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Series III

Vol. XI, No. 3

March. 2004



Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


They Are What They Eat


A Live Food Primer


Understanding Fish Nutrition


Looking Through The Lens


This Month's Speaker: Tony Pinto


Snails: the Easy and Often Forgotten Live Food


Focus on Our Youth


J/R oe Gourmet Fish Food


Green Water Soup


Photos From Our Last Meeting


How to Feed a Fish


Bowl Show Winners


Famous Last Words


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)



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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 2004 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


ften (maybe too often) I begin or end this column with another appeal for articles. (But, believe me, as the GCAS Exchange Editor, I do this much less than most of the other club publication editors!) Well, while I still want any and all contributions, I have to thank everyone who rose to the challenge I posed at our last meeting, and e-mailed, postal-mailed, and hand-delivered to me articles for this issue of Modern Aquarium, focusing on fish nutrition. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the response! Now, I hope I have done justice to the excellent articles submitted. With the exception of table scraps, I doubt that anyone is feeding fish with anything that is not mentioned, in some way, in this issue! Thank you, Bernie, Claudia, Joe, and Harry! For May, I am planning a "Conservation and Endangered Species" issue. I don't know how many of you are concerned with the problem of endangered species, but it is my belief that everyone in the aquarium hobby should be concerned — VERY concerned! I also think that if more aquarists were aware of things they, themselves, could do, that more people would be participating in SMPs ("Species Maintenance Programs"). If you belong to any organization that concerns itself with aquatic life, and that has a conservation program in which the average Joe or Jane can participate, please contact me. We have members involved with programs relating to youth. That is, of course, an excellent area in which to be involved (I only wish we had more youth members in Greater City). But if the only part of the hobby we can pass on are fancy guppies, bettas, and goldfish, then why bother? The mind-boggling variety of unique species, with their myriad of behavior patterns, that we take for granted today, may not exist for future generations to enjoy, unless we take action now.


Greater city is 82 years old this year. I think it's safe to state that we have no "original charter" members still active in our society today. But, I know that we have many current members who have been in the hobby for several decades. I'd like to devote our June 2004 issue to the history of the aquarium hobby, and to have as many "old-timers" as possible contribute short paragraphs about "the way it used to be," and about aquarium societies that are no longer around. So, I welcome articles on antique equipment (preferably with accompanying photographs), on recollections of experiences long since passed, and on anything related to the aquarium hobby. I've already sent in my check for the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies (the "NEC") 29th Annual Convention, March 19-21, 2004! at the Marriott in Farmington, CT. It's close enough to make a day trip, if you don't want to spend a night. The speakers start on Friday evening and continue almost non-stop until the big Banquet on Saturday evening (where awards are given out, such as the First Place publication award that Modern Aquarium won last year). Sunday is reserved for one of the largest tropical fish and equipment auctions that you are likely to encounter on the East Coast. The speaker line-up is always impressive, and you may get to speak, one-on-one to an expert in the hobby about issues that concern you. (Everyone at Greater City probably knows by now that I specialize in anabantoids. Well, last year I had Sunday breakfast with Dr. Gene Lucas, who is generally considered to be America's foremost authority on bettas!) So, if you can possibly attend, I think you'll find it to be a rewarding, fun, and exciting experience. There are NEC Convention registration forms on our Information Table at the back of the room. Finally, the Greater City Aquarium Society meets in the middle of the week, its meetings start late, and continue until very late, and we do not meet during what would otherwise be the summer school vacation months of July and August. All of this makes attendance difficult for "junior" members who attend school. I know that several of our members have children (or young relatives, such as a nephew, niece, younger sibling, etc.) who keep fish, even if it's only a single goldfish or betta. (How many of us started out just that way?) Wouldn't it be great if we could have an issue of Modern Aquarium with articles mostly (or even entirely!) written by aquarists age 18 and younger? I ask that anyone who would like to try to make this a reality to please contact me.

March 2004

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI ou know what they say about March around here, "In like a lion, out like a lamb." Well, let's hope so. I haven't been too fond of the weather this past winter. Or, perhaps, given the state of the weather, it's more correct to say that the weather hasn't been too fond of us. Spring can't come soon enough. Not only will that season release the pent-up energy of flowers and trees, but it should propel our hobbyist fervor. In April, GCAS will hold its annual Silent Auction/fleamarket. This event is always a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what our members bring in this year. Will there be an odd, antique tank, or some clever homemade devices? All of it is sure to be sold at bargain prices. Even if you're not buying, it's fun to just browse, and talk to your friends and fellow hobbyists. Then, in May, we have our grand 82nd Anniversary Show and Auction. I always marvel at the exceptional fish our members place on display. What fish will take the coveted Best of Show this year? The Sunday auction will be replete with home-raised fish and plants, as well as new merchandise donated by our very supportive aquarium product manufacturers.


ey gang. I know this might seem early, but I wanted to fill in our new members, and remind the old, of the what, when, and where we'll need help for our upcoming show. Our show is set for May 21, 22, & 23, 2004 at the Queens County Farm Museum. I don't have the time schedule yet, but this is what we need. Thanks to the generosity of the membership, our treasury is in good shape. Therefore, we are able to rent a van to take all our supplies to the show. Currently, the equipment is stored in Bayside. With the rented van, we should need only one trip from Bayside to the Queens County Farm Museum. I will need help loading and unloading. Once we arrive at the Farm, we will have to set up the tables and racks, and then cover them with the backdrop. Next is setting up the tanks and air system, and determining what classes go where. We also have to set up tables for any vendors. Members can bring fish on Friday evening. So depending on how things go, and what time we can get started, we generally are set up and can leave by 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.


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

This will be the biggest aquarium event in the New York City/Long Island area for this year. I am very proud that GCAS hosts it. Board member Pete D'Orio has written about the need for our members to help out in various ways to make this a great event, and I have appended it at the end of this President's Message. (I thank Pete for his thoughtfulness in writing it.) Our June meeting will feature the first New York City appearance of Dr. Albert Klee in my memory — which, insofar as it relates to guest speakers at local aquarium societies, stretches back some 20 years. Dr. Klee is a hobby legend. His knowledge about our hobby, and his contributions to it, are unsurpassed. Our Speaker Chairperson, Claudia Dickinson, has outdone herself (if that were possible) in securing the attendance of Dr. Klee. I can't wait to meet him! As you can see, there is much to look forward to at GCAS. By being a member of GCAS, each of you is playing a part in keeping the aquarium hobby alive and vibrant in the Greater New York City area and, if I may say with some modesty, in the nation. I add the latter because I want you to know that at the current time, I have little doubt that GCAS is in an elite group as one of the most active and high-achieving local aquarium societies in North America. When you couple that with the fact that we are 82 years old, well, you get the analogy; any 82 year old who was as vibrant and active as we are would be regarded as a marvel of nature! Do you want to do more to make GCAS better? Come talk to me, and I'll show you how.

Saturday, there's not as much work, but we need someone early to open the exhibits and log in entries. Sunday is our Auction and Award day. This is another early day and a very busy day. The auction takes quite a few people to run smoothly and successfully. We need people to log in fish and plants for the auction, runners to show the fish, packers to load the fish and keep track of which bidder purchased what, someone to collect payment, scribes to help keep records, and auctioneers. Now it gets tough. Everyone's tired and we still have to pack up. Unfortunately, this seems to be when bodies get scarce. Trust me, those fish you just got in the auction aren't going to die if you stick around to help. Once again, I'll need help loading and unloading, only this time the equipment is going from the Farm Museum to my house in Bellmore, about a 30 minute ride. All your help is very much appreciated. So, if you can lend us a hand, call Pete at (516) 785-0483. A

March 2004


An Overview of the Fundamentals of the Nutritional Needs of our Fish

They Are What They Eatif Text and Photos by CLAUDIA DICKINSON s you take note of your fish, are they active and swimming energetically about the tank? Are they combing inquisitively through the aquarium substrate, foraging about the foliage of the plants, around the rocks and driftwood, and into the pockets of the sponge filters? Do their scales shimmer iridescently in the light, and are their eyes bright and alert? Are they dancing about, pressing their faces against the glass in hopes of winning your heart, and serving ladle, for a morsel of food? Are the catfish edging in closer, as they note your presence, ready to swoop over any delicacies that make their way to the substratum? Are the fish pairing off as they gain maturity, spawning, and caring for and raising their fry in a nurturing fashion, if this characteristic is a distinction for that species? If the above is true, it is more than likely that your techniques of aquarium management are satisfying the nutritional needs of your fish. On the other hand, when you observe your fish, do you note a lack of "life," a lack of interest, fish that are by nature gregarious, but now seem to be hanging back in the dark corners and crevices? Do your fish almost seem to be frightened, or are they lethargic, revealing irregular, dull scales? Do they fail to be hungry, or do they dart at the food without taking it in, only to back off into the tank's shadows? Are your fish looking "alright," but they just never seem to get that urge to begin a family, much less care for one?!? If you note any of the aforementioned, the very first step to take is do a water change!!! Once you have put your syphon away, let us please rejoin here and we will take a look at the fundamentals of the nutritional needs of our fish.


