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President's Message

m by JOSEPH FERDENZi "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." Edmund Burke, in a speech to the electors of Bristol, November 2, 1774. hat philosophy of leadership can be applied to organizations, as well as individuals. At a recent GCAS Board of Directors meeting, someone asked, "Why should we do a fish show?" It was an intriguing question. In response, I would say that there are several reasons. Let me begin my exposition of those reasons with another question: Why do we celebrate Passover or Easter? While fish shows are certainly trivial in comparison to those holidays, there are some pertinent parallel points. Attending services, decorating our homes, and preparing the festive meals all require effort. Why not just do nothing? After all, we could just read about the events they commemorate and remember them in a moment of silence. Similarly, we could just read about the great fish shows of the past and remember them with fondness. But, what would that say about us (today's hobbyists) as a community? What would it signal about our hopes for future generations of hobbyists? Would it say: we "old timers" benefitted from the efforts of our forbearers — efforts which inspired us and made us proud of our hobby — but we just can't be bothered to do the same for our new hobbyists? We commemorate our traditions for a reason: to preserve what is cherished in our past for future generations.


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

Greater City, because it is based in Queens County, is one of only two aquarium societies that is both part of New York City and Long Island. Each of these geographic designations is home to millions of people. Yet, there is only one aquarium show (held every two years), and, yes, we are the only ones who hold it. The Norwalk Aquarium Society has an annual show in nearby Connecticut. Likewise, the North Jersey Aquarium Society has one in that neighboring state. There are four aquarium societies on Long Island, and yet we manage to have only one biannual show among us. Something is wrong with this picture. If you look at aquarium magazines from the past and present, you will quickly realize that tropical fish shows were regarded as very special events in New York City, and are regarded as very special in other parts of America. Does anyone question why the Westminster Kennel Club holds its annual dog show at Madison Square Garden? New York City is one of the leading cities of the world. Is it conceivable to you that it should not be host to a tropical fish show, a point of pride for one of the most popular hobbies in the world? It is inconceivable to me. For Greater City, a fish show is, in part, an act of selfless devotion to our hobby. Of course, we don't pull in as much money as we would make if we just held an auction. Of course, it requires more work and effort on the part of our members. Of course, you place the prestige of your club on the line every time you sponsor one. But, if not for us, where else around here would you see the smile on the face of a hobbyist who has just won a gold medal for her prized fish, the wonderment in a child's eye seeing that colorful giant cichlid that only a hobbyist could raise, or the beaming pride of a band of friends that comes from creating an event that celebrates our presence in the world? Why do we do fish shows? I can't think of a single reason.

Errata: Last month's issue incorrectly identified Joe Ferdenzi as the photographer of the cover photo. The photo on the cover of our May, 2001 issue was, in fact, taken by Joe Lozito.

June 2001

King of the Hill by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he "Hillstream Loach" is but one of the common names associated with several different species. Many of these species are very similar in appearance, and the identification of which species you might have can be quite difficult. I have seen the following scientific names, all supposedly referring to the same fish with the "common" name of "Hillstream Loach": Beaufortia kweichowensis, Hemimyzon sinensis, Pseudogastromyzon cheni, Hemimyzon myersi, Homaloptera yuwonoi, and Pseudogastromyzon myersi. I have also seen the following other "common" names for what appears to be the same species of "Hillstream Loach": "Borneo Loach," "Borneo Sucker," "Butterfly Loach," "Hong Kong Pleco," "Meyers Hillstream Loach," and "Stingray Pleco." To further complicate things, there are fish that are somewhat similar in appearance (I'll get to that soon), that also have "Hillstream Loach" as part of their common names, including: Borneo Hillstream Loach (Gastromyzon borneensis), Chinese Hillstream Loach (Balitora kwangsiensis), Broken Band Hillstream Loach (Linipaxhomatoptera disparts), Funkien Hillstream Loach (Formosiana tinkhami), Saddled Hillstream Loach (Homaloptera orthogoniata), Spotted Hillstream Loach (Gastromyzon punctulatus), and Striped Hillstream Loach (Gastromyzon ctenocephalus). I'm not trying to confuse you (at least not any more than I became confused while trying to research this fish), but it's necessary to keep in mind that if, after reading this article, you want to acquire this fish, you may have a difficult time communicating to your local fish store exactly what it is you want. (I wouldn't even attempt to ask for this fish in any of the large pet chain stores — no telling what you'd wind up getting!) Generally speaking, if you find this fish in your local store, it will most likely: (1) be incorrectly identified as a "pleco," and (2) actually be either Beaufortia kweichowensis, Pseudogastromyzon myersi, or Gastromyzon punctulatus. Your best bet, if you decide to get the same fish this article is being written about, is to take this issue of Modern Aquarium (or, more specifically, its cover photo) with you when you go shopping. This article is about my experience with Pseudogastromyzon


myersi (at least that's what I believe the fish on our cover this month to be, based on its identification in the Axelrod Atlas1). As I mentioned, one of the common names for this fish (and the name it was selling under when I bought it for the first time) is "Stingray Pleco." While this is very misleading scientifically, it just happens to be a very good practical description. For one thing, the shape of the fish bears a strong resemblance to a miniature Stingray (Paratrygon sp.). This is because this fish has adapted itself in several ways to adhering tightly to the rocks and tree branches in the swiftly moving streams where it normally lives. The body of this fish is fairly flat. This results in a body that provides very little resistance to fast moving water. It also has what looks like a true "tail" where its caudal fin should be. This long pointed "tail" is also very similar to that of a Stingray. Unlike a pleco, which has a sucking mouth, the Hillstream Loach's paired fins flatten out and overlap to form a sort of "suction cup" under its body, with its mouth located on the underside. (Visualize the overlapping wings of a butterfly, and you can see why another common name for this fish is "Butterfly Loach.") The evolution of the adhesive paired fins has at least one obvious advantage over that of a sucking mouth — because the fins do an excellent job of attaching the fish to rocks (or, in the aquarium, the glass walls or the substrate), the fish's mouth is left free to eat, while the body still clings to the rock, branch or tank wall. So strong is the adhesion formed by this fish's "sucker body," that it is nearly impossible to pry it from a smooth hard surface, such as a tank wall. The highly compressed (nearly flat, in fact) shape of this fish gives the aquarist trying to net it (or a predator looking for a meal) very little to grab. In fact, I had one Hillstream Loach die while sticking to the tank wall, and it was still quite a struggle for me to remove it. This strange arrangement of fins (remember that the paired fins face down and overlap) does not prevent the fish from moving surprisingly fast when it wants to do so, in an almost "jet propelled" fashion. In fact, one book2 gives, as a common name for the Saddled Hillstream Loach (Homaloptera orthogoniatd) "Rocket Fish," so called for probably just this reason.

