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DECEMBER 2003 volume X number 10

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York



-L f JL Series III

ON THE COVER The female Fiji Damseifish (Chrysiptera taupou)on our cover this month is only one of the many species of damselfish available for the marine hobbyist, in Bernard Harrigan's article, cichtid enthusiasts are urged to "Move Up To The Next Level" by trying damselfish. Photo by Susan Priest GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members President . . . . . . . . . . . J o s e p h Ferdenzi Vice-President > . . . . . . Mark Soberman Treasurer .;............ , JackTraub Corres. Secretary , . . . . . . Warren Feuer Recording Secretary . . . . Edward Vukich Members At Large Steve Chen Pete D'Orio Carfotti DeJager Claudia Dickinson Jason Kerner Ben Hays 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

Vol. X, No. 10

December 2003

FEATURES Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


Manufacturer Donations


Cichlid Lovers, Move Up To The Next Level: Damselfish


This Month's Program Host: Jeff George

.... 6

Misadventures in Nano-Reefing


Book Review: The Coral Reef Aquarium


Contradictory Bold Statements About the Marine Aquarium (exchange reprint) . . 10 A Holiday Wish


A Cause and Cure For Popeye Disease


Lateral Lines (guest editorial)


Photos from our Last Meeting


InterFish Net - Saltwater Hobby Websites . . . 20 MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief .',.,.. Alexander A. Priest Associate Editors , .. , Susan Priest and Claudia Dickinson Copy Editor.............. Dora Dong Photo/Layout Editor . / . . . Jason Kemer Advertising Mgr. . . . . . . Mark Soberman Executive Editor . . . . . . Joseph Ferdenzi

Wet Leaves (Book Review)


Homeland Security


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


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: / / o u r w o r l d . CompuServe . com/homepages/greatercity

by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST ext month, Modern Aquarium will celebrate its 100th issue in Series III. While I'll talk more about this later, I bring it up now to say that, to date (this being our 99th issue in the current series), we have had only two "saltwater theme" issues. The first was May 1995. It consisted of three articles reprinted from other publications, and only one GCAS member article (on dwarf seahorses). The second such issue was November 2001. That one had three original articles, all by different GCAS members. Among our 99 issues to date, we have had a marine article here and there, but not enough at any one time to have a true "marine theme" issue. (For example, our March issue this year featured an absolutely fascinating article by Stephen Sica on tropical marine life off the coast of Far Rockaway, NY.) I really want to do more theme issues, and I'd like to see more marine articles, but the fact is that most of our members (or, at least, most of our members willing to write articles) are freshwater aquarists. But, sometimes things just work out. Shortly after receiving an article from Bernie Harrigan on damselfish, my wife and I were at the North Jersey Aquarium Society's 50th Anniversary Show. Among the many things they had was a "Silent Auction" similar in many ways to the annual event Greater City has at its April meetings, except that all the items were new, and in some cases, several items were "bundled" as a single auction lot. As with the Greater City version, bidders wrote down their bids on a paper in front of the auction item, with each succeeding higher bidder writing his or her bid on the next lower line. The bidder on the last line (with the highest bid) was the winner of that auction item. One of the auction lots at the North Jersey show included, among other things, a beautiful book titled Damselfishes of the World. I bid (and rebid, as necessary) on that lot, and succeeded in


winning it. Now, I had two marine related items I could use for Modern Aquarium, an article on a marine fish, and a book that could be reviewed. As luck would have it, at our last meeting, Dora Dong (whose articles are always a joy to read) gave me a disk with an article on a mini-reef tank, and a book review on a marine theme. I now had a damselfish article, a damselfish book review, and the two marine related articles from Dora, OHMYGOSH — if I add a FinFun puzzle with a marine theme, and an appropriate exchange article reprint, I could have a marine theme issue! And, that's how this issue came to be. (But, for the freshwater "purists," I included an article on "popeye disease" that may be of help and interest.) Now, I wrote earlier that I'd get back to the fact that next month (January 2004) is our 100th issue of Series III of Modern Aquarium. If you have not yet given me an aquarium hobby related tip, trick, or hint, and you want to be part of this historic issue, you still have time (but not much time) in which to do so. What is "an aquarium hobby related tip, trick, or hint?" The answer is, "almost anything hobby related." As an example, the glass tops sold for tanks are a little too small for some tanks (the older Odell tanks, for example). So, I buy a pack of plastic report folders (the kind with clear plastic covers, and a colored plastic "binder" that slips on and off to hold the pages) in a stationery store. I remove the plastic binder strips, cut them to size, and clip them on the sides of the glass top. (Don't throw away the plastic covers. They can be cut to size and taped over openings in the tank lid to prevent losses caused by fish jumping.) Is that something I can get printed in one of the commercial hobby magazines — I don't think so. Is it an idea that's going to make me rich and famous — I only wish! But, it is something that someone else might find useful. If you've found a way to save money (something that is always welcome), or to save time and effort (for me, something that is even more welcome), or to solve a problem, do a repair, or be more successful in keeping a species offish, then I ask you to send me that information for our January 2004 issue. Give it to me today at our meeting, or e-mail it to me at 102337.517@compuserve.com, or to our society's email address at GreaterCity@compuserve.com At this time of year, I wish everyone the best for the upcoming new year — Peace, Joy, and Happiness. I hope to see all of you at our Holiday Party and Awards Banquet next month. Jl

December 2003

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI ast month's program by Doug Patac was both heart-warming and promising. Doug is a member of various local aquarium societies, and, most significantly, a teacher at an elementary school in Harlem. About a year ago, Doug decided to make his classroom special by introducing his pupils to the world of aquariums. Doug wrote to several manufacturers of aquarium products to solicit donations for his project. To their credit, the responses from these companies were overwhelmingly positive. Tetra, All-Glass, Marineland, and Python (just to name a few) contributed enough in tanks and equipment for Doug to outfit his classroom with one aquarium for every two students. The children were also provided with various fish to keep and breed, and were encouraged to write diary entries about their ongoing observations. Doug shared some of these writings with us, and it was clear that the children were overwhelmingly pleased with their experiences. In fact, some of the students proved to be astute observers of piscine behavior. It was very gratifying to see our hobby put to such wonderful use. Not only was the educational environment enhanced, but, who knows, perhaps a few future aquarists were spawned. Congratulations, Doug! Greater City is honored to salute an obviously dedicated and innovative teacher like yourself!


In the past, our Show Chair has come from the Board of Directors. However, we would more than welcome someone from outside the Board who wants to participate in this exciting event. Rest assured that you would receive everyone's full support and cooperation. The Show Chair is simply responsible for coordinating the various workers who put on the show. The vast majority of those workers have been performing the same tasks for many years now. Therefore, most of the show jobs are self-executing. A new Show Chair would actually be learning from these veterans, while concomitantly expanding the pool of people from Greater City who would know how to put on a show. Believe me, the need for continuity of knowledge and experience is important. When I first became President of GCAS in 1986, the last show had been held in 1980. No one was left on the Board who had actually been a Show Chair, or who had any substantial experience in putting on a show. That caused a major interruption in our show calendar, such that GCAS held no show until 1992. It was only after I had gained experience in putting on two American Killifish Association Conventions that I felt comfortable in leading a GCAS show. Well, as they say, the rest is history. The 1992 show was very successful, and we have been having shows on a more or less regular cycle ever since (we hold shows once every other year). We built a cadre of experienced show people so that, hopefully, we will never again have a 12 year drought. But, as they say in baseball, you can never have enough good pitching. Here at GCAS, you can never have enough experienced show hands. If the prospect of being the Show Chair seems too daunting, consider a narrower role. What can you do? Don't worry, you can do a lot to help us. Please, just come talk to me! Lastly, thanks for making this club a pleasure to be part of.

I want to remind everyone that our 82nd Anniversary Show is coming. It will be held on the weekend of May 22-23, 2004 at the Queens County Farm Museum on Little Neck Boulevard.

