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MARCH 2001

volume VIII number 3

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York



Series III

Vol. VIII, No. 3

March, 2001

FEATURES illlliliiiilp ^^


Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


My Favorite Tank - #71



This Month's Scheduled Speaker | | l | i


A Biography of Craig Morfitt


Second Sight (Reprint Column) "Pretty As A Peacock" . . . Looking Through The Lens


NEC Delegate's Report


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Fun Fish (Red Lizard Cat)


Labels As Literature


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


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lilliiiilllll^ 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/greatercity


ur President, Joe Ferdenzi, suggested I reprint in Modern Aquarium an article that has been reprinted by many society publications. Basically, it's a list of suggested topics for articles. I'd like to try something a bit different. I'm going to give you a list of questions. Answer the questions, and you've written an article. The best articles are those that contain some of your own experiences, good or bad. We all make mistakes, and we can all learn from those mistakes. It is certainly not an indication that one is a poor fishkeeper to admit mistakes so others can avoid making those same mistakes in the future. In fact, one of the best articles we ever ran (and which even won an award from the NEC) detailed the trial and error mistakes and successes of one of the foremost experts in the world today, Dr. Paul Loiselle ("If At First You Don't Succeed" in our June 1995 issue). If he can admit to making a mistake, and learning from it, so can all of us. This month's questions will be for those writing a breeding article. (Questions for other types of articles will be printed in future issues of this column.) Let's say you look into one of your tanks and find that you have a breeding (congratulations!). Just sit down with a pad and pen and answer each of the following questions: o When, and from where, did you acquire these fish? o What do the adult fish look like (size of both parents, color, fins, markings, etc.)? o What do the fry look like (size, color, appearance as compared to the parents)? o What have you been feeding them? o If you noticed eggs, how big were the eggs, what color, and where were they deposited?


March 2001

o Did you notice any physical or behavioral changes in the parents before or after the spawning (color change, territoriality, fin flaring, swelling of the buccal cavity, etc.)? o How long were the parents in that particular tank before they spawned? o Did you notice any parental guarding of the eggs or of the spawning site? o Did you notice any preparation of a spawning site (cleaning a rock or leaf, building a bubble or leaf nest, moving rocks, shells, plants, etc.)? If so, describe it. o Did you witness any "courting ritual?" If so, describe it. o What does the tank look like (substrate used, decorations, rocks, caves, driftwood, plants, physical size, lighting, etc.)? o Are there any other fish of the same or other species in that tank (if so, what are they)? o When was that tank's last water change and approximately what percent of the water did you remove at that time? o What is the temperature, pH, and hardness of the water in that tank? o What type of filter and filter medium are you using in that tank? o Did you take the fry out, or leave them with the parents? Why, and did that turn out to be a wise choice? o Was there any parental care of the fry (if so, which parent, or was it both)? o What did you feed the fry? o Did you notice any predation (parents eating the fry, or fry eating each other)? o What does (pick a book or fish atlas) say about these fish? Compare this to your own experience. o What is the native habitat of these fish (consult that book or atlas, and be sure to indicate which book or books you consulted)? o What is the normal temperament of these fish (aggressive, hiding, schooling, solitary, nocturnal, etc.)? Answer each question, if only very briefly, and you will have a very good breeding article. That's all there is to it. While you can add more information (more is better), you don't have to. In the next few months, I'll give you checklists for other kinds of articles. Then, maybe, I'll give you my own list of possible topics. It's my guess that if you just answer the questions above (and those I'll give you in the next few months), you won't need a list.

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

President's Message

by JOSEPH FERDENZI hat is the future of our hobby? Frankly, I'm concerned because I don't think that enough of us patronize our local specialty shops. If these shops cannot stay in business, much of what we take for granted now will be lost. Do you really think that the temporary, low wage employee at "Gargantuan Pet Shop Bargains" knows whether Aequidens metae is compatible with Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps (or even what they are, much less pronounce their names)? Is there anyone in such a store who can really help you with your aquarium problems and questions? Have you visited these large, unspecialized stores? Their aquatic life is usually in pitiful condition. What do these stores offer? Not much, I suppose, judging also from the fact that many have consolidated their operations or gone out of business altogether. What stops us from going to our local specialty shops? There is the advent of mail-order and internet stores. They have really low prices for aquarium equipment. But, buying everything that way is not really wise. Granted, sometimes the item you want is not carried and won't be ordered by your local shop. If that's


the case, so be it. Have you ever ordered an item by mail, only to receive the wrong item or a damaged item? Great, you saved $5 on the item, and got $20 worth of aggravation. But, let's say the item arrives intact, but malfunctions 30 days later. Who 'ya gonna' call? Who are you going to show the item to for advice on what went wrong or how to fix it? Oh, you have enough chutzpah (if you don't recognize this word, you're not from New York City) to bring it to your local pet shop under the guise that you bought it there? Do you think these people are that stupid? Every one of the advertisers in this magazine deserves your support. Pop in on them. Let them know you saw their ad in this magazine. It benefits us and makes them feel good. If you need any encouragement to visit them, I suggest you read Claudia Dickinson's wonderfully original series "Collecting with Claudia," the first installment of which appeared in the February 2001 issue of this magazine. One of our loyal advertisers went out of business last year. This business had been around for decades. It was a store dedicated to the aquarium hobby. Apparently, WE weren't as dedicated as we should have been. * # # The membership turnout at the February meeting was phenomenal. It was gratifying to see so many of you on a cold, wintry night. It certainly made my day. It was doubly gratifying because the advertised program was an in-house presentation (i.e., the speakers were all GCAS members). Just goes to show you, a good program will draw people as well as some "big name" speakers, but at considerable savings for the club treasury. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not thank my co-panelists, Mark Soberman and Tom Miglio, and our program presenters, Brad and Claudia Dickinson, for making it an all-around memorable evening.

