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OCTOBER 2003 volume X number 8

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York


modern

AQUARIUM ON THE COVER This month's cover photo is of an Aphyosemion striaturn, a small plant-spawning killifish from West Africa, This fish is featured in Joe Ferdenzi's article "The Perfect Aquarium." Photo by Susan Priest GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members President Joseph Ferdenzi Vice-President . . . . . . . Mark Soberman Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JackTraub Gorres: Secretary ... .... Warren Feuer Recording Secretary . . . . . . . . . (vacant) Members At Large Steve Ghen Pete D'Orio Carlotti DeJager Claudia Dickinson Jason Kerrier Ben Haus GregWuest 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 Editors . . . , Susan Priest and Claudia Dickinson Copy Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dora Dong Photo/Layout Editor . . . . . Jason Kerner Advertising Mgr. . .. ... . Mark Soberman Executive Editor . . . . . .Joseph Ferdenzi

Series III

Vol. X, No. 8

October, 2003

FEATURES Editor's Babblenest

2

President's Message

3

The Perfect Aquarium

5

Who Would Join an Aquarium Club Without Having a Fish Tank?

7

Second Sight (Reprint) Hatching Rainbowfish Eggs

8

This Month's Scheduled Speaker: Gary Lange

9

Greater City Displays "Aquatic Livestock" at the Queens County Fair

10

Hoplosternum thoracatum "Brown Hoplo" . . . 11 A Most Special Individual

12

25 Things I Didn't Always Know

13

The Definitive Betta Breeding Article

15

Photos from our Last Meeting

16

Op Ed

18

Wet Leaves (Book Review)

19

Sounds of the Hobby

21

G.C.A.S. Happenings

23

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

24

Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 10th day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 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


by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

his month, I'm happy to welcome another new contributor to Modern Aquarium, Steve Herman. Steve gives us an account of his beginnings in the hobby (including how he joined Greater City, at a time when he didn't have any aquariums running). Steve's article has given me an idea. Modern Aquarium has 'had several special "theme" issues, focusing on certain types of fish (killifish, rainbowfish, cichlids, marine, anabantoids, etc.), and on plants, and we even had a first-in-the-hobby all-women's issue this May. What about an issue full of articles about member "firsts?" By that I mean, articles about your first ever tank, such as your first marine, reef, brackish water, community tank, etc., or your first experience with having fish spawn, or your first impressions of an aquarium society meeting. Maybe you specialize in a certain type of fish (discus, goldfish, natives, etc.), but didn't always. If so, your "first" article could be about why and how you first decided on your speciality. Or, what about an article on winning your first Bowl Show ribbon, or a prize at an aquarium society show? A great thing about articles like these, in addition to being enjoyable to read, is that they do not require research. You are the expert in what, why, and how, with respect to your personal first (or firsts). If you've been holding off writing an article because you could not think of a topic (or did not think you had enough knowledge or experience), then this is your topic. If you specialize in, let's say, cichlids, or bettas, then tell us why you got started with them. It might not make someone who specializes in angelfish switch loyalties, but you might give that person a reason to try out your specialty. Do you remember how much fun that "first one" was? Then share it with us!

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As you look at this issue, I have to give you a word of caution. Many of our members who write for Modern Aquarium (thank you very much, and, may your tribe increase!) can be very enthusiastic about the hobby and their articles. So, I need to point out, with all due respects to our President, Joe Ferdenzi, that there is no such thing as one "Perfect Aquarium." The "perfect aquarium" exists in your (and my) imagination, and is different for each of us. Similarly, I can tell you that Bernie Harrigan's excellent article this month is one way to set up a breeding for bubblenesting fish. Bernie's methods do work (I remember our Photo Editor, Jason Kerner, once remarking that if he had to write an article on how to breed bettas, it would be one sentence long: "Give the bettas to Bernie Harrigan to breed for you!") But, Bernie's methods are only one way to breed bubblenesting bettas. (I've used a glass "chimney," instead of a plastic soda bottle; plants, instead of a breeding mop, a floating Styrofoam cup, instead of one upright and taped lengthwise to the tank.) And, if you look at the article in this issue by Joe Graffagnino, you will see that he uses a plastic lid, instead of a Styrofoam cup. (While Joe's article is about bubblenesting catfish, a plastic lid works in much the same way for bubblenesting bettas, except that betta eggs would not stick to the lid.) Do you have a picture in your mind of the "ideal," "perfect," or "ultimate" aquarium? Is there one fish that you believe is the "most beautiful," or "most colorful," or "most interesting," or even the "most challenging?" Have you developed, or discovered, a technique that is the "best solution" for a common problem in the aquarium hobby? Well, don't let the fact that someone else with a different perception or solution has written an article stop you from expressing your viewpoint. I'd like to remind everyone that Modern Aquarium needs proofreaders. The more we have, the less the burden on any one person. You will need to have Internet e-mail, be prepared to check it frequently, and provide a reply (by e-mail or phone) in a day or two after the e-mail was sent to you. You also need to know proper American English grammar (hopefully, my computer's spell checker will catch any misspellings, other than proper names and scientific names). I also want to remind everyone to send in hints, tips, and "tricks" you discovered relating to the aquarium hobby, for our January 2004 issue.

October 2003

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


President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI his message may be brief because, in a phrase, if things were going any better at Greater City, I'd have to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. But, then again, our meetings and activities are a bit of a "dream." Let's start with what goes on before the meeting, using September as an example. Mark Soberman makes a wonderful contact at Wardley's. They are so impressed, they generously send us carton upon carton of their great products for our monthly raffle. This mammoth donation arrives at Warren Feuer's house. Undaunted, Warren duly catalogs it and brings a healthy portion of products to the meeting. Claudia Dickinson has lined up the incomparable Ginny Eckstein to be our guest speaker. Ginny is well-known throughout the aquarium world, and is a much sought-after speaker. But, Ginny is sort of "semi-retired" from the hobby, and rarely consents to do speaking engagements nowadays. However, she is no match for our irrepressible and charming Claudia. So, Ginny treats our members to one of her famously informative and funny lectures. The members "eat it up." Next comes our top-notch publication, Modern Aquarium. Al and Sue Priest, along with Jason Kerner, create and assemble this magazine so that it can be distributed according to our unforgiving timetable: on the first Wednesday of every month, from September to June. But, not only is the magazine on time, it is replete with quality throughout. Indeed, it is the leading club publication in North America. The magazine is engorged by our members. (Al Priest, by the way, has also created and mailed out the postcards that remind our members of the date and expected features of the meeting.) Then there is our auction. Every item on our auction table is donated by a member. If you aspire to call yourself the most prestigious aquarium society in the country, then you should have an auction that is 100% member donated. (I don't think that we are the most prestigious, but "we ain't chopped liver," either.) Not only is every fish and plant bred or raised by one of our members, but the variety is astonishing! At the risk of leaving someone out (and I know I probably will), allow me to name some of our most prolific donors: Anton Vukich, Ed Vukich, Charley

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

Sabatino, Artie Friedman, Carlotti De Jager, Don Curtin, Doug Curtin, Harry Faustmann, Bill Adams, Rich Levy, and Claudia Dickinson. Of course, that is just a sampling; we often get contributions from other members, and this makes for a great monthly auction. September was no exception We have refreshments and other "goodies" at every meeting thanks to the efforts of people like Pat Coushaine, Claudia Dickinson, Jason Kerner, Al Grusell, and Pete D'Orio. Our meetings always have a "warm" feel. Notice what is missing from the above described scenario? Me! That's the wonderful part of being President of GCAS. The President is just a figurehead. There is nothing for me to do but open and close the meetings. So, when people ask me, "How do you do it?" meaning, "How do you run such a successful club?", I can rightly respond, "Do what? I don't do anything. You have to have hard-working and talented people in your organization to perform a variety of tasks. If you have that, there is nothing to run." GCAS has it!

