Vol. VIII, No. 2
FEATURES Editor's Babblenest
A Chocolate Treat
Collecting With Claudia
Scenes from our January Holiday Party/Awards Banquet
! C orf es .;
My Favorite Tank - #33
Wet Leaves (Book Review)
Looking Through The Lens
The GCAS Holiday Quiz
Mr. Standings Builds His Dream (Fish) House
NEC Delegate's Report
FAASinations (FAAS Delegate's Report)
Of Shrimp and Snails
Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)
;E d i tor ' I Bhoto^i||:|||i^
| i | | i i l l l l l Printing By Postal Press
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 2001 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: Joe Ferdenzi (718)767-2691. You can also leave us a message at our Internet Home Page at: http: //ourworld. CompuServe. com/homepages /great ercity
by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST e had a great Holiday Party and Awards Banquet, and this month's issue is brim full of photos from it. If you were there, I hope you can find your picture. Congratulations to Warren Feuer for winning the Author Award Program drawing. The Author Award Program is still in full force, and I'll be announcing the new raffle prize later this year. Congratulations also to GCAS member Tom Miglio for being mentioned in the March 2001 issue of Aquarium Fish Magazine, in Chuck Davis' column "Society News." Chuck wrote of Tom's showing at the North Jersey Aquarium Society/South Jersey Aquarium Society Weekend Extravaganza in October 2000: "and 'Best Egglayer' was presented to Tom Miglio (who won more awards than anyone)." GCAS member Mark Soberman was mentioned as being one of the Extravaganza's speakers. And, oh yes, there is also a fair sized photo of GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi in that article. Starting with this issue we have the first installment of a "mini-series" by Claudia Dickinson, who uses the imagery of a fish collecting trip into the wilds to give us a closer look at one of Modern Aquarium's advertisers. Future promised installments in this series will visit each of our other advertisers. I, for one, can't wait to see the type of "safari" she has in store for our other advertisers. (When you read her article, that reference will become clear.) Thanks, Claudia, for not only providing our members with useful information in an entertaining way, but for also supporting the advertisers that support Modern Aquarium. I also want to thank Claudia, and her husband, Brad, for helping with the proofreading of Modern Aquarium. Over the years, I've
found it to be nearly impossible to do a thorough job of proofing your own writing. I doubt that there is a single issue of Modern Aquarium in which I don't wish I could change something. I've seen publications of other societies refer to "anglefish," "betas," "cichlets," etc., often in the editor's or president's column! If you think you can spot grammar and spelling mistakes, can receive and send e-mail, and would like to help (even if you can't do it every month), another "set of eyes" or two is always welcome. On a more serious note, while I don't read everything printed, I have yet to see any publication, amateur or commercial, firmly denounce, in no uncertain terms, the horrific items sold as "Betta Vases" (or "War and Peace" vases). These clear glass vases have a plant and Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens, "living" in the vase's bottom. Now, if the vase's base was large enough, the plant roots not excessive (i.e., allowing free swimming room and access to the surface, as Bettas are surface air breathers), and the vase came with instructions for regular water changes and feeding, it might be nominally acceptable. (Bettas, being tropical fish should have a heater, but most rooms in which a plant vase would be placed would probably be warm enough to at least sustain the fish.) The problem is that these "Betta Vases" are sold with the advice that NO care is required for the fish. The unwary buyer is told that this is a closed and viable ecosystem that perpetuates itself without the need for human intervention, with the waste from the fish sucked up and used by the plant, and the fish eating the plant roots. The fact is that Bettas are carnivores. They need "meat" (worms, brine shrimp, or foods containing fish meal). They do not eat plants. The plant, by itself, is incapable of extracting enough fish waste to purify the water. In addition, these vases have no warning against putting them near a window (where one might naturally put a live plant) or on or near a heat source. (The small volume of water in the vase could easily overheat and kill the fish.) These vases are sadistic torture chambers â€” a way to watch a beautiful fish starve, and be poisoned by its own wastes. Where are those animal rights "advocates?" Why the silence from hobbyists and the hobby press? Is it because these are "inexpensive" fish (did you know Bettas at IBC auctions can sell for over $100)? Maybe we only care once human greed or indifference has made a species "endangered?"
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
A Delicate Chocolate Treat by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he Chocolate Gourami, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, has had many conflicting things written about it. However, on one key point all accounts agree: this is not a beginner's fish. For a small freshwater tropical fish, it is relatively "high maintenance," demanding near perfect water conditions. On the other hand, those advanced aquarists willing to accept the challenge of keeping them will be rewarded with one of the most interesting fish in the hobby today.