Greater City's January Meeting and Holiday Party/Awards Presentation will be January 7 at the Queens Botanical Garden

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

December 2003

t this time, we would like to acknowledge those manufacturers who have made generous donations to Greater City this year. Please remember their support for our society and the hobby and give •them every consideration the next time you are purchasing aquarium equipment or supplies.


The Orginator O1 Premium Aquatic Diets!! Hikari Seachem Laboratories

KENT MARINE llKjfac^ram^

Kent Marine





Zoo Med

Omega Sea

Penn Plax Wardley

December 2003

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

Cichlid Lovers, Move Up To The Next Level:


ou are a cichlid enthusiast. You were drawn to them because of their coloration, their social behavior, their wide variety, their parental care, or even their aggressive tendencies. You've kept Africans, oscars, and apistogramma. Every time you walk into an aquarium shop, you keep a sharp eye out for a new cichlid challenge. Well, do I have a challenge for you — they're called damselfish! I know what you're thinking: "Damsels aren't cichlids. They're a saltwater fish." Let me clue you in on a few fish facts. Damselfish come from the Pomacentridae family. Cichlids and pomacentrids are closely related. Both families are of the suborder Perciformes. Cichlids and pomacentrids are the only two families in that group which have only one pair of nares (nostrils). They resemble each other in structure, form, and behavior. Most damsels reproduce in typical Central American cichlid style, that is, substrate spawning. The species Acanthochromis polyuacantus feed their young a mucus secreted through their skin. Very discus-like, don't you think? Other comparable features include one continuous dorsal fin, a toothless palate, an incomplete lateral line, and territorial behavior. There are over 320 species of pomacentrids, including Clownfish, Dominos, Sergeant Majors, Chromis, as well as other assorted damsels. Damselfish are found in freshwater and brackish water, as well as tropical and semi-tropical seas. They usually live in shallow water, but some can be found in depths of over 250 feet. Damsels are noted for being aggressive fish. Less aggressive damsels are often the open water, schooling (shoaling) variety. Keep these fish in groups of five to ten. The more territorial of the shoaling species should be housed at ten gallons per fish, and make sure that you provide them with plenty of hiding spaces. The most aggressive varieties should be kept in a tank by themselves. Keep a sharp eye out for bullies. Damsel-on-damsel aggression is probably the single biggest reason for their demise. Remove the aggressor, if necessary. Examples of some of the more combative damselfish are: Dominos, Garibaldis, Giant Sea of Cortez, Hawaiian Dascyllus, and Neon Velvets.


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

Damselfish are easy to maintain, and are able to live in a greater range of environments than most marine fish. Temperature ranging from 70° to 80°F, pH from 7.5 to 8.3, and salinity levels from 1.025 to as low as 1.018 are commonly accepted b\t species. Because of this, these hardy fish are commonly bought to "seed" the filtration system in new aquariums. This is a totally unsuitable exploitation. Damsels are just as susceptible to disease as any other saltwater fish. A1 ways try to maintain these fish in an environment free of ammonia or nitrites, and with as low a concentration of nitrates as possible. A fish should never be offered up as a sacrifice, just to cycle your aquarium. Several damsels have been spawned in the home aquarium, including: Tomato Anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus), Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus), False Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris), Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula), A u s t r a l i a n A n e m o n e f i s h (Amphiprion rubrocinctus), Chinese Demoiselle (Neopomacentrus bankieri), Ambon Damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis), Neon Damselfish (Pomacentrus coelestis) and the Spinecheek Anemonefish (Premmas biaculeatus),iusttor\ame a few. Spawning these fish is not a simple feat, and once achieved, there's no disputing that you are a master breeder! Plenty of thought has to be given as to how you will get a pair of damselfish to spawn, how you will raise and feed the fry, as well as how you will house the growing young (which could number over 1,000 offspring). Damselfish are truly nature's gauntlet thrown in the face of anyone who claims to be an expert cichlid hobbyist. Now, whether or not that gauntlet is picked up depends on if that elite hobbyist is ready to move up to the next level.

Editor's Note: If this article has inspired you to try damselfish, then you might be interested in obtaining the book Damselfishes of the World by Dr. Gerald Allen, which is reviewed on page 21 of this issue.

December 2003

GCAS a most \A/arm lA/eicowie to

JEFF GEORGE Presenting

"Fish Wits" by CLAUDIA DICKINSON urning her child's kitchen highchair towards a ten-gallon aquarium to entertain him, the young working mother in Lafayette, Indiana, was able to turn back to her breakfast preparations, her mind now at ease. The small child's legs and arms flailed and kicked in glee as the gleaming fish caught the young boy's rapt attention. As the future unfolded, this would prove to be the beginning of a long love of the aquarium hobby for our knowledgeable GCAS aquarist, and talented "Fish Wits" star, Jeff George. Upon moving to Arizona at the age of eight, Jeff took over the care of his mother's tank and its inhabitants. This one tank soon turned into several, which rapidly filled with guppies, as well as swordtails and mollies, and it was evident that Jeffs hobby had become his passion! An article on Malawi Cichlids in a 1976 Aquarium News came to steer Jeff towards an avid interest in African Rift Lake Cichlids that was to have an impact on the next twenty years of his fishkeeping career. The beautiful and diversified color variations were a great attraction for Jeff, and as he began to work with these fish he found them relatively easy to breed. A further attraction was the water preference for African cichlids, as the hard, alkaline Arizona water was perfect directly from the tap. Due to his work in the computer business, several moves took Jeff to Texas, California and Florida. While in California, Jeff joined the famed Pacific Coast Cichlid Association, which made quite an impression on him. The membership was immense, as were the large monthly auctions, which boasted massive numbers of desirable cichlids, commanding large sums of money. Working at a huge fish farm in Florida, Jeff was not favorably impressed as it was oriented towards producing as many fish as possible, by whatever means that took. A move back to Phoenix with his parents turned Jeff towards photography. This successful career brought him to New York in 1996. The neutral water of the East brought a whole new world of fishkeeping to Jeff, who is a firm believer that "one should learn to enjoy and keep a species offish which like the water that comes out of their tap." Jeff most enjoys the breeding aspect of the hobby and feels there is nothing like discovering a new batch of fry. He has bred many cichlids aside from those of the African Rift Lakes, including Central and South American, as well as West African and many dwarf cichlids. Although visitors to his fishroom will always be drawn towards the colorful mbuna tanks, Jeff now prefers livebearers, and finds the muted brown wild types most challenging. To the good fortune of the Greater City Aquarium Society, Jeff discovered our club at the Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1997. He has since generously contributed his impressive writing skills, ideas, knowledge, and talents to the club over the years, as well as donating many bags offish to the GCAS auctions. Jeff even served a term (from 1999 to 2000) as President of the GCAS. All of us at the GCAS are proud and fortunate to have Jeff as a member, and extend a warm welcome to him tonight as he treats us to his celebrated "Fish Wits!"