Variety and the Essential Elements In many instances, fish in nature have a plethora of foods to pick and choose from, abounding in variety. The key word here is variety. Aside from the algae that is allowed to grow within the tank, the diets of the residents in our home aquariums are confined to that which we choose to offer. Following are five "food groups," which will give us a good basis for a well-rounded and healthy diet for our fish, most categorically if your feeding regimen is designed around the use of a variety of choices within each of the groups. The

primary elements that we will want to be mindful of are protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Prepared Foods With modern knowledge, feeding our fish has become much more of a science than it was thirty, forty, or more years ago, resulting in the informed hobbyist being much more discerning when making his or her selection. Therefore, the enterprise of selling prepared fish foods is now highly competitive, with the market carrying an extensive range of high-quality prepared foods in a wide variety of options suitable for the many species. From flakes and wafers, to pellets of all sizes, both floating and sinking, you will find numerous prepared foods that are appropriate for the fish that you are keeping.

An extensive variety of high-quality, commercially prepared foods are available in today's market. What to look for in a prepared food? Many aquarists opt for the high content of protein, but perhaps you may wish to reevaluate this thought, as most fish are unable to effectively digest immense doses of protein which are condensed into one meal. The diet of numerous fish in nature consists of a substantial amount of roughage, with many consuming up to 85%, or even more, of vegetable matter. You will want to take a close look that all of your vitamins and minerals are covered, as the lack of even one of these essential ingredients in the daily fare of your fish may prove to be crucial to the essence of his well-being. We will note this further under "water"

March 2004

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

Many of the prepared foods contain all vegetable matter in the form of a flake or a sinking wafer, and unless you are feeding a daily supply of fresh "vegetables" (see below), a portion of these should be fed to your fish daily. You will want to serve a prepared food that is suitable for the age and species of your fish, as far as whether it sinks or floats, is large or small and delicate or firm. This will take a bit of trial, until you discern exactly which of these is most befitting for your aquarium inhabitants. Commercially prepared foods will absorb a good deal of moisture, so be certain to keep in mind the expansion that will occur upon entering the aquarium water, and once they have been consumed. You will also do well to make mental note of this for the occasion when the food is "missed" by your fish and settles into the substrate of your tank, expanding, becoming lodged and left to decay, later to return as lethal toxins. Please do not overfeed! But, I digress Upon close examination, you will also want to note that preservatives and artificial food colorings are present in the contents of most of the commercially prepared foods. If you are one of today's "health conscious," you know that many of these are carcinogens, and this factor will initiate another criteria for the choice of your prepared foods, just as it would for your dog, your cat or your bird. The expiration date on the container of your prepared foods should be noted upon purchase. Keep in mind that once opened, the vitamins will begin to lose their prime potential when exposed to the air. Pouring a small amount for use into one container, and storing the excess in the freezer, is a practice that, although debated by some, is exercised by seasoned aquarists. While today's commercially prepared foods, if fed with variety and in proper proportions, do have many qualifying factors for keeping your fish relatively happy, you may well wish to take further steps and go beyond sustaining your pets, to having them excel with energy, vitality, luster and appetite, as well as to increase the likelihood of their becoming flirtatious and prolific in your tanks. For this, let us move on to Live Foods There is nothing equal to live foods to enhance the diet of your fish! Tiny to larger size plant and animal matter billow in clouds throughout Nature's water, making up much of what the fish consume. All of the flakes, pellets and wafers may be state-of-the-art, as far as their content, variety and palatability, but there is nothing like a squirmy, wormy, squiggly, living insect to create a vivaciously spirited chaos amongst your aquarium residents! It surely won't Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

be long, and they will be quivering and strutting, courting each other, and at times, even beckoning to you! The mental and emotional value, in and of itself, is surely reason enough to make your live food endeavors well worth their while. As we know with humans and our other pets, an upbeat state of mind will work wonders in regards to one's overall health and well-being. A happy mind, a healthy body!

Live earthworms, rich in proteins and vitamins, are relished by many fish, such as this Hop/arc/?uspsittacus. Live foods have also been found to provide those minute, or "trace," vitamins and minerals that may still baffle science as far as locating the precise element, or amount necessary, for the needs of our fish. Just the addition of one missing ingredient in the diet has proven to change the very essence of health. The variety of live foods is boundless, and in nature there are seasonal times for most of this fare. You may enjoy going outside with your boots on, a net and bucket in tow, to collect your bounty while it is lush. As you do so, to assure the pureness of your catch, be certain that you are far off the path of traffic and pollutants. Our own home propagations may be relegated by the season as well, but we do have a bit more leeway than Nature in that we have the ability to culture many of the foods indoors throughout the year. We can begin by replicating some of the smaller fare with green water and infusoria, which you will find appropriate for some of your most diminutive fry. Forgive me, in this overview, if I stay clear from outlining detailed culturing methods, for surely then I would chatter on, and end up writing a book, that would be hard pressed to fit within these pages! Baby brine shrimp is a very popular and nutritional food for fry and small fish, with even medium-sized fish becoming quite emotionally inspired by its presence, making it well worth the efforts to prepare. Microworms are another beneficial food for fry and small fish that stay close to the bottom of the tank, as these do sink. Grindal worms and white worms are both relished, with

March 2004

grindal worms being most suitable for your smaller fish, and white worms for your medium-sized to even larger fish. These will sink to the bottom, where they will remain alive, if left uneaten, for several hours or longer. As with all excess foods, be certain to remove uneaten portions after sufficient time has passed subsequent to the initial feeding. You may wish to add yeast, Cyclop-eeze速 or other prepared, vitamin-enriched foods to the fare you feed your grindal worm and white worm, as well as other cultures, as this will ultimately end up being ingested by, and therefore beneficial to your fish. Both grindal worms and white worms have a very high fat content and should be fed sparingly.

Once these recently hatched Uaruamphiacanthoidesfty use up their yolk sacs, live baby brine shrimp will be an essential food for their early development. Earthworms are an excellent source of protein and vitamins, as well as being a very "clean" food, and easy to culture. They may be fed whole, or cut, depending on the size of the mouths of your fish. Earthworms will sink to the bottom, but when fed to medium to large sized fish, they rarely make it beyond the exuberantly gaping jaws! Earthworms must be fed in moderation, due to their high protein content, and please be prepared to protect your females from excessive harassment by their highly energized male counterparts! Blackworms are a very rich and excellent food, provided they are rinsed a minimum of once a day, with extremely cold water, and kept cold and fresh. These must be purchased from a reliable source, and you must know that you will risk the introduction of pathogens into your tank. However, I have found that the benefits here do outweigh the potential risks when the product is stored and cared for properly. I do not recommend Tubifex worms. Adult brine shrimp provides excellent roughage, and for the efforts involved in its culture, is best purchased at your local aquarium store. I do not see this, in any manner, as an adequate diet by itself. Daphnia are an excellent food, when fed as a supplement, mentally stimulating the predatory

instincts of your fish, as these "water fleas" swim throughout the tank. Some cichlids have even been noted to guard their young from daphnia! As they are"filter feeders," daphnia are rich in vitamins and algal matter, and an additional benefit is the excellent roughage provided by their shells. Daphnia are also most enjoyable to cultivate in a small pool (tub) or pond of water outside of your backdoor. And that brings us to mosquito larvae, a wonderful food that is relished by most all. Please, remember, if left uneaten they will hatch! With so many other excellent alternatives, I do not recommend feeder goldfish, unless you are to propagate them in your own controlled, diseasefree tanks. Even at this, I see no reason to create such an explosion of potential pollutants, caused by the excessive waste at feeding time. There are many other excellent live foods that are certainly worth investigating, such as vinegar eels, copepods, fruitflies, mealworms and snails. For a closer look at these and many more, the "Encyclopedia of Live Foods, " by Charles O. Masters, is an invaluable book, that no serious aquarist's library should be without. Although the last printing was in 1975, it remains an excellent resource to this day. I was most fortunate to have obtained my copy from Lee Finley, of Finley Aquatic Books. On a special note, as you explore the numerous live foods, if you are to have the good fortune of speaking to, and spending time with, the legendary Rosario LaCorte, please be certain to listen attentively and value that time, as you will be speaking with one of the true Aquaristic Masters. Rosario maintains and breeds magnificent fish, as none other that I have seen, and much of his success he attributes to the live foods that he cultures in his fishroom, and in ponds outdoors, amongst the forest surrounding his home. Rosario is a treasure, at one with his fish, and truly a legend of his time. Other "Fresh MeatyFoods" There are alternatives to live foods that will not have the added appeal of movement, but will be certain to spark interest, particularly among your medium to large fish. Fresh white fish, such as cod, tilefish or striped bass, salmon, clams, scallops, shrimp and lobster will all be a relished treat when minced with a knife, or blended in the food processor. Frozen Foods Many of the foods are now available in a frozen state and quite popular among aquarists. A sampling of these include brine shrimp, bloodworms, beefheart, krill, glassworms and various blended preparations.

