Page 1



Series III

Vol. IX, No. 7

September, 2002


i;:d|iii!!!ll|ffl I |dil|J



Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


GCAS 2001-2002 BAP Report


Discus: My Love/Hate Relationship


Weird Fish Problems


Tonight's Speaker: Jack Wattley


Signs of Life


Glass Cutting Techniques



InterFish Net: Internet Discus Resources . . . 15


Second Sight: "Dialing For Discus" (reprint) . 17

lil i^^^^^^^^^^ }|||lllij^

lll^ |jil

FAASinations: FAAS Delegate's Report


Wet Leaves: Book Review


What Were They Thinking Of?


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


Printing By Postal Press

Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 1 Oth 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 : / / o u r w o r l d . CompuServe . com/homepages/greatercity

by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he Greater City Aquarium Society is now beginning its 81st year. In February 2003 we hope to print the 100th issue of Series III of Modern Aquarium. There is really nothing "special" about a 100th issue, but it just somehow "feels" special. There's just something about multiples of five or ten that makes people want to commemorate, celebrate, or set as a goal. (As an example, my wife and I just completed our tenth year of GCAS membership. For some reason, that sounds better to me than saying that we are starting our eleventh year.) To celebrate "the big 100," I'm asking for 100 hints, tips, and "tricks" (but not all from the same person). The hints, tips, and tricks used in our 100th issue will receive Author Award Program ("AAP") credit of five points each. Yes, this means that just a one or two line tip, if used, will be counted the same as an article of up to 500 words. And, unlike other items, AAP points will be awarded even if the hint, tip, or trick is not an "original" idea or submission. (But, please credit the source, if known.) If two or more persons submit the same thing, AAP points will be awarded only to the first submission. What sort of tips, hints, and shortcuts am I looking for? Frankly, I don't know until I've seen them — there are so many chores attached to successful fishkeeping, and we have so many intelligent, experienced, and innovative members, that I'm looking forward to seeing what you, the GCAS members, come up with. Have you found a better way to syphon water, clean gravel, remove algae, feed flake (or frozen, or pellet) fish food? Can you suggest a cheaper alternative to a costly, but necessary product? Have you found a way to make any aquarium related equipment run faster, quieter, more efficiently, more inexpensively, or with less maintenance? Can you give tips on routine maintenance or repairs (of air pumps, filters,


heaters, etc.)? Have you found a better or easier way to photograph fish? Can you suggest a way to speed up a time-consuming chore? Do you have a favorite recipe for fish food? Have you found a fairly reliable cure for a disease or parasite? Have you found a new use for an aquarium product, or an aquarium use for an office or household product? What about a better way to propagate an aquatic plant or species of coral? These are just some of the possible subjects. I'm sure you can come up with many more. If I get a good response to this appeal (meaning more than 100 hints, tips, and tricks are submitted by the deadline of this appeal, which is December 31, 2002), then I will consider having a regular column in every issue for these (naturally, giving the author credit for the hint, tip, or trick). If this becomes a regular column, AAP points may be awarded for tips after the December 31, 2002 deadline, but that has not yet been decided. So, start thinking of things you found to be helpful by trial and error, or from other hobbyists, or that you read in a book or magazine. Although the deadline, December 31, seems very far away, it really isn't, and remember it's the first hint, tip, or trick that gets the AAP points if two or more are essentially the same. With the start of a new season at Greater City, I'm happy to have a new author in this issue, Joe Graffagnino, and also to have an article by long-time contributor (and former Modern Aquarium Editor) Warren Feuer. Both of these articles share with us some less than totally successful actions on the part of very experienced and knowledgeable hobbyists. Articles need not only be about successes with respect to the care and/or breeding of a species of fish. (In fact, articles which make everything seem so easy can make you feel stupid when you can't duplicate their results.) Articles that describe mistakes made, or that alert you to potential problems, also serve a very useful function. (After reading Joe Graffagnino's article, the driftwood I was almost ready to put into my tank after a two week soak received an extra two month quarantine!) Before I sign off on this month's column, I want to recognize the behind-the-scenes work of Jason Kerner. I'd need more than this column to describe all that Jason does for Modern Aquarium, (and for Greater City, as well), but I hope that he understands if I just say, "Thanks for your help, and for insisting on such high standards of quality. Modern Aquarium is better than ever, thanks, in no small part, to you."

September 2002

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

Al Priest serves a similar role with the international Federation of American Aquarium Societies, as the Federation's Delegates' Liaison. Al is not content to sit on the side-lines; he is always "tweaking" things at FAAS with the goal of improving its programs and organization. He often succeeds, and, since he represents us, he has made Greater City's presence in FAAS very tangible and by JOSEPH FERDENZI very valued. This past July, Mark Soberman was "Come give us a taste of your quality" invited to speak on Corydoras catfish at the - William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act II, Scene 2) Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society. Mark first delivered that talk at Greater City. Mark is a A ny organization is only as good as the sum nationally known specialist with respect to this /\f its parts. The parts that matter are the popular group of catfish, and his talk on them has JL JLpeople. On these pages, I have previously been requested by many aquarium societies. He is written about the many members of Greater City a long-time Greater City member who has enhanced who make outstanding contributions to the internal its reputation. workings of our Society. These contributions are Then there is Bob McKeand. Bob has what serve to make Greater City a cohesive and also been a Greater City member for many years. well-run organization. However, Greater City also Bob is, without question, one of America's top has an outstanding reputation in the aquarium experts on livebearers. He is more than just some hobby because of what I will call the "external" "book expert," however. Bob is a real hands-on achievements of our members. Let me cite a few expert; he keeps and breeds the fish, and when I examples. say "breeds," I mean he really knows how to give In May of this year, long-time member them the proper care necessary for their successful Harry Faustmann was awarded the Best of Show at propagation. But, if you left it up to Bob, you the national convention of the American Killifish would never know that such an accomplished Association. This show attracts hundreds of aquarist is in our midst because Bob is altogether entries from all over the world. I have attended humble and self-effacing. Yet, make no mistake these conventions, and the level of competition is about it, Bob McKeand is another example of why intense. To win Best of Show is a rare and Greater City stands shoulder to shoulder with the marvelous accomplishment, but Harry did it. He is best aquarium societies of this great country. a Greater City member. And, while Modern Aquarium is not a Claudia Dickinson serves on the Board of member per se, it has catapulted all our members Trustees of the American Cichlid Association, one onto the horizon of every aquarium society in of the hobby's premiere speciality organizations. America. It has received the official and unofficial She is involved in many facets of its operation and accolades of virtually every constituency in our is a highly valued trustee. She is no bench hobby. In very large measure, it is our external face warmer; she actively works to make the ACA to the world, and that visage is a proud one. better. She is a credit to Greater City in the eyes of Quality throughout is what makes Greater the "cichlid world." We are proud of that, and of City a positive force within and without. her. Excelsior!