December 2003

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

Misadventures in Nano-Reefing by DORA DONG here is just something about the technical First of all, it in no way shape or form aspects of fishkeeping that appeals to me. held anything close to 7.4 gallons...it was more While I do enjoy gazing at healthy fish like 5 gallons and change. Apparently, they going about their business, it is planning and included the hood in the measurement of how setting up the aquarium itself that interests me the much water the tank could hold, ignoring the fact most. Well, what needs more technical planning that the hood had the light unit in it. When filled than a reef aquarium? up to the waterline indicated along the side of the Of course, I had neither the money or the tank, there was certainly at least two gallons less space for a large reef aquarium, but after looking than stated. around the internet, I discovered an interesting Also, the hood was attached to the tank, segment of the reefkeeping hobby: the nano-reef. with no way to detach it. That meant there was no Okay, what's a nano-reef? Well, way to get a heater into the tank, as well as no way basically, it is a reef aquarium that's 20 gallons or to take out the powerhead that came with it. And less. boy did I ever want to take 1out that powerhead! It was Less?! "How can a reef NOISY, something I aquarium of less than 20 certainly didn't want in my gallons be kept, and still be room when I went to sleep. stable?" you may ask. And the "3-stage filtration" For those who are was basically a segmented religiously dedicated to area in the back, creating a maintenance and are sort of a wet-dry area, willing to watch over the powered by the powerhead aquarium like a hawk, it is that came with the tank. Well, I had two a viable option. Since I options: send the tank found the concept back, or work on it. For interesting, I decided to some odd reason, instead give it a try. An "Azoo Sweet Match" aquarium of getting my money back, First of all, a tank. The seven gallon mini-bow (from the Doctors Foster and Smith website) I decided to stick with it and work on it. Stubbornness, I guess. from All-Glass was a popular choice for such a The first thing I did was toss the back project, but it presented two problems for me. First panel that created the "3-stage filtration." There of all, it was expensive, around $10 per gallon. was little enough room in the tank without it taking Secondly, there wasn't much space in my (then) up more. Then I cut the electrical wire of the crowded room, so I had nowhere to place it. So powerhead and took the unit out. It was going into with those two obstacles, I looked about for the garbage. To alter the hood so that I could get another tank suitable for a nano-reef. electrical wires in, as well as alter the light, I I thought I found such a thing in the borrowed a power drill, and drilled a hole big Doctors Foster and Smith catalogue: the Azoo enough to fit in electrical cords. Now I could put Sweet Match. It looked attractive, with a glass in a heater and a quieter powerhead. front with curved edges, and came in two colors, Unfortunately, during my endeavors, I silver and pewter. It measured 14 3/4 x 9 }A x 12 V2 managed to snap off the hood anyway. Sigh. according to the catalogue, and held 7.4 gallons. It I also improved the lighting, basically by also came with a "47gph, 3-stage filtration unit" taking out the 13 watt compact fluorescent bulb and a 13 watt power compact fluorescent light. and ballast they had in there, and putting in two Well, I thought, can a tank be more perfect than more bulbs, so that it came out to three units of 13 that? Although it was $80, I thought the extra watt lights. I got the 13 watt kits from Aquarium features made it worthwhile, so I ordered it. After a few weeks of delay because Hobbyist Supply, which can be found at: www.ahsupply.com Drs. Foster & Smith were out of stock, I finally With the three lights inside the hood, I received the tank. It was cute, all right...and that was forced to attach the ballasts to the outside of was about all it had going for it. the hood, which was a better idea anyway because


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

December 2003

it lessened the heat buildup. Now I had around 7 watts per gallon over the tank, which was perfect for a reef. I also spliced a computer fan into an electrical transformer, attaching it over the ventilation slits in the hood so that it could blow air into the hood, hopefully cooling it. All this work and I still hadn't started on stocking the tank yet! I put the tank on the table I used for tanks in my room, and filled it with water that had been first filtered with Aquarium Pharmaceutical's Tap Water Purifier. I put in a cup of Tropic Marin marine salt for every 2 gallons of water, bringing the specific gravity up to 1.025, and let the tank percolate for a few days while I recovered. Unfortunately, I discovered that there weren't enough holes in the hood to cool the 3 bulbs, even with the computer fan blowing into it. I drilled a few more holes into the hood (which was made of some sort of plastic material) over where the lights had melted indents. It seemed alright after that...until I accidentally left a shirt on the unit and blocked off the holes, which made the hood melt even more. I really started to hate this tank by now. Anyway, after a few days of a tank that was basically empty except for the saltwater, it was time to get live sand. Now, the current technique of setting up a reef tank is to keep it as simple as a planted tank, i.e., make a complete biological system, rather than doing a chemistry experiment. The thought process goes something like this: the live sand and live rocks will form its own biological filtration for the tank. If the aquarium is filled about 1 /3 with those two things, all one really needs to add is a powerhead and perhaps a skimmer. The rest is taken care of by water changes and adding food for the animals. Sometimes, depending on the invertebrates one has in the reef aquarium, one may or may not need to add calcium supplements. But basically the care is similar to a freshwater planted tank. So, in accordance with that philosophy, I purchased live sand. "Live" means it has living flora and fauna, and basically is already cycled, rather than plain sand, which contains only sand. Since my tank has a footprint of about 9" x 12", I bought 10 pounds of prepackaged live sand called Arag-Alive from PetSmart, and two pounds of live sand that had been in a tank from Country Critters. Those two stores are located on Long Island, and were quite a drive to get to, especially Country Critters. While I was at Country Critters, I also purchased live rocks. These are rocks that had been taken directly from the ocean and thus have all manner of creatures living on it, from snails to amphipods to hydra and algae. It is recommended

to have 2 to 2!/2 pounds of live rock to every gallon of water in the tank, so I purchased about 10 pounds worth. Yes, this cost a lot of money. Fortunately, the guy there was impressed by the fact that I was doing such a small tank, and gave me a discount. All in all, I believe I had spent about $50 so far. The most important part of starting and maintaining a reef tank is patience. After putting in the live rock and sand, it is recommended that the aquarist do nothing else for at least a month. This is so that the creatures that don't survive the trip from the ocean to the tank can die off, and so that those creatures that are still alive can establish themselves and create a sort of balance in the tank. For several weeks I watched as my tank became active with life. Slowly, amphipods began to crawl all over the glass and sides, much like a planted tank that doesn't include fish. The principle is the same: in the absence of predators, small animals are free to breed. There were small snails and limpets that were emerging too, crawling over the rocks and sand to forage for food. Now that I think about it, I should have just kept the aquarium the way it was. But, of course I didn't. With the intensity of lights and nutrients in the water, algae was beginning to form. And what's the recommended solution to algae? That's right, snails. I went down to Fish Town, USA, and bought a pair of astrea snails. I knew that at a higher pH, ammonia became more toxic, so I was careful not to buy too many animals at one time. So for the next two weeks, I watched the snails and amphipods and limpets move around my tank. Over the next few months, I added pairs of animals every two weeks, eventually ending up with two red hermits, two blue hermits, two peppermint shrimps, and two unknown snails. The biggest purchase, as well as my last purchase, was mushroom anemones, which I carefully placed on my live rock. I changed about a gallon and a half each week, and added B-Ionic, which was a coral supplement that included the vitamins and minerals that a reef needed. Since I had such a small tank, I didn't need to add much. I enjoyed the aquarium for a few months, watching the peppermint shrimp, which were my most lively animals, explore the tank. However, things were slowly unraveling. As I have said in the beginning of the article, one absolutely cannot be lazy when it comes to reef tanks of this size. Unfortunately, I got lazy. It seemed that no matter how much water I changed, I was losing the battle against algae. One of the biggest problems with this tank, the enclosed hood, didn't allow for any kind of skimmer to be used, which would have taken care of the excess nutrients in the water. Eventually,

December 2003

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

algae covered the sand, choking off access to fresh oxygen. Also, the peppermint shrimp that I added to take care of the nuisance aptasia anemones ate the amphipods and limpets that would have taken care of the algae, creating an imbalance of predator and prey in my tank. Things quickly went downhill from there. If I had to do it all over again, what would I do? I would absolutely start with another tank. Even though I myself didn't have space for the All-Glass 7 gallon mini-bow, I would recommend it for those who are considering a nano-reef; either that, or a regular ten gallon tank. Or perhaps even a 5l/2 gallon, as long as it was a regular one that

allowed me to have a hang-on filter of some son where I can place carbon and phosphate remover. I've even heard that there are skimmers small enough to be placed into a large power filter, which is what some nano-reefers use. For lighting, I'd order a 32 watt PowerCompact retrofit kit from CustomSeaLife, to use alone on the mini-bow or 5}/2 gallon, or with another 32 watt on a ten gallon tank. Nano-reefs are cute, and a great challenge. They are also theoretically less expensive than a full-sized reef, but that's only if you're smart in your purchases. I myself will stick to freshwater tanks from now on, however.

