Book Reviews Right Arrow Catfish Books Right Arrow Meervallen • Article © Marc Stabel, uploaded July 02, 2007


Title Meervallen
Author & (Publisher) Claus Schaefer (Tirion, 1999)
Price £8.00
Subject Matter Aquarium catfishes
Edition 1st, Dutch

This 96 page book starts off with some general remarks. What are catfishes, things to know about lighting, filtration, water quality, diseases and decoration of a tank that has catfishes living in it. Important information is boxed. The layout of the book isn't very pretty, as there's a lot of whitespace on the pages. That space could have been used a lot better.

The catfishes part itself, which starts from page 22 onwards, is very disappointing. There are four pages on Mochokidae, three pages on the Glass catfish, two pages on Bagridae and 1 page on Chacidae. Callichthyidae have, of course, more exposure (pages 33-52) and the same goes for the Loricariidae (pages 53-74). There are also three pages on Pimelodidae, two on Doradidae and again three on Aspredinidae. Two families (Pangasidae and Malapteruridae) get a picture with a marginal note. That totals 11 families, so there are too many missing. Don't forget this publication is from 1999. Also, the author has written a huge book — Das Grosse Buch der Welse, 1996 — in which almost all families are described.

References, addresses and index take the last pages of the book (pp 87 and onwards). The text is rather superficial and provides little to nothing for an advanced catfish keeper. For example: on page 86 there is a picture of Pangasius sutchi on top of the page. At the bottom of that page there's the same picture, although upside down, with a marginal note that this is Pseudodoras niger!

Is there nothing worthwhile? Yes, the pictures are nice and that is exactly why I bought this book. I should also mention that it was on sale and I bought it for the equivalent of only two pounds. Please note that I'm referring to the Dutch version. I can't say anything about the original German version for I do not own it but it is pictured here. The only thing I know is that the covers differ a lot.

Conclusion: "Meervallen" is an incomplete and redundant book, although somebody new to the hobby may find it useful. Buy or no buy? Suit yourself.

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