Notice Because Greater City meets in a ^public building,^' we are required to comply with yariou and safety laws and regulations. So, this is :- ; lEI- : -MZWKWM 1) There is NO SMOKllNG permitted anywhere within tiris building; and 2) Drinking alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited on these premises; Your cooperation will help make it possible for us to continue to mee^

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

March 2001

My Favorite Tank: A Series Part 3 - Tank #71 by JOSEPH FERDENZI he idea for this tank began with the fact that one of my fish was producing many fry, but I wanted even more. Naturally, that meant setting up another aquarium to facilitate the breeding of more of these fish. But, since I already had a breeding tank that was rather utilitarian (translation: not that pretty), 1 decided that this next tank would also be attractively landscaped. (At this point, you may be wondering what fish I'm writing about. Don't worry, we'll get to that later.) The tank I chose for this project is commonly referred to as a 20 Long — this means it holds approximately 20 gallons of water, and is about 30 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 13 inches tall. These dimensions make for a very good all-purpose tank unless you plan on keeping very high bodied fish such as Angelfish or Discus. With a 21A foot length, a 20 Long leaves a lot of room Julidochromis ornatus for aquascaping. The first thing I place on a tank is a background on the outside. It not only hides unsightly wires and tubes, but is a kind of backdrop against which you "paint" your acquascape. Therefore, this tank was no exception. And, once again, I resorted to one of my favorite materials: a black plastic garbage bag. The bag is taped to the back, and then trimmed with a scissor or razor. The substrate for this tank is a two inch layer of regular #3 natural quartz gravel mixed in equal parts with similar size dolomite gravel. The dolomitic part imparts alkalinity to the water and keeps the pH from becoming too acidic for our future occupants. The substrate also serves as the rooting bed for the plants that are to become an integral part of the aquascape. Because the fish that were to inhabit this tank live in rock-filled biotopes in nature, it was necessary to incorporate this element into the aquarium. However, I chose not to use normal rocks, but one of my favorite aquarium


decorations: petrified wood. I assembled some six to seven assorted pieces in the center of the aquarium, starting with the larger pieces on the bottom, and then working my way up in a loosely pyramidal fashion. Most petrified wood pieces are roughly rectangular or square, and are relatively easy to stack. Just make sure that you push the foundation pieces as deep into the gravel as possible so that, if your fish decide to do any gravel excavation, you won't have a sudden collapse of your petrified wood pyramid. Also, remember to leave spaces in between your foundation pieces so that there will be caves for the fish to use as hiding and breeding locations. This pyramid of petrified wood should only take up about one third of the floor space, leaving equal empty space on the left and right. The filtration for this tank is very simple and basic. It consists of two box photo by J. Ferdenzi filters — one placed in each back corner of the tank. The box filters are filled with a "sandwich" consisting of dolomitic gravel between layers of polyester floss. The dolomite helps to buffer the water, keeping it on the alkaline side. The floss traps particulate matter and helps keep the pores of the dolomite clean. All the materials provide a base for beneficial aerobic bacterial action (biological filtration). Box filters are economical, efficient, and versatile. Some fish keepers do not like them because they take up space inside the tank and are unesthetic. In a tank as large as a 20 Long, the space taken up by two small box filters is not much of an issue. As for the esthetics, this is an easily resolved problem. One box filter is obscured by the strategic placement of a large piece of petrified wood in front of it, and the other filter is largely hidden from view by the dense growth of plants that grew in this tank (see cover photo). The only other piece of inside equipment is a heater. I use a 75W heater, but a 100W is

March 2001

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

O.K. also. Don't use anything higher — if it leaves exceed the height of the water they just "sticks" in the on position, you'll get fish soup, flop onto the surface. but not the appetizing kind. A 50W heater is a I started out with about six health tad too weak for 20 gallons. The final equipment specimens. These I planted individually, a few component is a reflector housing a fluorescent inches apart from each other — half on one side bulb. of the petrified wood pyramid, and half on the Next, the tank is planted. In keeping other. The Italian Val reproduces vigorously by with muy general philospohy of aquascaping, I means of runners that give rise to new plants. decided to use only Keep the lights on for one species of plant. about 12 to 14 hours a Small tanks (defined day. Soon you will for these purposes as begin to see little anything under 30 plantlets. My tank is gallons) benefit from now covered in these not having too many beautiful plants. I design elements in don't use fertilizers, their aquascape — too and I don't use CO2 many kinds of rocks, injection. They don't too many kinds of need it. Once in a driftwood, too many while, I thin out the varieties of plants — it "bed" and bring the just begins to look like extras to our monthly the jumbled mess you club auction (and they find in most toy usually command a lot chests. Hence, you of bidding interest). will note that I have Finally, we photo by William T. Innes get to the fish. The only used petrified Vallisneria spiralis wood in this tank, and fish for which this not, for example, lava rock or slate mixed tank was designed is a Lake Tanganyikan cichlid, together. Julidochromis ornatus. Some of you may In keeping with the alkaline water that express surprise that an African Rift Lake cichlid I was using (more about the water later), I chose can be compatible with rooted plants. However, a plant that would flourish when the pH is 7.0 or I assure you that ornatus and Vallisneria are very higher. It is an "old" standby of the aquarium much compatible. The ornatus are true dwarfs hobby, although it is not always seen in today's — they rarely exceed 2V£ inches in length and, aquarium shops. (When I started in the hobby in unlike some other cichlids, they are not relentless the late 1960s, virtually every store carried it, diggers. Therefore, they do not uproot the plants. along with live daphnia, which no shop has Nor do they munch on the leaves. They are today either — O.K., that's a story for another beautiful fish. They are not rare, and are day.) The plant is Vallisneria spiralis, commonly sometimes available in stores, and almost always called Italian Val (NO, I'm not making that up from specialty breeders. (They are not expensive. just because my last name is Ferdenzi, but the A one inch fish usually sells for $3 to $10 dollars genus is named after an Italian botanist, and this depending on the source.) species was originally distributed throughout J. ornatus have a torpedo-like body Southern Europe). If you can't find it in a shape, with a long but low dorsal fin. Their store, joining a fish club will help. body is colored a bright canary yellow, Italian Val, like most Vallisneria, is a transversed by chocolate brown horizontal bars. robust plant that sends out long, ribbon-like Their fins combine those two colors, with the leaves from a center crown. Italian Val has dark dorsal fin slightly edged in sky blue. They are green leaves, and requires only moderate light for territorial, but not nasty. I do not keep other fish good growth. In this tank, the top-mounted with them because I sometimes prefer a one reflector uses a 20W fluorescent bulb to provide species tank — less things can go wrong. the light. Most commercial brands of bulbs will J. ornatus do not require any special do. You do not need a special plant bulb. care other than a slight adjustment of the water to Italian Val will grow much taller than the 13 keep it on the alkaline side. They thrive on inches in height that a 20 Long provides. commercially prepared foods, such as flakes and However, this is not a problem because when the pellets. They almost never get sick (in 20 years, Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

