|Title||Back to Nature Guide to L-Catfishes|
|Author & (Publisher)||Ingo Seidel (Fohrman Aquaristik, 2008)|
|Subject Matter||L numbered catfish of the family Loricariidae|
Not another L-number book! Before you stop reading this review and ignore this book, please read onward. This book is worthwhile. The Back to Nature Guide to L-Catfishes by Ingo Seidel, English translation by UK based cichlid enthusiast Mary Bailey, is a manageable 208 pages. Do not allow the compact size fool you. A lot of information is packed into this book.
From the foreword on, it is apparent this is written by Ingo Seidel. For pages 1-54, it is as if I am having a conversation with Ingo and he is sitting next to me with advice on the various fishes he has bred over the years. This book is meant for most aquarists and all aquarists with any interest in L-number catfishes. An aquarist very new to the hobby may find some of the terminology confusing. Example: The word Aufwuchs is used often, but not completely defined. It is assumed the reader knows what Aufwuchs is, so why not use the English word biofilm? But, an aquarist with an understanding of the basics should be able to comprehend this book. Photographs take the place of anatomical line drawings. Some may view this favorably, others may not. Fortunately, the photographs of the anatomy are good and get their point across. The descriptions sexing, habitat and feeding are for the most part, concise and understandable. A map of South America would have been nice. As stated on page 55,"this is a little book and can only cover so much."
The next part of the book is the actual listing of L-number catfishes, divided by genus. The descriptions are brief, but helpful. The usual temperature, pH, fish size (total length, not standard) and tank dimensions appear along with carnivore, omnivore and wood eater for dietary needs. Water current requirements are also added for good measure. Some of the genus descriptions are two-fold. An example of this is Cochliodon/Hypostomus. I can understand wanting to have both names, since many of these species are often labeled as such in local fish stores. But, some of these dual descriptions may be confusing to those who need to understand them most. Which one is valid? (A rhetorical question, I know.) Another error, this one of the possible proof-reading nature is on page 191. Sophiancistrus is credited to Rapp Py-Daniel, 1989. This credit should read "Isbrücker and Seidel, 2001." (Thank you, Lee Finley!)
The overall size and content of this book overcome its shortcomings. This book will be a handy travel companion on a trip to the local fish store. It is much smaller in size than some other tomes on L-number catfish and it serves as handy quick reference. While we await the English translation of the Wels Atlas Vol.2, this book is a welcome addition to any catfish enthusiast's library.
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