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Series III

Vol. IX. No. 3

March. 2002


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Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


Silent Auction Rules (for April)


The Accidental Spawning of the Coral Rainbowfish


Product Review 10 Gallon Aquarium Stand "Fun




Fish" - The Black Ghost


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Looking Through The Lens

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Photos from our February Meeting . . . . 10 InterFish Net (Technology Series)


Second Sight (Reprints) ;;SoHe



"The $1,000 Angelfish"


Wet Leaves (book review)


Scenes From A Meeting


NEC Delegate's Report


Listen To Your "Little Voice"


Techni:c:a]|I|f||l^ ;Ph'cte|td^oi^^§^^^^^j|(j Production Director , . Bernard Executive E d i t OT:;Sil|||Ill

G.C.A.S. Happenings :Flrdenz;i';

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

. 23 .


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 2002 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



mong the "hats" I wear for Greater City is that of "Exchange Editor." This means that I see over two dozen publications of other societies from many parts of the United States, and even some from outside the U.S. (We exchange with two Canadian groups, as well as the Bermuda Fry Angle Aquarium Society.) Last month I received items from two societies that I at first thought were flyers for a show or auction, as they were only one and two pages each. They turned out to be that society's "newsletter." I have not been Exchange Editor that long, but I remember when those societies each had a fairly decent newsletter. I'm pretty sure the decline in those newsletters is not the fault of the Editor. Since one of my other "hats" is that of Editor, I understand only too well that no editor can produce a quality publication without the help and cooperation of the society's governing Board and of the members themselves. Fortunately, Modern Aquarium has always been supported by Greater City's Board of Governors; and has had enough member contributions for it to reach and maintain a high level of quality — at least so far. Our "reserve" supply of articles has run dry. Rather than print one or two sheets of paper, and call it "Modern Aquarium," I'd prefer we stop publishing now. Do I want to stop? The answer to that is an unqualified "No." But, I think it's better to stop while you're still at or near the top, rather than allow one of the most highly awarded amateur publications in the United States to dwindle to an embarrassing state. But, it's not too late. I'm calling on our members to start writing articles. Don't ask if I want it, don't ask if anyone ever wrote on that topic before, don't worry about spelling or grammar —just do it!

In keeping with the "column within a column" I've been running these past few months, I'm going to give you some more questions to answer in order to write an "Historical" article for Modern Aquarium. You don't need to be a "history buff to write an "Historical" article. All you need is curiosity. Let's say you live in Staten Island, and found out there once was a "Richmond County Aquarium Society" (as far as I know, one never existed, but this is only an example), and you want to know more about it. Or, maybe you want to know how a hobby related organization (such as the ACA, AKA, FAAS, NEC, IBC, etc.) came to be. Perhaps the "history" of a certain fish interests you (e.g.,who discovered it, where it was first found, when and by whom it was first imported, who is credited with the first spawning, information relating to its scientific name, etc.). Maybe you've wondered about the history of a public aquarium, or even of a store. Perhaps you want to know more about someone who made a significant impact on the aquarium hobby. Regardless of what it is, if it interests you, it's certain to be of interest to others. So, here are some questions to ask, and the steps to follow, to write an "Historical" article: o

How and why did you become interested in the history of this topic?


Explain why this topic is of interest to aquarists today.


Did you uncover what you believe were mistakes made that we can learn from? If so, describe them and the lessons you believe they hold for us today.


What research tools and methods did you employ to uncover the history of your topic? Which provided the most useful information?


Are there still "gaps" in the historical record you feel are important, but that you have not yet been able to fill in? If so, discuss them and what you believe their significance to be.


Now, just relate the results of your historical research, as you understand it.

In future columns, I'll discuss "Humorous," "Interview," "Opinion," and "Photo Spread" articles (and maybe a few more). I hope this mini-series will encourage you to write.

