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Series III

Vol. XI, No. 4

April 2004

FEATURES ;;;;;ig

Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


The Truth About How I Came To Own My "Community" Fish


The Things I would Have Missed Out On If I Didn't Get Oscars


i ^


Aquarian Minds Want To Know Question and Answer Column . . . . . . . . . . 9



Looking Through The Lens


Advice For Beginners From The GCAS Membership


NEC Awards and Bowl Show Winners




Diary of a Freshwater Aquarium


And, I did It All Myself!


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 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

by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies has discontinued "Best Publication" as one of its Publication Awards. I understand from the person who prepared the certificates that the entries for the Publication Awards for last year (which were announced last month — see page 22 in this issue) were the lowest ever. That's the bad news. The good news is that Modern Aquarium is getting better all the time. This issue is, thanks to Jannette Ramirez and Claudia Dickinson, a "Beginner's" theme issue. Jannette, an admitted beginner, sent me an e-mail asking why we don't have a beginner's question and answer column, and even suggested a name for it: "Aquarian Minds Want To Know." Claudia had been thinking about a question and answer column for a while. I suggested that they team up, and this issue is the result. At the same time that our sister societies are reducing the number of issues they print of their newsletters (some switching from monthly to every other month, some even to every three months), and printing almost no new member-generated materials in those issues, we are doing more theme issues, and including more original contributions from more members than ever before. So, first I want to thank Jannette and Claudia for their excellent work. And, I want to remind everyone that, just as Jannette started the ball rolling on a new column by sending an e-mail, any member,who would like to see something special in our magazine should call, write, or e-mail me, or speak to me at a meeting. It may be, because of time pressures, technology restrictions, or budget considerations, that we won't be able to do everything you'd like to see. But, I'm always open to suggestions and innovations. As I wrote last month, I am planning a "Conservation and Endangered Species" issue for next month. 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, because I'd like to publicize those programs. Next month is also our biennial Show and Auction. While I'd like every member to write an article for this magazine at least once a year, and our President would probably like to see everyone in the Society serve at least one year on our Board, we know that's just not going to happen. But, if you enjoy this magazine, you should realize that Greater City loses money every time it comes out. Yes, the cost of your membership does not even cover our printing costs. The reason you have a quality magazine in your hands today is because our auctions and raffles subsidize this magazine (and pay for our meeting room, speakers fees, refreshments, etc.). Once every two years, everyone can do something for this Society, besides just coming to meetings. Everyone reading this probably has at least one fish at home; in all likelihood, you have several (or even more than several dozen). You can show your support for our Society by entering some of those fish in the show (and you might even win!). You can also show your support (and probably walk away with great deals for yourself) by bidding at our giant auction. Our show will be at the Queens County Farm Museum, on Saturday May 22nd, with a giant dry goods and aquatic plants and fish auction on Sunday the 23rd. Show rules and entry forms are available today. They will also be available on-line at our website, and at our May meeting. Take a set for yourself. If you're a member of another aquarium society, take some to that society's next meeting. For our last issue of Modern Aquarium before our summer break (that is, our June 2004 issue), I would like to include as much information as I can on the history of the aquarium hobby. So, I'd like to have as many "old-timers" as possible contribute short paragraphs about "the way it used to be," about aquarium societies that are no longer around, and about aquarium hobby related techniques that are no longer being used (usually because some gadget or gizmo made the job easier, or because someone figured out a "better" way). I would also welcome articles on antique equipment (preferably with accompanying photographs), on recollections of aquarium hobby experiences long since passed, and on anything related to the history (including more recent history) of the aquarium hobby.

April 2004

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI eople. I've probably said it many times before, but people are what make my experiences in the aquarium hobby so special. If I had just stayed in my basement and bred every tropical fish known to mankind, what would I have? I would be like some hermit in a cave who knew everything about breeding fish, but knew nothing of the world and the people in it. That is why, despite all the toil and tribulations involved in helping to run a club, I do not regret that fateful decision I made in May 1984. What decision? To attend my first meeting of the Greater City Aquarium Society. What has unfolded after that has been, to my mind, extraordinary. The friendships I've made and the fun I've had have greatly outweighed any of the unpleasant events (in life, unpleasant events are unavoidable anyway, right?). To recount my adventures and the stories of all the magnificent people I've met from all over the world would fill a book. For now, I'll tell you that I have many, many fond memories, and that I'm looking forward to having many more. A recent event demonstrates the sheer pleasure of my fellow hobbyists. A group of us (Mark Soberman, Warren Feuer, Horst Gerber, and myself) decided to attend a portion of the recent Northeast Council Weekend. So, early on Sunday morning, we traveled up to Hartford, CT. Despite getting stuck in an interminable traffic jam caused by a downed power line over the highway, we took some measure of cheer from each other's company. And, when we finally arrived, it was just as we expected: we were met by many a good friend and had a wonderful time just talking to them. Oh, yes, there was a great big fish auction going on, but there was something altogether more


important going on between the people there: warmth, humor, and all those human qualities of interaction that cannot be equaled in any other way. Let me be blunt; computer websites, forums, chat rooms, etc., are nice, but they will never be as good as what you get from old-fashioned person-to-person contact. Those of you who are members of Greater City know what I am talking about. You know how "alive" each of our meetings is — alive with conversation, good cheer, and general camaraderie. Could any website or publication replace that? I don't think so — if they could, I doubt that we'd have the huge turnouts of people we get every month. There is one other aspect of Greater City that makes it a special club — I believe we truly appreciate each other. It comes across to me that we are thankful for what each of us contributes to the overall mosaic of Greater City — whether we are rank beginners or supposed experts, each of us is valued, and, together, we are amazing. * * *

I am taking the liberty of writing this addendum after having proofread Jannette Ramirez's articles that are featured in this month's issue. In a word, they are wonderful. I only wish more "beginners" would write such pieces. I find them to be every bit as enjoyable and worthwhile as articles written by senior hobbyists. I also admire Jannette's courage — many hobbyists are afraid to relate their experiences for fear that they will be boring or, Heaven forbid, be ridiculed. However, no one writing for Modern Aquarium need be concerned about either. I'm sure Jannette will confirm that with the help and encouragement of members like Claudia Dickinson and Al and Sue Priest, nothing but good will and praise were heaped upon her. Let me add that it was most gracious of Jannette to comment on her GCAS experience — of meeting a group of friendly and knowledgeable hobbyists. Her praise (unsolicited by me!) simply validates everything I feel about the great group of people that are the GCAS.

Rules for April's "Silent Auction" / Fleamarket This month, Greater City has its annual "Silent Auction'Vfleamarket. Here is a brief summary of the rules: * The seller sets an opening price for each item. * Bidders write down their bids in increments of at least 500 until the bid reaches $10.00. For items that reach (or start at) $10.00, bids must be in at least $1.00 increments. * A bidder may not cross out his/her own bid to enter a lower bid. * The highest bidder at the end of the auction wins the item. * Proceeds are split 50/50 between the seller and Greater City. (Of course, the seller may also donate 100% of the proceeds to Greater City!) * Items not claimed by winning bids (or if there were no bids, by their owners) at the end of the auction become the property of Greater City. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

April 2004

The Greater City Aquarium Society

82nd Anniversary Show and Auction Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Parkway ~ Floral Park, NY

May 22nd to 23rd 2004 Saturday: All Species Fish Show —judging begins at noon Sunday: Award Ceremony and Giant Auction of aquarium dry goods, fish, and aquatic plants DIRECTIONS to the Queens Farm Museum: From upstate New York

From New York City (By public transportation) Subway: E or F to Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, transfer to Q46 bus (see below). Bus: Q46 to Little Neck Parkway, then walk three blocks north.

From Long Island Long Island Expressway (1-495) West to exit 32, Little Neck Parkway. Go south on Little Neck Parkway about 10 blocks. The entrance is on right, just before Green Meadows Farm. (Note, if you reach Union Turnpike, you have gone about 2 blocks too far)

From New England Take 1-95 South. Take the 1-695 exit (exit number 7a) on the left towards I-295/Throgs Neck Bridge/Long Island. Merge onto Throgs Neck Expressway. The Throgs Neck Expressway becomes 1-295 South. Take the Cross Island Parkway exit towards Eastern Long Island. Merge onto Cross Island Parkway South. Take the Grand Central Parkway exit (exit number 29e-w) towards Triboro Bridge/Hauppauge. Keep left at the fork in the ramp Merge onto Grand Central Parkway East. Take the exit (exit number 24) towards Little Neck Parkway. Stay straight to go onto Grand Central Parkway. Turn right at light and go south on Little Neck Parkway for about 10 blocks. The entrance is on right, just before Green Meadows Farm. (Note, if you reach Union Turnpike, you have gone about 2 blocks too far)

Take New York State Thruway south (1-87) to the Tappan Zee Bridge. After crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge, follow signs for Cross Westchester Expressway (1-287). Take this to Hutchison Parkway south. Proceed on Hutchison Parkway all the way to Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. After crossing the bridge, follow signs to Cross Island Parkway. Take Cross Island Parkway to Grand Central Parkway East. Take the exit (exit number 24) towards Little Neck Parkway. Stay straight to go onto Grand Central Parkway. Turn right at light and go south on Little Neck Parkway about 10 blocks. The entrance is on right, just before Green Meadows Farm. (Note, if you reach Union Turnpike, you have gone about 2 blocks too far)

