Fish and reptile books that I treasure

4 Dec

When I need a quick answer to a fishy question I go right to the Internet. It’s amazing and it’s wonderful but I still love to look at my old books. I’ve had some of these since I was a little kid.

These are my favorites:

Let's put Mr. Innes' book right where it belongs...at the top.

Let’s put Mr. Innes’ book right where it belongs…at the top.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the pronunciation key for scientific names. A lot of the names are outdated but you learn how to say those big Latin words.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the pronunciation key for scientific names. A lot of the names are outdated but you learn how to say those big Latin words.

At 13 years of age I checked this book out 7 times in one year. No, I didn't steal this one from my school! It was a thrill to find this library discard on Ebay.

At 13 years of age I checked this book out 7 times from our Junior High library. No, I didn’t steal this one from my school! It was a thrill to find this library discard on Ebay.

Famous names in the Discus world. Axelrod, Schultz and Wattley.

Famous names in the Discus world. Axelrod, Schultz and Wattley.

A classic reptile book that proves even a reptile book can be politically incorrect.

A classic that proves even a reptile book can be politically incorrect. This copy is from 1936.

But I love the inscription inside, from Edwin S. Cieslek to Jan "

But I love the inscription inside, from Edwin S. Cieslak. ” To Jan, to encourage him in the pursuit of science “

We all loved these Golden Guides by Herbert Zim, right?

We all loved these Golden Guides by Herbert Zim, right?

A classic by Carl Kauffeld. I bought it for 8 bucks some years ago. I remember reading about the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake when I was teenager.

A classic by Carl Kauffeld. I bought it for 8 bucks some years ago. I remember reading the chapter about the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake when I was teenager.

I bought this last year for maybe 50 cents at a city-wide garage sale. There was a worn sheet of lined paper inside with a 4 line poem titled Suicide. I wish I could hand that paper back to the person who wrote and say " Hey, you made it, you're fine, hang in there."

I bought this last year for maybe 50 cents at a city-wide garage sale. There was a worn sheet of lined paper inside with a 4 line poem titled Suicide. I wish I could hand that paper back to the person who wrote it and say ” Hey, you made it, you’re fine, hang in there.”

These are two actual books I have had nearly my entire life. I used to stare and the pictures and imagine having those creatures as pets.

These are two actual books I have had nearly my entire life. I used to stare at the pictures and imagine having those creatures as pets.

Here's a modern book that I highly recommend by Frank Indiviglio.

Here’s a modern book that I highly recommend by Frank Indiviglio.

Here's abook I saw in Florida in 1973 and finally found it online and bought it about 30 years later. Most of the book is ridiculous, and I used to dream of owning this book!!!!

Here’s a book I saw in Florida in 1973 and finally found it online and bought it about 30 years later. Most of the book is ridiculous, and I used to dream of owning it!!!!

From 1974, a copy of The Plecostomus, the newsletter of the Black Hawk Aquarium Society, headquartered in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois.

From 1974, a copy of The Plecostomus, the newsletter of the Black Hawk Aquarium Society, headquartered in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois.

Imagine the work to create this every month. the artwork, the printing, the copying, the stapling, the research. Amazing.

Imagine the work to create this every month. The artwork, the typing, the printing,  the stapling, the research. Amazing.

Every fish owner had this book, by Axelrod and Schultz.

Every fish owner had this book, by Axelrod and Schultz.

As a teenager I would go to the local library and special order International Zoo Yearbooks. These yearly books are very expensive, written by zookeepers for other zookeepers. 40 years ago I filled a notebook with handwritten copies of the articles I wanted, like this one about Iguanas at the Dallas Zoo.

As a teenager I would go to the local library and special order International Zoo Yearbooks. These yearly books are very expensive, written by zookeepers for other zookeepers. 40 years ago I filled a notebook with handwritten copies of the articles I wanted, like this one about Iguanas at the Dallas Zoo.

I must have thought I would own a Tuatara someday.

I must have thought I would own a Tuatara someday.

A stack of magazines from 1969-1970. A British fishkeeping magazine that is still going today! And i named my blog before I ever heard of them...so there!

A stack of magazines from 1969-1970. A British fish-keeping magazine that is still going today! And I named my blog before I ever heard of them…so there!

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10 Responses to “Fish and reptile books that I treasure”

  1. becomingcliche December 5, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I have a more recent version of the Innes book, along with a couple of enormous and glossy Axelrod books (the owner of the aquarium shop where I worked actually heard him speak a few times). Thanks for the blast from the past!

    • fishtanx2011 December 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      I’ve been told that the Innes book with the green cover and gilded picture of Harlequin Rasboras is the one to have. It’s from the 1940’s and 50’s I believe. Regarding Axelrod, it would have be amazing to hear him talk about his life and tropical fish. Even though he has been in hot water these past years no one can deny that he’s a legend in the world of fish-keeping.

      • becomingcliche December 6, 2013 at 5:21 am #

        I haven’t kept up. What’s the scandal with Axelrod?

        If I can find the green cover, I’ll send it to you.

  2. Kevin December 9, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    I’m certain I have the first one in a box around here somewhere, though I haven’t seen it in a few years. Every time to do happen upon it I give it at least a few minutes to flip through. I remember the red really popping in all of the pictures.

    • fishtanx2011 December 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      I think I read that the pictures were all taken in black and white and then hand-painted which gave more realistic color than the color photographs at that time.

  3. tarzan113 April 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    I saw the issue of Plecostomus from BAS in the Quad Cities Illinois. Two aquascaping greats from that era were Denny Brock and Larry Martin. I am looking for articles from then such as “Making your Rockwork Work” and “Son of Rockwork”. These were both highly reprinted. Do you have these or any other aquascape articles from those two? I lost my copies in a flood and would like to have copies of these articles.

    • fishtanx2011 June 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      The only issue of the Plecostomus I have is the one in the photo. Over the years I have Googled “Blackhawk Aquarium Society” in hopes of finding other issues, but no luck.
      Googling “Plecostomus” finds Plecostomus’s, mostly.
      I’ll snap a photo of the Table of Contents of my magazine and post it on the blog sometime soon, I promise!

  4. Frank Indiviglio May 31, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Hello,

    Thank you for mentioning my book, Newts and Salamanders. I have each of the others you show, and use them to this day. I lack the words to properly express how it feels to be included among them, especially as they have played such an important role in my life. This is hands down my “most valued mention”…I’m very grateful.

    I did the same as you with notebooks…still have them and, in fact, they were responsible for my being hired at the Bronx Zoo.

    My 6 year old nephew, following my interests, is now using my copies of most of the books you’ve covered. i order every title in the Golden Field Guide series that I can find, as many of mine have been through the mill. Herbert S. Zim was my childhood hero!

    Are you familiar with Robert Straughan’s “The Salt Water Aquarium in the Home”? I included it in the reference section of an aquarium book I wrote some years back, with a note on it’s value. Mr Straughan’s son contacted me with a thank-you and sent several issues of Salt Water Aquarium Magazine, which his father out out in the 1960’s. Small world!

    Best regards, Frank

    • fishtanx2011 June 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Mr. Indiviglio,
      Thank you for the kind and interesting reply. How lucky we are to still love books and have the ability to find them on Amazon or Ebay. I also know of your strong connection to Carl Kauffeld and consider it an honor that you have found my blog.
      Sincerely,
      Dennis

      • Frank Indiviglio July 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Thanks very much, Dennis..sorry for the delay, eye operation slowed me down for awhile. I’ll check in on your blog, take care, Frank

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