March 2001

I've never seen one case of Ich, for example), and they easily live in excess of 10 years. The only modification you need to make to standard "community" aquarium techniques is to add some salt and baking soda to their water. You can use most any kind of non-iodized salt, but I recommend either Kosher salt or marine salt. Add one teaspoon of salt for every three gallons of water, and one teaspoon of baking soda for every five gallons. Remember to make proportionate additions of these two substances when you make partial water changes (two gallons a week is a sufficient water change unless

you have overloaded your tank or overfed your fish). My ornatus have spawned in this tank, and young can be seen here and there among the stones and the plants. The entire set-up looks very natural, and it is a pleasure to observe the fish swimming in this interesting aquascape. The tremendous growth of the Vallisneria has resulted in an almost algae free tank that is easy to maintain as well. Easy and beautiful — isn't that what you want in a tank?

Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies 26th Annual Convention MARCH 23-25,2001 HARTFORD MARRIOTT HOTEL, FAHMINGTON, CT Exit 37 off 1-84, West of Hartford in Farm Springs Office Park

An Educational & Social Event Open To All For the past 25 years, the NEC has hosted a convention open to all those interested in furthering their knowledge of the hobby. Anyone from anywhere may attend and we are pleased to have people from all over the United States and Canada coming each year. Although we have had particular focuses in the recent past, our convention does not generally focus on a particular type of fish as we try to appeal to as many hobbyists as possible. Our goals have always been to ensure everyone has a great time, meets their fellow hobbyists and leaves knowing more about fishkeeping than they did when they arrived. The NEC hosts the longest running general tropical fish convention in the USA; it has been 25 years of Fins, Friends and Fun. We hope you can join us for our 26th annual event. Our convention is held in Farmington, Connecticut. New York City and Boston, Massachusetts are about 2 hours away. There are malls, historical sites, aquariums and other points of interest within a reasonable distance from the hotel. The hotel itself boasts an exercise room, indoor pool & hot tub, bar and gift shop. The hotel's Village Green Restaurant breakfast buffet is renowned and draws people from all over the area. We are pleased to have such a great facility at which to hold our convention; the service is A-1 and the food is superb. We hope you can join us this year. -Friday night dry goods auction selling manufacturers donations of new products, foods, filters and other hobby-related equipment. Chuck Davis will be the auctioneer (entertainer)! -Collectibles Auction benefiting the American Cichlid Association's Paul V. Loiselle Conservation Fund -Giant Fish and Plant Auction all day Sunday beginning at 11:OOam. For registration AND hotel information: Janine & David Banks dbanks@together.net Karl & Debbie Chadbourne chadlink4@snet.net, Penny Faul apfaul@iuno.com or Aline Finley lfinleg@loa.com

March 2001

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

Our scheduled speaker this month:


Craig Morfitt Speaking on: "Delving Deeper into Lake Malawi" Bio by CLAUDIA DICKINSON he young, spry police officer sent a cheerful greeting across the pizza parlor to several friends that had all converged for their afternoon repast, and then turned to make his selection. "What will it be today Craig, the usual?" heartily sung out the short, stocky gentleman from behind the pizza counter, his eyes dancing in merriment from his round, shiny face. Upon placing his order, Craig stepped outside to wait for his lunch, wisps of the delicious aroma of pizza trailing after him. The sun's rays flooded over him in the comfortable warmth of the Bermuda air, and his thoughts drifted back to the cold, damp years growing up in England. At the age of 25, Craig was trudging the streets through the snow on a bleak, dreary day in 1984, making the rounds of his police beat in Sheffield, England. Pulling his snow-caked muffler up around his ears, and hunching his lean shoulders together, Craig did his best to retain what warmth he could under his uniform jacket. Through icy lashes, his eyes caught sight of a sign posted, with an ad asking for police officers in Bermuda. Well, it didn't take Craig long to make his move! Glancing at his watch, Craig saw that he had a few more minutes before his pizza would be ready, and so he strolled over to the aquarium shop across the street. As he pulled open the door, he was immediately taken by the long rows of tanks, their beautiful inhabitants bringing the room to life in a vibrant display of motion, filled with vivid splashes of color. An hour later, pizza long forgotten, Craig left the shop with a 25gallon tank tucked under one arm, and books and equipment to begin his venture under the other. Craig filled his first tank with whatever he saw that took his fancy, from Tetras to Catfish to Livebearers. Living in an apartment, one more tank of 45 gallons would follow. It wouldn't be until Craig moved to his current home in the parish of Devonshire, Bermuda, that he was able to expand his collection of tanks and fish. Craig presently maintains twenty tanks, the largest is 180 gallons and is the focal point of the living room. The remainder of the tanks range from 65