From New Jersey From the George Washington Bridge continue to Cross Bronx Expressway East. Continue to Hutchison River Parkway south. Hutchinson River Parkway exit to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. After crossing the bridge, follow signs to Cross Island Parkway. Take Cross Island Parkway to Grand Central Parkway East. Take the exit (exit number 24) towards Little Neck Parkway. Stay straight to go onto Grand Central Parkway. Turn right at light and go south on Little Neck Parkway about 10 blocks. The entrance is on right, just before Green Meadows Farm. (Note, if you reach Union Turnpike, you have gone about 2 blocks too far)

For more information, contact Carlotti E-mail: Jjac38@aol.com Phone: (718)267-6630 April 2004

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

"The Truth About How I Came to Own My 'Community'Fish!" by: JANNETTE RAMIREZ year ago, in October 2003,1 inherited two 10 gallon tanks with a nice metal stand, covers and lights. I live in an apartment building and the tenants moved out and were going to throw out this complete setup! My mom saw it and asked me if I knew anyone that would like the double tank setup, because it would be a shame to throw it away. I saw it, and already my mind visualized the variety of beautiful fish that I could put in those tanks! I looked at my mom and without words told her that I wanted those tanks for myself. Surprisingly, she granted me the permission to keep the double tank setup with the condition that I would keep the tanks in my room. I did all my homework (or at least I thought I did!). I work for a veterinarian, so I started out by asking my questions there. I asked my boss, and my fellow co-workers, what they knew about keeping freshwater fish. I gained some knowledge there. I learned that there are community fish, and then there are carnivorous fish. Some fish grow no more than two inches, while others can get to be a foot or more in size! I learned about the existence of bottom feeders and algae eaters. Another person who owns a freshwater tank told me about making sure my tank was "cycled" before adding any fish to it. I was also told to check out all the fish in the tanks at the pet store to make sure they looked healthy, when it came time to buy my fish. Armed with all this information, I headed to the nearest fish pet store. I first decided to walk around and "inspect" the livestock before doing any business there. After deciding that the place was worthy of my business, I approached one of the employees. I told him that I had two 10 gallon tanks and wanted to find out what I had to do to cycle my tanks and how long I should wait before introducing the fish into them. He sold me a bottle of "cycle" and told me to run the filters on the two tanks after adding the appropriate amount of the solution for one week. After one week, he said the necessary bacteria would be there and it would be safe to add my fish at that time. He also told me to buy water conditioner to make the tap water safe for the fish. Finally, the day came for me to choose and buy my fish! I was very excited, but at the same time wanted to make the right choices in selecting my fish. I went to the fish store and


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

waited to speak to an employee before looking at the fish. I didn't want to get my heart set on any fish that may not be appropriate for my tank situation. When the guy came over to help me, I told him, "Hi! I have two 10 gallon tanks and want to know which freshwater fish don't grow more than two inches and eat only flakes. I want to have community fish. I don't want any that grow big and eat other fish." He pointed out a whole side of tanks with freshwater fish in them. He said to me, "All the fish on this whole side are freshwater and they only grow to a maximum length of two inches." My next question to him was, "How many fish can I put in each tank without crowding the tanks?" He replied, "One inch offish per gallon of water. So, you can put about 8 to 10 fish in each tank." I thanked him for his help and told him that I'd call him once I picked out my fish. I decided that I would only get eight fish so that they wouldn't be so crowded. I picked out a pair of fancy guppies, a pair of mollies, a pair of platies, and two very different looking red and black fish that were not labeled. I paid for my fish and was instructed to allow the bag to float on the surface of the tanks for 15 minutes before emptying the fish into my tanks. Since they were all hi the same bag, I decided to put them all in the top tank and leave the bottom tank empty. I grabbed a chair and sat in front of the tanks to observe my new fish. They were beautiful! I got concerned about the two red and black fish... they were not swimming. All they did was stay on the bottom near the gravel and lay sideways! Were they sick? The next day at work I asked the girl who had freshwater fish what she thought of this odd behavior. She asked me, "What kind of fish are they?" I told her I didn't know, but that I would stop by the fish store and find out. I went to the fish store and got helped by a different guy. I took him over to the tank where I got my two mystery fish from and, pointing, asked what kind of fish they were. "Those are Red Tiger Oscars." He replied. I thanked him and left. The following day at work I proudly announced, "My mystery fish are Red Tiger Oscars!" In chorus, my boss and other co-workers said, "They sold you Oscars with mollies and guppies?!" Upon their reaction, I got a bit

April 2004

red devil and one of the Oscars formed a "tag concerned. They then told me that Oscars can team" and together they would chase and torment grow 12 to 15 inches as adults and that they were the other Oscar! I was forced to get a second tank carnivorous, aggressive, and dirty fish! setup. I got a 29 gallon tall. I separated the Oscars When I got home, I separated the two and moved the knifefish with the passive Oscar. I Oscars from the other fish. They got moved to the then came upon a third Oscar at another fish store empty 10 gallon tank underneath. I started visiting that I fell in love with! He was smaller than my as many fish stores as possible and asked many two so I thought they would not feel threatened by questions. One of my questions was, "How do I him (or her). Well, one of my Oscars was okay maintain the tanks? How often should I change the with Jr. and even allowed him to swim side by side. water and the filter inserts?" I got so many I was thrilled! All was well until Jr. grew...that different answers to this maintenance question that I thought my head was going to come off from was when I got a third tank. This one was a 55 gallon! I put one of the bigger Oscars in that tank confusion! One said change the water in one along with the knifefish and the dwarf pike. month, another said I shouldn't do ANYTHING to Everything was great and everyone got along in my the tank for 3 months because I would be killing three tanks. I then got a computer this past July! the beneficial bacteria that was growing. I am new at using a computer so I am limited in Meanwhile, my tanks were starting to get what I do with it. I learned how to e-mail, and I a strange odor to them.. .a sewer smell! Was this learned how to find sites on the internet by typing what fish tanks were supposed to smell like? This in "oscar fish." I joined a few fish forums and was all new to me so I wasn't sure about this. thought that I would learn a lot more about my Then I started seeing pieces of uneaten food with Oscars through these people. I read a lot of dandelions growing around it! Wow! This must questions that were posted and their replies. Just be the "beneficial bacteria" that I was told about! when I thought I would venture out and ask my "My tanks are finally cycled," or so I thought! own questions... I found my self being reprimanded It was not long before my fish started by the very people I was reaching out to help me! dying. I began to think that if I didn't educate I went back to informing my self through myself I would end up losing ALL my fish! I reading fish magazines. During this time, I knew bought several "How to" books on the care of that I had to think about tropical fish and upgrading the Oscars in freshwater fish. I read the 29 and 30 gallon these books in one tanks to a larger tank. sitting! These books After much pleading were not enough. I then and rationalizing with searched for fish my mom about this magazines and found a subject, she agreed as few. I bought every one long as I got rid of the that I could find. two smaller tanks first. By this time, I My best friend offered learned a lot about tank to buy the two tank maintenance. I learned setups from me. She about testing the water owns guppies and parameters of a tank. Endlers, both of which The importance of A "Community Oscar?!" photo by the author are prolific livebearers! maintaining the So, these two tanks temperature, pH level, would come in handy to her. I shopped around for the Nitrogen Cycle, and how ammonia affects the my future tank. Originally I was planning on fish. This crash course on fishkeeping took too getting a 90 gallon. I figured that would be enough long as far as my fish were concerned. I lost my room to comfortably house two Oscars and a dwarf guppies, mollies, and platies. The only survivors were my "community Oscars." As my knowledge pike cichlid. The knifefish had to go back to the fish store because he was being beaten up grew, so did my Oscars, and rapidly! By three constantly by the dwarf pike. Then, I was offered months, I purchased a 30 gallon tank and gave two adult red Oscars by a family living in my away the two 10 gallon tanks. I found out the hard way that this tank was not big enough for the two building. After seeing the conditions these Oscars were being kept in... I had to take them! The tank of them! I was then advised to buy other fish to was filthy, they lived with a Jack Dempsey, another distract my Oscars from each other, thereby fixing type of cichlid, a pleco and a medium-sized turtle the problem. I was sold a dwarf pike cichlid, a in a 20 gallon tank! There was nothing in the tank clown knifefish, and a red devil. Well, this solved as far as decor or gravel. I was still searching for the problem for only a day. I then found that the April 2004

