Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids
Author: Dr. Uwe Romer
Mergus Cichlid Atlas Volume 1
Publisher: MERGUS, Melle, Germany
English Edition 2002
Binding: Hard Cover with dust jacket
Bibliography: 1,350 references
This is an excellent book that I highly recommend for anyone interested in South American Dwarf Cichlids. Dr. Romer is one of the world’s leading experts on these fishes. This book contains more scientific information than any other. The 240 page section on biology contains a wealth of detail on many fascinating subjects. Of great interest to many hobbyists is the information on factors influencing Apistogramma sex ratios. Romer has information from 685 spawns of 37 different species of Apistos that were conducted in a controlled fashion using waters of varying temperature and pH. I have used this information in several ways to insure that I get the sex ratios I desire when spawning my fish. Just the biology section alone contains more quality information than most stand alone books!
This book is much more than biology with over 1,000 pages of information on all of the fish know at the time of publication. This is in-depth information about natural habitats, identification and aquarium husbandry. Most of this information is invaluable, however, the identification of dwarf cichlids has always been problematic and this book reflects that to some degree. A few of the identifications offered here are now believed to be incorrect and there are many new species and forms that have been introduced since Romer finished the original manuscript in 1997. However, these errors are few in relation to the material presented.
Another section of the book that I find of little practical value is the identification key that is presented. This represents a very significant undertaking but I have not found it helpful. I have yet to find anyone who has used the key with any regular success. The only other weakness is the index. It only references the major information about a given species and many photos and tidbits of information are not indexed.
These are just minor complaints about the book that I consider to be the best available in English. The binding is excellent although the small type occasionally strains my old eyes. The bibliography is amazing with nearly 1,350 references. There are newer books that do a better job of identifying all species but there is no other book that comes close to the overall excellence of this great book. If you are only allowed on dwarf cichlid book this should be it.
When this book was first published there was some doubt as to if it would ever be published in English. Those interested in purchasing it were asked to prepay for their book and the printing was not done until enough copies were pre sold. Finally, the book was published long after the translation was completed. Unfortunately, there seems to be little interest in specialty aquarium books in America and most of the best books are never translated into English or released here. Fortunately, this book is now widely available from specialty book dealers.
In 2006 the entire unsold inventory of the English version of this book was destroyed in a warehouse fire making this an incredibly rare book. It can very rarely be found at a used book dealer where the price is usually near $200.00. I have heard that the book will be reprinted at a future date but I cannot confirm that this is true. Volume 2 of this book has been released but it contains only new information and the species covered in Volume 1 are not included. Until this book becomes available again keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to jump if you can find a copy as it is truly a great book.