President's Message

Danbury Area Aquarium Society • ANNUAL AUCTION * September 8, 2002 Carmel Firehouse, Carmel, NY - Pre-Auction Program: Lee Finley on "Catfish" (1 lam to noon) For information, visit the DAAS website: http://northeastcouncil.org/daas Norwalk Aquarium Society • 36th ANNUAL TROPICAL FISH SHOW • October 5-6, 2002 Earthplace - Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT For information, visit the NAS website: http://norwalkas.org/ Potomac Valley Aquarium Society • AUCTION and WORKSHOP * October 26-27, 2002 Best Western Hotel - Falls Church, VA For information, visit the PVAS website: http://www.pvas.com/ North Jersey Aquarium Society • ANNUAL SHOW and AUCTION • November 2-3, 2002 Meadowlands Environmental Center - Lyndhurst, NJ Call the NJAS Hotline: (732) 541-1392, or visit the NJAS website: http://www.njas.net/ Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

September 2002


GCAS Breeders Award Program 2001-2002


his is a report of the spawnings of fish Greater City members submitted for Breeders Award Program ("BAP") points during the September 2001 to June 2002 GCAS membership "year." Any questions, comments, or corrections should be directed to Warren Feuer or Mark Soberman, our BAP Chairpersons.

Member Name



Don Curtin

Barbus titeya


9/5/01 Total 2001-2002 Points: 10

Pete D'Orio

Cory dor as paleatus


11/7/01 Total 2001-2002 Points: 10

Carlotti De Jager

Macropodus opercularis Apistogramma cacatuoides

10 15

12/5/01 12/5/01 Total 2001-2002 Points: 25

Claudia Dickinson

Anomalochromis thomasi Varu amphiacanthoides Cichlasoma nicaraguense Carassius auratus EujiirqulnafA eqnidens) vittatus

10 30* 10 10 20*

10/3/01 11/7/01 11/7/01 6/5/02 6/5/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 80

Joseph Ferdenzi

Limia sulphur ophila


11/7/01 Total 2001-2002 Points: 15

Warren Feuer

Julidochromis rnarlieri Neolamprologus signatus

15 25*

9/5/01 2/6/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 40

Joseph Graffagnino

Poecilia sp. "Endlers" Synodontis multipunctatus Cichlasoma nicaraguense Haplochromis nubilis Labidochromis caeruleus Pseudocrenilabrus nicholosi Hoplosternum littler ale

5 20 10 15 10 10 25*

2/2/02 11/16/01 11/18/01 12/15/01 11/25/01 1/3/02 6/5/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 95

Steven Miller

Corydoras sterbai


1/2/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 25

Alexander Priest

Betta enisae Betta edithae

70* 30*

11/7/01 6/5/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 100

Charley Sabatino

Pseudocrenilabrus nicholosi Apistogramma sp. "emerald"

10 25*

9/5/01 3/6/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 35

Anton Vukich

Colisa labiosa


6/5/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 20

Gregory Wuest

Megalamphodus megalopterus Xiphophorus maculatus Brachydanio rerio

15 5 5

3/6/02 3/6/02 3/6/02 Total 2001-2002 Points: 25


Note: An Asterisk (*) means it is the first recorded spawn of this species in the GCAS

September 2002

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

Discus: My Love/ Hate Relationship by WARREN FEUER

ime and inspiration permitting, the editorial staff of Modern Aquarium allows me to contribute my ramblings on fish that I have enjoyed keeping under the totally pirated title of "Fun Fish." So, when Managing Editor Al Priest asked if I could write an article on Discus, I knew I could not include that article in "Fun Fish." You see, I have a 14-year love/hate relationship with this fish. Ah yes, the Discus, "King of the Aquarium." Reported to have a long life span, my experience puts their life span at two months to four years (and counting!) Obviously, I am reporting on my experiences. It seems that, as long as I have kept fish, I have wanted to keep Discus. Of course, as a beginning aquarist, keeping Discus was an invitation to disaster. Still, I tried. And failed. Fast forward about four or five years, and I tried again. This time I had considerably more success and actually managed to keep three turquoise discus alive for more than three years. Just when I was feeling confident, they all died. I had gone away for a Labor Day weekend and came back to three dying fish, covered with ich. My suspicion is that the heater had failed on an unexpected cool night, possibly due to a power failure, the evidence of which was long gone by the time I came back to my apartment. Disgusted and discouraged, I swore off Discus once again. What I did learn, however, was that Discus do best when kept by themselves, or with small peaceful fish that will not threaten them in any way. The Discus had been kept in a well-filtered 20-gallon hex tank whose only other inhabitants were a small


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

school of cardinal tetras. Although they would only eat live food such as worms or brine shrimp initially, they soon ate anything they were fed. As everyone knows, there are never-ending discussions about Discus. Get any Discus people together and a conversation will soon begin. Issues of contention include the existence of different species - for example, is the Heckel Discus really its own species? There are also such highly vexing questions as whether Discus are good community fish, must they be fed live food, do they really need soft water, should their fry be raised by the parents or alone, and on and on. If you are looking for answers to these questions, sorry, that is not going to happen here. I have neither a clue, nor a care about these matters. Oh, by the way, I am not looking for answers, either. I can only share my observations. Bear in mind they are based on my experience, and I have admittedly not had great success in keeping these fish. Let me tell you where I am with Discus. About three years ago, I bought four Pigeon Blood Discus. I had heard and read that they were fairly hardy, even for Discus. It had been several years since I had kept Discus. Once again I had gotten the urge. I had a 29-gallon tank up and running. It had been set up in 1993 for Discus that never made it out of a 20-gallon hex tank. The tank was planted, and filtered with a Fluval canister filter. Its only occupants were some small tetras. I put the Pigeon Bloods in the tank and watched as three of the four slowly died.

September 2002

Nothing was visibly wrong; they just wasted away. None of the classic distress signs appeared; no dark color, nothing protruding from gills or other extremities. After losing three, I decided not to restock, but to leave the one fish to itself, and whatever happened, happened. And, guess what, the fish not only survived, but also thrived. It is now about 6 inches in diameter. The boss of the tank, it is quite adept at bullying the varied small tetras and corys that are in the tank (after all, it is a cichlid.) Actually, the fish is a coward. If there is any movement outside the tank, the fish rushes to a corner to hide. It will cower in a corner of the tank when food is put in the tank, and then rush around madly trying to scavenge some of the

rapidly diminishing food supply. And, the fish is quite odd in its eating habits. It will grab food, spit it out, grab it again, spit it out again, and then finally eat some of it. I guess it is eating enough, because it is still alive. All the time I am sneering at the fish, I am admiring its obvious beauty. It is a true love/indifference relationship. (How can you hate a fish?) However, I am happy to say my discus obsession has been cured. After this, no more discus. At least, not until those hearty dwarf discus appear. Note to all: This article was inspired by the 1960's Peg Bracken cookbook "I Hate to Cook." Written totally tongue in cheek, the author in fact loved to cook. Likewise, I really like Discus and think they are beautiful fish. However, whatever it takes to keep them alive and happy, I can't do.