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

a new tank so I told these people to give me two weeks and when I got my new big tank, I would go and pick up the two Oscars. They agreed. I then found a tank that had a length of 72 inches, width of 18 inches and a height of 24 inches. This would be perfect! I figured I could put my three red tiger Oscars together along with the dwarf pike in the new tank, and the two adopted red Oscars could go in the 55 gallon tank! I had it all figured out. The day finally came for me to bring home this six foot long tank. I had a long night ahead of me because aside from setting up my fish into this new tank, I also had to deliver the other two tanks to my girlfriend's home in Elmhurst that same night! Thanks to the help of my fiance and my grandmother (who got involved by cleaning the new 50 Ibs of gravel that I had purchased to mix with the gravel I already had in my smaller tanks), we completed the transfer in about three hours or so. Everyone seemed to be getting along, so I then headed out with my fiance to load up my vehicle with the two tanks, two cabinet stands, hood covers and lights. I contacted my friend and told her we were on our way with the delivery. While I was waiting by the truck for my fiance to return, my mom called me on the cell phone to tell me that the Oscars were fighting viciously! I asked her if there was one in particular that seemed to be the aggressor, and she said that Jr. was the bad one. I asked her to please net Jr. and transfer him to the 55 gallon tank that I was saving for the two red Oscars I still had to pick up in the next few days. I told her to be quick when she did that because otherwise the Oscar would struggle to the point of making a huge mess of water. I even told her to remove the tank cover and lights first. She asked me if it was possible that the Oscar would jump out of the net during this process. I said, "Yes, if you take too long to move him from one tank to the other." Then she said, "Maybe I should wait for you then, because Nero might get your Oscar if he jumps out of the net on me!" (Nero is my 160 Ib Rottweiler.) I suggested she lock Nero out of the room when she moved the Oscar out of the tank. I hung up the phone and started pacing while I waited for my fiance to return. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, he got back. We drove back to my house as quickly as we could. I was relieved to find that my mother had moved Jr. over to the other tank after all. It seemed that he might have been the attacker because he had all his scales in place and was having the time of his life swimming in this tank all by himself! I then moved over to the new tank and found my two original red tigers looking horrible! Scales were missing from everywhere on them! The tank looked like a snowglobe that had just been shaken, with the amount of scales that were

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

floating in the tank! The two Oscars were on their sides on the bottom of the new tank, a posture I hadn't seen them in since I first got them. I felt horrible that what I thought was the best thing I could do for them ended up being a big fiasco that didn't seem to have an end! The following day, my two red tigers decided to resume the fighting amongst themselves. I decided after shedding a lot of tears, that I was going to have to bring one of my red tigers (a year old now) to the fish store where I originally got him. I first went to the fish store to speak to the owner (who knows me very well by now, after purchasing all my tanks from him) to tell him about my dilemma. He understood and told me to bring the Oscar to him. He was even nice enough to supply me with two very large fish bags to bring him in. When I brought my "Hercules" over to the fish store, the owner fell in love with him. Two days later, I went back to the fish store to see what became of my one year old, and was happy to see him in a very big tank labeled "NOT FOR SALE." The owner decided to keep him because he was such a beautiful specimen. When I approached the tank, Hercules, who was on the other side, saw me and swam across to my side to look at me. He looked fine and did not seem to be stressed, so I left with my mind and heart at ease. Later that week I went to pick up the two red Oscars from those people in my building. I had no choice but to put them into the big tank with the one red tiger I called "Handsome." Expecting them to be scared, I thought they would stay on the bottom of the tank for a few days. To my surprise, they reacted differently. They fought with the fake plants, they fought with the gravel (they had no gravel where they lived before), and then they fought with each other! Why was this happening? After some scuffles, I was glad to see that after meeting with Handsome they did not try to kill each other. They did have the expected "sizing up" that they do when entering what may be another's territory, but no severe fights have occurred. So now, my community consists of two tanks that hold four Oscars, one dwarf pike, one catfish, and two plecos. Although I have to date learned a lot about the fishkeeping hobby, I feel that there is a lot more that I don't know yet and still need to learn! I found out about GCAS and the monthly meetings through Aquarium Fish Magazine last May 2003. I came to the meeting in June and after seeing how friendly and knowledgeable fish hobbyists could be.. .1 became a member that day! I was disappointed when I learned that the next meeting wouldn't be held until September. I enjoyed the company of all our members and especially loved the fact that we also

April 2004

have our own monthly publication that is packed with so much information! I look forward to our monthly magazine but was wondering why we didn't have a regular Questions and Answers column for all the newcomers to the fish hobby, and even our experts may have some questions

relating to an area they are not familiar with... Wouldn't it be nice if we had friendly people to turn to with our concerns and questions on a regular basis?

THE THINGS I WOULD HA VE MISSED OUT ON IF I DIDN'T GET "OSCARS" by JANNETTE RAMIREZ here are sides to an Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) not many people take the time to get to know! I'm sure everyone's heard about how dirty Oscars are, or how aggressive and territorial they can be and how destructive they are of plants.. .why should we expect such a large fish not to produce more waste than smaller fish? As far as the aggressiveness and territoriality... I don't think they are any more aggressive or territorial than many other types of fish. It's just magnified because of the fish's size! A good example for comparison is the reaction people have when referring to an aggressive dog. A biting Chihuahua is not going to get media attention, but a larger breed definitely would! Since the first day that I brought home my Oscars, I've discovered that they have certain behaviors not unlike humans! When I brought them home, they were quite shy in their home and surroundings. It took them about a month before they felt comfortable going about their business in my presence, and especially during routine maintenance where I invaded their personal space! I have even playfully given each of them an occupation that I believe they would be suitable in if they were actually human! Mable, one of my red tigers, would be a supervisor or possibly even a security guard! She spends her day making sure everything is in its place, and during routine maintenance, she escorts me while I am siphoning/vacuuming her tank. At times, I can't even see what I am doing because she's in my way! If a plant is moved (even slightly) she makes sure it goes back to where it was originally. My other red tiger named Handsome would be a private investigator or even a foster mom! This Oscar spends its time checking out what everyone else is doing in the tank. She peers inside each PVC tube and looks behind every rock or plant. All this scrutinizing is done peacefully and with such purpose, like a mother peeking her head inside her child's room to see what he/she is up to!



Then I have a pair of red Oscars that I adopted as adults. They are Suzy and Charlie. I've only had them three months, yet they adjusted almost immediately to my tank! Out of my four Oscars, I find them to be very hard working and determined! They would probably work in construction and interior design. They spend their entire day side-by-side on one area of the tank, piling up the gravel into the corners by mouthfuls! They only rest a bit when they have cleared the area completely of any gravel. The fake plant that I put in their corner to block the view from the front (to give them privacy) was angrily moved to the other side of the tank. Then, I purchased some nice size river rocks (I thought they would like...). Those were also moved with much determination/strength to the other side of the tank away from their clean area! They have personalities like no other and have definitely charmed their way into my heart. I have my two tanks set up across my bedroom, and every morning without fail I see my four Oscars lined up by the front glass looking at me intently while I get up. They don't get fed in the morning and they know the routine already... yet, I get such a greeting from them when I go turn on their tank lights that I almost forget they are fish and not dogs! I feel they are just happy to see me and greet me in the enthusiastic way that only an Oscar knows how to. They have brought me so much pleasure and love, I can't help thinking about all the things I would have missed out on if I didn't have them! My love of cichlids, Oscars (and all fish), plus the fishkeeping hobby. They taught me about intangible love. Love transmitted by their mere presence and natural behaviors. I never knew you could love a creature that you could not hold or touch! I owe all these sentiments, and my fishkeeping knowledge, to my infamous Astronotus ocellatusl

April 2004

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



A Question and Answer column moderated by Claudia Dickinson and Jannette Ramirez Pouring through books, perusing over the globe, conversing heartily with our peers in friendly debate, listening in rapt attention to the words of a distinguished lecturer in a packed auditorium, only to return to our own tanks to ponder further over our own fish and our hobby Be it the first year, or the fortieth year, for as many years as we care for our aquatic inhabitants, there are as many questions as there are answers. With every corner turned, in our discovery of each new species of fish or plant, and with every new spawn, our insatiable inquisitiveness only grows and flourishes without bounds on this, the journey of our hobby. And so it was when fellow GCAS member, Jannette Ramirez, wrote an e-mail to our Modern Aquarium Editor, Al Priest, on January 23rd, 2004 that stated: "Beingpretty new to the hobby (1 year + 3 months) I find myself with lots of questions at times. I was pondering on an idea for a while... It would be very helpful to new hobbyists if our magazine had a column dedicated to questions that we may have...I have even thought up a name for that column! I thought it could be called, "Aquarian Minds Want to Know..." Don't know if it's possible to add this type of column to our magazine but I figured that it can't hurt to suggest it." Well, there could not be a more perfect moderator for this new venture than Jannette Ramirez! When Jannette and I first spoke regarding our 'co-production,' and she began to animatedly tell her Oscar tale, I thought, "who better to bring this heartwarming story to you than Jannette herself!" and what a beautiful job she has done! I know you will be certain to enjoy her recounting as much as I have! What better a place to start than at the beginning, and so we bring you this, the first edition of "Aquarian Minds Want To Know..." with questions and answers based on the beginner aquarist, that we shall all benefit from, I am certain! A heartfelt thank you to our contributing authors, Joe Ferdenzi, Al Priest, Sue Priest, Warren Feuer, and Charley Sabatino, who, through their answers, have taken the time and been so generous as to share their knowledge and talents with us. "As the Modern Aquarium 'Wet Leaves' book review columnist, what three books would you recommend as a 'must read' to the hobbyist who was just beginning to set up their first aquarium?" 1) School of Fish, by Sarah Fell Keppler, Pets Pubs Press, 1990. (Reviewed in January, The most challenging aspect of this 1995.) question is limiting myself to three. 2) Aquarium Atlas (Volume I), by Dr. Where to start? As I look over a list of Rudiger Riehl and Hans A. Baensch, Terra Press, " all the books which I have reviewed in 1991. the past ten years, a couple of titles jump out at 3) Aquarium Designs Inspired by Nature, me, as well as one glaring omission. In by Peter Hiscock, Barrons, 2003. (Reviewed in chronological order by date of publication, the February, 2004.) three books I would recommend are:

