|Title||The Gladiator in the Aquarium: South American Plecos I and II|
|Author & (Publisher)||Chien-nan Li & Guggi Gu (Wiser Publications, 1994)|
|Subject Matter||As titled.|
Unlike many other non-English books on catfishes I have reviewed, I am actually able to read the text for these, so I can provide a more in-depth review of these two works (although there is no single ISBN number covering the two volumes, the two books should be really thought of as one). Volume I of the work is devoted to the husbandry and care for loricariids, while volume 2 is a photo guide to loricariid diversity (for the species one is likely to encounter in the aquarium trade).
The first volume starts out by giving a basic introduction to catfishes and the family Loricariidae (including a nicely illustrated section on loricariid morphology), then there are chapters devoted to the husbandry and care of loricariids, which include those on equipping the tank, feedng loricarrids, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases and breeding loricariids. There is also a section featuring and discussing possible tankmates. A photo index of all known L- and LDA-numbers (the books were published in 1994, so the list stops at L353 and LDA76) closes the first volume.
The second volume features many of the species one would encounter in the trade in greater detail grouped by genera, and withg a short write-up on each species (usually featuring descriptions of the color pattern and morphology for identification, collection localities and maximum sizes). The bulk of the attention is given to the Hypostominae, and much shorter chapters on Loricariinae and Hypoptopomatinae close out the second volume.
The books are fairly well-illustrated with photographs, many of which approach the quality one tends to associate with Japanese aquarium publications. There is also plenty of useful information for those who intend to start out keeping loricariids. The only aspect of the book I did not like are the advertisements in the first and last few pages of the books (this seems to be a standard feature on all Taiwanese aquarium publications).
Most of you reading this review probably do not read Chinese, but even so, these two volumes are recommended for the number and quality of photographs alone. The price given in this review is an indicative estimate for purchasing both volumes at once. The list price is around £ £30 each.
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