Let's all Rag on...
- Axelrod's Atlas
by oleg/netcom.com (Oleg Kiselev) (Fri, 31 Dec 1993)
- Axelrod's Atlas
- Axelrod's Atlas
- Axelrod's Atlas
- in defense of A.Theil...
by oleg/netcom.com (Oleg Kiselev)
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1993
In article <CIvDL1.JuF-at-news.cis.umn.edu> hougen-at-femto.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen) writes:
>This is what bugs me about Axelrod's books in
>general. Every book has errors. I just see no evidence that Axelrod
>even tries to get it right.
What reason is there to believe that Axelrod does more than just put his
name on the book? TFH has grown into a substantial publishing enterprise
and between managing his little pet literature empire and travelling all
over the world, when does Dr. Herb find the time to write?
If there is anyone to blame, its TFH editors. For no particularly good
reason they do bizarre things. Scheel's work on the Old World Rivulins
(Nothobranchius, Aphyosemion, Aplocheilus and the immediately related
genera) was published as "Atlas of Killifish of the Old World". Never
mind the absence of the Cyprinodontinae (genera Aphanius, Valencia) and
Procatopodinae (Aplocheilichtys, Procatopus, Lamprichtys, etc.). They
tacked in a sheet or two of photos of lampeyes and voila! It's now
*killifish* of the Old World, despite skipping a huge number of notable
European, Asian and African species. Scheel is dead so he can't complain.
Oleg Kiselev at home ...use the header to find the path
From: lavonius-at-plootu.Helsinki.FI (Ville Lavonius)
Date: 2 Jan 94 06:06:23 GMT
In article <2fvs92$o65-at-xmission.xmission.com> mgm-at-xmission.xmission.com (michael moncur) writes:
As someone who has not yet bought Axelrod's Atlas, here's the 64
million dollar question: What are the better books? Do they exist,
or are we waiting for someone to write one? the Atlas is the most
Baensch & Riehl's Aquarium Atlas (three volumes in German, dunno how many
have been translated in addition to vol 1). Good pictures, lots of text,
~` michael moncur, BC, OEADM - mgm-at-xmission.com - mgm-at-world.std.com ~`
"There used to be a real me, but I had it surgically removed."
-- Peter Sellers
Ville Lavonius : Mankind may never reach Mars,
lavonius-at-cc.helsinki.fi : but there will always be elves in Middle-Earth
GCS d-- -p+ c++ l m++/-- s+/+ g+/- w+ t- r+ : Terry Pratchett
From: jerry-at-shell.portal.com (JERRY T CULLINGFORD)
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 1994 16:39:04 GMT
In article <2fvs92$o65-at-xmission.xmission.com>,
michael moncur <mgm-at-xmission.xmission.com> wrote:
>hougen-at-femto.cs.umn.edu (Dean Hougen) writes:
> As someone who has not yet bought Axelrod's Atlas, here's the 64
>million dollar question: What are the better books? Do they exist,
>or are we waiting for someone to write one? the Atlas is the most
>comprehensive one I've seen... any suggestions would be greatly
Well, I went for the Baensch Aquarium Atlas - two volumes, covers
plants and non-marine fish. What basically made me go for this
instead of the Axelrod Atlas is the extra information. Baensch has
brief paragraphs on habitat, first intrroduction, sexing, social
behaviour, maintenance,breeding, food, special notes, as well as
the usual size/ aquarium size/temperature range, region and
difficulty level, while axelrod (at least the mini version) just
seems to have photos and minimal - one row of icons - info.
Axelrod may cover more fish, but I didn't feel there was enough
information to be useful. Your mileage may vary :-) and I don't
know enough to comment on the relative accuracy, but the baensch
books are well worth looking at :-).
From: dieter-at-informatik.rwth-aachen.de (Dieter Kreuer)
Date: 5 Jan 1994 08:34:42 GMT
In article <CJ4697.1oE-at-unix.portal.com>, jerry-at-shell.portal.com (JERRY T
> Well, I went for the Baensch Aquarium Atlas - two volumes, covers
> plants and non-marine fish.
Actually, at least here in Germany, there is a third volume (on
fish one hardly ever encounters in a store, like some European
native fish) and another one about marine fish.
Some criticism: though there is a large part about water
quality and how to maintain a tank, water chemistry and equipment
could be dealt with in more detail (there isn't even a table
giving the relation of pH and KH for the non-balanced case).
