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Good Books for Beginners:

Freshwater, Marine & Brackish Aquaria


© Bob Fenner & 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!  

Freshwater and brackish water fishkeeping

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





Saltwater fishkeeping

Saltwater For Beginners



The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step Setup & Stocking Guide

Michael S. Paletta

TFH 1999

ISBN 1890087521



The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists

Robert M. Fenner

TFH 1997

ISBN 1890087025



Marine Atlas: The Joint Aquarium Care of Invertebrates and Tropical Marine Fishes

Helmut Debelius

Voyageur 1995



Saltwater for Intermediate to Advanced Hobbyists



Natural Reef Aquariums: Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms

John H. Tullock

TFH 1997

ISBN 1890087009




The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium, Vol. 1

Svein A. Fossa

Birgit Schmettkamp 1996

ISBN 3928819291



Reef Secrets: Starting Right, Selecting Fishes & Invertebrates, Advanced Biotope Techniques

Alf Jacob Nilsen and Svein A. Fossa

TFH 2003

ISBN 189008767X



Fish Encyclopaedias



A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Species

Scott W. Michael

TFH 1999

ISBN 1890087386




A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Species

Scott W. Michael

Microcosm 2006

ISBN 1890087890



What Fish? A Buyer's Guide to Marine Fish: Essential Information to Help You Choose the Right Fish for Your Marine Aquarium

Tristan Lougher

Barron's 2006

ISBN 0764132563



Invertebrate Guides



Baensch Marine Atlas, Vol. 2

Harry Erhardt, Horst Moosleitner, Hans A Baensch, and Gero W. Fisher

Mergus 1998

ISBN 081382558X




Baensch Marine Atlas, Vol. 3

Harry Erhardt and Horst Moosleitner

Microcosm 1998

ISBN 1890087203



Reef Invertebrates: An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility

Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner

Reading Trees 2003

ISBN 0967263034



Livestock Health


Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment

Edward J. Noga

Wiley-Blackwell 2000

ISBN 081382558X



The Marine Fish Health & Feeding Handbook: The Essential Guide to Keeping Saltwater Species Alive and Thriving

Bob Goemans, Lance Ichinotsubo, Martin A. Moe, and Matthew L. Wittenrich

TFH 2008

ISBN 1890087955



Invertebrate Medicine

Gregory A. Lewbart

Blackwell 2006

ISBN 0813818443


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