This DVD is presented by Paul Talbot, produced by Fish Eye Films and can be purchased from Exclusive Fish Films. The DVD sent for review was very well wrapped when received.
The container is a standard one and is attractively presented. On the colourful front is a picture of an angelfish and on the reverse a list of the contents. There are two discs provided, and these are also colourful and suitably ‘marine‘. The duration of the discs is given as 1hr 40mins. I noted that the cover information advises that the discs are ‘All Regions,’ meaning that they can be used in the US and EU etc.
The list of contents is fairly long, but it should be included as it is of high importance. The contents are given as shown on the reverse of the cover:
DVD 1: Introduction. Marine Systems. Tank Selection. Fish Only Tanks. Substrate and Decoration. Live Rock. Lighting. Selecting Fish and Corals. Seahorses. Introducing Your Fish Safely. Breeding Tips. Temperature.
DVD 2: Coral. Coral Positioning. Clown Fish & Anemones. Filter Tips for Nitrate and Algae. Water Flow. Water Quality. Trace Elements. Feeding. Clams. Maintenance. Cleaning Lids. Tank Tip Room. Fish Health.
As can be seen the contents are comprehensive and address the areas that a novice aquarist would be interested in, and also any other aquarist who wanted a reference. However, lists and pretty pictures are all very well, but a book cannot be judged by its cover.
I played the two discs completely to ensure that the quality both visually and orally was of a sufficient standard.
The first thing to be seen, after copyright information, is a note that it is hoped the aquarist will buy home raised corals and fish as far as possible. This is to be applauded, as it is a direct way that any aquarist can assist in the protection of the wild reefs.
The next item is the ’choice’ page, where particular sections of the video can be selected. I selected the ‘Virtual Aquarium‘. This is very good and entertaining, and the livestock is ’real’. The section can be watched without interruption for quite a while. No maintenance either!
The next selection made was to play the full disc. There isn’t a requirement to watch everything, individual sections can be selected if desired
There is music on the discs, but it is not continuous or intrusive and appropriate to the subject. It is mainly used when various aquariums are being looked at and there isn’t any narration.
All the sections that are listed under ’Contents’ are well covered. The various aspects are well explained in an understandable way appropriate to a beginner – or a more experienced aquarist. Special points that need emphasising, for example the need to change lights periodically, are made very well, with the reasons clearly explained. The narration overall is very good – the viewer is not being ’talked at’ but the feeling is more one of being in conversation. The presenter’s voice is even and pleasant, and at all times he looks genuinely interested in the subject.
Ok, so the discs contain what they are supposed to and the oral presentation is fine. What about the video?
The video I thought is excellent, the colour is super and the picture always in focus. There is a very infrequent reduction, which is understandable considering the lighting and photography difficulties with this subject. The picture is certainly good enough to do real justice to the corals and fish that are seen. There weren’t any judders or blips on either disc.
It is all fine then, but what did I really think of it overall – really, never mind being nice and pleasant.
Looking at the target audience, the marine aquarium beginner, the subject description and the order of presentation is spot on. Each section is clear and concise, not a yawn to be seen. By following this video, the beginner is given clear and adequate information on how to proceed, and this information will greatly enhance the likelihood of success. There is a lot of ‘look at it together’ on the video, where the narrator and the viewer consider various subjects and also consider the ins and outs of equipment.
What is there to particularly like about this video, apart from the narration etc already commented on? What I really like are the ‘interludes’ when the narration ceases from time to time, the music starts and various lovely aquariums of different shapes, sizes and types are seen.
This video will be an asset to any beginner aquarist who wishes to proceed in the marine hobby without making those mistakes that so often occur, causing stress and heartache. Follow the logically presented subjects and note the excellent clearly given advice, which is up to date and completely relevant. The probability of success for that beginner will be much increased.
There is only one problem! When the two discs are initially played it is unlikely that anything will be learned. The viewer will be too engrossed in the beautiful fish and corals, shown in complete tanks, sections of tanks and close-ups of high quality. But there isn’t any rush, the learning can come on the second or third time around.
I can recommend this DVD package without reservation.
Quality of video: very good/excellent
Quality of sound: excellent
Oral presentation: excellent
Quality of subject content: excellent
Amount of mumbo jumbo: nil
Quality of packaging: excellent
Desirability: highly desirable
(Note: Aquaristsonline.com are not linked to the manufacturer of the video described, commercially or personally)