I have read many books on fishkeeping and some of them provided a lot of useful information on one subject or another. The list that follows is based on my impression and is necessarily subjective. However, it can be a starting point for your library. Since I am dealing with quite a few different species I will divide this section in two big categories : 1. General Interest 2. Malawi Cichlids (call it addiction) and 3. Marine Fish.
BOOKS OF GENERAL INTEREST - part I
1. R.RIEHL & H.A.BAENSCH "AQUARIUM ATLAS" by TETRA PRESS. A remarkable wealth of information, these books (3 in all) are an all around player. If you decide to buy only one book I highly recommend this one. Every known freshwater species has a description, basic information on how to keep it and a photo. Also general information on fish keeping and live plants (with photos, too) at the beginning of volume 1. The only disadvantage is that this book followed the expansion of the hobby and the addition of more and more species chronologically, therefore you may have to search all three volumes to find a species. For example, though some Africans are in Volume I, still you have to search Volume III to find Protomelas species. The advantage is that you will find almost everything in there.
2. C. ANDREWS, A. EXELL & N. CARRINGTON "THE INTERPET MANUAL OF FISH HEALTH" by Salamander Books Ltd. A really comprehensive manual will serve you well in 99% of health problems. Photos, descriptions of diseases, proposed treatments and very useful lists, all neatly arranged. I have other books on the same field but these normally require (or are addressed to) a degree in that science and are impossible to be "read", they are meant to be a "case solver".
3. K. ATAJ & T. J. HOREMAN "AQUARIUM PLANTS" by T.F.H. Publications. Contains more information than you will probably ever need, plus many photos (unfortunately not of exceptionally good quality). However, the text is superior to any other book I have read. A very extensive description of plants, their biology and needs, their diseases and special aquarium requirements, all in one book. The book also covers the fields of algae and invertebrates which are sometimes associated with plants.
4. I. SCHEURMANN "AQUARIUM PLANTS MANUAL" by BARRON'S. A little more than the basics but with lots of good quality photos and diagrams. A basic book if you do not need an in depth analysis. The photos will help you to identify the plants you bought but you can't rely on this book as a single source for keeping live plants in your tank.
5. P. W. SCOTT "A FISHKEEPER'S GUIDE TO LIVEBEARING FISHES" by TETRA PRESS. I think that the inscription in the cover says it all : a splendid introduction to the care and breading of a wide range of these fishes. Every time I needed something for my son's mollies this book delivered an answer.
6. Y. MATSUI & H. R. AXELROD "GOLDFISH GUIDE" by T.F.H. Publications. Dr. Axelrod is famous for his in depth analysis of topics and this book is definitely not an exception. Photos of all major goldfish species, information on how to keep them, feed them, breed them successfully and treat them if diseased. The book also contains some great shots of fishes that won international contests. Among the books available for the first fish to be kept in captivity for human pleasure this is, by far, the best.
7. W. SEUSS "CORYDORAS" by DAEHNE VERLAG. I am relatively new to corydoras and I had to get a book to start with. After searching a lot, it seems that each book covered very few species, or was not especially about corys but a book on catfishes which contained a section on corys. Well, here is the exception. A man who claims to have bred more than 2/3 of all available corydoras species in captivity, has written a book on corys. I knew that corys are very difficult to breed. After reading the book I thought that I really had a chance to do it. A beautiful book, too.
8. AXELROD - SWEENY "BREEDING AQUARIUM FISH" by TFH Publications. Even if there were no words in this book it would still be highly recommended. A large-format, full color luxurious book, a jewel for every library. Rare photos accompany a rich text. A must for all aquarists. Since this book is written with all hobbyists in mind the African Cichlid section is not very large. This is why this book is listed here and not in the next section.
Books for the hobbyist continued in next page...