March 2002

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI


hat is one of my fondest wishes for the Society in the year 2002? It's quite simple, really. I wish that every member would enter at least one fish in our upcoming show. That would make for a wonderful event — believe me, it's fun! The fish does not have to be some rare species from the exotic Isle of Pago Pago (I made up the name). It does not have to be a fish the size of Moby Dick (Moby was a whale, of course, and whales are not fish, but, you get the idea). It does not have to be a fish with a double combtail, triple lutz combination (again, gibberish, but point is: a "plain" fish is just fine). It does not have to be a fish you nurtured since birth on micro nutrients and other specialty diets. If you think you don't have fish "worth" entering, you are wrong! You wouldn't be in a fish club if you didn't think you had some nice fish at home. By the way, we also have a plant class and an art class, so fish are not the exclusive form of entry. Moreover, the show rules do not prohibit you from buying a fish just so you can enter it in the show. In fact, if you don't wish to disturb any of your home favorites, I encourage you to do just that. A fish show is, after all, just a piscine beauty show. If you have enough of a discerning eye to be able to go to, say, a pet shop and pick out a winner, my hat's off to'ya! Some people are afraid that entering a fish in a show is dangerous to its health. This is just not true. I have been entering fish shows since 1975 (!), and I have yet to lose even one fish. At Greater City shows, the only piscatorial mishaps were the result of owner error. For example, one person once put their brackish water fish in pure freshwater without acclimatizing it properly. Another forgot to put the cover back on the tank (the fish took a dive). Here is a simple tip that leads to almost sure success: for every fish you enter, bring one gallon of water (rinsed plastic milk jugs do the job well) from the fish's home tank (two gallons is even better — our standard show tank only holds two and one half gallons).

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

If, in the final analysis, you just can't enter even one fish, there are other ways you can help to make the show a success. Volunteer to help with the "chores." Friday evening (May 3rd) we need all hands to set up the show room. The more hands, the faster it goes. On Saturday morning, we need help with the show entries and other sundry tasks. On Sunday afternoon, we have a giant auction — again, you can never have enough help for that event. Lastly, just coming to the show is important. Can't enter a fish or volunteer to work? How about attending it for a few hours? I hope to see each and every one of you there on the weekend of May 3rd-5th. In fact, I'm counting on it. * * * As you read this issue, you may notice my article on rainbowfish. You may even be saying to yourself, "How come Joe doesn't write about something else, like Goldfish?" Well, if you are asking that question, my simple reply is that I don't "do" Goldfish because I don't have any experience with them. I mainly breed killies, rainbows, livebearers, and cichlids, so that's what I tend to write about. But, if you were asking that question, I have a question for you: why don't you write about Goldfish? Now, I just picked Goldfish as an example. You could be looking for an article about another fish. Fine; why do you like those fish or want to find out more about them? Just the answer to that question leads to an article that you could write. And, chances are, you've had some experience with your desired topic. Tell us about it. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking or "expert" analysis. Take a close look at my rainbowfish article in this issue. It is hardly information that is going to make my fame as an aquarist. But, at least, it's my own experience, and perhaps there is something worthwhile in it for some reader. Come on, give it a try. Share your fishkeeping experiences with me and others by writing an article. Thanks.

This month, Greater City welcomes our guest speaker, George Clarke, speaking on: "It's All About Goldfish -- from Ryukin to Shubunkin"

March 2002

April 3: The GCAS Annual

SILENT AUCTION of useable and working aquatic dry goods Silent Auction rules: * The seller sets an opening price for each item. * Bidders write down their bids in increments of 500 until the bid reaches $10.00. For items that reach (or start at) $10.00, bids must be in $1.00 increments. * A bidder may not cross our his/her own bid to enter a lower bid. * The highest bidder at the end of the auction wins the item. * Proceeds are split 50/50 between the seller and Greater City. (Of course, the seller may also donate 100% of the proceeds to Greater City!) * Items not claimed by winning bids (or if there were no bids, by their owners) at the end of the auction become the property of Greater City. No Bowl Show in April

April 7: North Jersey A.S. Annual Fish and Family Big Spring Auction! Meadowlands Environment Center Lyndhurst, NJ Featuring our famous GIANT auction of rare and captive-bred livestock from New Jersey's top wholesalers, importers, and world-renowned breeders! PLUS...Workshop Symposium featuring the area's top hobby specialists! FAMILY FUN...interactive nature museum and walking trails, food and beverages available. $2.00 admission per family (which includes bidder card). Doors open 10AM. Auction starts at 1PM. Website: http://www.njas.net/ Hotline: (732)541-1392 4