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This year's Queens County Fair (held at the Queens County Farm Museum — the same place where we've held our last couple of shows) enjoyed the good fortune of some very fine weather the weekend of September 20 - 21. Greater City, as usual, had an exhibit at this very popular family event. Because of the favorable weather, many people were in attendance, and we got to meet a great many of them. I've always enjoyed this event, and it generates good publicity for our Society. Of course, these events do not happen by "magic." For a two-day event like this, you need a fair number of volunteers. On Friday evening, We set up the exhibit, which includes a 30 gallon aquarium. This went rather smoothly with the able assistance of Warren Feuer, Steve Miller, and Mark Soberman. The next morning, with a little more preparation, we were ready to meet the crowds of people who passed our exhibit. On hand to help were Al and Sue Priest. Al printed signs and promotional literature, and Sue came up with a wonderful "kid friendly" idea: free fish stickers and free lollipops. Little children seemed to love getting a sticker! The idea was ingenious — we received many "thank yous" and a lot of good will. Sunday morning was bright and cheerful, and we were back at it again. This time, Pete and Roberta D'Orio, along with their daughter Allison, and Jason Kerner came to represent Greater City. They did a wonderful job. Like Al and Sue the day before, much time was spent answering questions

October 2003


about fishkeeping. You feel good when you can help and educate people about your favorite hobby. The D'Orio family then took most of our exhibit material home, to be used next year. We all owe a round of appreciation to these individuals for donating their time and effort. And, incidentally, I would also like to acknowledge the help of Steve Grubell, owner of Cameo Pet Shop (one of our regular advertisers), for his help

and support in obtaining some of the items used as part of our exhibit. The Queens County Fair usually takes place on the third weekend in September. Please consider setting some time aside for this future event. You will enjoy participating in it, and you will be performing a very valuable service for GCAS and the public in attendance at the event. Excelsior!

The 17th Annual Brooklyn Aquarium Society

k Giant Fish Auction Friday, October 10 at St. Brendan's Church 1529 East 12th Street & Avenue O, Brooklyn, NY Free Admission • Free Parking • Free Refreshments • Free Fish Food Samples Viewing offish starts at 7:30 PM Auction starts promptly at 8:30 PM Angelfish

• Catfish

•Goldfish

• Livebearers

African Cichlids

• Discus

• Koi

• Show Bettas and Guppies

S.A. Cichlids

• Dwarf Cichlids

• Killifish

• Aquatic Plants

Dry goods/Books

• Sale items

• Bargains

• Vendors

Many Hard to Find and Rare Fish and Plants! Directions by Car: The Golden Gate Motor Inn is located in Sheepshead Bay, just off the Belt Parkway. Take the Belt Parkway to (Exit 9) Knapp Street - Get on service Road and go to light make a left at the light. The Golden Gate Motor Inn will be on your left. Make a Left and a quick right into the parking lot. Enter lobby and follow signs to the event. For more information, call the BAS 24 hour Hotline at (718) 837-4455, or visit the BAS website at: http://www.brooklynaquariumsociety.org/

October 2003

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


The Pepfffff

Aquarium

by JOSEPH FERDENZI .K., the title is a bit of an exaggeration. After all, can anything in the natural world be "perfect?" In this case, it might be more appropriate to say "near perfect." Is that good enough for you? Are you interested in knowing how the tank got that way? If you are, read on. My story begins with a familiar refrain.

O

Once upon a time, I had a 20 gallon Long that wasn't doing too well. Oh, it should have been doing well, but wasn't. It housed six Anomalochromis thomasi, a small (2") West African cichlid that sometimes goes by the name of African Butterfly Cichlid. Not only is it small, but it is very peaceful, hardy, and relatively easy to spawn. Six of them in a 20 gallon tank hardly made for an overcrowded aquarium. The bottom of the tank was covered in a thin layer of brown gravel, various sized stones, and a couple of terra cotta flowerpots holding plants (Anubias barteri, var. coffeefolid). The tank was lit by one 15 w. fluorescent bulb, and filtered by two small box filters containing crushed coral gravel and filter floss. So, what was the problem? Well, for one, the fish laid eggs once or twice, but nothing hatched. I've had success with this species before, but these were just not as prolific as I had hoped. Alright, that's how it goes sometimes in the fish world. What really bothered me most about this aquarium was the overabundance of algae. This particular algae was the deep-green slimy type. It grew very well on the Anubias leaves, thereby "smothering" them — the leaves would turn yellow and the plant would not thrive unless I periodically removed the algae by wiping it off of the leaves. The algae also grew over and covered the rocks, the filters, and the glass. This was not a happy state of affairs. What to do? I do not like to use chemicals in my tanks. Thus, so-called "algae inhibitors" were not considered. Shutting off the lights was not a real option because the Anubias plants would suffer as well. Snails weren't a solution, because the cichlids tended to peck them to death. Buying a so-called algae eating fish was no solution for a variety of reasons; none of the ones I'm familiar with will eat this slimy stuff, and then I'd have one more fish that would possibly be disruptive to the other inhabitants. Then, one day, I had to face a completely unrelated problem, but one that ultimately led to a solution for my "less than perfect" tank. The problem involved keeping one of my killifish species from dying out. This particular species, Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Aphyosemion striatum, is relatively common. However, it was very special to me because it was a strain that had been given to me many years ago by local hobby legend Bill Jacobs, who passed away at the age of 96 in 1999. I did not want to lose them, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to find the time to breed them the "conventional" way. The conventional method involves placing two or more pairs in a small tank with an artificial spawning mop in which they will lay their eggs, collecting the eggs, and then hatching them out in a separate container.1 This is rather time consuming; and family, as well as professional affairs, had reduced the time I had to devote to such things. I was down to about six pairs, and I wanted to do something while I still had enough of a nucleus that would preserve some genetic diversity. Theoretically, I knew the solution. The A. striatum killifish is a small (2") plant-spawner from West Africa. It is similar in many ways to the more common lyretail killifish, Aphyosemion A. australe. I have maintained breeding populations of A. australe in a couple of 20 gallon Long tanks for many years. I reasoned that, if it worked for A. australe, it should work for A. striatum. The 20 gallon tank that seemed the most suitable for the purpose was the one housing the African Butterfly Cichlids. They didn't seem to be doing well in that tank, anyway. I had an empty ten gallon with some overturned terra cotta flowerpots that seemed suitable. So, into that tank they were moved. Now, I had an empty tank, but some alterations would have to be made to make it a suitable breeding set-up for the A. striatum. The first change was to add clumps of Java Moss to both ends of the tank (the flowerpots containing the Anubias plants were grouped in the center). The second change was to add some floating Water Sprite. The particular Water Sprite I chose was a very fine-leaved variety that had been given to me by renowned plant expert Karen Randall on the occasion of her first speaking engagement at Greater City. My experiences have led me to conclude that Java Moss, floating plants (I prefer