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

April 2004

School of Fish is an unobtrusive little volume. It is a 136 page paperback which could easily be overlooked on a bookshelf. Our copy is in a prominent spot, and shows the telltale signs of one which has been frequently reached for. The author had (at that time) 15 years of experience working in pet shops and taking care of aquariums. She found herself repeating certain "words of wisdom" over and over again, in response to queries from her many customers. Eventually, she concluded that the need existed for a "how-to" manual on the subject. She tells her readers "if you are the [new] owner of- or, if you are considering becoming the owner of - a freshwater, tropical fish aquarium 55 gallons or smaller, this book is for you." I couldn't agree more! Strengths o Easy-to-understand text. o The "Fishbuyer's Fishfinder" (Chapter 10). o "Indossary" (Combination index and glossary). Weaknesses o There are no photographs. o Out of print; may be difficult to find.* The fishbuyer's fishfinder is a unique listing of the characteristics of 100 common tropical fish, a compatibility guide, and, most importantly, "suggested groupings." It dramatically increases the likelihood of a successful experience for beginning hobbyists. I would just like to add a comment about the absence of photos. It is much easier to find photos of topical fish than it is to find well-written basic information, so don't let that steer you away from this title. I have come across many how-to books since, which were written both before and after this one, but in my opinion, this is the best of the best. * [A diligent search of the secondary markets may turn up a copy, but as a more readily available alternate choice, I would like to suggest The Simple Guide To Freshwater Aquariums by David Boruchowitz, T.F.H. Publications, 2001. A quote from my review of February, 2003: "In addition to straightforward, practical, and readable, I would add that this book is overflowing with good, solid information and useful suggestions." It also contains "Suggested Stocking Schemes," a feature very similar to the one I like so well in School of Fish.] There are a few books which fall into the self-described "atlas" or "encyclopedia" category. These books provide in-depth information on 10

individual species offish. My second choice is the one which I consider indispensable to fishkeepers of every level of experience; the "Baensch Atlas." There are at least four volumes of it available by now, but Volume One will meet the needs of beginners very adequately. As the volume numbers go up, they cover increasingly less common species of fish. There are opening chapters on aquariums, technology and accessories, and plants. The bulk of the text is dedicated to hundreds of individual species of fish which are organized into families. Each fish is represented by a color photograph on the page to your right. Facing the photo, on the left, is a paragraph overflowing with detailed information. Common as well as scientific names are there, along with habitat location, sexual dimorphism (how to tell the males from the females), breeding behavior, feeding information, preferred water parameters (including temperature), adult length of males and females, and more. It is much easier to handle than larger, heavier versions, which have the equivalent of three or four volumes all in one, and use complicated symbols which you must memorize, rather than descriptive text. When you are ready to start shopping for fish, you need as much information as possible, and this is the best place to get it. As you gain experience and you refine your interests, you may want to add subsequent volumes to your library. Strengths o Excellent quality color photos. o Comprehensive, detailed information. o Cross-referencing indexes. Weaknesses o Small print - you may want a magnifying glass. o Earlier editions of Volume One didn't actually say "Volume One" (the dust cover has a photo of Cardinal Terras, which are red with a blue horizontal stripe). I can remember considering writing a review of this book, and thinking to myself, "A lot of other people have reviewed it, so everyone already knows about it." Well, to the newest generation of aquarists who haven't read those other reviews from several years ago, I would suggest that you put this book at the top of your shopping list. The third choice, Aquarium Designs Inspired by Nature, is a newly published book which has recently been reviewed in Modern Aquarium. I chose it for two reasons. First, it illustrates hands-on techniques for setting up a

April 2004

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

variety of different kinds of aquariums. It guides you step-by-step, from choosing a substrate, decorative features, plants and planting techniques, filtration, fish, the water, and more. Secondly, and most importantly, it provides a very thorough primer on aquatic plants. Most freshwater tropical fish come from a natural environment which includes plants. They serve many purposes in the lives of these fish, a few of which include acting as spawning sites, providing shelter for fry, and purifying the water. As you progress in knowledge and skill, the understanding and use of plants will play an increasingly larger role in your aquarium(s). Why? Because your fish will ask you for them! Strengths o This is a beautiful book! o It provides a good overview of different ecosystems from around the world and which fish inhabit them.

He has a selection of books in the following categories: freshwater and marine, new and used, children and foreign language, videos, and more. The web site also has some delightful animations for your viewing enjoyment. There are countless on-line sources of aquatic literature, so do your own browsing to find out what is available in your specific area(s) of interest. Last, but definitely not least, and I hope those of you who have already discovered this will share it with your friends, is Modern Aquarium. It is written by people who carry their own buckets, hatch out their own brine shrimp eggs, and go to work bleary-eyed on the first Thursday of each month because they know about the unbeatable quality of the plants and livestock available at our monthly auctions the night before. The people who write for Modern Aquarium know their way around an aquarium, and they will be glad to take you on a guided tour!

Weaknesses o Photos of completed aquariums do not include the fish. Did anyone notice how I cheated, and snuck in an extra book a while back? Well, at this point I'm going to bend the proscribed rules a bit further, and make a few additional recommendations. First, read everything you can, from books, to magazines, to advertisements, to fish food containers; everything! I would also like to recommend a couple of on-line resources for fish literature which I have found to be useful as well as user-friendly.


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beginning to set up their first aquarium?" Sv An aquarium is a mini-ammonia factory, and ammonia is toxic to fish. Fish produce biological waste products that break down into ammonia. Other

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

sources of ammonia in the aquarium come from the decay of organic material such as uneaten food, dead plant leaves, and dead animals (fish or

April 2004


snails) that have gone undetected. In nature, the volume of water per fish is much greater, as is the water's surface area, than in the home aquarium. A greater volume of water per fish means that any naturally occurring ammonia is considerably diluted; while a greater water surface area means that ammonia (which is gaseous in nature) can evaporate readily. In addition, bacteria have "fully cycled" (a term we'll get to later) in the natural environment of fish. On the other hand, in home aquariums (especially hi new tanks, or tanks to which a considerable number of new fish have been introduced), ammonia can reach toxic levels in a very short time. Fortunately, in both nature and the home aquarium, there is a natural biological process that converts ammonia into increasingly less toxic substances. Aquarists refer to this process as the "nitrogen cycle" and, to a tank where this process is in continuous operation, as a tank that has been "cycled." This cycle is a result of the action of two species of bacteria. One species of bacteria converts ammonia into nitrite. The second species converts nitrite to nitrate. So, the term "cycling a tank" means the process of establishing bacterial colonies in the filter bed (and in the gravel, on the plants, on the walls, etc.) to convert ammonia to nitrite, and convert nitrite to nitrate. A tank is said to be "cycled" when a standard test kit can detect no ammonia or nitrite, and when nitrate is present. (Nitrate is not harmful to most freshwater fish, and is an excellent fertilizer for live aquatic plants.) The "nitrifying bacteria" are naturally found almost everywhere, including in the air. So, once you have an ammonia source in your tank, it's only a matter of time before the desired bacteria establish a colony there. The most common way to start this process is to put one or two hardy (and inexpensive) fish in a new aquarium. The waste products from these fish provide the ammonia on which the bacteria live. Unfortunately, even hardy and inexpensive fish can fall victim to toxic ammonia levels, so this is sometimes a frustrating way to cycle a tank. And, even after the tank is cycled, the bacteria levels are suitable only for the amount of fish (and the amount of waste produced by the fish) that you originally introduced into a tank. (So, if you cycle a tank with two guppies, don't expect that tank to support two adult Oscars!) There are better ways to cycle a tank. The first way is simply to start with a clean, new tank, and dirty fish water (and, if possible, some dirty fish filter material), and run the filter for a few weeks, periodically adding more dirty water. If you have another established tank - great, you can do a water change and use the dirty water from that tank. If you are a member of an aquarium 12

society, you can certainly ask members to bring you dirty water. If you are buying tanks and filters from an aquarium store, ask for some bags of water to help cycle your tank. If the store figures you for repeat business (such as buying fish, supplies, and replenishing your filter media), they will probably go along with your request, without charge. (If all else fails, come to my house, do water changes on my tanks, and take home as much dirty water as you want!) The nitrifying bacteria will grow in (that is, "colonize") the filter media (filter floss, sponges, ceramic "noodles," "bio-balls," etc.), and will also colonize gravel, rocks (and other ornaments), plants, and tank walls. So, removing a filter from a cycled tank, and replacing it with a new filter (or just removing filter media and replacing it with fresh media) should not cause a problem for that tank. This is because the nitrifying bacteria are already firmly established there. On the other hand, using a filter that has already been colonized by nitrifying bacteria "jump starts" the nitrogen cycle in a new tank. You will, of course, have to "feed" this bacteria, which you can do by repeated water changes (using more "dirty" water from an established tank), by adding some fish (make sure you keep up your water testing!), or by adding ammonia (see the following paragraph). You can also add organic material (such as frozen fish food), and allow it to decay and form ammonia. Obviously, this is a much slower process. The second way to cycle your tank without using fish is to use household ammonia. If you do, you must be very careful to use only "pure" or "clear"ammonia (that is, without added soap, detergent, or fragrance). Shake the bottle; if it foams, don't use it - that bottle has added detergent. (The only ingredient on the ammonia bottle, except for water, should be "ammonium hydroxide.") Cycling a tank with ammonia means running the filter with dechlorinated water. Add a teaspoon or tablespoon of ammonia every day (depending on the size of the tank), and start checking on the ammonia and nitrite levels from the third day on. Once nitrite levels start rising, start testing for nitrates. Keep adding ammonia in small amounts until the nitrite level drops to zero (or nearly so). While the tank is cycling, ammonia levels will continue to rise. Then, they will drop once the nitrite-forming bacteria have established themselves. Next, the nitrite levels will start to rise until the nitrate-forming bacteria have similarly established themselves. Finally, the nitrate levels will rise (and the ammonia and nitrite levels should remain very low, or non-detectable). Regardless of the method you use to cycle a tank, a few cautions should be observed:

