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Series III

Vol. VII, No. 5

May, 2000


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Editor's Babblenest


The Dwarf Orange Cichlid: Apistogramma nijsseni


Coconuts in the Aquarium


Looking Through the Lens with the GCAS . . . 8 €0ite:s .^Secretary ;• :,' . |

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Editor Printing By Postal Press

Second Sight (Exchange reprint column) . . .




Fun Fish - The Swordtail


Treasure Hunt

. 15

Wet Water


Welcome New Members


NEC Delegate's Report


Think Before You Show .


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 10th day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 2000 by the Greater City Aquarium Society Inc., a not-for-profit New York State corporation. All rights reserved. Not-for-profit aquarium societies are hereby granted permission to reproduce articles and illustrations from this publication, unless the article indicates that the copyrights have been retained by the author, and provided reprints indicate source and two copies of the publication are sent to the Exchange Editor of this magazine. Any other reproduction or commercial use of the material in this publication is prohibited without express written prior permission. The Greater City Aquarium Society meets every month, except during July and August. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month and begin at 8:00 P.M. Meetings are held at the Queens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact: Jeff George (718)428-7190. You can also leave us a message at our Internet Home Page at: http: //ourworld. CompuServe. com/homepages/greatercity

The Orange Dwarf Cichlid:

Apistogramma nijsseni by JOSEPH FERDENZI irst, you should know that part of the title of this article is made up—by me. You see, as with most South American dwarf cichlids, there really is no "common" name because...well, they are not so "common." Check your local pet shops. I'm willing to bet they do not, and never will, carry this fish. And, since to the die-hard hobbyists "common" names don't provide enough accuracy in labeling, we usually refer to this fish by its species name, nijsseni. But, as some people have difficulty pronouncing these "Latin" names (I say "Latin" advisedly because, as in this case, the species name is derived from the surname of a famous Dutch ichthyologist, Dr. Han Nijssen), I have given you a "common" name which refers to the dwarf size of the fish and the prominent orange band running in a semi-circle on the outer edge of the male fish's caudal (tail) fin. Incidentally, if you wish to join us die-hards, know that nijsseni is pronounced KNEE-SEN-f. O.K., back to the fish. I first saw a photo of this fish some years ago on the 1986 Tetra calendar (it was the fish for the month of April). This photo presented a striking image: a fish whose body was suffused in light blue and whose tail fin displayed a prominent orange band. This orange band is very unique and serves to distinguish it from just about any other Apistogramma. At the time, it was a relatively new fish, and was, therefore, difficult to find locally. (More recently, a fish similar to nijsseni has been described, A. pandurini, but, judging from photos, it does not appear to be as colorful.) A year or two later, a friend of mine established a connection with a German hobbyist who was in the business of selling fish that were available in Europe (either home bred or newly imported). Germany is always on the cutting edge of the tropical fish hobby, and the list included nijsseni. Of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to acquire some, despite the relatively hefty price. By the time shipping expenses were included, a pair of dwarf orange cichlids cost $45 U.S. The initial pair that I received was placed in a 10 gallon aquarium with aged water, dark gravel, and some driftwood. According to the available literature, these dwarf cichlids are found in forest streams, principally among the leaf litter, and prefer soft, acidic water.