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

gallons on down to 2J/2 gallons. These aquariums line the walls of the Morfitt's family room, where one tiny corner is left for Craig's wife, Bev, to have a sewing area. Although he enjoys many fish, Craig's main love is the Cichlid family, from African Rift Lake Cichlids to South and Central American Cichlids. Craig also enjoys many species of Catfish. Craig is very involved in the organized aspect of the hobby, and in 1989 formed the Bermuda Fry-Angle Society, of which he served ten years as President from 1989 ~ 1999. He also has been creator and Editor of the society's publication, Fish Tales, since 1992. Craig has just completed his last issue as Editor of the newsletter, and at this time will let this position go onto another member, as he is now returning to his role as President. Craig has been a member of the American Cichlid Association since 1990, traveling to the United States for five of the organization's annual conventions. He now serves on the Board of Trustees of the ACA. An avid writer, Craig authored the article "Lake Tanganyika and its Diverse Cichlids," which was originally published in Fish Tales in January of 1998. This article went on to be reprinted in the Buntbarsche Bulletin of the ACA in December of 1999, where Craig was honored with the American Cichlid Association's "Excellency for Writing Award" for the year. In the GCAS March 2000 issue of Modern Aquarium, this article was chosen as the reprint for the column "Second Sight." Craig has also been recognized with awards for his articles on several occasions by the Federation of American Aquarium Societies. Highly accomplished in breeding as well as showing fish, Craig has won numerous awards in both of these categories. He has been named "Breeder of the Year" by the Bermuda Fry-Angle Society, and reached the Advanced Breeder level in the Breeder Award Program. Craig's Aulonocara sp. flavescent usisya (Peacock Cichlid) won Best in Show for four consecutive years at the Bermuda Fry-Angle Society Tropical

March 2001

Fish Show from 1994-1997. When he is not showing at an event, Craig is a noted judge. Highly sought after as a speaker, Craig has had many speaking engagements in Bermuda. He has been our guest at the Greater City Aquarium Society, speaking on "Fishkeeping Bermuda Style." Craig has also done presentations at the Long Island Killiflsh Association and the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers Association. Collecting trips have taken Craig to the Amazon region of Peru in 1995, and Zambia and Malawi, Africa in 1999. Craig has literally just stepped off the plane from Mexico, where he has been seeking out Central American Cichlids and whatever else may have entered his net! Craig's lovely wife, Bev, is most proud and supportive of Craig's hobby, and has taken

an interest in the 10-gallon tank in her office where she enjoys her guppies. Bev accompanies Craig on many of his convention travels. Craig and Bev have two daughters, Whitney, age fifteen, and Courtney, age ten. Whitney's greatest interest at present is boys! Courtney is just "animal crazy" and has her very own 20-gallon and 5-gallon tanks. She shows her fish, doing well with her Pseudotropheus demasoni and has beautiful thriving aquatic plants. The family shares the love of Kelly, their Dalmation. A most genuine and caring individual, who embraces a wealth of information, which he shares most readily with fellow hobbyists, we are most proud and honoured to have as our returning guest tonight, Craig Morfitt! A



Mark Rubanow 205 8th Street, Hicksville, NY 11801 (516) 939-0267 or (516) 646-8699 (beeper) morgansfin@aol. com nassaudiscus@aol.com

March 2001

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

econd Reprints deserving a second look Selected by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST his month our scheduled speaker is Craig Morfitt from the Bermuda Fry Angle Aquarium Society. Exactly a year ago, in the March 2000 issue of Modern Aquarium, we featured an article by Craig titled "Lake Tanganyika and its Diverse Cichlids," which won for Craig the American Cichlid Association's "ACA Excellence in Writing" award for 1999. So, since Craig is honoring us with his presence again with a talk on Lake Malawi cichlids, it is appropriate that we reprint another one of his excellent articles on cichlids — and from Lake Malawi, at that!


PRETTY AS A PEACOCK Copadichromis borleyi Namalenje by Craig Morfitt (BFAAS) Copadichromis borleyi is a very attractive cichlid from Lake Malawi. It is, without doubt, as pretty as any of the Aulonocara "Peacock" species that are probably more well known in the hobby. This article will look at this species and its natural habitat, how I have kept it in captivity, and the resulting spawns. Copadichromis borleyi (there is no common name) is one of the Utaka, or open water cichlids that inhabit Lake Malawi, one of the great Rift Lakes of Eastern Africa. It has a fairly wide range and is usually found above underwater reefs (Staeck, p. 39). Utaka are primarily plankton feeders and occur in huge numbers. This means that they can be caught in bulk by the African fishermen so, despite their small size, they represent an important food source for the local inhabitants (Staeck, p. 37). The maximum size of C. borleyi is 16cm (roughly 6 inches) for males and 13 cm for females (Konings (1), p. 116). Its sedentary behaviour restricts it to the rocky shores and this has resulted in the evolution of many geographical races. The most obvious of the differences involves the colouration of the males but some of the races show differences in the spots on the flanks (Konings (2), p. 313). Whilst the norm tends to be three spots along the flank, some species have less, or none at all. In the wild, territorial males defend spawning sites alongside large boulders and spawning usually