March 2002

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

The Accidental Spawning of the Coral Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani) by JOSEPH FERDENZI ccidental, in this case, is a relative term. For me it was accidental in the sense that I had not planned it. For the fish, I'm sure it was no accident; they wanted to spawn. In this relative difference lies a fable with a moral or two. The Coral Rainbowfish moniker is one that is sometimes attached to the fish scientifically known as Melanotaenia boesemani. This rather large rainbowfish (I have seen specimens in the 5 inch range) is a freshwater species that originally comes from Irian Melanotaenia boesemani Jaya (the western h a l f of t h e Southeast Asian island of New Guinea). I have written about this fish previously for the pages of Modern Aquarium (October 1999). *™^ Suffice it to say for now that the "Coral" part of the moniker is a reference to its outstanding coloration. The front half of the fish is a combination of grey and purple, and the back half is vivid yellow. Although these fish are now commercially bred in Asia, they still command steep prices at pet shops. (Generally between $8 to $15 each, depending on size.) Also commonly known as Boesemans Rainbowfish, the Coral Rainbowfish are lake dwellers. They are found mainly in Lake Ayamaru and its surrounding tributaries, located at the western most tip of Irian Jaya. As lakes go, this one is quite shallow (with a maximum depth of 10 meters, or about 30 feet), and has a dense plant growth. The pH is quite alkaline at 8.0. My fish room housed a group (eight) of them in a 29 gallon tank, where they were all by


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

themselves. Although the group consisted of mostly males, there were a few (three) of the "fairer" sex. (The coloration of the females is much more subdued and, in contradistinction to most other fish, the male is the more deep bodied of the two.) Close inspection of this fish reveals that it actually has two dorsal fins, albeit they are very close together. Indeed, this feature is common to all members of the g e n u s Melanotaenia. I had this group for some years, and had photo by Al Priest gotten spawns from them the "conventional" way. That is, whenever I wanted eggs, I would remove a male and two females from their tank and place %,, them in a ten gallon tank with about eight gallons of water from their home aquarium. This breeding tank would contain some Java Moss or artificial spawning mops to serve as a repository for their eggs. After about a week, I would remove the breeders. The eggs would then hatch inside the ten gallon tank, and I would begin feeding the resulting fry. After some years of this, I stopped (for various reasons I won't belabor you about). Of course, these rainbowfish are very opportunistic eaters, so that you will never see fry unless you remove adults from the breeding tank. But the fact that I wasn't "breeding" these fish didn't really concern me; I had distributed fry to other club members, and they were available in pet shops, so that, if someone wanted to breed them, they could always support their local retailer and buy their own.

March 2002


The Black Ghost ome fish are just meant to be kept for enjoyment. These fish are sometimes referred to as "pet fish." An Oscar, for example, kept singly in a large (55 gallon or larger) tank by itself, is there for its owner to enjoy. It will not be bred, socialize with others of its own kind, or with other fish. It will serve to amuse and fascinate its owner. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Such a fish, provided with a proper environment and a well balanced diet, can be expected to live many years. It certainly will not have to worry about being attacked, captured, injured, or even eaten. Provided with proper landscaping and decoration, it probably won't even be bored. Its owner will seek it out to observe its behavior, and ply it with tasty morsels. It may be provided with a consort and given the opportunity to spawn. Doesn't sound too bad. In fact, many of the larger cichlids can become such "pet fish." This article's subject, the Black Ghost, will never display the interaction, and affection, that a cichlid might; yet many are kept as pets because of their unique appearance and behavior. The Black Ghost, Apteronotus albifrons, originates in South America, inhabiting the waters of Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. They prefer soft water in the slightly acidic to neutral range. These fish are happiest in dimly lit tanks with places to hide. They have very poor eyesight and navigate via the weak electrical signal they produce. Because of their weak eyesight, they will even hide in clear plastic tubes, thinking that they are out of sight. In fact, such tubes sold as "ghost houses" can be purchased at almost any pet shop. The electric field they produce and use to navigate (and most likely hunt) should be taken into consideration when locating a tank that contains one or more of these fish. For example, it is probably not a good idea to keep a tank with a Black Ghost in it near a television or computer, both of which produce feedback that could harm the fish. Also of concern should be fish to keep with a ghost. Other fish that produce an electrical signal, such as the elephant noses, will not get


