A review of a Discus book on PlanetCatfish.com? While a gaze at the book's title might cause one to wonder if we have gone over and joined the cichliodiots, nothing could be further from the truth. Mayland's Adventures with Discus is a must have for any aquarist interested in the fishes of South America. This book is one of the very few hobby books that has been written in the style of a travelogue. It breaks the mold of the traditional aquarium reference book and is actually best enjoyed like a good novel. Unlike a typical novel, however, the aquarist will find that after enjoying Mayland's tales they will still refer back to this book frequently. What's inside?
The book consists of 27 chapters (although they are not labeled as such) that cover a wide range of topics. It begins with chapters covering Mayland's impressions of the Amazon, the early explorers, some of the best known collectors in the Amazon, information on temperatures, climate, soils, and the jungle, and information on conservation. The book continues with several chapters on collecting fishes throughout various drainages. These chapters are broken up by a number of vignettes such as: Turtles, Delightful River Dolphins, and Curare, the Indian Arrow Poison.
The collecting chapters are all very well written. While Mayland was mainly seeking Discus, he discusses all the fishes he found in various habitats. One of the aspects of this book that makes it a great reference is that for almost every collecting locale Mayland gives a complete laboratory readout of the water chemistry. So whether you are looking for a great book to read by the pool this summer or are desperate to know the conductivity of the Rio Branco, Mayland's book will meet your needs.
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