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Loricariidae, The Tricks of the Trade

Title Loricariidae, The Tricks of the Trade
Author & (Publisher) Larry Vires (Vires Publishing, 1999)
Price £16.00
Subject Matter Maintaining & Breeding Loricariidae
Edition 1st, English

Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded January 01, 2002.

This is a self-published book, written for "Pleco People", a fraternity to which I freely admit membership. This then was the book my similarly afflicted sucker mouth aficionados and I had been waiting for, or was it? At first glance I was terribly disappointed, the book was all text, no contents or index pages in sight - only a few diagrams and crude line drawings. I was looking for pictures of baby Panaque, gold nugget pleco eggs and the like, but was faced with what essentially resembled a University dissertation. Then I started reading: reading and reading more. I devoured the book in one enlightening afternoon.

It must be noted that many catfish keepers, including prominent authors, dispute the veracity of the information in this book. The review has taken the book at face value at the time of publication. Thus, the content of this book is fundamentally excellent, though there are typographical errors left right and centre and the text is hard to read on account of its being in a large font double spaced across an entire A4 page, but is it interesting and above all thought provoking. The spawning details of 18 species, ranging from commonly bred Bristlenose and Whiptails, thru Zebra Plecos and Gold Nuggets to ultimately Blue Eyed Plecos are featured in the latter part of the book.

Anyone keeping L-number Loricariids will benefit from this book. I would go as far as to state that it will change the way you keep these fish. Besides that it describes in detail how to go about breeding many catfish that are traditionally thought of as "unspawnable", it throws up some great ideas about tank setup, rewrites a number of rules and each page rarely fails to turn up some (gold) nugget of information for the pleco fan. If someone told you to feed your Blue eyed Pleco dog food, you'd worry about their sanity, worry that is until the fish spawn for you.

In summary, it is better this book is published without photographs and expert publishing know-how than not at all. It's not pretty, but it's a big step forward in the published knowledge on these fish and for that alone must be commended but it does come with a buyer beware warning.

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