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

along well in the same tank. My Black Ghost killed two elephant noses in its tank within a very short time of their introduction. I have heard of others with similar experiences. The above exceptions noted, these are pretty simple fish to keep. They are omnivorous, but need meaty fare and relish any small live food supplied. Mine devoured brine shrimp, tubifex and black worms, but would also eat flake and pellet food with gusto. Tubifex and black worms were greedily taken from my fingers. These Black Ghosts, like the other so-called knife fish, move about via a flexible fin that runs along their lower body and can swim in any and every direction, which makes them fascinating to watch. Because they can grow up to 19 inches, they require a tank on the large size to do best. Mine reached a size of 12 inches in a 30-gallon Long tank. While they will eat small fish, such as young terras and small live bearers, they are fairly peaceful and tolerant of tank mates. They should not be kept with large and/or aggressive fish, especially territorial cichlids, or with some of the larger, more boisterous catfish. These fish will out-compete them for food, and chase them mercilessly. You have read a brief description of this fish; its intent is to capture your interest and get you to consider keeping one. This article in no way fully describes the pleasure of keeping a Black Ghost. If your interest is piqued, and you have the room for one, don't hesitate. Everyone I have spoken to about this fish, and all correspondence that I have read about this fish on the web while researching this article, glows with praise over the fish. Try one, you won't be sorry you did. Then you can write an article extolling its virtues. The Black Ghost is not a fish for every situation; it cannot be kept in every community tank. However, given the proper care it is a fish that can most definitely be included in the "fun fish" category.

March 2002

by Claudia


| Our eminent panel of experts, Joe Ferdenzi, I Mark Soberman, Tom Miglio and Horst Gerber, was quite up to the challenge. All of us went |home with a great sense of knowledge gained from our fabulous experts!

Brad Dickinson performed his usual extraordinary job on the overhead projector, lining up the questions to create the perfect program medley.

Lovely Amanda Rubanow enjoys |the meeting, while Tyler Dickinson relaxes on Donna Sica's lap.

When Al Priest has his digital camera clicking, you can be certain we're in for a treat with one of his most famous GCAS photo Collages!

With Modern Aquarium in hand, Jerry OTarrell finds a most comfortable spot to kick his feet up and relax, with a great magazine!

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

March 2002



http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity/ he Internet is still a "goldmine" of freebies, if you know where to look. In this installment of "InterFish Net," I will focus on free things a fish hobbyist can get from the Internet, above and beyond the voluminous amount of free information and fish pictures.


Have you ever had to add something to a tank, and the instructions read something like "Add 5ml for every 10 liters of water" or "Add in a ratio of 1 to 10000?" Here is a link to a Windows "Aquarium Unit Conversion Utility" that can convert different units of weight or volume: http://www.craigcentral.com/cvtl6.htm Here is a link to "Fish Tank Data Manager," a Windows application that allows you to keep track of water chemistry and maintenance items for you fish tanks. Data is saved in disk files, and each file can have as many pages for water chemistry and maintenance items as desired. You can keep information for different tanks in different files, or assign different pages in the same file; the choice is yours. A "Maintenance Alert" page allows you to schedule items and have an alert dialog tell you what is due (or past due). Find it at: http://www.craigcentral.com/tankdata.htm Follow this link to a free trial version of "Tankminder 98," a Windows fish keeping software program with a logbook (to record fish acquisitions, tank maintenance, water quality), graphing (to spot trends in water quality changes), a scheduler (for cleaning and maintenance), converter (translate drops to milliliters, gallons to pounds, etc.), and more: http://www.tankminder.com/ Go to the link below to download "Fish Tank Information," a Windows application that allows you to see what would be required for different sizes offish tanks. Based on "accepted" criteria, it will give the amount of filtration, heat, gravel, weight, water change volume, and the maximum number offish that can safely be kept in the tank. "Standard" tank sizes can be quickly selected from a drop-down list and custom sizes entered manually. The data you enter can be saved to disk, so when you add or remove fish your data file can be updated quickly. Download it from: http://www.craigcentral.com/ftank.htm


Free fish desktop "wallpaper" for your computer screens can be downloaded at: http://www.animalwallpapers.com/photos/fish.htm - orhttp://www.migliosoft.com/wallpaper/wallpapers/ fish/