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

September 2002

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

Fish Problems byJOEGRAFFAGNINO id you ever have fish problems that didn't fall into the routine of fish sickness that was easily diagnosed? For quite a while, I had symptoms in one large aquarium that were so strange that I could not guess the cause of what was happening to my fish. Eventually, it was diagnosed correctly, but the loss of fish and the work involved to correct the problems will make me, and hopefully you, take common sense and prudent actions prior to adding anything to an established aquarium. Let me tell my "tale of woe" from the beginning, and learn from my laziness and not using common sense. I went to a major fish convention a couple of years ago, and while visiting the vendor booths 1 noticed a large piece of driftwood. It was all branches, strategically placed together with disguised stainless steel screws. The piece was approximately 16 inches wide, 15 inches high and 2 1A - 3 feet long. I thought to myself, "... this would be a perfect addition to my 180 gallon (2'W X 20"H X 7'L) tank." After settling on a price, I asked the vendor about the wood, where it came from, how was it assembled, and what did I need to do prior to placing it into my aquarium. The wood came from the banks of rivers in Maine, the screws were all stainless steel and covered by going deep into the wood or with the use of a wood patch that goes over the screw top, to provide that natural look. The piece was already bleached and cured so that I could put it into my tank immediately. I was grateful for that because how was I going to find a container large enough to hold a wood piece that big, for bleaching and curing with cold water, for a week? I returned home, rearranged the tank and placed the piece in the center. It was a beautiful addition to the tank and the African cichlids enjoyed it immensely. For three months all was fine, then strange fish problems started appearing:


Theraps nicuaraguense started having gill infections. The bottom of the gills would be bright red and extend out of the gill covers. The nicuaraguense also developed bacterial fin and tail rot.

Tropheus moorii "ilangi" developed "bloat" in three (3) fish, others started darting and scratching continuously.

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

Aulonocara "peacocks" developed cataracts over their eyes.

Haplochromis nubulis developed dark or black markings on their bodies and fins, along with cataracts over their eyes. These dark markings seemed to be moving. Two fish developed "pop eye" and died within two days.

Sciaenochromis ahli "Electric blue" developed dark or black markings on their bodies and fins, but without with cataracts over their eyes. These dark markings also seemed to be moving.

Labidochromis caeruleus ("yellow labs") developed burns on their skin and on a couple of fish, the disease ate through the outer skin and exposed the internal organs, but the exposed skin and organs never fungused.

At first, I didn't know what to blame for these multiple problems. Different species had different problems and not every fish of that same species was effected. It appeared to be a "hit or miss" on certain fish, in certain species. It also seemed that fish from different areas were affected differently. Central American T. nicuaraguense had gill infections and bacterial fin and tail rot, but only in the mature fish; the younger fish of the same species had no signs of problems. The Lake Malawi Aulonocara peacocks, Yellow labs and Electric blues exhibited different symptoms, while the Lake Tanganyikan T. moori developed "bloat" and darting symptoms, and from Lake Victoria the Haplochromis nubulis showed the markings and eye cataract symptoms. I performed multiple water changes; I started with 50%, waited a week, started on antibiotics; and then continued water changes but at 25% to 30%, while medicating the tank. I started with Aquarium Products "Aquari-Sol" and then Aquarium Pharmaceuticals "MelaFix." "MelaFix" helped the T. nicuaraguense with their gill problems and the T. moorii with their bloat (those that had the "bloat" died, and others did not "catch" it) and darting/scratching problems, but did nothing for the body markings and eye cataract problems. I then separated and isolated those fish

September 2002


with the same or similar problems and treated them with different medications. In all, I tried Mardel Laboratories "MarOxy," for bacterial diseases, and Mardel Laboratories "Maracide" for body flukes, flashing and external parasites. I also tried Aquatronics "Super Ick Plus" for the scratching and darting symptoms from protozoan parasites, and finally I used Aquarium Products "Clout." Needless to say, I was losing weak fish and not curing anything. I went so far as to give direct treatment baths, and I tried to scrape off what I believed to be the eye and body flukes. After discussing these problems and remedies with several members of our fish club, the prominent suggestion was an infestation of body flukes. It was recommended that I read an article in Tropical Fish Hobbyist (TFH) magazine, August 2001, titled "Flashing and Flukes" by Terry Fairfield. The article had some references that were similar to my fish problems, but not exact. I emailed Dr. Fairfield and we discussed some possible remedies, but none of the diseases fitted into a "correct cure" area. Dr. Fairfield was against the use of all these medications; he valued the use of water changes, proper diet, uncrowded tank and the use of a diatom filter. As an example, the fish that had the body and eye flukes did not scratch or rub to remove the parasite; that was strange. I also could not remove these eye or body flukes by hand or bath; another oddity. The only recourse left to me was to use Furan, a very powerful medication, but the remaining fish were weak from treatments and constant water changes (which included Kosher salt). I could not subject them to this radical treatment, for I was certain that I would lose them all. I felt that I was a drug store for fish, yet almost nothing worked. I was adding vitamins to the tank, specifically Bl and B12 to help the repair of fins. Meanwhile, I was reading everything I could get my hands on to arrive at some solution for this crazy problem in my largest tank. The other tanks (10 -12 of them) did not exhibit any symptoms. I noticed that the November meeting of the North Jersey Aquarium Society had, as guest speaker, Dr. Alistair Dove of the New York Aquarium. Dr. Dove's topic was "Parasites and

Fishes." Dr. Dove works practically in my neighborhood. I thought, "I must give him a call." Before I could place that call, I read an article that stated the symptoms my fish were having could have been caused by birds that eat parasitic fish. The bird droppings are then eaten by snails or are dropped onto the wood, and that it how it could be introduced into the aquarium. Now it started to make sense; this problem started after I introduced the large wood piece into the aquarium. I still didn't understand why there were so many different problems, but at least I had a clue to the cause of all of them. I then did what I should have done from the beginning — I got a large plastic garbage pail and I performed the bleach and water treatment on that wood piece. After three days of soaking in bleach and water, I removed it and washed out the plastic pail, letting it sun dry. I then filled it up again with fresh water and placed the wood into it again for another week. It didn't quite last a week because on the 5th day the pail broke, possibly from the bleach or the pushing of the wood piece. I then let the wood piece sun dry for several days, making sure no snails or birds could get to it. I then re-introduced it to the same tank. I have not had a problem since then. I finally called Dr. Dove at the New York Aquarium and he stated that he knew exactly what the problem was. He agreed with me that the wood piece was the cause of all the problems. He said that the black fluke markings and eye flukes were not body or eye flukes at all, but were a form of melanoma (skin cancer). Whatever was in the wood caused different problems with the fish. The good news was that it was not contagious to people or other fish, the bad news was that there was no cure for it. The fish are still living, eating and breeding. Their offspring show no signs of any problem. I hope that, after you read this article, you will take the extra step and bleach any object you seek to place into your aquarium. Don't be lazy. Use common sense when buying objects for your aquarium in order to protect yourself and your fish. When this craziness happens to you, the only person you have to blame is yourself.

WANTED We are looking for 100 "Tips, Hints, and Tricks" related to the aquarium hobby by December 31, 2002. These will appear in the 100th issue of Modern Aquarium - Series III, to be published early next year. So, start writing your favorite tips down now, and see them printed in this history making issue!

