Book Review: North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium

by Gene Moy

A Fishkeeper’s Guide to South American Catfishes
By David Sands
Tetra Press 160036
ISBN 3-923880-97-9

Tetra Press publishes several "Fishkeeper’s Guides" devoted to specialty groups of aquarium fishes. As with other books in the series, the format is a handy 4.5" by 8.5" with lots of photographs in about 120 pages.

I picked up this book in trade for some fishes that had outgrown my tanks. As I am gaining an appreciation for Corydoras catfishes, I thought this book would make a good addition to my aquatic library.

The book is organized into two parts, with the first part devoted to an understanding of the habitat ot South American catfishes, the care and requirements of these fishes. There is a section devoted to providing an introduction to the variety of catfishes available. The first part also discusses breeding of these catfishes in a general sense.

The second part of the book provides representative examples of selected species, with additional species-specific information. Catfish families represented include: Callichtyidae - Dwarf Armored Catfishes to include Corydoras and their relations; Loricariidae - Suckermouth Catfishes to include Plecostomus and their relations; Aspredenidae - Banjo Catfishes; Auchenipteridae - Driftwood Catfishes; Doradidae - Talking Catfishes; Pimelodidae; as well as some of the larger catfishes such as Shark Catfishes, the Redtail Catfish, and Shovelnose Catfishes.

The part that I really like is the information on some 31 species of Corydoras, which are covered with subtle details on some similar, closely-related species.

The book does contain an error in the placement of two photographs - the picture of the Clown Plecostomus, Peckoltia vittata, is placed with the words for Spotted Sailfin Plecomstomus, Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps, and vice versa.

I find this book easy to read and quite authoritative, with a broad but comprehensive introduction to a variety of catfish species from South America.

This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 30, # 2-3