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Our Favorite Aquarium Books

Desiree and I have both shared some of our favorite aquarium websites and virtual reference, but what about those times when you want a real, live, glossy-paged, paper-cut-compatible BOOK? Well, just in time for the holiday shopping and wish list season, here are a few of our favorites of those, too.


  • Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes and Dr. Burgess’s Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes
  • These two books are some of the classic tomes of aquarium fishes. Both contain literally thousands of species of fish as well as some basic information about each one. These books won’t help with aquarium-related details, but they are must-haves for identification and sheer volume of the animals covered.
  • Pocket Expert Guides (Reef Aquarium Fishes and Marine Fishes, both by Scott W. Michael, and Marine Invertebrates by Dr. Ronald L. Shimek)
  • This series is one of my personal favorites. Compact in size, but certainly not in information, these books are written with the aquarist in mind. They each contain well over 400 species of animals with detail on care, compatibility, aquarium suitability, maximum size, minimum tank size and other pertinent information. It’s a great series to take to the fish store with you for a quick reference on your new purchases.
  • “The Simple Guide” and “Super Simple Guide”series
  • This is the perfect series for new aquarists and is one of the first we tend to recommend when someone mentions “I’m thinking about starting a _______ aquarium”. The information is presented in a way that isn’t overwhelming to new aquarists and provides a complete view without getting too bogged down in scientific equations and technical terms. No matter what type of aquarium you have or are thinking about getting, there is probably a Simple Guide for it.
  • Reef Invertebrates: An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner
  • I think we are currently on our…fourth?…copy of this book in our Fish Room because our employees wear it out reading and re-reading it during their lunches and free time. Lots of information about a wide range of invertebrates. A good read for “Reef” and “Fish-only” aquarists alike.
  • Corals: A Quick Reference Guide, by Julian Sprung
  • Ever see a new coral that you absolutely must have, but you know nothing about it? Look it up in here. Ever see a coral but can’t figure out what it could possibly be? Look through here. Need ideas about what new corals you could add to your existing reef tank? Browse this book. Lots of common aquarium corals with compatibility, identification and propogation basics.
  • Aquarium Fish magazine
  • Ok, so its not technically a “book”, but it still counts. This monthly magazine is by aquarists and for aquarists. It includes information on both freshwater and marine aquariums and is geared towards new and experienced hobbyists alike. I have a binder filled with past articles that I just HAD to save from this magazine. The new species profiles alone will never let us run out of new animals and aquariums to try at home.

Have any favorites I didn’t mention? Looking for a good book on a particular subject? Let us know!



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About Eileen Daub

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Marine Biologist/Aquatic Husbandry Manager I was one of those kids who said "I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up!"....except then I actually became one. After a brief time at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I graduated from Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2004. Since then, I've been a marine biologist at That Fish Place - That Pet Place, along with a Fish Room supervisor, copywriter, livestock inventory controller, livestock mail-order supervisor and other duties here and there. I also spent eight seasons as a professional actress with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and in other local roles. If that isn't bad enough, I'm a proud Crazy Hockey Fan (go Flyers and go Hershey Bears!).