April 2004

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

First, ammonia, from some source, must be present for the cycling process to occur. If you use a water treatment additive (any chlorine or chloramine in tap water must be neutralized, to keep them from killing the nitrifying bacteria), read the label carefully to make sure that it removes only chlorine and chloramine, and does not remove ammonia (or, you'll never cycle the tank)! Second, nitrifying bacteria are "aerobic" bacteria (no, they don't work out in a gym - "aerobic" in this context means they need oxygen). So, if you're using water from another tank, transfer it as soon as possible once it is removed, and start the filter in your new tank as soon as you've added the water. Don't let filter media, gravel, etc., from an established tank stay too long in a plastic bag, deprived of oxygen, or you'll kill the beneficial bacteria. Third, there are products that claim to speed up the cycling of your tank by adding live nitrifying bacteria. Since the bacteria involved are aerobic, and the nitrate-forming bacteria don't even show up until after the nitrite-forming bacteria have caused a build-up of nitrite, I'm skeptical of the claims of these products. But, they probably won't hurt (and might help), if used in connection with an ammonia source (from live fish, or the other alternatives I described above). Fourth, don't add all your fish at one time, even after your tank is cycled. Add one or two fish, then test a few days later. If, after a week has gone by and ammonia and nitrite levels are undetectable, add a few more fish (and test again, etc.). Fifth, if you do cycle a tank with live fish, don't use "feeder" guppies or goldfish. These are fish whose health is not a major priority in most stores, and you risk introducing diseases and/or parasites into your tank. For the same reason, if you ask for water (or gravel) from a tank at a pet or aquarium store, don't take it from a tank of "feeders," or from any tank with obviously sick fish. Sixth, since you are trying to encourage the growth of bacteria that require oxygen, don't cover the tank while cycling. This (along with an airstone) will facilitate the oxygenation of the water. The absence of a cover on the tank is another reason why it's best not to

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

use live fish, as uncovered tanks are an invitation for many species to jump, or for contaminants to enter the tank. o Finally, if you are cycling with live fish, do water changes whenever tests show any ammonia or nitrite. These water changes will slow down the cycling of your tank (because they remove the ammonia and nitrite needed for ultimate conversion to nitrate, and they also remove some nitrifying bacteria), but you must remember that you are dealing with toxic substances, and you don't want to keep killing (and replacing) fish. Sometimes, even a long-established tank can "crash," with unexplained fish deaths and suddenly elevated levels of toxic ammonia or nitrite. In such an occurrence, it is often necessary to do massive and frequent water changes to save the fish. But, this also has the effect of reducing the beneficial nitrifying bacteria to levels too low for them to be able to maintain the nitrogen cycle. In such a case, frequent small water changes (to keep the level of ammonia, and somewhat less toxic nitrite, low), along with frequent water testing (for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate), is the recommended course of action. For many years, it was believed that Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter were the species of bacteria involved in the nitrogen cycle for aquariums. A few years ago, Kevin Johnson from Marineland spoke at Greater City and told us that recent research by Dr. Tim Hovanec (also of Marineland) casts doubt on this. But, you don't need to know the names of the bacteria involved to understand how the process works.

April 2004


"What filtration would you recommend to the hobbyist who was just beginning to set up their first aquarium?"

My answer depends largely on the size °f me tank. However, in general, I have two recommendations. For aquariums of 20 gallons or less, I can think of nothing as simple, versatile, and effective as the old-fashioned box filter. Box filters are great because they can be used in a variety of ways. Just hook them up to an air pump with some valves, and they are ready to work! For tanks under 10 gallons, one box filter is adequate; for 10 gallons on up, use two — one in each corner. In terms of what filtration media can be used with box filters, the sky is the limit. They are every bit as versatile as canister filters. Remembering that the water enters from the top, your top level can consist of filter floss or a sponge (the type that come ten per pack in "990 stores"). Below that you can use carbon, dolomitic gravel, or crushed coral, regular gravel, peat moss, ad infinitum — the choice depends on what you want to accomplish. The third layer can be more floss, or another sponge, or nothing. The ability to use materials like dolomite or peat to alter water chemistry is one area where box filters enjoy a significant advantage over sponge filters. When one desires greater filtration capacity than two box filters can provide, my recommendation for the beginner is an outside power filter that hangs on the side of the tank. Most of these filters are relatively easy to use. Currently, most of them are self-priming. If you fill the impeller chamber with water and plug the filter in, the intake tube will begin drawing water into the filter box, which will eventually make water flow out of its spout. This self-priming feature makes these filters easy to start up, and allows them to automatically re-start in case your electricity is ever temporarily turned off — they will self-prime when the electricity comes back on. The second convenient feature of most hanging power filters is the ease with which you can access the filter media. Most of these filters either use cartridges or chambers into which you insert sponges or other material. While most cartridges can be cleaned and re-used, I prefer filters that have chambers because this allows the


use of various filter media (as in the case of box filters). Of course, everything has advantages and disadvantages. Box filters, for example, take up space in the aquarium and can be unsightly if not covered by aquarium decor. Hanging filters are not as versatile as canister filters in terms of creating water flow, and do not contain as great a surface area of filtration media. However, for the beginner, these disadvantages are offset by the features previously discussed. As a corollary to this question, it should be added that, while you cannot "over-filter" an aquarium, you can "over-circulate" an aquarium. That is, you could create so much water flow that your fish would be constantly having to "fight" the currents, thereby weakening them and stressing them. So, use as much filtration as you want, but make it "gentle" or at least ensure that there are portions of the tank where the flow is not strong enough to push the fish around. Of course, this advice would not apply to fish which enjoy being in fast-flowing waters, but fish such as that are few in our hobby.

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April 2004

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

"What fish would you recommend to the hobbyist who was just beginning to set up their first aquarium?"

As far as beginning fish, there are several that come to mind: 1. African (Rift Lake) Cichlids: this is an easy one, the Lake Malawi "zebras." Once called Pseudotropheus, now largely referred to as Metriclima. From Lake Tanganyika, you cannot beat Neolamprologus brichardi and its co-genera. 2. Other cichlids: I would recommend a fish like the Bolivian Ram, Microgeophagus altispinosa, or the krib, Pelvicachromis pulcher. Definitely not the Convict. Although they are easy to get to breed, their aggression might be way too much for a beginner. Likewise the Angelfish. A great beginning cichlid is thefestivum. For a larger beginner cichlid, I think you can't beat the severum. 3. Terras: again, easy. The bleeding heart, the black, and the diamond terra for medium-size. The glowlight, rummy nose, serpae are great smaller beginner terras. 4. Barbs: for small barbs, the cherry and the gold are great to start. Medium-size I would recommend the rosy barb. A great larger barb is the Aurilius barb. I have had five of these for almost five years, and they are terrific.

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"What plants would you recommend to the hobbyist who was just beginning to set up their first aquarium?" What temperature? Live plants are my favorite part of the aquarium hobby. It really makes the tank look natural and seems to give the fish a sense of calm—they always seem to color up better in a planted tank. Also, with live plants the tank is always changing—plants grow, multiply and even bloom!!!! To begin with live plants, you need to understand that keeping them is a separate and EQUAL part of the hobby. While it is obviously possible to have both fish and plants thrive in the same environment, the same (and even a few more) important factors must be considered: How big is the tank I am setting up? What will be the pH I will be maintaining? What hardness?

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

What else will occupy the tank (i.e. compatibility)? You will notice these are the same things you must determine when deciding what fish to keep. If you are doing a "fish tank with plants," these are the most important questions to answer regarding you fish of choice before considering plants. Conversely, a "planted tank with fish" would require the questions to be answered regarding the plants before considering fish. Look up various species of plants and/or fish that you like, to see if they are compatible with your water chemistry (or the water chemistry you will be creating), etc. Good reference books, the Internet and fellow GCAS members are good sources of information. Regarding fish, be careful as many species will eat or uproot plants as part of their normal or spawning behavior—do your homework!!!!