June 2001

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

Another likely reason that several of the mentioned micropellets), cleans the tank of many common names for this fish have the word kinds of algae and uneaten food, is not bothered "pleco" in them is that, although this fish is not by other fish, does not itself bother other fish, is a member of the Loricariidae family, it is easily "plant friendly," stays small (no more than three as voracious an algae eater, ounce-for-ounce, and inches in length), is fairly inexpensive, appears to inch-per-inch, as any plecostomus ("pleco") or, have no preferences with respect to water for that matter, any other fish, loricariids hardness, and it does fine in water with a pH included, that I have ever seen. My largest tank anywhere between 6.5 and 7.5. Nonetheless, this is a "90 High." This means that it is 18 inches fish is not for every tank. The Hillstream Loach wide, and two feet high. With the back of the needs cooler temperatures than most tropical fish, tank flat against a wall, it is nearly impossible to along with high aeration, and very good water reach all the way back and down to clean the quality (as might be expected of a fish native to back wall of ten years of accumulated algae. fast moving streams). I have tried, without Until I started keeping Hillstream Loaches, only success, keeping Hillstream Loaches in tanks with a Bristlenose Catfish (Ancistris temminckii) or a airstones (including large aeration disks occupying nearly 20% of the bottom of the tank). Dwarf Suckermouth Catfish (Otocinclus affinis) The only tank I have been able to keep them came anywhere close to cleaning the rear wall of alive in for more than a few weeks is my 90 that tank. But, I found that the Bristlenose soon High, whose overhead spraybar provides a got lazy, deciding that the food the other fish waterfall effect, along with the constant were getting was superior to ten year old algae; introduction of air bubbles. and every "Oto Cat" I put in became an While there are some reports of its expensive feeder fish for the larger and more captive breeding (I aggressive deniread of one in a zens in that tank. British aquarium On the magazine a few other hand, within 9rigiiii years ago), this less than a month 111'" fish is not sexually of introducing two dimorphic (that is, Hillstream there is no way Loaches into my for us aquarists to 90 High, I was tell the boys from forced to keep the |^ the girls), and tank light on for little is known longer and longer about what periods, as it soon ^ triggers breeding became apparent in these fish. So, don't get them with the sole that the algae in that tank was disappearing intention of scoring points in our BAP program, rapidly. Because this fish is so flat, and appears or you might be greatly disappointed. When I to be "armored" on the top, it is virtually ignored had two Hillstream Loaches (of undetermined by all the other fish in the tank. (I'm not sure sex) in the same tank, I did notice some head to that the other fish even recognize it as being a tail "circling" behavior, and activity that fish.) My Hillstream eats the algae from the resembled children playing "leapfrog" (one fish broad leaves of the Anubius barteri plants in that climbing over the other and vice versa) but tank, without inflicting even the slightest damage whether this was sexual or territorial in nature, I to the plants. (However, I should note that it is was never able to determine. selective in its tastes, preferring not to graze on This is an unusual fish for more reasons certain types of algae — completely avoiding a than its unique body shape. I found that I could tough slimy red infestation I had recently.) It stick micropellets up to an inch above the surface also behaves like a "pleco" in another respect — of the water, and my Hillstream Loach would by scavenging any traces of food that the other crawl straight up the glass, and out of the water, fish miss. (The way it literally "pounces" onto to reach the pellets. micropellets that land on flat surfaces has caused In my experience, the Hillstream Loach my wife, Susan, to nickname it "hip-hop.") soon learns that it has nothing to fear from either By now, this must seem like the ideal the aquarist or other fish, and rarely hides. It is, community resident. It mostly fends for itself however, in almost constant motion, grazing on (some algae pellets and/or vegetable matter are the walls and objects in the tank. highly recommended, as are the previously


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

June 2001

Because of its preference for cooler temperatures, it would make an ideal addition to a coldwater tank (such as those for Goldfish, White Mountain Minnows, etc.), as long as the water quality (and aeration) of that tank is kept very high. If you have the type of tank that can support them, I highly recommend adding Hillstream Loaches to your collection.

*Dr. Axelrod's Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes, 6th edition, by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod and Dr. Warren E. Burgess, TFH, 1991. p. 901 2 Aquarium

Fish of the World by Atsushi Sakurai, Yohei Sakamoto, and Fumitoshi Mori. Chronicle Books, 1993. p. 59

FAASinations—News From:

The Federation of American Aquarium Societies by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST AAS Publication Awards: Following this Report is the list of all of the winners of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies year 2000 Publication Awards. A complete list showing the names of the articles, to the extent provided by FAAS (not all of the names of articles were on the official list in the FAAS Report) is available to any member on request; just ask me. In our "see-saw battle" with the Calgary Aquarium Society for "Best Publication" (more than six issues a year), Greater City's Modern Aquarium came in second to Calgary's Calquarium for the year 2000 judging. (In the year 1999 judging, the results in this category were reversed, with Modern Aquarium number one and Calquarium second.) The only other New York City general aquarium society, the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, seems to have the "Best Editor and Publication - six or less issues a year" sewed up, taking first place in that category for the second year in a row. Coming up fast is a new North-East contender - the North Jersey Aquarium Society; and hanging in there with several individual article awards are the Long Island and the Nassau County Aquarium Societies. The North-East region is clearly a hotbed of quality publishing. A "Judge's Comments" in the category of "Best Changing Cover, Non-Original Art" stated: "GCAS has 8 top quality color photos that could easily appear in any commercial magazine." (The reason it's eight, rather than ten, photos is because one cover was our 78th Anniversary Show logo, and another was a plate of U.S. postage stamps honoring the aquarium hobby.)


A "Judge's Comments" in the category of "Best Article on a Genus of Fish" stated, about Joe Ferdenzi's first place "Rock Dwellers of Lake Tanganyika": "The color photos definitely added a touch of class and put this one over the rest." Only another editor can really appreciate what Grant Gussie (Calgary), John Todaro (Brooklyn), Kevin Carrol (North Jersey) and the other editors go through to produce a consistently quality publication. Regardless of any one judge's opinion — they're all Number One! FAAS Breeders Award Program: Past due individual certificates have been promised. I'll be working with our new BAP Chairmen to get our latest spawns recorded. The May 2001 issue of the Federation Report, the official publication of FAAS, listed an unbelievable 331 spawns and 216 species spawned in 1999, and 153 spawns and 115 species spawned in 2000, for the Southwest Michigan Aquarium Society. (Anyone up for a collecting trip to Michigan to get some of their tap water?) FAAS Elections: There are six candidates running for four positions on the Board of Directors. For the first time, societies may vote via e-mail. By the time you read this, I will have consulted with our President on Greater City's vote, and our vote will have been cast. If you are interested in becoming involved with FAAS activities, or in learning more about this international organization, just contact me.

June 2001

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

Year 2000 FAAS Publication Award Winners Best Editor/Publication, more than six issues 1) Grant Gussie - CAS The Calquarium 2) Alexander Priest - GCAS Modern Aquarium 3) Ted Coletti - NJAS Reporter Best Editor/Publication, six or fewer issues 1) John Todaro - BAS Aquatica 2) Vickie Coy - SWMAS SWAM 3) Naomi Gettler - MAS The Splash HM) Greg Gingera -SasAS The Nekton Best Non-Changing Cover 1) The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 2) Aquatic Forum - SCALES 2) Paradise Press - LIAS 3) SWAM - SWMAS Best Changing Cover - Original Art 1) The Calquarium - CAS 2) The Tropical News - SacAS 3) Pisces Press - NCAS Best Changing Cover - Non-Original Art 1) Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Reporter - NJAS 3) The Nekton - SasAS Best FAAS Related Article 1) Pat Smith - NCAS 2) Tony Berry - TCTFS 3) John Baad - SCALES Best Exchange Column 1) Juliette Junker - BAS 2) Len Thomas - DCAS 3) Ken Smith - NCAS Best Review Column 1) Susan Priest - GCAS 2) Rich Adler - DSAS 3) Tom Miglio - BAS Best Spawning Article, under 500 words 1) Cristi Ellis - SacAS 2) L. Hubbs - DSAS 3) Curt Smith - YATFS

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

Best Spawning Article, 500-100 words 1) Dale Speirs - CAS 2) Bob Berdoulay - DSAS 3) Raymond E. Tighe - NJAS HM) Tom Gillooly - NJAS Best Spawning Article, more than 1000 words 1) Kaycy Ruffer - SacAS 2) John Todaro - BAS 3) Kevin Carroll - NJAS HM) Dan Marentette - CAS Best Article - Genus of Fish 1) Joseph Ferdenzi - GCAS 2) Rick Bolger - NJAS 3) Dave Weber - BAS Best Article - Species of Fish 1) Grant Gussie - CAS 2) Lisa Quilty - BAS 3) Shamus Page - SasAS HM) Joseph Ferdenzi - GCAS Best Marine Article - Fish 1) Todd Gardner - BAS 2) Bernard Harrigan - GCAS 3) John Todaro - BAS Best Marine Article - Invertebrates 1) John Todaro - BAS 2) Ralph D'Alessandro - BAS 3) Ralph D'Alessandro - BAS Best Continuous FAAS Column 1) Tony Berry - TCTFS 2) Alexander Priest - GCAS Best Article on Aquascaping/Design 1) Joseph Ferdenzi - GCAS 2) Grant Gussie - CAS 3) Keith Buongiorno - BAS Best Article on Plants 1) Kevin Acton - SasAS 2) Alexander Priest - GCAS 3) Jason Clark - SasAS HM) Chris Comden - SWMAS HM) Jennifer Lioto - CNYAS Best Show Article 1) Pam Chin - PCCA 2) Claudia Dickinson - GCAS 3) Mark Soberman - GCAS