September 2002

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

Our scheduled speaker this month:

Jack Wattley Following are some excerpts from Jack's books and other publications that give a little background and general information about Jack Wattley. The world is full of dreamers...thank goodness...for progress in the world comes from these non-conformists. Where would we be without our Thomas Edisons, Alexander Graham Bells and the likes of Christopher Columbus and Jack Wattley? Jack Wattley? Who is Jack Wattley? If you don't know who Jack Wattley is then you are certainly not well versed in the inner circles of the discus world. Discus? What's a Discus? If you don't know what a discus is, then you are certainly not well versed in the aquarium world. The discus is a round, flat fish found in the Amazon River system of South America, mostly in Brazil. It has been the most expensive of the common aquarium fishes...the most sought after, and for many years the most difficult to breed. Most breeders were happy just to be able to breed these very sensitive fish, but one man had a dream that he wanted to study them genetically and to produce strains of differently colored discus which would be the envy of the world. His eye sought beauty that he could only imagine. Butterflies and orchids inspired the colors of his dream fishes...and though it took more than 20 years, his dreams came true. Jack Wattley not only collected discus in South America, but he spawned them and inbred them for special colors which were then credited only to "dominant males." Wattley manipulated genes the way an artist manipulates a paint brush. His reward, aside from satisfaction of accomplishing a difficult life's ambition, was to become the most famous breeder in the world. Everybody knows about Jack Wattley if they know about discus. By Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod from Jack Wattley's Handbook of Discus Jack Wattley - most recognized name in the discus world. Innumerable discus presentations and judgings in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. Aquarama Singapore f91-'93-'95-'97-'99-'01. All this, in addition to writing his numerous books and articles re: discus breeding, health care, artificial raising discus fry, etc. that are distributed worldwide by T.F.H. Publications, Inc., plus his monthly discus column in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine. Jack Wattley - The only discus breeder to have developed different discus strains from fish he personally collected in streams in Colombia, Brazil and Peru. The fantastic growth of discus fever in Japan is the result of Jack Wattley's visits there in 1980 through 1997. Mr. Jack H. Wattley's contribution to the discus hobbyist groups in Japan can be compared to that of Commodore Perry who came on board the 'Black Ships' and gave the opportunity to our country to open the door for international trade with foreign countries in the past. The remarkable growth of discus fervor since Jack Wattley's first visit to Japan is the proof. He is really a scholar of great research in the breeding of discus and his passion poured into the technical improvement of artificial breeding of discus is endless. His conversation, each time of my meeting, on the improvement of artificial breeding of discus is always filled with much interest. He is always filled with captivating mystery, just like the beautiful discus he breeds. Mitsuru Hirose All the above text was taken from Jack Wattley's own website at: http://www.wattleydiscus.com/jack.htm Photo edited from image at: http://www.petsforum.com/personal/svoorwinde/aktropicalfish/gallery.htm Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

September 2002


Signs of Life by SUSAN PRIEST hen we were kids during the summers of The first couple of days I was there were the 1950s, the longest hour of the day quite breezy, and the surface of the lake looked like for me and my brother was the one after it was being churned up by a giant power filter. we had finished eating our lunches. In those days, Without a swimming mask, I couldn't see below the rule that had the greatest impact on our lives the surface of the water. The third day was was "no swimming for one hour after you eat." providential. The wind was gone, and so were the That was the toughest hour of the day for us to fill. waves. A clear view of the floor of the lake, the We would occupy ourselves by "painting" the rocks and the sand, marbled with butterscotch dock with water (by the time we ripples of sunshine, was had finished, the beginning had revealed. I didn't even need my "dried" to the exact same color glasses in order to see small it had been before we started), details! The water I was or by climbing into the rowboat looking down into, as I stood for an imaginary voyage (we on the dock, was about four were much too small to be able feet deep. to row it). Sometimes an oar Why is it that would "accidentally" fall into anything which requires me to the water, and we would have to be patient is so difficult for me? go into the lake to retrieve it Time stood still as I watched for (before time was up, of course!). signs of life. Perhaps I was Finally, that endless hour would holding my breath; I'm not pass. sure. Anyway, it wasn't very One of our favorite long before my efforts were places to go swimming was at rewarded. our friend Kenny's, two houses A shiver of silver away. We never forgot to take became a shape; the shape, our masks; they allowed us to slim, with a head and a tail, was see clearly beneath the surface. swimming haltingly. Now that For whatever reason, that's I knew how to see them, there where the coolest stuff could be were instantly many, dozens, in found. There were slimy black fact. They ranged in size from catfish with long "whiskers," one to two inches. They had a fresh water mussels with blue narrow vertical white band at New Hampshire shells, and best of all, crayfish. the base of their tails (the area Even in front of our own house there were always of the caudal peduncle). It was a very special lots of "minnows." If we stood still long enough, moment. they were sure to express their curiosity about us As quickly as the idea entered my mind I by nibbling on our toes. chased it out. I knew I couldn't possibly meet their My childhood summers were spent at a needs. I couldn't remove them from this perfect lakefront home on the southern shore of Lake environment which nature had provided for them. Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Over the years I was not going to bring some home. I have had less and less time to spend there. I was Since then I have done some reading, and finally able to get there this past July, after an I have made my best guess as to what these fish absence of many years. It was during those years were. I believe them to be lake trout, Salvelinus that I had become an aquarist. namaycush, also known as togue. Lake trout are On the surface, I asked myself whether or found in clear, deep lakes which have cold, wellnot I would find any minnows in front of the oxygenated water, even in the summer months. house. The deeper aspect of this question became These fish grow to be larger than most other what kind of fish might they be, and what could I species of trout, with an average weight of learn about them. I will now share my between three and six pounds, and ten-pounders observations with you. being quite common.



September 2002

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

One of the reasons I have made the resemble the juveniles I saw, but as aquarists, we tentative identification which I have is the know that this is commonly the case. Other description of the native fishes which spawning behaviors of inhabit these waters trout in general, as well include landlocked as of lake trout in salmon, and smallmouth particular. Most lakebass. (Largemouth bass dwelling trout enter occupy warmer water tributary streams or with a mud bottom and rivers in search of a reed-like plants.) "riffle," which is a A lot of things shallow, gravelhave changed at Lake bottomed portion of a Winnipesaukee since I stream where the was a child. Rowboats surface of the water is have been replaced by broken by rocks or kayaks, and the motor stones. Togue, vehicle of choice in 2002 however, are the is the PWC, or personal notable exception to water craft (picture a this spawning pattern; floating snowmobile). A they will spawn on lot of things have also gravel bars in the stayed the same. shallow areas of the Children are no more lakes which they likely to skip lunch, even inhabit. This very if it means they can go Lake Winnipesaukee closely describes the swimming sooner, and area where they were. the signs of life are The female abundant. I was fish will "excavate" visited by a nest in the gravel. ducklings at dawn, The male and used as a landing female will pad by dragonflies, simultaneously and I even went swimming with a deposit and fertilize the eggs in the wild mink! I didn't nest. Then the have my toes female will turn nibbled, but maybe onto her side and cover the nest with silt by I just didn't stay still long enough! beating her caudal fin (tail) up and down rapidly. References No parental care is given to the eggs or the fry. Lake trout spawn in the fall, with the eggs hatching New Hampshire Fishing Maps, Charlton J. Swasey and Donald A. Wilson. DeLorme Publishing Company, out in the spring. As soon as their yolk sac is absorbed, the fry begin to feed on plankton. 1982. Adult lake trout feed on insects and small fishes. Thompson's Guide To Freshwater Fishes, Peter The small black and white photo of an Thompson. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985. adult lake trout which I found did not closely

The Brooklyn Aquarium Society announces its: 16th Annual Giant Fish Auction Friday, October 11, 2002 at the Golden Gate Motor Inn Shore Parkway and Knapp Street Brooklyn Auction starts at 8:30PM.(7:30 PM to view fish) For information, contact: BAS Events Hotline at (718) 837-4455 or the BAS website at http://www.brooklynaquariumsociety.org Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

September 2002



Oh, No - Glasscutting!


i^ i||i|lfl^

Glass is considered a liquid. Old glass is more difficult to cut than new glass. Glass should be cut at room temperature — cold glass has a tendency not to break at the score lines. Your local hardware store steel-wheel glass cutter does an excellent job cutting glass. When not in use, keep your cutter in a small jar with the tip of your cutter submerged in kerosene or thin oil. Important Suggestions Try not to be afraid of the glass. Do not slide your hands along edges of glass. Always grab glass firmly to avoid cuts. Place glass on a flat, carpeted work surface. Glass Cutting Process


Cutting glass probably causes you some anxiety. Keep in mind that you are not going to actually cut the glass. What you are going to do is score it.