April 2004


Now, with plants there are a few more things to determine: What is the depth of the tank? What kind of substrate? How much light will I have? What kind of lighting will I use? What, if anything, will I use to feed the plants? These questions can get quite involved, and can get beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, I will limit my discussion to the beginner's tank. An ideal planted tank is not too deep—any of the tanks labeled "long" are a good bet. This is because, as a tank gets deeper, the light intensity decreases. If you have your heart set on a deep tank, understand that you may need to increase your lighting to compensate. Also, when purchasing the tank, make sure to buy a glass canopy instead of a hood. This will allow you to add more light strips if you desire (more on that later). Substrate choice is simple—smaller is better. Any small, smooth gravel is fine. I like using #1 or #3 gravel. Your local pet store can help you. Go with at least 1 pound per gallon to give the plants something to hold on to. There are also plant substrates, such as Flourite, that contain iron—a beneficial nutrient for aquatic (actually all) plants, and additives like Laterite. These are great, but are costly—use them at your discretion. Light intensity is an important factor. The amount and type of light you use will be one of the most important factors in choosing what plants you can successfully keep. Light intensity is measured in Lumens, however, it is easier to think of it as watts per gallon. For example, a single 4 foot fluorescent bulb on a 55 gallon tank would be 40 watts (taken right off the bulb) over 55 gallons or 0.73 watts per gallon. Now in planted tanks, the general rule is 2-3 watts per gallon are required for good growth of most plants. Therefore, to reach the 2-3 watts per gallon on the 55 gallon tank, 3 to 5 40 watt lights would have to be used (that is why I mentioned earlier to get a glass canopy instead of a hood!!!). However, understand there are plenty of plants that can thrive with less light. I will elucidate later. Now, another factor is light spectrum. The best bulbs to use are fluorescents that mimic natural sunlight. There are many brands on the market available from fish stores (e.g. Triton, Dayglo, Power-glo, Vitalite, etc). All are good, but 16

they can be costly. A more economical approach is to purchase daylight bulbs from a Home or Lighting store. These are used in work areas and retail stores to give the surroundings a brighter and more natural appearance. Where the aquarium bulbs range from $25-35, the others are in the $5-6 range. The downside is they tend to emit a more yellowish color to the tank. This is something you will have to decide on your own—ask around— see other people's tanks. I personally have had success with both types. Feeding the plants is as important as feeding the fish. There are many types of additives on the market—all are, for the most part, good. Stay away from anything that contains nitrate—your fish will provide that with their waste. Excess nitrate is an algae bloom waiting to happen. You may also decide not to add fertilizer. In some situations, especially in low light, this may be satisfactory. My advice is to observe the plants. If they are healthy and growing nicely, you are fine. If you decide to add fertilizer, start slow and simple. Now on to plant choice. I will give you a few species to look up categorized by light requirement. This is BY NO MEANS a complete list, and some sources may place a plant in another category. Use it as a starting point. Low Light (less than 1 watt per gallon) Java Fern (Microsoriumpteropus)—there are so many varieties of this plant on the market, you could have an awesome tank with just these (Lace, Tropica, Narrow Leaf, etc.). Tie them to a rock or wood for best results. Java Moss(Vesicularia dubyana)—there is also Christmas Moss, Upright Moss, Pellia sp.—all are good and need to be tied down like Java Moss. While it may look similar, do not choose Riccia sp.—it needs medium to high light. African Fern (Bolbitis heudelotti)—a very interesting and extremely hardy plant. Tie down as above. Anubias sp. —These are hardy and attractive plants. I read an article once that called them "plastic plants that grow" because they were so hardy. They come in many varieties and sizes—some new variegated species are out that, while costly, are incredible.

Medium Light (1-2 watts per gallon) Most Cryptocoryne sp.—be careful and do your research. Some species are very hardy, some are impossible to keep. These come in a

April 2004

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

variety of shapes, colors and heights. If they are happy, they will multiply like crazy. Aponogetons—I am on the fence on these. Some do well in medium light situations, some do not. Beginners should stick with A. crispus—it is the cheapest and most hardy. Amazon Swords (Echinodorus sp.)—Another place for research—some do well in medium light, others not. The "regular" Amazon swords most commonly offered (E. amazonicus, bleheri) should do well. Stay away from any red swords. Bunch plants (Bacopa, Rotala, Ludwigia, etc.)—there are so many of these, it would be impossible to go through them all. Go to a store, see what you like and research it. Stay away from any red plants (at least initially) and be careful of non-aquatic (i.e. bog) plants. Things like Purple Waffle, Florida Beauty, Joseph's Coat, Dragon's Tongue, etc. These will not thrive and only cause problems.

start on any algae that may try to compete with them for nutrients. The last thing I want to discuss is CO2 injection. As stated earlier, plants make their own food through photosynthesis. One of the raw materials is carbon dioxide. While this is usually present as a byproduct of fish respiration, in high growth situations it may not be enough. There are many ways to inject CO2 into your tanks—some are homemade, using yeast, that are great for small tanks. Others are quite complicated and costly using pressurized CO2 bottles, regulators and pH controllers. My advice is to research these fully and come to your own decision based on your tank's growth (if you are satisfied, you may not need it), your budget and safety considerations (your tank's and yours). Lots of luck, and enjoy your venture into planted aquariums. | : ; ; | | j | i ; ^

High Light (3 and over watts per gallon) Here pretty much the sky's the limit. All red plants can be considered. Your problem here will be water chemistry compatibility and size (some plants will get huge). Furthermore, in this high light environment, fertilizer will become more of an issue, as increased photosynthesis (the process whereby plants take water and carbon dioxide and sunlight in the presence of chlorophyll to make their own food) will more readily deplete the aquarium of required nutrients for growth.


The next thing is stocking your tank. You already know that when you stock a new tank with fish, it is best to start slowly to allow the tank to "cycle." Interestingly, the opposite is true for plants. When you decide what plants you want and can grow in your tank, it is best to fully stock it with these plants. This will give them a head

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Spring into Auction '04 May 2, 2004 Meadowlands Environment Center, Lyndhurst, NJ Free admission ($2.00 Bidder Registration fee) 9:00 am to 11:00 am - Registration offish 10:30 am to 11:30 am - Speaker Forum Noon to 1:00 pm - Viewing offish Auction starts promptly at 1:00 pm NJAS Hotline: (732)541-1392

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

Website: http://www.njas.net

April 2004


Looking through the Photos and captions of our March 2004 meeting

Mark Soberman and Sue Priest extend a warm welcome to Tony Pinto (center), our evening's most distinguished and knowledgeable guest speaker, who brought us "Thailand 2002: In Search of Bettas and Other Tropical Fish."

GCAS Secretary Jack Traub, President Joe Ferdenzi, Tony Pinto, Jason Kerner, and Sue Priest are all set for their "Journey to Thailand," under the expert guidance of our guest speaker Tony Pinto.

Jon Bent, Allison Marston and Brian Grossberg exemplify the camaraderie offish and friendships that prevail at the GCAS!

Speaker Tony Pinto receives a bright welcome from GCAS member Mark Rubanow, as the two compare their varied adventures of traveling through Thailand.

A wish for a beautiful and Happy Birthday to our most dear GCAS member Elliot Oshins!!!

Sharon Barnett's beautiful smile radiates her warmth and enthusiasm at our GCAS meetings! 18

April 2004

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

Lens with the GCAS by Claudia Dickinson

Evelyn Eagan may well be introducing some exquisite new species of bettas to her lovely collection, as well as to our GCAS Bowl Show, after the evening's program!

A heartfelt welcome to one of our newest GCAS members, Andy Jacovina!

And, the Door Prize Winners are:

Our newest "MA" colur Jannette Ramirez!

Brooklyn Aquarium Society member and always most welcome Nassau Aquarium Society GCAS guest, Bob Strazzulla! President and GCAS member, Michael Foran!

The fish talk is certain to continue into the night, as Dan Katz, Jerry O'Farrell, Bob McKeand, and Andre Carletto begin their journey homeward after another Grande evening with the GCAS!

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

Meanwhile, the clock winds past eleven much too soon, as Horst Gerber, Jason Kerner, and Warren Feuer are still absorbed in great fish talk! April 2004


Advice for Beginners from the GCAS Membership Aquarian Minds Want To Know .. * by CLAUDIA DICKINSON and JANNETTE RAMIREZ

A s many of you have had aquariums(s) for numerous years, and bring with that the wealth of /\e that comes with experience, there are also many of you who are begi A. \j*ejuvenating your aquatic passions. Following is a question we posed to the general Membership of the GCAS at our meeting in March. A most special thank you to all of you who were so gracious as to lend your excellent thoughts and ideas to our beginner aquarists! A refresher in the fundamentals of fishkeeping is meaningful for all, no matter how many years we may have kept our aquatic charges, and so I feel most assured that everyone shall benefit from, and certainly enjoy, your astute answers.

