Reviews of Ornamental Fish Farming


Jump to review by Glenn Briggs for ANGFA, Australia

Jump to review by Eddie Tootell for Eastern Districts Aquarium Society, Victoria, Australia

Jump to review by Greg from Sweetwater Aquaculture, USA

Jump to review by Robert Ellermann, USA

Jump to review by Harro Hieronimus for Bulletin of Fish Biology, Germany

Jump to review by Gerhard Ott, Germany

Review By Glenn Briggs

This large book of over 500 pages (and measuring about 30cm x 21cm) is probably a world first: a vast compendium on commercially farming and marketing freshwater ornamental fishes. In writing this book, the author Brian Andrews draws on his many years experiences of making a living from fish breeding (30 years!!) Brian started out breeding fish in South Africa and then after emigrating to Australia, he continued to be involved in fish farming.
Brian took a great amount of time in compiling this book, and then almost as many hours fine tuning the final proof (with a lot of help from ANGFA patron Rick Datodi), to ensure the accuracy of the myriad of facts and figures used within.

The result is an amazing amount of information, covering every conceivable aspect of ornamental fish production. Example topics include farm operating styles; fish production methods explained in absolute detail (step by step); grow-out strategies; fish diseases; an extensive section on water chemistry; numerous (and very useful) fish farming techniques; and feeding fish larvae. (Regarding this last topic, about 30 pages are devoted to rearing fry from their first feed to when they reach 2 months of age, this gives you some indication of how each topic is covered in absolute fine detail.)

One of the more insightful features for would be fish farmers is the author’s comments on the pros and cons of particular species or groups, with an overall rating on the species’ marketability and/or ease of production. Species covered include representatives of: Characins (Tetras), Cyprinids (Danios, Rasbora, Goldfish, Barbs, “Sharks”, etc), Catfish, Loaches, Labyrinth fish, Cichlids, Rainbowfish, Knifefish and Livebearers.

Having known Brian for about 15 years, I can attest to his skills at breeding a wide range of fish species, and to the success of his methodology. Besides having consistently bred and raised many thousands of popular ornamental species such as Tiger Barbs, Gouramies and livebearers, Brian is also very adept at breeding rare or newly discovered species. New and poorly known Characins such as Nannostomus mortenthaleri and Hyphessobrycon nigricinctus were soon conquered by Brian – he rarely fails at any species that he puts his hand to!

This book is a must have for any serious fish hobbyist who wants to breed and raise quality aquarium fish successfully, giving the reader a rare opportunity to tap into an absolute wealth of fish farming experiences and information. This book will obviously be of huge assistance to anyone considering venturing into part-time or full time commercial production of ornamental fish.

Please note the author will be making the book available through ANGFA, with a % of each sale being redirected back to ANGFA.

Glenn Briggs
Australia New Guinea Fishes Association

Review By Eddie Tootell

Brian Andrews has written this book for the professional and semi-professional fish breeder as his main targeted market, but amateur fish keepers and hobby breeders will find this book of immense value and interest. I think this is the first book ever published on commercial fish keeping that explains all the details, which are usually kept secret for commercial reasons by other authors. Rick Datodi has written a foreword in support of this publication.

I would go so far as to say, that all serious aquarists, including the retail sector, should have this book in their reference library as it is of immense value to all aquarists.

Brian is one of the very few who was able to breed tropical fishes on a large scale. He has done this in both South Africa and here in Australia, making a living doing what he loved.

This book will give the reader his breeding techniques for a large number of fishes that he successfully bred for the Australian wholesale market.

The book is 21cm by 30 cm, and consists of 525 glossy paper pages which have descriptive, full coloured photos, (some by well known aquatic life photographer Neil Armstrong), plus diagrams and many charts.

It also includes all his methodology in achieving this aim. We can all learn from Brian’s vast professional fish keeping and breeding experiences.

The book is divided into the following main headings and within each heading, full details are provided for the aquarist.

1: Fundamentals of commercial breeding.
2: Operating styles, strategies and facilities.
3: Production methods.
4: Setting up for spawning.
5: Introducing the breeders.
6: Spawning.
7: Care of eggs.
8: Care of pre-feeding larvae.
9: Rearing fry from first feed to about two months.
10: Grow-out to sellable size.
11: Harvesting, packing and shipping.

Full details are given for each subject, much more for the reader than can be covered here. Details of some specific fish species are given for the various groups.

Fish farming techniques, Water chemistry, Disease management, Marketing are all covered.

Another excellent area that is fully explained in detail is the food section. All the foods and their advantages, plus recipes, are fully explained. Aquarists will find the detailed section on live foods and their cultivation as invaluable.


Everything that we fish-o-philes wanted to know is here.

I personally, have not come across such great information in such a handy, readable form anywhere, and I thoroughly recommend it for any Aquarist’s library.