October 2003


Water Sprite) and gravel are the essential components for successful breeding of the so-called plant-spawning killifish — a group that covers a wide spectrum of killies. These components are especially useful with the smaller Aphyosemion species, such as australe and striatum. Besides the plants, the only other changes consisted of adding some Red Ramshorn Snails. I did not change the filters, the lighting, or my pattern of water changes. All that was left to do was sit back, be patient, and let nature take its course. Now, many months later, I can report astonishing success. The combination of additional plants and snails seems to have won the algae battle — there is very little of it. The Anubias have resumed vigorous growth. All the other plants are doing very well. The water is

crystal clear—it looks good enough to drink! The killifish are reproducing. In short, it has turned into an almost perfect aquarium — a little microcosm of nature. What is all the more satisfying is knowing that the turnaround was accomplished without chemicals or gadgets whose effects are usually short term anyway. Patience and an understanding of nature usually offer more permanent solutions, Now, I can enjoy this exquisite tank of emerald green plants and jewel-like fish every day, and it maintains its beauty without a lot of time and effort on my part. And, isn't that what aquarium keeping should be about?

Ferdenzi, Joseph, "Spawning Mops," Mode Aquarium, November 1999.

]

Norwalk Aquarium Society 37th Annual Tropical Fish Show and Auction

October 4 - 5 , 2003 Open to the public - free of charge For more information, contact: Website: www.norwalkas.org or call our toll-free number: (866) 219-4NAS

Directions to Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - 1 0 Woodside Lane - Westport, CT: From Merrit Parkway: (Wilbur Cross): Exit 41. If coming from New Haven turn right at exit, (if coming from New York, turn left at exit). Onto Route 33. At first traffic light turn right onto Kings Highway. At 6th street, turn right onto Woodside Avenue. Woodside Avenue ends at the Nature Center. From New England Thruway (1-95): From either direction take exit 17 and turn left onto Riverside Avenue (Route 33). Go straight approximately 1 mile to Sylvan Road South (on left - gas station at corner). Turn left onto Sylvan. Turn right at light (Post Road, Route 1) take first left onto Kings Highway, take left at Woodside Lane - proceed to end of street. From Norwalk or Westport Via Route 1. Follow Route 1 to Kings Highway. Take left onto Woodside Lane - proceed to end of street.

October 2003

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


Who Would Join An Aquarium Club Without Having a Fish Tank? by STEVE BERMAN

he woefiil story begins in the late 1950s on my first collecting trip in the Amazon River Basin. Did I say, "the Amazon River?" My mistake; it was really the second floor of my parent's apartment in Fresh Meadows (Queens, NY). At the age of seven, I used to invite my friends in, and catch fish in my father's 29 gallon long tank. Of course, we almost always returned the fish, sometimes unharmed. This was good training because I began to do the same activity in a more professional atmosphere, at the local "Five and Dime." That was, until I got caught! Somewhat later on, I became a hobbyist, helping my dad breed livebearers with breeding traps, etc., etc., etc. This brought me to a new level, as the fourth grade teacher asked me to care for the ten gallon tank in our classroom. I was doing fine until all the fish got "cooked" by a heater that had done too good of a job! I still remember Mrs. Smith's (the teacher) hot breath on the back of my neck. But, to this day, I know it wasn't my fault. That brings me to my first paying job. Dr. Pomerance, my pediatrician, needed someone to take care of the fish tank in his waiting room. He had seen my tank at home, which I had taken over from my dad. (Doctors made house calls in those days.) He gave me the key, and $12.00 a month. I must say, I did a great job! But, an interesting "problem" developed. In this community tank a pair of Dwarf Gouramis bred. I think that changed my life forever. I never had a community tank after that. Breeding was where it was at! I borrowed the pair of gouramis from the doctor's office, and brought them home to breed. I did O.K., but who knew that the babies were big enough not to need "infusoria?" It didn't say that in my "bible" (the Innes book). To this day, I have never been able to master infusoria. Thank God, there are other options now. I smelled up the house terribly with a tankful of water and rotten lettuce. My mom made me take it outside. Well, at least it yielded mosquito larvae for the adult fish, and some sort of larval insect that wiped out a whole tank of fry. Did I mention that I liked to feed my fish fruit flies (Drosophild)! That was until a whole batch got out in the refrigerator, and my mom nixed another live food option. In fact, that was the last straw, and she nixed the whole hobby. Well, by then I was in college anyway, and had no time for fish.

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

At that point, I was breeding Siamese Fighting Fish. But, I never had the time, equipment, or know-how to do a good job raising them. I went to graduate school in Manhattan, close enough to walk to my dad's office, so he set me up with a tank there. He loved it too, until a large Oscar died, probably on a Friday, and he couldn't even walk into the office on Monday. So, again, I had to move on. Well, that's what fiancees are for. I moved the tank into Audrey's apartment. Who knew she was going to ditch me in three months? By the time I got enough courage to call her, she had given my tank away to a kid in the building. She told me she would pay me back, but I said, "forget it." By then, I had an office of my own. Business was slow enough that I was able to set up a whole fish room. Thank God I found a prolific pair of Gold Severums. Those fish were paying my rent, until the female jumped, obviously to get away from the love-crazed male. Soon I got married. My wife, Mary Ann, was not an animal lover yet, but as a newly wed, she couldn't turn down my request to start up my hobby at home. We moved into a basement apartment, where the owner lived above us. Unfortunately, he couldn't fall asleep with the filter on. It was fortunate that my wife got pregnant, so we had to move on to a larger apartment, where a noisy filter wouldn't be an issue. Soon after we moved, my prized 55 gallon tank leaked from the bottom, and completely emptied. It was a disaster, but with a little silicone, and some Scotch Tape, I was back in business. Luckily, I'm still married. A few years later we moved into our own home, and I had a whole room to breed fish. I was doing well, breeding large South American cichlids. But then, I was to be shut down again. My father-in-law needed the room when he developed Alzheimer's Disease. That's when I met the twins Don and Doug Curtin, and they brought me to the Greater City Aquarium Society, while I didn't even have a working aquarium. That's my woeful story — not really, I have fish again. And, as you can guess, I also have plants — lots of them!

