Author: Peter Hiscock
Publisher: Howell Book House (2000)
Format: Hardcover, 16x22 cm
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Biotope tanks, or just a healthy habitat for your fish. It gives in detail instructions and ideas for biotopes from every part of the world, along with list of fish and plants for the tanks as well. It has many pictures to help you, and even goes into detail about the kind of substrates, filtration and other things. All the tanks in the book are built in 200 liter tanks, but can be made smaller. It even explains the different biotopes. If you having trouble finding info on any type of biotope, this book is well worth the small investment, even with just one use it will pay for itself in the time you save.
I've been researching and keeping biotope aquaria for a couple of years now, so I feel at least somewhat qualified to add my two cents' worth here. While Hiscock offers good husbandry techniques, overall I was very disappointed by this title. The general fishkeeping advice is sound, but that can be found in many other books. I consulted this one specifically to obtain information on setting up accurate biotope aquaria, and here it fell far short of my expectations. At best, I would call the setups Hiscock describes theme tanks, but even then, they're based on habitat types rather than the specific geographic habitats they claim to represent. In no way can these setups be described as biotopes. Amazon-river setups contain plants from Southeast Asia and Africa. A Malawi setup for mbuna features Anubias and Vallisneria species--whereas an authentic mbuna reef would contain only rocks, rubble, and algae. And a biotope for blind Mexican cave tetras calls for the addition of cryptocornes from Southeast Asia!
All of this irritated me not for reasons of purity, but because the author--who should have known better--was giving incorrect, even misleading information. We aquarists like to point out that our hobby is educational as well as entertaining; but if that's the case, we should also demand accuracy from our experts. Bottom line: If you're interested in setting up tanks that vaguely recall a certain type of aquatic environment, and aren't particular about whether or not the fish and plants you include are actually found together in nature, you may want to investigate this book. However, if you're interested in creating an authentic and accurate biotope aquarium, one intended to to be a snapshot of a specific environment, you won't find the information you need in this book.
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