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Aquarium Corals – Selection, Husbandy and Natural Selection

Media ReviewAquarium Corals – Selection, Husbandry and Natural History 

Author: Eric H. Borneman
Publisher: Microcosm Ltd. and T.F.H. Publications, Inc.
Availability: Hardback: Price $54.95 – ISBN 1890087475
Paperback: Price $44.95 – ISBN 1890087483This 464-page publication is wonderfully written and illustrated with beautiful color photographs of corals in both nature and captivity. There is also an extensive appendix that contains a Glossary, References and Index.

Cover of Aquarium Corals – Selection, Husbandry and Natural History
Eric H. Borneman has put together a masterpiece with Aquarium Corals – Selection, Husbandry and Natural History. Starting off with a lesson on natural coral reefs and their history, reef keepers should realize and seriously consider the importance of these considerations before and during the exploration of captive coral reefs. Of particular interest to me while reading were the detailed explanations of the Major Reef Zones and how the details regarding them can be used to replicate truly natural environments in our attempts to reproduce natural environments in our living rooms, or bathrooms if your really obsessed. From reef slopes to lagoons, each natural zone is described with hints on how to recreate them in the aquarium.
Chapters 2 through 5 cover the anatomy of corals, zooxanthellae, a chapter on coral food and feeding and finally competition and reproduction. Each of these sections again is relevant to both natural and captive reefs and should be completely dissected by interested and advanced aquarist. At a glance, these chapters may not seem to be related to our captive efforts however they even more important as we all continue to understand how different our home aquariums actually differ from the natural reefs. The entire book is geared towards both natural and captive reefs.The largest, and what I considered the most valuable part of this book are within Chapters 6 and 7; Coral Taxonomy and eloquently titled “The Corals”. Chapter 7 begins with, “Although some may dream of a truly complete photographic guide to the corals of the world, the reality is that such a compilation would be a mammoth undertakingâ€?. With over 2,000 coral species identified, we’ll have to take his word on the amount of work that would be required to publish such a book, however Eric has put what is probably the most complete guide to coral identification for corals that are of interest to reef keepers. Arranged by order then family taxonomically then by genus and species alphabetically, you will find detailed information on captive care requirements, common names, feeding, defensive and reproductive characteristics, color and growth information and even the impact on wild collection for each coral. For those of us that get caught up in correct pronunciation of the different genuses, Eric kindly helps us out there too. With nearly 240 pages of coral details and beautiful photography in these 2 sections, every aquarist will be impressed with the coverage. For new hobbyist engaged in captive coral keeping, or those that are still researching before they get their hands wet, this is a valuable guide to ensure we are placing compatible corals, which have a chance to survive and even thrive in the environment we provide, in our aquariums. With all of the beautiful photography, this is also an excellent chance for aquarist to search for coral that interest them in our never ending search for the true “center-piece”.The final sections of this book cover broad subjects such as Husbandry, Water Chemistry, Coral Health and Reef Conservation. All of these contain excellent information, however the section of Coral Health which includes the different types of identified coral diseases and maladies is very good. Black Band Disease, White Band Disease, Coral Bleaching, Rapid Tissue Necrosis (RTN); these are all covered in this section containing possible causes, possible cures and prevention measures. I find this chapter to be very useful even after reading it to try to help identify for others what may be occurring with ailing corals that they describe. Although nearly impossible to diagnose, coral disease and prevention should be very important to every aquarist and this is an excellent place to start your education on the subject. Of special importance to “SPS” keepers, the couple of pages dedicated to RTN or as mentioned perhaps better described as RTD (Rapid Tissue Degeneration) are helpful in understanding the unfortunate event that nearly all “SPS” keepers will experience. There is also some text for new coral keepers that covers commonly seen “False Alarms” which when encountered is very alarming although what is being observed is actually common for totally healthy corals.

To summarize this book in one phrase, “This Is A Must Get” for anyone considering or currently maintaining a captive reef. Other books available contain more information for beginning hobbyist, especially if your looking for detailed information of illustrations on particular equipment and system configurations. This book is also not for those seeking information about Marine Fish and their care requirements. Aquarium Corals – Selection, Husbandry and Natural History is for the Captive Coral Reef Aquarist.