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i recommend Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. It is essentially a textbook on the subject and very thorough. If you want a good understanding of your tank ecosystem, I think this is a good book to read. I haven't actually finished it yet. just to warn you, this book is directed more towards someone who wants a low maintenance tank than an amano-style show tank.

Amazon.com: Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist, Second Edition: Books: Diana L. Walstad

if you want something simple to get you started i might buy a general aquarium plant encyclopedia. i forget which one i bought, i think it may have been by Peter Hiscock. It is a good reference for quick identification and for choosing initial plants before you have learned everything.

Amazon.com: Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants: Books: Peter Hiscock
 

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Nature Aquarium World Volume I

The English version is beautifully written (and I'm sure translated from a beautiful Japanese text as well though I haven't had the opportunity to read the original).

I recommend it to everyone-- beginner's and advanced hobbyists (shame on an advanced hobbyist who hasn't read it yet!). I'd recommend it to people not even in aquariums-- heck, I'd recommend it to Amano himself if he hasn't read his book in a few years!

I myself try to look through the original Nature Aquarium World books from time to time, and time to time re-read this volume front to back.

The book's value is not so much in teaching about aquarium making-- it's value is more in philosophy. What it means to make planted aquariums. What it means to be an artist. What it means to be a person on this planet, living with nature. In this book you will find the spirit of an artist who struggled to expand himself in a desperate search to understand nature and beauty. His struggle and his understanding will be expressed to you in both his photography and writing.

Especially for those looking to make exquisite aquaria, this is a valuable read-- a lot of people try to copy Amano's work only by looking at the pieces, when really the heart of real art is in understanding the process. And I'm not talking about his step-to-step set-up guides when I say "process." I mean the artistic process of searching, contemplating, combining-- forming habits of mind that lead to higher levels of creativity. From reading this book I can say Amano's process is not so different from other artists-- but he has followed the path of an artist well, and this book is a great descriptor of the passion, struggle, and search for inspiration that was made by an artist who did it well.

There really is no other book like it, and is a must read for any aquarist. IMO, anyone would do well to read it!
 

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For plant ID and some very good discussion of basic plant needs, I reallly like Kristel Kasselmann's book "Aquarium Plants". The photos are fantastic and she writes a lot about each plant, areas it grows, etc. Very very useful. If you can find it for $50 or less, you've found an absolute steal.

I also second the recommendation for Walsted's book, and for Nature Aquarium World. I own both, well worth it.
 

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Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium

Madbreeze is correct - this is a thorough book. But you gatta be smarter than this old country boy to read it. I'm sending it back to Amazon. I tried reading it - its just to technical for me.

Red Crane :hihi:
 

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Books

Oh By the way - I love "Tropica Aquarium Plants" It's a catalog but gives real good basic info on their plant produts.
 
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