June 2001

Best Judging Article 1) Rick Bolger - NJAS 2) Tony Berry - TCTFS 3) Tony Berry - TCTFS

Best Marine Article (14-18) 1) Emmett Ryan (15) - LIAS Best Article on a Genus of Fish (14-18) 1) Kapil Mandrekar (16) - SWMAS

Best Do-It-Yourself Article 1) Jim Ellenberger - PCCA 2) Keith Buongiorno - BAS 3) Mark James - SacAS

Best Article on Plant Maintenance (14-18) 1) Kapil Mandrekar (16) - SWMAS

Best General Article On Society Management 1) Bob Shea Jr. - BAS 2) Claudia Dickinson - GCAS 3) Undergravel Reporter - GCAS HM) Joe Yanik - DCAS Best Article on Live Food 1) Martha Volkoff (?) 2) Dennis Heltzel - ACLC 3) Bob Berdoulay - DSAS

Best Humorous Article (14-18) 1) Barry Graham (16) - SasAS Best Artist (5-10) 1) Joey Nappi (10)-NCAS 2) Kenny Autino (5) - NCAS 3) Bryan Sokol (4) - NCAS Best Artist (11-13) 1) Julia Pon (12) - CAS 2) Andrew Ellis (11) - SacAS 3) Andrew Ellis (11) - SacAS HM) Chris Sokol (11) - NCAS HM) Andrew Smith (11) - NCAS

Best Collecting Article 1) Irene Butler - CAS 2) Gian Padovani - LIAS 3) Jim Graham - SWMAS

Best Artist (14-18) 1) Sean Perrin (14) - CAS 2) Diana Dubbeld (17) - SWMAS 3) Diana Dubbeld (17) - SWMAS HM) Emily Smith (14) - NCAS HM) Matthew Smith (16) - NCAS

Best Humorous Article 1) Undergravel Reporter - GCAS 2) "April Fools Issue" - NJAS 3) Mary Post - LIAS HM) Ed Keene - DCAS

Best Continuing Column, by a Group of Juniors 1) "Junior Member Corner" - NCAS

Best Artist, Original Works 1) Sheldon Sacks - BAS 2) Grant Gussie - CAS 3) Pat Smith - NCAS

Best Scrambler Puzzle 1) Chris Sokol (11)-NCAS

Best Cartoonist 1) Pamela Dace - TCTFS 2) Glen Widmer - TCTFS 3) Tony Berry - TCTFS Best Continuing Column, Single Author 1) Bob Berdoulay - DSAS 2) Ed Keene - DCAC 3) Pam Chin - PCCA

JUNIOR CATEGORIES (ages in parentheses) Best Exchange Column (14-18) 1) Eric Cappy (15) - YATFS Best Spawning Article under 500 words (14-18) 1) William Shreves III (14) - YATFS

Legend ACLC - Aquarium Club of Lancaster County BAS - Brooklyn A.S. CAS - Calgary A.S. CNYAS - Central New York Aquarium Society DCAS - Delaware County Aquarium Society DSAS - Diamond State Aquarium Society GCAS - Greater City A.S. LIAS - Long Island A.S. MAS - Milwaukee A.S NCAS - Nassau County A.S. NJAS - North Jersey A.S. PCCA - Pacific Coast Cichlid Assn. SacAS - Sacramento A.S. SasAS - Saskatoon A.S. SWMAS - Southwestern Michigan A.S. SCALES - Stark County Aqua Life Enthusiasts Soc. TCTFS - Tri-Counry Tropical Fish Soc. YATFS - Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc.

June 2001

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

Those Wonderful Livebearers: A Selective Commentary on Some Popular Fish by JOSEPH FERDENZI hile livebearers of the family Poeciliadae comprise some of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish in the world, they are often taken for granted because, ironically it seems, they are so popular. I doubt that there is an aquarium store in the world (exclusive of those that deal strictly in marine fish) that does not offer at least one species of livebearer for sale. And, because they are relatively peaceful and inexpensive, most people just think of livebearers as fodder for the ubiquitous community tank. However, I think livebearers deserve a more discerning appreciation, and this is my attempt to create this interest. Generally, when people think of livebearers, they think of the "Big Four": guppies, platies, swordtails, and mollies. Certainly, these fish belong in the pantheon of all-time great aquarium fish. The guppy would undoubtedly be in the running for the title of "Greatest Aquarium Fish In The History Of The Hobby." From their original wild forms, successive generations offish breeders have created varieties whose pallet of colors spans the rainbow. This combination of beauty, peacefulness, small size, and breeding method makes them worthy candidates for a tank all their own. It is with this goal in mind that I will present some general ideas on how to maintain them in the aquarium. However, before I go on to that, there are some things to note. If you were going to place livebearers in a community tank and you wanted to keep the tank thematic to a region of the world, you would have to know that livebearers have a rather limited natural range. Unlike tetras or cichlids, which are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, livebearers are confined to the lands and islands surrounding the Caribbean Sea (including the Gulf of Mexico). Hence, most livebearers are to be found in Mexico, Central America, and the larger islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, and Trinidad. In one sense, they are indeed all-American fish. But, you will not find natural populations of livebearers in the hinterlands of South America. Therefore, in the wild, a platy has about as much chance of finding itself in the company of a neon tetra from Brazil as I have of meeting a Martian. And, of course, no livebearers (Poeciliads) are to be found in the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia), nor are there any in Australia.


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

Secondly, some livebearers can tolerate quite a bit of salt in their water. Two such livebearers come immediately to mind: the mosquito fish (Gambusia afftnis) and the molly (of which there are many species). In fact, I have kept both in marine water, with no ill effects. Mollies, quite frankly, seem to do better in marine aquariums. Marine water has a very high pH and is full of dissolved salts and minerals. And, indeed, most livebearers prefer alkaline, hard water. In any event, I am going to focus on livebearers that are not nasty (unlike Gambusia, which are downright vicious), and that don't have special requirements (unlike mollies, which generally require a plant based diet and a high level of salt in their water). Therefore, I will be describing set-ups for livebearers like guppies, platies, and swordtails. Setting up a species tank for the fish is easy. You don't have to do anything special — all your standard aquarium parameters apply: temperature around 75° F., a pH of neutral (7.0) or higher (add a teaspoon of salt per gallon), and regular water changes. If you perform the latter, even filtration is optional. The only feature I especially recommend is that their aquarium be well planted. This accomplishes several purposes. One is sheer beauty — have you ever seen a large group of blood red platies against a forest of dark green Vallisneria! It is rivetting. Plants also help stabilize your water quality. And, lastly, they provide refuge for any newborn fry. In that regard, I recommend that your plantings include bushy or dense plants for the fry to hide in (alas, most livebearers will prey on young). Java Moss, Najas, and Riccia are especially recommended. If you don't want or have those, I would also recommend employing thickets of Elodea and Hygrophilia polysperma. All of these plants do very well in alkaline water, making them very compatible with livebearers. Guppies Of all the groups I will discuss, guppies are the most well known. They are also the smallest. This makes them easy to maintain even in modest sized aquariums. They are easy to feed, easy to breed, and they're peaceful fish. In fact, they are just about ideal aquarium subjects. It is

June 2001

hard to find fault with them. Some people are not attracted to them because they are small (usually two inches or less). But, that's about it as detractions go. The other amazing thing about guppies is their wonderful variety. The original guppies (males only) displayed a bewildering array of colors and fin shapes. You can still find these (in most pet shops they are often sold as "feeders"). Over many decades, dedicated breeders have transformed male guppies into some of the most elegant fish around — huge tailfins, and solid colors. Even females have been transformed into fish with vivid colors (primarily in their tail fins). In the 1960s, fancy guppy breeding was at a fever pitch. Greater City had many famous guppy breeders, not the least of whom was Bronx resident Paul Hahnel (Hahnel was so famous that he had guppy clubs and commercial guppy foods named after him.) Besides guppies

Some years ago, I "discovered" a fish that is very much like a guppy and that is also a great aquarium fish. I say "discovered" in quotes because I don't want you to get the idea that I was the first explorer to find this fish in some steamy tropical jungle stream. No, I "discovered" this fish in a basement in Sunnyside, Queens. It's a very good story, nonetheless, so I'll go into it in some detail. Because of my involvement in the hobby I have met some really great "fish people." Among these has been Bob McKeand (see my article about him in Modern Aquarium, October 1994). Bob is a world-class collector and breeder of livebearers, especially wild types. In Bob's fish room I have seen species of livebearers you would not see elsewhere in the metro area. (If anywhere in America). Well, one of the people that Bob has inspired in the appreciation of livebearers is a