The Chocolate Gourami is native to the warm and mineral poor waters of the Malaysia Peninsula, including Thailand, Borneo, and the island of Sumatra, where they inhabit ponds and slow moving streams. This fish has a flat, oval brown body (the healthier and less stressed the fish, the darker, more "chocolate-colored" the body) with three or four vertical gold stripes on the body (and usually one thin stripe running along the top of the head, from eye to eye, giving it an "eyeglasses" effect). It closely resembles a floating leaf, blending in very well among plants (and these fish should be kept in a well planted aquarium, with a dark substrate). The Chocolate Gourami requires very clean, soft, acidic water (read that as meaning frequent water changes and monitoring). The water hardness should be between 0.5 and 3 DH. I've seen recommendations for water acidity as low as a 4.6 pH1, but my experience has been that a pH between 7.0 and 6.0 will sustain these fish for quite a time without harm. I have found that, like their distant cousins, Betta splendens, the high water temperature associated with the Chocolate Gourami in the aquarium literature (as much as 89.6째F., according to Vierke) is probably required only to trigger breeding, as I have kept Chocolate Gouramis for some time at a range between 72.째F. and 76째F., with no apparent ill effects. These fish are notoriously prone to Oodinium, a parasitic disease far easier to prevent with good water conditions than to cure. In addition, Pinter2 notes "They are sensitive to high nitrate concentrations as well as to skin parasites and to an accumulation of microorganisms in the water. It is thereby recommended that they be kept in a special aquarium in which these stringent environmental factors can be regulated." Because of this, the importance of regular and frequent water changes cannot be stressed too strongly. I have been able to maintain these fish with a weekly 50% water change, which I would recommend unless you are keeping a very small population in a very large tank with excellent filtration and with weekly water testing. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
These are relatively small fish, with adults rarely exceeding 2 inches in total length (females being slightly smaller than males). They are extremely peaceful fish. Most of the literature on them strongly recommends that they be kept in a species tank: "Keep in a species aquarium! In normal community tanks, chocolate gouramis are usually earmarked for death.1" "They are peaceful toward other fishes, yet association with most other fishes is not recommended, the main reason being the special conditions they require.2" Despite his recommendation that they not be kept with other fish, Pinter2 does suggest Rasbora heteromorpha as being "excellent tankmates." I have been successful in keeping Chocolate Gouramis with a small group (ranging between three to six) of albino Corydoras, a small and exceptionally peaceful bottom dwelling fish, without incident. (It should also be noted that the Chocolate Gourami generally occupies the middle to upper regions of an aquarium.) Sexing and breeding this fish presents more challenges. While I have been told to look for a patch of yellow in front of the dorsal fin to identify a male Chocolate Gourami, this does not appear to be reliable. A more generally accepted method is to wait until the fish flares its fins (you'll have to catch them in an aggressive or romantic mood for that, although fin flaring allegedly also occurs when the fish are sleeping). Under those conditions, the male's dorsal fin is more pointed. Pinter also states3: "During the mating season ripe males have lightly edged fins, and ripe females become visibly round. Not always visible in females is a faint horizontal stripe along the midline of the body." The Chocolate Gourami is, incredibly, a mouth brooder, even though the building of bubblenests as a prelude to mating has been reported by several sources. (Unlike some other anabantoid mouth brooders, it is the female Chocolate Gourami that holds the eggs.) The reason I say "incredibly" a mouth brooder is that this fish has a fairly small mouth. Other mouth brooding anabantoids I am keeping (e.g., Betta
made from a dark brown, plastic garbage can bag (how is that for high-tech expense?). I just cut the bag with a scissor after I have used cellophane or duct tape to adhere the bag to the top and one vertical of the back wall. Then I take a razor or scissor and cut the other vertical side (but not the bottom), and tape that side. Lastly, I cut and tape the bottom, and voila, an instant, durable background for pennies. Of course, now we come to the best part, the inhabitants of this aquarium. These consist of representatives of three classic groups: plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. These are also the elements of the classic "balanced" aquarium. In the realm of plants, this aquarium benefits from the presence of two old stand-bys in the hobby: Vallisneria and Hygrophila. Each is hardy, easy to grow, and yet very different in appearance. The Vallisneria is comprised of long, lance-like leaves that grow around a crown. The leaves are a very dark green (generally, the darker the green, the less light the plant needs to thrive). The plants reproduce from runners, and, after a while, will form a forest-like setting in your tank. I got my initial group of Vallisneria from those r e d o u b t a b l e old-fashioned hobbyists, Doug and Don Curtin. The Vallisneria were positioned to take up roughly one half of the tank (the left side). They are currently doing very well and are lovely to look at. They are also a nice contrast to the second type of plant in this aquarium: Hygrophila polysperma. Although there are many species of Hygrophila, polysperma is the most common and is, therefore, usually referred to simply as "hygro." This is essentially a "bunch" plant which looks at its best when several stems are planted closely together (not tied together with lead weights â€” that's a convenience for pet shops, and has no place in the home aquarium). I planted about three bunches in the rear, right half of the aquarium. I got my plants for tank #15 by clipping them from a robust growth of hygro in another aquarium (I don't recall where I got my original Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
stock). They are one plant that thrives under pruning. Incidentally, don't worry about the direction of the stems and leaves when you initially plant them. Within a week, their strong phototrophic nature will have them oriented towards your artificial light. Hygro has long, oval-like leaves that grow in an alternating whorl pattern around the stem. The stem and leaves are light green (as I have said, a nice contrast to the dark green of the Vallisneria). However, the leaves that reach the top of the tank begin to take on a subtle reddish hue, owing to their proximity to the light source. This plant reproduces itself by off-shoots from its stem, and can be pruned just about anywhere along its stem. Both of these plants can usually be purchased in any well stocked aquarium store, or can be gotten from your participation in an aquarium club. For example, both of these plants routinely show up at the monthly Greater City auctions. By the way, I don't use fertilizers of any kind on a regular basis. W h a t aquarium would be complete without fish? Two classic aquarium fish inhabit this tank â€” parallelling the two classic plants. The first is one of the most famous, the guppy (Poecilia reticulatd). The guppies in this aquarium are a real mixture: some are "fancy" veiltailed guppies which I purchased at Cameo Aquarium (who, in turn, had purchased them from a hobbyist, described only as a "Russian woman living in Flushing"), some are veiltails that were donated to an auction by GCAS member Rich Levy, and some are swordtail guppies I received as a gift from those veteran breeders, Doug and Don Curtin (of the previously mentioned plant fame). What I love about this assortment (there must be at least 20 to 30 adults) is the endless variety of colorful fish you see swimming about. And, you never know what the offspring (of which there are many) will look like. Guppies are peaceful and small â€” making them ideal aquarium residents. To complement them, my aquarium houses another very peaceful and diminutive aquarium resident, Corydoras