For free tropical fish screen savers, go to: http://www.fotoscreens.com/screens2/tropl.htm - orhttp://www.fabuloussavers.com/ - orhttp://www.geliosoft.com/3d-fish-school/ If you want a screen saver with more options, try "Aqua V." This screen saver is fully customizable. You can select which fish you'd like in the tank from many different real-life fish (they are three dimensional, and look true to life). You can even select the lighting and the type of gravel. If you like, personalize your tank even more by adding a picture of your choice to the background of the tank. Download this program at: http://www.winsite.com/bin/Info75000000036346 For yet another aquatic theme screen saver with multiple options, go to: http://www.clubaquatica.com/index.html For a fun cartoon fish related jigsaw puzzle that you complete on-line go to: http://freejigsawpuzzles.com/beta/beta_test_ square_fish2.htm Or, for a "slide the blocks" type of puzzle that you manipulate on-line, try: http://www.cartoonsoup.com/puz_lc.htm To send someone a free "E-card" with a tropical fish theme, go to: http://centralpets.com/cards/gbrowse.php?cat_id=12

March 2002

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

econd Reprints deserving a second look This month's reprint appeared in the February 2002 issue of Fancy Fins, the publication of the Circle City Aquarium Society of Indianapolis, Indiana. This "$ 1,000 Angelfish" article should not be confused with "My $25,000 Angelfish," an article by GCAS member Jason Kerner which appeared in the December 1994 issue of Modern Aquarium. Lest the "price" of raising angelfish in these articles scare off any potential angelfish breeders, I want you all to know that I have a pair of angelfish that produce eggs in my community about every three weeks or so, and it doesn't cost me a thing!

Pterophyllum sea/are The $1,000 Angelfish by Gary Grissom, CCAC I did it! I successfully raised a hatching of Angelfish. A relatively simple task (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). In case you too want to raise angels here is all that you need to do: Buy a school of six angels from the pet store of your choice. Wait six to eight months to see the last one perish for unknown reasons. Buy another six. Spend more on them. More expensive has to mean better, right? Repeat the eulogy at the toilet bowl six times in the next few months. Figure out that what is needed is a bigger tank. Buy a 55 setup and realize the dang stands cost too much, so spend three and a half weeks making your own. At least it looks better than one I would have bought and it is sized to hold either a 55 or 75 gallon tank. I filled the tank with 55 inches offish (one inch per gallon a great rule of thumb, I was told). At this point I figured out that angelfish don't have thumbs. Apparently they have a "rule of fin" that says 1/4 inches offish per gallon is the way to go. Any volunteers? Thank you Mr. Clown Loach. We appreciate your sacrificing for the good of the society, Mrs. Gourami. Hey Bala Shark, I really thought you could make the leap from the tank to the kitchen sink. You're not looking too well on the carpet in the sunshine. I knew corys would swim to the top of the tank, but how long can those two stay there belly-up? Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Things were going well. I had five angels nearing breeder size. Then it happened. A stuck heater. Note to self: Angels will not breed in 105 degree water. They won't even breathe. Quick, off to the store for a new heater and some more angels. Might as well use the stand the way it was designed, give me one of those 75 gallon tanks, too. I decided I can't wait any longer, so I buy the "large angels." Three should suffice. Within a few weeks, success!! Two have paired off and are spawning! I get home from work too late and the eggs are being served as dinner for the other inhabitants of the tank. After watching this be repeated a few times, I realize the error of my ways. A bigger tank didn't work. I'll use the old ten gallon that is stored away. In the pair goes when they show signs that spawning is imminent. Two days later, a batch of eggs that are estimated at seven or eight hundred are looking nice and pretty on the slate. Remove the parents and next morning eight or nine hundred eggs are covered in fungus beyond recognition. Oh well, this pair is religiously spawning every four weeks. It won't be long now. Might as well do a water change in the main tank while we wait. If a fifty percent change is good, then 80% that happened because the phone rang should be better, right? Since I am on well water, I drop the