Endlers Livebearers

photo by Joseph Ferdenzi

with huge delta-tails (sometimes the tails are so huge, the little guys have difficulty swimming), there are ly retails, lower swordtails, upper swordtails, double swordtails, pintails, feathertails, and who-knows-what tails. I have seen some really breathtaking fancy guppies in my time (for example, see my article on Steve Kwartler in the December 1995 issue of Modern Aquarium). Thanks to fellow GCAS members Don and Doug Curtin, I have several varieties of outstanding fancy guppies. But I also have tanks of what I call "mutts," or semi-fancy guppies. I enjoy these as much as the pure-bred fancy ones. The thing about keeping a tank of "mutts" is that you never know what you're going to see next; there is a seemingly endless variety of color combinations and fin shapes. It is almost like looking at a living kaleidoscope (one other thing about guppies is that they are lively too). 10

former GCAS member, Dominic Isla. Over the years, Dominic has himself become a recognized authority on livebearers. Back in the early '90s, Dominic managed to set up a very nice fish room in the basement of the building in which he was living in Sunnyside. This fish room was chock full of exotic livebearers and beautiful plants. It really was something to be admired. At this point in the story, I have to make a confession. While it is true that, generally speaking, "I haven't met a fish I didn't like," the usual run of wild livebearers are, in comparison to many other groups of aquarium fish, well — I don't know how to put this without offending my livebearer aficionados — less than awe inspiring. They are often small and endowed with insignificant coloration. That's why, as I would look upon row after row of wild livebearers, I could appreciate their subtle beauty, but I was

June 2001

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

never so awe struck that I felt I just had to have any. That changed one day as I was looking at Dominic's tanks, and spotted it: Endler's Livebearers. These fish, with thin green, red, black, and gold colors, looked like living jewels. Each colorful male seemed exactly the same. Superficially, in shape and size, these fish look just like guppies. But, unlike male guppies, each male Endlers Livebearer was a virtual carbon copy of each other. This really made for a very striking visual. Otherwise, the fish so resembles a guppy that I am confident that even most so-called "experts" couldn't tell a female Endlers from a wild female guppy. Dominic was always very generous with me, and offered some of the Endlers for my collection. He didn't have to make the offer twice. Like guppies, they turned out to be prolific breeders, but, on the plus side, they are less aggressive and less cannibalistic. I had swarms of young (just from a ten gallon tank) in no time. Some of my fish were auctioned off at Greater City (where Mary Ann and Joe Bugeia were among the first to acquire them, and breed them). Soon, everybody that wanted them had them. (Some, unfortunately, experimented by crossing them with guppies — it may be that there are hobbyists out there who think they have Endlers Livebearer but, in fact, have a hybrid). One of the people I gave this fish to was veteran hobbyist Bill Jacobs of New Jersey — he was probably 88 or 89 years old when I gave him this fish. Bill started breeding them by the tankful, and he told me the local pet shops bought all he could produce. No wonder, because this is a very pretty little fish. One year, I was invited to speak at the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society, and I decided to bring some exotic fish I raised for their auction. Almost as an afterthought, I chose to bring one bag of Endlers Livebearers — what the heck, I figured. Well, figure this: the bag went for $80! (U.S. or Bermuda dollars, it doesn't matter because one dollar U.S. is equal to one dollar Bermuda.) They sold for more money than any other fish in the auction which included exotics like killifish and dwarf Apistogramma cichlids. Whether you keep guppies — fancy or plain — or Endlers Livebearers, you will have a worthwhile experience. With a little TLC (tender loving care) for these little fish, you will reap big rewards. Platies Whenever I am asked to recommend a beginner's fish, or an ideal fish for a community Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

tank, my first choice is almost invariably the platy. It is slightly larger than the guppy, but just as easy to maintain, and it is less aggressive and smaller than its cousin the swordtail. It is available in a wide array of brilliant colors. And, to boot, it is an inexpensive fish where both the males and the females are equally colorful. I also prefer it to some other so-called beginners fish such as the zebra danio, because, unlike the latter, it is not a frenetic fish that just seems to mindlessly swim back and forth all day long, and, of course, it's a livebearer — meaning that the novice aquarist will derive enjoyment and perhaps inspiration from seeing newborns in the tank without undertaking the special procedures needed to successfully get fry from eggs scatterers like the danio. Platies have also been developed with beautiful high dorsals. These fancy varieties are very nice, but not all that common. Regardless, a tank full of common velvet red or sunshine (yellow and orange) platies makes for a gorgeous display (especially if you stick to a monochromatic scheme — only one color variety set against a well-planted tank). Please, don't take platies for granted. They are marvelous aquarium fish that deserve wide appreciation. Swordtails Here, we come across one of the truly distinctive fish of the aquarium universe. They are not called swordtails for nothing. Male fish display a long, pointed extension of the lower tail (caudal fin) that is unique among freshwater fish. There are many species of swordtails, and the length and size of the swordtail varies. The Xiphophorus montezumae of Cienega Grande, Mexico have a sword that is twice (!) the body length of the male. (See cover photo of the June 1997 issue of Modern Aquarium). The original Xiphophorus helleri (the most common swordtail in the hobby) also has a very large and striking sword. Over the years, breeders have crossed the original helleri with various color forms of the common platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) to create brilliantly colored (red, orange, etc.) swordtails. The originals were basically a kind of olive green with some faint maroon stripes and a speckling of other colors. The only drawback to this hybridization has been that the resulting "swordtails" have smaller swords. But, on the whole, it has produced some really striking fish. In general, the common swordtails are the largest of the usually seen livebearers (with the exception of the huge sailfin mollies). The wild type helleri swordtail can really grow large. I once recall seeing a female helleri in Bill

June 2001


Jacobs' fish room that was easily five inches (!) I'm not exaggerating — Bill was a long-time and devoted swordtail breeder; he referred to them as helleri, which was a term more often used in the early days of the hobby to refer to swordtails. Over the years, swordtails have also been developed which have high dorsal fins and/or lyretails (unfortunately many of these fancy males have elongated gonapodiums — the modified anal fin that is used to fertilize females — that are useless for breeding). Give me a "normal" helleri and I'll have an outstandingly beautiful fish. Like platies, both male and female swordtails are equally colorful (but, of course, females lack a sword). These fish are a bit more aggressive than platies, especially the males. Males will harass one another and both sexes can be nasty to other fish, especially if the other fish are slow and have relatively long fins (e.g., angelfish, gouramies, Siamese fighting fish, etc.). This doesn't mean you can't keep them in a community tank, but you have to choose their companions with care. Corydoras catfish are fine tankmates, as are not surprisingly, platies (although you run the risk of getting hybrid fry). From beyond the New World you could keep them, for example, with barbs and rasboras. Another trait of swordtails is that they are world-class jumpers. A mistake of mine will illustrate the point. One time, someone gave me some unhybridized helleri swordtails. I had them in one of those five gallon pails that are used for all sorts of chores these days. Well, these pails are rather tall (around 16 inches) and have a diameter of less than 12 inches. My six swordtails were in about three inches of water,

and I didn't have time to place them in a tank, so I decided to leave them in the bucket overnight. At first I said to myself that I should snap a cover on the bucket. Then I looked down this deep well of a bucket, and the devil got the better of my judgement. "How the hell could these fish jump over a shear vertic some ten inches without enough surface area to build up a head of steam?" Yes, I left the bucket uncovered. Results: the next morning, there was only one swordtail left in the bucket! Moral of this story: make sure their tanks are covered. Having exposed their drawbacks, I still must tell you that swordtails are one of my favorite aquarium fish. They are very unique and striking. My fish room always houses one or more species of swords. Epilogue I hope I have aroused or renewed your interest in the "common" livebearers. Our aquarium experience and history would be very less rewarding and rich without them. It is up to all of us to insure that they remain stars in the tropical fish universe. Suggested additional readings Jacobs, Kurt. Livebearing Aquarium Fishes. Publisher: McMillan, 1971. Lambert, Derek and Pat. Platies and Swordtails. Publisher: Blandford, 1995. Scott, Peter. A Fishkeeper's Guide Livebearing Fishes. Publisher: Tetra, 1987.