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

The water out of my tap here in New York City is neutral (pH 7.0) and moderately soft (30 ppm calcium carbonate). Hence, it is relatively easy to modify the water chemistry to suit their needs. One strategy for doing so is just to put some wood in the water (which will also serve as a breeding platform for the fish—the wood can be coconut shells [Editor's note: see separate article on coconuts in this issue]), and let the wood and water age together for a few months. The combination tends to acidify the water (as long as you don't use dolomitic or coral gravel in your tank, which has the opposite effect). A second method involves using a "peat filter." A peat filter is just some peat moss that you sandwich between layers of filter floss or place in a nylon bag inside your filter box or canister filter. In my set-up, I chose (for no particular reason) the first method—age and driftwood. My first pair of nijsseni from Germany were pretty, but they did not do well—they never spawned, and died prematurely from an unknown cause. My second pair from Germany (another $45) did only a little better. The female actually laid a clutch of eggs on the underside of one of the pieces of driftwood. However, after a few days, they disappeared—presumably eaten. This "egg cannibalism" commonly happens when the parents are young, as mine were. No subsequent spawnings occurred, and, again, for reasons I could not discern, these fish did not last very long (under a year). Well, as you might imagine, by this time, I was a bit discouraged (the score read something like nijsseni 90, Ferdenzi 0). Ah, but in the fish game, patience is a very valuable virtue. I concentrated on breeding other fish, and bided my time. In the Fall of 1998, I attended the Norwalk Aquarium Society Show and Auction, as I do every year. They have some very fine hobbyists in that club, and their auction reflects this. As I sat through the auction, I wondered if there would be any fish I'd be interested in. My wonderment didn't last long. A bag containing five young nijsseni (of undetermined sex) went up for auction. Because of their young age, I assumed (correctly as it turned out) that they were bred locally (in fact, I discovered much later that they had been spawned by Norwalk's

May 2000

then President, Basil Halibus, a very fine aquarist). Fish spawned locally are generally much easier to work with than foreign imports. So, it didn't take much prompting to get me into the bidding. I won the bid at the amazing sum of only $13! (Remember those pairs from Germany at over three times the price!) Fortunately, at home, I had an unoccupied 20 gallon long aquarium which had been set up for many years. It had, therefore, aged water, and was outfitted with regular #3 gravel, a dense ground cover of hair algae, some driftwood, and a floating cover of Salvinia. The five young fish placed in it (after a short period of acclimatization) seemed very happy and in good health. I fed them primarily newly hatched brine shrimp and chopped tubifex worms. Live food, while not indispensable, is really preferred for these fish. Frozen food is almost as good. At any rate, the fish prospered and grew. Within a month they were about 1" long, and they were easily sexable. Unfortunately—or so I thought at the time—they appeared to consist of 4 males and only 1 female. As these fish, in nature, are polygamous "harem" spawners (one male consorts with a group of breeding females), I did not think my prospects were especially bright. Fish, however, rarely read sex manuals, and so it came to pass that the female and the largest male began to form a pair bond. The other three males were pecked at and kept at a distance from the selected spawning site (one of the two coconut halves I had placed at opposite ends of the aquarium). These three "outside" males served as "target" fish, and probably helped to deflect any intra-pair aggression between the male and female breeders. Besides the territorial defense mechanism (where the male generally defends the outer perimeter and the female defends an inner perimeter), the most visible sign that spawning activity is about to or has taken place is the dramatic color transformation of the female. This change is very worthy of note because, in my humble opinion, it results in a reversal of the usual color dominance of the male fish. The female becomes a bright canary yellow, with vivid streaks of orange in her pelvic fins, and black blotches over some of the yellow area including the head region. Many species of Apistogramma females turn yellow at breeding time, but very few display this prominent black blotching, which is in such vivid contrast to the bright yellow. Altogether, this is a very striking display, enhanced by the rigid deportment of the fish (like a very "proud" sailing ship—all its masts erect). Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

The coconut shell in which they spawned had been cut in half, and a small piece had been cracked off the bottom lip to provide an entrance to the coconut "cave" (the shell is placed into the gravel with the cut side down so that the only way to get in is through the small opening). Owing to the dense cover of Salvinia and the dark hair algae covering the bottom, the overall lighting in the tank appears dim (a 15 watt flourescent bulb is the light source). Inside the coconut shell, it must be very dark. Obviously, these dim lighting conditions with overhead cover must be to the fishes' liking. Not only did they breed within the unlit confines of the coconut shell, but they are otherwise always out in the open (at least the breeding pair is). So, even without the presence of "dither" fish to draw them out, the judicious use of lighting and plant cover can be used to cancel the fishes' innate shyness. Not using "dither" fish has some decided advantages: less competition for food, less chance of predation of the fry, and less concern for deterioration of the water quality from the extra biomass. Incidentally, Salvinia is very easy to grow, say, in comparison to Water Sprite (another floating plant), and is much easier to control than that floating pest known as Duckweed. When the fish spawn, I do not check for eggs. To do that, I would have to lift the coconut shell and look underneath for the adhesive eggs. The disturbance of the breeding site is to be avoided. Leave the fish alone. If the spawn does not hatch, the fish will spawn again. If it is successful, you will be rewarded by the sight of a school of fry swarming about the entrance to their coconut lair. I know you can remove the spawning site and hatch the eggs without the parents, but why bother? Part of the fascination of these fish is watching their parental behavior. And, to boot, these dwarf cichlids are generally very good parents, so there is little risk that they will pose a danger to their fry once you get that first successful spawn. After the fry emerge from their cave, they are free swimming, and large enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp as their first food. I usually leave them with the parents for the first few days. However, after that I usually remove the fry to their own aquarium (a 51A or 10 gallon tank), which makes it easier to feed them and protects them from possible predation by other fish in the breeding tank. Another advantage to removing the fry is that it more quickly relieves the parents of their guard duty, and concomitantly propels them onto the next breeding event. Of course, you can leave the fry