reef aquarium, from the proper plumbing connections for a sump, to a refugia for the animals. Temperature, lighting, as well as chemical and mechanical filters are also covered, although he discourages the reader from adding "bells and whistles" which he considers unnecessary expenses. by DORA DONG Dr. Shimek also devotes a small chapter to tweaking the reader's water so that it is appropriate to making sea water. His suggestions his is my favorite book when it comes to range from include buying distilled water to using learning about coral reef aquariums. It is natural sea water. Oddly, he doesn't mention both informative and entertaining, as well as reverse osmosis. The chapter concludes with very helpful. It is 126 pages long, but has a lot of information on live sand and live rock, which is the useful information. basis for the reef. The book ends with an overview Dr. Shimek begins at the beginning, of the organisms in the reef tank, from defining what a reef invertebrates to aquarium, as opposed vertebrates. The to an actual reef, is. The Coral Reef Aquarium invertebrate section is He takes the reader By Ron Shimek, Ph.D. substantially larger than step by step through Wiley Publishing, Inc., 1999 the vertebrate section, the components of a $12.95 by virtue of it being a reef, from the bottom book about reef tanks, up...quite literally, as which usually don't he thoroughly include too many fishes. After all, the fish that live describes the necessity of having a healthy on the reef are there because the reef animals are substrate, as well as the need for proper lighting. food for them! To him, a reef aquarium is a complete biological I enjoyed this book, as an introduction to unit—or at least it should be. Every bit of food or keeping reef aquariums. The information present energy that goes into the tank should be useful and is complete, if not too deep. If one wanted more used, creating what he calls a "food web" that information on the topics discussed, there are other includes every living thing in the aquarium. books that go into them more deeply. However, After describing what is necessary in a this book is certainly more enjoyable to read, and reef tank, the author takes the reader through the gives the reader an appreciation for all the units process of building one, from choosing the tank to that comprise a complete reef aquarium, and how setting up the equipment for it. He includes all the delicate the balance is in nature. things he believes are necessary for a successful

Book Review


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

December 2003

econd Reprints deserving a second look This month's reprint is from Aquatica, the publication of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society. In keeping with this month's saltwater "theme," this article (which appeared in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of Aquatica) is reproduced for your enjoyment and enlightenment. The opinions expressed here are of the author, Pat Donston, owner of "Absolutely Fish," an aquarium store in Clifton, NJ.

Contradictory Bold Statements (AboutPat the Marine Aquarium) Donston BAS & owner of Absolutely Fish


mporting thousands and thousands of marine fish and corals, and implementing tactics and theories upon keeping them healthy and alive, we've learned a few things. From the hundreds of books and articles we've read, and thousands of customers we've talked to, we have seen and heard just about everything when it comes to marine fish and reef husbandry. My scope with this paper is to make some bold statements that go against the norm of what is known or commonly written about in this hobby. I make these statements in a light-hearted way, not really claiming they are 100% correct, but to instill in your thought process an open mind to possibly see another view. Many knowledgeable aquarists and professionals might look at our statements, agreeing only partially, or disagreeing altogether. The point we hope to make is that there are usually other factors to the contrary and the average aquarist will not be aware of the total facts, thus misleading them to believe the initial point and nothing more. So much about biology and scientific study is debatable. It goes without saying, the same is true with animal husbandry: "In this hobby, we must all remember there is an art-form associated with biology, chemistry, and physics of marine life." With this understood, we must take the practical known facts and artistically use them to benefit your own system. Unfortunately, art is in a different form for every person and system, thus it can never have the same application in all cases. That's what makes our hobby so challenging and debatable.


The statements we proclaim are debatable. I will only give reason to those statements made through personal observation, cited literature, and experiences through customers and fellow aquarists I know. I will make the known statement the general aquarist believes and argue the opposite by stating, "Not True." STATEMENT 64 You cannot keep a lot of fishin a reef tank55 RESPONSE

The belief: A lot of fishes are not compatible with coral and other invertebrates, grazing upon and engulfing specimens you have purchased. The other argument is that too many fishes cause an excess amount of waste which your system may not endure. Combine this with the high light requirements the average reef aquarist uses, and it is terribly hard to control undesirable algaes.

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

To the contrary, since the early 1990s, there has been a tremendous surge in reef aquarium set-ups, giving more aquarists the opportunity to try a large variety of fishes in a reef tank. The list of fishes "not compatible" used to go by families or generalizations. Today, we tend to list reef compatible fish by individuals (not including the whole family from which it hails). An example would be butterflyfishes, Chaetodontidae, which used to be listed as noncompatible reef fish. Recent observations have shown that there were a number of fish from this group, such as Chelmon rostratus, known to be "good" reef fish and sometimes advantageous. The same can be said for angelfish, Pomacanthidae, gobys, Gobidae, and blennys, Blenniidae. Some of these fish used to be listed as all reef compatible. Now they are individualized as some not being reef compatible. Through experience and studies, we have a larger list of reef compatible fish than we ever did before. It used to be through elimination of fish families, you could only choose from approximately 20% of fishes on hand at your local shop. Today I estimate you can probably choose from about 80% of fishes (some having possible restrictions). The amount of fish vs. waste production is another contradictory point. A well set up reef tank will have proper waste removal far exceeding the animals taxing the system. Larger, more advanced protein skimmers, resin reactors, refugium systems, cured live rock, live sand, and quality R.O. units are now being used, ensuring organic waste, phosphates, and silicates are virtually zero. We have found fishes can be kept at levels moderate to high in numbers in reef tanks (feeding prepared foods on a regular basis). In fact "most" good reef keepers have a large number of fish, keeping excess waste extremely low with little to no problems of micro-algae blooms. They even feed them once to twice a day. I summarize by saying that you can keep a lot offish (selection and numbers) in a reef tank, if you use the proper equipment and techniques.

corals, sponges and encrusting algaes in nature. Since it has been known that larger species (Pomacanthus, Holacanthus, and Chaetodntoplus] feed on sponges, sea-squirts, anemones, and corals, they have NOT been recommended for years as reef compatible fish. However, their close cousins, the pygmy group (genus: Centropyge), have always been sought after by reef aquarists, probably because of their less aggressive nature and size. Well nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is centropyge angels are more adaptive grazers than the larger species of this family. We have sold more fish traps to catch flame angels, C. loriculus, lemon-peels, C flavissmus. bicolor, C. bicolor, keyhole, C tibicin, and C sibli than any other fish I can account for. When one examines their natural diet, it would appear the threat to corals would be minimal. Most of the pygmies feed on algae, scraped or bitten off coral debris. Although these angels may not be feeding directly on your coralpolyps, they do graze on the slime your corals extrude, thus damaging bases and mantles (Scott Michael). It seems once they start to eat coralslime, they can't stop, leaving the aquarist very frustrated as they watch these fish pick apart their living reef. They tend to prefer open-faced corals such as fa via brains, elegance, trachyphylias, and bubbles. I've known them to eat xenia and clam mantles as well. Angels from the genus Genicanthus and some larger species from Pomacanthus and Chaetodontoplus are now found to be better reef fishes because of their natural feeding behavior, consisting of plankton and small organisms suspended in mid-water. Although I do not advocate the use of dwarf angels in a reef tank, some that could be added with less risk would be: C. nox, C. acanthops, C. argi, C. multifasciatus, C. venustm, and C. aurantius. I don't think that I can say it any better than Scott Michael, "Introducing any angelfish to your reef aquarium always entails some degree of risk."

"Centropyge, or dwarf angels, are good reef fish."