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 Or, leave us a message on our website at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity or greatercity.com or greatercity.org The Greater City Aquarium Society does not meet, and Modern Aquarium does not publish, in July or August. Since we send out exchange issues every two months, the next issues you will receive from us will be in mid to late October (when we send you our September and October issues). If you have meetings or events during the summer that you would like us to publicize, our website will continue operating. Just e-mail your information to GreaterCity@compuserve.com


June 2001

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

n ^^ jj

roduct Review And Commentary: Marineland Eclipse System Six, or Shouldn't I Know Betta? by STEPHEN SICA

hen my wife, Donna, and I decided to choose a pet about eight years ago we chose freshwater tropical fish. Having lived in Richmond Hill, Queens for most of my life I purchased our first tank, ten gallons of course, from Cameo Pet Shop. We set it up in the den of our house in Hollis Hills. This tank was to be our showcase and I squeezed fish after fish into it. Eventually it became fifteen, and then twenty gallons. It was even supplemented by a twenty-nine gallon tank in the basement, which no one ever saw except us. But we were proud of both our fish and our small efforts in the hobby so I continued to ply more and more fish into the tank in the den for one simple reason: I never saw a fish that I didn't like. After having caused the demise of more than my fair share of fish, I settled upon tetras, rasboras, and corydoras catfish because they were small, cute, and managed to survive longer than the others. Soon, I never saw a tetra, rasbora or cory that I didn't like! I had no control of this foolishness! Many years later we discovered another hobby—the home computer, after conducting research on the subject for over a year. I didn't want to treat it like our fish, if you know what I mean. In September 2000, we purchased our first personal computer. Almost immediately, Donna discovered that she liked the internet as much as she liked fish. She initiated me into the Web and I, too, was soon entangled. As a subscriber to a fish-keeping magazine, I had been receiving unsolicited mail-order catalogs. As a web surfing neophyte, I began researching these catalogs, as well as the companies that manufactured the products. This is how I discovered the Marineland company. Then, one day last February, one of the catalog companies had a sale on Marineland products and I


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

purchased its six gallon acrylic aquarium. I was fascinated by owning an acrylic fish tank, even if it was only six gallons, and I figured that this might be a partial solution to the overstocked tank in the den. When the Eclipse System Six arrived in the mail, I followed the instruction manual and set it up. The manual was clear and concise, and it was aided by simple line drawing illustrations. I assembled and landscaped the system and ran it for two or three days. Then I put a female betta in the tank. When the weekend arrived, I decided to add small cory catfish and picked out two corydoras schwartzi but, before I could leave the pet shop, I spotted a tankful of one of my favorite fish—the harlequin rasbora. Wouldn't you know it? I had none at home. I wanted a few, but decided that ten fully grown harlequins for twelve dollars was just too good a bargain to pass up. Two nights later the shop owner was kind enough to exchange seven defective rasbora for ten lemon tetras. Donna was able to restrain me even though I still had my heart set on a harlequin. After another two or three days I surveyed my six gallon mini-empire: the betta, two corys, and one lemon tetra. I concluded that if there was something wrong with the harlequins, and if the lemons were really lemons, then there also must be some truly inferior bacteria in there. The nerve of those micro-organisms! Anyway, I let these four fish set up housekeeping for a couple of weeks. During the following week, I introduced eleven neon tetras in allotments of five, two, and four, over five days. Seven neons are still with us. And, as I pen this story, the six gallon tank contains eleven small fish. Donna is attempting to restrain me from adding more neons, but as fish people like me know, self-control can be awfully difficult.

June 2001


The Eclipse System Six sits on plywood on top of two plastic crates at the other end of our den, while I decide on more appropriate furniture. The slightly curved face of the acrylic tank is sixteen inches long, seven and one-half inches wide at the base, and spreads slightly at the top to almost eight inches wide. The tank height is twelve and one-half inches. The top cover encloses a small bio-wheel filter and a compact twelve inch, eight watt fluorescent light enclosed in a transparent plastic sleeve to keep it dry; the light has a top mounted on/off pushbutton switch The cover adds another two and one-half inches to the tank, which brings the total height of the system to fifteen inches. This makes for a neat compact package which I landscaped with a substrate of about seven pounds of small white stones, five artificial plants, and a piece of driftwood about ten inches in length, three inches wide and two inches high. The filter motor is silent, and the light is adequate. The top of the acrylic tank is fitted with black plastic molding to match the cover itself. The molding has a bar running width-wise through its center. This bar and the edges on the molding support the filter which lies across the back length of the tank. Replacement filter cartridges can be purchased on-line for between five and six dollars for a three-pack. I recently visited a pet shop in Copiague, Suffolk County that was selling them for eleven dollars. While I do believe in and patronize local shops, my new internet shopping experiences allow a modest hobby budget to go much further, especially since shipping charges usually nullify sales tax. Here is another moral dilemma with no simple solution. But this story is continually played out, so we'll save it for another time. The top tank cover has a small hinged lid that opens to expose the filter bed, enabling the filter cartridge to be changed in one easy step. Just in front of the filter bed, but behind the light which is fastened to the front of the cover, is a space about one and one-half inches wide which leads to the water. It is barely wide enough to fit a small one inch siphon and to feed the fish. Furthermore, the bar that runs the width of the tank through its center keeps you from siphoning both sides of the tank without removing the siphon tube to lift it over the bar. If you are practical and work fast when you siphon the bottom, this means two sucks on the siphon hose, one on each side of the bar! If you desire more room to work, especially to clean or redecorate the tank, you have to lift off the complete top which houses the light. The filter mechanism itself sits on the molding; be careful 14

not to knock it off or worse—into the water below. It would be wise to keep the electrical cords for both the filter and light fixture loose, with lots of play, so you don't pull on any of this equipment and either damage it, or end up giving yourself shock therapy. Being compact and close to the top of the water, both the hinged lid and the whole top cover itself are always wet. When you open the lid or remove the top cover it will drip water, so it may be a good idea to have a pail or other container to rest the cover upon. Make sure that the container is close to the aquarium top since the electrical cords are not long; here's where that play in the electrical cords comes in handy! The system includes a plastic sleeve about six inches in length which can be attached to an outside corner of the tank by a peel-off adhesive strip. The sleeve gathers the electrical cords together down the rear of one side of the tank to keep them out of the way. The fish are provided with outstanding climate control via a new fifty watt Visi-therm submersible heater that is less than eight inches in length. I like its compact size and easy to adjust control. I hid it behind three plants; it holds the temperature at a steady seventy-seven degrees. I purchased this heater from another internet company which was having a sale on Visi-therms, so I ordered two 50 and a 100 watt heater for spares. The 50 cost under ten dollars plus the usual shipping fees. As of the date of this narrative, the System Six has been in operation for about six weeks. It is an attractive unit but, due to its compactness, it must be handled delicately. I believe that its small size limits it to being a "show" aquarium to exhibit a few small attractive fish. It is too small and delicate to be a real "working" fish tank. It is also too delicate and potentially dangerous for a child to maintain without proper supervision; all electrical cords should be disconnected before performing maintenance. But I would hesitate to trust a child to remember to disconnect it. I think that the System Six can find a home in many situations. You can put it any place on its own stand, or a homemade stand, or on furniture since it's not too heavy. It would look good in a small room or apartment, where space is at a premium, or as a decoration in a different room, such as a bedroom. It should be appealing to someone who wants an attractive aquarium or who wants to partake in the hobby on a relatively small scale to see if its whets the appetite. On second thought, it might also be good for someone who, plain and simple, just likes fish.

June 2001

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

What is Your Favorite Fish? Top Ten Picks for June of the GCAS by CLAUDIA DICKINSON he Greater City Aquarium Society's range of interests in fishkeeping styles and techniques, as well as the fish themselves, is quite diversified. When a random sampling of members were asked to name their favorite fish, and why this is their number one favorite, participants expressed a broad variety and many interesting answers!


