Petland AquaStock and Herbert Axelrod - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Petland AquaStock and Herbert Axelrod

Hi im devastated about the closings of all Petland shops in the new york area. I never thought it would end because of the founders passing 2019.
I thought I took for granted the fish books I always can go buy still, but I dont have regrets. I bought most of Herbert R Axelrod Tropical fish books and most booklets from the late 1950s the 1960s booklets and 1970s in color booklets.
I read about H. Axelrod's scandle of the stradivari violins sale isand the selling of TFH publications suit loss of 11 million, but Axelrod still got 70 million for the company in 1997. He spent 18 months in federal prison for tax evasion in his 70s.
Still its known that in the time of the 20th century with no internet google or online shopping, his books were a much needed source of knowlege and a big part of the Tropical fish hobby and memories of going to Petland and Aquastock, the block long mega fish store in city hall downtown. The shine of the stainless Metaframe tanks. So proud to be a part of that time.
https://tropicalfishauthors.blogspot...tions.html?m=1
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 08:42 PM
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Welcome to the forums. I'm 50 years old and got into aquariums as a young boy. His name was on the spine of many a book in my collection back then, I still own quite a few of them. I subscribed to Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine back when it was a 1/2 size print, and honestly am not sure I'd still be in the hobby if not for his many writings. I was unaware of his prison time or the violin sale scandal, will be going down an internet rabbit hole soon for sure! Condolences on his passing, if you are a family member.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 08:42 PM
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Remember the cartoon villain who liked to keep orchids or roses when not busy plotting to take over the world?

The Stradivarius violin and tax evasion stuff suggests Axelrod had larceny in his soul. But he seemed to genuinely love fish and his writings were valuable. I had a copy of his Encyclopedia of Tropical Fish until recently; fun to browse but somewhat out of date on actual fishkeeping advice so I decided I needed the shelf space for other books. (Yes, my bookshelves runneth over.)

Last edited by kgbudge; 01-17-2020 at 08:44 PM. Reason: get the quote right.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 09:19 PM
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I too grew up with Herbert Axelrod as my fish guru (I'm in my 60's). Let's not forget that one of the most beautiful of tropical fish, the cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) was named for Mr. Axelrod.

Have you succumbed to the pleasure of Multiple Tank Syndrome? I feel your pain!
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 09:28 PM
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His, and Hans Baensch's Atlases were pretty indispensable growing up. I was always drawn to them more than the D&D or comic books that my friends were into back then. Read them literally til the covers fell off! But had no idea about those skeletons in his closet, that's pretty wild. Or that he owned shops? We had a shop called Petland in the mall back in the day, but it was more into pushing mill puppies and thankfully closed down. But that was decades ago

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 09:46 PM
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Off topic but I used to work for Dr Pet which was in every mall in America in the '80s. Or at least I think that was what they claimed. Some of you might recall they had that RX medical symbol in the font of the store name. 60 Minutes did an expose on puppy mills and implicated this chain in particular. Within a year of that, they all went out of business. 10 years or so back, I tried to find some of my old coworkers and friends from Dr Pet online and it was like it never existed. Hardly a peep on the entire Internet about a company that was once huge.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Herbert Axelrod started with his brother selling their booklets from the trunk of the car and made their way to petstores bookshops across the country.
He worked with many great authors and explorers through the worlds jungles and great lakes in africa, the amazon, and asia. Yes the cardinal tetra and other tetras and the brown discus is scientific named after him.
He worked with great authors like Myron Gordon
CW Emmens
WL Whitern
William Vorderwinkler
Leonard P. Shultz
Neal Pronek
Robert J Goldstein
William T innes (axelrod republishes his book with intro of innes in his 90s to axelrods work. In 1966 edition of exotic aquarium fishes
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Dr.Pet, Same with Aqua Stock company they were the biggest store a block long walk through with entrances on both front and back. I have a couple of catalogs old as 1940s to 1970s 2 locations florida and NYC but if not for that theres no trace I can find of aquastock online.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Story of axelrod scandels in the 21st century and the violins, he collected stadivari violins so many he sold to a famous orchestra for millions still worth more than the orchestra paid, still some questioned if authentic thus the rumor. I lean to them being authentic.
On a good note of this that orchestra still plays his violins, and he made a donation called the stradivari quartet to a museum as well as an entire fish fossel collection, and a book is written about the quartet.

Axelrod sold TFH publications to a company in the same industry for 70 million with extra money if sales are up. Axelrod got greedy suing that they owed him sales money, they countered he inflated the company worth. He wins 3 million in sales owed money but looses 11 million on the price of the company.

21st century tax evasion H. Axelrod guilty of putting millions in swiss bank and is arrrested in sweeden and does 18 months. How many millionaires have a swiss account. Not a bad thing is it 🙂

But this is not about scandel its about an author who was a part of my life and I am very greatful to still own this collection of TFH books and booklets

https://tropicalfishauthors.blogspot...tions.html?m=1
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 11:52 PM
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As an old timer I remember all those books. Today books have been abandoned by new hobbyist and they use Facebook and google for answers.

I still like the books. As I can pick them up and read and concentrate on the words and images.

Just received a new planted aquarium book this week I had in pdf form but wanted the book itself.

https://www.thegreenmachineonline.com/

I go to the major aquarium convention a and always would take my books to be signed by the authors at the events.
I never got chance to meet Axelrod would have love to have had a chance.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 01:42 AM
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I love the smell of fresh printer's ink. I don't think I'd be happy reading from a Kindle.

Which is odd, considering I've had a long and reasonably prosperous career teaching stupid pet tricks to computers.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 06:02 AM
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Loving this "ok Boomer" thread on the books that got us started in the hobby. For me it was Pet Library's Aquarium Guide by Jim Kelly, published in 1969. Reading this thread, I had to look it up on Amazon & buy a copy LOL. It had profiles of all the fish common in the hobby at the time, with great color photos. Read it cover to cover many times over. Looking back, the plant info wasn't very good though: Amazon swords, crypts, etc were all described as soft water species, so I didn't even attempt them. And the LFS plant choices in 1970s Iowa were limited--they were passing off terrestrial plants like Dracaena sanderiana as submerged aquatic plants. No wonder all I had was water sprite & anacharis. But my angels seemed happy & spawned for me even in my hard well water.
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Last edited by Desert Pupfish; 01-20-2020 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Typos
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Wow ed great post I agree I buy the books nothing like holding the book and the text and pictures. These I have are the first late 1950s and early 60s, love the in color 60s and 70s booklets too. I hope to go toan event here in new york.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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I have some pet library booklets too thats right. The enjoy your and know your i only have enjoy your betta and aquarium.

Last edited by Axelrod; 01-22-2020 at 07:01 PM.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 04:59 PM
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On Facebook there is a good Aquarium Book collectors group.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/8536...161/?ref=share
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