"If you have maintained your aquarium(s) for over a year, what would be one or more piece(s) of advice that you feel would be most important for your beginner fellow hobbyist to know?" • Do not overfeed fish. Tropical fish can live for two weeks without food. Feed once a day. • Have a light over the aquarium even if there are no live plants present. Light is necessary for fish health. • Food is food. Don't worry about brand names. Most fish foods are made from fish. Fish don't 1 Do timely water changes. know the difference. 1 Provide proper nutrition. - Douglas Curtin - Bill Adams

• Make sure the fish you choose for your tank are compatible. • Do not overcrowd your tank. • Water changes (partial) done weekly (for small tanks) or every other week (for larger tanks) to ensure optimal water quality. • Feed fish at least once a day. • These steps will make your tropical fishkeeping experience a very pleasant one. - William Amely

• It is impossible to do too many water changes, as long as they are done consistently. - Sharon Barnett

• Temperature and pH swings, along with poor quality water, are the triggers of many common fish diseases, and are some of the major causes of fish loss. - Jonathan Bent

> Frequent partial water changes. - Roger Brewster


• Make sure the tank doesn't leak before you set it up. • Also, check on the adult size of the fish you want. It may be cute while it is small, but it might outgrow your tank (example: redtailed catfish). - Pete D'Orio Master an understanding of, and put into practice where appropriate, three basic concepts: 1) The importance of regular partial water changes. 2) The importance of 'less is best' when feeding. 3) The basic concept of the nitrogen cycle. From the day you embark upon your new hobby, exercise four important functions: 1) Read on your subject. 2) Begin to put your reading into practice. 3) Observe. 4) Join an aquarium society, such as the GCAS, where you have the opportunity to discuss and share your observations, and listen to the experiences of others. - Claudia Dickinson • Do water changes. • Have the proper pH for fish. • Maintain correct water hardness. • Don't overfeed. • Keep proper temperature. • Eliminate stress.

April 2004

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

• Vary diet - proper nutrition. • Provide proper nutrition. • Insure compatibility offish - not only temperament and environment. • Check water parameters often. - Al DiSpigna • Water changes. • Research the type of fish you are keeping to provide adequate conditions. • Don't overfeed. • Check water parameters often. • Feed a varied diet — live foods. - Olympia DiSpigna • Once you have set up a tank, leave it alone! • Don't keep adding more fish or fiddle with the plants. Let things settle down, and just enjoy what you have. The only things you have to do are change the water and feed the fish. If you set up a tank correctly, it should run itself. - Dora Dong • Don't overfeed. • Don't overcrowd. • Do your water changes. - Rod DuCasse • Be consistent with your water changes — whether you do it once a week, or once every two weeks — be consistent! Your fish will appreciate it© - Evelyn Eagan • Use a good air pump and a good filter. • Do water changes often. • Use good food, live or other. - Harry Faustmann

• Be prepared to change the water regularly. - Jim Hanna • Keep up with your water changing schedule. • Don't overfeed your fish. - Peter Hirschhorn • Do your water changes once a month for good growth and water chemistry. • Use a large enough filter for the size tank you have. • Don't buy every fish at the store, but try to get them in "fives," so that they will school. - Richard Levy • Research what type of fish you would like to keep, including fish foods. • Start small and grow with your hobby. • Don't get discouraged if you don't succeed at the beginning. T , T 0 ° - Jack Lorenzo • Once you have a community tank, always isolate new purchases in a separate small tank for at least two weeks (four weeks for marine fish) to prevent the introduction of a disease that can rapidly spread through the tank. T , ^, ,. .. 0 - John Malinowski (


- Allison Marston

• Always do 10% weekly water changes, and test pH, ammonia, and nitrites weekly. • Also, keep the lighting on for 10-12 hours per day, if you have live plants. • Feed a varied diet — dry flakes, color bits, blood/black worms, live baby brine shrimp. - Catherine Minozzi Do water changes. Don't overfeed. Don't overfeed. • Do Water Changes.

- Michael Nelson


• Be patient! - Michael Foran • I reuse the elements in my filters several times by rubbing them thoroughly in the water from the tank when I do a water change. This saves money and works for me. - Peter Foster • Many people who set up tanks spend a lot of money killing fish. Buy a beginner's book, and read it before you start. • In a crowded fishroom, hard to reach tanks get neglected. - Horst Gerber • Make water changes regularly. - Bennie Graham

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

- Elliot Oshins

• Quarantine, quarantine, quarantine — never put new fish into your established tank unless you have kept them separate for one month. - Jim Peterson • Spend some time every day inspecting the fish and your tanks, looking for unusual behavior, build-up of debris, slowed filter flow, etc. - Alexander Priest • Size really does matter! (The bigger the tank the better.) 0 _. - Susan Priest • Do not overcrowd the tank. • Be patient and do plenty of water changes. - Mark Soberman

April 2004


Do not overfeed. - Peter Steiner • The most important initial purchase should be a good book that addresses beginners in uncomplicated language. - Robert Strazzulla

• After your fifth tank, it's too late! • Live food is easier to culture than you think, and worth the effort. • Weekly water changes are well worth the effort. - Anton Vukich • You must change the water. • Have your tap water tested and start with fish that match your water. • Do not overfeed. „, ,, r , . , - Edward Vukich

Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies 2003 PUBLICATION AWARDS BEST CONTINUOUS COLUMN "Editor's Babblenest" Alexander Priest GCAS - Modern Aquarium BEST JUNIOR ARTICLE "Discus, A Beginner's View" Stephen Gustafson NAS - Wet Pet Gazette BEST BREEDER ARTICLE 1st place - "Apistogramma maulbruter" Rich Grenfell NAS - Wet Pet Gazette 2nd place - "Hoplosternum thoracatum" Joseph Graffagnino GCAS - Modern Aquarium

3rd place - "Swordtail Breeding Program" Barry Lynch NAS - Wet Pet Gazette OPEN CLASS 1st place - "About Moving Water" Larry Feltz NHAS - The Granite-Fisher 2nd place - "Digital Cameras and Aquatic Photography" Luis Morales JSAS - The Shoreline 3rd place - "Paste Food" Dean Majorino JSAS - The Shoreline

2nd Place - Ed Vukich


3rd Place - Jerry O'Farrell April 2004

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


here comes a time in every fish-keeper's life when they realize that the fish is faster than the eye, or the hand for that matter. You've been trying for hours to catch your fish. Your floor is wet, your forearm hurts, and the fish you're after is still in the tank, staring at you with unblinking eyes. Hopefully, after reading this, your floor will be dry, your fish will be less stressed, and out of the tank in half the time. The first thing you want to do is set up your "fishing grounds." Clear an area about four times the length of the fish in cubic inches in a front corner of the tank. If the fish is three inches long, unobstruct an area twelve cubic inches wide. Remove plants, rocks, or anything else in your fishing grounds.


Next, pick out your fishing gear. Your net should be rectangular, with a width at least twice the fish's length, and half greater than its height. (Very important when you're trying to net angelfish or discus.) It should also be deep enough to form a dangling sack when lifted out of the water. The net shouldn't be worn or have any holes. You wouldn't want your fish to slip through a rip (or worse yet, halfway through â&#x20AC;&#x201D; gulp!) after you've spent all that time to catch it. Some fish shouldn't be caught with a net, no matter the type of net. Sharp-spined fish, like some catfish, sharks, ctenopomas and loaches, will get stuck, leaving you with a mangled net, and possibly a damaged fish as well. Accomplished aquarists will use plastic containers to trap their Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

spined fish. This is also less harmful to the fish's protective slime coat. I've also seen people trap a fish in a piece of PVC pipe, and then lift the pipe out, fish and all. You'll also need a second net or an algae scraper (or other long piece of plastic) that will reach the bottom of the tank easily. That will be your prod. In one hand, hold the net. In the other, hold the prod. Place the net in the corner of your fishing grounds. Have it facing the front of the glass, with enough room between the net and the glass so the fish can barely swim through. Keep the net still. With your prod, start coaxing the fish out of its hiding spot. Don't move the prod too fast. Slowly nudge the fish out into the open, and then into your fishing grounds. With any luck, the fish will try to find a place to hide from your prod â&#x20AC;&#x201D; right into your net! If not, when the fish is close enough, use a quick twist of the wrist to ensnare it. In either case, quickly bring the net's opening against the tank's glass to prevent the fish's escape.

Now, "reel" it in. With your net, press against the glass. Then, just tap on the glass to send the fish to the back of the net. Lift out your net, and claim your victory. In the end, you won't have to talk about the "one that got away." Just roll up your sleeves, don't be afraid to get your hands wet, and get your net working!

April 2004


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April 2004

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

July 1991 Al: "I just read that the best place for your aquarium is next to a window." Al and Sue: "That's crazy!" (As you can see, we are learning.)

DlarV of a Freshwater Aquarium by SUSAN PRIEST

August 1989 Al: "Sue, how would you like to have an aquarium?" Sue: "I'd love to! But I had one when I was a kid, and all the fish died." Al: "That happened to me, too. Maybe we should read some books about it." Sue: "O.K., we'll look for some books."

August 1991 Sue gives Al a "Tropiquarium" as an anniversary gift. It's a small (8 gallon) tank with self-contained light, heater and filter. She added a plastic "fun fish" so that if the real fish die, there would still be a fish in the tank. We buy 10 Ibs. of gravel, some "Loc Rocks," a plastic lace plant, and 8 gallons of spring water. September 5,1991 The tank is set up and running. We know not to add too many fish. Our video recommended swordtails as a good beginner fish. We buy a male neon and female brick sword. We can't keep our eyes off of them.