Eddie Tootell

Eastern Districts Aquarium Society
Victoria, Australia

Review By Greg

Ornamental fish production is one of the largest aquaculture markets. I have been involved in aquaculture for over 20 years and have always wanted to incorporate ornamental fish production into my business. However after many years of searching and only finding information from a hobbyist’s perspective, where market and profitability are not addressed, Brian has finally put together a complete, easy to understand book, from a business perspective, that addresses this long standing void.

His book covers all the critical information, from site selection, water quality, and breeding all the way through marketing, in exhaustive detail. In just one example of the value in this book, Brian goes into great detail regarding quarantining new fish brought into the farm, the huge potential risks involved, and how to minimize exposure to them. As the saying goes “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Whether you are an experienced veteran or a beginner and considering the ornamental fish business as a startup, medium, or large scale operation you need this book.

Sweetwater Aquaculture
Idaho, USA

Review by Robert Ellermann

I’ve been reading the South African/Australian tropical fish farmer Brian Andrews’ stunning and long overdue new book “Ornamental Fish Farming”. All I can say is that I have not been this impressed with a book since I first picked up Sterba, Innes, Arnold, Bade, Stoye or Holly, Meinken, and Rachow. This is an instant classic. What Andrews has done has written an exhaustive (500+ pages) illustrated, highly experienced text on commercial tropical fish farming. This is the book Ross Socolof, Fred Cochu, Albert Greenberg or the Wolf’s might have written had they been so inclined. We are talking an in-depth college textbook on breeding and raising aquarium fish commercially. Andrews covers the ground with specific, highly valuable information and all sorts of new and different techniques. The section on breeding tetras alone is a selling point – how many tetra breeding books are there out there – Rosario’s from the 1960’s and a couple of German books. This man has bred tetras by the millions. The writing style is infinitely clear. Everything is covered. The color photos are excellent. The book is not cheap but you can order it directly from Andrews and save money. No serious aquarium library will want to be without this book – or should be. We are talking a book that will become a “must have”.

Robert Ellermann

New Jersey


Review By Harro Hieronimus

Ornamental fish breeding is becoming more and more important for the ornamental fish trade and the hobbyist. A growing percentage of fish sold is bred by professionals and, partially, from hobbyists. With this book, the author presents a voluminous manual for professionals and hobbyists in the ornamental fish breeding.

Such a voluminous, profound book on ornamental fish breeding has been published never before. It covers all aspects of fish breeding as well for the professional fish breeder as for the hobbyist. I did not discover any deficiencies although surely the one or other breeder will have a method on his own. The book is written in a very clear way; even reader with basic English knowledge will understand most parts. Where necessary and helpful, convincing photos and drawings are included.

Binding and paper are of high quality. Only the part on fish diseases is more Australia typical as the treatments proposed are only applicable by veterinaries in most countries legally.

In all, this book can be warmly recommended to all professional and advanced hobbyist breeders to improve their efforts.

Harro Hieronimus

Bulletin of Fish Biology


Review by Gerhard Ott

Der australische Fischzüchter Brian ANDREWS hat im Format 21,5 × 30 cm ein schwergewichtiges Buch über professionelle Zucht von Aquarienfischen („Zierfischen“) vorgelegt. Mehr als zwei Kilogramm hardcover-gebundene, mit Lesebändchen versehene Kompetenz bekommt der Leser in die Hand. Nicht nur professionelle Fischzüchter, sondern auch engagierte Aquarianer werden in der Fülle von Informationen fündig werden. Das Buch ist hervorragend gegliedert und mit guten Illustrationen (Fotos, Zeichnungen, Schemata und Tabellen) ausgestattet. Das 15-seitige Inhaltsverzeichnis (außerhalb der Buchpaginierung) listet zehn Teile auf. Einleitend sind die Grundlagen der kommerziellen Produktion von Aquarienfischen vorgestellt. Das Kapitel über Produktionsmethoden zeigt, wie man einen Zuchtstamm pflegt und konditioniert und stellt Ablaichmethoden vor. Die Pflege von Eiern, Larvenfütterung und Aufzucht der Jungfische bis zur Verkaufsgröße folgen.
Verpackungstechniken und Versand sind weitere Themen. Die Fischgruppen sind in Portions- und Dauerlaicher sowie Brutpfleger eingeteilt. Zu nahezu allen handelsrelevanten Arten von Barben, Bärblingen, Salmlern, Buntbarschen, Labyrinthfischen, Regenbogenfischen, Lebendgebärenden Zahnkarpfen und Welsen findet man Angaben. Fütterung, Wasserpflege und Fischkrankheiten sind weitere Themenbereiche. Ein Glossar von Fachbegriffen und Maßangaben, Literaturangaben und Stichwortverzeichnis erhöhen den Nutzwert des Nachschlagewerkes. Selbst wer nur verkümmerte Schulenglischkenntnisse hat, kann das Buch lesen. Engagierte Aquarianer und Züchter werden viele Informationen finden, die sie so noch nicht kannten. Da das Buch bei großen Online-Buchhändlern nicht gelistet ist, hier eine Webadresse, wo man weitere Informationen findet: 


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