May 2000

will be difficult to remove the coconut meat. In any event, once you have chosen where to cut, proceed as described with the hacksaw. Once you have cut open the coconut, you pour out the coconut "milk" (Pifia Coladas anyone?). Next, you must remove the coconut "meat." For me, the easiest way to do this, by far, just involves patience. Let the opened coconut sit in the open at room temperature. This process will take weeks, but, in due time, the coconut meat will shrink and separate itself from the inner shell. Once this process of dehydration has elapsed, you can easily pry away any meat still adhering to the shell by using a large flat-bladed screwdriver as a kind of scraper or pry bar inserted between the meat and the inner shell. After you have removed the meat in this way, you will have a coconut shell with a very clean and smooth inner surface. I don't use the dehydrated coconut meat for anything, but, hey, maybe you could enter into a contract to supply the Mounds® people. If you have opted for the two halves, placing them face down in the aquarium as they are, presents a small problem: how will the fish get in? Therefore, you have to do one of two things. Either place a stone or a piece of driftwood under one part of the shell, creating a kind of lean-to effect that permits an angle of entry; or take a sharp awl and score a semi-circle or triangle at the base of the shell, and then, with pliers, break off the scored section. The break will not always follow the score, but that is unimportant, and, in fact, I prefer the irregular break's more "natural" appearance—as though the coconut fell and struck a stone, which cracked it open. There is one final modification you should make to either design. Use your sharp awl to puncture a hole in the top of the coconut shell opposite from your sawed-off opening. The width of the hole need only be as large as the widest part of the awl. Most coconuts have three slight depressions at one

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

end—they sort of remind me of the finger holes in a bowling ball—and these depressions tend to be thinner, and, hence, easier to puncture. The purpose of this hole is to allow air bubbles to escape that might otherwise form air pockets under the shell. Obviously, this air hole is advisable but certainly not mandatory. I have had coconut shells in continuous use for years. The density of their wood makes them very long lasting, much more so than ordinary wood. This same density also results in a somewhat lessened leaching of the tannic acids found in wood. Some people consider this leaching a drawback because it effects the color and chemistry of the water. However, I personally like the look of clear, amber water, and the effect on the water chemistry is negligible. Over time, of course, the leaching diminishes to an imperceptible level anyway. The best thing about them is the way they look, and the satisfaction you derive from knowing you played a creative role in making these little aquatic birdhouses.

Editor's note: Long time readers may want to also refer to "Coconuts," an article by Guenther Horstmann originally published in the May 1972 issue of Modern Aquarium, series II and reprinted in the March 1997 issue of Modern Aquarium, series III, as part of the "Treasure Chest" historic reprint series during Greater City's Diamond Jubilee year. Also, on a personal note, I prefer to scrape off the fibers from the outer shell so as to prevent them from breaking off into the 'water, and I further subject the shells to a boiling water "bath " and several days of soaking, -with repeated water changes. These steps might not be required, but they do seem prudent, especially if you use the air drying method described above to remove the meat, thereby subjecting the organic material to air borne bacteria and mold. - Al Priest

May 2000

ccond Reprints deserving a second look Selected by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he aquarium hobby is something that can be enjoyed by both young and old equally. In fact, unless young people are attracted to the hobby, it may not have much of a future. Based on this reprint from Paradise Press, the publication of the Long Island Aquarium Society, the lack of younger members in attendance at an aquarium society meeting is not just limited to Greater City meetings. This article has several suggestions on how to remedy this situation. It does not focus on changing meeting times or hours, on the content of meetings, or on dragging unwilling children to meetings in the hope of getting their interest. Rather, it suggests going where the children are (such as schools) to get them interested and involved with nature, conservation, and the fishkeeping hobby.