October 2003


econd Reprints deserving a second look This month's reprint is from the journal of the Rainbowfish Study Group ("RSG"). It has been updated and given to us, with permission to reprint it, by the author, who is the founder of the RSG, and Greater City's scheduled guest speaker this month.

Hatching Rainbowfish Eggs by GARY LANGE

Rainbowfish eggs are easy to hatch and the fry aren't too very difficult if you know the right tricks. Buying a mop or a vial of eggs at an auction is an easy way to obtain a whole aquarium full of rainbows. There's nothing more beautiful that a tank full of beautiful lacustris or boesemani rainbows. I'll go over the method for hatching small amounts of eggs in shallow trays. You'll need a small shallow tray that holds about two to three cups of water. The kind that many of the frozen dinners come in is perfect. You'll need a little bit of crushed shell to add to the hatching tray, and a pinch of aquarium salt. Do not use acriflavine in the water. More often than not it will kill the developing eggs. Add about one cup of warm (78-82 degrees F) freshly dechlorinated water. Don't use tank water, as it contains lots of bacteria and fungi which will destroy your eggs. Higher hatching temperatures promotes more fungus and lower temperatures end up losing eggs also. Carefully add the eggs to the tray, taking a few minutes to acclimate them, especially if the temperatures or water conditions are very different. Separate them as much as possible with an eyedropper. If one egg becomes fungused you can remove it before it spreads to another. Protect the tray from strong light. Make sure you keep it warm, though. You can float the tray in the tank that you are going to use for the hatched fry or place it in a warm spot in your fish room. Change the water in the tray at least once every other day. As the fry hatch, use an eyedropper and transfer them to a small cup. Then acclimate them to the fry-raising tank. I like to use 2.5-5 gallon tanks for 12-50 fry. Be careful with the 2.5 gallon tank, it is easy to lose water quality in a tank this

small. If you have a lot of fry go to the 5-gallon size or even a 10 gallon. A ten is what I most often use if I'm hatching a large mop of eggs. It is important that the temperature of this fry-raising tank be at least 80 degrees F, preferably 82 degrees F. Water cooler than 78 degrees will result in a loss of most of the fry in a few days. I have raised fry in temperatures as high as 88 degrees F without any problems. This actually helps them grow faster. A five-gallon tank is even ideal for large hatches to begin with but it can quickly become too small. Add a few snails and an established sponge filter to the tank. Bubble the sponge filter VERY SLOWLY! Rainbowfish fry live at the top 1/8-inch of the water and they will soon drown in "the surf that you produce by heavy aeration. For a first food you can use green water (say some), vinegar eels (good but time consuming) or use what I use. There is a fry food by Ocean Star called APR (Artificial Plankton Rotifer) that is perfect for rainbows. Sprinkle a little on the surface; don't mix it in the water. Feed twice a day, if possible more often. In three to seven days they will be ready to eat newly hatched brine shrimp. A new substitute for baby brine shrimp is a product from Argent called Cyclop-eeze. It's a good product to have on hand for feeding most fry. I also alternate other first foods with APR or feed a powder mix including Chlorella powder (health food store), spirulina (not as good as Chlorella though), and Astaxanthin powder (which really brings out the reds early in red colored fish. Can't find APR? Call Wet Thumb Aquatics (810) 725-0960, they take plastic. Buy the three-ounce size, it will last a long time. Keep it in a tightly sealed container in

October 2003

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


your freezer, just a bit in the fish room as it does go bad. Go easy on the feedings, but the snails should clean up the excess. If you mess up the bottom with excess food then get it out of the tank. I usually like to wait about two weeks before I do the first water change (about 20%) which is then performed weekly. Make sure the water you add back is the same temperature, as the fry seem very temperature sensitive and I have lost whole tanks of fry by not watching the temperature. Once they get about 6 weeks old, I increase the percentage of water changed to 30% per week, especially with a large hatch. For non-rainbows, I would most likely be performing weekly 50% water changes. If you can remember to do smaller, frequent water changes your "bows" will reward you with good growth. Rainbows certainly grow slower than most tropical fish, but if you keep doing your water changes and keep them warm they will be producing their own eggs in six months. I also feel that they seem to grow faster if you leave a light on the fry 24 hours a day. They just seem to do better and more of the fry seem to live. For eggs in a mop I do basically the same thing, except I add the mop directly to the rearing tank using

fresh water. I don't change the water every other day, and I wait until most of the eggs hatch before I add the sponge filter. A slight amount of bubbling to avoid surface scum is all that is needed until they are hatched. Once the young juveniles reach about 1 to 1.25 inches in length, I start backing off of the temperature, especially if I have raised them in the high eighties. Somewhere between 74 and 78 is fairly ideal. Many of your adult rainbows will actually do better at even lower temperatures but most can thrive in temperatures anywhere between 70 and 80 degrees. I used to say if you have a chance, practice using this method on some of your own eggs so that when the first mop of Neon Rainbow eggs (Melanotaeniapraecox) hit the U.S., you'll be ready to bid on it. But hey, they're already here so by all means do a little practicing so you can have a whole school of these magnificent creatures. You don't like neon rainbows? No worries mate. There's always a new one just around the corner that will tickle your fancy. Gary Lange 2590 Cheshire Florissant, MO 63033 Email gwlange@mindspring.com 314-837-6181 www.rainbowfishes.org

Profile of this month's scheduled speaker:

Gary Lange Gary is a research biochemist for Pfizer in St. Louis. He has been keeping fish since he was 10, and has been associated with the organized hobby for the last 23 years. He is a member of the Missouri Aquarium Society (MASI), and has held various positions including '93 show chairman for a show that saw over 5,000 visitors. He is a grand master breeder in MASI, (one of only twelve in the history of the club), and has taken the coveted "Best Fish In Show" on four different occasions, twice with rainbowfish. In the fall of 1987 he started the Rainbowfish Study Group of North America (RSG). He started in fish photography mainly because there weren't many quality pictures of his beloved rainbowfish. He has had his pictures published in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Aquarium Fish Magazine. Just last summer, he imported some brand new rainbowfish from the world explorer, Heiko Bleher. Included in this new list is:

the Millennium Rainbowfish,

Batanta Island rainbowfish , and the mini-sized Melanotaenia parva.

He is currently running about 70 tanks and keeping about 30 varieties of rainbows and blue-eyes. You can get more information on rainbowfish at the RSG's website: www.rainbowfishes.org

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October 2003


Greater City Displays "Aquatic Livestock' at the Queens County Fair by SUE PRIEST n the weekend of September 20-21 2003, the 21st annual Queens County Fair took place at the Queens Farm Museum in Douglaston, Queens. This location should be familiar to most of you, as the GCAS has held its bi-annual show here in the past. The GCAS has been introducing the tropical fish hobby to the general public at this fair for the past several years. Veterans, as well as newcomers, to this event manned the GCAS table. Friday evening set-up chores were performed by Mark Soberman, Warren Feuer, Steve Miller, and Joe Ferdenzi. On Saturday, the GCAS was represented by Sue and Al Priest, as well as Joe (each of them was wearing a different Greater City t-shirt!). On Sunday, Jason

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Kerner, along with the whole D'Orio clan; Pete, Roberta, and Allison, stepped in to assist. A steady stream of visitors to the table kept the team busy. People stopped to ask questions, purchase a Betta, or admire the 30 gallon display tank which held several white and red goldfish from Joe's pond. Copies of Modern Aquarium were also available for browsing. Among the dozens of activities and displays at the fair, the livestock tent was one of the most popular. (I wonder if our proximity to the "pig races" had anything to do with that? Naaahh!) JL

Joe Ferdenzi was on duty at the GCAS table for all three days of the event.