March 2004

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

The midge larvae, or bloodworm, is a prevalent food source in many freshwater habitats, and quite valuable for your home aquariums in its ability to condition your fish for spawning. These are most conveniently located in a frozen state. Defrosting the bloodworms in a small net strainer, that you will find in the kitchen utensil department of your local hardware store, and then running them under cold water, will assist greatly in removing pollutant-causing excess moisture and scum.

previously mentioned Romaine or spinach. Peas are relished, and are a wonderful first food for loricariid and other fry. Feed peas to your zesty eaters in moderation, as they are quite rich in carbohydrates. Blanched cut green beans and blanched cut broccoli stems are other valuable vegetables. Take a look through your refrigerator, be creative and have fun, remembering that the key is variety! Light Often overlooked for its full value, light not only illuminates our subject, it is actually an essential ingredient to the health and nutritional well-being of our fish. Certainly you have noted that upon bringing your fish indoors in the fall, after having spent the summer in your outdoor ponds and tubs, their growth and vitality, not to mention their productivity, is astonishing. The sun played a most significant role in those results, and certainly makes sunlight worthy of taking a closer look at, as we go about examining the nutritional needs of our fish.

If fed with attentive care, frozen foods have a place in your feeding regimen. As for frozen foods as a whole, the amount of vitamins and nutrients retained in a useable state through the freezing process is questionable, and perpetually a topic of debate amongst aquarists. Unless preventive measures are taken, most of these foods will tend to foul the water with the excess liquid created through the defrosting process. These are a favorite of many, but I would be certain to feed frozen foods with attentive care. Vegetables Performing an essential role in the health of your fish, vegetables make up a great percentage of their diet in nature. Some fish actually consume plant matter exclusively. Many of your prepared foods, as mentioned previously, will take care of the vegetable requirements of your fish. However, there is nothing equal to a large leaf of Romaine lettuce placed in the tank, as you will most certainly know if you have ever witnessed the delightful glee of a group of large Uaru, with their bright orange eyes flashing at the sight of this delicacy! The fresh greenery is a wonderful manner in which to supply vegetable matter, as it not only satisfies the necessary nutritional needs of your fish, but it provides them with interest and activity throughout the day, or night, as the case may be. There are many excellent options here, such as cut zucchini, that has been blanched lightly, and dark green leaf lettuces, such as the Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

The sun plays a significant role in the growth, vitality and productivity of your fish. One of the author's birds receives the same benefits, as he basks on the rim of an outdoor fish tub during the summer months. Recognized for providing Vitamin D, the sun's rays are also responsible for allowing the body to utilize various vitamins and minerals that have been ingested. Our tank lights serve much more of a purpose than showing off our fish. As in foods, we now have a large selection of light bulbs, many that are "full spectrum," mirroring the light of the sun's rays, and with modern technology, aside from the sun itself, come the closest to providing its supreme benefits. As for the length of time to light your fish, setting your timers to that of Nature is an easy and foolproof method.

March 2004

Proper lighting will make your fish feel and look their best! Water The very essence of all metabolic processes occurring in intricate harmony within the bodies of your fish relies on the water in which they live, and can be the determining factor as to whether they merely get by and survive, or if they are to flourish and thrive. The quality of the water that surrounds your fish is the absolute quintessence of their very being. Filtering the water in one manner or another is one routine and prudent practice among aquarists. However, there is nothing that one could do that would be more beneficial than performing regular water changes!

eat primarily meat. Many of these are able to adapt to our home feeding practices, but must do so around the characteristic physical make-up of that species, such as jaw structure, stomach size and structure, intestinal length and overall body shape.

A varied diet which included such foods as blackworms, earthworms, Romaine lettuce, and peas, played an important role in conditioning this pair of Uaru amphiacanthoides to spawn the clutch of eggs they are guarding.

The quality of the water in which your fish live is the very quintessence of their well being. Essential trace minerals, necessary for the health of your fish, are furnished by the water in which they live. As these minerals are utilized by your fish, naturally the supply within the water becomes depleted. A filter can perform many useful tasks, but it will not replace expended minerals. The most efficient manner of replenishing these trace minerals is through your routine water change. To meet the optimal needs of your fish, care for them as if they were in nature. Here the rain pours, and in many situations, the waters constantly rush by, bringing an endless new and vitalized water supply. Regular routine water changes will go far in creating the path to this ultimate replication. Variables, Choices and Alternatives When deliberating on the feeding regimen that best suits your fish, you will also want to take into account feeding specializations within the fish that you are caring for. There are omnivores, which eat an assortment of vegetables and meats, herbivores, which eat entirely, or almost entirely, vegetable matter, and there are carnivores, which

There are obviously numerous variables and options to take into consideration when contemplating the fundamental nutritional needs of our fish. With so many choices and alternatives, it is an exciting challenge, that is rich in rewards, for both you and your fish, when you have successfully discovered the most appropriate equation! References Levine, Joseph S., The Complete Fishkeeper. (1991) New York, William Morrow and Company, Inc. pp. 16-17; 19-20; 32-35. L.F.S. Cultures, Live Foods Information Booklet, Mississippi. Loiselle, Paul V., The Cichlid Aquarium. (1994) Germany, Tetra Press, pp. 107-114. Andrews, Chris, Dr., Carrington, Neville, Dr. and Exell, Adrian, The Manual of Fish Health, (1988) New Jersey, Tetra Press, pp. 22-25. Masters, Charles O., Encyclopedia of Live Foods. (1975) New Jersey, T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Ltd. pp. 9-36. Scheurmarm, Ines, The New Aquarium Handbook. (1986) New York, Barren's Educational Series, Inc. pp. 70-77. A

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

A Live Food Primer by HARRY FAUSTMANN here is little doubt that live foods are generally better for fish than commercially prepared food, especially to condition fish for breeding purposes. Just as it is a good idea to vary your own diet, feeding a variety of live foods to your fish will help assure more complete nutrition. But, live food from a pet shop is expensive, comes with risks of carrying disease or parasites, may be of poor nutritional value or quality due to long periods in transit, and the selection of what kind of live foods you can buy is usually quite limited. The solution is to culture and grow live food at home. This article briefly describes how to culture and grow a wide variety of live foods suitable for the feeding of tropical fish.




Perhaps the most widely cultivated live food amongst aquarists are brine shrimp nauplii. "Baby brine shrimp" can be produced in thirty-six to forty -eight hours as a first food for larger fry or amphibian fry. The brine shrimp eggs, or "cysts" can be maintained on a shelf for many years before placing into saltwater to hatch. This is a convenient method of always having them available until ready to use. A one gallon container of natural or artificial saltwater, using a hydrometer to measure salinity, can be set up with constant aeration, at room temperature, or up to 76째F. A small teaspoon of the brine shrimp eggs can be added, and after thirty-six to forty-eight hours in this condition, the brine shrimp will hatch. Straining the shrimp from the saltwater can be done with a brine shrimp net, or a nylon "slip" material over a small net or container. The strained brine shrimp can then be rinsed into a freshwater container, and fed to fish or amphibian fry using a "kitchen baster." Baby brine shrimp are amongst the most nutritious first foods to feed and can be obtained in most pet shops. They can be raised to "adult" size in only two weeks, but the care required can be more trouble than it is worth. But, that's for you to decide.

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

Once you have accomplished the method of hatching brine shrimp, you are not far behind from being able to raise them to adult size. If one intends to raise larger aquarium fish or young amphibians to adult size, then this might be the way to go. Setting up a rearing container is not as difficult as it might seem. Use a four to five gallon bucket filled with saltwater, and provide aeration. Then just add a starter culture of live baby brine shrimp. Constant aeration is necessary, as is daily cleaning and removal of waste matter from the rearing container. A fouled container is terminal. The food to feed to the brine shrimp can vary. One of the most successful foods was found to be soy bean flour. Found in most health food stores (this alone tells you it's healthy), it can be stored indefinitely. Just sprinkle a small amount of the flour into the rearing container. This should be done daily. Better still would be to sprinkle the soy bean flour into ajar containing the same water, shake or stir the mixture until cloudy, then pour it into the rearing container. If the saltwater rearing container has cleared up by the following day, then it is time to feed again. After two weeks of doing this, with almost daily cleaning of the rearing container, the brine shrimp will now be young adults. They can now be fed to your animals, as they won't live much longer. These are the size that we see for sale on the counters in pet shops. Now you can raise them instead of buying them as food for your fish or amphibians.

