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MAY 2003 volume X number 5

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York


AQUARIUM ON THE COVER The cover of this special "Leading Ladies" issue features "Angelface," a female freshwater Angelfish (Pterophylum sea/are), tending the eggs she has just laid on the leaf of an Echinodorus ozelot plant. Photo by Susan Priest GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members President Joseph Ferdenzi Vice-President Mark Soberman Treasurer Jack Traub Corres. Secretary Warren Feuer Recording Secretary Ray Albanese Members At Large Steve Chen Pete D'Orio Carlotti DeJager Claudia Dickinson Jason Kerner Ben Haus Greg Wuest Emma Haus Committee Chairs Breeder Award Warren Feuer and Mark Soberman Early Arrivals Pete D'Orio F.A.A.S. Delegate Alexander Priest Members/Programs . Claudia Dickinson N.E.C. Delegate . . . . Claudia Dickinson MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief . . . . . Alexander A. Priest Associate Editor Susan Priest Copy Editors . Ray Albanese, Dora Dong Photo/Layout Editor Jason Kerner Advertising Mgr Mark Soberman Executive Editor Joseph Ferdenzi


Vol. X. No. 5

May. 2003

FEATURES A Letter to the Ladies The First Lady of Fish Guest Contributors Lateral Lines Mother's Day Tanganyikan Tour A Special Kind of Dad My Dad the Fishman Married With Fish Mega-Maculata, the Magical Fish Expert Night at the GCAS I Love My Man's Hobby Name That Babe Plecos are a Girl's Best Friend Fishcraft: Bringing Home the Discus A Kaleidoscope of Fish Married...to a Fish Hobbyist NEC Awards The Perfect Fish Treasure Chest (The Making of a Fish Wife) Book Review Fish Junk G.C.A.S. Happenings "Femme" Fun (Puzzle Page)

2 3 4 5 7 13 16 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 27 29 31 33 . 34 37 39 41 42

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 2003 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

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May 2003

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

The First Lady of Fish by ANITA FERDENZI visiting fish hobby luminaries. More often than ne would think that I must be an expert not, I have had the pleasure of hosting an ichthyologist by now. After all, I have impromptu dinner for guests such as: Craig Morfitt, been part of the hobby for over 20 years, President of the aquarium club in Bermuda; and although my expertise is vicarious, the fringe Dorothy Reimer, the "plant lady" benefits of my participation are from Canada; Sally Boggs, bona fide. Over the years, I have distinguished aquarist from viewed this hobby through a Pennsylvania; Rusty Wessel, variety of perspectives. First, I noted cichlid expert and jungle was the date of a fish show explorer, and his wife Suzy, from exhibitor, then I became the wife Kentucky; Claus Christensen, of a killifish club member and plant expert, and manager of the Greater City Aquarium Society Tropica plant company from Board Member, and ultimately, Denmark; Ray "Kingfish" Lucas, the wife of the President of The hobbyist promoter extraGreater City Aquarium Society. ordinaire from upstate New The current title has prompted York; Paul Loiselle, world some to refer to me as the First famous aquarist, and curator of Lady of Fish. The President and freshwater fishes at the New This role has afforded the "First Lady of Fish" York Aquarium; and, from me the best vantage point from nearby New Jersey, hobby legend and all-around which to appreciate the multifaceted nature of this gentleman, Rosario LaCorte. hobby â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and from my perspective, I can see that Our dinner conversations with these it's not all about fish! Yes, fish is the medium that guests are always quite lively and fascinating. I captures the kindred spirits who are attracted to the especially love the stories that fishtail (spin) into hobby. However, I have found that these exotic and thrilling adventures. (The only thing I wonderful creatures also serve as the springboard require of a really good "fish story" is that it has for the cornucopia of the skills and talents of the nothing to do with fish.) For example, the late club's diverse membership. Gian Padovani once held us in rapture with an The general meetings, special events, account of his harrowing experiences in the depths magazine, and shows are each a fete in themselves, of the Amazon jungle (or the anaconda stories), and a marvel to observe. The level of volunteerism and Claus Christensen recently recalled his and commitment among the club membership is terrifying experience of being charged by a truly awe-inspiring. We have our experts in hippopotamus, as well as his vivid description of organization, administration, public relations, the sensation of being under the canopy in various writing, editing, computer technology, publicity, rainforests around the world. hospitality, and auctioneering â&#x20AC;&#x201D; just to name a So, when are you coming to share your few. Oh, and let's not forget their common interest yarn? You are always welcome! A and skills in raising fish! Perhaps the most enjoyable role I play as First Lady of Fish is that of good-will ambassador and hostess to aquarium society members and


Drawing by Karen Randall Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

May 2003

(in alphabetical order) Chin! Pam is an Honorary Life Member of the Pacific Coast Cichlid Association. She is the editor of their award- winning magazine, Cichlidae Communique, and she is a multiple-award winning author in her own right for her column "Ask Pam." She is active in the American Cichlid Association, and is the inaugural recipient of the "Ida Mellen National Leadership Award For Women Aquarists." She is a founding member of the Babes In The Cichlid Hobby, better known as B.I.T.C.H. Pam presented an enlightening and informative program at the N.E.C. Convention this past March. She is a knowledgeable and dynamic lady; a perfect ambassador for the aquarium hobby. Sever ley Morfitt! We are especially pleased to welcome Beverley as one of our Leading Ladies. This is the first time she has waded into the world of writing for the aquarium hobby. In her article, she recounts the many accomplishments of her husband, Craig. However, I don't think she has figured it out yet, so maybe we should point it out to her, that she is a fishkeeper, too! KarCll Randall! Karen is well-known throughout the aquarium hobby for her expertise in the area of aquatic plants. She authors the monthly column "Sunken Gardens" for Aquarium Fish Magazine. She is also the editor of The Aquatic Gardener, which is the journal of the Aquatic Gardeners Association. Many of you will remember the excellent program she gave here at Greater City last year. Her original works of art grace many of the pages of this issue of Modern Aquarium, and are used with the permission and generosity of the artist. Mary EÂŤ Sweeney! Mary's reputation as a Leading Lady of the aquarium hobby is unrivaled. She has authored numerous books on a wide variety of subjects (one of which is reviewed elsewhere in this issue). She is knowledgeable in all areas of the aquarium hobby, however she is most well known for her expertise in the area of Discus. Mary's tenure as the editor of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine has made her a household name among aquarium hobbyists all over the world. She is a sought-after speaker in the aquarium circuit. It is Greater City's pleasure and privilege to welcome Mary Sweeney as our scheduled speaker this evening, as she presents a program on "Bubblenesters."

Drawing by Karen Randall May 2003

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

lateral lines an editorial by Susan Priest his is the first editorial I have ever written. I didn't expect it to be such a personal experience. It is kind of like peeling off a wet bathing suit; your tan lines are clear to see, you are unconstricted, and you find your self suddenly, shall we say, "vulnerable."


Conservation; where do I fit in?

do you think the future sounds like to a Pachypanchax sakaramyi in 2003?

When I set up my first aquarium, and brought home my first pair of fish, conservation was the last thing on my mind. It was down there below a trip to Jupiter, or grits. I have learned a lot in 12 short years. I know what I like, and what I don't like. I know what I'm good at, and what I'm not. And, I have the tiniest glimmer of an understanding of the environmental havoc that the wildlife of the planet earth see when they look in the mirror. This scares me to death. Lowland Gorillas are not my area. Tropical fish are. So, now what? The time has come for me to push false modesty aside. Whenever an endangered fish crosses my path, I hold back, I resist, and I refuse. "That is way too much responsibility for me. What if I don't do a good enough job? What if it dies?" Well, what if I don't even try? If not me, then who? Serving the cause of cognitive dissonance, that is, humanity's inherent desire to ignore unpleasant facts, does not become me. I work in a doctor's office. When the occasional seriously ill person comes in, I don't say "I don't want to go near them. What if something happens? What if they die?" I attend to them with all the spirit and skill I have to offer. Can I contribute any less to the future of the planet? I certainly have enough fishkeeping knowhow to at least try to secure the future for at least one species of endangered tropical fish. I can fit a ten gallon tank on my kitchen counter if I trash the toaster oven. Does anyone have Ron Neilson's e-mail address? I didn't know it at the time, but when I brought home that first pair of swordtails, my fate was sealed. I had just taken the first step to becoming a conservationist. I had stuck my thumb into the "evolutionary pie." As I pull it out, I have earned not only a taste of immortality, but the responsibility to foster it. I'm not a baker, but doesn't a pie-maker save a piece of dough from the crust to start the next batch? Isn't that what conservation is; saving enough of what we've got to ensure its future? Resistance is futile; I cannot deny that I have a role to play. The future whispers in the ear of every woman the first time she menstruates, and it shouts loudly in her ear the first time she doesn't. What Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

What is leadership? When I was in the seventh grade, one of my teachers came to me and said something like this: "I have been asked to choose one of my students to attend a weekend workshop on leadership; someone with the potential to become a leader. Would you like to go?" Well, in those days I was a mediocre student who didn't have very many friends. I was a lack-luster, overweight adolescent. The thing I worked hardest at was trying to stay to myself. Of all her students, why would she pick me? "Because," she told me, "you are the only one I can trust." Maybe that is what makes a leader; someone that other people feel they can trust. This issue of Modern Aquarium is a good example of that. I had no idea what to expect when I asked our ladies to take the lead. I only knew that I could trust them to give us their best. You are holding the results in your hands right now. Well, I didn't go to that workshop, and leadership skills are not listed among the assets on my resume, but it is clear to me that I have learned where to place my trust. Dreams Speaking of leadership, I would like to say a few words to our President of these many years, Joe Ferdenzi. Joe, I remember the day, not very long after I met you, that you first talked to me about Modern Aquarium. It was your dream, you told me, to have a NEW Modern Aquarium: to breathe new life into Modern Aquarium, Series II, with a Series III that would uphold the high standards set by the GCAS members of the 1960s and 70s. Well, page by page, and month by month, Modern Aquarium has become our dream, too, Al and I. We are forever dreaming of the next issue, and the issue after that. I want to thank you for teaching me a very important lesson. What have I learned from Joe Ferdenzi? He has taught me that dreams DO come true. Thank you, Joe, and God bless you.

May 2003

Sleeping with the editor

What really happens at a GCAS meeting?

As most of you know, I am married to the Editor of this fine publication. We spend more hours working on Modern Aquarium each month than we do tending our aquariums. His patience for computer glitches, "Windows," and split infinitives, is in the negative numbers. Inexplicably, his patience with me; my errors, my questions, and the extra spaces I tend to insert when I type, is virtually limitless. I'm sure this makes the job easier, but sometimes it doesn't seem that way. For example, to my plea of "you do it," I usually get a response similar to this: "You should learn this. There are several ways you can do it. You can either do This or That or The Other or ..." After all of that, I still haven't learned how to do "it," and "it" still needs to be done. It refreshes me to hear the energy in his voice when he talks about Modern Aquarium, and to see the energy in his eyes as he tackles a new challenge. Yes, Al has worked on Modern Aquarium since before the first issue was published, and he still finds something new to challenge him every month. When it comes to Al's beloved anabantoids, nothing is too good for them. He collects rainwater in the backyard, orders almond leaves on eBay, and shops for live foods twice a week. He rinses blackworms, feeds marine phytoplancton to brine shrimp, refreshes microworm cultures, and feeds green water to daphnia; all of that before he feeds the fish. He prints labels for each tank with more information on them than an "atlas." He belongs to the IBC, the IAA, and the AAGB. He designed a new logo for one of them (I forget which one). Every now and then I notice a new fish in the lineup. When I ask him "is this fish endangered?" he replies "a little." Did I say something about sleep? It is the hardest thing to get him to do, because his brain is forever traveling at "warp" speed. The best way to get him to come to bed is to promise him that we will set the alarm extra early, so we can work on Modern Aquarium again first thing in the morning.