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

takes place against the vertical face (Konings (2), p. 314). In the races that inhabit water deeper than 12 metres, the males have elongated pelvic fins. The fins are shorter where the water is shallower (Konings (1), p. 116). These elongated pelvic fins are generally white to bluish on the anterior edge and, in older males, can reach the back edge of the anal fin (Baensch, p. 894). In contrast to the bright colours of the males, females tend to be a plain grey colour. The race of borleyi that I have is not featured in any of my books. The male Copadichromis borleyi Namalenje is very attractive. The whole of the head is a metallic blue, reaching back past the gill plates. This same metallic blue extends along the full length of the fish to the tail, in the top quarter of the body. The rest of the body is a golden, honey yellow. The yellow colouring extends into the anal fin which also features a dark band and light coloured egg-spots. The dorsal fin has a white band running along the upper edge. The pelvic fins are white and extended. The female is grey in colour with a golden yellow anal fin. As the name suggests, this race is found at Namalenje Island which is situated off the western (Malawi) coast of the lake near to Senga Point. It is the nearest island to Kambiri Point, home of Stuart Grant. I had the pleasure of visiting Namalenje Island and snorkeling in its waters, during my

March 2001

visit to Lake Malawi in October 1999. The remaining pair pulled through and made a full island itself is home to hundreds, if not recovery. I consider myself lucky that I didn't thousands, of cormorants. These fish-eating birds end up with two males or two females! are now a protected species and they seem to I had the pair in a bare ten-gallon tank thrive on the local cichlids. All of the rocks that and it wasn't long before the male began to protrude above the lake surface are white, the harass the female. I placed an upturned plant-pot result of thousands of bird droppings over the into the tank that really solved the problem. The years. This blanket coating of bird droppings is pot has a 4 inch diameter top. I cut a 1 inch by not confined to the 1 inch square hole rocks. Much of into the top edge the vegetation on and then placed it Namalenje Island upside-down in the is equally coated, tank. This created as I found out on a effect. ^W^*:ijHP!VÂŤ^ftÂť an igloo A/onoa/en/e /stand -f^'S?^|^^ :: :T~- r "~;^r: ^\p of Lake Malawi showing heat ion of Namalenje island short hike up the The one square Kambirt Point steep edge of the inch hole (now at the bottom) was island to take photographs. large enough to Fortunately, it allow access to the washed off easily once I returned to the water! female but the male was too large to follow. The The snorkeling around Namalenje is excellent, female is about 3 inches total length whilst the male is approaching 5 inches. The female spends with a wide variety of cichlids to be seen. much of her time inside her "igloo" away from I did not catch my own borleyi at the attention of the male. She comes out to feed Namalenje. I found them in the vats at Stuart but retreats when the male gets to be a nuisance. Grant's fish collecting and exporting facility, The tank is filtered by a double Tetra where I spent the week. At least two or three of Brilliant sponge the concrete vats filter and is heated were holding to a temperature of borleyi Namalenje 80 degrees F. I and they were one perform 50% water of the most changes every two visually striking weeks and I add species that I saw baking soda and there. When a net Sea-Chem Cichiid full of these adult Lake Salt to the fish were pulled make-up water at a out of the vat for rate of 1 teaspoon inspection they each per 5 gallons. s h o n e The water has a magnificently in pH of 8.4, Total the sunlight. of the concrete vats at Stuart Grant's cichiid facility, Kambiri Point, Malawi. Alkalinity of 180 Hand-held fish Some The wild-caught cichlids are held here pending shipment around the world. ppm, and Total d i s p l a y t h e i r Photo by Craig Morfitt. Hardness of 90 colours more ppm. Feeding is primarily flake food, but also brightly than when viewed through water and includes a home-made frozen food consisting these borleyi were simply stunning. I knew as primarily of shrimps and peas. soon as 1 saw them that I had to bring some On 19th January 2000,1 noticed that the home with me. female was not leaving her "igloo" to feed. I brought home a "bag" of these borleyi When she poked her head out of the opening I that consisted of two males and three females. noticed that her throat had a slight bulge. This Unfortunately, during the long journey from was not the obvious bulge exhibited by some Malawi to Bermuda, two of the fish had died in mouth-brooding cichlids and could easily have the bag. The remaining two males and single gone un-noticed in a community of these cichlids. female were gasping badly and didn't look as However, the combination of the slight bulge and though they would last long. They were placed cessation of feeding indicated that the pair had in a tank with clean water and by the next day spawned and that she was holding eggs in her another of the males succumbed. Fortunately, the 10

March 2001

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

buccal cavity. The female released the fry on 12th January but kept most of them inside the "igloo" with her. Three of the fry were eager to see the world and tipped me off to their release. Two days later, mother allowed the whole brood out of the pot and I estimated there to be between 20 - 30 fry. This was remarkable considering the slight nature of the bulge in the female's throat. The fry were perhaps a quarter of an inch long at release. I left the pair with the fry for about one week after which I moved the pair to another tank, leaving the fry alone to grow out. The parents had not shown any indication of harming the fry but I wanted to be careful with this first spawn. The fry were fed crushed flake food which they took to readily. Now, three months later, they are over one inch in length. I dare say that more frequent feedings and a diet of brine shrimp would have resulted in a more rapid growth rate. On 1st April, 2000, I again noticed that the female had not been eating for a couple of days. Once again, the bulge in her throat was barely noticeable as she popped her head out of the protection of her "igloo." The fry were released on 22nd April. I observed the male chase a couple of the fry shortly after their release. Worried that he might eat them, I placed a divider in the tank, separating him from the female and fry. My fears were unfounded. By the next day, fry had made their way into his side of the divided tank and he was ignoring them. I have left the fry in the tank with both parents and all are doing well. I consider the "igloo" cave to be a major factor in the successful spawning of these fish in the small confines of a ten-gallon tank. Without it, the female would surely have been constantly harassed by the male, perhaps to the point of death. With the "igloo" in place, the female can avoid the male until she is ready to spawn. Then, after successfully spawning, she can again avoid the male until she has regained her strength and conditioning.