My Favorite Tank: A Series Part 2 - Tank #33 by JOSEPH FERDENZI his tank is an emerald gem. Peering arranged an irregular semi-circle of various pieces into it evokes all the exotic mystery of of petrified wood. (See diagram A on this page.) a tropical rainforest. All of this beauty, The petrified wood labeled with ones consists of you might be surprised to learn, is contained small, rectangular pieces laid on their side, so within the modest confines of a ten gallon that they are about 2 inches in height and about aquarium. It is truly a world within a world â€” 3 inches lengthwise. The group of petrified the tank sits in the North American continent, but wood in the corner, labeled with twos in the within that tank sits the steamy world of South diagram, consists of 5 to 6 inch long pieces East Asia. placed upright. This arrangement serves several The elements of this aquarium evolved purposes. over many years. The semiHowever, you can circle arrangement Petrified wood replicate it in a allows for an open much shorter interval area in the middle to by using my the front of the experiences as a aquarium for either s w i m m i n g or guide. The first step planting. The tall to setting up this aquarium is to install pieces in the corners serve utilitarian a cover on the purposes and create outside of the back wall of the tank. a perspective of balance. The drift Once again, my material of choice is Diagram A wood's utilitarian a plastic garbage bag â€” black. It is cut to size purpose is to mask the heater and airstone that will be placed in the corner behind it. The and taped to the back. Black is a very good grouping of tall petrified wood in the other choice for a number of reasons. For one, corner serves to break-up the water flow from the brightly colored fish stand out well against it. small outside power filter that services this For another, its darkness projects an illusion of aquarium. space beyond the limits of the glass. (And, on Perhaps that last statement warrants a the practical side, black bags are readily more detailed discussion for full understanding. available.) Many outside power filters, including the one Next, we add gravel. In this case, I used in this set-up, return the clean water via an chose to combine a 50/50 ratio of "natural" overhanging lip that creates, in essence, a gravel (which tends to be composed of white, miniature waterfall. Were this water to flow grey, and beige particles) with black gravel (both unimpeded, it would create a powerful current #3 size). This creates an attractive effect that (see diagram B on page 11) â€” more powerful blends in with the background, and is neither too than I (and the fish and plants) probably would dark nor too light. The #3 size gravel is also a want. By arranging the petrified wood in such a good particle size for plants, which, as you will way that this miniature waterfall drops onto and see, become the dominant, and most beautiful, into them, the current is diffused. (See element in this aquarium. diagram C on page 12.) The advantage of this On top of this gravel were placed system is that the rate of water exchange is decorative pieces of driftwood and petrified unaffected, but your fish and plants don't look wood. The driftwood consisted of a small, arched as through they are caught in a whirlpool. piece (about 6"-7" in height) that was purchased The necessary equipment for the tank in a pet shop. This piece was placed in the left, consists of four essential pieces. First is a rear corner. Running from in front of that piece fluorescent light hood housing a 15 watt bulb. to the right rear corner of the aquarium, I
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
Most any bulb will do, but, for this particular The second theme was biological—have tank (for reasons to be explained later), I a representative from each of the three major particularly favor a Gro-Lux or plant-type groups: the vertebrates, the invertebrates, and the spectrum. Next comes a small outside power plants. Because this was a relatively small tank, filter. This filter should be set up according to I chose fish in proportion to it — small fish. I the manufacturer's instructions, but with the could have chosen the readily available and very addition of one home-made accessory: a sponge beautiful Harlequin Rasbora (Rasbora prefilter should be inserted over the intake tube. heteramorphd). It is a peaceful, schooling fish. This will serve two purposes: it will prolong the But, instead, I chose the less seen Pygmy Rasbora usefulness of the primary filtering media, and (Rasbora maculatd). The Pygmy Rasbora is prevent small fish and fry (more about that later) aptly named — it is one of the smallest fish in from being sucked into the filter. A prefilter can the world. A full grown male is one half inch, be made from any filter sponges sold in aquarium and the larger female may reach a full three stores that are at least as tall as the intake quarters of an inch (!). Regrettably, because of strainer. Some of these sponges already have their small size, and because they do not show holes in them, and, if they do not, it is easy to their ember-like orange/red color in pet shop cut a hole with scissors or a sharp knife. In the tanks, dealers don't often carry them. If you can back corner opposite from where you situate your find them (or if your friendly pet shop will try to power filter, you should have a heater. For a ten get them for you), get a school of 10 to 12 fish. gallon tank, I use a 50W or 75W heater (usually, This will nicely populate your aquarium without I prefer the SOW — less chance of overheating overcrowding it. (If you wish, you can get a few the water). In the same corner as the heater, I less, and combine them with some other small put an airstone Rasbora, such as the powered by my air p r e v i o u s l y source. This m e n t i o n e d arrangement has two heteramorpha.) In benefits: it my tank, they are the compliments the only Rasbora. power filter to create However, there is Water Flow better water flow one other fish in the throughout the tank — a distinctly aquarium, and it unique fish that goes helps to better by several disperse the warmth "common" names (Hillstream Loach, radiating from the Diagram B nearby heater. Hong Kong Sucker The filter, airstone, and heater are on 24 — so much for "common" names). In any case, hours a day. (To be precise, the heater is this is a species of Pseudogastromyzon, or other plugged in all the time, but, of course, it only closely related genera, and it looks like someone radiates heat when the thermostat clicks in.) The took a suction cup and gave it some tiny eyes, light, essential for growing the plants, is plugged gills, and small fins. It spends all its time into an automatic timer. In the tropics, 12 hours moving around the tank, usually stuck to the of daylight is the norm. Therefore, it is best if glass. It is a small (about an inch and a half), your lights are on for 12-14 hours a day. Do not inoffensive fish that eats algae and whatever it leave the light on all the time. Fish need rest and can find on the bottom (I give it a tablet food so do plants! Moreover, an overabundance of about once every two days). It is a subdued hue algae usually results from too much light. — beige with brown spots. Altogether, this fish Now we come to the living inhabitants serves a "house cleaning" purpose. It offers a of this tank. Two things controlled their nice contrast to the Rasboras in shape and color selection. The first was geographical—all the and, significantly, it gets along very well with the occupants had to be endemic to Southeast Asia. Rasboras. This presented no special obstacle because many Helping the Hillstream Loach in its of our fish and plants come from this part of the housekeeping duties is my star of the freshwater world. Therefore, there is much to choose from. invertebrate world, the Red Ramshorn Snail. How do you know if a fish or plant is from I'm not really sure if the Red Ramshorn hails Asia? Ask a fellow hobbyist or your local pet from Asia, but I have a feeling that it is shop owner. Better yet, read a good book. cosmopolitan (found all over the world). It is a