A Meeting of the GCAS is shaped as much by Pete, Joe, and Claudia, as it is by the person who walks through the door for the first time and says "Am I in the right place?" The right place for what? I have always thought that each person who attends a GCAS meeting has their own unique reasons for being there. My reasons are different from month to month, and from year to year. Don't worry; I'm not going to tell you what they are. Where am I going with this? It's a small thought, really. It is just that something which should be as common as crumbs is lacking in many people's lives. I would describe it as the feeling that "I belong here, and I fit in perfectly." Some people feel that way where they live, some people feel that way where they work, and some people feel that way where they worship. Some people find it by climbing to the top of a mountain, and some people find it by surfing the internet. And, sadly, some people never find it at all. BUT, I think that this transient and elusive "element" of life is "in the air" at a GCAS meeting, and that we should breathe deeply of it every chance we get. I think that everyone who walks through this door feels like "I belong here, and I fit in perfectly." What do you think?

RonNeilson: http://www.fishpost.com Cichlid Conservation Working Group IBC: International Betta Congress IAA: International Anabantoid Association AAGB: Anabantoid Association of Great Britain

The solution to the April 2003 "Fin Fun" Puzzle can be found on page 33 of this issue.

Drawing by Karen Randall May 2003

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

V Day Text and Photos by SUSAN PRIEST he mothers of the fish world have been looking forward to this article for a long time. They know how hard they work (they have been "delivering" for eons), but frankly, they are tired of the males getting all the fame and glory just because they are "eye-candy." (How often have you seen a female fish of any species, by herself, on the cover of a book or a magazine?) So here it is; this article is dedicated to fish moms everywhere, "With love from me to you!" Fish mothers fall into one of two very large categories; they are either livebearers, or egglayers. We aquarists call these reproductive, or breeding, "strategies." Within these two groupings, there are layer upon layer of variations on the theme; micro-strategies, if you will. I will try to give you as much of an overview of these two major groups as is practical in an article of this scope. Let's start with the livebearers. As I pause here to choose a descriptive word, and I glance at my companion for inspiration, a very gravid (fish-talk for pregnant) female sailfin molly (Poecilia velifera), I can only say that they are the most elegant of mothers-to-be. With no muss or fuss, and not even so much as a "baby shower," they get the job done with the utmost efficiency. Livebearers, as the name suggests, give birth to living fry. They make up less than 3% of all the vertebral fishes. Livebearing is not as straightforward as it sounds, because there is more than one variety of livebearer. A Viviparous fish is a type of livebearer in which the mother contributes to the nutritional needs of the eggs growing within her, much like a human placenta does for an embryo. With fish, however, there is no true embryo. One of the ways she does this is by bathing her eggs in nutrient-rich secretions. Ovoviviparous is another type of livebearer. The yolk of the egg itself is the only source of nutrition for the developing fry, and the female acts as an "incubator" for them. In both instances, the eggs are protected from predation, as well as storms of whatever variety Mother Nature might send their way, while they are maturing. Depending on which species you are considering, the number of offspring can be as few as a few, or as many as a few hundred!


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

When her time of "confinement" is nearing an end, this "lady-in-waiting" carefully chooses and/or prepares as safe an environment for her family as she can. Although she was expecting it, the blessed event catches even her by surprise (doesn't it always?), and suddenly this elegant, efficient, extraordinary female is a mother\t a magnificent sight!! As with all things reproductional, we cannot exclude the males. (Would we really want to?!) Male livebearers "innoculate" the females with packets of sperm called spermatophores. They do this by means of a gonopodium. The anal fin of a male livebearer has been "modified" to form a copulatory organ, much like a penis, with which they deposit the spermatophores inside the females, thereby internally fertilizing her eggs. Unique to female livebearers is superfetation. This means that she stores some of the spermatophores within the folds of the walls of her fallopian tubes. Because of this, she may have subsequent pregnancies from a single inoculation. Livebearers are sexually dimorphic, meaning that you can tell the males from the females by looking at them. This makes it easy for us humans to choose a pair. Generally speaking, the males can be identified by the eye-candy factor I mentioned earlier, that is, they are usually much more colorful, and they have more dramatic flnnage. (For example: the males of the species Poecilia velifera sport a wide and "wavy" dorsal fin which extends along most of the length of their backs; thus the common name of Sailfin.) Also, the males are quite often (but not always), smaller than the females. If you are still not sure, just check for the gonopodium. As fascinating as the livebearers are, it is now time for us to move on to the Oviparous, or egglaying fishes. This is by far a much larger category. Have you already guessed that there are a comparatively larger number of varieties? On the next page you will find "portraits" of three female fish with which I am acquainted. They are representative of 1) livebearers, 2) bubblenesters, and 3) egg-depositors, respectively. Pages nine and ten contain a chart which I hope will make it easy for you to assimilate information about the many varieties of oviparous fish. I'll catch up with you again on page eleven!

May 2003

Reproductive Strategies of Oviparous Freshwater Tropical Fish MICRO-STRATEGY




SCHOOLING SPAWNERS Large groups of males and females are continuously releasing both sperm and eggs in close proximity to one another.

Zebra Danios (Brachydanio rerio)



PAIR SPAWNERS A male and female separate from the school, and scatter eggs and sperm among plants.

Neon Terra (Paracheirodon innesi)

CONTACT SPAWNERS Males and females press against each other as they release sperm and eggs.

Cherry Barb* (Barbus titteya) * extinct in the wild

SURFACE BUBBLENESTER One of the pair (usually the male), makes a froth of saliva-coated bubbles at the surface of the water. The eggs are fertilized as the pair repeatedly "embrace." One or both, but usually the male, will use his mouth to deposit the fertilized eggs into the nest, where they remain until they hatch out.

Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

SUBMERGED BUBBLENESTER A similar froth is generated, but is usually located on the underside of a rock, or in a crevice.

Spiketailed Paradise Fish (Pseudosphromenus dayi)


Pseudotropheus demasoni

After the eggs have left her body, and been fertilized, the FEMALE will gather them into her mouth, protecting and "tumbling" them until they hatch. PATERNAL MOUTHBROODER It is the MALE who gathers the fertilized eggs into his mouth, and similarly cares for them.

Blue Band Mouthbrooder (Betta enisae)

LARVOPHILE MOUTHBROODER A pair of fish begin spawning in the manner of an egg depositor. When the eggs begin to hatch, one or both parents pick them up in their mouths, and "suck" the fry from the eggs.

Bujurquina vittata

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

May 2003

Reproductive Strategies of Oviparous Freshwater Tropical Fish MICRO-STRATEGY




EGG DEPOSITORS; CAVITY The female fish deposits her eggs on a submerged and sheltered surface such as in a cave or crevice, usually consisting of rocks. Then the male will fertilize them.

Kribensis (Pelvicachromis pulcher)

SHELL SPAWNERS; Similar to cavity depositors, except that the sheltered surface will be the inside of an unoccupied shell.

Neolamprologus brevis

EGG DEPOSITORS; OPEN SURFACE (Also known as a substrate spawner, substrate meaning almost any surface.) The female will choose a leaf, rock, or other surface on which to deposit her eggs, and the male will spray them with sperm.

Angelfish (Pterophylum scalare)

EGG DEPOSITORS; ABOVE THE WATER LINE Male and female both leap out of the water and press their bodies to the underside of a leaf, where she puts adhesive eggs, and he his sperm. The male will splash water onto the eggs to keep them moist until they hatch out.

Splash Tertra (Copella arnoldi)


Fertilized eggs are deposited in shallow mud puddles which will completely dry up for much of the year. When the rains return, these eggs will hatch out.

Fire Killie (Nothobranchius rachovif)


The females suspend their eggs from floating and submerged plants by means of adhesive threads. Then, the males fertilize them.

Lyretail Killie (Aphyosemion australe)

* Some of the representative species listed do not have common names. * Not all reproductive behaviors are observable to the aquarist. For example, some female fish release chemical "attractants" which serve to lure males, and even sperm, to their vicinity. It is believed that females of the Cory dor as species do this. If the chart could be described as speaking for itself, it would want to tell you "I am only a list of examples, so don't take me too seriously. I am not a comprehensive resource on any level." There are tens of thousands of species of tropical fish, and I have attempted to choose a few with which you may be familiar. 10

May 2003

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

I want to start right out by stating the obvious; these fish are not called "sperm layers!" So what does that tell us? Referring to egglaying freshwater tropical fishes as matriarchal would seem to be a bit of an overstatement. Let's just say that the moms are the leaders of this pack! The term "egglayer" is very misleading. Take a look at the chart for a moment. "Submerged bubblenester;" that part about the nest makes it sound like it could have something to do with laying eggs. But what about "maternal mouthbrooder," or "egg hanger?" If you are feeling confused, it is not without good reason. What the term egglayer really means to us is that the female's eggs have left her body before they are fertilized (in contrast to female livebearers, whose eggs are internally fertilized). After this has taken place, there are countless variations on the theme as to what happens to them next. For example: some eggs sink and others float; some eggs are sticky, and adhere to the surface they land on, while others are free to move with the currents. But, the one thing they all still have in common is that the eggs are outside of the female. So, what happens next? Fertilization must necessarily occur very soon after the eggs have left the body of the female. That's easier said than done! Take Lake Tanganyika, for example. Would you agree that it can reasonably be described as a big lake? If your eggs are the non-adhesive floating variety, you're going to need a male that is smart, fast, and a bit of a sharpshooter. What's that, a wave?! It is up to the prospective dads to figure out how to get their sperm to the right place at the right time. The idea of those spermatophores is starting to sound pretty good right about now. The point I'm trying to make here is that in order for the balance of nature to be achieved, egglaying moms need to produce many times more eggs than livebearing moms in order to increase the likelihood that at least some of them will be fertilized, and that even a few of those will survive to adulthood. No matter what strategy an egglayer is using, the challenge to reproduce themselves consumes most of their energy. Let me take you on a brief trip into the "uncharted territory" of hermaphrodites, meaning that one animal contains both male and female sexual organs. The Checkerboard Cichlid (Discrossusfilamentosus) is protogynous; they are all born female, with the most aggressive turning into the dominant male. There are proteandrous species which are all born male, and then some become females. An example of this is the Amphiprion bicinctus, a marine Clown Fish. In simultaneous hermaphrodites, one animal

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

functions as both a male and a female at the same time, thereby producing eggs which are selffertilized. There is a family of 100 or so airbreathing snails called Lymnaeids, which are an example of this. Gradual hermaphrodites change from one sex to the other within the course of their lives. Some of the livebearing fishes do this. Let's not forget the asexual, or parthenogenic species, of which Rivulus marmoratus, a killifish from South and Central America, is an example. Their eggs develop without being fertilized! I'm sure there are other examples of strange bedfellows, but you get the idea! There are many moms in the fish world who maintain an air of secrecy. We have no idea how they reproduce. They arrive in our aquariums as a consequence of having been "wild-caught." Why, after so many years of fish being kept in tanks, do we still have "mystery moms?" Maybe it's because the tank environment is not similar enough to their natural environment for them to feel comfortable enough to engage in their inherent breeding behaviors. They might need a little mothering themselves, from Mother Nature! Maybe they need a square mile of open water. Maybe they take their cue from the sound of empty snail shells clacking together, or the smell of urine from one of their natural predators, or the sight of a ray of sunshine illuminating the substrate at just the right angle! There must be countless esoteric "triggers" which we can only guess at, and that will never occur in an aquarium. Some of these moms will keep their secrets for all time. There may even be a whole type of fish mom that we haven't even discovered yet! A Few Closing Thoughts We are fooling ourselves if we think that we have even begun to understand these breeding behaviors. For us to call them "strategies" is to mock them. They have their origins in a place more deep and mystical than our minds will ever be able to probe. Even so, fish and their behaviors will always fascinate and taunt us, calling us to look ever closer, and then closer still. And so we will. "To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive." Robert Louis Stevenson, 1881 By the way, do you remember Luna, the gravid molly? Turn the page if you would like to see the fruits of her labor. She spells it out for us more clearly than words can, that every day is Mother's Dayl

May 2003


Doing what comes naturally!