Where have all the children gone? by Robert Rice It's happening from New York to Los Angeles, from Beaverton to Boise, all across this great land—aquarium clubs big and small are in decline. You know it, and I know it too. We are getting close to critical condition. Most aquarium club monthly meetings look more like an AARP meeting than an aquarium club meeting. That is the crux of the problem. The older generation has failed to capture the interest of this entertainment-soaked younger generation. Now the flame that once was the local aquarium club is but a dying ember. It's time to relight the fire and bring back the ones that brought us here, the ones who made this hobby what it is today: Bring back the kids. It's not going to be easy, and we need to play by a whole new set of rules. Aquarium clubs now must compete with Nintendo, Cable TV, MTV, and Shopping Malls and, yes, even South Park, for the hearts and souls of your average teen. It's a whole different battle zone than most of us grew up with. Most of us grew up in a world with 3-4 TV channels, no Internet, and a greater understanding of the natural world. It's a battle we must all work together to win. If we lose this battle, we face the prospect of these young people growing up believing fish come from pet stores, pink as an ice cream flavor, and that no matter what it is, we can always buy more.


As Adults, this detachment from our natural world, combined with a need for constant entertainment, will lead to poor decisions in their lifestyle and a disregard for the environment that will have devastating results. To some of you I may sound alarmist or some kind of tree hugger. I am far from it. I am just an average guy who has seen first hand the destruction of wild areas I once found refuge in—places destroyed for no good economic or scientific reason—they were just in someone's way, or were considered too messy, so they "neatened" 'em up by flattening, dredging, and burning them out of existence. To some, nothing is more annoying than a small ditch in the way of parking lot. (How about that ugly old swamp of musty old Cypress trees and frogs?) Such things offend people who do not know what special magic those places have. People who do not understand that they are like a great painting, a true work of art, and altering them should be undertaken only after the most serious consideration. They are places that can refresh the soul, educate the mind, and strengthen the body. We should be in no hurry to dispense with such places, but the detached mind finds them an inconvenience to their next distraction. So away they go. What we teach our children today we will have to live with tomorrow. As an old man I do not want to live in a world where my respect of nature and the great places we have