very good snail. It is not too large or too small, If you cannot find a suitable has an attractive appearance, and, most imporCryptocoryne, there are other plants you can try tantly, will not eat your plants. Sprinkle in a few that are found in Asia. The various species of of these, and they will soon get to work. They Hygrophila and Aponogeton come readily to reproduce prolifically and, so, your initial mind. They are available in well stocked population should be able to replicate itself well aquarium stores or from plant suppliers. (Of into the future. course, if you want to "cheat" on the Asiatic Last, but certainly not least, we come to theme, the plant, as opposed to the fish, can be the plant world. This particular tank is from elsewhere without noticeably giving away dominated by one plant, a Cryptocoryne species. your lack of geographic purity.) There are many, many species of Cryptocoryne This tank is a never ending joy to plant. They all come from Asia. They come in behold. The Pygmy Rasboras look so beautiful a vast assortment of sizes and leaf colors. They as they hover over and dart in and out of their are all true aquatic plants. Many will even Cryptocoryne forest. All is peaceful and tranquil. flower in the aquarium. Having said all that, I But, there is more to this scene than meets the can't tell you which species I have. All I can casual eye. do is describe what it looks like so that you can Some years after I had established the look for it or something similar. school of Pygmy Rasboras, I was doing some One of the reasons I can't tell you its routine feeding when a sudden dart of movement name is that I got my initial plants from an barely caught my attention. As I stared intently old-time hobbyist Bill Jacobs, who had kept them into the verdant jungle, I spotted (to my utter for many years. Bill was a hobbyist from the surprise) a "baby" Rasbora. With parents that 1920s (that is not a fail to top one inch, typo — the 20s is imagine a juvenile — correct) to 1998 (a it was a carbon copy year before he died). of the parents, except Bill gave me some in even smaller! Well, I '98, and I've had just couldn't believe them ever since. it. After all, I hadn't This particular set about to Cryptocoryne does not deliberately breed this fish (just goes to show grow especially large. The tallest specimens you — provide a have leaves that reach suitable home, and the four inches in height. Diagram C fish will take care of The leaves are very lanceolate, not rounded. The themselves, thank you), Obviously, the plant cover, the lack of competition from other fish top side of the leaf is a beautiful dark green. This enables the plant to grow even in very subspecies, and the abundant microscopic life in this natural aquarium had all combined to produce dued lighting. The underside of the leaf presents conditions in which the fish would spawn, and quite a contrast; it is a muted maroon. In my ten the fry survive. Over the course of the next two gallon tank, it has grown vigorously. It really weeks, I kept a watchful eye on the tank, and looks like a little jungle in there. From time to managed to collect nine juveniles. I kept them in time, I remove some plants (they reproduce along a separate container for about a month, during runners) and either plant them in some other which time they got a little larger because they aquarium or donate them to other hobbyists. were not competing with the adults for food. What I really like about this particular After that, I reintroduced them to the main tank. Cryptocoryne is its hardiness. I've kept many My goal is to try to keep them going by a kinds of Crypts over the years, and, inevitably combination of getting some more adults when I they will succumb to the dreaded and mysterious see them offered for sale and their own natural "Crypt Disease." That is, the plants all begin to reproduction (maybe, some day, I'll have some disintegrate at one time — a veritable extra fish for an auction or two). "melt-down." Oh sure, they will often (not There is no question that this is one of always) grow back, but who wants to experience my favorite aquariums. Maybe, it can become that? I have kept this plant for many years in yours, too. many tanks, and have not yet experienced the melt-down. So, be on the lookout for this plant at club meetings or in your local pet shop. 12
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST had been congratulating myself on how well I made the adjustment from "00" to "01" during the past month. I was thrilled to find a "hot off the press" book for "Wet Leaves" — it had only been available for one week when I purchased it the day after our last meeting. HELLOOO — wake up and read the calendar! Anyway, this "still warm off the press" book endeavors to give us readers "an insight into what makes tropical fish tick." The titles of the chapters tell us a lot about the focus of this book. Chapter 1, "Living in Water," makes us think about such features of an aquatic environment as altitude, water currents, substrate, depth (our idea of shallow may not be the same as our fish) in addition to the more familiar temperature and chemistry considerations. Moving on to "First Impressions" — how have fish adapted to life in a medium that is 800 times denser than air? Body shape, body coverings (scales, etc.), and coloration are touched on. The anatomy and function of fins are discussed in more detail. Did you know that catfish can "lock" their dorsal fins into an erect position? One advantage of this is that it increases their size, making a hungry predator move on to smaller prey. Chapter 3 is called "Under the Skin." Physiological systems such as the skeleton, circulation of blood, gills and respiration, swim bladder, and muscles are described by text, photos, and particularly well-done diagrams. I was especially interested in the difference between red muscles and white muscles. Red muscles have a better blood supply and more fat. "The red muscle forms a thin layer on the outside of the white muscle mass, and is used primarily for constant swimming, whereas the white muscle mass is used for sudden bursts of speed." Next we have "The Senses." The author has done a better job of presenting this
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
material than I have encountered elsewhere. Once again, I was especially impressed by the diagrams in this chapter. "It is easy to observe a fish's external features, but for a complete picture we must also understand the organs we cannot see." The first "sense" organ discussed is the neural system, or the combination of brain and spinal cord. "The brain of a fish is similar in function to that of higher animals, including humans, but not so highly developed." How much can fish smell? How do fish eyes differ from ours? Do fish have a sense of taste, even though they don't have tongues? Sound travels further and faster in water than it does in air: how does a fish "hear" it? If these questions whet your curiosity, you may want to seek this book out. Chapter 5 is called "How Fish Feed." Different types of mouths and digestive systems are described. Most algae grazing fish get nutrition not only from the algae, but from micro organisms in and around it. Many so-called "plant eaters" eat fruits and seeds which fall into the water from overhanging trees. Hmmm... I wonder if my Mollies would enjoy nibbling on a section of tangerine? Next we have "Special Strategies." What does Ms. Sandford mean by this? "Some fish have developed specialized strategies to overcome the difficulties they encounter, and unusual methods of using unlikely resources." Air breathing, electricity as a weapon, venom, migration (not to be confused with "walking"), are just a few of the strategies mentioned in this chapter. The most distinctive feature of the chapter on "Reproduction" is its collection of fabulous photos. In addition to photos of "the act," there are lots of wonderful photos of developing eggs, both inside as well as outside the parent, and fry in varying stages of development. The photos in this section kept pulling my attention away from the text. "A Scientific Summary" — Chapter 8, is a brief discussion of classification. I enjoyed this book. It has rather the effect of a kaleidoscope, that is, taking familiar material and rearranging it in such a way as to reveal hidden aspects and new dimensions. Happy "01," and happy reading!