Are you my brother or my sister?

"Tail first" is no problem for Luna!

Luna's fry at the tender age of 7 hours.

REFERENCES: 1) Axelrod, Herbert R., PhD., and Sweeney, Mary E., The Fascination of Breeding Aquarium Fish. T.F.H. Publications, 1992. 2) Judy, Ted. "Dierossus filamentosis; There's Something Fishy Going On," The Cichlid Room Companion: http://www.cichlidae.com/articles/a091 .html 3) Mills, Dick, You and Your Aquarium. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1986. 4) Perera, Gloria, PhD., and Walls, Jerry G., Apple Snails in the Aquarium. T.F.H. Publications, 1996. 5) Riehl, Rudiger, PhD., and Baensch, Hans A., Aquarium Atlas. Hans A. Baensch Publications, 1991. 6) Scheurmann, Ines, Aquarium Fish Breeding. Barrens, 1990.


May 2003

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

Babes In The Cichlid Hobby

Tanganyikan Tour - 2002 KAMBWIMBA by RAM CHIN photos by RUSTY WESSEL Pam@Cichlidae.com n the early spring of 2001 I went on my first collecting trip and had the time of my life. I wanted to go somewhere again with my cichlid die-hard friends. I didn't have a specific site in mind, I just knew that I wanted to experience the fish in the wild and have that camaraderie with my friends again. When summer rolled around, Caroline Estes, Pam Marsh, and I heavily hinted to our collective male cichlid friends for an invitation to go check out cichlids anywhere. And the results... let's see...how can I put this nicely? They said they liked us, they had a good time with us, we are fun to be with, we held our own.. .but we were girls... That isn't exactly how they put it.. .but that was basically the gist. It wasn't a no, not ever again, but the bottom line was probably not anytime soon. On a hot August day in Sacramento, Caroline and I were on our way to pick up Ad Konings at the airport. We were trying to accept the verdict of our cichlid amigos, in our hearts we understood where they were coming from, but we are not your typical girls, we are cichlid girls, and we know it is all about the fishes. On the way back to the hotel we were crying on Ad's shoulder, and he gave us a big eye roll and said, "Girls, if you want to go on a fish trip, come with me to Lake Tanganyika in the fall of 2002." I didn't even have to think about it, "Count me in!" I said. Caroline was hesitant at first, but before the weekend was over she was already making plans. It didn't take long for the word to get out that we were planning an "Ad" adventure, and the very boys we were begging to go with the day before were now begging Ad to go with us. Isn't that ironic! And so the BITCH Tour, Tanganyika 2002, was set. When you plan a fish trip, you develop a list of target fish that you hope to see in their natural habitat, and on my list towards the top was


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

Neolamprologus pulcher "daffodil." I have been interested in the "brichardi complex" for quite some time, and of course the "daffodil" has been one of my favorites. Many may think that they are common, and even a fish just for beginners, but I will always have "daffodil" in my fishroom. They are so elegant in my eyes, with their long flowing fins, beautiful yellow hues, blue eyes and the distinctive markings on their cheeks. Their reproductive habits are classic, and while many hobbyists move on to more complex species, to me the spawning behavior of the "brichardi complex" is the epitome of the family Cichlidae. The parental care and family structure is so interesting to watch, I still find them rewarding after many years. And to me it is what fishkeeping is all about, working with the fish that you enjoy, not necessarily what the current rage is. The members of the "brichardi complex" are found throughout the rocky shores of Lake Tanganyika, however Neolamprologus pulcher "daffodil" is found near the Kalambo River that is the border for Tanzania and Zambia. I was elated when Ad told us we were going there.. .then he told me they are usually found at depths around of 20 30 feet. Since I could barely swim, which is another story, I would be depending on the boys to tell me all about them.

Direct from my diary.... Today we visited the town of Muzi in Tanzania, where we "bought" our visas, which allowed us to dive and swim in the waters of Tanzania, and we couldn't wait. Louis kept the boat headed south and soon we turned into a small cove and set anchor. This was Kambwimba, home of the "daffodil" and the "red rainbow" Trophem, and it was quite beautiful!

May 2003


The boulders on the edge of this inlet were huge; they were as big as cars. There was a small sandy beach, but we could see brown monkeys hanging out, and we decided that we better not go too close. Caroline jumped into the water first and headed for the rocks, where she found some shade and watched us get ready to dive and snorkel. The boys surfaced after jumping in, and told Pam and I it was probably 20 feet deep right off the boat. I was quite surprised, since I could clearly see the rocks below the water line. I was the last to jump in. It was deep, and the rocks were enormous. The water was incredibly clear, and I could see that the boulders continued right down into the water, and even deeper than I would ever go. I saw tons of Tropheus^ Petrochromis, and even N. cylindricus. There were many fish that looked familiar, but the names would escape me. Cyprichromis were everywhere, and a couple of male ventralis that were so bright I was amazed. Even though I was snorkeling, I thought I saw frontosa, and couldn't believe it, but Ad told me later they were actually Plecodm straeleni, the fish that mimics frontosa...they were doing a good job of it! I snorkeled up towards the beach first, and saw N. caudopunctatus darting in and out of the rocks. Like everywhere else I had been on the lake, the fish would dive for the rocks when they first saw you, but if I would just float and stay still, they would come out from everywhere and continue whatever they were doing, mostly either guarding or eating. Then I turned around and headed towards the point of the cove along the rocky shoreline. There was a huge rock with an overhang, and I watched the fish there for quite some time. Right in front of this was a large boulder. I saw a pair of Lamprichthys tanganicanm (killifish) spawning, and it was wonderful. I watched this pair laying their eggs, hoping they would fall into the crack on this boulder. It was hard for me to tell if any eggs where actually making it in there, as it was a feeding frenzy for all the cichlids in the immediate area. I could clearly see the Tropheus and Petrochromis, as well as others, were having a heyday eating the eggs as fast as this female could lay them. I finally had to move on, even though this was fascinating. I have my cichlid reputation to uphold!!! I didn't want to miss anything else because I was mesmerized by a couple of killifish. As I continued towards the point, I could see the boys below me hovering over a pile of rocks, and I slowly moved up on them wondering what would keep them in one place


for so long. It was Tropheus moorii "red rainbow" and this male was so colorful that I too just floated and watched. He had his rock, and was guarding and courting, all at the same time. I must have this Tropheus, as it is spectacular. The boys stayed pretty shallow today as there was so much to see in the first 20 feet or so, and they were down at least 2 hours. I was first back in the boat, after about an hour and a half of snorkeling, as I was getting cold. I tried like hell to use my fins to power up into the boat, but it was a lost cause. Louis grabbed my arm and pulled me in. I can't imagine what he thinks of my swimming skills! We all had problems getting in and out of the boat; Hanneman can't make it in even when everyone else is in it. We all stand on one side of the boat, lowering the edge until water is almost coming in, and then we all yell "Crocodile!" A month after I got home, I had the chance to pick a few species to be shipped in, and Neolamprologus pulcher "daffodil" was on my list. I am thrilled with my new "daffodil" from Kambwimba. They are totally different than the "daffs" I have in my fish house now. They are quite yellow, but the blue sheen is wonderful, and it is even more intense in their cheeks and eyes. Their body is much slimmer, and not as tall as the domestic "daffs." After a 30-day quarantine, I placed them in a 50-gallon tank with many spawning caves, since they were 2!/2M - 3" long. I was hoping that they would pair up quickly. Their fins were a bit frayed from the long trip, but they still looked very healthy. This tank was right across from where my computer is set up in the people house, and I was able to keep a close eye on them. After about 30 days, two fish had pushed the rest to one side of the tank, and I hoped that this possible pair would spawn soon. Gary moved them to the fish house, in a smaller tank. And, in a few weeks, he reported they had a clutch of fry. I was thrilled, to say the least! When I look at these beautiful "daffodils," I think about how I was able to swim in the very waters they came from, and how they are truly the ultimate souvenirs. If it has been a while since you have had the opportunity to work with any cichlids from the "brichardi complex," I urge you to give them a try again, as you won't be disappointed! I have a cichlid friend that says, "if brichardi is the "Princess of Burundi," then "daffodil" must be the "Queen of Lake Tanganyika," and I couldn't agree more! A

May 2003

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

A Special Kind of Dad by DANIELLE SOBERMAN (Age 10) My Dad is "The Fish Man," He's the best in the land! Fishkeeping is his true passion, And on most of his clothes fish is the fashion. In the basement he keeps all of his tanks, And in keeping catfish #1 he ranks. He searches E-Bay for cool fish stuff, But finding a place for them in the house is getting tough! Dad helps me keep my Betta alive With water changes and special food; I've had it since I was five.

"My Dad, The Fishman" by ILYSSA SOBERMAN (Age 13) eing the Fishman's daughter is not always easy, but it has its upsides. My dad is Mark Soberman, who is known as "the fishman" in Plainview. If you have a problem with a fish tank, or anything related to fish, you call "the fishman." To begin with, my dad has been a tropical fish collector since well since forever. He has been a fan offish collecting since he was a boy and he has not stopped since. My dad has a true passion for his hobby, which I feel is very important. Secondly, R -going to aquariums, — ^ _ antique book shows, and book stores in I jl^^Bhl s e a r c h of fish I paraphernalia is not I > M always the most exciting activity for me, but I have to admit, I have learned a few things here and there about the fish world. One thing my dad and I definately have in common is • • • - , • • ._„ . that we both like to search eBay for good buys. The only difference is that dad searches for old fish ornaments, while my favorite sites are Coach, Tiffany and Prada. Well, the tail end of my story is that my dad is a fish hobbyist with a true passion, and for this I am very proud of him. A