Following are the GCAS Top Ten Picks of the month: #1 Joe Ferdenzi: Joe's favorite fish is the Orange Lyretail killifish. He says, "it is small, peaceful and it is the only freshwater fish that is orange with purple dots (it also has a beautiful lyret ail)." #2 Al Priest: Al's favorite fish is the Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish). He says, "they are virtually unmatched among fish in the wide variety of color and fin shapes. They are very hardy, easy to keep, not particular with respect to pH or DH and demonstrate fascinating breeding and fry raising behavior." #3 Sue Priest: Sue's favorite fish is the Angelfish. She says, "they 'look back' at me when I visit them." #4 Bernie Harrigan: Bernie's favorite fish is the Seahorse. He says, "they are peaceful and very animated, with a lot of personality. " #5 Jason Kerner: Jason's favorite fish is the Neon tetra. maintenance free."

He says, "they are practically

#6 Steve Chen: Steve's favorite fish is the Neolamprologus multifasciatus. He says, "they are the smallest shell dwellers of Lake Tanganyika. This fish is perfect for people who don't have a lot of tank space. A good pair will be happily multiplying in a 20 -gallon tank, over and over. " #7 Kin Tung Ha: Kin's favorite fish is the Discus. He says, "this is because of its parental behavior that the fry can feed off of the slime of the parent fish. They are excellent parents, if you have the patience and time to raise a non-hormonal fish to adulthood. " #8 Rich Levy: Rich's favorite fish is the Epiplatus chaperi angona. He says, "this is the only fish I wrote an article on because of a former LIKA member, Bill Jacobs." #9 Harry Faustmann: Harry's favorite fish is the Simpsonichthys magnificus. He says, "I like this fish because the name is so hard to pronounce!" #10 Bill Adams: Bill's favorite fish is the killifish, Aphyosemiom gardneri albino form. He says, "this was my first killie, which led to my membership in several killie clubs and consequently many, many friendships that I value greatly. This in turn has led me to that "great" aquarium organization known as the GCAS!" Where does your favorite fish fit into the list? Perhaps you have found a new fish from the above mentioned that will fast become your favorite as well!

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

June 2001


Photos and captions of our May, 2001 meeting by Claudia Dickinson ||| Sue Priest signs a note of good wishes to II Karen Randall, after gaining new insight i on growing aquatic plants from the |l expert.

Greg Wuest's Champion fish sweep the bowl show, bringing in 1st and 2nd place!

A warm welcome is extended to our guest speaker, Karen Randall, from GCAS President, Joe Ferdenzi.

Paul Hewett picks up new helpful tips from Karen Randall to bring home to use in his own beautifully planted tanks.


June 2001

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

Karen Randall graciously continues to pass along helpful advice on aquatic plants after her presentation.

Tom Miglio accepts his NEC Award for Winner of the Show Competition, with a grande total of 1371 points, from President Joe Ferdenzi.

. Greg Wuest and Carlotti DeJager wish all of the Greater City Aquarium Society a most fabulous summer!

Meanwhile, at Ivy Rose Cottage, Cody Dickinson decided to catch up on a bit of reading while Mom was at her GCAS meeting.

June 2001

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



Tiger Barbs know what you are thinking; he's really lost it this time. And, if you have kept Tiger Barbs in the wrong environment, there is no way you could think of these as "fun fish." However, by following the guidelines that I am about to share with you, Tiger Barbs can definitely be considered "fun fish."


kept in soft, neutral to slightly acidic water, in the typical 72-79 degree Fahrenheit temperature range. It is fairly easy to differentiate the males from the females as females are typically larger, fuller, and slightly duller than the males. Native to such Asian countries as Indonesia, Sumatra, and Borneo, they do not get larger than 3 inches

drawing by Bernard Harrigan

Tiger Barbs, Barbus tetrazona First off, let's start with the basics. As you can guess by its name, this fish is a barb. Similar in size to the rosy and black ruby barbs, I guess you could consider it a small to medium barb. It's not quite as small as the cherry and gold barbs, and definitely not as large as the tin foil barb. Scientifically, it is know as Barbus tetrazona, for the four stripes that run down its body. This is also what gives it the Tiger Barb name, as its orange body and black stripes definitely bring the tiger to mind. It is one of the most popular and attractive of the "bread and butter" fish of the hobby, and often one of the first purchased, which often leads to disaster for its tank mates, thus condemning it to an undeserved reputation. Tiger Barbs should be


standard length. Well, enough of the scientific classification stuff. I am here to tell you how to keep these fish so that they can be fun. There are several guidelines that I would like to share with you. First and foremost are the fish that are to be kept with Tiger Barbs. Any fish with flowing fins, such as Angelfish, Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta spendens\r most Gouramis are just too tempting for these frisky, active, nippy fish. In addition, very small and/or slow moving fish such as Cardinal Tetras will just as surely become victims of the Tiger Barbs' rambunctiousness. The barbs will chase and nip at their victims, often until they die. Understand, the Tiger Barbs

June 2001

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

are not being vicious or predatory in most cases. That is just their nature. How do you solve this problem? That's easy. Keep Tiger Barbs with larger, short-finned and faster moving fish. I have kept Tiger Barbs with all of the following with absolutely no problems: medium size tetras such as the Black and Bleeding Heart Tetras, as well as medium size cichlids such as festivums and rainbow cichlids. Similar size barbs such as the previously mentioned black ruby and rosy (not the long-finned variety) barbs are appropriate, as well. I have even kept them with Tin Foil Barbs, when the Tiger Barbs have gotten too large to fit in the Tin Foils' mouths. I would avoid large barbs and cichlids, as a Tiger Barb would probably end up as a snack for any fish that can swallow one. Another suitable tank mate is the Silver Dollar. Small, peaceful cichlids such as the Ram or any of the Apistogrammas are not aggressive enough. However, kribs can hold their own with Tiger Barbs. A great fish to keep with Tiger Barbs are Clown Loaches, as they are almost identically colored, durable, and reside in the lower portions of a tank, where Tiger Barbs don't typically dwell.

The next secret to success is to keep Tiger Barbs in schools. I usually find four to six fish to be the minimum. This way, they are too busy chasing each other to bother anyone else. In addition, if you keep a small group, there is a good chance that you will see some breeding behavior and might even get the fish to spawn, which, I understand, is not very difficult. If they do spawn, be sure to remove either the adults or the eggs if you want to raise the fry. Tiger Barbs are not good parents, and will eat all the fry, if they haven't already eaten the eggs. And, speaking of eating, Tiger Barbs will eat just about anything you feed them, but relish small live food such as brine shrimp. They will absolutely devour tubifex and black worms, but I don't recommend feeding them unless you have kept the worms in fresh, clean water. In my experience, the reputation of tubificid worms, as being carriers of many diseases is well deserved. So, what do you think? Have I succeeded in changing your opinion about Tiger Barbs? I am sure that if you follow the simple guidelines detailed above, you will come to think of Tiger Barbs as "Fun Fish."

Summer Time Ick by TOM MIGLIO oon it will be summertime, and the temperature will be hitting the 90s. Members have asked me, "Why am I getting Ick in the summer, when the temperature is so warm?" My first question to them is, "are you unplugging your heater in the summer?" Ninety percent will say "yes." I then explain to them that while the heater is unplugged, and the air conditioner is on for a long period of time, the water in the tank is getting cold. Once you shut off your air conditioner, the temperature in the tank will rise again. The fluctuating temperature in the tank causes the fish to become stressed. Cold temperature and stress equal Ick. My suggestion to all those who have asked me about this is to keep those heaters plugged in at all times.


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

June 2001



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by CLAUDIA DICKINSON s our summer break is upon us, I pause to reflect over the year's events, shared with some of the most special people in my life. There is comfort in the knowledge that I shall have these wonderful memories to treasure until we meet again in the Fall. September of 2000 brought us Scott Dowd, who journeyed from Boston to enlighten us on the Amazonian Ecosystem and self-sustaining life therein. In October our GCAS President, Joe Ferdenzi, gave, in his incomparably eloquent style, a most informative presentation on putting everyday objects to use in our home aquarium keeping. Tony Orso traveled from New Jersey in November to acquaint us with the Cichlids of Western Africa, and December brought Kevin Johnson from Marineland to give a most informative presentation on filtration. January brought in the New Year with a Grande Holiday Celebration and awards dinner at the Palace Diner. In February we had the marvelous opportunity to ask questions and gain insightful knowledge from GCAS experts Joe Ferdenzi, Mark Soberman, and Tom Miglio, during a round table discussion. March was a genuine treat to have Craig Morfitt, President of the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society, take us on his travels to Lake Malawi. April was a wonderful social affair, as well as the perfect opportunity to add to our collection of aquarium equipment, at the GCAS Silent Auction. May was a most special meeting, as the celebrated plant authority, Karen Randall, joined us from Boston to graciously share all of her wisdom on the perfect planted aquarium. Today we are most fortunate to have back by popular demand, the most delightful and knowledgeable Sal Silvestri, who has journeyed all the way from Connecticut to tell us about the South American Dwarf Cichlid, Apistogramma.


