Tag Archives: Herbert R. Axelrod

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 A lot of the names are outdated but you learn how to say those big Latin words.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 A lot of the names are outdated but you learn how to say those big Latin words.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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Cardinal Tetras, or “You want to see a grown man cry?”

31 Jan

If you really don’t know or care about tropical fish stop reading now. Go away, please, while I talk to the  fish lovers of the world.

All  species of fish are special. Some are…unique….singular.

Discus.

Chocolate Gouramis.

Altum Angelfish.

I’ve never kept Cardinal Tetras. Damn, over 30 years of keeping fish and NEVER had Cardinals.

I bought 4 of them tonight. Would have bought more, but they were the last 4 in the tank. They look like hell, pale and sick, but I am hoping only stressed.

Paracheirodon axelrodi, I say it over and over, Paracheirodon axelrodi

I bring them home, I take an hour to acclimatize them to their 10 gallon tank.  After releasing them I watch them scatter, then eventually group together.

I stare in wonder. Where have you been? Brazil? And if not, your ancestors certainly were from the tannin stained waters of the Amazon tributaries. I’ve never looked at any fish and felt such a direct connection to the beginnings of the Tropical Fishkeeping hobby. Thank you, William Iness, thank you, Herbert Axelrod.  I will stop writing now so I can go look at them again. The colors, the genetics, the lineage, direct from the Amazon, here they are…the Cardinal Tetras.

They are still pale in this video, and the reflection in the glass makes it appear that there are more than four tetras, but there are only four.