May 2003

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

Marpieft Witfe Fisb by ROBIN SOBERMAN y fishman, Mark, and I just celebrated the 19th Anniversary of the arrival of our first tank. Little did I know, the stand could hold two tanks. And so the Soberman fish room was born. Over the years we had many "fish" outings in the form of aquarium visits, browsing fish stores for a special catfish that was possibly mislabled, (but only Mark would know that), weekend hotel conventions, three hour trips to New Jersey to buy fish from some man's basement, as well as the daily after dinner run to Petland for a double portion of blood and black worms. (At least this one is usually followed by a trip to TCBY). Of course, I can't forget the best outing of all, our trip to Bermuda this summer. It was wonderful. Being the wife of a fish hobbyist, there are certain things I've come to expect on a regular basis. These are monthly club meetings, plus monthly board meetings, with an occasional meeting to discuss when to hold the next meeting. Mark never fails to leave his water changes to the night before vacation, when he should be packing or running errands. Also, the girls and I have completely given up the idea of ever having a playroom in the basement, because somehow the


stand that held only two tanks has multiplied into about thirty. In my opinion, and I think Mark would agree, the best thing that has come out of his fish hobby, and club involvement, are the wonderful friends Mark has made over the years. Many of these friendships have carried over into true family friends whom we love sharing time and special occasions with. This is definitely my favorite part of the hobby. Although I am not a fishkeeper myself, there are certain times when I can't help but get involved. For instance, way back in 1985 (during Hurricane Gloria) when Mark had his first spawning with a pair of African Cichlids. More recently, when he was away on a business trip, Mark left me in charge of a mop of eggs. Each day I reported that the eggs were doing fine. That was until the day Mark arrived home, only to find that all of the eggs had been eaten (well, I always thought mops were for cleaning floors.) I guess that's enough from this leading lady, except to say that I am very proud of Mark, and the accomplishments he has made over the years in the fish world. To him and his fellow club members, keeping fish is much more than a hobby, and I admire their drive and dedication. A

The Soberman Family (left to right): Mark, Danielle, Ilyssa and Robin Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

May 2003


Megfa-maculata, tne Magical Fisn! by CARLOTTI DEJAGER n April, when the Greater City Aquarium If I am lucky, he will do a repeat Society had their auction, I was fortunate to get performance, and I'll follow the advice that Ralph my hands on some "wild Bettas," Betta Tran gave me. He suggested that I remove the unimaculatas, to be exact. I had been looking for male from the females. He told me that it is likely the females will bother the male, and he will end some wild species for some time now, and was very happy with my additions. I also got some up spitting out the eggs. About one month later, it happened again Betta smaragdina, but as it turned out I only had the male for a very short time, so no spawnings that my male was hanging out in the middle of the there. tank, mid-water and at a 60° angle. I carefully The unimaculatas were a different story. lifted him out of his 10 gallon tank, and put him I set them up in a 10 gallon tank with lots of hiding into a plastic two gallon paint bucket. I had filled places, rocks, and caves. it up with water from I also gave them Java his original tank. It Fern, Java Moss, and an was the same Anubias; some floating temperature. I put in a Wisteria, too. They were sponge filter, a flower shy at first, and I noticed pot (4") on its side, that with the floating and some Java Fern, plants they came out too. I also put a lid on more. There is no light it because they are fixture above them, but jumpers, these wild the tanks next to them Bettas! have lights, so some light gets to their tank, as well. In the book that I just found in a pet store, Now they are very happy, and come out Bettas, by Robert J. Goldstein, PhD., I read that it all the time, especially for food. They love to eat! takes the male 10-12 days to incubate the eggs. He They dash, and splash, and dart around for food. takes no food during this period. I checked on him They are very entertaining to watch. every other day or so, did a water change, and There are three females, and one male. that's it. Indeed, day 12 arrived, and I saw 3 little The females are 21/2 inches long; beige in color baby fish! It is so exciting to see that! with the top of their I figured I body being olivecould give him some green. They have a Country of Origin: Borneo. light now, and start dark stripe, then a First Described: 1905 by Popta. feeding powdered very light stripe, and Temperature: 72°-80° F (22°-26° C). baby food. The way another dark one, pH: 6.5-7.5 (Neutral). I gave him light was along the sides of Feeding: Omnivorous (dry as well as live foods). this: I used a large their bodies, with the Breeding: Paternal mouthbrooder. clear fish bag, putting lower body being Temperament: Non-aggressive. it on top of the beige. The males are Swimming Level: Inhabits lower level of tank. bucket. I made sure larger, and have no Aquarium: Provide with plants, roots, caves, it lay flat, and fit and "stagnant" water. tightly on the rim of lines. They are more green, and they have the bucket. metallic green on I went to their cheeks. They all have golden brown eyes that bed, and the next morning when I got up, I went to look at you, questioning: "Are you going to feed see if there were more babies. My cat, Liz, who me, or what?" always accompanies me into my fishroom, ran into They spend most of their time in the lower the room ahead of me, and came to a halt. There in part of the tank. Then one day the male hangs out front of her lay Daddy unimaculata!! He was dead and dried up! He had escaped, anyway! in the middle of the tank, mid-water, at a 60° angle, I picked him up, and he was pretty stiff. He must with his throat full. A a h . . . eggs! So I read up on have been out of the water for quite a while. them, what to do next. I didn't get to read in time, I took some water from his bucket, and because the male was looking his old self again. A put it in a plastic shoe box. I ran him back and missed opportunity!



May 2003

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

forth, hoping for a miracle, and sure enough, he started to move! And then, like magic, some babies started to come out of his mouth! Some were dead, and some were alive! I could not believe it. I put the babies in the two gallon bucket, since there was a sponge filter in there, and some food for them. I gave the male an airstone, and a large oak leaf to lay on, and let him rest. I also added salt, and some Stress Coat速, to his water When I got back home from work that evening, the male was still alive. He was not looking too well, but he was still breathing. The babies were fine. The next morning the daddy fish was dead. There were 14 baby fish. Now, two months later, I have given the three females to Ralph. We always swap fish. That's the beauty of belonging to aquarium clubs. You meet some very nice people. He can have a try with them when he finds a male.

The babies are now in the 10 gallon tank, and are growing well. They take one year to mature, and I'm sure I'll have another go with them at that time. They are not colorful fish, but they are very personable. Their behavior is a lot of fun to watch. The babies eat from my hand, and have that same expectant look. "What!? Are you going to feed us, or what?" I find them adorable. References: 1) Goldstein, Robert J., PhD. Bettas. Barrens, 2001. 2) Schafer, Frank. Aqualog; All Labyrinths. Verlag ACS Glaser, 1997.

E y^erPNighP aP the 6jreaper City itytarium Society by FRANCESCA FERDENZI or every creature, person, or place there is a faithful enthusiast. And, just as the rock star has his groupie, the guppy has its GCAS member. Never heard of that one before? Don't feel too out of the loop. There are only 80 members of this elite society, which boasts an 81 year history in the Greater City area, providing information along with recreation, for club members and the community. On February 5, 2003, I had the opportunity to attend a monthly meeting of the Greater City Aquarium Society with President Joe Ferdenzi. The meeting was held at the traditional grounds of the Queens Botanical Garden, home to over 500 botanical specimens. This seemingly informal gathering of fish-keepers and hobbyists was actually the most highly organized and eloquently coordinated of functions in the name of our slippery and often forgotten friend, the fish. The evening dubbed "Ask The Experts" commenced with an announcement from President Joe Ferdenzi, who discussed the events that were coming up throughout the month of February. These events included the meeting of other fish clubs affiliated with the GCAS. After a short and humorous briefing of the night's itinerary, fish afficionados Harry Faustmann, Charley Sabatino, and Anton Vukich were announced as panelists for tonight's open question and answer forum. Topics ranging from how to keep live worms, to how to properly diagnose a catfish with white spots, were discussed.


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

One might ask what drives a man to become so avidly involved with fish. Horst Gerber, an over 50-year old man and a 35 years plus fish-keeper, had this to say, "When I was about 13 or 14, my parents couldn't afford to buy me the proper uniforms for sports, or afford to put me on any teams, so I took up an interest in fish. It was affordable and fun for me." For many here, the answer to the question is fish are just fun. The advice from these senior panelists was informative for members and non-members who had questions. "I love coming to these events," says new member John. The room was full of individuals eager to share their knowledge. After the forum, members are directed to a side table entitled the "Bowl Show." This is an opportunity for members to look at each others' current best fish, all in the name of healthy competition. Refreshments were served after the question and answer forum, and members lingered inside and outside the meeting room to catch up on the latest fish news. A

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Drawing by Karen Randall


by BEVERLEY MORFITT their heads are, in my opinion, not very exciting to -hen I was first invited to submit this watch - - but I respect the right of most true article, my initial reaction was, ".. .But I hobbyists to differ! don't know Many years anything about ago, w h e n my tropical fish..." And, husband first told me as I pondered some that he was interested of the suggested in keeping tropical topics, I thought, fish, I never imagined "...But where would that it would blossom I find the time?" As to include numerous a busy wife and tanks; the forming of mother, who also has B e r m u d a ' s first responsibility for tropical fish club running a demanding The Bermuda Fry office, it's not easy to Angle Aquarium fit much else in, Society; his tropical between maintaining fish collecting trips in a busy household, the Amazon, Mexico chauffeuring my and Africa; the younger daughter to opportunity for him to and from school, m e e t new and m e e t i n g s , wonderful friends in appointments, and so B ermuda and on. throughout America, But, after visits to Bermuda by further consideration, distinguished tropical I thought I could use fish speakers; Craig's this opportunity to invitations to also say just how proud I speak at other tropical am of my husband Beverley Morfitt with her plants, and husband, Craig fish clubs in America, Craig, and what he and his invitation to author a monthly column in a has accomplished through his tropical fish hobby. respected tropical fish magazine...well, you get the Now, I am the first person to admit that picture. even after all of the years that my husband has been But I shouldn't have been surprised. involved in his tropical fish-keeping hobby, I still Anyone who knows Craig knows that he never know very little about fish. Besides, all of those goes into anything unless he's prepared to give 110 Latin names don't exactly roll off my tongue the percent. It's like this with me and our daughters, way they do his. I mean, I can probably identify a his work, his workouts, and of course, his hobby. cichlid, but mainly because of the large Anyway, when Craig's hobby was in its award-winner that lives in a solo tank in our early days, his knowledge of his hobby was so kitchen. Despite the array of ribbons and "Best in extensive that word quickly spread around Show" trophies which adorn his tank, guests to our Bermuda. He became the Island's unofficial house don't always realize he's just a show fish. 'tropical fish doctor.' Our telephone often rang They wonder if he's going to be part of our dinner with people needing advice on how to care for their menu! fish. Callers wanted to know everything from how I do, however, enjoy watching fish â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but to set up their aquariums - to the number of fish only the ones with pretty colors! Yeah, I know that their tanks could comfortably accommodate - to in this case, beauty is subjective, but fish without a why their fish kept dying â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to how to properly lot of striking colors, or with odd-shaped bulges in



May 2003

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

clean their tank — to what was wrong if their fish swam sideways or had 'white stuff on its fins. Naturally, my 'fish doctor' was always ready and willing to dispense his advice, and judging by the thanks he received from them later, his advice was always excellent. Other non-hobbyists, who have partners who are serious tropical fish hobbyists, have admitted to me that they, too, are often pulled into the hobby in one way or another. In my case, it was the old, 'extra fish tank' trick! As the number and size of Craig's tanks increased around the house, eventually the non-hobbyist, like myself, found myself being offered the 'extra fish tank.' ".. .Err, where would I put it?" "What about your office?" Well then, it was settled. I became the first, and perhaps only person in the Civil Service with a tropical fish tank in my office. At first, the unspoken arrangement was: "I feed them, Craig cleans it." I received plenty of compliments about the beautiful tank and I dutifully accepted them. Our little arrangement existed quite nicely for several years, that is until Craig's work and personal tank cleaning schedule just could no longer accommodate his popping into my office to clean my tank as well. I had to become a quick study.