I reflect on the good fortune of the GCAS to have such a President as we do. Joe Ferdenzi is a distinguished and accomplished aquarist, a skilled writer, a studied historian of the GCAS, a great leader and a most special man, who sends endless praise to others, when it is he who deserves the praise. An inspiration to all, Joe makes it a pleasure to put our best into this great club. We are also so fortunate to have the genius and creativity of the Editor and Editor's wife team of Al and Sue Priest. As a result of the tireless hours and efforts of Al and Sue, along with the superb endeavors of all of the Modern Aquarium Editorial Staff, in putting this great magazine together, we are all able to enjoy the monthly indulgence of such a publication. Most of all, I look out and think of each and every one of you, who have your own lives, your different fish and your own stories to tell. It is you, the Membership of the GCAS who make it so very special ~ and for this, I thank you! Take Care and have a Beautiful Summer!

As our car turns east tonight and we head home to Ivy Rose Cottage, Dolly shall be curled up on my lap, and Effie will greet us over our shoulders. I will be dreaming of seeing all of you this evening, fishy tales and new stories to write, and of all of the creatures waiting for us at our Ivy Rose Cottage and how fortunate I am and then I will turn my head and look up at Brad and be thankful that he is by my side to share this with

An Aquarium Room is not a destination, but a journey Claudia Dickinson 20

June 2001

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

Our scheduled speaker this month:


Sal Silvestri Speaking on:

Apistogramma: A Diminutive Fish Filled With Beauty and Charm" Bio by CLAUDIA DICKINSON t is with such great pleasure tonight that the GCAS welcomes back Sal Silvestri, who was our guest one year ago in June of 2000, at which time he shared with us his extensive wisdom on the Cichlids of Lake Tanganyika. Tonight, we are so fortunate to have Sal be so kind as to travel again from Connecticut, and impart his knowledge on Apistogramma, the Dwarf Cichlids of South America Sal's complete bio appears on page 15 of Modern Aquarium, in the June 2000 issue, Volume VII, Number 6. You will find a copy of this article, in its entirety, on your seats tonight. Twenty-six years ago, Sal began his aquatic interests with a progression of various fish. His first African cichlid spawning would be the first of many, as it soon became apparent that Sal's understanding of fish husbandry was inherent. Sal's tanks grew along with his breeding skills, and 26 years later he currently has twelve running, which range from twenty to seventy-five gallons. Three of these tanks are devoted to communities of Tanganyikan Cichlids, and others house several varieties of fish, from South American Cichlids, to tetras and loaches, as well as catfish. Sal joined, and became very active in, the Norwalk Aquarium Society in 1977, where he


presently serves as a member of the Board. He traveled the show circuit extensively, his fish winning many awards. He then went on to become an NEC certified judge, for which he is in high demand during the show season. Sal's notoriety has spread far and wide, as he has so generously shared his knowledge and wisdom during many speaking engagements throughout the Northeast. He is also an accomplished author, writing for his club and honored with reprints appearing in TFH, the ACA's Buntbarsche Bulletin, as well as society magazines in Germany and Tokyo, to name a few. His author awards are many, which include numerous FAAS, as well as NEC, recognitions. Sal's lovely wife, Zoa, is very supportive of his hobby and gladly feeds the fish while he is on his travels. Zoa enjoys creating beautiful paintings of her husband's fish, as she is a fashion designer and artist. The Silvestris have two sons ~ Sal, who is twenty-four, enjoys his snakes, and Christopher, twenty-one years old, keeps lizards as pets. Tonight we are so very proud and honored to welcome back this most charming and knowledgeable gentleman to tell us of the Dwarf Cichlids, Apistogramma.

Thanks! The Greater City Aquarium Society would like to extend its thanks for special items donated to our last month's auction and raffles: Wardley (a division of Hartz Mountain) - for a generous donation of fish foods Jason Ransdell of Kent Marine - for a generous donation of various aquarium chemical supplies Mark Rubanow of Nassau Discus - for a generous donation of some spectacular discus Marineland - for an "Explorer" tank for our special raffle (won by Al Priest) A big Thank You to all the GCAS members who brought in home grown plants, tank raised fish, and various equipment and supplies. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. Finally, Thank You to Modern Aquarium's advertisers. Remember to support those who support us! Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

June 2001


News From:

The Northeast Council Of Aquarium Societies by CLAUDIA DICKINSON he American Cichlid Association is the largest and most distinguished national organization focused on the family Cichlidae. With a membership of well over 1,300, the AC A is a strong force, and has made expansive strides to further the conservation of species and their natural habitats. The organization is unequivocally progressive in the gathering, organizing, and disseminating of knowledge, while continually promoting fellowship amongst its members. Each July, the ACA holds a huge and most spectacular convention at various locations throughout the United States. It is here that you are able to witness the most sensational collection of the finest of cichlids to be found. Whether your interests lie in cichlids, or in other aquatic residents, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you will not want to miss. This July you do not have to fly to Chicago, or New Orleans, or Detroit to be a part of this great event. Your good fortune is right at your doorstep, as our neighbors, the North Jersey Aquarium Society, have been working tirelessly to host the best convention ever for the year 2001! It's the most heralded event of the year, as we journey together on the voyage of ACA 2001: A Cichlid Odyssey. The excitement builds as we converge in a warm reuniting of friendship, fish, and fun in the great halls of the Hotel Parsippany, in Parsippany, New Jersey on July 12th - 15th, 2001. Convention Chairman Chris Borgese, along with Laura Mizii, Helen DiBartolomeo, and others of his most competent committee, will greet us in the true style of the North Jersey Aquarium Society!


We will be treated to an outstanding assemblage of the most distinguished of speakers one could imagine. The showroom will entice us by row after row of the most exquisite collection of cichlids gathered under one roof. Plan to pack up and bring along the best from your own tanks and join in the show! Also, plan on bringing extra Styrofoam containers and clear some extra tank space at home to make room for those new irresistible acquisitions from Sunday's magnificent auction! The convention is an action-packed, non-stop weekend filled with world-renown speakers, workshops, vendors, raffles, specialized Study Group meetings, and incredible side trips as you've never seen before. If you haven't yet registered to join in the voyage of "ACA 2001: A Cichlid Odyssey," Chris and his marvelous committee are more than happy to help you register by calling 877-903-NJAS; e-mail: info@aca2001.com; or log on to: www.aca2001.com. As always, I am more than happy to help you with any questions that you may have. I shall look forward to seeing you there! With summer here we have time to prepare and condition our prize fish for the big annual Norwalk Aquarium Society Show and Auction, in the fall to be held on October 5th thru the 7th. The calendar is also filling with our fellow NEC member society events.

Lets take a look at the Upcoming NEC Calendar of Events: July 12th~15th: North Jersey Aquarium Society/American Cichlid Association Convention. September 30th: NEC General Meeting. October 5th~7th: Norwalk Aquarium Society Show & Auction. October 7th: New Hampshire Aquarium Society Auction. November 4th: Boston Aquarium Society Auction. Take Care and Enjoy the Summer!