Photos and captions of our Holiday Party and Awards Banquet by Claudia Dickinson I The debonair couple, | Sue and Al Priest, 1 enjoy the evening's S festivities Rosie and Vince Sileo beam with thoughts of | plans for two Dachshund puppies in the spring What a treat to have this treasured couple, Mary Ann and Joe Bugeia, at our Holiday Party!
Roberta and Alison D'Orio share a special mother/daughter moment Vince Sileo with a radiant smile as he proudly displays his richly deserved Author Award certificate
GCAS expert aquarists Marty Silverstein, Warren Feuer, Charley Sabatino and Mark Soberman, It's a family affair with Alison, enjoying the chance to share a Roberta, and Pete D'Orio, who was few fishkeeping techniques. honored with the Gene Baiocco Aquarist of the Year Award. What would a GCAS Holiday Party be without our *STAR* helper, Alison D'Orio? The talented and charming GCAS author, Warren Feuer, dreaming up his next fabulous article, as he pauses to show his winning Author Award raffle prize. 14
GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi sharing an amusing moment with Brad Dickinson ~ about ducks?.... February 2001
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
The GCAS Challenges Our Knowledge and Creativity at the Holiday Celebration! by CLAUDIA DICKINSON he GCAS Holiday Party held at the Palace Diner was truly a wonderful time for all. The room came alive as it filled with friends, laughter, and fun! Members had a chance to spend time socializing and sharing all of those wonderful fishy (and "other") conversations that we can never quite get enough of at our monthly meetings. The evening's attendees were a marvelous group which comprised of: Harry Faustmann, Bill Adams, Rich Levy, Steve Chen, Kin Tung Ha, Sue & Al Priest, Mary Ann & Joe Bugeia, Lenny Ramroop, Marty Silverstein, Warren Feuer, Mark Soberman, Emma & Berek Haus, Anita & Joe Ferdenzi, Linda & Horst Gerber, Bernie Harrigan, Jason Kerner, Charley Sabatino, Vince & Rosie Sileo, Roberta, Alison & Pete D'Orio, Brad & Claudia Dickinson, Tom Miglio, Pat & Susan Coushaine, Joe Grafagnino, and Bob Wranaovics. The Palace Diner served a sumptuous meal, after which our most eloquent President, Joe Ferdenzi, hosted the awards ceremony in his superlative style. Many members were given high honors for their achievements over the past year. These members put in immense time, talent, and efforts throughout the year to earn these awards, and the GCAS is so proud of the recipients. Throughout the evening members tested their skills as eight tables worked in separate teams to complete the GCAS Holiday Quiz. The competition was tough as members pooled their vast knowledge, as well as their creativity and humour, in answering the questions. Some of the queries required ingenuity and skill as there was neither a correct nor incorrect answer, while other questions had a definitive solution. From the various sampling of answers that follow, see where your team lined up with the competition!
(1) Your table is planning on setting up a community aquarium as a joint project. What five species of fish would you plan on housing in the aquarium? a) Angelfish, Neon tetras, Corydoras, Bushy Nose Pleco, Pristella tetras b) Platys, Swordtails, Mollies, Corydoras, Guppies c) Piranah, Arowana, Guppies, Groupers, Goldfish? (*!*) (2) What three varieties of plants would you use in this community setup? a) Java fern, Java Moss, Vallisneria b) Cryptocoryne, Anubias, Hygrophilia c) American Express, Discover, Master Card? (Plastic!) (*!*) (3) Your table is planning a collecting expedition together. To what continent would your journey take you? a) South America b) China c) Antarctica? (*!*) (4) What river or body of water would you first travel to in that continent? a) Amazon b) Huang-Ho (Yellow River) c) The Unfrozen One? (*!*)
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
(5) You are setting up a Lake Tanganyika Aquarium. The water should be: (Multiple Choice) a) Hard, Alkaline ~ correct answer b) Neutral c) Soft, Acidic d) Wet? (*!*) (6) What are four biotopes representative of Lake Tanganyika? a) rocky b) sandy c) shell bed d) planted e) PVC pipes, coconut shells, broken flower pots? (*!*) (7) What special day of the year was GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi born on? a) Christmas Day! (8) November's speaker, Tony Orso, treated us to a program on what type of fish? a) West African Cichlids b) Live Fish? (*!*) (9) What couple each has their own regular column in Modern Aquarium? a) Al & Sue Priest (10) Who pastes all of the photos on the cover of Modern Aquarium by hand? a) Jason Kerner (11) Who does the printing of Modern Aquarium, plus treats us to the informative column "Fun Fish"? a) Bernie Harrigan (12) What are the names of GCAS member Brad Dickinson's two favorite dogs, and what breed are they? a) Wyatt & Effie ~ Pembroke Welsh Corgis b) Chip & Dale ~ King Charles Spaniels? (*!*) c) Dog #1 & Dog #2 ~ Yorkiesl (*!*) (13) What aquatic life, aside from fish, do Treasurer Rosie Sileo and Recording Secretary Vince Sileo have great expertise with? a) Plants b) Amphibians c) Raising lobsters in their bathtub? (*!*) (14) Who is the lovely daughter of Pete and Roberta D'Orio who is always so helpful at our Holiday parties with passing out raffles and prizes? a) Alison! The judges had a most difficult task on hand to decide on a winning table. It was obvious that each team was extremely knowledgeable and when memory lapsed, were able to conjure up creative answers to the difficult questions. After quite some deliberation, the panel of two came forward with their arduous choice. The winner of the infamous GCAS Holiday Quiz was Table #3! Al and Sue Priest were the proud and much deserving winners of two GCAS embroidered patches and a box of seashell chocolates. For their ingenuity and style, the choice for Runner-up was Table #1! Harry Faustmann, Bill Adams and Rich Levy were awarded bags of Goldfish crackers and Jellyfish "Squiggles." As it turned out, all of the teams won, because all of you in the GCAS are the best!
