Paul “Paul B” Baldassano Pens Unique Book on Marine Aquarium Keeping

The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist is available now!What do supermodels, the Vietnam War, and the right front fender of a 1955 Oldsmobile have to do with marine aquariums? Absolutely nothing—that is, of course, unless you’re hobby pioneer Paul “Paul B” Baldassano and you’ve just published a book on your six decades of aquarium keeping.

Well, he is and he just did!

Paul’s new tome, titled The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping and produced in collaboration with your friends here at Saltwater Smarts, is anything but your typical aquarium reference book. With his signature tongue-in-cheek style, familiar to anyone who follows his posts here or on other sites around the web, Paul offers his unique, eye-of-the-beholder, and possibly hallucinogen-inspired thoughts on:

  • His earliest encounter with marine organisms (hint: it wasn’t in the ocean)
  • The history of our hobby
  • How to buy fish in good health and keep them that way
  • Fish biology, including his revolutionary insights on fish immunity
  • Methods for maintaining healthy aquarium water
  • How to manage algae, pests, and common diseases
  • How to succeed with certain hard-to-keep species
  • How he would set up a tank from scratch today
  • A whole host of easy-to-construct, cost-cutting DIY projects
  • And much, much more!
A section of Paul B's 44 year old reef aquarium

A section of Paul B’s 44 year old reef aquarium

Paul, a resident of Long Island, New York, has been immersed in aquarium keeping since the 1950s. In fact, his current 6-foot-long, 100-gallon reef tank has been in operation longer than many of today’s hobbyists have been alive—44 years as of this writing. Much of Paul’s remarkable long-term success can be attributed to his ever-curious, self-reliant, innovative nature, which has led him to create a wide range of ingenious inventions and DIY projects to make the aquarium-keeping experience easier and cheaper.

A newborn brine shrimp feeder, evaporative chiller, homemade live rock, live blackworm keeper, and bristleworm trap are just a sampling of the cost-cutting DIY projects detailed in The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist. It’s also noteworthy that Paul is the inventor of the Majano Wand and has two aquarium-related patents to his name.

Though Paul’s off-the-wall storytelling has prompted some mental-health professionals to wonder aloud why he hasn’t been institutionalized for his own safety and that of others, he simply views humor as a fun, effective vehicle for sharing all the wisdom and experience he’s acquired over many decades in the hobby. Besides, who says hobby literature has to be dry and dull?

A glimpse inside The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist

One word of caution: If you’re uncomfortable reading viewpoints that challenge the status quo, The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist may not be the book for you. Though some elements of Paul’s approach are decidedly “old school” (he and an aging Tibetan Sherpa are the only two people on earth who still use a reverse-flow undergravel filter in their systems), he is not afraid to question conventional wisdom when it comes to certain aspects of husbandry, such as quarantining fish.

The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping is now available for purchase in electronic format and will soon be available in hardcopy as well. Don’t wait to get your copy! Buy it today and you’ll never look at marine aquarium keeping the same way again!

Buy The Avant Garde Marine Aquarist

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About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.


  1. Josh crane says:

    I purchased Pauls book through your website, how do I find the download?


    • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says:

      Hi Josh – Thank you for purchasing. You were part of the pre-sale, so you would have received an email shortly after the release on 10/5. That email contains download links.

      If you don’t find this email in your inbox, please take a look in your spam folder. Should you still be unable to find it, drop us a message through and we’ll get you taken care of. Thanks!

  2. I would like to thank Caribbean Chris and Jeff for giving me the opportunity to write articles on their site and for this book. Last year these were just a bunch of ideas, inventions, techniques, suppositions, experiments and experiences that bounce around inside my padded, bald head. Someone told me I was getting old so I decided to put these practices and experiences into words before I start to drool. I decided to write it in English because I can’t speak Klingon and the only word I know in Spanish is Ricardo Montalban.
    In the 60+ years I have been hanging out with fish and the 45 or so years I have been spending time with them underwater, they taught me a few of their secrets, some of which I used while I was dating. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did while writing it.
    Thanks Guys.

  3. Hello! I would like to post a review for this book, where would I do this?

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