June 2001

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST s I sailed happily into this book on behalf of you, my loyal readers, planning to whole-heartedly recommend it for your summer reading pleasure, I quickly found myself adrift. After I had written a few paragraphs, I put it aside and went in search of another title. Why? Because I noticed that most of my comments were negative, and I did't want to waste your valuable time. But, it kept drawing me back for a closer and closer look. I suspect it will do that for you as well, which is why I didn't write it off. Therefore, I will raise the spinnaker, but put the rudder firmly in your hand. I will list my reservations up front, and as quickly as possible; you may navigate them as you wish. Approximately forty percent of the material has to do with marine life. The text doesn't always differentiate between saltwater and fresh water animals, terms, etc. Some of the definitions used terms that were not crossreferenced. And, lastly, the photo section doesn't tie in with anything. The introductory chapter is called "The Allure of the Aquarium." This book has finally spelled it out for me; I find aquariums to be alluring! The several pages of anatomical drawings are very well done. Internal and external features of fishes, as well as a variety of invertebrates, are labeled in detail. The main body of the text consists of dictionary-style definitions. There are many excellent illustrations which greatly enhance the presentation. For example: the term TROPHIC LEVEL is defined as "The position in a food web that a particular type of organism occupies." What the heck does this mean? It becomes clear when you look at the drawing: brine shrimp being chased by a small fish, being chased by a shark.


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

The material covered is "all over the map." (I don't mean this as a criticism. I already covered those, remember?) I think this is precisely the reason that the book kept "drawing me back" to it. I never knew what to expect. Next we have the "Color Photo Gallery." Very appealing photos of a wide variety of aquatic life (including plants) are informally presented for our enjoyment. It is as if Mr. Tullock were sharing photos of all his favorites with us. (I'm sure Joe Ferdenzi must have a few fish photos in his wallet to show to anyone who is upright and whose eyes are open.) You get the picture!! Possibly the most useful section in the book is the "Appendices." There are conversion tables for volume, surface area, hydrometer readings, to name only a few. By far the highest level of usefulness and organization can be found in the appendix called "Recommended Aquarium Environmental Parameters." This chart could easily make the difference between success and failure to a new fish keeper. Suitable hardness, pH, and temperature for fish from various geographical areas such as South America, Central America, Eastern lakes of Africa, central and Western rivers of Africa, etc., are clearly spelled out. For example: Southeast Asia: Hardness < 1.0 dKH; pH 6.0; T. 72-82° F. ( 2 2 . 2 - 2 8 ° C.). Names of various organizations, hobbyist societies, and aquarium-related Internet sites, round out this section. It is topped off by a bibliography. This author realizes that his readers are an important part of the process. "Reader input is actively solicited for improving the content, including additional terms, and identifying and correcting errors." Would-be authors and editors — here is your chance to enter the world of publishing! What would I like to suggest? I would ask that the author add GCAS to the list of hobbyist societies.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin'. . . . each of you fill in what ever it is that makes summer special to you, and may you have a safe and healthy one.

June 2001


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June 2001

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

2001 A Cichlid Odyssey ACA Convention Parsippany Hilton, Parsippany NJ ACA 2001: A CICHLID ODYSSEY. The Annual Convention of the American Cichlid Association lands in the NY-NJ Metro Area July 12-15 at the luxurious Parsippany Hilton Hotel. Hosted by the North Jersey Aquarium Society. Open to the general public. The most celebrated, anticipated aquarium event of the New Millennium features a Who's Who of guest speakers: Dick Au, George Barlow, Pam Chin, Chuck Davis, Rosario LaCorte, Wayne Leibel, Paul Loiselle, Oliver Lucanus, Craig Morfitt, Ole Seehausen, Mike Sheridan, plus presentations by the Discus, Apistogramma, and South American Study Groups! 24-Class Competitive Show featuring hundreds of top cichlids! All-day/night Giant Cichlid Auction! Vendors galore selling hard-to-find livestock, books, and supplies! Manufacturer Expo of the latest products with free samples! Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, South Street Seaport, NY Aquarium tours! Plus our legendary hospitality rooms, Awards Banquet, swimming pool, basketball, tennis. Bring the whole family or come for the day! For more information: www.aca2001.com call: (877) 903-NJAS or write to: ACA 2001, P.O. Box 591, Nutley, NJ 07110 Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

June 2001




THE PET BART|i FRANKLIN SQUARE'S COMPLETE PET CEflf 1§R 212 FRANKLIN AVE FRANKLIN SQUARE, NY 11010 Come see our large Aquarium Plant display and receive I ONE FREE cultivated plant, just for stopping by! EXOTIC FRESHWATER FISH AFRICAN CICHLIDS IMPORTED GOLDFISH AND KOI


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



















All Major Credit Cards Accepted


June 2001

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

7. Fungus A) usually affects already sick fish B) requires medication C) is good in a mushroom omelet

Is THAT Your Final Answer?

8. Red Devil A) Cichlasoma labiatum B) non-angelic C) a spicy food condiment

A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"

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9. Python A) hard to change water without B) hard to put back into bag C) hard to remove from body 10. Green Terror A) Aequidens rivulatus B) algae bloom C) Girl Scout cookie sellers

or each numbered word or phrase below, write down the letter of the word or phrase that comes closest to what you associate the numbered word or phrase with. When you are finished, score yourself using the directions at the end.


1. The World Wide Web A) the world's biggest fishnet B) has lots of information on fish C) the graphical part of the Internet

11. Snail A) an invertebrate B) slow moving C) escargot 12. Floss A) filter media B) fibrous material C) good dental hygiene 13. Air pump A) use with an airstone B) an aeration device C) for a flat tire

2. Silver dollars A) get bigger as they get older B) should be handled with care C) are no longer minted in the U.S

14. Hard water 1) Lake Tanganyika 2) mineral rich 3) sleet, hail, and ice

3. Java A) can be a moss or a fern B) a good drink to start the day C) a hit by trumpeter Al Hirt. 4. Silicone A) is used to repair and bond things B) can be purchased in a tube C) is no longer used in breast implants

15. Atlas A) Axelrod or Baensch B) an illustrated compendium C) Rand McNally

5. Flake food A) is usually good for surface feeders B) should be kept in a cool dry place C) tastes best with milk and fruit 6. Filters A) are needed for almost every tank B) need periodic cleaning C) do not make cigarettes any safer Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

June 2001

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Welcome, New and Renewing Members: Paul Hewett and John Lee


Bowl Show winners last month: 1) Greg Wuest - Xiphophorus helleri 2) Greg Wuest - Neolamprologus leleupi 3) Harry Faustmann - Fundulopanchax sjostedi September 2000 - June 2001 Season 1) Pat Coushaine - 21 points ...*&' 2) Greg Wuest -"l 3) Eric Abrams, Joe Fpdenzif :Diane Wirth (tjie| - Sx^jnts .... 4) Al & iil&:|>riest - 4 points 5) Doug Curtin - Z^oints Ky| 6i;lhar||ยงiiiJo\||:!^ Hai|y Faustmann (tie) - 1 point May's Door Eirize: .Aguijium 'Plant Paradise by Takashi Amano was September|S Door JRfci^e: The Cichlid Aquarium by Dr. Paul LQJ.se}]p:|g)ur Se|i|^rfiber, speaker!) times and locations of aquarium s;Q|i||p|::iji f|i Metropolitan New York

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Telephone: (516) 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: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com June 21: Kevin Carroll "Feeding and Breeding the Brutes" and "A Special AC A Presentation" by Chris Borgese (NJAS sponsored AC A convention - p. 25)

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the Nature Center for Environmental Activities, Westport, CT

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

June 2001

Next Meeting: June 21 Speaker: Joseph Ferdenzi Topic: "Home Depot for the Hobbyist" Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253


Fin Fun It Pays to Enrich Your AQUARIUM Word Power If it's good enough for Readers Digest, it's good enough for Modern Aquarium. Here's a slight variation on the very popular vocabulary column from Readers Digest. Match each term with the correct definition. 1) MOLLUSK

Offspring resulting from crossbreeding two different species


Tissues that suspend internal organs within the body


Swimming leg located on the abdomen of a crustacean


An invertebrate such as clam, snail, chiton, octopus Giant clams cultivated for food, but also for their bright colors and ease of maintenance in mini reef tanks


Among animals, one that is attached to a substrate


A series of paddles arranged around an axle, the spinning of which pushes water through a pump


Specialized cells in the body of a sponge that are involved in food transport within the animal Reference: Dictionary of Aquarium Terms by John H. Tullock

Solution to last month's puzzle:

Tangled Roots WATER





















10) ARIH SASRG Untangling the bracketed letters spells the name of last month's speaker: KAREN RANDALL


June 2001

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

June 2001 volume VIII number 6

Modern Aquarium  

June 2001 volume VIII number 6