March 2002


hose in the tank and fill'er up. Why are all those fish dying? It looks like they are gasping for air. Oh darn, now the angel pair is floating! What do you mean, water coming from 75 feet underground has little to no oxygen content? Who would of thought of that? Off to the store again. At least the employee turnover there is high enough that they don't realize how many angels I have purchased in the last eighteen months. Finally ! Christmas day of 1999,1 have a bare bottom ten with several hundred fry that were spawned on a piece of slate a day ago. Quick, add food. Lots of food. They will be swimming soon and they are so small they will need to eat a lot. My little nephew asks why I have a tank with no fish. I assure him it is loaded with tons of fry. "Use the magnifying glass. You'll see them." "But Uncle Gary, all I see are little balls lying on the bottom. They aren't moving at all." Darn! I gotta research this before the ASPCA finds out what's been going on in my living room. I'm gonna read about this before I try another spawning. I joined CCAC in February and started doing a lot of internet research. I see what I did wrong... On 1/1/00, it was determined that the heater and power filter were Y2K ready, so I would try it again, but I would wait until Christmas of that year so that I could give the fry proper attention. In the meantime I had two pair of Tilapia that I bought at the club auction for a buck. They had a mouth full of eggs; I could learn a few things with them. Any way, there is nothing better to do during an Indiana winter.

Starting in November, I conditioned the adults and sure enough, right after I put 7 gallons of rainwater in the 10 gallon tank, within two days I had eggs. I started the brine shrimp and waited until the fry were true free swimmers. I now could tell the difference between swimming and wiggling. When they were swimming I started feeding them the baby brine shrimp. Then after about four days I had a bad feeling. No more shrimp! Stay calm. That is why you bought the frozen food. Get some frozen baby brine and see if that works. It did! I figured that was easier anyway, so I cleaned the hatchery up and stored it away. Several weeks later I had about thirty fry that were looking like angelfish. 100% gold angels. Made sense, since mom and dad were both gold. I maintained the water at 82 degrees from the time the rainwater was put in before the spawn until they were about 1/8". I then lowered it to 78 degrees, just like the guy at Sailfin had told me to do. I would occasionally find a floater and ended up with eight or nine dime size beauties. I sold two and a year later have five of them in my tank. They are my favorite fish. They are also the most expensive, because I had to invest at least $1,000 to get them! I have made sure that each of the little guys realizes what a sacrifice their ancestors went through so that they could live the way they do today. Bottom-line; learn about what you are doing before diving in over your experience level. Don't start with angels. Build up to that. Start with Tilapia, you can't kill them! The fish will thank you, and PETA will leave you alone.

Jersey Shore Aquarium Society TROPICAL FISH and DRY GOODS

AUCTION Sunday March 10,2002. Registration of live goods starts at 10am. Viewing of items runs from 1 lam until 12:45pm. The auction starts at l:00pm SHARP! There is no admission charge, but there is a $2 bidder fee. Knights of Columbus Hall Rt. 537 (70 East Main Street) Freehold, New Jersey http://www.jerseyshoreas.org/


March 2002

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST


hen I bought this book, there was another one very similar to it, possibly intended to be a companion volume. I don't remember the exact title, but I'm sure it included the word "pond." This one, with a title which included the word "garden" not once, but twice, strummed at my heart strings. My garden is a small and humble affair, but I have spent more happy hours there than there are weeds. I am a firm believer that if someone else can do something better than you can, then let them do it. (That's why I don't do much cooking!) Therefore, I quote the author as he describes this book in his own words: "This book has been written for those people who are primarily gardeners, who want to include a pond in their garden. The emphasis in this book is on the plants." This book never misses an opportunity to dilate your pupils and quicken your pulse. Translation: there are color photos on every page. Even the index will have a physiological effect on you. It consists of ten photos scattered about on two pages, each one being "framed" and including a title and page number. Charming! The opening chapter, on choosing the location of a pond, offers such sage advice as to include a path leading up to it so that the grass won't be worn away by tramping feet. Design and construction are large topics which cannot be covered by small chapters. Chapter 4, "Water Features," describes a variety of waterfalls and fountains. Most of these involve the installation of pumps, which can be a big job. But, how about a "cobble" fountain, which consists of a pile of stones with a hose running up through the center, creating the look of a natural bubbling spring. Charming! Mr. Lambert crams a lot of information into the two page chapter on filtration and pond maintenance, but not quite enough for a beginner to tackle these important tasks. The next three chapters; "Aquatic Plants," "Bog Gardens," and "Bog Plants," are the heart and soul of this book. Analogies ("lovely scented white flowers look like Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