STATEMENT -ยงm "Damselfishes (Pomacentridae) are the best fish to cycle or start a new tank with.-

RESPONSE RESPONSE Angelfishes, Pomacanthidae, are found on coral reefs throughout the tropics and are much sought after by aquarists. These fish require careful maintenance with most species feeding on Modem Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

The belief: the fishes that comprise this family are, for the most part, small and very hardy. They are considered among the "easier" fishes for

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the beginning aquanst. Some damselfishes graze on algae from the reef, while many others congregate in schools to feed on micro-plankton, making them very easy animals to feed prepared foods in captivity. While most of this may be true, what most aquarists don't understand is where and how they are shipped overseas in extremely large numbers. Some wholesalers bring in over 5,000 a week! To bring costs down, the shippers pack these fish 2-5 per small bag (unlike most other fish, which are packed singularly). Because of the volumes needed, it has been well documented in some such areas that these fishes are drugged so as to catch more per dive. With this in mind, these fishes are not only shocked tremendously through transport, but have a weakened immune system as well. We sell a lot of damsels per week. Most of them going to new-cycling aquariums. I can't think of too many times where the customer can say that they lost zero, and too many times where they all die. The blame is usually put on the water conditions of the aquarium. Although in some circumstances this may be true, for the most part, it is the damsels themselves who are responsible for their demise. There are times when we have purchased 300 damsels and over 50% die! Our tanks are cycled and clean. We keep exotic, expensive and hard to-keep fishes alive in these same systems. Our experience shows damsels to have a much lower survival/death rate percentage than most other marine fish families. What this tells me is that there may be alternatives to start your aquarium with. Although most want to weigh cost factors into what they buy, damselfishes still may be your first choice. Remember, no dead fish has value. So what is the alternative to inoculating your new system? Live rock by far is the most popular today. Mainly because it truly doesn't die, but only cures through die-off. A very good bioenzyme or culture is a great start to ensure ammonia and nitrite levels don't peak. This gives you an advantage to add more known sensitive animals. Fishes such as: triggers, groupers, hawks, basslets, eels, cardinals, smelt, whitings, blennies, most gobies, and most wrasses are good alternatives to start with. One should always keep in mind reef-compatibility, and numbers. Fish numbers should be less than what would be recommended for damselfishes. I highly recommend seeking advice from a reputable source or fish store before going this route.


Other fishes I DO NOT recommend to cycle new aquariums with are: • lionfishes, Scopaenidae • batfishes. Ephippididae • "all" angelfishes, Pomacanthidae • "all" butterfly fishes, Chaetodntidae • mandarins. Callionmidae • clownfishes. Pomcentridae • tangs, Acanihuridae • "all" puffers Tetraodontidae or Ostracionidae.

STATEMENT ' "Butterflyfishes, difficult to keep

arz, very


"Not entirely true," In the wild, butterflyfishes constantly hunt for small prey upon coral reefs. Many eat algae, but most feed on coral polyps, and sponges. Unfortunately, they are the most sensitive of fishes, so in spite of their alluring appearance, the beginning aquanst should avoid them. I disagree with this statement for a number of reasons. While it is true a lot of butterfly species are strictly coral eaters and should not be brought into captivity, many species we commonly see in the shops are not coral eaters and do quite well in captivity. I credit this to new advanced technology, collection sites, and equipment which enables us to keep better fish... longer. A lot of information previously written about them is outdated. These older books and articles were written before the time of Berlin-systems and when innovative work was being done with ultraviolet sterilizers and wet-dry filters. I can't help but think some of these authors would write differently today, knowing what we know now. I deal with customers all the time who won't even think of trying some of these common butterflyfishes because of generalizations they've read or have been told. On the other hand, they won't blink an eye to try a flame angel, Queen angel, achilles tang, clown tang, or one of an assortment of other commonly seen fish in local stores. We have found through our experience, certain species of butterflys actually have a lower death rate than most Centropyge angels, batfishes, Holocanthus or Pomacantus angels and even some tangs! If you were to take five lunula or auriga butterflys and put them in five different tanks, and take five Queen or flame angels and put them in

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

five different tanks, I would bet that more butterflys would be alive after the first year. I'm not trying to say all butterflys do better than all tangs or angelfish. I'm merely trying to point out that specific species are actually hardier than many fishes in other families. A good experienced aquarist knows information should be collected in the nature of a specific species... not the families. As with all fishes, one should pick the right individual fish and ask the right questions. Please refer to Marine Fish, Keeping Them Disease Free (Pat Donston). Below I have listed easier to keep butterfly fishes: C. auriga, C. vagabundus, C. xanthurus, C. kleini, C. tinkeri, C. milliaris, C. lunula, F. flavissimus, C. melannotus, C. frembilii, C, declives, H. polylepis, H. zoster, C. ulietensis, C. rafflesi, All Heniochus species. These are also some of the most commonly seen in aquarium shops.


; ;:':^^i£J£:i "Mantis shrimp and brisfleworms ar^ devastating and extremely destmctiwe to reef aquariums." RESPONSE "Not true."

during the day. This is when we actually see them, and might want to remove them. The same argument can be made for bristle worms. Customers tend to believe that because their clams are dying or are mysteriously eaten away at night, they must have bristleworms. Well, this much is true, most reef tanks have bristleworms. They can eat clams or other soft corals, but usually can't get at healthy clams. Remember, clams do grow and thrive on ocean sand beds where bristleworms are plenty in numbers (probably a lot more than in your reef tank). Clams, as with most sessile animals, have very good natural defense mechanisms to protect themselves against predators. A healthy clam will more than likely be able to protect itself from a tiny bristleworm. It has also been documented numerous times that most species of bristelworms are harmless and beneficial. They sift sand beds, consuming detritus and other unwanted wastes. (Sprung, 19941 Delbeek, 2002). I'm not trying to say mantis shrimp and bristleworms are no problem for reef aquansts. I just think that they are tremendously blamed for problems and the death of animals, when in fact, the situation may stem from something else, such as health or individual husbandry.


This is one of my favorites. I love it when a customer comes in and tells me they have a mantis shrimp. I'll ask, "How do you know?" They respond with, "Well, because all of my fish are disappearing and I can't find them." Some of the missing fish may be small or a bit larger, by as much as 6 inches, such as tangs. Even though the customer hasn't seen a mantis shrimp, they are assuming through information that the culprit must be a mantis shrimp. While it is true that mantis shrimp do eat small fish, ornamental shrimp and gastropods, a 1-2 inch mantis cannot take down a healthy 4-6 inch yellow tang. Mantis shrimp, as with most predatory crustaceans, are opportunistic feeders. They will catch and prey on the easiest thing available. A healthy fish is far from that in a reef tank if the live rock is teaming with tiny copepods, isopods and other plankton. We keep over 2,000 gallons of reef aquariums and live rock. I know for a fact that we have small mantis shrimp crawling about at night. We also have beautiful fish living in these reef tanks, some for many years. The point is a healthy fish will not be bothered by mantis shrimps. When a mantis grows larger, they tend to feed more

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

•"Anemone fisbes feiiwafi$fee§);;are -good: reef fishes," : : ;: ^^liKSS: . HP • ;. -^ WK "Not true." The anemone fishes Amphiprion and Premnas, also known as clownfishes, live unharmed among the stinging tentacles of anemones. Most hobbyists believe that they are ideal for the reef aquarium because of their symbiotic relationship with anthozoans. They are fairly hardy, feeding on all prepared foods, and are never known to eat living coral. The problem is this symbiotic relationship! If sea anemones are not present in your reef tank, a specimen may try to use other polyps as their home. Thus, this may irritate the living coral, and cause it to die. Remember it is an instinct of this animal to behave this way. This is an adaptive trait to protect these colorful fish from predation. The evolutionary advantage is that without anemones these fish would not exist in the wild. Clownfishes are classed as obligate symbionts, meaning they must have anemones to survive.