Sue Priest is talking with a prospective member.

Sue distributed colorful fish stickers to children of all ages. i

Al Priest at the entrance to the livestock tent.

The display of American Goldfish caught everyone's attention.

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Hoplosternum thoracatum "Brown Hoplo" by JOSEPH GRAFFAGNINO

•jr TT- oplosternum catfish are members of the food. Maintain the aquarium water level at 50% / / family Callichthyidae, which are armored 60% of tank capacity. Have a full cover on the top JL JL catfish. They are first cousins to of the tank, as these fish are jumpers and will easily take a flying leap out of the tank. Corydoras. Hoplosternums are called "armored" catfish because of the overlapping bony plating All Hoplosternum require large amounts along their flanks of plant matter, and back portion of such as Java Moss their body. All or water sprite, to Hoplosternum have create and maintain their bubblenests. an additional armored breast Toss the plastic top plate almost from a coffee can meeting in the to float on the water, because middle of the chest area that is called plastic tops are a solid object to the coracoids. This armor is believed to attach eggs to, and a firm object to help them resist anchor the nest to. infections and A baby Brown Hoplo - photo by author W h e n parasites. spawning occurs, they will lay between 20 to 200 Hoplosternum catfish inhabit large rivers, eggs, depending on the size and maturity of the swamps and streams in northern and central South fish. After spawning, remove the female, because America. she may eat the eggs and the male may wound or even kill her. The male guards the nest until the There are three (3) species of Hoplosternum: eggs hatch. At this point, remove the male and let • Hoplosternum pectorale or "pigmy hoplo," the fry grow in the tank in which they were which attains a length of 3 inches. spawned. My adventure with these amazing fish • Hoplosternum thoracatum or "brown hoplo," started when a friend gave me five Hoplosternum which attains a length of 5 inches. thoracatum (two males and three females). I had • Hoplosternum littorale or "giant or gray hoplo," placed these fish in a 35 gallon breeder tank (an which attains a length of 8 inches. old Odell tank 10!/2"H X 18"W X 34"L). The tank had driftwood, live Amazon Sword plants, All Hoplosternum catfish are duckweed, and regular gravel. It was maintained at "bubblenest" builders. They prefer a temperature a temperature between 80° - 82° F, and a pH range range of between 75° - 80° Fahrenheit (24° - 27° of 6.6 - 6.8. Within a short period of time, a pair Celsius). They feed on snails, shrimp, worms, and had built a small bubblenest, using water sprite and plant matter. In the aquarium they will eat flake Java Moss, under a plastic coffee lid. food, pellet food, frozen food (mysis shrimp, The fish are both approximately 41/4 - 5 bloodworms, and daphnia), or live food (black inches long. The male has a sloped forehead and worms). broad shoulders; he also has bright orange pectoral Hoplosternum thoracatum do not reach fins. He uses these pectoral fins to slash an sexual maturity until they are at least a year old. It opponent, or as a defensive weapon when guarding should take at least another 6 months to a year for his nest. A Dynaflow 150 overflow filter and a them to build a successful bubblenest. To prepare large plastic box filter, filled with filter floss, them for breeding have the pH between 6.5 and charcoal, and ammonia chips provided filtration. 7.0, raise the water temperature slowly to 80° The male would build the nest, with minor 82° F, and feed them live black worms and frozen help from the female. The male would make a fast blood worms. Alternate the live and frozen food move to the surface and capture an air pocket. He with high quality flake food and high protein pellet then dove under the plastic cover, remained upside Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

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down, and expelled the air through his gills while rapidly moving his pelvic fins, thus frothing the air bubbles under the nest. He used his pectoral fins to place the air bubbles in the correct spots. He then broke large bubbles into smaller bubbles. When he was satisfied with this, he would return to the surface for another gulp of air. The nest, when completed, was small, with only a few bubbles around the lid. The male did attack me a couple of times by coming out of the water, trying to slash me with his orange pectoral fin when I had my hand in the tank. He was definitely defending a nest. I removed the plastic top, and all the eggs were attached to the lid. The eggs appeared to have been glued on. I needed a scraper to peel the eggs off and took parts of the plastic top label with the eggs. I found no eggs on the gravel or in any of the plants. They may have been eaten by the other H. thoracatum, because there were no other fish in the tank. Let me describe the Hoplosternum thoracatum\y reach a maximum length of 5 inches, and they are brown in color with black dots and black bars on the tail. H. thoracatum spawn in the "Cory" style, with the female's nose on the male's vent in the classic "T" position. The female carries the eggs in her ventral pouch and deposits them in the bubblenest created by the male. The male's pectoral fins turn orange when he is sexually mature. He has a white area with black dots or markings on his stomach. The Brown Hoplos lay bright orange eggs. I placed the eggs into an egg hatchery, which is a plastic, 2-liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off. Into the cap, I ran an airline tube with a fine bubble aerator. I added V£ drop of Acriflavine (fungus preventative), and an aerator with an air volume adjuster knob to regulate the airflow. You want the eggs to be moving slowly, without settling on the bottom or bouncing off the walls from either too much or too little aeration.

This contraption is placed in a bottle holder and into a 10-gallon high tank that has the same water and a heater to maintain the same temperature as the spawning tank. The //. thoracatum eggs took 5 days to hatch. I moved the H. thoracatum fry into a five-gallon tank by themselves. I realized an 85% successful hatch. The fry were fed microworm culture, cyclops, and crushed flake foods. They respond well to all foods and grow in spurts. It is important to know that: • Even if the adults are well fed, they tend to eat their young after one week. • The larger the area for the fry, the faster they grow, at triple the growth rate offish kept in small areas (such as worm holders or 5 gallon tanks), even when given less food to eat. • It seems that very low pH (less than 6.0) has a detrimental effect on egg fertility. • In the year and a half I have had these fish, most breeding activity happened during the months of January through mid-April. • Getting these fish to spawn initially is difficult, but then the spawns are based on the barometric pressure of storms and cold front changes. • As the pair matures and continues to breed, the spawns become considerably larger. This is a great fish for an aquarium as they do not bother other fish and are constantly moving around. They are a lot of fun to watch, and are relatively easy to breed. Do yourself a favor, and obtain some of these attractive catfish, as they are a really fun fish. References: The World of Catfishes by Midor Kobayagawa, edited by Dr. Warren E. Burgess by T.F.H., 1991 A Fishkeepers Guide To South American Catfishes by David Sands, Terra Press, 1988

A Most Special Individual by CLAUDIA DICKINSON y heart warms and a most wondrous sense of elation fills my spirits, as I become lost amongst the dearest and most special people in my life on the first Wednesday of every month with the GCAS. As I look about me, there is little wonder as to what makes this such a unique and special group. Each and every one of you stands alone as an individual, and makes our meetings what they are. So many of you go above and beyond, contributing your time and talents, without a word spoken of self praise or self pity only garnering the greatest pleasure of all giving. But there is one individual who, although he is certainly a most integral part of our perfect blend, stands out above all of the rest. Behind every strong, successful and long-lived organization there is a key ingredient that is rich and that is rare. The GCAS is most fortunate of all, as we have a man who is the reason we give of our time and our efforts, for he gives all of that back and more to the society and to each one of us as individuals. GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi is a most special individual indeed ~ an unequaled leader, a respected hobbyist and a treasured friend.