a group of beautiful butterflies have settled on the plant"), and oxymorons ("these plants float beneath the surface") abound, but there is plenty of practical information which will guide you through the selection process. Trust me, there is something here for you. I find myself quite fascinated with the whole concept of a bog garden. Basically, this a twelve inch deep hole with a "liner" (you can use overlapping scrap pieces because it doesn't have to be absolutely watertight), a highly organic soil mixture which holds water well, and a 2" X 18" "pipe" sticking out of the soil; that's where you "put in the water." The temptation of trying varieties of plants I have never had before is hard to resist. However, the need for "copious amounts of water" tells me that this year won't be the right year to try it. But that's O.K. — I will have plenty of time to do more reading on the subject. This brings us to the last few pages of the book. "A Rockery by your Pond" simply describes decorating the area around your pond with rockwork. The author dedicates exactly four columns of text to the "fish." Especially interesting to this reviewer was the fact that the only fish specifically recommended by name, Ictalurus punctatus, is a native American catfish. Mr. Lambert, along with his water gardens, resides in England! Lastly, I must revisit the beginning of this lovely book. One never knows when one's education will take an unexpected turn. My knowledge of the art world being quite shallow, I did not know that the group of paintings known as Water Lilies, by Monet, were all "paintings of the same lily pond during all hours of the day and all seasons of the year." Even more remarkable than that was a small black and white photo of Monet standing in front of two of these paintings. They are at least seven feet high! The frontispiece of each chapter is a vignette from one of these paintings. Charming!

Author's note: It would appear that I have forgotten or omitted the date of publication. A diligent search did not reveal it. I have had this problem with other TFH books in the past. S.P.

March 2002


Photography Contest! Let's get our cameras out and start taking those shots of our fish and our planted tanks for the big Annual Photography Contest to be held and judged at the NEC 27th Annual Convention!

You may have a favorite photo pinned to your wall, or taped to a tank, hanging from your desk or on your night stand. Collect these together and turn them all in ~ the more photos, the more festive the competition! It's great fun, and it's your chance to win!

There's lots of excitement and plans to be made! Springtime is coming with a very full... NEC Calendar of Events: March 10th: Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island Buck-A-Bag Auction. March 10th: Jersey Shore Aquarium Society Auction. March 24th: Exotic Fish Society of Hartford Auction. April 12th ~ 14th: NEC 27th Annual Convention. April 28th: Monadnock Region Aquarium Society Auction. *May 3rd~5th: Greater City Aquarium Society Show & Auction!!!* May 19th: Aqua-Land Aquarium Society Auction. June 2nd: NEC General Meeting. Take Care, have fun and enjoy your fishkeeping!

Get ready! Get your fish ready! Get your whole family ready! For the Greater City Aquarium Society Birthday Blast that's been 80 years in the making!

mou u_c anna MO<T < r* cuuc The Greater City 80th Anniversary Show and Auction Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Parkway Floral Park, NY Witk alant dtyaood* auction notfed vu

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

March 2002


Listen to Your "Little Voice" A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"

In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of the Editor; or of the Greater City Aquarium Society fter a while, most aquarists get a "second sense" about their hobby (although I know some hobbyists that seemed to have missed getting any sense at all—but that's another story, usually tied in with glow-in-the-dark gravel, pink mermaid ornaments, and "designer" plastic tanks costing a small fortune). The "second sense" takes the form of a "little voice" that tells you to do something (or refrain from doing something), in order to avoid disaster. Unfortunately, listening to that voice usually means more work, or more money. Even more unfortunately, not listening to that voice usually means more work or more money. Here are examples (mostly true and personal ones, with some details changed to protect the guilty) of why you should always listen to that "little voice." For example, let's say that you are rearranging the inhabitants of your tanks, moving a certain group of fish from one tank to the next. After a bit of effort, you were able to catch all of the fish and transfer them into a bucket (containing water, of course) for transporting to their new home. The "little voice" tells you to check the pH values of the two tanks (the one the fish came from, and the one to which they are to be transferred), and to put a cover on the bucket. Because you know that both tanks get water changes from the same source, have similar decorations and plants, you're sure that the pH values, if not identical, are close enough. But, being a very careful aquarist (which we all are — right?), you go to get the pH test kit. You return to find that all but three of your school of eight fish have made the leap from the three inches of water in the bucket, up the 11" high walls, and have landed on your floor! Oh-Oh, that's what happens when you don't listen to everything that "little voice" is saying.