Yes, Craig did give me pointers on what to do, and how to do it. But I remember well the first time I used the suction hose, and ended up with a mouthful of 'yucky' fish water! After that, I quickly learned to judge the speed of the water flowing up the hose! My office tank, which only has 'pretty' fish, has been home to Neon Terras, White Clouds, Platies, Zebra Danios, and a few other colorful things that I would have quickly forgotten the names of, if I had not written them down in my diary. But I have to admit, the tank has created a wonderful atmosphere in my office — my 'home away from home' — and it continues to garner many compliments. However, if I had to say what the best thing is that I've gotten from my husband's hobby - apart from knowing he is doing something he really enjoys - it's that I have the best secret for growing healthy plants. I love my plants, and I get to give them the best fertilizer when Craig does his water changes. One of the things about living in Bermuda is that we depend on the rain for the bulk of our fresh water. Each home has its own water tank built underneath it, and rain is funneled in via our specially designed Bermuda roofs. Bermudians have always been keen about not 'wasting' water unnecessarily. So I guess this is one of the ways that I've learned to recycle water. Besides, friends and family always remark on the health of all my plants - and they think it's just because I have a green thumb! 4

Drawing by Karen Randall

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

May 2003


Photo 1 Photo 2

9f ame That Sabe! Here are a few of our ladies when they were familiar with a different kind of "water change!" See if you can guess Who's Who. (Their names can be found on page 33.)

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5 22

May 2003

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

Plecos Are a C/r/'s best Friend by DONNA SOSNA SICA In the fall, Steve mail-ordered an oak et me tell you about the Valentine's Day gift that I received last February. I'll preface stand, which never arrived. Later, when we this tale by informing you that this was first received our monthly charge card bill, Steve discovered that we had been charged and intended as a birthday/anniversary/Christmas recredited for it, except for the shipping charge. present. However, it was superseded by a Caribbean cruise, Swarovski crystals, and pearl When he phoned the company, they informed him jewelry. Finally, my gift was ready. It just that it was shipped but went unclaimed. Steve told happened to be in time for Valentine's Day. them that no attempt was made to deliver it, so they It all began last spring, upon our return sent it again. We finally received it. He assembled it, and found a place in the basement near the other from a week's vacation in the Bahamas. My two tanks. To Steve's delight we now had a "mini husband Steve went down to the basement to feed fish-room." Whatever... some of our tropical fish. My favorite fish, a In December, Steve ordered, and even Pleco, was right out front instead of in one of its received, the acrylic tank. He set it up on the oak usual hiding places. He called me over to take a look. I asked him why it wasn't moving. He stand, but couldn't get one of the fluorescent bulbs replied that it was sleeping. My next inquiry was to light. Steve finally concluded that the ballast was defective. Another why the Pleco did not phone call later, and the appear to be breathing. company sent a After inspecting the replacement fixture. situation very closely, Next, the cover of the new Steve responded that it wasn't breathing because fixture that protects the bulb from water was it was dead! Alas, my favorite fish of all time misaligned so that it pulled out a fastener. One had swum its final lap. e-mail later, and the Needless to say I was company sent us special most disturbed. • glue to repair it. At long Some people ^^™ last, all systems were go, find my affinity for Royal pleco (Panaque nigrolineatos) or SQ j optimistically Plecos rather unusual. photo by Charlie Rose thought Steve informed To some, they are me that he couldn't put any Plecos in the tank until nothing more than bottom-dwelling suck-ups. I it grew some nice bacteria. To help this process have no explanation for this attraction. Perhaps it along, he put two large Buenos Aires Terras in the has something to do with my vocation as an aquarium for about two weeks. He removed the attorney, but let's leave that alone for now. terras, and began to stock it with corydoras catfish A few months later, Steve announced that and Harlequin rasboras. After a few more weeks, he was going to present me with another Pleco. In five catfish, nine rasboras, and seventeen cardinals fact, he said that he was going to get two of them later, Steve said that we were Pleco ready. We for me, and that they would have their very own purchased "Royale", a handsome Royal pleco fish tank, along with a few Corydoras catfish and a (Panaque nigrolineatos) on February 9th, just in small school of Cardinal terras. I had told him previously that if he put any other fish in with my time for Valentine's Day. Anyone can get flowers, chocolates, or Plecos, these intruders must have some reddish exquisite jewelry for Valentine's Day, but I suspect color. After weeks of research, Steve told me that that I am the only lucky recipient of my very own he wanted to put these fish in an acrylic tank that Valentine's Plecostomus\. At the time of submission of this he had found on the Internet. It was manufactured and distributed by California companies. We article, "Royale" is thriving, and has given quite a discussed locations for the new aquarium. Our den boost to the Romaine lettuce-growers industry. already has two aquaria, and I have reserved the other rooms of our house exclusively for people. But I have delegated waste management to Steve. We decided to put the Pleco aquarium in the basement where we keep two more tanks—one with fish and the second one home to a crayfish.



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

May 2003


econd Reprints deserving a second look The following article is reprinted by permission of the author. It originally appeared in "Fishkeeping Answers," a British magazine.

Fishcraft: Bringing Home the Discus by MARY SWEENEY f j J he discus is one of the most sought-after fish in the aquarium hobby to this day. In spite of the I enormous amount of political intrigue and misinformation surrounding the care and breeding of -A. this highly attractive cichlid, there are many people who can, and do, keep discus without any difficulty, and certainly without losing either their minds or their mortgages. It's really quite simple: first, you find some healthy discus. Size Does Matter Doing discus right usually involves that you think big. Discus are large cichlids that absolutely require wonderful water quality. It does discus a disservice when they are photographed by the pair in 20-gallon aquaria. A false impression is created. While discus can be, and often are, bred in small tanks, this feat is achieved only through obsessive attention to detail on the part of the breeder and huge daily water changes. I'm not going there. Much as I admire discus and enjoy keeping the fish, my days of lugging and slopping water about are long over. Still, I can and do keep discus, and for what it's worth, they live long and prosper (and spawn regularly). An Ounce of Prevention Before any fish goes into the discus community aquarium, it must be quarantined and treated if necessary.. .and this includes the discus. It is very difficult and risky to treat diseases in a planted community tank, so take the time and the effort to reduce the chance of disease in your prideand-joy aquarium. Space forbids that I go into an involved discussion of quarantine at this point, but


if you need help with the concept, please do the research before introducing any strange fish into this setup. Quarantine may not guarantee success, but it sure beats the alternatives. With sick discus, a cure will absolutely cost more than a pound. Size Really Does Matter Here's where I start getting into deep water. Give each adult discus 15 to 20 gallons of water. Am I saying that six adult discus i need'di 100-gallontank? Not exactly.. .but six adult discus with some schooling terras, dwarf cichlids, some corys, an ancistrus or two, and a load of live plants, and all of a sudden that 100-gallon tank looks just about right. And a very beautiful 100 gallons it would be too. Not all of us, however, are so expansive that we need or want a 100 gallons of water in the living room. Beyond the water quality issue, which can be managed with water changes and one or more of today's terrific filters, tank size comes down to a matter of proportion. Large fish look silly in small tanks. Small fish look silly in big tanks (unless there are a lot of them, in which case they can look wonderfulâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;especially if there are some large fish as well).

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

So let's talk about what we can do with 50 or 60 gallons. I see three discus, four if they're small, no more. Discus, like people, come in different sizes. Some breeders proudly produce dinner-plate sized discus. Most wild discus are somewhat more modestly sized at about 5 to 6 inches. Ultimately, the choice of how many fish to put in a given tank size relates to how easily the water quality can be maintained. One discus purveyor I know puts two or three hundred 3-inch discus in a 100-gallon tank. It's quite a sight, wallto-wall discus. His knowledge of the fish and how to maintain perfect water quality, however, are without peer, and these fish are flawless. The Supporting Cast A lot of discus experts scowl at the notion of tankmates for discus. This is reasonable if the goal is to breed discus. In this case, bushynose plecos (Ancistrus spp.) and/or just about any of the species of Corydoras that can take the heat are about the only realistic tankmates. If the keeper is careless about quarantine, it is also inadvisable to keep other fishes with discus, as there are times when fish carry diseases but do not exhibit the symptoms themselves. That is why you sometimes hear about serious fishkeepers putting one of their own fish in with the quarantined fish. If the "homey" fish gets sick, you know not to introduce the newbies to the general population. It goes without saying that we don't want to team discus up with fishes that annoy or harm them, but there are plenty of benign tankmates that can be kept well with discus. Once it has been determined that the species are compatible with the discus, it remains to be seen whether they will do well in the conditions preferred by the discus, most importantly, the temperature and water chemistry. While goldfish would certainly not annoy or harm discus, they would be severely challenged if kept in the 26° to 30°C water temperature of the discus aquarium. It's also worth mentioning that discus, cichlid that it is, will eat any tankmate small enough to swallow. Cute, baby cardinal terras are expensive discus food; adults are not. Schools of South American terras, such as the cardinal and neon terras, the rummynoses, lemons, and even the African Congo terras are all delightful, especially when there is a proper school. This means a minimum of six fish of the same species, with eight or more fish being even better. When adding terras to the established discus community, be aware that they may not have been kept in water quite as warm as the usual discus tank and should be acclimated carefully. Terras, believe it or not, can be much more delicate than the discus themselves. In fact, the color of the terras can give Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

you a quick read on your water quality. Rummynoses, especially, will not look very rummy if the water's not right. Ancistrus spp. (bushynose, or bristlenose plecos) are the loricariids of choice for the discus aquarium, and the only suckermouths I trust with discus. And they do a fabulous job of keeping the tank free of green and brown algae. (Brown algae—diatoms really—can be a nuisance in the discus aquarium because we generally prefer to avoid really bright lighting.) Bristlenoses are about the only suckermouths that can be trusted not to rasp the slime off the sides of the discus—a bad habit of the other pleco species, particularly Hypostomus—which is fatal for the discus. Chinese algae eaters (Gyrinocheilus aymonierf) behave similarly, only worse! Crossocheilus siamensis, the Siamese algae eater, however, is fine with discus. South American dwarf cichlids (Apis togramma, Microgeophagus, Laetacara, Aequidens) and the flag cichlid, Mesonauta festivum, are all good candidates for the discus community as well. It's tempting to try to keep a pair of each of these beauties in the community, but be aware that dwarf cichlids don't generally play well together, and stick to just one pair of your favorite species. Caveat, Caveat While it seems that angelfish should keep well with discus, it just doesn't work out in the long run. The angelfish really are too aggressive for the discus and are too competitive for both space and food. The discus may be larger and seem well able to hold their own with the angelfish, but it's just flirting with disaster to try to keep them together for any length of time. The same holds true for clown loaches. Many people feel compelled to try to keep these jovial and generally excellent community fish with discus, but it appears that discus are not easily amused and do not take kindly to being wakened by the nocturnal antics of the clown loaches. All too often the discus will be found on the floor in the a.m., having leapt from the tank through the smallest of openings, after having been startled from sleep by some rowdy insomniac on the prowl for a bit of excitement. Now that I've brought it up, discus should never be wakened rudely. (The same goes for me.) It's always best if you can turn on a low room light ten minutes or so before turning on tank lights over sleeping fishes. Ready. Steady, Go! Having procured the aquarium and other necessary equipment, set the aquarium on a flat surface with a piece of cushioning material