March 2004


To decapsulate brine shrimp eggs, add one teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs to three ounces of fresh water and let soak for one hour, stirring occasionally. Then add two ounces of Clorox (or other brand of bleach), which is sodium hypochlorite. Stir this continuously for three to five minutes. Then strain the egg solution through a net, and rinse with fresh water. Then dip the net containing the eggs into one cup of fresh water containing one tablespoon of white vinegar. Rinse the net containing the eggs once again in fresh water. You can then feed the decapsulated eggs to your fish, or you can place them into saltwater, keep for 24 to 36 hours at 72 to 78 degrees F, with aeration. After hatching, you can then feed the newly hatched brine shrimp. The formula is: One teaspoon brine shrimp eggs. Three ounces of fresh water. Two ounces of bleach solution. One tablespoon of white vinegar in one cup of fresh water. A larger formula is: Eleven teaspoons of brine shrimp eggs. Thirty-two ounces of fresh water. Twenty-four ounces of bleach. Ten cups of fresh water. Eleven tablespoons of white vinegar. DAPHNIA


One live food that is often collected in the wild for aquarium food is daphnia. It comes in several species and sizes, Daphnia magna, D. pulex, D. dubia, and a smaller creature called Moina macrocopa (not a true daphnia). Collecting them from the wild can bring other dangerous creatures, parasites, etc., into your tanks. Once you've obtained a clean starter culture, choose a container to set up to assure a constant supply. Outdoors in warm weather, you can use a bucket or a small wading pool. Just feed the starter culture with dry grass clippings, a dog biscuit, alfalfa (rabbit) pellets, or similar fare. This will allow the daphnia to filter-feed the nutrients from the water. Collect them with a daphnia net, small enough to screen them out of the water, and rinse into a small bowl. Then feed them to your animals as required. To culture them indoors, a small aquarium or small jar can be used. Use aged aquarium water, feed with "green water," or a constant supply of nutrient-rich tank water. This will assure a continuous supply of daphnia. If you should overfeed daphnia to your animals, don't despair, as they will continue living in the tank until your pets catch up with them. Keeping a culture indoors will provide live food during the winter months as well. GRINDAL WORMS

One of the smaller worms to cultivate as a live food for small fish or amphibians would be Grindal worms. An easy to maintain culture consists of a mixture of garden soil, potting soil, or damp peat moss. Using a container such as a wooden box, bucket, or plastic shoe box, half fill it with your choice of soil, add a starter culture of Grindal worms. Feed with a sprinkling of corn meal or baby cereal flakes. The easiest way that I have found to harvest these worms is by placing a flat plastic dish on top of the mixture. The worms will adhere to the bottom of the dish which then can be rinsed into a small collection bowl. Using a "kitchen baster" to squirt these little worms into your fry tanks is about the best way to distribute

March 2004

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

them. These containers can be maintained for quite a while by "fluffing" up the mixture and preventing it from being packed down. Do not allow it to become too wet. If you cover the container, leave the cover off occasionally to allow the mixture to dry up naturally. The worms will not crawl out of the container. This is one live food that can be kept on the shelf for quite a while, and will always provide "instant live foods" for those hungry young creatures. MICROWORMS

Vinegar eels are tiny worms that live in apple cider vinegar and are almost invisible to the human eye. Fortunately, tiny fish can see and eat them quite easily. A culture can be maintained for months without any trouble at all. To culture them, use a large jar, a gallon or so, and mix one half apple cider vinegar and one half water. Then add the starter culture of vinegar eels. Add a slice of apple and lightly cover the jar, keeping it at room temperature for a month or so. When a month has passed, siphon off the top "foamy" layer into a container. This will contain most of the eels, although they will be throughout the mixture. Pour this mixture through a fine linen cloth (like a handkerchief). Reverse the cloth into fresh water and return the apple cider vinegar solution to the existing culture. Using a "kitchen baster," you can then squirt the live eels into your fry tanks. The eels can be seen with the help of a magnifying glass. The vinegar eels can live in freshwater aquariums until eaten by fish. They will not reproduce unless they are in an apple cider vinegar solution. When a culture becomes too strong smelling, a new one can be started. CONFUSED BEETLES

Micro worms are a great food to have on hand to feed tiny fish fry for the first week or so. A recent method of culturing them involves using instant potato flakes, mixed with an equal amount of water. After obtaining a starter culture, it can be mixed with the potato flake mixture and kept in a small covered container. The mixture does not have to be more than a half inch thick. When kept at room temperature, the culture will multiply in about a week's time. The micro worms will crawl up the sides of the container, where they can be wiped up with a cotton swab or similar instrument. Keeping them this way will enable them to last for about four months before the medium starts to foul. Then simply take one teaspoon and add to a new medium to begin again. VINEGAR EELS

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

These little brass-colored beetles get their name from the confused manner in which they move. They appear to go in circles when in a culture medium. To culture them, use a finely sifted soy bean flour that can easily pass through a stainless steel flour sifter. Place into ajar, such as a plastic peanut butter jar, and drill tiny holes into the plastic lid for air circulation. The holes should be much smaller than the adult beetles to keep them in the jar. Then add a starter culture of adult beetles, cover with the plastic jar lid, and place on a warm shelf. After awhile, the adults will have laid their eggs in the soy bean flour medium. These will hatch into small white-colored worms, or "maggots." As they also feed on the medium, they will grow and change into the brass colored adult "confused beetle."

March 2004


peat moss or potting soil as a medium. Feeding a starter culture consists of sprinkling dry flake baby cereal lightly on the medium surface. Once the culture has been established, the use of a piece of white bread soaked in milk and laid on top of the peat moss will cause a better growth of worms. To harvest these fat little white worms, scoop out a portion of the medium containing the worms, place into a fish net, suspend the net over a wide mouth jar, one-third filled with aged aquarium water. Place a light bulb over the top of the net. The heat of the light bulb will drive the worms from the peat moss medium, through the fish net, and they will drop into the cooler water below. After half an hour of this, the peat moss will be drying out and all the worms will be in the water. Return the peat moss to the culture container and use that "kitchen baster" to suck up the white worms from the water container. Squirt them into the tanks containing your fish or amphibians. Feed these worms once or twice a week, alternating with other live foods, and you'll notice healthier animals. A

To harvest the beetles, remove the plastic jar lid and pour the contents into a fine-screened flour sifter over a bowl. The beetles and worm larvae will be caught in the sifter and the soy bean flour medium will pass through into the bowl. The beetles and worm larvae can then be fed to your fish. Be sure to keep some adult beetles and worm larvae to return to the culture jar. Several jars should be established to provide enough beetles to feed. These culture jars will last for many months before you may need to add more soy bean flour to "enrich" the medium. WHITE WORMS

Another worm that is easy to cultivate for small fishes, amphibians, and other aquatic creatures is the white worm. It can be raised in a plastic shoebox, or smaller container, using damp




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


March 2004

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

Understanding Fish Nutrition by BERNARD HARRIGAN


or centuries, man has studied the effect of foods on his own optimum health and longevity. New discoveries include CoQIO, bioflavonoids, and pyrroloquinoline (which is being recommended for classification as a B Vitamin). Doctors are changing their recommendations from a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates, to one which is low in carbohydrates and higher in protein. The F.D.A.'s nutritional pyramid has gone through some big changes in the past decade or so. Why do I bring all of this up? Because, with all that we know (and don't know) about our own dietary needs, we know less than one percent about the optimal nutritional needs of our finned friends.