May 2000

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

been given is considered as outdated as the Model T. Our natural world matters, and is a great teacher. We should take every opportunity to allow our children to soak in the subtle teachings of nature's way. Without these teachings, our children will become poor stewards of the world they were given. They will leave this world much poorer for their being here. That is a legacy no one would be proud of. Consider this, aquariums are often a child's first window into the natural world, and we are losing the fight to open this window. We need to quit arguing about whether livebearers are best or killies are coolest. We should, instead, work to get kids involved in the process. After they get involved, let them go where they may. For example, I only keep local species. That does not, however, mean I feel morally superior to those that don't. We are all in the same boat; we are just people trying to bring a small slice of that beautiful mosaic that is the aquatic world into our lives. Hopefully that slice of nature will teach us, satisfy us, and encourage us to learn more. It's not TV, it's real, it's special, it's unique, and it's thriving in my tank. The battle lines are drawn and, frankly, Aquarium Clubs are getting killed. Most of us have been doing the club activities the same way for so long that it hurts to change. We concern ourselves only with ourselves and leave the kids, the conservation, and the public outreach, to someone else. Well guess what? There is no one else. We are it. We are the spokespeople for this passionate, beautiful, hobby. There is no government organization that's gonna come in and help aquarium clubs. There is no magic spell that will turn back time. There is only us and our crusty old fish tanks and our breeders club points and our war stories. All those things, however, don't mean squat to a 10 year old kid who just spent his last three month's allowance on a tank and four fish, and now a week later he has a smelly tank his Mom wants him to clean, with one goldfish and one neon tetra. What matters is that he had the desire to become an Aquarist. He made the sacrifice of his hard-earned money, and now due to his own inexperience and the ignorance and/or greed of the folks that sold him the fish, he failed as an Aquarist. The odds of him making a second attempt are slim. In the past, Aquarium Clubs tended to get a bit snooty. We looked down on the simple "easy" fish and rewarded those who could afford the time, money, and efforts to breed the difficult species. Big mistake, because that leaves the kids out. Now the kids have passed us over. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Change is necessary, change must occur or we risk becoming road kill on the information superhighway. We will not beat MTV by having once a month meetings. We will beat the enemy by reaching out to the future soldiers with compassion, love, and caring. We must show them why the natural world is better than the virtual one; why fish matter, why conservation matters, and why they matter. Oh yes, and if you did not know this, most kids spell love T.I.M.E. Here are some things that all aquarium societies can, and should, do to encourage involvement of children: 1. Start promoting inexpensive, no filter setups that work. There is nothing worse for a 12-year-old kid than to get passionate about aquarium keeping and then they talk Mom and Dad into looking into their first tank. They visit the pet store with jr., and get offered a $89 "starter" 10-gallon setup. (The price does not include fish, of course.) Sorry, but $89 buys a season of little league in a lot of towns, and is a horribly high price to pay to get started in the hobby. When I got started, a 10-gallon tank and some free baby guppies were all I needed. There are lots of ways to set up a neat 10 gallon, no filter, tank that would work well with many species—tropical or temperate. So set up a starter tank for kids that's under $20, including donated, easy-to-keep species. In short, bring back the hobby that a kid can enjoy and succeed at. 2. Contact your local 4H club. They have an aquatic sciences program that is most likely looking for leaders. They want to learn about fish. All that they need is a local aquarium society to help them get started. 3. Start an Adopt-a-Tank Program in your local school. That means you help set up and maintain a tank or two in a local school. I'm involved with the Native Fish Conservancy (NFC), and the NFC members have started dozens of tanks filled with local species. You can chime in and do tropical tanks in classrooms, or whatever fish get you excited. It does not matter what fish go in as much as it matters that kids get involved, and learn about the basics of aquatic care. In the Native Fish Conservancy program we take the kids collecting. You are welcome to do the same, but if that is not your thing, find other ways to get the kids involved. Give out breeders points if they can breed a fish. Take them out collecting live foods. The possibilities are endless. All it needs is the involvement of a local club. Here's my shameless NFC plug of a worthwhile NFC program: If you want to learn more about the

May 2000




SWORDTAILS he male of the swordtail - Xiphophorus helleri gives this fish its name because of its swordlike tail. Swordtails are often regarded as being easy fish to keep, and that's quite true. As a child, they were my favorite fish. They are hyperactive, so if you want an easy, active fish, they are perfect. They are fast moving. They reproduce very easily, and two can become 30 in a very short period of time. Swordtails are fan to keep, and are a favorite in the hobby. Swordtails are an elongated and slender fish. The females are more beefy and compact with the body Swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri) s t r o n g l y compressed laterally and a little flattened on the upper sides of the head and on the front part of the back. As noted before, the male has a sword extension seen even more majestic in the wild specimens, which sport a sword extension of shiny green with red horizontal stripes. These fish are native to Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. They are considered brackish water fish. They prefer water with a temperature from 68 to 80 degrees F., and a pH around 8. The swordtail has many beautiful variations derived from selective breeding and being crossed with the platy, Xiphophorus


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

maculatus. Swordtails are spectacular to watch and are easy to breed livebearers. The male dashes about the tank madly, trying to catch the eye of the female and, when he thinks he has her, he darts back and froth, his body rigid, with the "sword" extended to its maximum. This backward and forward swimming is characteristic of the species, and remarkable to watch. The female, which is a little larger than the male, usually pays the frenzied male no attention, a s s u m i n g , or p e r h a p s maintaining, an "I d o n ' t care"' attitude. So, after a p e r i o d of courting, the male drops all tactics drawing by B. Hanigan and concentrates on sneaking up to the female from below or behind! The usual gestation time is about 30 days. A mother can give birth to about 3 broods, approximately one a month, totalling between 50 to 75 babies, all from from a single fertilization. Hie female usually has around 20 to 25 babies at one time. The parents are best removed as soon as possible after their offspring are born, or the parents will eat their fry. Once the fry are about 3/4 inches in length, you can let them into the regular area of the tank, along with the adults. Feed them from there just like you would an adult. Once they are about an inch long you can bring a few to the club's auction!