M

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I DlBtC

\

by SUSAN PRIEST

1) I didn't always know by looking at a fish if it was a freshwater fish or a saltwater fish. This is not to say that I could describe in words how to tell the difference! 2) I didn't always know that there are lots of different kinds of fresh water. (Examples: acidic vs. alkaline, hard vs. soft, tannic vs. clear, etc.) 3) I didn't always know that the worst place to keep a goldfish is in a bowl. They grow to be quite large, they have high oxygen requirements, and they put out large quantities of waste. House them in a large tank with excellent filtration. 4) I didn't always know that the best thing about an aquarium club isn't the speaker. 5) I didn't always know that mechanical filtration had anything to do with noodles. 6) I didn't always know that chemical filtration had anything to do with charcoal. 7) I didn't always know that biological filtration had anything to do with sponges. 8) I didn't always know that aquatic plants can absorb nutrients from the water through the surface of their leaves, and not just through their roots. 9) I didn't always know that some fish will not readily accept the presence of another fish of their own species; the stronger one may pummel the weaker ones to the point of death. However, these same fish are likely to happily co-exist with fish of other species. (An example: the Red Tailed Black Shark, Epalzeorhynchus bicolor.) 10) I didn't always know that aeration benefits the fishes by increasing the surface area of the water, as water becomes oxygenated by its contact with the air, and not with the bubbles. 11) I didn't always know that the best thing about an aquarium club is not the raffle. 12) I didn't always know that a whale is not a fish. 13) I didn't always know that a seahorse is a fish. 14) I didn't always know that there are at least 25 reasons why you should never release a tankbred fish into a local body of water. Here are but a few examples: they may become predators, thereby threatening fragile life forms with extinction, or, conversely, be predated upon, thus causing their early demise; they may introduce pathogens to which local wildlife has no immunity, or, conversely, they may become exposed to pathogens to which they have no immunity; their impact on the food chain is much more likely to be negative rather than neutral or positive. ETC . . .

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15) I didn't always know that the purpose of "dither" fishes is to send the message to the other residents of the tank that there are no predators around, and that they are safe to swim about rather than hide. 16) I didn't always know that the best thing about an aquarium club isn't the bowl show. 17) I didn't always know that there are some fish which don't have scales. (An example: any of the many species of Corydoras catfishes.) 18) I didn't always know that only two and one half percent of the water on the planet earth is freshwater. All living things have to share it; we must safeguard it as the valuable treasure that it is. 19) I didn't always know that there are some fish which breathe air. 20) I didn't always know that there are some aquatic snails which breathe air. 21) I didn't always know that the best thing about an aquarium club isn't the auction. 22) I didn't always know that some fish will lay on their sides and "play dead." (An example: the Clown Loach, Botia macracanthus.) 23) I didn't always know that a blood worm is not a worm, but rather the larvae of an aquatic gnat. 24) I didn't always know that the best thing about an aquarium club are the smiles! 25) I didn't always know that fish can fall in love.

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

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The Definitive Betta Breeding Article by BERNARD HARRIGAN

ou can use this for breeding Betta splendens - Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta imbellis • Peaceful Betta, Betta smaragdina - Emerald Betta, and most other bubblenesting Betta species. Start with a clean 10 gallon tank. Place it in a well-lit area. Fill the tank halfway up with water. Place a submersible heater in the back of the tank, near the bottom. Position the breeding cup on the inside front glass, towards the left corner. To make a breeding cup, cut a Styrofoam cup vertically, removing one third. Then tape the cut side against the glass, so the 1/2 Styrofoam cup cup is upside(taped to glass) down, with the mouth of the cup slightly below the water line. Put a spawning mop in the back right corner. Make sure the spawning mop doesn't touch D the heater. The CT J spawning mop is just to provide the female with a hiding place after spawning. Water parameters can vary. For breeding purposes, keep the pH around 7.0 and the water hardness medium. The temperature should be between 80° and 82° F. Place the male in the tank first, to get him acclimated. In a day or so, put the female in. You will have to keep the male from getting to her, but at the same time, you want him to be able to see her. Carefully and evenly cut the top and bottom off of a two liter clear plastic soda bottle. Position the plastic tube next to the spawning mop, and drop the female inside. It protects the female, lets the male see his future mate, and it won't disturb the bubblenest when the time comes to lift it out to release her. The male Betta will alternate between trying to get to the female, and building his bubblenest. He builds it by gulping air and coating it with saliva, then expelling the bubble under the cup. He will repeat this until the nest is about an inch thick, and several inches across. At this point, you are ready to release the female by lifting up the soda bottle "tube." Make

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

sure you have a few hours to watch the pair. This is for the sheer spectacle of nature, as well as the safety of the female. The male will flare out his fins and perform an aquatic dance, trying to inveigle the female under his nest. When she draws near enough, he wraps his body in a tight embrace around her, forcing out the eggs, and then fertilizing them. She seems to be in an enraptured state of immobility, as she drifts down. The male quickly retrieves the eggs and spits them into the bubblenest. By this time, the female has recovered and is waiting to be re-embraced. This is repeated over and over until the female is emptied of her 200-250+ eggs, and she is then chased away. Net out the female and put her in a tank by herself for recuperation. If you do not remove the female, she will Priest attempt to eat the eggs, and the male will attack her in order to protect them. The male will spend his time collecting any eggs that have fallen out, and patching up the nest, as needed. During this time, do not feed the male. The fry hatch out 36 to 72 hours later. The male will collect wandering fry with the same parental care he afforded the eggs. A day or so after the fry have hatched out, remove the male and resume feeding him. For the first week feed infusoria and/or green water to the newly hatched fry. Most other foods will be too large for them to eat. After a week, you can move them to larger foods, like baby brine shrimp. Increase the amount of water in the tank by a gallon a week, until the tank is full. As they get older, sort the males out into their own separate jars. The males will have larger fins. You can keep all the females together. With regular water changes, and good aquatic husbandry, you should have battalions of Bettas.