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With this in mind, it is easy to understand the consequences when a reef keeper doesn't have anemones in their tank. Countless times we have had customers wanting to bring back clownfishes because they are causing corals to close. Once the existing coral dies, they tend to move to a new one. So why don't we put sea anemones in a reef tank? Sea anemones are mobile invertebrates. They are surrounded by few or many tentacles containing stinging cells (nematocysts). They are active in capturing food and quite lethal to other fishes and surrounding corals. Sea anemones live attached to firm objects, generally live rock or substrate around the reef. Larger anemones will climb the aquarium walls and rocks, posting themselves in a position to feed and retrieve light. As the anemone moves about, there is an inherent

risk that it may rub against stony or soft corals, possibly burning them in the process. For these reasons, a reef aquanst generally has a problem with introducing them to their system. As we can see, the average reef aquarist does not or will not want anemones in their reef tanks, making anemone fish a risk to add as well. CONCLUSION I hope that we have stirred up some controversy. Actually, I hope that we have made some valid points, thereby showing other views in contrast to those common thoughts and theories. If you think about or research what you've read or been told, you most likely will benefit by making better decisions.

Wis^i The fire is jcrackling in the fireplace on this crisp, wintery day at Ivy Rose Cottage, i The dogs are nestled about my feet, the birds sit quiejly, contentedly ruffling and preening their satih plumage, and the tanks are gently bubbling. i As I prepare the final touches to the Holiday repast ~ roasting vegetables, grilling steaming platters of Rock Lobster, Shrimp, Crab, Scallops and Salmon, bringing out the perfect dish to hold that traditional Cranberry Relish, whisking the Pumpkin Whip and sprinkling a dash of nutnieg on the Sherried Almond Custard - my mind is on thoughts of that whicjh I have to be tnost grateful for on this Holiday i... I What I hjave to be most grateful for is; dear and special friendships, and the; most special people in my life...;. j What I have to be most grateful for is yoii!!! i May you find yourself in the company and spirit of love and friendship and aquatic creatures, naturally. j


Have a Beiautiful Holiday and Enjoy your Fiishkeeping!

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

A Cause and Cure for "Popeye Disease" by JOSEPH FERDENZI o, "popeye disease" does not involve your fish developing a craving for canned spinach. It refers to the development of an exaggerated bulging out of one or both of the eyes of the fish. Like so many other problems that we refer to as "diseases," but which are not, "popeye" is actually just the outward manifestation (symptom) of an underlying cause or disease. The reason aquarium texts offer various suggestions for "curing" this problem, but always with a guarded prognosis, is largely because the symptom's causative agent varies, and hence, the cure varies as well. Recently, a series of experiences in my fishroom has lead me to suspect one cause for "popeye" that I do not recall ever having been addressed in the aquarium literature. Ironically, this rarely discussed "cause" has a rather simple "cure." The road to my theory began with a recent acquisition of six juvenile Julidochromis regani (a cichlid endemic to Lake Tanganyika). The tank into which I planned to place them already contained a ten-year-old relic from a prior population of regani. Not wishing to mix populations, or subject the juveniles to the potential aggression of a much larger (about four inches) and established individual, I decided to remove the lone, older regani. At the time I needed to do this. However, I was in a hurry, and this lead to my first "mistake." I removed the old regani and quickly placed him in an established (but empty) aquarium without any acclimation period, and without making a water chemistry (pH) comparison. Some ten hours later, I returned to the fishroom and decided to check on my exiled fish. Holy Cow! The poor fish was obviously near death. It was swimming awkwardly, mostly on its side, in fits and starts of motion, and its fins were frayed. Most noticeably of all, both eyes were nearly bulging out of its head. Clearly, emergency action was called for. The onset of its discomfort had been so rapid, and its manifestation so obvious, that it lead me to quickly conclude that only one cause could be behind it: some sort of pH poisoning (shock). It turned out that the tank I had placed it in had very acidic water, and the regani had come from one of my "Lake Tanganyika" tanks, that is, an alkaline


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

environment. Therefore, I promptly removed the fish and placed it into a large aquarium that I knew had the same water chemistry as the original tank. To protect the weakened and disoriented fish from the occupants of the new tank, I placed the regani inside a large floating box made out of plastic mesh (which is commonly sold in stores with a housewares department — these come with a lid). Then, I waited, hoping that I had arrested the problem in time. The following day, the fish was still alive, although it was still laying on its side and both of its eyes still bulged. Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, it began to improve. Picture the brutish Mr. Hyde returning to his gentile Dr. Jekyll form. Now, several months later, you would never know what this fish had suffered. It has all of its appetite back, swims normally, has no split fins, and, significantly, has completely normal eyes. Shortly after my regani experience occurred, I ran into another occurrence of "popeye disease". (Please don't think this is a regular occurrence in my fishroom — it isn't, but it coincidentally presented itself twice in the space of a few months.) This time the "infected" fish was a large (twelve inch) male Cyphotilapia frontosa (also a Lake Tanganyika cichlid). This fish was six years old. I know this because it was born in my aquarium, and had lived in its present tank (80 gallons) all of its life. The tank was also occupied by three smaller females. This particular male frontosa was a very handsome animal. But, one day I noticed, to my utter amazement, that both of its eyes were bulging and cloudy. This was indeed distressing. This fish was the key to my breeding colony of valuable frontosa. What was going on? None of the females were displaying this symptom. When only one fish in a group is ill, it usually signifies that there is nothing wrong with the water in the tank. Nevertheless, having just seen (with the regani) that drastic changes in water chemistry could produce a "popeye" symptom, I decided to try a perhaps novel approach to treating the "disease." I performed a 15% water change, and infused the water with some marine salt (about a tablespoon) and Epsom salt (another tablespoon). If anything, this would simultaneously improve the water quality (most water changes do that), as well as raise the alkalinity of the water (most salts do

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that). Within the week, I began to notice an amelioration of the "popeye" condition. This improvement spurred me to do another 15% water change, coupled with the addition of some more of the previously mentioned salts. Now, a month later, there has been progress in bettering the appearance of this fish. The regression of the eyes into their sockets has not been 100%, nor are the eyes quite as clear as those of his female companions, but I am confident that, with continued monitoring and water maintenance, there will be an arrest of the "disease." Two anecdotal experiences do not rise to the level needed for a rigorous scientific experiment. But, it is enough for me, an amateur aquarist, to suggest a course for other aquarists to follow in the event that they encounter "popeye" in any of their fish. Changing the water and its pH is almost always beneficial. And, in any event, it is preferable to saturating your aquarium with antibiotics of questionable efficacy, or using other medicinal "poisons." Frankly, I don't yet understand why only the male frontosa was affected if the causative

agent had something to do with the water quality or chemistry of the entire aquarium. It may be that 1 am drawing an unwarranted conclusion in this case. However, it suggests that we should not automatically assume when "popeye" strikes one fish, but not others in the same tank, that the cause is limited to some agent within the fish itself — external forces may be at work. Of course, I realize that the "popeye" in my frontosa might have started to improve independently of my efforts, and the coincidence has lead me to draw a false conclusion. But, it is still valid to suggest that a water change couldn't hurt. If it doesn't help, you still have the recourse of other therapies. Also, I should add that I don't believe one should attach any significance to the coincidence that both fish in my story were cichlids (and from Lake Tanganyikan origin as well). If "popeye disease" can be ameliorated by water changes, I don't see any reason why that therapy would be efficacious only in Lake Tanganyika cichlids. Anyway, I thought I would share my observations with you — "food" for thought and comment. Let me know if you have any.


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


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

lateral lines an editorial by Susan Priest Slow learner hat I like most about the aquarium hobby isn't the fish; it's the people. I finally figured this out at the NJAS 50th anniversary celebration. When Pam Chin had completed her presentation, I didn't want to ask her for more details about the fish she had discussed, or question her on the fine points of the techniques which she demonstrated. I wanted to ask her about her husband, Gary; how he got started keeping fish, and how he got in so far over his head that he built a separate house just for them! I should have long since realized what was most satisfying to me about this wonderful hobby, as I am a "people person" through and through. How about you? If you are anything like me, spending time thinking about it won't reveal where your true passion lies. It will just creep up your spine one day and tug at your collar, and suddenly you will know what it is that keeps you getting your hands wet. (I'll bet it's not algae!)