Lubricating of a glass cutter before each cut is a must (dip the tip of your glass cutter into lubricant).

September 2002

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

Lubricants: glass cutting oil, kerosene, or any thin oil will do. •

Lubricants serve a triple purpose: lubricating your cutter, keeping the cutter cool, and keeping the glass molecules separated for approximately 20 minutes.

You never go over the same cut twice. This will ruin your cutter. However, if you are not satisfied with your cut, you can turn the glass over and score on the other side of the glass in the same area.

The area to be cut should be clean and void of foreign objects. Sand, dust, and lint will interfere with your cutting. Slivers and chips of glass will also ruin your cutter. In your beginning attempts you may become a little frustrated, the cutter feels awkward, it skitters across the glass and your score might be erratic. A little practice is all it takes to get the knack of it. For cutting straight cuts in glass you can hold your cutter in any position that you feel most comfortable with. The standard practice is to have the small teeth of the cutter facing upwards so that the metal part of the cutter does not drag along the glass as the angle of your cutter changes during the cutting process. You can cut in either direction (toward or away from you). However, if you want to follow a line or design on the glass, it is advisable to push the cutter away from you so that you can see and follow the line with less difficulty.

Cutting Straight Lines Scoring straight cuts can be done free hand or, for more accurate results, use a straight edge to guide the cutter. To prevent your glass cutter from slipping on top of the straight edge, use one quarter inch thick material for your straight edge. To prevent moving of straight edge during scoring, hold or secure straight edge firmly on top of glass while scoring along side of straight edge.

Scoring straight

It is easier to break wider pieces than narrow strips of glass.

To separate small pieces of glass, like cutting a corner out of a piece of glass, after scoring and tapping you use pliers in a bending and pulling apart motion.

The small teeth on your glass cutter are also for breaking small pieces of glass out. It is called grousing and usually leaves uneven ragged edges.

Drilling holes into glass is best done with glass cutting diamond drill bits which are available in various


Dulling of glass edges can be done effectively with medium grit emery cloth, or hundred grit sandpaper with a sanding block. Cutting glass entails "scoring" (scratching the top layer of glass hard enough to cause the molecules to heat up and begin to move). This is known as a "hotline." Once you have properly scored the glass, it should be separated immediately so that the "hotline" does not dissipate.

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

September 2002


The scoring line is best broken from the end of cut. The better cut is usually at the end because you have accurately adjusted the pressure of the cut in relation to the hardness of the glass.

TIP: To ensure a proper score line you should be able to hear a smooth scratching sound as you score the glass. This lets you know that you have applied enough pressure to separate the glass molecules. Glass is manufactured with different degrees of hardness. You have to adjust the pressure on your cutter accordingly. If the pressure on your cutter is not adjusted properly, you will have no score line. If you experience little shards, or glass splinters, you pressed too hard. When scoring you should hear an even zinging sound.

Breaking Out The Glass There are several methods to break glass. All of these methods involve bending the glass at the score line. You may want to experiment with the following techniques and determine which one you are most comfortable with.

Method 1 Curl your index fingers under the glass parallel to the score line on either side and put your thumbs on top of the glass. Now bend the glass up in the middle. Hold the glass so that it is facing away from you and not too close to your Snapping straight face. Hold the glass securely enough so that your fingers do not slide or move when you blend the glass.



Method 2 Once you have scored the glass on one side turn the glass over and lay it down on your work surface (do not hold it in your hands). Take the "ball" end of your cutter and gently tap along the score line. You will be able to see the glass break evenly through the score line. In the event that the glass fails to separate completely after you have applied this technique, you should gently turn the glass over and bend it as in Step I.

Method 3 The third step involves placing small, thin objects, such as #10 finishing nails or pencils, directly under the glass where the score line is, in the same direction as the score line. The next step is to press down on the left and right side of the score line. This will bend the glass down on either side of the score line, thereby letting the glass snap at the score line.

THE BEST WAY TO CUT GLASS CORRECTLY IS PRACTICE! All illustrations by the author 14

September 2002

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

A Series by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity/ he discus is sometimes called "the king of the aquarium." It is certainly one of the most recognizable fish in the hobby, and has acquired a reputation (rightly or wrongly) of being difficult to keep, and even harder to have spawn in the home aquarium. Whenever any topic is of interest to many people, it almost always finds its way onto Internet websites, and the discus is no exception. The websites below are only a fraction of those devoted, in whole or in part, to the discus. Given the nature of the Internet, few sites have all of their "links" working at any given time. (For anyone who is not familiar with the Internet, "links" are text or graphics on a website which, when clicked, will send the computer user to another website, or another page on the current website.) Many websites are "ego" sites, meaning that they are nothing more than another way to brag of ones accomplishments. Many other sites are "commercial" sites set up for the sole purpose of selling a product or service. Many discus websites fall into one or another of these categories. I have tried to select sites that contain content that an aquarist may find useful, and which avoid the "hard sell" approach. The recommendations below are my personal opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of Modern Aquarium or of the Greater City Aquarium Society.


At the website "Max Discus Dream" at http://www'.max-discus-dream.de/ (click on the blue discus on the far lower right with the red lines though it for pages in English), there is a photo of "the Discus of the Month," plus articles, events for discus lovers (such as "the 4th International Discus Championship" on October 3-6, 2002 in Duisburg, Germany), a "Breeders Address Database," and other interesting features. The site loads fast, and is fairly well designed. A website called "Discus As A Hobby" (http://www.discusashobby.com/) pretty much tells you what it's all about. This site is loaded with information on the care and breeding of discus. Among other things, it has overview of more than 140 discus strains. Its page of links claims to have over 400 links to other discus sites (I did not test them all). Although the site has a link to a "Discus Hatchery Webcam," that link was not working on the day I visited it. Even with some outdated and "dead" links, there is still a great deal of information to be had here. Based on its name, I expected a lot more from a website called "Discus Central" at http://www.discuscentral.com/ While Discus Central has potential, this site is clearly a "work in progress" and, in my opinion, not worth the visit at this time.