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Photos From Our Last Meetin

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OP-ED: IT AIN'T NOTHING! ELL!! If there is anyone out there who believes the line of detritus that Joe Ferdenzi is trying to feed us in this month's President's Message (about himself, that is), then I have an eleven million dollar lottery ticket that I will sell to you at a bargain-basement price! (It's only a couple of weeks old!) Where to start? Probably the best place is the monthly board meeting. For those of you who don't know, these meetings take place on the last Wednesday of the month (except during our summer hiatus), at Joe's home. This means that Joe cannot pursue any of the many other activities with which he is involved, spend precious time with his family (even though they may be home at the time), devote himself to caring for his "second family," this being his collection of tropical fish, or just plain relaxing. I can hear the words coming out of his mouth right abut now: "I enjoy the board meetings; they relax me, and besides-its for the CLUB!" Undoubtedly all of that is true, but IT AIN'T NOTHING! Next up is Modern Aquarium. Every month Joe writes us a President's message. It is always either insightful or from-the-heart, and usually both, but IT AIN'T NOTHING! This month he has also penned the lead article which is not only insightful, and from-the-heart, but informative as well. Only he knows how much time he spent on it, but I know IT AIN'T NOTHING! Even though you are all tired of Al the head-hunter counting the number of proofreaders, it should be pointed out that Joe Ferdenzi is first among them. By now you know what I'm going to say, but I am going to say it anyway; IT AIN'T NOTHING!

W

And what about our meetings? Ten times a year he takes control of an unruly crowd, creates organization and order out of chaos, and generally sets a tone of civility. He makes sure we have all the accouterments that we need. If he isn't personally bringing every item, he knows who is. That's called leadership! After the program, he does a quick change into a shirt with a big red S on the front which stands for "Super Auctioneer." Our auctions are always super-sized, and he is always up to the challenge. If you are hoping I will leave it out this time, you are about to be disappointed, because it needs to be said that IT AIN'T NOTHING! Then there are the countless other details that no one thinks about except him, such as entertaining guests of the club, arranging for awards and trophies to "magically"appear at the exactly correct time, scheduling dates and locations for special events such as our biannual shows, etc., ETC.! When he is attending any of the many events and meetings held by our nearby sister societies, he is there to have a good time and generally support the hobby-at-large, but you can bet he will be proudly wearing a Greater City shirt! Even HE wouldn't be able to make a full accounting of all the details he attends to on behalf of GCAS. Whatever all this adds up to, IT AIN'T NOTHING! I can think of a few more NOTHING'S to mention, but I believe I have made my point. I would just like to add that if what you have AIN'T NOTHING, then it must be something, and that Joe Ferdenzi is REALLY SOMETHING!

Jetsey/JShore mc JERSEY ShORE AqUARJUM SoCJETy . - VJ-- — PRESENTS JTS 9lh ANNUAl TRODJCAl Aquanum/./Society r. i i i i . i

1

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-^ FISH ANQ QRy qoods AUCTION! Sunday, October 19, 2003

at the First Aid Squad Building at 18 Spring Street in Freehold, NJ Live goods registration: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Viewing of items: 10:00 - 11:45 a.m. Auction starts: noon sharp! For more info, or to preregister, e-mail Luis at: Imorales45@comcast.net or call 732-651-1435 or visit http://www.jerseyshoreas.org on the Internet

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back-to-front as well as front-to-back, for the sheer enjoyment of the sight of these fishes. The photographic experience doesn't stop there. Virtually every fish under discussion is accompanied by a photo of the habitat where it resides in nature. From clear, slow-flowing A Series On Books For The Hobbyist streams to tranquil lakes to rapidly-flowing rocky rivers. However, even the photo of the natural by SUSAN PRIEST habitat of the Melanotaenia boesemani, or Boeseman's Rainbowfish won't reveal to you that hanks to Gary Lange, I have finally done the lake to which it is native "is in a swampy basin something which has been on my mental surrounded by low hills . . . it is very shallow list of things-to-do for a long time. I have (estimated maximum depth of about 10m), and is made a comprehensive index of all the books relatively clear with abundant aquatic vegetation." which have been reviewed in this column over the Every page makes you feel as if you are there! years. The reason I chose to do this now is that I In addition to the photographs of the fish found a book about Rainbowfish on my shelf, and and their habitats, each description is illustrated I couldn't remember whether or nor I had with a map which clearly depicts their location. reviewed it in the past. Well, it turns out that I At this point, I would like to try and have not, so as my way of thanking Mr. Lange for reveal to you the amount visiting GCAS, as well as of detailed information Rainbowfishes providing me with the provided by Dr. Allen In Mature and in the Aquarium stimulus I needed to make about each fish under Dn Gerald R. Allen my list, I will hereby discuss consideration by briefly Tetral995 Rainbowfishes: the 57th title paraphrasing from one of to be reviewed under the the entries. I have chosen moniker of "Wet Leaves." the very striking Iriatherina werneri, or the As it turns out, the very first book that I Threadfin Rainbowfish.* They dwell in swamps reviewed in this venue (Freshwater Fishes of and streams. New Guinea fish are darker in color Australia, in the December 1994 issue of Modern than those from Australia. They rarely exceed Aquarium)) was also authored by Dr. Allen. Many 4cm in length. Susceptible to transport shock, they of the things I liked about that one are present should be acclimated slowly (1-2 hours). A here, as well. species tank is best, or with juveniles of other I will start where the author did, with the species of rainbowfishes. It will do best in a wellcontents. The "chapters" aren't numbered. There planted aquarium which has a pH of 5.5-6.5, are several "topics" under each "heading." The because this will simulate its natural habitat. In headings include an Introduction, Rainbows and nature they form large schools. Courtship Science, Rainbowfishes and Blue Eyes in the behavior is "very spectacular." The eggs are very Aquarium, followed by the bulk of the text which tiny, and the medium on which they are spawned describes the fish themselves. The headings are should be removed to a nursery tank. The fry are Rainbowfishes of Australia, Rainbowfishes of difficult to raise; feed them infusoria, strained egg New Guinea and Blue Eyes of Australia and New yolk or "eggcake flour." These fish are not longGuinea. lived, at about two years. For those of you who may not be familiar These were just the highlights, as there with the group of fishes known as Blue Eyes, here was much more detailed information, especially is some of what Dr. Allen would like to tell you about distribution. It tells you everything except about them: "The Blue Eyes are small, often their address and phone number! colorful fishes that inhabit fresh, brackish and In summary, this is a visually stunning marine waters in Australia and New Guinea. Until book which offers an unparalleled level of detailed recently they were included in the same information about these very interesting fish. The [taxonomic] family with rainbowfishes. Fifteen more time I spent within its pages, the more I species are presently recognized. They are wondered to myself why rainbows aren't my lowland coastal dwellers." favorite fishes! I must say that this reader could not help * There is a photo of this distinctive fish but to be captivated by the photography, which is on the cover of the September 1997 issue of full color throughout. Each fish photo is more Modern Aquarium. (Photo by Jeff George.) exquisite than the one before it. I found myself thumbing through the pages many times over,

