Author: Rainer Stawikowski, Ingo Koslowski and Volker Bohnet
Publisher: DATZ, Germany
ISBN # 3800109115
Bibliography: 50 references
This is currently the best guide available to assist in the identification of South American dwarf cichlids. Apistogrammas, in particular, are being discovered at a rapid pace and as a consequence, it’s not uncommon for a new species to be introduced under several different names. This book provides quality photos of every known South American dwarf at the time and identifies alternate names for many species. There are many excellent photos and, to date, most identifications seem to be standing up to the scurrility of other experts.
One interesting aspect of this book is that it contains both German and English text in the same book. The authors and publisher are German and historically we Americans would have to wait years if ever for an English translation to appear. There seems to be a very small market for specialty books in America and publishers often refuse to even offer translations because of low sales. I have to admit that I am occasionally annoyed to sort through the German and English on the same page but I only have to remind myself how annoyed the Germans must be and I have no complaints.
I strongly recommend the book for its content. However, be aware that it’s intended to be an identification book only. There is very little information given about the species with each fish is given no more than 4 or 5 short lines of text. If you are looking for a book that covers all aspects of keeping and breeding these fishes some of my other recommendations would serve you better.
Finally, in this book the authors propose and use a new numbering system to identify Apistogrammas. Each of the species and forms pictured in the book is assigned an A number. The numbers begin at A1 and continue through A243. This means that the authors identify 242 (Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis is given A100) different Apistos. Since its publication, the effort to use A numbers has faltered, and no additional; fish have been given A numbers.
This is the very best identification book available and it belongs on the shelf of every serious dwarf cichlid fan. Unfortunately, the book is long out of print and was never widely available in North America. You will have extreme difficulty in obtaining a copy. Keep looking at used book sites