May 2003


between the tank and the stand. Make sure the tank is level. It is really quite aggravating (and very noticeable) when the waterline is slanted relative to the top frame of the tank. The cushioning material also serves to conserve heat in the aquarium, and this can be a lifesaver in some older, drafty homes. It may behoove you even to consider the use of undergravel heating for this community. By all accounts, the plants thrive with this heating, and it would be one less piece of visible equipment disturbing the visual serenity of your magnificent creation. A Word on Water The water you use in the discus aquarium would ideally be soft and acidic like in the Amazon, but generations of discus have been kept in water with less-than-idealâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but very clean and consistentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;chemistry without undue hazard. In a perfect world, every discuskeeper would use reverse osmosis and deionized, minerally reconstituted water, but this is not an absolute requirement to keep discus. Knowing how far you can push the envelope on the water chemistry is usually acquired with experience, but it helps if you know what type of water the fish you purchased are accustomed to, and make any changes very gradually. While discus may be willing to compromise on water hardness and even pH, they are less likely to forgive being chilled, so be sure to keep the water warm enough. Thirty degrees centigrade is not too high for general keeping. Thirty-two degrees is therapeutic. It is often advised that these temperatures be achieved through the use of two heaters rather than one, in case one of the heaters fails. It's wise advice and well followed. On the subject of pH, aquarium water has a tendency to become acidic over time, which probably has a lot to do with why discus look so happy in old, established tanks. If your tapwater is alkaline, it is best to lower the tapwater to the pH of the aquarium water before intermingling. Fish suffer more from increasing pH than from decreasing pH. In acidic water, ammonia is in its non-toxic form, ammonium. To suddenly raise the pH from 6.xx to 7.0 will cause ammonium to convert to toxic ammonia. Even if the ammonia levels aren't lethal, the sudden increase in ammonia will certainly stress your fishes. Filtering for Discus If the ammonia is rendered impotent by low pH in discus tanks, why all the fuss about massive water changes? In my opinion, discus do not need 100%, or even 50%, daily water changes to be healthy. I believe this to be one of the biggest fallacies in fishkeeping. I do, however, 26

advocate excellent mechanical filtration, not only to remove particulate matter, but also to substantially reduce the possibility of disease. Gill flukes, those ubiquitous discus pests, are significantly reduced in water that has been micron or diatom filtered. Parasite eggs, bacteria, dissolving organic matter, all are removed by fineparticle filtration. Good mechanical filtration is the forefather of the 25% to 50% weekly water change that suffices for a well-kept discus community aquarium. If your aquarium requires larger water changes to maintain water quality, try not to change more than 25% at a time, and that change should be with wanned and chemically similar water. And, if the aquarium does require large, frequent water changes, look carefully at how much, how often, and with what you are feeding the fishes. When fine mechanical filtration is provided, the need for biological filtration is relatively less. Plants also contribute to a reduction in the need for heavy biological or chemical filtration. By this, I am not saying that you don't need a biological filter, but more that it need not be disturbed so often, and this increases the stability of the water chemistry enormously. Plantlife Plant heavily from day one. In every aspect, the discus community will be improved by planting fully from the outset. Like with discus fishy companions, your choice of plants is largely based on which ones thrive (not just survive!) in the conditions preferred by the discus. Some species that work well include pygmy chain swordplant (Echinodorus tenellus), dwarf anubias (Anubias nand), corkscrew val, (Valisneria spiralis), Java fern (Microsorium pteropus), Amazon swordplants (Echinodorus amazonicus) and others. There are many other plants that can be used, but then we move more into the realms of aquatic gardening. If your wet thumb is superior to your green thumb, rest assured that a discus tank planted solely with the indestructible Java fern attached to driftwood is still an awesome sight. Use fine dark gravel or coarse sand for your substrate. Builder's sand is not appropriate. The bright, light substrate sounds like a good idea, but it gets very dirty-looking and discus look and feel their best against a dark substrate. A black substrate and background can be stunning. I hope this article will give you a bit of confidence in dealing with discus. There is much more that can be said about these remarkable fish. They're well worth the small amount of extra attention they require, and frankly, I feel the terras will be more challenging than the discus. A

May 2003


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

o&flleidoscope of Original drawings by KAREN RANDALL used with permission

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

May 2003




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

Nassau County Aquarium Society Giant Auction - May 18, 2003 The Vanderbilt 1600 Round Swamp Road Plainview, NY Directions: Long Island Expressway to exit 48 - Round Swamp Road. Take Round Swamp Road south for approximately 300 ft. The Vanderbilt is on the right. Entries and viewing from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon Auction starts at 12:00 Noon 50/50 Split or 100% Donations Accepted Free Admission; Free Parking For Information call: Mike Foran (516)798-6766, or Bruce Bier (516)735-2602, or Ken Smith (631)589-0913 Write to the NCAS at: P.O. Box 33, Oakdale, NY 11769 or e-mail us at: guppyghost@hotmail.com or forfins@optline.net


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

To A Fish Hobbyist by MARGARET PETERSON, LIAS am what you would call a "club member through marriage." I come to the meetings, when I can, largely to be supportive of my husband, Jim, who is an avid aquarist. Jim is perhaps best known for his love, dedication, and contributions to fish auctions and raffles, especially the Long Island Aquarium Society (L.I.A.S). annual event. Jim and I recently celebrated our 20th anniversary, and in reflecting upon the early days of our relationship, I remembered vividly how Jim asked me if I "liked" animals. It seemed like an innocent enough question to which I foolishly responded "yes." Since the club deals primarily in fish, I'll focus my comments solely on fish-related issues. I knew nothing about the breeding and keeping offish. Throughout my childhood, I would occasionally have a goldfish that my father won for me at some fair or bazaar, that invariably died a few days after I brought it home. If only I knew then what I know now! My husband worked rotating shifts, days and many hours of overtime during the past years, and I decided I would take on the job of feeding the fish. We have never been without a fish tank, and usually it has never been only one. Jim starts counting with at least "a few" of anything. I quickly learned the names of the various types of fish we had, and what they were supposed to be fed, and how often. I went on to learn how to recognize when a fish did not look well, and how to differentiate between ich and fungus. (It must be the nurse in me!) I was comfortable adjusting the heater setting, cleaning the glass, adding water at times, even quieting a noisy pump, probably out of necessity because those noises drive me crazy. What I did not learn was how to set up a tank and filter or pump, and how to really clean the tank and do water changes. I did not learn this purposely to avoid having another job that, as time passed, would become mine. Jim used to ask me from time to time if I would like to learn how to do these tasks. Surprisingly (to him) I have yet to learn these. I was very surprised to realize how much I had learned just by watching Jim care for his fish and tanks. We now have 12 tanks, varying in size from the 51/2 gallon size to the 180 gallon size. We have had some of these tanks for over 20 years. When I was first married, I wondered how long a tank could last. I have now learned what happens when it "lets go."


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

One summer Sunday afternoon, Jim had left for a Softball game, and I decided not to accompany him. As time passed, I realized that I heard the sound of running water. It sounded almost like a hose running outside in the yard. As I followed the sound, I entered the den only to find that the seam of our 75 gallon African Rift Lake Cichlid tank had suddenly "let go." Jim had moved that tank from his house prior to our marriage to our new house. It was one of the oldest tanks he had. Almost a third of the water had drained out of the tank by the time I heard the noise. I stood there dumbfounded as I watched the water spew onto my new carpet, and run towards the relatively new leather couch. I quickly noticed that the fish were not happy either. Now, the tank is near a window. I decided at first, that I could just let the water run out the window. But what about Jim's fish? I remembered Jim's five gallon pails that he used when changing the tank water.I quickly got the pails and the syphon hose, and decided I could take care of this problem. After all, I am a fairly intelligent person, with graduate degrees in science. I ought to be able to start a syphon hose going. What I had forgotten about was my asthma. I tried and tried, and could not take a strong enough breath to start the syphon process. So, I temporarily left the hose in the tank and went to use my inhaler. Then I started the process again. This time it worked! I saved enough water to keep the fish alive, and let the remaining water run through the hose, and out the window into the yard. When the water level in the tank was lower than the leak (about one foot from the bottom, of course), I stopped the process. I cleaned up the soaked carpet and couch, and even gave the fish a little bit of food. You know those Africans; nothing stops them from eating! I knew that if they ate, they would be O.K. Just as I breathed a sigh of relief, in comes Jim. I didn't whether know to hug him or hit him at that point. Of course, I told him the whole story, to which he replied "I have no doubt in my mind that you knew what to do. You have been watching me for all these years. Now do you want to learn how to set up a tank?" I did not answer h i m . . . at least not yet! A

May 2003


Tropical Fish Auction Sponsored by the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies, Inc.

Sunday, July 13, 2003 Auction begins at Noon Doors will open at 9:30 to accept Auction Items Viewing will be from 11:00 to Noon at: THE CARMEL AMBULANCE CORPS Vink Drive, Mount Carmel, New York Open to the Public - free of charge Every one is invited and welcome to participate as a Vendor or Bidder All proceeds will help fund the annual insurance for all member clubs of the Northeast Council DIRECTIONS TO THE CARMEL AMBULANCE CORPS: WESTBOUND 184: Take Interstate 84 to exit 19. Turn right on NY-312, follow to US-6. Turn right onto US-6, follow for 2.3 miles. Turn right onto NY-52 follow for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Vink Drive. Drive past Firehouse, bear left, Ambulance Corps building is on left. EASTBQUND184: Take Interstate 84 to exit 18. Turn right on NY-311, follow to NY-52. Turn left onto NY-52, follow for 2.8 miles. Turn left onto Vink Drive. Drive past Firehouse, bear left, the Ambulance Corps building is on left.

Cichlidfest Cincinnati

American Cichlid Association 2003 Convention

July 24-27, 2003 At the Best Western - Springdale Cincinnati, Ohio Presented by: The American Cichlid Association and The Greater Cincinnati AquariumSociety For more information, go to the following website: http://www.aca2003.com 30

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

NEC Awards Presented at The 28th Annual NEC Convention isted below are the awards presented at the NEC Convention weekend of March 28-30, 2003. As you can see, Greater City's writers and photographers did very well, with Modern Aquarium taking the award for "Best Publication!"


Betty Mueller Lifetime Achievement Award Awarded to Karen Randall for her many years of dedication to the NEC, Its member clubs, and the Tropical Fish Hobby.