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

In a larger tank, with plenty of hiding places and a larger group of fish, the igloo pot probably wouldn't be necessary. Those hobbyists who like their fishes to be as pretty as a peacock should certainly give Coadichromis borleyi Namalenje a try. Its dazzling good looks and ease of spawning should make it a real favourite.

References: Baensch, Hans A. and Dr. Rudiger Riehl. 1993. Aquarium Atlas 2. Tetra Press, Morris Plains, NJ. Konings, Ad. 1990. Cichlids and all the other Fishes of Lake Malawi. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. Konings, Ad. 1995. Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat. Cichlid Press, Germany. Staeck, Dr. Wolfgang and Horst Linke. 1994. African Cichlids II - Cichlids from Eastern Africa. Tetra Press, Melle, Germany.

This article may be re-printed by not-for-profit newsletters PROVIDED that a copy of the publication is mailed to the author at PO Box WK 272, Warwick WK BX, Bermuda.

Downloaded from Craig Morfill's website: http://www.morefish.com No changes were made to British spellings of words such as behaviour, colour, colouration, favourite, and metres to conform them to Standard American English.

March 2001


Photos and captions of our February meeting by Claudia Dickinson

After distributing another winning issue of Modern Aquarium to the membership, Editor Al Priest is able to take a moment to think about fish....or | is he already planning next I month's publication?

Marty Silverstein is looking positively dapper, sporting his new GCAS cap!

Happy to unwind after a hard day's work, Carlotti DeJager is ready to enjoy the evening with her GCAS fishy friends

Winner of the evening's Door Prize, Vice President Mark Soberman is thrilled to receive a book that he actually doesn't already have in his extensive collection!

More recent member, Joseph Peterson, has fast become a part of the GCAS family!

Al Grusell is a delight to have as a part of the GCAS, and it is always a pleasure to share the evening's fishy festivities with him!


March 2001

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

Moderator Brad Dickinson is caught up with the panel's theories on raising fry. He'll surely be passing along a few pointers to his wife, Claudia, on their drive home to Montauk after the meeting. (*! *)

On your next visit to Cameo Pet Shop, you'll be treated to the beaming smile and knowledgeable assistance of GCAS member, Steve Miller.

Pete D'Orio can finally relax for a moment ~ until we need him for an extension cord or the coffee maker orabucket or airline tubing When the great minds of President Joe Ferdenzi (center) and Doug and Don Curtin meet, one would do well to stand near by and soak in some valuable aquatic plant raising techniques.

Expert panelists Vice President Mark Soberman (left), President Joe Ferdenzi (center), and Tom Miglio (right) share a hilarious moment with the audience, as Tom answers a query on spawning a difficult species.

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

March 2001


News From:

The Northeast Council Of Aquarium Societies by CLAUDIA DICKINSON s your fishkeeping passion the Cichlids of Lake Malawi? Do you have tanks that are vibrantly alive, flashing the bright colors of Aulonocara, Pseudotropheus andLabidochromis? Are you longing to learn more on keeping, breeding and raising these fish? Would you love to locate that difficult to find species to add to your collection, or choose the right Malawi Cichlid to begin the fulfillment of your dreams to have a Rift Lake tank? Well, this is your chance! On Friday, March 23rd, 2001 at 7:00 ~ 8:15 PM, Steve Lundblad, the world-renowned authority on African Rift Lake Cichlids, will be speaking at the NEC 26th Annual Convention at the Hartford Marriott, in Farmington, Connecticut. Do you fantasize about having the most beautiful pond right outside of your kitchen window? The lush growth of reeds, gently rustling in the summer breeze, bending their heads over the lovely, delicate water lilies and other aquatic vegetation. Frogs sending their joyful songs across the banks and dragonflies flirting with the water's edge. The surface breaking as fish leap up for their morning repast, disappearing as magically as they appeared, leaving behind only a circle of soft ripples that echo the peace that resides there. The soft brush strokes on Nature's canvas blend, creating an illusion that brings a sense of peace and contentment to the day. On Friday, March 23rd, 2001 at 7:00 - 8:15 PM, Charles Thomas, owner of America's largest water gardening specialist, Lilypons Water Gardens, will show us that it is possible to make our dream become a reality! Do you love to look into aquariums that appear to have evolved directly from the Amazon River basin? They are breathtaking in their perfection of a meticulous melding of luxurious, aquatic growth and wildlife. The results created by the delicate balance within these tanks belies the truth of nature's ingenuity. On Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 9:15 ~ 10:30 AM, Lee Finley and Karen Randall will join together in a presentation on "Amazonian Ecosystems". Lee is a legend to all aquarists, with his extensive knowledge on catfish and the Amazon, and Karen has become one of the nation's leading experts on aquatic plants.



When you gaze into your tanks at the majestic elegance of the angelfish as they flow by in all their splendor, do you wish that you could learn more about them? Would you like for them to breed, or are they spawning without success in hatching the eggs? How does one begin with a new strain of angelfish and carry on the lines for generations, improving on the quality and strengthening the strong points? The man who's reason for success with angelfish is because he "loves what he does," Steve Rybicki, will give you the opportunity to have all of these questions answered and more on Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 9:15 ~ 10:30 AM. Steve is intensely dedicated to the husbandry, genetics, and breeding of angelfish, and began his successful business, Angels Plus, twelve years ago. Over the years, how many times have you brought home a fish and put it into your quarantine tank, only to find the outbreak of an unknown ailment within a matter of days? Is it internal or external? Do I add salt or not add salt? Should I raise the temperature? Is it necessary to resort to a medication and if so ~ which one? On Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 11:00 ~ 12:15 PM, Terry Fairfield, the great "fish doctor" himself, will be giving his fabulous presentation on Fish Health and answer all of your questions. Do you get an occasional glimpse of the vibrant jewel tones of a glorious killifish at the local aquarium? Have you purchased one, and hungered for more knowledge and understanding on how to raise and breed them? Should you place the eggs in moist peat, or set them in a shallow dish with aerated tank water? How long should you wait before you attempt to hatch the eggs? What temperature should the eggs of a particular species be stored at? Where can you find more killifish, now that you've caught "the bug"? Jim Gasior will answer all of these questions, and fully enlighten you through his forty years of experience with killifish on Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 11:00 ~ 12:15 PM. Do you love the charm of those adorable fish known as loaches, but were afraid to add them to your collection because of a lack of

