Book Review – Aquarium Plants by Christel Kasselmann

July 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Posted in books, cryptocoryne | 1 Comment

Aquarists of the planted tank hobby should be not unfamiliar with Kasselmann’s book “Aquarium Plants”. Herr Kasselmann is a respected aquarist, the chief editor of the famed publication, Aqua Planta as well as noted author of several books on aquaria hobby, the current title showcased here being probably the most well-known and widely owned.

The content pages

 One of the numerous strengths of this book is its discussion on the science behind the survival and evolution of these aquatic plants, e.g. understanding their inflorescence morphology, pollination and reproduction biology, detailed information on the water chemistry of various types of water systems. It provides the reader, presumably an aquaria enthusiast, with information which might not be readily available  otherwise.

And the reason why this is a must-have for crypt fanatics is its coverage on these aquatic aroids, which is the most extensive to date in aquarium literature.  Not only are there pictures of inflorescence for ease of identification, there are also photographs of crypt localities taken in situ by the author during his crypt hunting days, most notably with Bogner to Sri Lanka. One can only drool and dream about visiting these sites someday.

What’s even more curious is his inclusion of the taxa from the genus Laganendra, amphibious aroids which are closely related to their Cryptocoryne cousins but one would not necessarily associate them as being “aquatic”, let alone being used in aquascapes. Has it been done before even!? This section is refreshing and nonetheless valuable, as finding information on Laganendra spp. is as difficult as getting a wooden chicken to lay eggs, or as I always tell my students, getting papayas to grow on watermelon trees. The premise of the argument is of course, watermelons don’t grow on trees in the first place!

If one was to find fault with this publication in deliberation, one could probably only criticise that the information in the book is not as updated as we would have wished. Sounds familiar? 🙂 Some taxon like “C. diderici ” had already been lower to a morph of C. cordata. Same with ‘“C. zewaldiae” being synonymised as C. minima variants from Sumatra. It would be even better if it had contained information on the demands of an emerse crypt setup and related aroid species. A  large pullout map denoting the distribution of the various Cryptocoryne species would be great, more precise information down to the last bearing on collection locality would be ideal but then again, that would be just shameless nit-picking from the forever insatiable. 🙂

In summary, its a very enjoyable book both in textual and graphical content. It is a book to be savoured by both emerse crypt lovers and general aquaria hobbyists who wants to know more about these green thingies they deal with, be it an a master scaping artist or a Day 1 novice. I most certainly did.


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  1. it’s a good book. where can i find it in malaysia here? how much is it?

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