May 2000


Unveil the Mystery of the Lost Treasure Chest As You Join in the

GCAS TREASURE HUNT! By CLAUDIA DICKINSON For those who are participating in the "Treasure Hunt" at our show this month, here is an advance look at the rules: egend has it that many years ago, world-renown fish explorer Rosario La Corte left a magical Treasure Chest behind on one of his journeys to far off lands. The kind and generous Rosario as a gift left a chest to the natives who had treated him with such honour. It overflowed with shimmering gems and doubloons cascading over a beautiful e d i t i o n of the Baensch Aquarium Atlas I. Unfortunately, the natives received a fright from a large school of Pacu, which they mistook for a hungry swarm of Piranha. In their fervor to avoid the rasping mouths, the natives left the treasured gift behind. On May 6th at the GCAS Extravaganza at the Queens County Farm Museum, your journey in search of the foregone treasure will take you to the waters of uncharted lands. As you wade amongst the reeds of the inlet banks, canoe through the flowing rivers, and push through the dense mist of the Amazonian Rainforests, keep your eyes wide for clues leading you closer to the enchanted treasure. Be sure to take a moment to pause and reflect on the beauty of the rare tetras


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

and barbs, cichlids and catfish, which you will encounter along the way. Prepare yourself to find lots of surprises, meet lots of nice people, and have lots of Fun! As you gather your evidence, the trail will get hot and you know you are near by the Treasure when you reach Clue #11. Be sure to return to the Queens County Farm Museum by the day's close in order to turn in all of your clues to the GCAS Giant Fish Show and Auction registration table. Look forward to an evening ahead of recounting the day's exciting adventures with fellow fish enthusiasts from across the land at the Grande Dinner Banquet at the Old Glory Restaurant! It is here that the Discoverer of the Hidden Treasure will be announced! The coveted Treasure will be awarded to the searcher who gathered all of the clues in the shortest span of time.

May 2000

Good luck, a Safe Journey to All and Have Fun!!!


WET WATER by Fin Fin, Investigative Fry Reporter


art two of this series reveals the truth behind both the Vice President and the Treasurer, Vince and Rosie Sileo.

Same last name, always showing up to meetings together in their fancy cars. Usually late, I might add! Never mind the fact that they are married. There's something fishy going on here, and it isn't the Bowl Show. Or is it? Yes, Vince Sileo, our exalted Vice President is also known to be the Bowl Show Chairman. But what does he do? He doesn't bring the bowls to the meetings. So what gives him the right to call himself the Bowl Show Chairman?!! Here we have uncovered one of the many secrets coveted by THE BOARD. Who judges the Bowl Show? This is where our Chairman's job gets a little sticky. The chairman is responsible to find a judge. Usually the best person for this job is the guest speaker. The guest speaker usually knows a great deal about fish and usually doesn't know many of the members. However, many of our guest speakers specialize in one area and feel uncomfortable judging guppies against African cichlids when their specialty is catfish. Some of these guest speakers decline the privilege of judging the Bowl Show—leaving our Chairperson with the difficult task of finding a knowledgeable and impartial judge from among our members. Occasionally the chairman himself must judge. Now you may be wondering who brings the bowls for the bowl show, but that will be revealed in a later part of this series. 16

