Aquarium Fish

The Inspired Aquarium

Ideas and instructions for living with aquariums
By Jeff and Mike Senske
Publisher: Quarry Books (2006)

The Inspired Aquarium

The Inspired Aquarium was written to help those of us that are less creative (like me). So, if you're like me and you're not very creative when it comes to aquascaping an aquarium this book might interest you. The Inspired Aquarium could also be for those that are planning to remodel a room in their home for a large fish tank. The authors try to introduce the reader to the major topics and concepts for keeping aquariums as well as design and aquascaping ideas.

The Inspired Aquarium is loaded with excellent photographs of freshwater aquariums setups, planted tanks, saltwater aquarium setups and full blown reef tank setups. Interior Designers and hobbyists that set up aquariums for a living would probably be interested in this book too. The really neat part about this book are all the photos of not just the tanks, but the rooms they are in as well. There are some really nice houses with fish tanks out there!

Let's go over what you get with the Inspired Aquarium:

Placement and Planning
  • Chapter 1: Where to place your aquarium:
    Covers topics on ideal locations to put a tank, necessary support structures needed, ventilation and noise factors and places where you should avoid putting an aquarium.

  • Chapter 2: Choosing an aquarium:
    A nice intro part discussing the benefits of larger tanks over smaller tanks, glass aquariums vs. acrylic aquariums, the built-in style aquarium and information on picking out cabinetry that meets the needs of the tank and the room it's going in.

  • Chapter 3: Aquarium filtration:
    Fairly standard chapter in most aquarium books that tackles the topics of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration along with descriptions on some of the aquarium filter types commonly available.

  • Chapter 4: Aquarium lighting:
    Starts by explaining how fish need certain photo periods every 24 hours. Explains the various aquarium lighting options for live planted tanks and the various saltwater aquarium types along with their respective lighting needs. Lighting fixtures and options are explained too.
Freshwater Aquariums
  • Chapter 5: Decorative freshwater aquariums:
    This chapter of the Inspired Aquarium starts by discussing the various freshwater aquarium design possibilities and layout styles. Aquarium setups with natural rock scapes and artificial plants are detailed here. Filtration and lighting for the freshwater tank are reviewed as well as an overview (with photos) of the various fish species you can keep nowadays. Many species are presented ranging from cichlids and loaches to goldfish and many other species in between.

  • Chapter 6: Freshwater live planted aquariums:
    The ultimate setup for many freshwater hobbyists is a beautiful planted aquarium. This chapter covers topics on how to make a planted system work and gives ideas on styles and setups. Planted tank filtration, substrates, various plant species, good fish species for planted tanks and some really nice photos can be found in this chapter. The part on the Discus aquarium is nice too and it's a goal of mine to one day have an extremely large planted Discus tank.
Saltwater Aquariums
  • Chapter 7: Decorative saltwater aquariums:
    There are some really nice photos in the saltwater section of this book too. Suprisingly, some of the setups incorporate artificial corals that look fantastic! I just wonder what it's like to clean all those artifical corals on a regular basis to keep them looking that way? Layout concepts, equipment and materials needed for a decorative saltwater aquarium are introduced along with an overview of live rock, lace rock, substrate types and various fish species. Saltwater Angelfish, Tangs, Lionfish, Damselfish and Wrasses are shown. System requirements, filtration needed and water purification devices such as reverse osmosis and deionization units are talked about at a high level. Other pieces of equipment that you may need that differ from a freshwater aquarium include a protein skimmer, ultra violet sterilizers and ozonizers.

  • Chapter 8: Live coral reef aquariums:
    Ahh, we get to the chapter which was one of my primary reasons for getting this book. I was trying to get inspired with a new nanocube setup and was wanting to see lots of pics of other tanks. There were no nanocube pictures but there were lots of nice looking saltwater tank eye candy to browse throughout this chapter. The authors talk about the importance of live rock, aquascaping ideas and coral placement tips. It then goes into some of the commonly available soft and stony corals and gives information and photos on some of the fish species that would work well in a reef tank including Green Chromis, Clownfish, Blue Tang, Royal Gramma (disagree with this fish in a reef tank) and a few other saltwater species for a reef tank.

    A reef tank requires different equipment than a standard fish only or fowlr setup. Filtration, lighting and wave making devices (turbulent currents) are needed and the authors explain that here.

The Inspired Aquarium Case Studies
  • Chapter 9 and 10: Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Case Studies:
    The last two chapters in the Inspired Aquarium are nice if you're wanting details on the specifications on various types of setups along with some really nice photos. This is kind of similar to the tank profiles and how they are detailed in Ultimate Marine Aquariums. These last two chapters are great if you're looking to get those creative juices flowing. Check out all the tank, room and fish photos and you should come away with a better idea of what you'd like to accomplish with your own setup.
Hmm, what did I really think about the Inspired Aquarium? It's about 170 pages long, so it's a relatively quick read and it covers most of the topics you need to know about. However, it doesn't go into some of the topics nearly deep enough but the book does what I think it's supposed to do in this case which is to inspire. There are tons of setup photos to look at and you'd be hard pressed to come away from reading this book and not have a good idea of what you want to do with your own setup. I think this book does what it's supposed to do, so we give this book four stars. 4 stars It's definitely worth checking out, especially if you're doing some large scale aquarium projects.

Author : Mike FishLore

Rating Information
Review Title: The Inspired Aquarium
Reviewed by: Mike FishLore
Summary: Ideas and instructions for living with aquariums
Description: The Inspired Aquarium is loaded with excellent photographs of freshwater aquariums setups, planted tanks, saltwater aquarium setups and full blown reef tank setups.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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