Dieter Kreuer ## ======== / dieter-at-informatik.rwth-aachen.de
Lehrstuhl Informatik IV __ /// /# / dieter%informatik.rwth-
RWTH Aachen ## /// # # / aachen.de-at-uunet.uu.net
D-52056 Aachen ## /// ##### /...!informatik.rwth-aachen.de!dieter
Germany ==== # / PHONE: +49 241 80 21413
From: cb_everett-at-ccmail.pnl.gov (cb_everett)
Date: 18 Feb 1994 01:23:07 GMT
I know this is one hugh chunk of flame bait but I felt that something
needed to be said.
General sentiment on the net is that Albert Theil is both a bumbling
idiot and a thief. I argue that A. Theil has done more for the hobby of
reefkeeping than he is given credit for and it is solely because of
Theil that our hobby is where it is today. I will discuss why this is true,
but first, I will try to refute some of the common complaints against Theil
I have seen on the net.
Complaint #1 - A.Theil's ideas supplied in his books are old-fashioned
and just plain dumb.
Admittedly A. Theil's books did not support the Berlin method.
They advocated the use of Wet-dry filters and Ozonizers which
today we know are better replaced with oversized protein skimmers.
However, one needs to take into account the timeframe that
A.Theil's books were written. The fact is that these books were
written in the 1987-1988 time frame. Reefkeeping was in its
infancy at that time. Blaming Theil for not knowing 7 years ago
what we know today is senseless. It would be equally productive
to say that the Wright brothers were morons for not building a
747. In addition, articles Theil has written recently indicate
that he has accepted the Berlin methodology just as well as we all
have. Therefore, Theil's writings seven years ago do not
necessarily condemn him as old fashioned.
Complaint #2 - A. Theil's books are too commercially oriented.
Again, one needs to take into account the time frame that Theil's
books were written. In the late eighties, reef equipment was not
something you went down to your local pet store and purchased.
Theil needed to convey to his readers that this stuff actually
existed and could be purchased. Theil's early offerings of reef
equipment, much of which was imported, created a new market that
previously had not existed and opened the doors for American
manufacturers to start producing the same equipment at lower
prices. This is hardly something we should begrudge Theil for.
Complaint #3 - A. Theil advocates way too much expensive unnecessary
Theil's books do describe a vast array of equipment much of which
is expensive and probably not necessary for a well running reef.
He does, however, always preface the introduction of such
equipment with an explanation that it is purely optional and may
only be needed to solve a specific problem, remove a manual
process, or keep some parameter more stable. Theil presents all
options and then leaves it to the reader to decide what is
necessary for his or her situation. Would we really want to be
treated any other way? The problem here may be with the attitude
of reefkeepers on the net. There seems to be a "if its expensive,
its bad" mentality on the net. I have even seen someone argue
that his corals benefit from the 85+ degree temperature in his
tank during the summer and it would therefore be a 'huge' mistake
to drop $500 on a chiller. You draw your own conclusions.
Complaint #4 - A. Theil won't tell me the exact composition of his
Theil does not divulge the exact composition of his additives.
Could it possibly be that he doesn't want to compete with the
chemical supply houses? Restaurants don't give out recipes,
clothing stores don't give out patterns, and Theil doesn't divulge
the composition of his products. Its called economics. Research
costs money which has to be recouped in product revenues. I don't
think we should blame Theil for not giving away his research but
instead trying to capitalize on it. There is so little solid
research being done in our hobby, the last thing we want to do is
steal from the few people that are doing it and run them out of
business. If you think that you can do better research and
produce higher quality products at a lower cost (Craig, this means
you) then by all means, drop out of grad school, call your lawyer,
form a corporation, and start showering us consumers with the
fruits of your labor.
Complaint #5 - A. Theil advocates MH over actinic.
This one boils down to religious faith. I personally think
actinic lit reefs look best when surrounded by black velvet Jimi
Hendrix and Led Zeppelin posters, but again, that's just my
These complaints put aside, lets take a look at some of the things Theil
has given us:
- Only set of books easily available fully describing the process of
setting up a reef tank (I looked for Julian's book but couldn't find it ;-} ).
- Paved the way for the large assortment of American made reef
products that we now have available.
- Convinced his readers that reeftanks should have:
- stable water quality parameters
- bare bottoms
- high redox values, temperatures < 78 degrees
- low nitrate and phosphate levels
- good circulation around the reef
- strong lighting
- drilled tanks
- check-valves for safety
Before jumping on the "Theil is a jerk" bandwagon, think about what
he's done for our hobby and the benefits you and your reefcritters receive
everyday because of the work Theil has done.
That's my .02. Now where are those flame retardant pajamas when
you need them.