2002 Publications Awards

Underwater Life - Slides, Advanced Class 1- Tony Terciera, TFSRI - Sphaerichthys valillanti 2 - Tony Terciera, TFSRI - Aphyosemion australe 3 - Gary Lange, Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Dehane"

Best Publication Modern Aquarium. Greater City Aquarium Society

Underwater Life - Prints, Open Class 1- David Banks, TFCB - Angelfish 2 - David Banks, TFCB - Angelfish 3 - Susan Priest, GCAS - Poecilia velifera giving birth

Articles - Advanced class 1- Joe Ferdenzi, "Three Antique Aquariums" Modern Aquarium, GCAS 2- Al Priest, "When Two are Three and Gold is Blue" - Modern Aquarium, GCAS 3- Susan Priest, "White Cloud Mountain Minnow" - Modern Aquarium, GCAS

NEC Activities - Prints, People Pictures 1- Janine Banks, TFCB - "Fish Auction" 2 - David Banks, TFCB- "Peter Lewis at the Banquet" 3 - Alexander Priest, GCAS - "All new Action Mark Broadmeyer with Kung-fu grip"

Articles - Open Class 1- Raymond Albanese, "Romance in My Aquariums" - Modern Aquarium, GCAS 2- Rich Grenfell, "Breeding Symphysdon Discus" - Wet Pet Gazette, NAS 3- Claudia Dickinson, "The Diminutive Neolamprologus Multifasciatus" Modern Aquarium, GCAS HM- Dean Marjorino, "Glassy Glass Shrimp" The Shoreline, JSAS Articles - Humor Class Susan Priest, "The Editors' Meeting" Modern Aquarium, GCAS Articles - Best Column Ed Katuska, "Did you know?" - Wet Pet Gazette, NAS

Photo Competition Underwater Life - Prints, Advanced Class 1- Alexander Priest, GCAS Macropodus opercularis 2 - Alexander Priest, GCAS Betta dimidiata 3 - Alexander Priest, GCAS Betta enisae Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

NEC Activities - Slides, People Pictures 1- David Banks, TFCB - "Pam Chin" 2 - Janine Banks, TFCB - "Hospitality Suite" 3 - David Banks, TFCB - "Wayne Leibel removing pants"

Best Convention Theme Presentation Frank Policastro - NJAS Christine Colonna - JSAS NEC Member Clubs ALAS Aqua-Land Aquarium Society BAS Boston Aquarium Society BASNY Brooklyn Aquarium Society BRAS Black River Aquarium Society DAAS Danbury Area Aquarium Society EFSOH Exotic Fish Society of Hartford GCAS Greater City Aquarium Society JSAS Jersey Shore Aquarium Society LIAS Long Island Aquarium Society MRAC . . . Monadnock Region Aquarium Club NAS Norwalk Aquarium Society NHAS New Hampshire Aquarium Society NJAS North Jersey Aquarium Society PVAS Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society TFCB Tropical Fish Club of Burlington TFSRI Tropical Fish Society of RI

May 2003


Brooklyn Aquarium Society 13th Annual Marine Event and Auction Su v.

May 9,2003

Golden Gate Motor Inn 3867 Shore Pkwy at Knapp St. Brooklyn, NY This is an all marine auction: Fish, Corals, Invertebrates, dry goods. Time: event starts at 7:30 PM Directions by Car: Take the Belt Parkway to Ex.it 9 Knapp Street & Sheepshead Bay. Get on service road and go to light, make a left at the light. The Golden Gate Motor Inn will be on the left. Make a left and a quick right into the parking lot. Enter lobby and follow signs to auction. Free parking, free refreshments, door prizes, raffle, free samples, aquarium sale items, books, BAS collector items, hats, sweatshirts, T-shirts, Aquarium Fish magazine 2 for 1 subscriptions. Special door prize raffle: Min-bow 7 gallon aquarium with full hood. By All-Glass Aquarium. The speaker for this event will be Bob Fenner. BAS Events Hotline (718) 837-4455

http ://www.brooklynaquariumsociety. org/

AKA Convention 2003


May 23-25, 2003 Hosted by the Metropolitan Area Killifish Association and the Long Island Killifish Association at the:

Ramada Inn 130 Route 10 West East Hanover, NJ (about a 45 minute drive from New York City) Speakers include: Andre Carletto, Dr. Francisco Malumbres, Dr. Paul Loiselle, Rosario La Corte, Dr. Dave Koran, Charlie Nunziata, Monty Lehman For more information, go to: http://www.aka.org 32

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

by SUSAN PRIEST If I created the perfect fish, I'm not sure where I'd start. Large or little, bold or shy; What features would I impart?

She won't be able to watch TV, or wear dresses with sequins and beads, but she won't need to carry a watering can when she tends to her bulbs and her seeds.

Would she be red, or would she be blue, or green with a hint of pink? Would she have freckles, or braids in her hair? It really makes me think!

Will she live in a tent on the beach, or maybe in a castle? Will her boyfriend wash the dishes without giving her a hassle?

Will she have a flair for music? Will she sing or hum? Will she play a guitar, or maybe a flute with her opposable thumb?

When she is ready to lay her eggs, as is natural for a fish, will she choose a leaf, will she choose a rock, or an empty Lean Cuisine dish?

Would she eat flakes that come from a box, or jelly straight from the jar? Would she enjoy spirulina discs, or a Frappucino bar?

This creation stuff is pretty hard work, I thought it might be fun. But God has created the perfect fish, and it is EVERY ONE!

I'm sure she will want to go barefoot; No high heels for her! She will ask for a sandstone FINish when she has a pedicure.

I'm so glad that He has done it. I have time for other things, like doing water changes, and Greater City meetings!

Solution to last month's Fin Fun puzzle


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

© Solution to "Name That Babe" (page 22)


o s © s © s Photo 1 : Susan Priest © s o s © Photo 2: Dora Dong s © s © s © s Photo 3: Carlotti De Jager © s © s © Photo 4: Susan Steiner s © s 0 s © s © Photo 5: Robin Soberman s s(h) ® (h) ® <H) ®(S) W (H) W (S) <» (S) ®©(H 2

May 2003




During our Diamond Jubilee year (1997), we ran "Treasure Chest," a column consisting of articles from Series I and Series II issues of Modern Aquarium. As a fitting tribute to the legacy of all the "Leading Ladies" from Series II, we offer you this gem. This article was written by Mary Carson. It first appeared in the March 1969 issue of Modem Aquarium. We hope you enjoy...


fish wife by Mary Carson, GCAS It started very innocently - and was wholly my responsibility. One of our sons wanted a pet desperately. He wanted a horse. I offered him his baby sister instead. It wouldn't do; he couldn't ride her. He tried for a dog - so he would have something to play with outside. I offered the lawnmower. No sale. He asked for chickens. I remembered the neighbors objections when my family kept chickens many years ago. As long as none of the other selections was acceptable, how about fish? It seemed very innocent and safe. The fish would stay in their tank, didn't require much care (I thought) and if underfed or overfed, they would probably die about the same time the whole idea of having a pet had worn out.


My predictions were very accurate. The fish died just as my son's enthusiasm waned. I hadn't counted on his father taking over. He had kept a few fish as a boy and his interest was re-awakened. So, more fish, plus books on their care, were purchased. When he wasn't caring for them or observing them, he was studying what improvements were needed. Soon all the fish were healthy and vigorous - and as will happen with healthy, vigorous fish, we soon needed a bassinet - another tank to raise all those little ones. While he was shopping, it was simpler to pick up two tanks. He had anticipated his ability as a grandfather - and knew of their tremendous ability to produce "all those nice little ones that are too good to throw away." Before long, he was looking over the small room in our basement that housed the oil burner and hot water tank. It stayed at a nice even temperature - and very reasonably and logically - it was wasted space. It would be ideal, and really would put the area to good use. Lumber was brought in; racks were built. Tanks were lined up. The fish became a whole way of life. I'd go to buy groceries for the family with a shopping list for the fish. Salt, baking soda, and liver - for the guppies. Plastic dishes, with a tight cover - for the worms. Canisters for the dry food. I tried explaining to a supermarket clerk why I was buying twenty-one pounds of Kosher Salt. "It's for the fish." She just nodded very patiently, and I thought of telling her that I had just gotten a boat load of codfish, and was salting it for the winter. But, it was easier to just let it go. The truth was unbelievable, and anything I could contrive was worse. The furnace room became too small, and half of the cellar was needed. It soon sounded like a mad scientist's workshop, with all sorts of gurglings and sloshings. There were the most unusual fragrances from worm cultures, fish-disease-icides and damp cement (the result of not turning off the water when the phone rang.) He would come home from work and his first comment would not be "How did your day go?" but "Did you remember to feed the fish at three o'clock?" (I had seven kids coming home from school and the phone and doorbell ringing at three o'clock.) Men are renowned for their ability as chefs, but few have built their reputations cooking liver paste and cereal cultures for fish. Oh well, at least when he is admiring the form, the shape, and the way "she holds her tail," it is a mother guppy he's talking about. I had made a firm resolution when the whole thing started that I would do nothing but admire them. They were pretty, the tanks were

May 2003

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

attractive - and as an added bonus, I always knew where to look for my husband. If not at work, he was in the cellar with the fish. There was one little side benefit, also. All that waste water from cleaning tanks had to go someplace, and I kept the compost pile for my garden right outside the cellar window. It was very convenient for him to pump the water onto my rotting leaves and grass - and it was such good fertilizer for my plants. However, one evening, I was admiring the tanks in the living room and observed that if the rocks in the one tank were placed just a little differently, it would be more artistic. And the plants could use just a little re-arranging - and honestly, arranging flowers is a woman's forte. The next time he was cleaning the tanks, I asked if he minded if I tried something just a little different with the furnishings of the aquarium. He was happy to have me take an interest in the hobby and said that it was okay. Before one tank was finished, I had ideas for arranging another. By the time the third one was done, I saw ways of improving the first. My husband believes that tanks should be broken down frequently, but twice in one day was too much. My enthusiasm was rivaling his. Each time I would look at the tanks, I'd try to develop new ideas that would make them more attractive. I had a gem of a plan. All I needed was a few more small rocks. Now it was I, not my husband, that was off to the pet store.

I must say that tropical fish dealers are much more sympathetic and tolerant than supermarket clerks. I explained that I needed small pieces of shale. He simply gave me a cardboard carton, showed me the bin of shale and told me to pick out whatever I wanted. The natural tendency of rock puts the little pieces under the big ones. I was undaunted and started moving chunks, suited to 200 gallon tanks. The bin seemed twice as deep on the inside as it was on the outside but I simply had to have those little chips that were in the bottom. I finally reached the size I needed. First I started selecting each piece individually, and realized that I'd be there all day. Soon I was loading handfuls into the carton. I was going to ask for a small shovel, but decided against it. The clerk took the box and weighed it. Thirty-six pounds. I didn't believe him. How could just a few little rocks weigh that much? But, I really needed them, and lugged the box to the car. I could hardly wait to re-do the big tank and try the new plan. It worked out beautifully, but I had over-estimated how much shale I needed. Now, if I pull apart the tank in the corner, that could use a little extra rock. And while we are at it, the rocks from the #2 tank would look better with the gravel in the #3 tank ...Just like a fish, I'm hooked!

