Re: NANFA-- swimming in troubled waters

Dave Neely (
Wed, 13 Sep 2000 19:43:02 CDT

>Also I just got American Aquarium Fishes. I really like it as it has >quite
>a bit of breeding information.It would be nice with more color >pictures
>but that was probably a cost consideration.I have heard a >little grumbling
>about some errors but with a book of this scope it is >difficult to be

Noone would expect a book of that size to be perfect. However, some of the
errors made in this text are inexcusable. The liner notes even go as far as
to claim that this book is "a comprehensive guide to hundreds of native
fishes suitable for the home aquarium."

He then turns around and excludes some taxa for being "uninteresting"
(lampreys, mooneyes, smelts, trouts/chars, eels, temperate basses, mullets,
herrings, snooks, surfperches, and mojarras" Come on, like a mimic shiner is
more interesting than an american eel? What's Bob been smoking?

As a coffee table book, it's nice. Bill Roston pics go a long way. It's the
information presented that I have trouble with. (Where to start, I didn't
want to do a comprehensive review here...)

His statement about not releasing captive fishes back into the wild is weak.
It needs to be run along the top of every page. In bold. All caps.

Multiple endangered taxa are presented in the body of the text without any
mention of their status (oh, except for that incomplete table in the front).
Just how many people are going to keep Alabama cavefish in an aquarium?! IF
you get by the 10' fence AND the locked gate, you are still breaking Federal

on Oregonichthys crameri, an endangered species...

"provide a 5- to 10- gallon aquarium with a sand bottom, sponge filter,
abundant Vesicularia or Nitella..."

So are we to assume that the author has already done this? Ahhh, he just
pulled it out of his nether regions with a LOT of the other breeding
information presented in here...

He even forgot a couple of described taxa- if you were going to go to the
trouble of including Noturus stanauli (Federally protected), one would think
you might want to mention Noturus munitus (state protected except in
Louisiana and Alabama).

He elevates several taxa by mentioning them in the book, but does not
provide diagnoses or descriptions(ie., Notropis micropteryx). This is a
major no-no in the scientific community.

Yes, there is some good information in it, but I wonder how much of it isn't
available elsewhere. It is often contradictory, incomplete, or incorrect.
The last statement in his acknowledgements sums up my feeling about the book
to a 't'...

"All authors end their acknowledgements by taking responsibility for errors
that may slip through. Readers in the ichthyological community will sagely
agree that in my case, that conclusion is so obvious as to make the remark

The best thing about it is that the price will hopefully keep many potential
buyers away.


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