Guide to Successful Professional Marine Aquarium Systems
By Jay Hemdal, TFH Publications (2006)
The book Advanced Marine Aquarium Techniques by Jay Hemdal is geared towards the more advanced saltwater hobbyists wanting more information on some of the less discussed topics. The author has been an avid aquarist for over 35 years and works as the Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the Toledo Zoo. Imagine being able to hang out with someone possessing as much experience as this author in running larger aquarium systems and asking them questions or just listening to them talk. That's kind of what this book feels like. There were several topics in this book that I was not really expecting to see but nonetheless was happy to learn about.
What was nice to see was that there were entirely new topics presented in this book regarding saltwater aquarium systems. Many books seem to rehash the basics and after you've read a couple of them you start to see a pattern developing. Not so in this book. See all the topics below.
Section 1: Environmental Quality
Aquarium Construction - all glass aquariums, fiber aquariums, concrete aquariums
Water Quality Measurement Techniques - information on devices and how to test temperature, pH, dissolved solids, nitrate-nitrogen, salinity, dissolved oxygen and non-routine parameters. This information is not on your run of the mill aquarium test kits. Rather it's on probes and other more advanced instruments.
Water Current Generators - external pumps, surge tanks, power heads, wavemakers, toilet flush systems, dump buckets, oscillating mass, direct and differential air pressure.
Ozone In Aquarium Systems - everything you ever wanted to know about ozone and how to use it in aquarium applications.
Batch Processing to Reclaim Marine Aquarium Water - sea salt is expensive and the author walks you through how some public aquarium re-process or recycle their water.
Dissolved Gases in Aquarium Water - topics such as acute supersaturation, chronic supersaturation, low dissolved-oxygen tension and high carbon dioxide tension.
Water / Mineral Balance in Aquariums - osmoregulatory topics (osmoregulation)
Heating and Cooling - talks about heating and cooling in aquarium systems and the devices used.
Filtration - runs through all of the various aquarium filter types such as under gravel (surprised to see this), fluidized bed filters, rotating screen bio-filters, algae control filters, chemical filtrants, foam fractionator control (protein skimmer), deep sand beds
Lighting Techniques - lighting may be one of the most important components for a reef tank setup, an aquarium with photosynthetic species. Nothing too detailed found in this section regarding lighting, just more of a run through.
Micro-Aquariums - talks about aquarium under 20 gallons with stocking ideas for tanks anywhere from 1.5 gallons up to 10 gallons with ideas for marine invertebrates and fish (gobies, damselfish)
Section 2: Animal Health
Aquarium Problem Solving - doesn't really solve any problems but it gives you some basic steps you can follow to help diagnose any problems you're having.
Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE) in Aquarium Fish - talks about the anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence for the causes and treatment of HLLE.
Simple Aquarium Water Analysis for Total Aerobic Bacteria
Sampling of Aquarium Systems for Micro-Biota
The Use of Utility Animals in Aquariums to Control Pest Species - using natural controls for pests
Necropsy Techniques - finding how a fish died with tips on how to proceed.
Fish Pharmacology - fish medicine, dips, baths, etc.
Collecting Fish - how it's done - hand collecting, net collecting, shipping fish.
Marine Fish and Invertebrate Propagation - nothing detailed here, just an overview of what's currently going on in the industry, no "how to's" or anything.
Section 3: The Animals
Specimen Selection - what to look for in fish, some good charts and tables of fish and invertebrates species to avoid.
Specimen Sources - captive propagated species vs. wild caught species.
Species Accounts - information on some not so common species such as the Black Widow Brotula, Deep-Sea Isopod, Garden Eels, etc.
Section 4: Nutrition
Dietary Protocols for Fishes
Fatty Liver Disease
Color Enhancement in Fish and Invertebrates
Ascorbic Acid in Aquariums
Dietary Preferences of Fishes
Tube Feeding Techniques for Fish
Converting Piscivores to Feed on Non-Living Foods
Automatic Plankton Feeder - ideas on how you could set up your own automatic plankton feeder
Rotifer Culture - a nice step by step guide on how to set up a rotifer culture
Mysid Shrimp Culture - provides tips on how to culture mysid shrimp as an aquarium food.
Section 5: The Human Element
History of Marine Aquariums
Aquarium Related Careers - really neat section of the book.
Private Sector Jobs
Aquarium Safety - good read and everyone needs to be aware of these issues.
As you can tell, Advanced Marine Aquarium Techniques goes over a lot of topics. I wish some of the topics would have been covered more deeply with perhaps less detail on some of the obscure fish and invertebrates found in the middle sections of the book. Still, I definitely enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about the topics presented. I give it four stars:
Review Title: Advanced Marine Aquarium Techniques
Reviewed by: Mike FishLore
Summary: Guide to Successful Professional Marine Aquarium Systems
Description: Geared towards the more advanced saltwater hobbyists wanting more information on some of the less discussed topics. The author has been an avid aquarist for over 35 years and works as the Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the Toledo Zoo.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.