Gift Guide

Aquariums: The Complete Guide to Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums


Freshwater and saltwater fishkeeping are challenging and tremendously rewarding hobbies. Aquariums covers every requirement a fishkeeper needs to know and meet — all presented in a comprehensive and reader-friendly format. Hundreds of color diagrams illustrate step-by-step technical instructions and hundreds more color photographs show fish in natural and aquarium habitats.


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Freshwater and saltwater fishkeeping are challenging and tremendously rewarding hobbies. Aquariums covers every requirement a fishkeeper needs to know and meet — all presented in a comprehensive and reader-friendly format. Hundreds of color diagrams illustrate step-by-step technical instructions and hundreds more color photographs show fish in natural and aquarium habitats.

This book addresses:

  • Choosing the right equipment
  • Preparing the water and setting up the aquarium
  • Achieving a balanced aquarium with the right mix of fish and appropriate plants
  • Differences in saltwater and freshwater requirements
  • Types of fish and their families in a freshwater fish directory and a saltwater fish directory
  • Selecting plants for the aquarium
  • Fish reproduction
  • How to prepare decorative objects for the aquarium.

Packed with practical advice and useful tips, Aquariums shows how to create a fish tank of stunning beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

Pet Age
Aquariums covers everything a fish keeper needs to know and presents it in a comprehensive and reader-friendly format. Hundreds of color diagrams illustrate step-by-step technical instructions and hundreds of color photographs show fish in natural and aquarium habitats.
Pet Business Magazine
Packed with practical advice and useful tips, Aquariums is ideal for both novice and experienced fishkeepers.
Booklist - Nancy Bent
A beautiful introduction... Beautiful photos clearly illustrate this nice good all-in-one handbook, that will fill the needs of beginning aquarists.
Akron Beacon Journal - Connie Bloom
It's vital that enthusiasts own at least one trusted reference work.[This book] qualifies... both authoritative and handsome.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074624
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/23/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 780,471
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Thierry Maître-Allain has a PhD in Marine Biology and is an author, journalist and experienced fishkeeper.

Christian Piednoir is a photographer, journalist, fishkeeper and the creator of, a website dedicated to marine photography.

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Read an Excerpt


Fish and plants are surrounded by water in the enclosed environment of a tank. If they are to flourish, an aquarist must fully understand the nature of this environment. Just as we are sensitive to the purity of the air we breathe, the characteristics of water exert a crucial influence on fish. In order to obtain water of the highest quality, it is vital to be aware of its various basic parameters so that they can be monitored. The water on the earth does not possess the same chemical qualities everywhere. In aquatic terms, there is an enormous difference, for example, between the Amazon and Central America, even though these two regions are relatively close geographically. The water in the former is soft and acidic, while that of the latter is hard and alkaline — yet fish thrive in both of them! The native species of each region have long since adapted to their respective environments, but neither could survive in an aquarium with less extreme water conditions. The capacity to control the water of an aquarium is therefore an essential prerequisite for its smooth functioning and the maintenance of healthy fish and plants.

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Table of Contents



  • The water cycle
  • Nitrogenous substances
  • Filtration
  • The natural habits of aquarium fish

Installing an aquarium

  • Choosing an aquarium
  • Positioning the aquarium
  • The aquarium in the home
  • The backdrop
  • The freshwater substrate
  • Aquarium kits
  • Heating for the freshwater aquarium
  • Filtration for the freshwater aquarium
  • Wooden decor for the freshwater aquarium
  • Rocky decor for the freshwater aquarium
  • Getting the freshwater system up and running
  • Introducing fish into a freshwater aquarium
  • Adding the fish
  • Maintaining a freshwater aquarium
  • Equipment for a saltwater aquarium
  • Maintaining a saltwater aquarium
  • Introducing fish into a saltwater aquarium


  • The external anatomy
  • The internal anatomy
  • Behavior
  • Feeding
  • Healthcare in the aquarium

Freshwater fish

  • Labyrinth fish
  • The labyrinth fish aquarium
  • The Asian aquarium
  • Characins
  • The Amazon aquarium
  • A Central American cichlid aquarium
  • Cichlids
  • An aquarium for discus enthusiasts
  • A South American cichlid aquarium
  • Lake Malawi cichlids
  • A Lake Malawi cichlid aquarium
  • Lake Tanganyika cichilds
  • A Lake Tanganykia cichlid aquarium
  • An aquarium for other cichild species
  • Loaches
  • Cyprinids
  • An aquarium for coldwater fish
  • An African aquarium
  • Killifish
  • A killifish aquarium
  • Rainbowfish
  • An aquarium of curiosities
  • Catfish
  • An oddballs aquarium
  • An aquarium of "useful" animals
  • A freshwater invertebrate aquarium
  • Livebearers
  • A Central American aquarium
  • A brackish-water aquarium

Breeding freshwater fish

  • The breeding tank
  • Water quality
  • Breeding stock
  • Raising the fry
  • Breeding cyprinids
  • Breeding characins
  • Breeding livebearers
  • Breeding labyrinth fish
  • Breeding catfish
  • Breeding killifish
  • Breeding cichilds

Saltwater fish

  • Damselfish and clownfish
  • A clownfish aquarium
  • Angelfish
  • Butterflyfish
  • Groupers and basslets
  • Wrasses
  • Lionfish
  • Tangs
  • Triggerfish
  • Boxfish, cowfish and porcupinefish
  • Blennies and gobies
  • Reef invertebrates aquarium
  • Miscellaneious species
  • Saltwater invertebrates aquarium

Aquarium plants

  • The biology of aquarium plants
  • The substrate
  • Aquarium lighting
  • Choosing and using plants
  • Feeding and propagating plants
  • A Dutch aquarium
  • Background plants
  • Midground plants
  • Foreground plants
  • Floating plants
  • Specimen plants

Index of fish, invertebrate and plant names

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 4, 2009

    not bad

    It's not a bad book. i was looking for something that would give me the beginners guide fish keeping. yues it has alot of info and i mean alot. On plants and certain fish. but misses the make in other areas. still a great book just didn't have the info i needed .

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