Another discus site with an impressive is the "Discus Resource Page" at

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

http://home.earthlink.net/~grenier2/discus.htm This is a very nicely organized site, but spartan in content. While I can understand a site with many links having a few that did not work, it's hard to justify a "dead" link on a site whose homepage has only eight link buttons to start with. On the day I visited the site, the "Breeders Pages" link button didn't work, but the "Picture Gallery," "Articles" "and "Discussion Boards" (a link to discussion forums on SimplyDiscus.com) are worthwhile. In spite of the dead link, I would recommend this site. As I mentioned at the start of this article, many people refer to discus as the "king of the aquarium." So, it's not surprising that someone would set up a site with the name of "Discus King" at http://members.shaw.ca/discusking/7 This is a fairly decent site by a Canadian breeder, with nice links to articles, photos, discussion groups, etc. My main gripe is that it did not properly display under Netscape (v4.79). However, it did display properly under Internet Explorer (v5.5) and Opera (v6.3). I admit that the name of this next site is what first caught my interest. The site is called "Desmond's Discus & Goldfish Homepage" (http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Platform /2406/) It has information on "getting started," "water chemistry," "breeding discus," among other things (including, of course, goldfish). I have two gripes about this website. The first is that for the entire time you are on this website, you will be

September 2002


"serenaded" with a tune that you cannot turn off (unless you do so by adjusting your speakers or the volume settings on your computer.) My second gripe is the extremely annoying banner ads of websites hosted by Geocities. There is little or nothing here that can't be obtained from sites without annoying music or multiple banner ads (which pop up every time you execute a link). I do not recommend this website. There was a time when the Internet did not have graphics, animations, or sound. Many people still use the Internet just to send and receive text messages. If you have a question about discus, or you believe that you can help someone else solve a problem, then visit the " D i s c u s F o r u m " a t http://forum.aquariumhobbyist.com/discus/ Here, you can ask questions and read replies to and from other hobbyists and discus breeders. A website with excellent photos (just click on a photo to enlarge it), showing and explaining the differences among "natural" discus strains (the Heckel Discus, Symphysodon discus; the Brown Discus, Symphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi', the Green Discus, Symphysodon aequifasciatus aequifasciatus, and the Blue Discus, Symphysodon aequifasciatus haraldi) and the so-called "Man-Made" strains (such as the "Blue Turquoise Discus," the "Red Turquoise Discus," and the "Pigeon Blood Discus") can be found at http://www.aquariumhobbyist.com/discus/strains/ After visiting the website above, you may want to read another similar discussion (unfortunately, without photos) at the website http://www.wilddiscus.com/ There, at a link titled "ABOUT WILD DISCUS" we read that: "The traditional school of thought is that there are 4 strains of Wild Discus: Heckels (Symphysodon discus), Blue Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus haraldi), Brown Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi), Green Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus aequifasciatus) and that all the other color permutations fall within these groups and are mostly caused by environmental and social factors and by natural cross-breeding as could easily occur between fish traveling from one river to another during the flood season, rather than by fixed genetic differences." And, "another school of thought is that there are only 2 varieties of wild Discus, Heckels & Non-Heckels."


Confused? Well, on the website of the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association at http://www.gcca.net/index.htm?content=/fom/ discus.htm the statement is made that all Discus are in the Genus Symphysodon and all wild Discus belong to one of two species: Symphysodon heckeli or Symphysodon aequifasciatus with Symphysodon aequifasciatus being divided into three sub-species: Symphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi (the Brown Discus), Symphysodon aequifasciatus haraldi (the Blue Discus), and Symphysodon aequifasciatus aequifasciatus (the Green Discus). The "Discus Breeders' Web Site" at http://www.aquaworldnet.com/dbws.shtml has this to say about classification of discus: "Discus classification is still very uncertain, also by a scientific point of view. Many experts don't accept the classic distinction in 2 species and 5 subspecies, but they unit all in only one specie [sic], Symphysodon discus, attributing consequently to it a great genetic capability of colour variation. Recent genetic studies on discus, executed with employment of RAPD-DNA, seem to confirm this last classification." This is followed by a chart showing Symphysodon discus divided into two subspecies: Symphysodon discus discus and Symphysodon discus willischwartzi; and showing Symphysodon aequifasciata [sic] divided into three subspecies: Symphysodon aequifasciata aequifasciatus, Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi, and Symphysodon aequifasciata haraldi Regardless of how you classify them, all species/subspecies of discus are equally attractive, and all require similar expert care. It's up to experienced breeders to provide the healthy stock for hobbyists. That brings me to the website of our speaker tonight. "Jack Wattley Discus" at http://www.wattleydiscus.com/ has links to the international quarterly journal Diskus Brief, some biographical information on the "most recognized name in the discus world," as well as some of the finest photos of discus you're ever likely to see. Jack Wattley's website is a "must visit" for discus lovers surfing the Net. The Internet is constantly changing. The content of most websites is almost always changing. What was there yesterday may be gone tomorrow. Keep this in mind if you visit any of the sites I mentioned above.

September 2002

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

econd Reprints deserving a second look This month's reprint appeared in the July 2002 issue of the North Jersey Aquarium Society's Reporter. It is of interest because it details the experience of one aquarist in dealing with a mail-order fish business associated with Jack Wattley, Greater City's scheduled guest speaker this month. However, it is of broader interest to anyone who has, or who is considering, purchasing fish by mail.

Dialing For Discus by ALESIA BENEDICT am a small-time player in the fish-keeping pond: I have no BAP points (though I have bred fish), I don't show my fish, I'm clueless to most fishes' scientific names, and I have only seven tanks. I'm no Dean, or Larry or Joe D. Give me a big school of neons in a planted tank and I could be happy.


So what's an "average girl" like me doing driving (at 3:00 AM) to Newark Airport to pick up a shipment of fish????!! Like most club members, I obtain my fish in a number of ways. I've gotten some through various club auctions and sponsored events. Yet, because I don't keep African cichlids, I often find the selection at many auctions to be lacking. Hence, I also purchase fish at aquarium/pet stores, typically from member-owned establishments or from those that sponsor NJAS. In a 15 mile radius from my home, there are at least nine stores from which to choose. You'd think that would be enough of a selection for a small-time player like me. Yeah, well, you'd think wrong. When I was planning my aquarium for discus, I traveled around to a number of places to "check out the goods." Discus are not found in every fish store, but they aren't scarce either, so there were plenty to be found ~ but selection wasn't my only factor. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Because these were to be my "primary fish," meaning my 90 gallon tank was going to be devoted to them, and because I knew I eventually wanted to breed them, my core stock was extremely important to me. As a self-acknowledged, anal retentive, obsessive fish keeper, I wanted to make sure I started with stock whose health was without question (not ever fed tubifex worms {very common for Asian-imported fish}; not given growth hormones or color enhancers; not ever mixed in with angelfish {as they can be carriers of a disease fatal to discus}; not in-bred up the ying yang; and not fish that had been given antibiotics under a "just-in-case" mentality). Also, because discus can live a long time (10 years), and because I am such a visually-stimulated person, color and pattern selection was of extreme importance. I didn't just want to get discus ~ I wanted to get discus whose coloring would turn me on for the next 10 years! Hence, I did extensive research (anal, anal, anal). The very first book I ever read on discus was Discus for the Perfectionist. (Oh yeah, without a doubt, Jack had written that baby for me!) I learned that the best way to breed discus was to select a batch of young fish, and let them pair off themselves as they matured. Well, if that was the case, I certainly didn't want what I call a "Dunking Donuts variety pack" sort of tank (meaning, one turquoise, one pigeon blood, two marlboros, a snakeskin, etc.). I also didn't want to get fish that had a very mixed parentage and would not breed true. In short, what I wanted was a batch of