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

Or, let's say you want to do a water change on that 120 gallon tank. Something (your "little voice?") tells you that you really should wait until someone else, such as a significant other, or another aquarist, is there to help you. But, you ignore that nagging voice, and start syphoning out water. Everything is going along fine, then you notice that the sink where you have attached your Python hose has become clogged with the syphoned out plant material, and is now overflowing big time. You knew someone should be monitoring the sink (your "little voice" told you so), and now it's "Oh-Oh" time again! You bring home fish from a local aquarium society auction. They are beautiful. They are exactly what you needed to add to a certain tank. They came from a local society's auction. That means they were tank-raised and in must be in good health. Your "little voice" reminds you that all fish should be quarantined. You're certain that in this case, quarantine isn't necessary, and you ignore the same good advise that you would give to anyone else. Two weeks later, when over half of the fish in your tank are dead, dying, or obviously in ill health as a result of the introduction by you of sick fish, you remember that "little voice" and realize that you have no one else to blame. In spite of your one bad experience with a fish auction, you realize that the best fish come from local society auctions. At another auction you see a fantastic looking fish. A note on the bag indicates that it is a newly discovered fish. You have never heard of it. There is only one bag of a pair of this fish, and no one else seems to know anything about it. By the time it has come up for auction, you have not been able to locate or speak to the person who brought it in. You basically know nothing about the fish beyond the fact that it lives in water. Your "little voice" tells you to pass on the bidding. You know this is good advice — after all, you don't know the first thing about caring for this fish. You ignore that voice. You bid on and win the fish. They thrive in your tank, eat anything you feed them, and you become the first person in your society to have bred them. So much for that "little voice." (Hey, I said you should always listen to your "little voice," but that does not always mean that it's always right!) Moral of this story: listen to your "little voice," but keep your options open. Share your voice's messages (and your fish keeping chores) with someone else, if possible — that way, there is always someone else you can blame when your significant other asks what went wrong — but that is a story for another time.

March 2002


G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Welcome Back New and Renewing Members: Brian Frank and Paul Hewett Bowl Show winners last meeting: No Bowl Show next month (April) 1) Bill Amely - Bettasplendens 2) Bill Amely - Bettasplendens 3) Claudia Dickinson - Apistogramma macmasteri September 2001 - June 2002 Season unofficial totals to date: 1) William Amely (19 pts) 2) Claudia Dickinson (11 pts) 3) Carlotti DeJager (8 pts) 4) Pete D'Orio (3 pts.) 5) Doug Curtin, Rich Levy (tie) (1 pt.)

February's Door Prize Winner: Beverly Williams won the book: The Aquarium Problem Solver March's Door Prize: Fancy Goldfish by Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M., and Richard E. Hess Here are meeting times and locations of aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY

Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: April 3,2002 Speaker/Topic: Silent Auction: Bring working %serviceable items aquatic items and livestock. (No Bowl Show!) 8pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St., Flushing,^NY Contact: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzj Telephone: (718) 767-2691 e-mail: GreaterCity@compuserve.CQm http://www.greatercity.org

Meeting: March 8, 2002 Speaker: Frank Zillitio Topic: uHow You Can Grow Spectacular Aquatic Plants" 7:30pm: Education Hall, N.Y. Aquarium '§^S|v^ & 8th St., Brooklyn, NY Contact: BAS Events Hotline Telephone: (71 8) 837-4455

East Coast Guppy Association

Big Apple Guppy Club

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 1st Thursday of eac|| month at the Queens Botanical Garden Contacts: Jeff George/ Gene Baudier Telephone: (718)428-7190 / (516)345-6399

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the Queens Botanical Oarden Contact: Mr. Donald Curtin Telephone: (718) 631-0||8 1

Long island Aquarium Society

Nassau County Aquarium Society

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Friday of iach month NOTE: The March meeting will be held at Babylon Town Hall Annex Contact: Mr. Vinny Kreyling Telephone: (516) 938-4066 March 15, 2002: Frank Siracusa Speaking on: Bettas ....:......."•: ..:.;••,•;.,.

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 2nd Tuesday of each month at the William M. Grouse Post 3211 V.F.W., pe. 107,picksville, NY Coiitact: Mr. Ken Smith Telephone: (516) 589-® 13

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

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

March 21 - NJAS's own Ray Wetzel will be presenting: "History of the African Cichlid"

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

March 2002

Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253


Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

March 2002 volume IX number 3

Modern Aquarium  

March 2002 volume IX number 3