How convenient When it happens in your life that you want to go somewhere for two or three days, what do you do with the dog or the gerbil or the cockatiel? If you don't have an answer to this question, then what you end up doing is staying home. Tropical fish make life more convenient! When fishkeepers want to go to a show, or other event, we can safely bring a few fishes with us, and just as safely leave the rest of them "home alone!" While we have time

When we compare the total number of days we have already lived to the total number of days of our life, the number we have ahead of us keeps getting smaller. Do you see the problem with this theory, mathematically speaking? We don't know how long our life will be. We don't know how many years, months, or days we will live, so we can't insert that number into the equation. For example, let's say you will live to be 75 years old. for a total of 27,375 days. When you \e five years old, you had lived 1,825 days, with 25.550 days still ahead of you. Now, if today is your 60th birthday, then you have lived for 21,900 days, with 5.475 days ahead of you. Of course, you might live to be 80, or 90, or maybe more. MAYBE. When we were five years old, we had 25,000 days ahead of us, and Christmas couldn't come quickly enough. But at the age of 60, with 5.000 days, maybe, the days are passing too quickly for our liking. Where does this leave us? It leaves us with today, and possibly tomorrow, to do what is most important to us. Professor Dumbledore counseled Harry Potter that it is our choices in life which define us. So, while we have time, let us choose carefully. WTiile we have time, let us hold a loved one's hand a little longer. While we have time, let us share a meal with someone who is lonely, and is more hungry for companionship than food. While we have time, let us celebrate life in all of its forms, and all of its possibilities. While we have time, let us follow our star. At the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they understand the value of a good celebration. So should we all. Choose carefully what you want to celebrate, and then celebrate it well.

With each year that passes, the holiday season seems to come around again more quickly. Why is this? Perhaps it is a matter of perspective?

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

December 2003

Happy Holidays!


Photos From Our Last Meeting



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

*. *"'••<


Our November speaker: Doug Patac

K, J

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

December 2003



http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity/ n keeping with the predominantly saltwater/marine theme of this issue, I would like to draw your attention to websites of interest to the marine hobbyist.



Advanced Aquarisfs Online

These are websites with a camera pointed at a fish tank. The Amazing Netscape Fish Cam

This may be the most visited live camera site on the web, with an average daily number of hits estimated at 90,000. Early in its history, it is thought to have been the 1 Oth most popular page on the entire Internet. The Fish Cam is now the oldest live camera site on the web. (The Trojan Room Coffee Machine was older, but it was shut down in 2001.) http://wp.netscape.com/fishcam/fishcam.html Waikiki Aquarium: There are three live cameras at the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii that allow you to get a look at some fascinating marine life, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Shark Cam faces the "Hunters On the Reef Exhibit." The sharks are fed on camera three times a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday http://waquarium.otted.hawaii.edu/coralcam/ index.html You can watch the Hawaiian monk seals lounge daily by their pool. http://waquarium.otted.hawaii.edu/monk_cam/ index.html The Coral Research Cam is aimed into one of the aquarium's coral research tanks. You can see corals competing for space, growing, and even splitting (in asexual reproduction). http://waquarium.otted.hawaii.edu/coral/index.html Fisheye View Cam (live from dawn to dusk, EST) This is a living coral reef aquarium web camera featuring tropical fish, live corals and marine invertibrates. http://www.fisheyeview.com/FVCam.html

Magazine is

another free "e-zine" for the advanced aquarist. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/ Aquaworld Magazine is a free online magazine that covers both freshwater and marine aquariums. Features include articles, announcements, aquarium diseases & treatments, photo gallery, frequently asked questions (FAQ), chat room, web forum, and links to other sites. http://www.aquaworldnet.com/ ARTICLES & GUIDANCE The Boston Reefers Society has a "Saltwater Fish & Coral Primer," which is an excellent beginner's guide to the marine hobby. http://www.bostonreefers.org/about/ savingnemo.php The Las Vegas Marine & Reef Aquarium Society has a photo gallery and numerous links to individual articles on the web. http://lvmas.org/lvaquariasociety/ Animalnetwork.com has articles on marine fish and reefkeeping, in addition to articles on freshwater fish and other animals, as well. http://www.animalnetwork.com/aquafish/ reference/default.asp#salt The Reef Tank provides "a supportive, flame-free environment for beginning and experienced aquarists to share ideas, ask questions, and learn about the marine and reefkeeping hobby." http://www.thereeftank.com/home.php Reef Central Online Community is an area with many discussion forums where one can ask questions, and participate in discussions. http://reefcentral.com/forums/ Marine Aquarium Societies of North America


Reefkeeping is an on-line magazine for the marine aquarist. One of the articles in the November 2003 issue is "Top Ten Ways To Sneak In Your New Purchase Without Your Spouse Knowing..." http://reefkeeping.com/index.htm 20

("MASNA") is a not-for-profit organization composed of several marine aquarium clubs and individual hobbyists from Canada, Mexico, and the United States totaling over 1,200 individuals. http://www.masna.org/index.htm

December 2003

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST es, folks, it IS deja-vu all over again. If you are saying to yourself "Isn't that the author of the book about rainbowfishes that she reviewed in October? Maybe she is having a senior moment!" Yes, it is, and no I'm not (at least not right now). Dr. Allen has spent the majority of his career working as a marine zoologist. "The world's reefs have served as Dr. Allen's laboratory for the past 20 years, and his extensive diving and collecting expeditions have nurtured a unique knowledge of this group." What a treat this book is! You don't have to be a marine hobbyist to enjoy it. The book is intended to be a pictorial guide. It is that, and so much more. Even though it will appeal to a wide-ranging readership, which includes the scientific community, "technical keys which are difficult for hobbyists to use are omitted." Let me make note of a few facts that can be generalized to this very large family of fishes, of which there are 320 species. Damselfish are territorial in the sense that they are "homeranging." This means that they will swim back and forth over a relatively small area of reef, "guarding their chosen plot with great zeal." Some species live 10 years or more. It is true of most species that the juveniles have bright coloration, such as brilliant yellow with neon-blue striping along the dorsal (back) area. The claim is made that "this conspicuous coloration fades as they mature." That last statement leads me into a discussion of the photography, and the coloration of the fish themselves. It is beyond any stretch of MY imagination that the fish represented by the photos in this book could possibly have been any MORE brilliantly colored than they are in adulthood. The quality of the color photography is bested only by the beauty of the damselfishes. Credit is given to a couple of photographers whose works grace the cover, and "all other photos are by the author, except otherwise stated." You can go through several pages in a row before finding the occasional photo taken by someone else. The vast majority of these incredibly beautiful images were taken by Dr. Allen in underwater locations. Believe me when I say that the photos alone are well worth the "price of admission."


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

At this point I am wrestling with myself; trying to keep from using the all-too-familiar "N" word in relation to the easily-recognizable genus Amphiprion, more commonly known as the clown anemonefish. Yes, folks; Nemo is a damselfish! (Sorry, it just slipped out!) The section called "behavior" is a discussion of spawning. Many of you will agree that this is the only behavior worth reading about. I'll summarize it for you: The prospective parents prepare their chosen nesting site by "grazing, and vigorous fanning of the pectoral fins." The male will exhibit a rapid up-and-down movement, as if he were on a roller coaster. This is called "signal jumping," and helps to attract females. In some species, one male will spawn with two or more females in the same nest simultaneously. After spawning has taken place (in typical substratespawner style), the male guards the nest. He is World extremely aggressive during this period. After they have hatched, the fry will drift at the surface for a few weeks, sometimes traveling long distances, before they eventually settle into shallow reefs. Most of the book is devoted to the fish themselves, as represented by the aforementioned photography in conjunction with brief entries of text. In addition to the common and scientific names, locations are described. Notice that I said locations. By nature of their drifting with the tides when they are fry, some species can be found in several locations throughout the world. Other information includes depth of range, maximum size, and a variety of notations which the author feels will help us make proper identifications, such as a description of juvenile coloration, or steering us clear of obsolete nomenclature. There is a very well-done chart, 18 pages, with scientific names on the left and common names on the right of each two-page spread, and a variety of informational items in between, including "dominant natural food," and page numbers of the photo for each fish. Appendix I details 16 previously undescribed species. At this point, Dr. Allen separates the hobbyists from the scientists. Terms such as holotype and paratype, along with minutiae of dozens of measurements, make it clear to me which side of the fence I'm on! Appendix II is a compendium of valid species, and Appendix III is a one page glossary. The concluding pages consist of Selected References, and an Index of common, as well as scientific, names. This is a beautiful book. It will appeal to freshwater as well as marine enthusiasts, and hobbyists as well as scientists.