September 2002


young, very healthy, uniformly sized, visually impressive, fixed strain of fish with reliable breeding outcomes. Based on all factors of the equation, I decided I would purchase my discus directly from Jack Wattley. While he has been shipping fish around the globe for years, for me, it was a HUGE decision to purchase fish from so far away (Florida) because, first, I had terrifying visions of me unpacking bag after bag of dead fish, and second, I couldn't select the fish myself (i.e., I had to give up control -- ACK!). In the end, all my fears were laid to rest. I went to Jack's website (www.wattleydiscus.com) and clicked on a link to a "free for all," sort of message board, where anyone can post any comment. I read posts from a year ago from folks who had purchased Jack's discus, and emailed those people privately. I inquired as to how the fish were doing and to ask if they'd recommend purchasing from Jack. (Side benefit -1 still stay in touch with a few of these people!) Their overwhelming positive responses convinced me my hunch was correct, and

I emailed Gabe (who heads up the hatchery/fish shipment) and expressed both my interest and fears about obtaining fish long distance. He was extremely reassuring, explained their "live fish delivery guarantee" and told me of his very explicit way of packing the fish (individually bagged; each is tripled bagged with heavy-weight plastic. The bottom third of each bag is an opaque black, which goes a long way to keep the fish calm during shipment). To add to my tank at their introduction, numerous samples of both Stress Zyme and Stress Coat were included, as well as a 20 gram packet of pellet food from Ever Nature that Gabe said the fish loved. A Wattley Authenticity Certificate was issued and came with my fish. Tada! The moment of truth: after picking up the fish at the airport (YIKES, 3 AM), I unpacked the carton. To my amazement and delight, the fish were in TRULY FANTASTIC shape, had maintained most of their color, and were eating within two hours! In all honesty, after a 4 hour redeye flight, I've looked 10 times worse than they ever did!

FAASinations窶年ews From: The Federation of American Aquarium Societies by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST o date, we have not received the results of the 2001 Publications Awards. As usual, Greater City's Modern Aquarium was entered in several categories. However, it is interesting to note that there were no 2001 Modern Aquarium items to submit in the following judging categories: #8: Spawning Article under 500 words #19: Judging Article #23: Collecting Article #26: Cartoon Further, there was only one Modern Aquarium article during all of 2001 to submit in the following categories: #9: Spawning Article 500-1000 words #13 Marine Article - fish #14: Marine Article - invertebrates #22: Live Food And, we had no articles by junior members to submit. Unfortunately, our scope of articles in 2002 appears at this date to be even more limited (meaning, we will be able to enter even fewer categories next year). You can't win it, if you're not in it!



The FAAS Delegates Council is currently discussing criteria to be used to award an "Author of the Year," a category that was discontinued by FAAS a few years ago. To date, the discussions seem to be leaning towards awarding "points" for winning articles (such as five points for a first place, three for a second, and one for a third), and giving the person with the most points the "Author of the Year" designation. The questions of how to handle ties and how to treat an article that won in multiple categories have yet to be resolved. The FAAS bylaws, constitution, and forms were converted by me into Adobe Acrobat format for easy electronic transmission, at the request of a FAAS Board member. These are still being reviewed by the Board. FAAS is currently in the process of updating its list of manufacturers (read that as a list of potential donors of items to societies), and is working on a Speakers List. When either or both of these are completed, I will send a copy to the appropriate chairperson in Greater City.

September 2002

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST ove over peanut butter and jelly! There is a new addition to the "winning combinations" hall of fame. Joe Torre and the Yankees, love and marriage, step aside. It goes without saying that discus (genus Symphysodori) are among the most popular aquarium fish in the world. When you combine them with every aquarist's favorite topic of conversation, namely breeding, and you put the two of them together inside of one cover, you have a winning combination that can't be beat. Right up front I would like to say that the photography is the most distinctive feature of this book. Without actually "calculating" it, I would venture to guess that the space occupied by the photos is larger than that taken up by the text. Not only are the photographs dazzling, but they efficiently illustrate the subject matter at hand. For example, I'll bet you can conjure up an image in your mind of the photo of a dozen or so golden "youngsters" which accompanies the following caption: "Good feeding means the discus grow to the same size. If there are runts, they should be removed and raised separately." Two chapters to which Mr. Wattley gives major emphasis are "The Right Water For Discus," and "Feeding Discus." (By this I mean that he devotes more pages to them than he does to the chapters on "Suitable Tankmates For Discus," or "Diseases," as well as others.) The "what for" and "how to" of the usages of peat are described. Reverse osmosis, or "R.O." water, is covered in detail. "R.O." water "is water that has passed through a membrane under pressure, removing up to 98% of bacteria, viruses, mineral salts, and heavy metals." The use of reverse osmosis water is common among advanced discus breeders. Other topics include conditioning municipal water, filtration, water changes, etc. When it comes to the feeding of discus, the emphasis is clearly on live foods. The "whys" and "why nots" of various choices are explained. Why add garlic, and when to include bananas? (Yes, both of these foods have a place on the discus menu!) Dry and frozen foods, frequency of


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

feedings; I don't have room for a full disclosure, so you will have to do your own reading. Before I move on, I would like to offer you a quote: "The critical period to achieve maximum growth on your young discus is in their first 28 weeks. If they are short-changed [regarding water quality and nutrition] during this period, they will never attain their optimum size." By now at least a few of you are wondering if I have been reading a different book than the one listed in the title box. Your patience is about to pay off. The chapter on breeding is crammed full of advice, information, and inspiration. Natural versus artificial hatching techniques are compared and contrasted. Very briefly stated, the natural technique means keeping parents and fry together with the result that the fry will feed off of the "slime" coating on the sides of the parents. The artificial technique involves removing the eggs (via the spawning surface) from the parents, and hatching them out in a separate aquarium. This also involves providing artificial nutrition. There are a few reasons why you would want to do this, the predominant one being that you are trying to prevent an outcome where the parents cannibalize the fry. Did I say something about inspiration? This is where the consistently excellent photography attains the peak of perfection. From the laying and fertilizing of eggs, through the hour-byhour development of an egg to a fry, to the parent "nursing" its new family; the photos in this chapter alone are worth the "price of admission." I would like briefly to drag your attention back to the last line of the second paragraph of this review. A particular peeve of mine is "culling" in its various forms. I was therefore relieved and refreshed when one of the leading experts in the field of discus recommends raising any runts separately. One clear message which Mr. Wattley imparts is that you can't hope to breed healthy fry unless you start with healthy adults! I would highly recommend this book to science teachers, starting with junior high school. From the photos of live foods to a community of peacefully co-existing fishes, to the breeding sequences, your students will be well served by its presence in your classroom. If your favorite "winning combination" is pizza and beer, well, this book won't change your mind about that, but it will earn a place on your list.

September 2002





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

















All Major Credit Cards Accepted


September 2002

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

What Were They Thinking Of? A series by "The Undergravel Reporter" |j^

11^ Illllll^ j|^

iny times I have to wonder about the geniuses" behind some of the roducts produced for the aquarium hobbyist. (Naturally, I sometimes also have to wonder about the intelligence of some aquarists who continue to buy products from these same companies, but that's an article for another time.) Here are a few examples of products that I feel were less than throughly thought out before being introduced. (Names have been changed or withheld to protect the guilty — but most of you will know exactly to what I am referring.) I am hardly alone in my use of silicone air hoses. Although they cost a little more, they do not harden with age and seem to remain supple and clear for much longer than the cheaper clear plastic hoses. I doubt that you can find any decent pet or aquarium store that sells air hoses that does not sell silicone air hose. Having said that, I have (as do many other aquarists) multiple tanks whose filters are powered by a single large air pump. One of the greatest inventions has been "gang valves," which is a collection of air line valves attached to a single block (usually of plastic), that makes it easy to attach one air line tube from an air pump to the block, and have the air come out of any or all of the attached valves, allowing you to adjust the volume of air that leaves each valve. So far, so good — we have two excellent ideas, and they would seem a natural "fit" to work together. Unfortunately, of the several different air valve "hubs" that are available, most of them attach to airline tubing by means of a plastic nozzle, which just so happens to chemically react over time with a silicone air line tube, resulting in a nozzle that either falls off, or becomes soft and "mushy." What were they thinking of?


