Synonyma. Baensch's Freshwater Atlas series is composed of 3 volumes, of which this is the first. Each of them can be bought in Hardcover or Paperback, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend the Hardcovers!
Thus far no one has yet authored THE definitive aquarium-keeping book, but in my opinion this one comes the closest. True, the number of species covered doesn't quite match the volume of Dr. Axelrod's Atlas or even the Mini-Atlas, but Baensch and Riehl provide much, much more in-depth information about the keeping of each species (including plants), and this type of textual presentation is much more valuable than the overly simplistic symbols offered by Axelrod (who would lead you to believe that tiger barbs and buck-tooth tetras make peaceful tankmates for the community aquarium!). The second and third volumes go into even greater depth in their caretaking information, but the more commonly kept species are found in Volume 1. I thus far have the first two editions, and I actually find the second - which is in paperback (the first is in hardcover) - to be the easier of the two to manipulate. Although the softcover volume requires some (but not a great) degree of care to keep from becoming dog-eared, it is easier to lay open flat thanks to the pliant yet durable spine. With its combination of easy use, in-depth information, and above-average photography, the Baensch series should be on the shelf of every dedicated aquarist's library!
Thanks for this great introduction. We also have now Volume 4 translated to English (hardcover only). And all other volumes have been supervised with new fishnames, etc.
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