Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants
Author: Peter Hiscock
Publisher: Barrons Educaitonal Series 2003
This is one of my favorite aquarium books. It contains tons of useful information about aquarium plants and aquascaping while remaining focused and aimed at the average hobbyist. The book is divided into two sections. The Practical Section focuses on the basic biological science where Hiscock centers on general care, equipment, substrate, lighting and nutrients among other things. I was especially pleased to see discussions of the nitrogen cycle and descriptions of the basic water parameters like pH and hardness. The author writes clearly and is easily understood by even the most novice aquarist. Hiscock also includes some relevant information about fish and supplies some example aquascapes, which may prove useful for those hobbyists less in touch with their creative side.
The Plant Profiles make up the second half of the book and is dedicated to page after glossy page of individual species laid out by type and names, both common and scientific. While there are thousands of aquarium plants available to hobbyists, Hiscock focuses only on those that most readily available. Though not truly an encyclopedia’s worth of information, the list is still lengthy and relevant. The layout and photography are beautiful and a great deal of helpful information is supplied including a description of the plant, it’s lighting needs, ideal temperature, growth rate, propagation methods and recommended location in the aquarium as well as an overall difficulty rating. The geographical origins of each plant are also defined, which is very useful for people interested in creating a biotope aquarium.
I highly recommend this book to anyone keeping or interested in a natural aquarium and while The Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants is aimed at the beginner to intermediate level aquascaper I think even more advanced plant enthusiasts will find something useful here.
If you are familiar with this book I encourage you to add your own thoughts in the comments section.