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream (Fish) House by CHARLES KUHNE (Truth or Consequences, NM) ike many of you, I had fish tanks all over the house. There were tanks in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the laundry room, and when I eyed the tops of the bedroom dressers, Shirl said, "either the tanks go, or I go." As I pondered that, a mere moment toooo long, a flying saucer went whistling past my head (this is New Mexico, so it's a common occurrence). At the mention of building a fish room, Shirl, to my surprise, gave an enthusiastic "Yeah!" Of course, to win her approval, I suggested we make it "our hobby room" by building in shelves for her plants, and a nice long cabinet with sink and faucet for her work station. Next — the drawing board. I planned two walls offish tanks with recessed lighting, tile floors so we don't have to worry about spills, a sink for clean-up, a high curved faucet to get buckets under, easy Python® hose hookup for less work in water changes, and cabinets — lots and lots of cabinet space for the tons of miscellaneous stuff we hobbyists keep dangling all over. I wanted everything hidden out of the way, so I designed the angle-iron stands for nine tanks with a plywood facing that looks like brick, with cut-outs for the tanks. The finished product will look like pictures of living fish on the brick lined walls. I wanted a show place for the fish. I breed angelfish: black, black marble, and silver marble. I also have a large variety of swordtails (my first love). I've seen the set-ups of my friends and, like most breeders, I know you need easy access to bare tanks for spawning and rearing the fry. You also need to be able to grab hoses or buckets fast, so they are always about. I understood this, but I also wanted a showplace for planted tanks with all the wires, tubes, and "thing-a-ma-jigs" hidden from view. But that costs money and aggravation. I called four contractors and only one showed up to bid on the job. I gave detailed drawings and a list of specifications to enlarge my 7'x9' screened-in porch to a 9'xl5' area. $15,000? What, are you nuts? It was then Shirl suggested to enclose the carport (15'x225), which already had two sides and a roof. We also would benefit by increasing the space from 135 square feet to 330 square feet. Again, $15,000, but we decided to go ahead. First, the contractor wanted
one half up front before work started, the balance at the end. A month passed and I wondered if my $7,500 went south to Mexico. After a few unanswered phone calls, the contractor showed up early one morning and, without warning, dumped a load of lumber in the driveway. Progress! Weeks passed and after a few more irritated calls from me, his carpenters showed up to frame in the carport. Finally! Real progress! You have to realize the time frames. I spent a winter with the details of the design. I called the contractors in January, then had to redesign for the room change with all new specs. The spring passed, along with my patience, until the contractor got back to me with a price and then he picked up the $7,500 on July 5th. It was August when he dropped off the lumber, and September when his guys arrived to frame in the two sides. It took them a half day and I thought they left for lunch. They must have gone to Europe because they didn't come back again 'til October, the one week I'm out of town on business. Shirl called to tell me they were laying the foundations for the new carport in the middle of the driveway despite her telling them that it didn't look right. I came racing home that evening and she was correct. Four stone slabs stood slightly off center in the middle of the driveway. I called the contractor and left a message on his machine (his answering machine and I became old friends by now), and had to leave immediately — a seven hour round trip to my out-of-town meetings. Sure enough, the contractor came, saw for himself, and had his guys dig them up and redo them. Several weeks before, we traveled to El Paso (200 miles round trip) to pick out floor tiles. My planned estimate was 36 square feet more than the contractor's but I thought he must know what he's doing. Five weeks later when the tile man came in to do the job, he said we were short two boxes of tiles. That's right, you guessed it — another delay. We could not match the tiles, so back to the drawing board to make a south-west design pattern and we bought contrasting tiles to make up the difference.
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
Oh, yes, when they did the framing, I asked, "where's the door?" The workers looked blank, then at the plans, took one of their big saws, and in ten minutes said, "there's your door." The plumbers were another delay. When they came in they used flexible hose to run the water into the sink (which would be installed at some future date). Now that was the time I had been urgently called out of a meeting because we had a flood over our newly laid tiles. Seems our carpenter friends, while putting up the chicken wire base for the stucco, sent nails through the flexible tubing, and the inner walls had to be removed to find out where the leaks were. The windows were five feet wide instead of six feet (a fact I didn't notice until too late). Shirl needed wider shelves for her plants and I also asked if they could place tiles as a splash board over the counter. "Sure," they said. Gee, I thought these guys are very accomodating. The doors on the cabinets didn't look like my plans. There were too many, and they were narrow. Take them off. The problem was buying more of this special brick veneer plywood and matching the bricks. Well, that didn't come out too bad. Just more time. The electrician had his son install the wrong outlets and that had to be redone. The plumber finally came in with the sink, and his helper later put up the piping for the
air hoses/undergravel filters. Naturally, he placed the pipes square across the electrical outlets. I'm still waiting for him to come back to redo them. At last, the final paint was done and everything looked great. The truck arrived from the wholesaler and all nine tanks were delivered in perfect condition. The driver also picked up from a different supplier (as a favor) my 200 gallon pre-formed indoor pond that would go in the corner. The date was January 15th, over a year to complete. Did I mention that when the job was finished, the contractor pulled out a sheet listing all those "little good deeds" his guys did, and totaled up another two grand? That's when I pulled out my little sheet of all the "extras" I paid for, like the tiles. We finally settled on another $1,000. The indoor pond? It's still sitting in the corner...unfilled. Seems I called in a couple of contractors who were supposed to know how to build waterfalls. Ah, but that's another story.
Ed. Note: Charles Kuhne is a former GCAS member who won an award for a Modern Aquarium article he wrote in 1994. This current article came with photos, but unfortunately they did not reproduce well in black and white.