In the wild, the diet of tropical fishes is freeze-dried foods, and frozen foods. You can mainly composed of protein and fat. They rarely even buy live foods. So now, armed with the ingest carbohydrates. Fatty acids are used to grow information above on what your fish need, let's muscle, and play a major role in the structure of take a closer look at what is out there, and how individual cells and cell membranes. They are good it is for your fish. crucial to the working of certain vitamins, and are First, read the label to see what it responsible for the bright red, orange, yellow, and contains, and in what percentages. You might spot green colors in fish. something listed as "ash." Since ash, as well as Nutrients fiber, are basically can be categorized /<:;,Jv ^ fillers, which are not as being protein, fat, digestible, look for carbohydrate, products with as low vitamin, mineral, of a content of these as and water. Unless a possible. fish is not in its The most aquatic habitat, popular type of fish water is rarely a food comes in the problem, as it is form of flakes. You naturally absorbed can even include f r o m t h e granules and pellets in environment. Some the same group; vitamins, and most they're just finished Drawing by Bernard Harrigan minerals, are off differently. These assimilated through the fishes' gills, rather than foods are made from a wide number of ingredients ingested in their food. Fish which come from soft and recipes, depending on the type offish they are water habitats need less calcium and other intended to feed. Some are for herbivores (plant minerals than fish which are native to harder eaters), while others are made for carnivores (flesh waters. eaters), and still others are for omnivores (fish that Essential fatty acids, certain vitamins, and eat both flesh and plants). essential amino acids can't be synthesized by the With the cooking and drying of the fish, and must be supplied by their diet. Their diet ingredients, nutrients are destroyed. Since fats and should contain anywhere from 5% to 15% of these oils turn rancid when exposed to the air, they're non-saturated fats. Very little to none of the woefully under-represented. Vitamins will be lost natural diet of fish consists of saturated fat. Fish over time, so don't buy in bulk. You'll be have difficulties digesting them, and these fats can short-changing your fish if you do. Plus, the be very detrimental to their health. percentage of carbohydrates is often too high in Commercially prepared fish foods are these types of foods. Freeze-dried foods, as with sold as flakes, granules, dry or semi-dry pellets, flakes, lose nutrients due to processing, and are Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

March 2004


lacking in the amount of oil that our fish should have. In nature, fish don't consume more than 25% of their diet in carbohydrates, which is used a lot in processed foods because it is inexpensive and makes a good binder to hold the pellets together. Excessive amounts of carbohydrates can impair your fishes' proper growth. This is especially true for fry and young fish, which need higher protein levels in their diet. A condition similar to diabetes can result if a steady diet high in carbohydrates persists. Frozen food is specially p r e p a r e d to effective1y preserve all of the nutrients, without carrying diseases. They can either be a single organism, like my sis shrimp, black worms, or even whole fishes. Also available are formulations consisting of raw (no heat used) ingredients, finely minced and combined before being frozen in cubed packages. Although expensive, they provide the highest nutritional content, including fatty acids, for your fish. The only word of caution is, "be sure to thaw the food before feeding it to your fish." Live foods stimulate fish into eating, so that even a sickly fish, or a picky eater, will respond to the movement and eat more. Live foods contain all different types of nutrients which your fish need, including essential oils, but deficiencies may be present in individual species of live food. For example, brine shrimp are deficient in Vitamin A. Culturing a variety of live food can be unsightly, time consuming and difficult, and requires a certain level of expertise. Store-bought live food can be expensive, and can carry diseases. Rinsing live food off with water can help limit disease introduction, but it can't be expected to remove internal parasites from the food. Some of your choices for live foods include: brine shrimp, black worms, feeder fish (like guppies or goldfish), snails, daphnia, 14

earthworms, algae, and wingless fruit flies. For a fish fry's first foods, there are micro worms, green water, and infusoria. Cultured live foods can provide a source of high quality nutrition that can't be found in commercially prepared foods. I would be remiss if I didn't include some information on how to feed your fish. I'll start with a simple statement: "each fish has its own dietary needs." You would feed a Redtailed Catfish less food, b a s e d on a percentage of its body weight, than you would feed a Cardinal Terra, and you would end up feeding the terra more often. Some fish are herbivores, some are carnivores, and still others are omnivores. There are top feeders, bottom feeders, and middlecolumn feeders. Some fish are nocturnal, and only eat when the lights go out. Each fish has its own nutritional needs, which have evolved from the niche they've carved out in their natural environment. Examples of such dietary specializations include: â&#x20AC;˘ Seahorses (Hippocampus sp.) - whose snouts have developed to eat shrimp (and basically only shrimp). â&#x20AC;˘ Loricariids - most members of the Loricariid family have not only evolved very specialized mouths with which to eat algae, but some need submerged wood in their diet, as well. â&#x20AC;˘ Archerfish (Toxotes jaculator) - this fish spits out a powerful stream of water at terrestrial insects which are perched near the water's surface, to bring them down for dinner. The natural diet of each species of fish poses more questions than we have answers to. The nutritional requirements of only about a dozen fishes have been studied in detail. Most of these fishes are the ones man has raised as food, and not for ornamental purposes. Almost all of them are cold water (i.e., not tropical) species. Most commercial foods for tropical fish are based on those studies.

March 2004

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

Deficiencies in certain nutrients can cause problems in your fish, ranging from drab coloration to death! Some signs of nutritional deficiency include: anorexia, retarded growth, gill abnormalities, melanosis and cataracts, as well as hemorrhaging of the eyes, nares, fins, and epidermis (skin). Unlike minerals, vitamins are not a stable nutrient. The fish food industry is working to improve the shelf life of their foods by using more stabilized forms of vitamins. Basically, fish need all 15 known vitamins, although not all species need all 15. A good example is Vitamin C. A number of fish foods are boldly proclaiming that Vitamin C has been added. That's because, like primates, fruit bats, and guinea pigs, most fish can't synthesize their own Vitamin C. Another vital vitamin fish not only need, but they need the correct type of, is Vitamin D. There is a type of Vitamin D called "ergocalciferol," which needs sunlight to help activate it. Since sunlight only penetrates a few inches into the water, this type of Vitamin D is used very poorly, or not at all, by fish. The type of Vitamin D called "cholecalciferol" is the one which fish need. It's no wonder that the best source of this form of Vitamin D is fish oils.

Protein is a key element required for growth, which makes up most of a fish's dry body weight. Fish also use it to repair and synthesize new body tissue, as well as its protective slime body coat. Protein requirements vary, based on the type offish, its age, and the temperature of the water. The warmer the water, the more protein fish need to stay healthy. Herbivores need a diet with about 30% protein, while carnivores need about 50% of their diet from protein. Newly hatched fry need 60% of their diet to be protein. Most hobbyists overfeed their tanks, causing poor water quality. Most mature fish would be better off if their owners didn't feed them one day out of the week. Skipping one day doesn't mean that your fish won't eat that day. Watching your fish, you will see them consistently picking at algae, and sucking the slime off of the rocks and gravel. Once you understand that fish don't use energy to maintain body temperature, or to fight gravity, then you'll understand that they don't need a lot of food, but they do need proper nutrition. You have assigned yourself as a custodian over these living creatures. They didn't pick you. Be the best guardian for your fish that you can be! JL


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

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March 2004


Photos and captions of our February 2004 meeting

President Joe Ferdenzi makes our GCAS gatherings a joy, as he performs his incomparable role of presiding over the meeting.

John Malinowski? a G CAS treasure, whose charming smile radiates warmth at our meetings!

Award-winning author Jerry O'Farrell and Gino Cusano, enjoying another Grande evening with the GCAS!

Fishing buddies Bob Strazzulla and Al DiSpigna. Their winning smiles warm the heart!

Bobby O'Farrell andhis dad, Jerry, planning the next "big tank adventure" at the O'Farrell (household. Sue Priest warmly greets our ^newest GCAS member, Peter fl Hirschhorn, who has found some I spectacular new fish in the auction â&#x20AC;˘to add to his collection.

Vanessa Jennings is delighted with Illijlill 111! her exquisite pair of Koi Angels, acquired from the evening's This is surely Tom Bohme's night, auction as n^s auction "finds" include several bags of prize African cichlids, such as these lovely, deep-colored Labidochromis caeruleus. If it's a question about Tropheus, Angelo Cavallo is surely our GCAS "in-house expert," as his years of experience and stunning collection will attest to.


March 2004

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

by Claudia Dickinson

Our GCAS *STAR* couple Charlie and Ginny Eckstein!

The kind-hearted nature of Joseph Graffagnino shines, as he looks over the fish and plants in the, evening's auction. JJ

GCAS Corresponding Secretary Warren Feuer, and Treasurer Jack Traub keep the auction and raffle proceeds moving smoothly, always keeping spirits high!

Great aquaristic minds confer ~ Anton Vukich and Horst Gerber, two of our eternal GCAS experts! Love is in the air, and Sue and Al Priest are a match made in heaven!

The G.C.A.S. Extends a most Warm Thank You to our Master Panel of Experts From our February Program

Ginny Eckstein

Anton Vukich

Joseph Graffagnino

Your time, talents and efforts are so appreciated!

