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Good Books for Beginners:

Freshwater & Brackish Aquaria

© Neale Monks 2008

Do books have value in the age of the Internet? Here are WetWebMedia we'd definitely answer that in the affirmative. Every aquarist should at least own a book that outlines the basics of water chemistry, water quality, livestock selection, diet and healthcare. It's also a good idea to own a fish encyclopaedia as well so that when you go shopping you'll have a book that will tell you the environmental, social and dietary needs of any fish that you're not familiar with.

Fortunately the range of aquarium books is enormous. There are books aimed at every part of the hobby, from beginners to experts. The tricky bit is choosing the book that's right for you. On this page you'll find books that the WetWebMedia crew have found particularly useful. We're recommending them here as being reliable and good value. Books that are still in print or available from stock are listed with their US dollar prices; some books that are out of print are also listed, being well worth tracking down used. Amazon has good access to many used titles, often at very low prices (under $10).

Click on the links to go to the Amazon.com web site; if you order the book, WWM will get a small commission that will help defray bandwidth costs. This doesn't cost you a penny!  

For Absolute Beginners



A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium

Gina Sandford

Barron's 2000

ISBN 0764152661



Aquascaping & Plants



Complete Aquarium

Peter Scott

Dorling Kindersley 1995

ISBN 0789400138




Aquarium Plants (Mini Encyclopedia Series for Aquarium Hobbyists)

Peter Hiscock

Barron's 2005

ISBN 0764129899



Fish Encyclopaedias



Baensch Aquarium Atlas, Vol. 1

Hans A. Baensch and Rudiger Riehl 

Mergus 2004

ISBN 3882445181




Baensch Aquarium Atlas, Vol. 2

Hans A. Baensch and Rudiger Riehl 

Voyageur 1993

ISBN 1564651142



Goldfish & Native Fish



An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Coldwater Aquarium Fish

Nick Fletcher

Interpet 2000

ISBN 190309805X




North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium

David M. Schleser

Barron's 1998

ISBN 0764103679






Fishkeeper's Guide to Livebearing Fishes

Peter Scott

Tetra Press 1999

ISBN 190238962X




Livebearing Fishes

John Dawes

Blandford 1995

ISBN 0713725923






Enjoying Cichlids

Kjell Fohrman, Mary Bailey and Ad Konings

Cichlid Press 2002

ISBN 0966825578




The Cichlid Aquarium

Paul V. Loiselle

Tetra Press 1994

ISBN 1564651460




Fishkeeper's Guide to African Cichlids

Paul V. Loiselle

Tetra Press 1989

ISBN 3923880391



Lake Tanganyika Cichlids

Mark Smith

Barron's 2007

ISBN 0764136739




Back to Nature: Malawi Cichlids

Ad Konings

Cichlid Press 2003

ISBN 0966825594



Brackish Water Fish



Brackish-Water Fishes

Neale Monks

TFH 2006

ISBN 0793805643




Aqualog Special: Brackish-Water Fishes

Frank Schaefer

Aqualog 2005

ISBN 393602782X




Aqualog: The Puffers of Fresh and Brackish Waters

Klaus Ebert

Aqualog 2001

ISBN 393170260X



Health & Water Chemistry (Freshwater)


Manual of Fish Health

Chris Andrews, Adrian Exell and Neville Carrington

Firefly Books 2003

ISBN 1552978249





Book suggestion - 10/10/10
Hi, I am starting a fresh water aquarium tank. I have some previous experience. So, I am looking for a book that would be for intermediate to advanced user. I need a good reference book. Thank you! Art
<Hello Art. A good question! We do have an article on recommended books, here:
Although some are for absolute beginners, others are starter books for particular niches, like livebearers or fish health. In a sense, a "good book" will provide information on a part of the hobby you're most interested in. As general books, probably the best regarded bibles of the hobby are the books that make up the Baensch Aquarium Atlas series, with Vol. 1 being an almost essential purchase for any freshwater aquarium hobbyist. Compared to the TFH Mini Atlases, the Baensch books have somewhat fewer species but much more useful and deep text. Aqualog tend to publish very high-end books on specific niches, so their catalogue is worth looking at, but their books tend to be strong on photography and identification, weaker on text. The reverse are some of the more recent TFH books, like the recent one on Loaches, which may not have so many photos but do have masses of really good quality text. So put another way, tell me what sort of things you're interested in, and I'll try and find a few book titles that might amuse. Cheers, Neale.>

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