March 2001

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

information on their care? Do you have loaches in your tanks, but with no successful spawnings as of yet? Sally Boggs will be giving her delightful program on Loaches on Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 1:30 ~ 2:45 PM. Your freshwater tanks have given you great enjoyment for many years, but every time you walk into your aquarium store, that stunning reef tank just stops you in your tracks! You are spellbound by the flowing beauty that pulses within, and pull yourself away, only to find your mind flooded by dreams of recreating this in your home. But where do you begin? On Saturday, March 24th, 2001 at 1:30 ~ 2:45, Greg Schiemer will guide us through the mysteries behind the Reef Aquarium. Is your heart taken by the charming miniature Cichlids of South America? How many species of Apistogramma do you have, and how many questions on their care and husbandry to go along with them? The genteel, diminutive Dicrossus filamentosus that grace your tanks spawn, but perhaps the eggs have not hatched. What should one do to have a successful spawn? You would like to try the lovely Nannacara aureocephalus, but feel you should have a better understanding of their habitat before you make the acquisition. Dr. Uwe Roemer will travel from Germany to share his vast knowledge with us on Neotropical Dwarf Cichlids on Saturday, March 24th, 2001 from 3:00 ~ 4:30 PM. Dr. Roemer is a noted zoologist, who has spent the last fifteen years concentrating on this subject, resulting in his authoring of the book Cichlid Atlas I. Are you fascinated by the stately grandeur of the larger South American Cichlids? The giant Hoplarchus psittacus are exquisite in their gentle beauty, and the Astronatus ocellatus looks at you as if to speak the human language as its cloak shimmers in rich velvet hues. The many species ofGeophagus will entrance one with their "eartheating" habits and exceptional examples of Cichlid brood care. The Heros severus (Severum), Uaru amphiacanthoides, Hypselecara coryphaenoides (Chocolate Cichlid), the many Crenicichla (Pike Cichlids), and the list goes on. So many species, so many questions! Fortunately, we will have all of our answers, as we will be honored by the distinguished Dr. Wayne Leibel as Master of Ceremonies at the Banquet on Saturday night, March 24th, 2001 at 6:00 PM. Wayne has devoted his life to the study of New World Cichlids, and is a most celebrated authority on these fish, as well as many others. He is always most happy to share his vast knowledge with fellow Cichlid enthusiasts. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

All of this in one location on one weekend! It's the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies 26th Annual Convention ~ March 23rd ~ 25th, 2001! The Speakers the Fish the Vendors the Fish the Workshops the Fish the Dry Goods Auction the Fish the Bingo the Fish the Fabulous Food the Fish the Raffles the Fish the Art and Collectible Auction the Fish the Endangered and Rare Fish Silent Auction the Fish the Huge Fish and Plant Auction the Fish the People the Fish the Fun the Fish the Friendship the Fish You!!! I can barely wait to see you there! Surrounding this huge NEC affair there is a very full NEC Calendar of Events! Let's take a look: 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 Aquarium Club Auction.


May 6th: Long Island Aquarium Society Auction. May 18th~20th: Aqua-Land Aquarium Society Show & Auction. June 2nd: NEC General Meeting. July 12th~15th: North Jersey Aquarium Society/American Cichlid Association Convention. Enjoy and Take Care All!

March 2001


community member, bothering, and being bothered by no one. Unlike most Loricariids that I have kept, this fish seems oblivious to both my presence, and the tank's lights. It is out and about all the time, moving around and scavenging for a tidbit to munch on. When the fish in the tank are fed, the Red Lizard Cat can be counted on to make an appearance front and center, scurrying about grabbing morsels of food as they fall to the substrate or on the leaves of a particular plant it might happen to be resting on.

Because the fish is on the small side, others who might happen to be looking at my tanks often overlook it. I, on the other hand, never fail to take a few minutes to check its actions out. The Lizard Cat has a lot going for it: small, peaceful, undemanding, and active. If you are looking for a fish to bring home that won't make a major impact on your tank's population, but is interesting and amusing, I recommend taking a look at the Red Lizard Cat.

North Jersey Aquarium Society Thursday. March 22, 2001 Speaker: Ted Coletti Topic: "A New Look At Livebearers" Doors open 8 PM at the American Legion Hall, 45 Franklin Avenue, Nutley, NJ Ted Coletti of the American Livebearer Association presents new information and slides on a variety of colorful and interesting fancy and wild type livebearers. Veteran and amateur hobbyists alike will be treated to little-known info and new findings on the social and mating behaviors of these animals, as well as the various fancy color varieties. Flavored with humorous commentary and slides, this is one presentation not to be missed! Slide presentation plus fish/plant auction, bowl show (Class I: Livebearers Other, Class II: All other African, Asian cichlids), raffles, door prize, and refreshments. Meet fellow hobbyists and top breeders! Acquire rare species! Open to the public. Sunday. April 1, 2001 "Big Spring Auction 2001" One of the BIGGEST in the Northeast, hosted by the famous, original North Jersey Aquarium Society! VFW Memorial Post 4591, 513 Veteran's Place (off Route 17), Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Rare and captive-bred fish and plants, plus lots of NEW merchandise! Get that Dream Fish! Sell that Surplus! Registration 9AM; Viewing 10AM; Auction starts 11AM. Food/Beverages available for purchase. For more information call: 732-541-1392 or go to www.njas.net.