Exchange Editors: Send all mail, including exchange publications, for Modern Aquarium, or for the Greater City Aquarium Society to: Alexander A. Priest % Greater City A.S. 1558 McDonald Street Bronx, NY 10461-2208 To contact us via e-mail, GreaterCity@compuserve.com
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The Northeast Council Of Aquarium Societies by CLAUDIA DICKINSON The Northeast Council's 26th Annual Convention ~ March 23rd ~ 25th! Each year you've been reading about Once my great excitement over the big annual convenyou have tion of the Northeast Council of Aquarium Sociattended an NEC Coneties. Some of you may wonder, "Just what does all of that mean?"; and "That really could not vention, you will never be able to stay home for pertain to me ~ I could never travel that far"; another, as the experience is certain to be an and "Is it really as much fun as she says it is?" unforgettable one! You will enjoy an actionThe Northeast Council of Aquarium packed time, filled with the many fabulous Societies is comprised of seventeen aquarium speakers mentioned, specialized study groups, societies spread out across the northeast from as raffles, a dry goods auction, vendors, book sales, far north as Vermont and New Hampshire, south a sumptuous banquet, and a massive fish and to Connecticut and westward as far as New Jersey. plant auction on Sunday. The most special part The GC AS is one of the seventeen member clubs, of all is the camaraderie you will find amongst and as a member of the GCAS, that automatically fellow hobbyists and friends just like yourself. makes you a member of the NEC! Each year the Last year, the GCAS was out in full NEC hosts a huge gathering which brings together force with attendees including Al and Sue Priest, all of the member clubs, plus many other Vince and Rosie Sileo, Tom and Carol Miglio, hobbyists from across the country. This gathering Warren Feuer, Jason Kerner, Mark Soberman, is held at the Farmington Marriott in Hartford, Seth Kolker, and myself. We do hope you will Connecticut and really is a lovely, short drive make it a point to join in with us this year! For from your home. If the entire weekend is not any assistance or questions that you may have, possible ~ that's not a problem. Choose one day please contact Convention Chair Janine Banks at and travel with a friend, or bring your family. email@example.com or myself. This is sure to be a wonderful outing for you and is certain to satisfy your fishy cravings! Please remember your Conservation One of the highlights of the weekend's Donations for the silent auction of hobby-related activities is the opportunity to hear from worldart and collectibles and rare fish auction to be renown speakers. This year will surely be no held at the annual convention. Your donations, exception. The most recent addition to this no matter how great or small, will go a long way year's incredible featured speakers is Dr. Uwe towards ensuring the positive future of aquatic Roemer from Germany, who will share his wildlife for many generations to come. Please expertise on dwarf cichlids. We will also have contact David Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org; the great privilege of hearing from Lee Finley Rick Geis at 732-969-0658 or myself, with your and Karen Randall speaking on the Amazonian donations. Ecosystem, and Terry Fairfield on fish health. Sally Boggs will give her informative program on For those of us who have fish that we loaches, Jim Gasior will broaden our horizons on would like to donate to a GCAS or member Killifish and Steve Rybicki will share his club's auction, but are unable to travel the long knowledge of Angelfish. Steve Lundblad will distances between clubs, the great idea of an treat us to his vast understanding of the fishes of Auction Relay has been proposed by Long Island Lake Malawi and Greg Schiemer will talk on reef Aquarium Society President, Vinny Krieling. aquariums. The fabulous Chuck Davis will be Vinny would like anyone interested in a drop-off/ hosting the dry goods auction and Wayne Leibel pick-up for their May 6th auction to contact him will give his star performance as Banquet MC. at 516-93 8-4066. For other upcoming auctions of The Aquatic Gardeners Association will member clubs, a call to the NEC delegate of that be back by popular demand with a discussion club just may well be the perfect answer to transgroup on Friday at 2:30 pm. Following the porting your fish there. I have a complete list of AGA, the American Killifish Association will delegates and am happy to assist you with this. hold a discussion group at 4:00 pm. 20
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
Speaking of upcoming auctions, let's take a close look at the NEC Calendar of Events: February llth: Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society Auction. March 4th: Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island Buck-A-Bag Auction/Open House. March llth: Jersey Shore Aquarium Society Open House/Auction.
March 23rd ~ 25th: NEC 26th Annual Convention. April 1st: North Jersey Aquarium Society Auction. April 8th: Exotic Fish Society of Hartford Auction. April 13th: Brooklyn Aquarium Society Marine Event & Auction. April 21st~22nd: Tropical Fish Club of Burlington Show & Auction. April 29th: Monadnock Region Aquarium Club Auction. May 6th: Long Island Aquarium Society Auction. May 18th~20th: Aqua-Land Aquarium Society Show & Auction. July 12th~15th: North Jersey Aquarium Society/American Cichlid Association Convention. Take Care and Have Fun! Claudia
The Federation of American Aquarium Societies by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he deadline and rules for the year 2000 FAAS Publication Awards were announced as January 31, with the prior year's rules remaining in effect. Now, that shouldn't be a problem, as this is the date specified in the current rules. But a few years ago, FAAS changed the publication rules; announced those changes very late; and made them effective for articles and issues written and published before the changes were announced. The changes were such that had some societies done their submissions in advance, they would have had to completely redo them. Ever since, editors have been understandably reluctant to prepare their submissions until they receive final word from FAAS. Several societies were dissatisfied with the fact that the deadline was only a little more than two weeks from the announcement of what rules governed the year 2000 entries.
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
This brings me to another announcement. I recently agreed to serve as FAAS "Delegate Liaison" and Chairman of the Delegates' Committee. As part of my liaison role, I made a request to the Publications Award Chairman for a two week extension. The extension was granted, with the new deadline being February 15. Readers of this periodic column know I have often criticized FAAS for their failure to seek out and act on member society input. I hope this shows a new willingness by FAAS to respond to the legitimate concerns of member societies. I ask Exchange Editors of FAAS member clubs to let their society's President and FAAS Delegate know that an independent (of the FAAS Board) Delegate's Council has been set up by e-mail (email@example.com) to respond to member societies, and to let FAAS know the concerns and opinions of its members. Best of all, /'/ seems to be working!