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

Another product aquarists rely on is commercial fish food. Dry fish food (flake, cubes, pellets, sticks, disks, etc.) is almost always mostly organic (meaning that it is made of animal and/or plant products). Because of this, virtually all dry commercial fish food has a warning or recommendation on the label of the product to keep it dry. What, then, were the makers of dry commercial dish food thinking of when they started selling their products in flimsy "bags" with a "zipper" type plastic closure at the top? I don't know about you, but I've yet to have that closure last as long as the contents of the bag. In fact, I now keep several empty plastic "screw top lid" containers around just so that I can dump any food that comes in a zipper closing bag into a container that I know will last as long as the food it holds. I was looking for a tank thermometer recently and came across a glass "floating" thermometer. This was a sealed tube of glass with a thermometer scale and liquid inside that floats ("bobs" actually) vertically in the water. Now, if I wanted to determine the exact temperature of my glass of iced tea, this might be an excellent tool. However, fish tanks have filters, which move water, and they have fish, which move themselves. Since the floating thermometer is not sold with any means of anchoring it to the walls of a tank, it is free to "roam;" and roam it will, as the moving water and fish push it around. Since the temperature can only be read if the thermometer faces the glass of the tank in a position where the aquarist can see it, it's almost a certain bet that most often when the aquarist wants to know the temperature, the thermometer will be effectively "out of sight." Also, those of you who have large and aggressive fish know that you need to protect your heaters from your fish, even though the heater stays in the same place, and the fish should get used to it. (It has been speculated that the pilot light going on and off triggers an aggressive response.) How much more of a "target" of those fishes' aggression would a multicolored object that bobs around the tank be? A free-floating "bobber" of breakable glass! What were they thinking of? Canister filters are excellent, especially for larger tanks. But they can be fairly heavy. Some canister filters have no handles or even indentations to help you to carry them. Worse, one company recently redesigned its canisters not only to have no handle, but with indentations on its sides exactly where one would expect a handle or "grip" to be. If you tried to lift the filter by putting your hands in those indentations, the top will come off, and the dirty, smelly water will spill out. What were they thinking of?

September 2002


ET S10P TROPICAL FISH AQUARIUM Specializing in Tropical Fish and Aquarium Supplies Large Selection of Aquatic Plants Knowledgeable Staff Same Location Since 1947. (718) 849-6678

11 5-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418

Marine Biologist On Staff Custom Tank Builders for the NY Aquarium Manufacturers of Aquarium & Filter Systems Custom Cabinetry & Lighting Largest Selection of Marine & Freshwater Livestock in NY New York's Largest Custom Aquarium Showroom See Working Systems on Display 2015 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11234 (718)258-0653

Open Saturdays and Sundays Annex, Discover, MasterCard, Visa 2 miles off exit 11N of the Belt Parkway www.WorldClassAquarium.com


September 2002

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS ;e| -. Kin 'i , - . i jvj.-.n a; I l l l l |||ti||j !)uu<: ^ (aileeij \u:ils. i[i!so::c : : :;^:;: : : j,;:-; ' : : : fvii-r-v ;^:iX- ' :- : - : ' ': Jr . ' V i


Bowl-Shovv-vinncrs [|s|n||||i|i:§ 1} Doui; |fffri 2) Bill AmcK - /»: \v>/-.'/</c.7>> 3) C'mloni ! 1 | 1 | | | - k ; i h ! ish September 2001 1 June 2002 S-jasoi^/v/io///V ;\i/-i> - a,l s S - : -'i ! :; ; ;. ' ' . ; '•A;:;;/ ;'/' .;"^:-'-::.;.J'; ;;|.|V;lr/^ ; -v-:.|. ; '..:-;- : : :'.:'3- ::.;;V ' ' : :

Here are meetijr i;;n& a^xl locations of aquarium societies in the Metrogg itan::::fte|(Pjprk area\Ejf ER CITY AQUARIUM SOC

B rod k I v rf Aq u a r i u iff ||;pe i ei| lift Meeffi^Pbctobcr 2, 2002 l§peak ? ; ony Terceira Topic: ^Hiiarium Photography" ^ j^§^ns Botanical Garden " -13-50 Main St., Flushing, ^J1^ r. Joseph Ferdenzi^^8™8^' ,^mm^' t Teleptone: (718)767-2691 tj|| igjf | I GreaterCity@compusefi||v ( ' 1 1: ;:::: , httg:/2:||ww.greatercity.org

: September 14, 2002 . : S p-,- MK l\r1j£V athony Calfb "Succe|||g| peel ^ v - i r ,u M|f|| - Growing Corals in Ililr Reef \ifsl jrliili'' & autographed book s||il ||so HK)i iu<p||ph and propagated coral -Op >f: |ducation Hall,N.Y. t., Brooklyn, NY ^! . ' .. (7 1 8) 83f 5i§§ aqua n umsociety.oi '

^ of 1% .ianical Garden ! p ll q I : W Gene Baudier i - 11 , : ^ 44g 7 1 90 / (5 1 6)345-6399

|;Lo o

Aqlirly m Society

Guppy &iM. - 3rd

1 Mr. BSilld Curnrif Iliithone: (7 1 8) 63 1 -0|l ; i|l| is

a u C o u glf Aq u§|iM|fl|p o q|Ily ? .M. -

(exce|v:r I IR. . . . v juf" %^-^;p:| at:

^ ' '": : ^^^^^^^^^

Jeach 66

! Vetera1|jj^lvd,,,.

The Ho^^ Par] "! 249 Buckleyllid September 20 . l:>:o::u - and "Plants" Contact: Mr. Telephone: (5 1 6) 938-4066

North Jersey Aquarium Society

r4orwalk 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 ore-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com October 17: Ron Coleman on "Costa Rican River Cichlids: Life in the Fast Lane"

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center (formerly called the Nature Center for Environmental Activities), Westport, CT Sept 19: Luis Morales "Collecting in Peru" Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253

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

September 2002



Fin Fun

This month our scheduled speaker is Jack Wattley. He is renowned for his expertise in discus, and is also a well-known author. As you peruse this list of titles, see if you can pick out which have been authored by Mr. Wattley, and which were written by someone else. (Hint: they may not all be books!) Written by Jack Wattley? Y/N Discus for the Perfectionist Wild-Caught Discus Ask Jack Discus as a Hobby Discus: How to Breed Them Discus Breeding for Beginners All About Discus Poison Dart Frogs - Success With an Amphibian Pet Discus Health Jack Wattley 's Handbook of Discus

Solution to last month's puzzle:






Show Class (letter)

Tropheus duboisi


Aphyosemion australe


Corydoras robinae


Synodontis multipunctatus


Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma


Xiphophorus montezumae


Calico Ryukin


Perrunichthys perruno


Red and White Oranda


Pterophyllum scalare

A September 2002

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

September 2002 volume IX number 9

Modern Aquarium  

September 2002 volume IX number 9