Brooklyn Aquarium Society Friday, March 9 at 8PM Featuring Ad Konings (Sponsored by Ocean Nutrition) Speaking on: "Cichlids of Lake Tanganyika" Freshwater Fish & Plants Auction (featuring Cichlids) and Ad Konings Autographed Book Sale New York Aquarium, Education Hall

Friday April 13 at 7:30 PM llth Annual Marine Event Featuring Scott Michaels Speaking on "Reef Fish... Rainbows of the Sea" Member donated Marine fish & Propagated Coral Auction; Manufacturers displays, and Scott Michael Autographed Book Sale New York Aquarium, Pavilion Tent Surf Avenue & West 8th Street, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY FREE PARKING *FREE REFRESHMENTS * FREE FISH FOOD SAMPLES For more information call: BAS 24 hour Calendar of Events & Inclement Weather Hotline [718] 837-4455

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

March 2001


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March 2001

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

Labels as Literature A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"


he other day I picked up a container of one of my most used commercial fish foods and started to read the label. (You should know that I am a compulsive reader. My significant other has been known to remove cereal boxes from the kitchen table because once I start reading the package, I tend to forget to eat breakfast.) It surprised me that I had not made a study of the literature of fish food labels before. Anyway, this package claimed that it was a "scientific diet . . . developed through bio-technology to maintain the brilliant colors of tropical fish kept in indoor aquariums." And, as further proof of the bio-technology involved in this product, there were unpronounceable, but impressive sounding, ingredients (try saying L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate five times in a row). Once my reading appetite was whetted, I went in search of other labels in my fish room that I had previously overlooked. I was happy to learn that another product was able to say that: "it is a totally nutritious diet for almost all tropical fish. Micro milling process removes all non-nutritious material." Either this "micro milling" doesn't work on artificial additives, or the "natural and artificial colors" as well as the preservative "Ethoxyquin" in this product are "nutritious materials" (yea, right, and I know of a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you real cheap). Now, I was on a roll. I started reading the package labels for other aquarium products. I discovered that a certain air pump I bought "is the first and only pump with SilaflexÂŽ valves." Great, instead of making me wondrously happy, I hurriedly made myself a note to see if I could stock up on replacement valves for it. Heck, if this is the "one and only" pump using these valves, how easy do you suppose it will be to get a replacement when I really need it?


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

Some of the labels were a tad confusing. For example, consider this statement taken from a bottle of liquid vitamins for freshwater fish: "provides more active vitamin C than any other vitamin." Does this mean that, of all the vitamins in this particular product, vitamin C is the most active? Or, does it mean that of all the vitamin products on the market, the vitamin C in this product is the most active? What the heck makes vitamin C "active" in the first place, and how can you know that your vitamin C is more active than the next guy's? (I take vitamin C every morning and all my vitamin pill does is lay flat waiting for me to pop it in my mouth.) Is this "active" vitamin C better that the "stabilized C formula" I discovered was present in another commercial fish food? Another example, taken from the box for a sponge filter: "the unique sponge provides the most ideal environment for numerous types of beneficial bacteria to culture, net and reproduce." I'd like to see anyone netting bacteria, regardless of whether or not they have a sponge filter. Until the other day, I never realized that a filter medium I have used for years in my canister filters declared on its packaging that one of the benefits of its use was: "no expensive water change—ever." Even with the advent of water metering in the New York City area, I never considered water changes to be all that "expensive," did you? Nor, for that matter, have I ever found any filter medium that was so good that water changes became unnecessary. One brand of marine salt I use has no warnings on its label, another warns that "contact in dry form may cause skin or eye irritation" and declares that it is "not for human consumption." Anyone with a paper cut or a not-quite healed scrape on the hand who has ever changed water on a marine tank can attest to the fact that contact with not only dry marine salt, but also with water containing dissolved marine salt, can be rather unpleasant. So why only warn consumers about "dry" contact with salt (and did you ever get marine salt water in your eyes?) Nearly all the commercial dry foods recommend feeding two or three times a day and in an amount no more than what the fish can consume in a few minutes. One or two of them seem to be willing to go way out on a limb and replace "a few minutes" with "five minutes" (like I'm really going to stand over each tank several times a day with a stopwatch). After reading all those labels, I'm not sure I know any more about the aquarium products I use. At least it's more interesting than reading about Tony the Tiger.

March 2001






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March 2001

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

Fin Fun Global Warming It's only natural that many fish and aquatic plants have names that relate to geographic areas (countries, countinents, bodies of water, etc.). Below are two columns of names. Match the scientific name with the common name of some of these fish. Scientific Name

Common Name

Aplocheilichthys schoelleri

Brazilian False Panchax

Pelmatochromis thomasi

Madagascar Lace Plant

Aponogeton madagascariensis

Indian Hatchetfish

Jordanella floridae

Pakistani Loach

Gyrinocheilos aymonieri

African Butterfly Cichlid

Aphyosemion liberiense

Egyptian Lampeye

Echinodorus paniculatus

American Flag Fish

Botia almorhae

Chinese Algae Eater

Chela laubuca

Amazon Sword Plant

Trigonectes strigabundus

Liberian Killie

Solution to last month's puzzle: Assistant to the Collector Fish or plants


Coffeefolia Paleatus Moonlight Lutea

Corydoras Gourami Cyrptocoryne

Small pigeon blood


Redtail pristella


Sunset hygro Black ly retail molly Crinium thianum Frontosa



Bunch Plants Livebearers Bulbs Africans

March 2001

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

March 2001 volume VIII number 3

Modern Aquarium  

March 2001 volume VIII number 3