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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
Of Shrimp and Snails A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"
in -"spite, /of Xjiopui^f^
here is at least one frequent contributor to this magazine who is a staunch advocate of snails. His reasoning seems to be that snails are part of the ecosystems in nature and, since we are trying to duplicate somewhat nature in our aquariums, snails should be a part of it. While this aquarist is extremely skilled (admittedly far more than I), and I otherwise respect and follow his advice, I simply don't like snails in my tank. This aquarist probably truly believes what he says. But, coming from anyone else, it would sound like the gardener who has a field of weeds, and who argues that he intended to cultivate weeds because, hey, weeds are part of the natural ecosystem. While some "snail advocates" say that snails are a sign of a healthy tank, I take the position that if the snails can find enough to survive in my tank, I'm either overfeeding my fish, or under-cleaning the tank. Nonetheless, there are snails in some of my tanks, despite my best efforts to keep them out. I will not put plants from my "contaminated" tanks (that is, my tanks that have snails) into an "uncontaminated" tank. I take care to not use a net in an uncontaminated tank if it was just used in a contaminated tank. While, up to now, I have been able to keep my tank contamination level stable, I have been upset that I allowed it to spread to more than one tank after I first discovered it. If this has happened to you, you should know you are not alone. A CNN report on January 5, 2001 titled "Killer Shrimp Stalks Waterways of California Aquarium" stated: "The SplashZone, a normally tranquil children's section at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has become the scene of underwater carnage at the claws of a killer shrimp."
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
"Prized sea snails, barnacles and hermit crabs have been reduced to piles of broken shells by the lightning-quick claws of a single mantis shrimp â€” a voracious, salt-water scourge that for months has eluded captors and reduced a coral reef exhibit to a killing field." It seems that mantis shrimp, which are known for their fast and powerful claws (and have been called "thumb-splitters" for their ability to do just that to an unwary skin diver or aquarist), invaded the 1,300-gallon tank last April, probably hidden in a shipment of rocks from Florida. The way I see it, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is facing the same problems with mantis shrimp that I am facing with snails. The Monterey Bay Aquarium could introduce shrimp-eating fish, but they are concerned that such fish would also eat the hermit crabs and snails that are part of the exhibit. (Yes, they want snails in their exhibit, and if my tank were 1,300 gallons, I might not mind a snail or two, either.) For my part, I could introduce Clown Loaches, but clown loaches are not compatible with the water parameters in some of my "contaminated" tanks, and grow very large (albeit very slowly) so that they would eventually have to be removed from all but my largest tanks. Then, too, after the snails are gone, I'm left with nice fish that I really didn't want to keep in the first place, that I have to either give away, or start feeding and caring for. The Monterey Bay Aquarium could use box traps to capture mantis shrimp. Even though there are traps specially designed for mantis shrimp, the aquarium is concerned that such traps may also kill the fish in the tank. I could use certain chemical products specifically sold for the elimination of snails, but if those chemicals are deadly to one form of life, I'm not willing to bet the lives of my fish that the deadly effect of the chemicals will be limited only to snails. I have not decided to give up and start telling everyone that the snails in my tanks are there because I want them to be there. I have plans for my most snail infested tank that involve removing all plants, soaking them in anti-snail chemicals for several days, and removing all the gravel and boiling it. The problem is that this tank is heavily planted, this project would take a lot of time and work, and I have to figure out how to do this without causing undue stress to the fish. I will get to it eventually. (How many times have you sung that song when it comes to major aquarium projects?) For now, I'm just content to believe that the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I share common problems.
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G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Coming Events: April 4, 2001 - Annual GCAS "Silent Auction" Start looking over your equipment for working but unused items you can convert into some highly useable cash! May 2, 2001 - Noted columnist Karen Randall (Boston Aquarium Society) will be visiting us to talk about "The Planted Aquarium." This is a special event, so help us spread the word! June 6, 2001 - Skilled aquarist Sa],,:Si:lVestri (Norwalk ^:4ti:arium,,ยงpciety) will be speaking on "Apistogramma: The Di|nj^utive:::Fish Filled A$5th E^auty and Charm.'^^^other featured speaker on a topic of inter^tb many of..gj|? membe||;i^it|i|iitl|^I|ยงgep:il|ian the::%h!).
There was nglBowl^Egjv last month. September 2000 - June 2001 Season J)$Pat CousJSSine - 18 points 2) Eric.A^j^E^P Ji^S) Al & Sue Priest - 3 points 4) Dq^gfii^^ Epre ar^jineetihg times and locations of
GR|^TER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIEpf Next Meeting: March 7, 2001 ...;jp::' Spiitlf: Craig Morfitt ^^ ^m ' s (President, Bermuda Fi7^|gl|;|yiet|) ol;j|||lving Deeper into Lake;%|lawi"xf 8pm: Queens Botanical Garden ^Illir ., ; :,: Cillliit: Mr. Joseph Telephone: (718) 7^ . com
Aquarium : February 9, 2001 "^iP^ Andrew Baker Aquarium) speaJahg ^Reef Aquariiifn-w N . Y. St., Brooklyn, NY Hotline 837-4455
C::illl Bif%j|j|:i(B Gupp^ejpb
8:00 P.M. - 3rdj|||url|iy"'g|pch.: at the Mr.
1st Thursday of each Garden iilionth ||^| Baudier ntact| :|i||p!i|eorge' ' Long Island |^gitoriuni Meets: H^^.M.' month a t Hc3|syille p ; Buckley Rd. Hol%me, NY Contact: Mr. Telephone: (516)
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Tueยง|p|:of each M. .Jifiule Post 3211 107, Hicpille, NY
North Jersey Aquarium Society
Norwalk Aquarium Society
Meets: 8PM - 3rd Thursday of the month at the American Legion Hall, Nutley, NJ (exit 151 Garden State Pkwy., near Rt. 3) Contact: NJAS Hotline at (201) 332-4415 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the Nature Center for Environmental Activities, Westport, CT Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253
Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)
February 2001 volume VIII number 2