Drawing by Mary Carson Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

May 2003


North Jersey Aquarium Society Sept. 26 - 28,2003 50th Golden Anniversary Weekend Four Points Sheraton 21 Kingsbridge Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 1-800-325-3535 (you must make your own reservation, ask for the NJAS room rate of $75) Speakers include: Alan Levey (Wardleys) - Honorary Chairman + Dr. Paul Loiselle + Dr. Tony Orso + Rusty Wessel + Rosario LaCorte + Dr. Leo Buss + Stan Shubel + Pam Chin + Steve White + Pat Donston + Al Brown + Chuck Davis Two Forums: Breeding Tropical Fish & Feeding Tropical Fish Three Tropical Fish Shows (In addition to the NJAS all-species show, the hotel is also hosting an International Betta Congress (IBC) show, and an International Fancy Guppy Association (IFGA) show!) Saturday B-B-Q Banquet Three Different Auctions (Betta, Guppy, and All Species) Saturday Shopping Trip - entertaining spouses Directions to the Four Points Sheraton Traveling on Route 287 Northbound: Take Route 287 North to Exit 9 (Highland Park / Bound Brook). At the traffic light at the end of the ramp, turn left onto River Road. Go through one more light. Stay in the right lane; just before the next light make a "jughandle" onto Centennial Avenue. Go through the next light; make the first left onto Kingsbridge Road. (First Union Bank is on the corner). The hotel is one block down. Traveling on Route 287 Southbound: Take Route 287 South to Exit 9 (Highland Park / Bound Brook). At the end of the ramp, bear right onto River Road. Stay in the right lane; just before the first light make a "jughandle" onto Centennial Avenue. Go through the next light; make the first left onto Kingsbridge Road. (First Union Bank is on the corner). The hotel is on the left side one block down. From Central & Southern New Jersey: Take the New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 10. Take 287 North. Follow the 287 Northbound directions above. OR Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 127 (Northbound) or Exit 129 (Southbound). Take 287 North. Follow the 287 Northbound directions above. From Manhattan: Lincoln Tunnel or the George Washington Bridge to the NJ Turnpike South. Follow the Turnpike to Exit 10; Take Route 287 North. Follow the 287 Northbound directions above. From Staten Island: Take Route 440 South to Route 287 North. Follow the 287 Northbound directions above. From Northern New Jersey & New York State (Rockland County, etc.): Take Garden State Parkway to Exit 129. Take Route 440 South to Route 287 North. Follow the directions above for 287 Northbound. Questions? Contact Bob Larson (1-201-664-0128) or email him at bobguppy@email.msm.com 36

May 2003

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

Of course, having set up a tank successfully, you now have to keep the inhabitants happy and healthy. The book switches from hardware to daily care of fish. The first of these by DORA DONG chapters describes food and how to feed the fish. efore I get into reviewing the actual book, it The author is in favor of feeding live foods, may be interesting to note that the cover although she also goes over the dietary declares it as "A Save-Our-Planet Book" requirements of vegetarians, and also mentions and "The Profits go to Conservation." The back prepared foods. This chapter concludes with the cover explains how Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod will proper way of feeding the fish, describing the use the profits from the sale of these books to recommended amount and frequency. purchase land in Brazil. This land will be The next chapter covers maintenance. protected from exploitation, and the examples of The author tells the reader of the benefits to having life found on the land will be given to major good water, and warns the reader of what happens institutions for the sole purpose of study. I take it when fish are kept in bad conditions. From to mean that there will be no deforestation, no stocking the tank, to filter maintenance, to water hunting and fishing, and that the property will be changes, the book goes over the basic requirements left as it was found, minus the items taken for for keeping the water quality in your tank study. This seems like a worthy reason in itself to consistently good. purchase the book, or other books in this series. After all the basic equipment and As for the book itself... maintenance information is dealt with, we come to This is a beginner's book for freshwater the biggest chapter of the bookâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that which aquariums. It is written in an easy, familiar style, describes the fishes themselves. The descriptions with gentle humor. It didn't take me too long to are first broken down into major families: read it, but then again it is probably because the livebearers, barbs, catfishes, cichlids, labyrinth information isn't new to me. For those to whom fishes, and tetras. Within these divisions the author fishkeeping is new, they will probably take their gives more specific examples, such as platys, zebra time and savor the danios, corydoras, convict information. Tropical Fish... as a hobby cichlids, gouramies, and As fitting with a By Mary Ellen Sweeney cardinal tetras. Then the author beginner's book, it takes Published by T.F.H. Publications, Inc gives more specific care the reader step-by-step 1995 Edition information for the fishâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such through the equipment as the fact that mollies need needed to set up a tank, brackish water and that tetras need to be in schools. briefly explaining aquariums, heaters, filters, Finally, the last chapter of the book is on lighting, decoration, and other things that are fish diseases. Common causes of diseases are commonly used to run a tank. When I say briefly, given, so that the reader may prevent them from I mean the book gives a short, simple explanation occurring in the first place. Stress is covered, as is of things. As someone who's already familiar with poisoning (although soap is not mentioned, which the information, this is satisfactory, but a true I would have included), and oxygen deficiency. beginner might desire more details. Then the common diseases like ick and velvet are The chapter after equipment is a short given, along with the treatment for each. The one, describing water. It goes over chemistry in chapter and book ends with a brief mention of terms of pH, hardness, chlorine, ammonia, and, hospital tanks. very briefly, the nitrogen cycle. However, in a The book is paperback, about 91A inches later chapter which lists fish, the author also long and almost 7 inches wide. There are 96 pages defines what water parameters the fish require, in overall, and the paper is glossy. There are terms of pH and hardness. numerous photographs in the book which are After that is a chapter on setting up the explained by sidebars. The book is printed on aquarium. The author warns the reader about not recycled paper, in line with the fact that the book is underestimating the weight of the tank, as well as published to promote conservation. to check the tank for leaks before setting up As I have said, this is a beginner's book. everything. Here the book tells how to set up the It is a first step into the hobby of fishkeeping, and gravel and decor, explaining what is recommended should be treated as such. This book, along with from the fishes' point of view. The emphasis is on other beginner's books, will help round out the giving fishes places to hide, so that they would feel information every person interested in fishkeeping secure and be able to avoid more aggressive fish. should know. jf The chapter briefly goes into cycling, new tank syndrome, and introducing the fishes into the tank.


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

May 2003


PET SHOP 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 Amex, Discover, MasterCard, Visa 2 miles off exit 11N of the Belt Parkway www.WorldClassAquarium.com


May 2003

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

FISH JUNK A series by "The Undergravel 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. f I have seen one, I have seen at least 25 articles over the years about how to use junk from around your house to do something for your aquariums. My problem is different, because I want to do something other than throw out the items of fish junk around the house that aren't even being used for fish. So here are a few ideas of how not to waste all the money you have already spent on fish junk. If you have some empty fish food jars with a screw off lid, you can put them to good use by putting birthday candles in them. Also keep sticks of gum in them after you have pulled the ripcord, to keep them fresh. Next, if you have a tank with a crack in it, don't throw it out yet. It will make a good cactus garden. You can even leave the old gravel in there, as cactus like to be pot bound, so just buy some in little pots and just push the pots down into the gravel. Hopefully, the light strip still works, and it will be perfect to light the cactus. The thing I hate the most are those nasty plastic plants. Yuck. Try wrapping them up into a ball with rubber bands, and then you can use them to scrub out your pots instead of spending more money on something that looks just like it. Filter floss is good for lining the bottoms of your regular flower pots so the soil won't fall through the hole. Unused works just as good as used, but used is actually better. Speaking of floss (but this is a reverse idea), dental floss makes a good tie-down for stuff inside the tank. It is better than string or rubber bands, and about as good as fishing line, and you are likely to have some handy if you need to tie something down quickly. Here is an idea for those twin magnets that are for cleaning the inside of the tank glass, except just remember that you won't be able to use them again in a tank after this. They basically never wear out, but if you find yourself with an extra set


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

you can take a little towelette that is stronger than a paper towel and spritz it with window cleaner. Put it onto the inside of your car window with the magnets holding onto it. Then you can clean the inside of the car windows. You won't make it all the way down to the bottom of the front or back windshields as they are usually at an angle instead of straight up and down, as I doubt any of you has a model-T. But if you don't like to crawl and reach around inside, this will be a good idea for you. When it comes to cars, here is another idea. Whenever you win or buy one of those "goody bags" with a lot of fish junk in it, they always have at least one of those stick-on thermometers in there. So by now you have about 40 of them, am I right? You can put one in your car window in some out-of-the-way spot (also, your garage, your washing machine, your desk at work, or some other place where you might want to know how hot or cold you are). I'm not sure if they go low enough to use in a freezer or refrigerator. Another idea for plants is to buy the larger economy size of powdered fertilizer. Then save the dropper-type bottle from fish vitamins, and dissolve some of the fertilizer in it. Then you can go from plant to plant, and drop a few drops into each pot. With this idea you can save twice, because you won't have to buy a dropper bottle. Silicone aquarium sealant is a flexible and waterproof adhesive. You take it from there, O.K.? This is the last one. There is a scissorstype thing that is supposed to be good for picking things up and moving them around inside of a tank. They are black plastic, with a hinge in the middle. Hold your pointer finger and your thumb as wide apart as they will go, and that's how far apart the ends will go. I know you have one of these things. Anyway, they are so flimsy and hard to work with that they are pretty much useless in an aquarium, but there is something they are good for. You can use them to pick laundry up that you would otherwise prefer not to have to pick up with your hands, like if you are not sure how many days those socks have been in the corner, you can pick them up with this, and it is safer.

May 2003

Drawing by Karen Randall 39




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 LIVE CORALS

















All Major Credit Cards Accepted


May 2003

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Welcome To our Newest Members: Mark Miller and Evelyn Eagan Thank you, Renewing Member: Martin Silverstein

No Bowl Show last month ("Silent Auction") Unofficial 2002-2003 Bowl Show totals to date: Harry Faustmann -1 Opts. Carlotti De Jager - 8pts. Viviane Davis - 5pts. Pat Coushaine - 5pts. Al Priest - 3pts. Anton Vukich - 3pts. Ed Vukick 3 pts. Pete D'Orio - Ipt. Joseph Ferdenzi - Ipt. Bill Amely - Ipt. Mike Foran - Ipt. Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY

Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Next meeting: June 4, 2003 Speaker: Lee Finley Topic: "Antiques in the Aquarium Hobby" 8pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St., Flushing, NY Contact: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzi Telephone: (718) 767-2691 e-mail: GreaterCity@compuserve.com http://www.greatercity.org

Next meeting: May 19, 2003 Speaker: Robert Fenner Topic: ANNUAL MARINE EVENT AND AUCTION Golden Gate Motor Inn 3867 Shore Pkwy at Knapp St Brooklyn, NY For more information, see page 32. Call: BAS Events Hotline (718) 837-4455 http ://www.brooklynaquariumsociety. org

East Coast Guppy Association

Big Apple Guppy Club

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 1st Thursday of each 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 Garden Contact: Mr. Donald Curtin Telephone: (718)631-0538

Long Island Aquarium Society

Nassau County Aquarium Society

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Friday of each month (except July and August) at:

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 2nd Tuesday of each month at the American Legion Post 1066, 66 Veterans Blvd., Massapequa, NY Next Meeting May 13, 2003. Speaker: Bob Bongiorno Topic: "Koi" GIANT AUCTION - MAY 18 (see page 28) Contact: Michael Foran Telephone: (516)798-6766 http://ncas.fws 1 .com/index.hrml

The Holtsville Park and Zoo 249 Buckley Road ~ Holtsville, NY Contact: Mr. Vinny Kreyling Telephone: (516) 938-4066 http://liasonline.org/ North Jersey Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Meets: 8:00 PM - 3rd Thursday of the month at the Meadowlands Environmental Center 1 Dekorte Park Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ May 15, 2003 Speaker: Mike Sheridan Topic: "Cichlids" Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 or e-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com

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 Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253 http: //norwalkas. org/html/

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

May 2003




The First ShaJI Be There have been a lot of "firsts" in this issue of Modern Aquarium, and here is yet one more, on our last page. This is the first crossword puzzle we have ever done; and what better topic for it than our own "Leading Ladies?" Your dictionary won't help you with this one; if you find yourself "clueless," just browse the pages of this issue. The correct answers are all FIRST names.




13 14 15

Drawings by Karen Randall CLUES ACROSS 2. Her 1969 article is a "Treasure!" 4. She is the original "B.I.T.C.H." 5. She loves her "Mega-Maculatas." 8. She sleeps with the Editor. 9. She rescued her husband's cichlids! 12. She authord this month's book review. 14. She prefers plecos to pearls. 15. Her plants are the best in Bermuda!


CLUES DOWN 1. She wrote about "Expert's Night." 3. She is the "First Lady of Fish." 6. She likes Prada, Coach and Tiffany. 7. Peter Steiner's Leading Lady. 10. This "Plant Lady" is also an artist! 11. She is ready to "bring home the discus." 12. Her Berta is five years old! 13. She is married to "The Fishman."

May 2003

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

May 2003 volume X number 5

Modern Aquarium  

May 2003 volume X number 5