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

March 2004



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TONY PINTO g on: "Thailand 2002: In Search of Bettas and Other Tropical Fish" by CLAUDIA DICKINSON he hush of the British Council Library of Kuwait charged the air with austerity, the elegant, polished shelves looming high overhead, their volumes towering on either side of the long, spacious aisles. In the quiet solitude of a corner niche, the inquisitive eyes of the young boy darted over the multitude of titles. His hands skimmed across the leather bindings, occasionally pausing to riffle through the pages of a book of particular interest. Suddenly, the title of one book, "All About Tropical Fish, " caught the attention of thirteen-year-old Tony Pinto. As he pulled the book from its shelf, the immense weight and size took him by surprise, almost pulling it from his hands, but he grasped the volume firmly and eagerly opened it. Tony's breath was taken away by the pages inside, which abounded with information lavishly accompanied by exquisite illustrations and photographs of the loveliest fish that he had ever laid eyes on. The cold sharpness of the February air went unnoticed, as Tony turned homeward from the marbled library steps, the 1958 1st edition by Derek Mclnerny and Geoffery Gerard tucked under one arm, to be renewed week after week, setting the stage and a new path in life, for a future filled with aquatic passion. Up until this time, Tony had a small aquarium in which he would place small fish and crabs, collected with his parents and sisters outside of Kuwait, where he lived as a boy. Tony says that most of these did not live when he added freshwater and salt, because the salt used did not have all of the trace elements necessary to keep them alive. But he was undaunted and kept on in his attempts. "All About Tropical Fish " would be the inspiration for Tony to begin his first serious aquarium of 2 !/2 gallons. With few aquarium stores in the area, there was not a wide assortment of fish for him to choose from, but Tony did well and learned much from his guppies, and eventually expanded to two tanks with the addition of other species, such as Green Wag Swordtails. As a student in the United Kingdom for ten years, Tony kept livebearers and dwarf cichlids. Subsequently, teaching at the University in Kuwait, he moved onto killifish. It was at this time in Kuwait that he discovered a population ofAphanius dispar many miles outside of the city. Tony brought some of the A. dispar back home and was able to have them breed in his tanks. He says "the water was



brackish and the fish were like butterflies! But they are difficult fish to keep alive." The move to the United States in 1988 brought Tony's fish with him, and it was in 1996 that he began his fascination with bettas. Currently, at his home in Boston, MA, Tony has thirty-five to forty tanks in his basement, the majority of which are five gallon, as well as a few 20 gallon. He keeps these in a three-tier bank, with warmer water species on the top, and colder water species on the bottom. Tony's focus presently lies in a wide and intriguing assortment of bettas, killies, livebearers, and anabantoids. Plants are another of Tony's passions, and this becomes apparent as you enter his fishroom, as it is here that his second hobby flourishes alongside his aquaristic interests. Tony's travels take him far and wide, as he has visited Malaysia, Sarawak, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Dip net and bags are always close within reach, as he searches out fish, habitats and information on specific species. His journeys are oriented towards the rustic outdoors, where there are most certainly no luxury hotels to be found! Tony has a few thoughts on collecting, such as taking care not to go too deep in a stream. He will net from the banks, or wade in up to his knees, but he says that the flow can be very strong, with an undercurrent that is particularly deceiving and quite hazardous. Serving as the Vice President of the Boston Aquarium Society, Tony is also Membership Chair for the organization. His writing includes published works in "Tropical Fish Hobbyist," and the journals of the Anabantoid Association of Great Britain and the British Killifish Association. What are Tony's thoughts on diet and nutrition for our fish? Along with chopped blackworms, baby brine shrimp, Daphnia in the spring, and microworms for small fry, his fish dine on a homemade recipe. This he makes from a paste blend of beef baby food, carrot baby food, tuna and seafood cat food, chopped prawns and carrots. The puree is frozen and taken out of the freezer in feeding-size portions. A most kind, knowledgeable and charming individual, it is with great pride that we extend our warmest welcome to Tony as he joins us tonight to tell us of Thailand 2002: In search of Bettas and other Tropical Fish.

March 2004

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

Snails: the Easy and Often Forgotten Live Food by BERNARD HARRIGAN


snails from the second bucket into the third bucket. nails are a live food most of you have probably kept at one time or another. Either Feed the first and second buckets of snails a scalded lettuce leaf. I always like to keep three chopped, crushed, or whole, most fish will cultures going to give me plenty of snails, and in snap them up. Almost all cichlids, most catfish and barbs, some loaches and gouramis, certain case one goes bad. If, at any point, you notice that the snails terras and gobies, and a large assortment of other are all around the waterline, it's a sign that your meat-eating fishes will readily accept them as water is oxygen-poor. You've either fed them too food. A good rule of thumb â&#x20AC;&#x201D; if the fish is known much detritus or lettuce, or you didn't clean the to eat chopped earthworms, they'll eat snails. clam shell well enough. Remove three quarters of It doesn't matter if you keep ramshorn, the water, being careful not to lose any snails in like Plannorvarius corneus, or the longhorn-like the process. Refill the bucket with tank water (no Melanoides tuberculatus, or the common snail, detritus). Add an airstone, if necessary; but if you like Viviparus fasciatus, they are all easy to culture. have the buckets correctly balanced ecologically, you shouldn't need one. Take a five gallon bucket, the type you By the third week, you could start use for water changes. Do a water change, but harvesting from your first bucket; and by the fifth instead of dumping the water out, leave it in there, week, you can harvest detritus and all. from any of them. Detritus covering the Always leave a dozen whole bottom is or so snails behind to good. Throw in an keep your culture empty, clean, clam going. shell to ensure proper You can just pH and w a t e r hardness. Ask your drop the snails into favorite seafood the tank for fish that can handle them restaurant for a few. drawing by Bernard Harrigan whole. You can pick Then add about six different sized snails snails. Most snails for different fish. Clown loaches relish snails, but are hermaphrodites, meaning that they have both male and female gonads (sex organs). You don't they are nocturnal eaters. If you drop a snail into have to worry about checking under their shells to a tank with a clown loach, and the snail crawls off into hiding, rest assured it will be eaten before sex them. A week later, you may notice snail eggs morning. For fish that can't eat them in the shell, near the waterline, or just some baby snails. Some simply crush the snails before dropping them into snails are egglayers, and others are livebearers. In the tank. You could even chop them up, like you another five gallon bucket, do your weekly water change, like every good hobbyist should. When would earthworms, for fish with very small mouths. Both of these methods stop snails from you're done, leave the bucket filled with water and detritus, and add an empty, clean clam shell. Take infesting tanks you don't want them in. I've even half the snails from the first bucket, and add them kept snails in my guppy tanks to act as peaceful scavengers. I then harvest snails from those tanks to the second bucket. Put a scalded lettuce leaf for my larger fish. into the first bucket to feed your snails. A week later, after you've done your Maybe next time you have a chance to buy some snails, you'll give them a second look, weekly water changes ("take that look off your face; you know you should be doing them"), take seeing them not as a pest, but as valuable aquatic another five gallon bucket set up with tank water, creatures. detritus, and a clean clam shell, and put half the Modern Aquarium - Greater Cit A.S. (NY)

March 2004


Focus on our Youth "The Pet Club Report" Our Fish and Nutrition Photos and Text by CLAUDIA DICKINSON hen science instructor Todd Brunn and the 6th grade students of "The Pet Club" at the Montauk Public School in Montauk, N. Y. learned that Modern Aquarium was publishing a special edition on Fish Nutrition, the pupils enthusiastically offered a few thoughts of their own on the diets of their favorite fish.


Ben's favorite fish is the Brachydanio rerio (Zebra danio), which, he states, feeds on brine shrimp in nature. Ben feeds the Zebra danio at "The Pet Club" Tetra Min Tropical Flakes. In Ben's opinion, the most important factors to consider when feeding your fish are: to "always consider how much you are feeding your fish. If you feed them too much, the uneaten food could raise the ammonia level. If you don't feed them enough, they could die of starvation."

Evan's favorite fish is the Anguilla rostrata (American eel), which, he states, are scavengers, feeding on meat and plants in nature. Evan feeds |1 the American eel at "The Pet Club" fish flakes. In Evan's opinion, the r j most important factors to consider when feeding your fish are: "Don't feed the wrong food, too much or too little food."

Brian's favorite fish is the Amphiprionfrenatus (clownfish), which, he states, feeds on other fish and plants in nature. Brian feeds the clownfish at "The Pet Club" marine flakes. In Brian's opinion, the most important factors to consider when he feeds the fish are: "to watch how much I give them because I don't want to feed them too much, or I don't want to give them too little."

Shona's favorite fish is the Zebrasoma veliferum (sailfin tang), which, she states, feeds on dried seaweed, leaf lettuce, broccoli and zucchini in nature. Shona feeds the sailfin tang at "The Pet Club" Tetra Marine Flakes. In Shona's opinion, the most important factors to consider when feeding your fish are that: "you want to be careful of not overfeeding them. But, also feed them enough, so that they won't eat each other." I


March 2004

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

Patrick's favorite fish is the Trichogaster trichopterus (Tredrik' the gourami), which, he states, feeds on meaty foods, algae-based foods, tubifex, | shrimp, dried bloodworms, infusoria and nauplii in nature. Patrick feeds Tredrik' the gourami at "The Pet Club" Tetra Min Tropical Flakes and Wardley Shrimp Pellets. In Patrick's opinion, the most important factors to consider when feeding your fish are: "Don't feed the fish too little or too much, find out what the fishes like, and make sure the fish can eat the food."