WET LEAVES

T

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Sounds of the Hobby A series by "The Under gravel Reporter" Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk with you again. Because a vision softly creeping, Left its seeds while I was sleeping, And the vision that was planted in my brain, Still remains, within the sound of silence. "The Sounds of Silence" words and music by Paul Simon uring the most recent blackout in the Northeast (you know, the one that wasn't ever supposed to happen again, but did?), I realized something as I sat by candlelight looking at my fish tanks. I realized that, while I missed being able to view the antics of my fish (their games of tag, their mock displays of aggression and their shameless begging for food whenever they see me), I missed the sounds my tanks make almost as much. Some people pay a fair amount of money to buy a desktop "fountain," that is nothing more than a water pump dropping a stream of water over some (usually artificial) rocks. The water collects in a mini pool at the base of the rocks, and is pumped back and over again. On the other hand, several of my tanks have internal power filters, or "hang on" power filters that pump water in much the same way. If I wanted, I could place a pile of rocks so that the water would hit them, but there is no need to do that. Aquarium filters are generally much more powerful than the little pumps used for desktop waterfalls, so that the sound of water splashing into an aquarium is at least equal to (and generally louder and more realistic than) water pumped over plastic rocks. Then there are my large outside canister filters. Whenever I have the option of being able to connect a canister filter to a spraybar, I do so. The spraybar provides surface agitation to maximize the exchange of gasses at the surface. Without having to create "waves," it is well suited to fish accustomed to rapidly moving streams, or to water that is highly oxygenated. Of course, spraybars are not for every tank. Fish that build bubblenests (certain catfish, many anabantoids) would certainly not appreciate the agitation of the water's surface caused by a spraybar, nor would any fish native to stagnant waters, and small fry usually need more gentle water movement.

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Spraybars really create an identifiable (and soothing) sound. Now, you can get much the same effect by sticking your head into a running shower; but after a few hours the soothing effects of the sound wears off. On the other hand, I never tire of the sound of my spraybars in action. (And I don't even have to wear a shower cap to enjoy it!) I have a number of sponge and box filters. The bubbling that takes place with these filters can also be very soothing. They are also a good substitute for use in those tanks where more active water movement (such as that caused by a spraybar) would not be appropriate. One sound, however, that I will not miss is that of an air pump whose diaphragm is starting to go bad. The smallest air pump with a defective diaphragm sounds like a construction crew at work in an otherwise quiet room. Some of the largest pumps can sound like a jackhammer. There are other sounds unique to my fishroom. One of which is my "water alarm." I have a battery powered alarm that goes off whenever water covers the ends of the two pieces of wire that extend from the alarm onto the floor. The theory here is that, in the event of a water spill, the alarm goes off to notify me of a potential problem. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, no matter where on the floor I place the ends of the alarm wires, it seems to always be the place where I will next splash water in the course of doing routine tank maintenance. This results in an extremely loud, ear-piercing sound that, as often as not, startles me into dropping or tilting the bucket of water I happen to be carrying at the moment, thereby adding to the original spill. Since I usually do my water changes at night, this alarm naturally wakes up my spouse (who, it should be noted, would normally sleep through a herd of buffalo charging through our basement, but for some reason, can hear my water alarm from anywhere in the house). While the fish keepinghobby is undoubtedly a visual experience for most, our recent blackout made me realize just how much pleasure and relaxation I get from the sounds that accompany it. True, I can do without the water alarm going off (and, with it, my spouse going off as well!), but all-in-all, while our fish might not make many sounds (croaking gouramis and clown loaches being the two most notable exceptions that I can think of right now), if you are alert, this hobby can appeal to more than your sense of sight.

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October 2003

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


G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Bowl Show Winners last meeting: 1st: Carlotti De Jager (Royal King Pleco) 2nd: Evelyn Eagan (Blue/Melano Deltatail Male Betta); 3rd:Rich Levy (Half Black Pastel Guppy) Unofficial 2003-2004 Bowl Show totals to date: Carlotti De Jager 5pts. Evelyn Eagan 3pts. Rich Levy Ipt. Welcome back to the 51 members who renewed their GCAS memberships and Welcome to our newest member: Frank Schury Last Month's Door Prize Winner: Ron Ducasse won Back to Nature Guide Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER eiTY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next meeting: November 5,2003 Speaker: Douglas Patac "Focus Oh Our Youth" Fishkeeping in the Classroom 8pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St., Flushing, NY Contact: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzi Telephone: (718) 767-2691 e-mail: GreaterCitv@compuserve.com http://www.greatercity.org

Brooklyn Aquarium Society October 10,2003 Giant Auction Seepage 4 for details Call: BAS Events Hotline (718) 837-4455 http://www.brooklynaquariumsociety.org See page 10 for information on the October Giant Auction!

East Coast Guppy Association

Big Apple Guppy Club

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 1st ^^ur^y^o' 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: The Holtsville Park and Zoo 249 Buckley Road ~ Holtsville, NY Contact: Vinny Krey ling (516)938-4066 http://liasonline.org/ _^

Meets: 8:00 P.M, - 2nd Tuesday of each month at the American Legion Post 1066, 66 Veterans Blvd., Massapequa, NY October 14, 2003: Silent Auction Contact: Mike Foran (516)798-6766 http://ncas.fwsl .com/index.html ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^= Norwalk Aquarium Society

North Jersey Aquarium Society Meets: 8:00 PM - 3rd Thursday of the month at the Meadowlands Environmental Center 1 Dekorte Park Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 http://www.njas.net/ ore-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com

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

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253 http://norwalkas.org/hrml/

October 4-5: 37th Annual Tropical Fish Show & Auction at Earthplace - Westport, CT See page 6 for more information

October 2003

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Fin Fun This month's lead article focuses on a tank of plant spawning killifish. A large percent of killifish do not have "common" names. That should make identification easy — right? But wait, killifish are not exempt from having their scientific names switched. In the left column below are former scientific names of some killifish. Match each of these names with the current (at least as of today!) scientific name for that fish.

Former scientific name

Current Scientific Name

Panchax rubrostigma

Aplocheilichthys loati

Haplochilus calliurus

Callopanchax occidentalis

Fundulopanchax multicolor

Epiplatys multifasciatus

Aphyosemion caeruleum

Aphyosemion australe

Fundulus sjoestedti

Fundulopanchax sjoestedti

Aplocheilus boulengeri

Aphyosemion bitaeniatum

Panchax carnapi

Aphyosemion exiguum

Haplochilus schoelleri

Aplocheilus lineatus

Solution to last month's puzzle Is It A 1 Common Name Black Tuxedo

1 Guppy X

Half Moon

X (Betta)

Convict

X (Cichlid)

Blue King Cobra

X

Red Grass

X

Flamingo Spadetail

X

Mexican Sailfm Snakeskin

X (Molly) X

Rummynose Lacetail Top Sword

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1 Not a Guppy

X (Tetra) X

October 2003

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


Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

October 2003 volume X number 8

Modern Aquarium  

October 2003 volume X number 8

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