December 2003


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December 2003

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

Homeland Security A series by "The Under gravel Reporter" In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society wonder if anyone has looked into the aquarium hobby as a source for weapons or defense? If someone could figure out how to create a spray that would coat the windshields of tanks and opposing vehicles with the kind of algae that coats the lids of my tanks, and which cannot be removed by scrubbing, or in fact, by any means known to mankind, then we could package that algae into a spray (or figure out how to disburse it via a bomb or missile). This could effectively prevent anyone from viewing us, without causing any deaths or injuries. Then there is the potential for noxious gasses that our hobby produces as a byproduct. These gasses have great potential as weapons. Imagine, if you will, combining the not-so-subtle aromas of a grindalworm culture and a micro worm culture gone bad, along with a tank badly in need of a cleaning. Not only am I surprised that no one has produced such a gas before, I am equally amazed that its production has not already been outlawed by international treaty as a "weapon of mass destruction." Consider the potential torture devices our hobby can provide for enemy .interrogation. For example, there is the torture device of trying to take accurate pH readings, using tiny colored marks on a piece of cardboard, and trying to match them with liquid in a tiny vial. As we all know, the colors never match exactly. In addition, the degree to which anyone can approximate a match is dependent on the lighting of the room at any time. (Therefore, this torture should be conducted using strobe lamps as the only source of light!) Other tortures would include attempting to fill buckets of water using a syphon that must be started by means of oral suction (with the understanding, of course, that the tank contains water that has not been changed for at least three months, so that it has that unique flavor of detritus, algae, and essence of decaying organic material). Believe me, just a few gulps of that will loosen up all but the most stubborn tongue.


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

But. if that is not enough, then there is the torture of filling buckets with the syphon, and carrying the filled buckets, all without spilling uater. To make this torture even more "interesting." fish that are notorious "jumpers" can be added to the tank, along with small fry, and the person charged with filling the buckets will not only have to fill and empty the buckets without spilling water, but that person will also have to keep any fish from jumping out, while avoiding s\g any fry. Just a few minutes of this torture should have all but the very strongest enemy spy reduced to a babbling wreck, ready to confess or divulge anything. For those few individuals able to \\ithstand all of the aforementioned tortures, we can always resort to the "prime the filter" torture. This torture takes several forms. To be most effective, all the forms should be employed, preferably all in one session. Begin with an outside hang-on power filter attached to the rear of a 20 gallon high tank that is located on the bottom shelf of a tank stand (with another tank on the top shelf). This allows about three inches of room above the bottom tank in which to work. Require the victim to pour water from a cup into the filter until it stans. and sit back and watch in amusement as 90% or more of the water spills back into the tank without ever reaching the filter. After a while, it is possible that the power filter will start running (unless it has burned out from running dry for too long, in which case you replace the filter and start the torture all over again). Now comes the next challenge â&#x20AC;&#x201D; pumping the priming lever of a canister filter. To make this torture more interesting, locate the filter in the small, cramped space under one of those not-real-wood tank stands where there is no light to see what you're doing, and even less room in which to do anything. For anyone able to withstand those tortures, I suggest one more Herculean task. (In Greek mythology, Hercules had to perform twelve labors -- feats that were so difficult that they seemed impossible.) That task is determining the temperature of your fish tank. Of all the tasks, this should be the easiest. However, take any six tank thermometers and lay them right next to one another. You're lucky if two of them are close to one another in their readings, and even then, you won't know which one is correct. Yes, we torture ourselves, and fret and worry over the aquatic life in our care. If someone were forced to do it, it would be called "torture," and "inhumane." We call it a hobby.

December 2003


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December 2003

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Bowl Show Winners last meeting: 1st: Bill Amely (Blue Half-Moon Male Betta) 2nd: Carlotti De Jager (female Marble Blue Betta);

3rd: Bill Amely (Hoplostemum Catfish)

Unofficial 2003-2004 Bowl Show totals to date: CarlottiDe Jager: 11 pts. Rich Levy, Bill Amely: 6pts, (tie) Evelyn Eagan: 4pts, Welcome back, and thanks, to the four members who renewed their GCAS memberships: Tom Bohme, Doug Curtin, Don Curtin, Jack Lorenzo and Welcome our two newest members: Steven Giacobello and Brian Grossberg Last Month's Door Prize Winner: Jason Kerner won the book: Back to Nature Guide Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium soci GREATERCIT¥ AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next meeting: January 7, 2004 Holiday Party and Awards Banquet

n the Metropolitan New York area: Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Next Meeting; December 12,2003 Holiday Party?Awards Banquet 1 and Fish Bingo %

8pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St.; Flushing, NY Contact: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzi ,;^S Telephone: (718) 767-2691 e-mail; GreaterCity@compuserve.com http://www.greatercity.org

7:3Opm Education Hall at the N\^j Surf Avenue at West 8th St.; Brooklyn, NY Call; BAS Events Hotline (718) 83f ||S5 http ://ww w. brookly naquariumsociety .org

East Coast Guppy Association

Big Apple Guppy Club

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 1st Thursday of each month at the Queens Botanical Garden Cantact: Gene Baudier I Telephone: (631)345-6399

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday tt each month at the Queens Botanical Garden Contact: Donald Curtin Telephone: (718)631 -0538 im^

Long Island Aquarium Society

Nassau Ctninty Aquarium Saciety

Meets: 8:00 P.M.- 3rd Friday of each month (except July and August) at: fhe HoltsvillePark 249 Buckley Road; Contact: Mnny Kreyling (51^38-4066 http://liasonline.org/ ff'

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - |ad Tuesday of month at the American Legion Post 1066 66 Veterans Blvd.; Massapequa, NY Next meeting: December 9, 2003 Holiday Party Contact: Mike Foran (516)798-6766 httf)://ncas.fwsl .com/index.html

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

Meats: 8:00 F»M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center; Westport, CT

Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 http://www.njas.net/' ore-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com

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

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

December 2003



TM & Š 1995-2003 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved

The "star" of a currently very popular cartoon movie is actually a marine damselfish. As mentioned elsewhere in this issue, there are many species of damselfishes. Draw a line connecting the common name with the scientific name for each of the damselfish species listed below. (Note: all of these fish, and their common and scientific names, can be found elsewhere in this issue.) Tomato Anemonefish

Pomacentrus coelestis

Red and Black Anemonefish

Amphiprion rubrocinctus

False Clown Anemonefish

Neopomacentrus bankieri Amphiprion melanopus

"NEMO" Australian Anemonefish

Pomacentrus amboinensis

Chinese Demoiselle

Amphiprion ocellaris

Ambon Damselfish

Amphiprion percula

Neon Damselfish

A mphiprionfrenatus Chrysiptera taupou

Spinecheek Anemonefish

Premmas biaculeatus

Fiji Damselfish

Solution to last month's puzzle Scrambled and Unlisted Scrambled common Name

Unscramble it Here

Scientific Name



Paracheirodon axelrodi



Barbus schwanefeldi



Nematobrycon p aimer i



Synodontis nigriventris



Anableps anableps



Hemigrammus ocellifer



Periophthalmus barb arm



Thayeria obliqua



Barbus titteya



Pangio kuhlii


December 2003

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

December 2003 volume X number 10

Modern Aquarium  

December 2003 volume X number 10