So, we know a little more about the Bowl Show Chairperson, but what about the Vice President. Just what does he do anyway? I know what you're thinking. He does NOTHING! He just waits around, hoping the President shows up so he can continue doing nothing. Well if that's what you think, then you're half right. One of his most important responsibilities is to step in and take control if the President is unable to fulfill his duties. Whether it be a regular meeting or special event, the VP must be prepared to take center stage at a moment's notice. Most of the Vice President's time is taken up with behind the scenes activities — assisting the President and other board members in achieving the club's goals. This can vary quite a bit, depending upon how involved the Vice President wants, or is able, to be. How did Vince get to this position? What deep, dark secrets remain in his past? Vince first came to GCAS as a substitute speaker for one of the legends of the aquarium industry, Dino Barbarisi. Many of you may only know the name from the award which is given at our Holiday Party Awards Ceremony. This is the award for Aquatic Horticulture, presented to the person who has most promoted aquatic horticulture in the society the previous season. Dino Barbarisi was involved with many areas of the aquarium industry, but aquatic plants were his passion, and he was always willing to give presentations at local aquarium societies. Unfortunately, the last time Greater City asked Mr. Barbarisi to give a presentation, he was too ill to attend, and suggested that his aquatic plant salesman, Vince Sileo, give the presentation for him. This was Vince's first presentation and his first introduction to the organized aquarium hobby. I don't think he put on exactly the same presentation that Mr. Barbarisi would have, but he gave it a good try, answering the many questions after the presentation and admitting when he didn't know the answer. It wasn't long before Vince was a GCAS regular, showing up at every meeting and participating in the activities, often with his wife, Rosie, and mother-in-law, Joan, in tow. Seizing upon any untapped reserves, Joe Ferdenzi (then President of GCAS), asked Vince to join THE BOARD. Soon Vince was bringing Rosie to the board meetings as well! Rosie was full of ideas and insight, and was willing to do whatever was needed at the time. Having already fulfilled the responsibilities of a Board member, Rosie's formal induction to THE BOARD was a mere formality.

May 2000

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Then the bottom fell out! Joe Ferdenzi, our President for the past eleven years, decided he'd had enough and did not stand for re-election. And to make things even worse, some of the Board members, who had also served the society for many years, decided to get out as well. No one was eager to try and fill Joe's shoes, it was too tall of an order! But someone had to do it, and I think Joe made Vince an offer he couldn't refuse! So Vince was President for two seasons. After the first season the Vice President, Ben Haus and Treasurer, Emma Jordan, decided they'd had it as well. After all, they were on THE BOARD for FOURTEEN YEARS! I think they had done more than enough for GCAS already. Tom Bohme agreed to fill the position of Vice President and Rosie, with a background in banking and accounting, agreed to act as Treasurer. Does that background include embezzlement? Our sources cannot, or will not, confirm this. After two terms as President, during which time Vince and Rosie lost both of their fathers, Vince decided it was time for some new leadership. Using similar tactics as were applied to him, Vince and THE BOARD coerced the current President, Jeff George, into accepting the position. But reluctant to stray too far from the action, Vince agreed to stay on THE BOARD in the capacity of Vice President.

Now what about that Treasurer— keeper of the club's loot? What's she up to? We all know the obvious duties she performs at our general meetings: collecting auction money, raffle money, etc. But, what else is involved? Is that money being socked away in her retirement fund? No, the Treasurer taketh and she giveth away too! She must make certain that the printer is paid on time for printing Modern Aquarium, that the Hospitality Committee is reimbursed for the refreshments served at every meeting, that our dues and rent are paid to the Botanical Gardens, that the club remains solvent when THE BOARD decides on some grand plan for the next show. No, that money is not earning interest somewhere; it's hard at work to make our meetings successful! The time is at hand when there will be changes in THE BOARD. Some members may be leaving and other's just starting out. What about you? Will you be the next member to fall under the influence of THE BOARD? That's all until next time, when we will take a look at some of the other members and committee chairpersons on THE BOARD.



he GCAS extends a most warm and hearty welcome to its newest members who joined us at our April meeting!