Sixth grade science instructor Todd Brunn and the students of "The Pet Club" at the Montauk Public School, in Montauk, N. Y., share their ideas on the diets of some of their favorite fish.

"TFH" Tank Placement Program and your local school! hrough the generous efforts of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine, any elementary or middle school teacher who wishes to have an aquarium in their classroom, bringing out the smiles, appreciation, sense of responsibility and desire to learn more on aquarium husbandry, that the students of "The Pet Club" share, may now do so through the Tank Placement Programl If you are a teacher, or know of one who is interested, please join in by e-mailing: editor@tfh.com,with the subject line: TANK PLACEMENT INFO. The rest of us have the great opportunity offered by "TFH" to enjoy the rewards of becoming a mentor for this program by e-mailing: editor@tfh.com, with the subject line: MENTOR. If you have donations, or know of a retailer who wishes to be a part of this endeavor, please e-mail: editor@tfh.com, with the subject line: PLACEMENT DONATIONS. Please see me with any questions that you may have on the "TFH" Tank Placement Program, or if you would like to have your local school featured within these pages!


Keep the date open! Get your fish ready! Get more tanks ready! For the Greater City Aquarium Society's Biennial All-Species Show and Giant Auction !

May 22-23, 2004 Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Parkway Floral Park, NY

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

March 2004


//Roe Gourmet Fish Food Or, How To Make Frozen Fish Food At Home by JOSEPH GRAFFAGNINO he following recipe was borrowed from other recipes, as well as advice from reputable aquarists, hobbyists, and retailers. It has what we (my wife, Rosemarie, and I) believe to be the best combination of ingredients to promote coloration and growth. It leaves no protein/oil residue on the surface of the water. We feed this food to our fish twice a week.


Ingredients 3 - 4 oz. jars of creamed spinach (Gerber #2) 3 - 4 oz. jars of peas (Beechnut #1) 3 - 4 oz. jars of green beans (Beechnut #1) 3 - 4 oz. jars of sweet potatoes (Beechnut #1) 3 - 4 oz. jars of carrots (Beechnut #1) 1 - 4 oz. jar of peaches (Beechnut #1) 6 oz. of freeze-dried krill (crushed) (or more, if needed to have a firm consistancy) 1/2 Ib. scallops (raw) l/21b. scrod fish (raw) 1/2 Ib. shrimp (boil 2 minutes & shell) 4 tablespoons of Terra Bits 11/2 teaspoons of paprika powder 1 1/2 tablespoons of spirulina powder 1/2 teaspoon of grated anise seeds 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast powder 6 tablespoons of single grain oatmeal baby cereal by Gerber 3 hard boiled egg yolks (grated) 2 cups of color enhancing food pellets [You can also substitute High Pro dog food for this.] Preparation • Grate the scallops, scrod, and shrimp in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of water. • Mix all the ingredients together until a thick paste develops. (If the mixture is too moist, add more freeze-dried krill.) • Refrigerate overnight. • Fill quart size (7" X 8 M ) plastic zip-lock type bags until they are uniformly 1/8" thick with the mixture, as measured when the bag is laid on a flat surface. (If the mixture was any thicker, it would be difficult to break pieces off after it is frozen.) • Freeze, and mark the date on the bags. 22

This should make 13 bags of food. You should make no more than can be used in a few months. To feed, place the frozen food in a plastic container and float it in a pail of hot water. Nutritional Information Spirulina powder is a great source of protein. I get mine from Algae Feast Spirulina, Earthrise Company, at 424 Payran St., Petaluma, CA. 94952 (707) 778-9078, fax (707) 778-9028, website: http://www.earthrise.com/ Krill (Freeze-dried) is a color enhancer and coagulator. It contains: 60% protein, 19% fiber, 6% moisture and 200 IU Vitamin E. Krill is the bonding agent in this recipe. This is why, if you are using krill, you don't need gelatin. Paprika is a color enhancer; it has Vitamin A. Brewers Yeast Powder contains: fat, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B-6, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and thiamin. Tetra Bits is a color enhancer. It contains protein, fat, and fiber. Single Grain Oatmeal cereal for babies (Gerber) contains: 60 calories, 1 gram fat, 50 mg. potassium, 10 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, Vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and zinc. Green Beans #1 (4 oz. jar - Beechnut) contains: 35 calories, 3 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams carbohydrates, 10 mg. sodium, 180 mg. potassium, 1 gram protein, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Peas #1 (4 oz. jar - Beechnut) contains: 60 calories, 4 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 10 grams carbohydrates, 10 mg. sodium, 130 mg. potassium, 4 grams protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

March 2004

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

Peaches #1 (4 oz. jar - Beechnut) contains: 60 calories, 10 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, 14 grams total carbohydrates, 10 mg. sodium, 200 mg. potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Sweet Potatoes #1 (4 oz. jar - Beechnut) contains: 80 calories, 9 grams sugar, 1 gram fiber, 17 grams carbohydrates, 10 mg. sodium, 260 mg. potassium, protein, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Carrots #1 (4 oz. jar - Beechnut) contains: 40 calories, 5 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams carbohydrates, 30 mg. sodium, 160 mg. potassium, protein, Vitamin A, and calcium.

Spinach, creamed #2 (4 oz. jar - Gerber) contains: 50 calories, 3 grams sugar, 1 gram fat, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams carbohydrates, 40 mg. sodium, 210 mg. potassium, 3 grams protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, and zinc. (Editor's note: this is based on an article by the author which was originally printed in 1998 in Aquatica, the publication of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society. It was submitted by and updated with the generous permission of its author, who is also a Greater City member.)

Green Water Soup by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST e've all seen tanks whose water is more green than not. Maybe it's because of neglect, overfeeding, an algae bloom, or just because we scraped off the algae from the glass (or plastic) walls of the tank, and the algae was then discharged into the tank's water. So, what's the big deal about "green water" as a fish food? The fact is that "green water" (the food, not the algae bloom) is an excellent food for extremely small fry whose mouths are too small for baby brine shrimp or microworms. Green water is also an excellent media in which to grow daphnia, which you can feed to larger or more mature fry. I keep at least three cultures of daphina going at any given time, and each of them is in an abundantly green water "soup," whose recipe I will share with you. To make green water, you will need a clear container near a strong light source (a window is best, but I've used aquarium lighting, as well). A strong light is needed to produce algae. (Yes, you want algae in this case!) You will need to fill the container with water; and probably the best water for this purpose is from a water change of your own fish tanks. This recipe for green water works best with neutral or acidic water. So, those of you who, like myself, keep acid-loving fish, will need to test the pH of the water first (pH can be raised by using sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda). You have to add some organic material to the water. If you started off with used tank water, there already is some organic material in suspension. I add sun-dried grass clippings and/or


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

wilted lettuce leaves. Now, all you have to do is wait until the water turns green. I've seen recommendations for adding additional things (rabbit pellets, dog food, dry cereal, etc.), but I've never tried them, and so I can't advocate their use. Seriously, if you can't grow green water with nothing more than water, light, and lettuce, then you probably shouldn't be trying to grow fish. I've also seen recommendations to use aeration in green water culture tanks. I found that this seems to slow up the process, at least for me. You will need to scrape the walls of the container periodically to clear the algae buildup that would otherwise reduce the amount of light passing through the walls. Another very common suggestion is the addition of snails to help break down the organic material and promote the growth of infusoria in the green water. I've tried it a few times, but with very mixed success. Once a snail dies (and until the empty shell starts floating, how does one know for certain that a snail is dead?), it very rapidly pollutes the water, especially warm (from the sun), nutrient rich (from the decaying grass or lettuce) water in a small container. Once the water is a nice dark green, you can use an eye dropper, or small baster, to squirt it into fry tanks. You can also purchase some daphnia cultures (or get them from another hobbyist at an aquarium society meeting), and just drop the daphina into the green water. The green water will feed and nourish the daphina, which in turn will start multiplying like crazy.

March 2004



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

March 2004


How To Feed fl Fish by SUSAN PRIEST t is not difficult to feed a fish. However, as with all tasks, there is a poor, good, better, and best way to do it. The "HOW" part of fishfeeding is as simple as asking (and answering) a few basic questions, and then following through.


1) Which fish are you going to feed? 2) Which food or foods will best meet the nutritional needs of this fish?

coincidence that the temperature of the fish will be the same as the temperature of the tank.) 8) Dry food: Should pelleted, and even flake food, be pre-hydrated in a separate cup of water, so it won't swell up inside the stomach of the fish? 9) Sinking food: Does it need to be broken down into "bite-sized" (see number 4 above) pieces?

