Sunday, 12 June 2016

Book of the Week: Exotic aquarium fishes / William T. Innes

Our book of the Week, Exotic aquarium fishes: a work of general reference, was published in 19 editions from 1935 to 1966 by author and publisher, William T. Innes.  It was known popularly as "The Innes Book". With text kept together with pictures, this became an easy-to-read aquarists' bible, from the basic Aquarium Principles -- oxygen, light, temperature, feeding -- to Show Rules and Practices.


This illustration from the 7th ed. typically shows a pair of fishes (the female is the upper fish) and includes helpful information regarding popular name, pronounciation and derivation of the scientific name, and the fishes' location on the book's maps. The text following this discusses the mating and rearing of these dazzling fishes, referring to an article in The Aquarium magazine (also published by Innes) for more detail on embryology and life habits.

Why "exotic?"
"Exotic" is in every way a better word than "tropical." Tropical gives the impression that all these fishes come from torrid climates, and that they must be kept at steaming temperature. In many instances the idea works to their injury and also creates in the public mind the belief that they are delicate, and difficult to keep. "Exotic" expresses that fascination we expect of anything from distant parts, and which our aquarium fishes possess in such full measure" (p. 4)
Read more about the history of the book (especially the production of the illustrations) and the author here