Steve Stewart from New York City enjoys his hobby with two very large tanks of up to 200 gallons. Steve's greatest enjoyment is African Cichlids, and I am quite certain we can soon look forward to hearing about some of Steve's experiences with his fish in the upcoming Modern Aquarium issues. Steve's wife, Solange, and his two daughters, Channing and Nicole, enjoy the hobby as well; and we do hope they will join us at one of our next meetings. Leroy Keels, also from New York City, has two very impressive 65-gallon tanks that are beautifully thriving with communities of African Cichlids. Leroy enjoys the Cichlids of both Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika, as well as Catfish. It was surely an enjoyment to chat with Leroy about his fish and I hope that everyone gets the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him at the next meeting. Leroy's wife, Sarah, shares his enthusiasm for the hobby ~ we hope to get to meet her as well! Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Billy Newman joined in from Woodside, and for those of you who missed out on meeting up with this delightful man, be sure to treat yourself at our next meeting. Billy has a passion for Discus and just loves to swap Discus stories ~ or swap Discus! He has two females that are spawning now, and would just love to find a male for them. I can't wait to hear the next chapter of Billy's Discus! Mark and Diane Wirth are a lovely young couple from Flushing whose major aquatic interest lies in Guppies, Discus, and Angelfish. The two joined in right from the beginning with most generous donations to our silent auction, which included a complete tank. We look forward to seeing a lot of Mark and Diane at our future meetings! We welcome you all and look forward to seeing you at our future gatherings!

May 2000

With Warmest Regards,

Membership Chairperson


This is IT! What:

The GCAS 78th Anniversary Fish Show and Auction


May 5-6-7, 2000


Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Parkway. Take the Grand Central Parkway to exit 24, turn South at exit - follow signs to Farm Museum (about three blocks from Parkway exit, on the right). SEE THE MAP ON PAGE 14.

Highlights: Fish and Plant competition, including "the People's Choice Award" (come vote for the fish you like best!) Giant fish and dry goods Auction. Treasure Hunt (see the description on page 15) Aquatic Book Sale Nationally Known Speakers: Dr. Wayne Leibel, Mike Sheridan, and Lee Finley

-ANDBanquet and Awards Dinner at the Old Glory Restaurant, with keynote speaker, Ginny Eckstein

Make sure you pick up our separate flyer with the schedule of events!

Modem Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

May 2000






CORAL AQUARIUM 75-05 Roosevelt Ave Jackson Heights, NY 11372 718-429-3934 Open Mon.-Fri. 10AM-8:OOPM Sat. 10AM - 7:OOPM Sun. 12PM - 6:OOPM SALTWATER FISH

















All Major Credit Cards Accepted


May 2000

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

CAMEO PET SHOP TROPICAL FISH AQUARIUM Specializing in Tropical Fish and Aquarium Supplies Large Selection of Aquatic Plants Knowledgeable Staff Same Location Since 1947. 115-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 1141

(718) 849-6678






Visit "LUCILLE",

Our Pond& Falls In Our Backyard! You Can Build A Pond Too.

2890 Nostrand Avenue Bet Kings Hwy & Avenue P Brooklyn, NY 11229




May 2000

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Fin Fun BODY PARTS Fish don't have fingers or toes, and people don't have fins or gills. There are, however, a few things we DO have in common. Can you pair these fish named after body parts with their scientific names? Body Part/Common Name

Scientific Name

Bleeding Heart Tetra

Sarotherodon melanotheron

Long Nosed Peacock

Aulonocara rostratum

Big Lip Pearlfish

Afromastacembelus frenatus Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma

Head and Tail Light Tetra Ladder Back Spiny Eel

Cynolebias porosus Grammattria lemairii

Lemaire's Odd Tooth Little Mouth Haplochromis

Hemigrammus ocellifer

Snake Skin Gourami

Trichogaster pectoralis Aequidens dorsigerus

Red Breasted Flag Cichlid

Haplochromis nigritaeniatus

Black Throat Tilapia

Solution to Last Month's Puzzle:


Red Devil

Cichlasoma labiatum

Redhump Geophagus

Geophagus steindachneri

Red-eyed Characin

Arnoldichthys spilopterus Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

Redtailed Catfish

Xenotoca eiseni

Red-tailed Goodeid Redear Sunfish

Lepomis microphus Serrasalmus nattereri

Red-bellied Piranha

Aequidens thayeri

Red bellied Flag Cichlid

Etheostoma luteovinctum

Redband Darter Red Rainbowfish


Glossolepis incisus

May 2000

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

May 2000 volume VII number 5

Modern Aquarium  

May 2000 volume VII number 5