3) What time or times of day should this fish be fed? 4) What size mouth and body does this fish have? 5) What amounts of food should you feed to this fish? After you have done your homework, and you know the answers to these questions, the nature of the correct food itself comes into question. 6) Live food: is it clean, fresh, and wellnourished on its own? 7) Frozen food: is it one step beyond defrosted, that is, is it approximately the same temperature as the inside of the fish? (Put the defrosting food in a cup or dish on top of, or next to, the tank where the fish resides. It is not a

And last, but not least: 10) Does the fish find this food to be appetizing and tasty; in other words, is it eating^ Uneaten food is fouling the water, wasting your money, and, most importantly of all, not nourishing your fish. Come to think of it, maybe you should start with number 10, and then work your way backwards up the list, fine-tuning your meal plan so that a choice of food which the fish likes will overlap with as many of the appropriate criteria as possible! One last thing to consider is that virtually all fish should be fed daily, but even this most basic of "rules" will be broken by the occasional fish which follows the road less traveled. The better you understand your fish and its nutritional needs, the healthier (and happier) it will be, and the moiCQyou will enjoy the journey that is fishkeeping.


April 16-18

Holiday Inn West - Kalamazoo, MI \^

€ST 1971


Go to http://www.livebearers.org for details

The Jersey Shore Aquarium Society Presents its Tropical Fish and Dry Goods Auction Sunday, March 14,2004 First Aid Squad Building • 18 Spring St. • Freehold, NJ Auction starts at noon • Free admission ($2.00 bidder fee) For more information call (732)625-1920 website: http://www.jerseyshoreas.org


March 2004

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


2nd Place: Harry Faustmann

NEC's 29th Annual Convention March 19-21, 2004 Marriott in Farmington, CT This year we will have a special, mini workshop on "Bringing Our Hobby to Schools," starting at 4pm Friday. Doug Patac (LIAS) and Karen Randall (BAS) will present programs on their experiences with aquariums in classrooms. The hobby can be a valuable tool to teachers, and the NEC is pleased to have Karen & Doug present their programs. This year we are pleased to present the following speakers: Dr. Stan Weitzman (Smithsonian in Washington D.C.) -"Tetras" Ivan Dibble (England) - "Livebearers " Scott Michael (Columnist for Aquarium Fish Magazine from Nebraska) - "Saltwater Fish " Robert Di Marco (Canada) - "Raising Nemo" Mike Hellweg (Missouri) - "Breeding Fish " Jaap Jan DeG reef (Florida) - "Collecting Wild Fish'1 Craig Morfitt (Bermuda) - "Lake Malawi" Gary Elson (Canada) - "Dwarf Cichlids " Lee Finley (Rhode Island) - "Catfish" Wayne Leibel (Pennsylvania) - Banquet MCI Dry goods donated by manufacturers will be available, and there will be an all-day auction on Sunday of plants and fish brought in by breeders and hobbyists from all over the Northeast. If you can only attend for one day of the weekend, come on Sunday, pick up some unusual and hard-to-find fish and enjoy the camaraderie! We're certain you will be glad you did! Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

March 2004


wa rd I ey






March 2004

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

"Famous Last Words..." A series by "The Undergravel Reporter"

"There's more than enough room in this tank for another pair; and besides, these are very peaceful fish, so I'm sure they'll get along with each other..." "O.K., so I'm almost out of plastic fish bags. I'll just use a single bag to bring these fish to the club auction. Anyway, what's the chances that a brand new bag will spring a leak?..." "The only opening in the cover of this tank is that small space for the airline tubing and the electrical cord for the heater. I certainly don't need to cover that opening. All my fish are too big to fit through a hole that small..." "It's only a scratch on the glass wall of the tank, and it's not even that deep. It won't cause any problems..."

ou know what those words are. Sometimes you've said them to another aquarist; sometimes you've said them to yourself. Those are the words that usually come just before you exclaim "Oh, *â&#x20AC;˘&#*!!" How many of these "Famous Last Words" do you recognize?


"This syphon is going so slowly that I have more than enough time to run into the next room for a net before the bucket fills up..." "I know that I paid a lot for this pair offish, but the person who put them in the club's auction says they are a mated pair, guaranteed to spawn..." "This glass lid should fit better than this on my tank. Maybe if I just push a little harder..." "Yeah, sure, I know she said these fish are jumpers, but they're in three inches of water in a twelve inch high bucket. I don't need to cover the bucket for the short time it is going to take for me to get the quarantine tank ready..." "I don't need to quarantine these fish at all. They came from another hobbyist in the club, and they were perfectly healthy in his tank..." "I can balance this open can of flake food on the edge of the tank while I reach over to close the lid. I've done this many times before and nothing will happen..." "I don't need to go through the time and effort to take out the rocks, wait until they dry off, silicone them together, and wait until the silicone cures. I can just stack the rocks in such a way that the fish won't be able to move them..." Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

"If I fill the buckets right to the top, I can get the job of cleaning the tanks done quicker. I'm careful enough not to spill anything..." "I know exactly which fish I want to take to the show. Fortunately, it's always right out in front, begging for food, so I can wait until the last minute before netting it..." "These snails are guaranteed not to eat your plants..." "That canister filter has started to make some really strange noises. It probably only needs a change in filter media. I'm sure it can wait until I get back from the aquarium club meeting later tonight..." "I really need to plug in these airpumps, but there's no more outlets available. Heck, I can use a few extension cords. It won't do any harm..." "O.K., maybe this heater is a lot larger than this tank needs, but I don't have a small heater that I can use right now. So, I'll just set this big heater on low. I'm sure everything will be fine until I can get the right size heater for this tank..." AND, for the ultimate in "Famous Last Words": "Oh my gosh, there's water all over the floor! It must have been that darn canister filter. I know I should have installed a ground fault interrupter, but I didn't. And, I know that I probably should shut down the power at the circuit breaker box before pulling the electric plug while standing in an inch of water. But, I know what I'm doing..."

March 2004





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(718) 849-6678

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

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


March 2004

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS |il|;§;;f:|:^ ;:t;:st::^!;>::i^



Here are meetJpS times altl i editions of some aquarium societies in

York area:



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N|if:mee||ng: April 7, 2004 jjjB ? > ei 1 1 4%||tctti/fleam a rket" (No %• v|l Sllow or speaker this month) 8pm: Qulens Botanical Garden ^^j jili|||r50 Main St. - Flushing, N%rfililtl «~ Qiijiit: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzi^^^ Telellone: (718) 767-269 l|C

: March n Calfb Sex Life of Reef Invei|^' fish and coral auci||i!f

:;;;l;^Ji;pi||||Education Hall at the NY JlpiHum :l||i|||iiue at West 8th St. - Brook|pi||Y



(7 1 8) 837l||; .

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of month at fijt :,,;., ;i7>^;; .-::i:la;finica^ Garden


jj§> P.M. - 3rd Thursday of!ach li^Jii-igiQueens Botanical Gaid|||;:i; j ; :'lf i| lii. ( ;[ i rt in ^Vf M

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249 Bucil|;;;

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Foran . . J | ) 798-6766 http://ncas.fwsi ijiEi Index.hto

Contact: Vinn||||:g)/ling (5 http : //I ias on 1 in c . c North Jersey Aquarium'


Meets: 8:00 PM - 3rd Thursday of the month at the Meadowlands Environmental Center; 1 Dekorte Park Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ March 18, 2004: Ivan Dibble "The Goodeids of Mexico"

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

Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 http: //www. nj as. net/

http: //norwalkas. org/htm I/

ore-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com

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

March 2004


Fin Fun To conclude this special food and nutrition issue of Modern Aquarium, let's see if you can match up the following foods with their scientific names. Most, but not all, of the answers are found elsewhere in this issue

Scientific Name

Common Name

Cucurbita pep o (var. cylindrica)

Brine Shrimp

Daphnia magna


Enchytraeus buchholzi

Confused Beetles Grindal Worms

Panagrellus redivivus Turbatrix aceti

Microworms Romaine Lettuce

Tribolium confusum

Vinegar Eels

Enchytraeus albidus Brassica oleracea (var. botrytis)

Water Fleas

Lactuca sativa (var. longifolia)

White Worms Zucchini

Artemia salina

Solution to last month's puzzle 011 IStl Name offish Aphyosemion australe

Acid water X (5.5-6.5)

Neolamprologus leleupi

X (7.5-8.5)

Julidochromis regani

X (8.5-9.2)

Phenacogrammus inter uptus


X (8.0)

Cyprinodon macularis Rasbora heteromorpha

X (6.0-6.5)

Apistogramma bitaeniata

X (5.0-6.0)

Pseudotropheus elongatus


Alkaline Water

X (7.5-8.5)

March 2004

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

March 2004 volume XI number 3

Modern Aquarium  

March 2004 volume XI number 3