February, 1990 We bought a video on setting up an aquarium. The video was informative, but raised as many questions as it answered. For example, "biological filtration" â&#x20AC;&#x201D; what's that? It sounds important. How do you know if you have it?

September 6,1991 10:00 P.M. Al: "The fish are acting strangely. What are they doing?" Sue: "Are they sick? Are they hiding? Are they hurting each other? Are they playing?"

August 1990 We bought a large picture book of aquarium fish. It had brief descriptions of each fish, mostly referring to breeding. Each fish was shown the same size but the color paintings were lovely and we spent many hours admiring them.

September?, 1991 Sue calls Al at the office with news of the blessed event. There are several itsy bitsy teeny weeny baby fishes. (We were soon calling them fry.) What do we do now?

February 1991 Al: "What are we waiting for? When are we going to set up an aquarium?" Sue: "We still don't know anything!" We made a couple of visits to a local aquarium store. We looked at tanks, all the equipment, chemicals, etc. on sale and feel quite intimidated. But, when we got to the back of the store and watched all the wonderful fish, we knew we were hooked. March 1991 Sue: "I read that when you begin in the aquarium hobby, you should start with as large a tank as you can." Al: "That's crazy! We would be investing a lot of time and money in something we don't know how to do."

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

September 8,1991 We get a breeder net and scoop what fry we can into it. There are six. Our tank is filling up on its own! We are fascinated by our miracle and frantically heiading to our reading material. We've had our ups and downs since then, like our first fish auction and our first ammonia crisis. In February of 1992, we set up a 90 gallon fresh water tank in our living room. The people at the store turned up their noses at the idea of so large a tank not being used for a reef, or exotic salt water fishes. But, we knew what we wanted. Our confidence and knowledge have steadily grown, along with our library, and our family of freshwater friends. Author's Note: This piece was actually written in the fall of 1993, before Modern Aquarium, series III, had ever published an issue. Somehow it fell through the cracks, and never got printed. It would appear to have been saved for this beginners issue, but that's not quite what happened!

April 2004




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April 2004

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

"And, I Did It All Myself!" A series by "The Undergravel Reporter"

don't like to throw anything out (a fact to which my long-suffering spouse can attest). I also get a great deal of satisfaction in doing something myself, especially when I repair or recondition something. I'd rather fix an air pump or a filter than buy a new one â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even if the parts I need for the project cost nearly as much as whatever it is that I am working on. Not only does my spouse not understand why I prefer to "do it all myself," but even other aquarists often seem puzzled by this. Take, for example, a 51A gallon tank I had that recently started to leak. I drained it, used a razor blade to scrape all the silicone from every corner and edge, and I used ultra fine steel wool and acetone to remove any residue of silicone or grease (this was, of course, a glass tank). Then, I put a strip of masking tape exactly one half inch from every edge. I then put new aquarium silicone sealant along every edge, pressing it carefully into the grooves. After a few minutes, I carefully removed the masking tape, and let the new silicone seal "cure" for 48 hours. I then used a razor blade to trim any excess silicone from the outer edges of the seal (which, because of the masking tape, was minimal). Now, I had to clean the tank with warm water and clear (non-sudsy) ammonia. I filled the tank with water (and a water conditioner that removes ammonia), and let it sit for another 48 hours. Finally, I inspected the tank for leaks, and there were none! O.K., it took a few days of work. And, yes, when I add up the total cost of aquarium sealant, masking tape, razor blades, steel wool, acetone, etc., it does equal the cost of a replacement tank. (I should note here that this was not a "special" or antique tank, and a replacement would cost around ten dollars.)


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

But, throwing out one tank and buying a replacement just doesn't give me the same satisfaction as fixing it myself. It's like having your fish breed in someone else's tank â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even though it was your fish, and even though you may have done all the conditioning, if the fish didn't spawn in your tank, you can't take credit for it. I consider air pumps to be my personal speciality. I collect them. I also collect all the unused replacement diaphragms that I can. Finding a diaphragm, made for one brand of air pump, that will work on a different brand of air pump (that hasn't been made in years, and for which no replacement diaphragms are currently available) can be very satisfying. I have boxes and shelves of air pumps in various stages of repair. In fact, I can almost say that air pumps are my second hobby! After air pumps, my next favorite do-it-myself project is caves. Yes, I know you can buy plastic caves, or use flower pots, PVC tubes, coconut shells, etc. But I want my fish to have something I made just for them. So, I make my own caves. Sometimes, I silicone rocks together. Other times, I cut empty plastic fish food containers, roughen the outside with coarse steel wool (you might have noticed that I'm a big fan of steel wool!), coat the outside with aquarium silicone sealant (also, a major booster of this product), and then place small rocks, flat glass marbles, and gravel on the silicone. After the initial drying period, I touch up the cave with extra silicone and gravel to cover any spots I missed. A decent cave takes about two weeks from start to finish, but I really believe my fish know that I made the cave just for them! And, unlike the plastic caves sold in stores today, my caves do not lose their color after being in the aquarium for a while. In fact, they look better with age! This month, Greater City will have its annual "Silent Auction" fleamarket. That's when I'm in my glory! Our Silent Auction is better than eBay. Did you ever search for "pump" on eBay? You have to limit your search to exclude terms such as: tire, automobile, breast, muscle, fuel, oil, shoe, etc., etc. At our Silent Auction, all you're likely to see are aquarium air pumps. I look at all those old air pumps that just need diaphragms and air filters. I examine all those aquarium ornaments that have a small, but repairable, crack or chip. I peruse all those power filters that only need a bit of rewiring. I study all the miscellaneous sponges, tubes, hoses, filter media, containers, and other assorted aquarium related items, and I envision all the great projects I could construct with them. And, I'll do it all myself.

April 2004


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April 2004

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Bowl ShOW-'AV ;<:.;•; IK . . tlllllf • f 11-- : :

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GREATER €ITY AQl|AKipVI SOCIETY Next me^|iiig: IVlsiy|f , 2004 Speaker Susan Jewett ~ Collection Mgr., Division o| Fishes, Smithsonian Institution Topic: "ioelacanths" 8pm: llijejns Botanical Garden ^ IPIo Main St. - Flushing, NY Cotiaet: Mr. Joseph Ferdenzi Teleghone: (718) 767-2691 ^^^^ ij: GreaterCity@compMS^rve,eo|p http ://www . greatercity . org

Next Meeting: April 9 ^ Speakeo C>liY^r Lucaniilf ,A 1| Topic ; : :^ \Z% a;i*;fs On ParadlSliSi^ 1 ^^^T^ cation Hall at the Tsh gj riuft| Inue at West 8th St. - BroBllyn, NYl


Events Hotline: (718) 8 3 5 5


East Coast Guppy Assc /ation Meets: 8:00 P.M. r^^g\.ihQ Queeril 8otpi|ii CMact: ggneAudiep1^^ Telephone f631) 34^-6399

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-P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each n i ; Queens Botanical G a r l :_ aldCurtin _. " ' : \; . 'mmji

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Contact: f liy Kreylih| (5 |6f 938-40 j| http://liasonliii|,C)rg/

http://ncas.rwsl., | idex.html Norwalk Aquarium Society

North Jersey Aquariun Meets: 8:00 PM - 3rd Thursday of the moi at the Meadowlands Environmental Center; 1 Dekorte Park Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ Next Meeting: April 15 — Chris Persson Topic: "Keeping Larger South and Central American Cichlids" Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 http ://www .nj as .net/ or e-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com

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

April 2004

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


Fin Fun BASICally Speaking Throughout this special issue of Modern Aquarium, a lot of specific, as well as general, information and advice has been offered to beginning hobbyists. We hope that experts, as well as beginners (and we are ALL beginners in one area or another), will enjoy quizzing yourselves as to the "basics." Hint â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a careful reading of this issue will reveal the correct answers. 1) What is the first, and most toxic, element of the Nitrogen Cycle? Da) Nitrites Db) Chlorine DC) Ammonia Dd) Coffee grounds 2) Which of the following numbers represents a "neutral" pH? Da) 2 Db)7 Dc)40 Dd) none of these 3) Which of the following aquatic plants have low light requirements? Da) Java Fern Db) African Fern DC) Anubius Dd) All of these 4) Which of these fish would be a poor choice for a beginning hobbyist? Da) Rummynose Terra Db) Festivum Cichlid DC) Convict Cichlid

Dd) Rosy Barb

5) What is the most important thing to keep in mind when you are netting a fish? Da) The fish should be larger than the net. Db) The net should be larger than the fish. DC) Nets with holes should be reserved for fish with spines. Dd) Search the Internet for information on "Fishnet 'stalkingsV 6) What is the single most important thing you can do to provide a healthy environment for your fish? If you get this one wrong, you need to give up fishkeeping and start collecting stamps! Da) Frequent partial water changes. Db) Do your water changes. DC) Make water changes regularly. Dd) Keep up with your water changing schedule.

Solution to last month's puzzle: TfHI^ NlGHIT <?JF J\n Name

Brine Shrimp

Artemia salina

Water Fleas

Daphnia magna

Grindal Worms

Enchytraeus buchholzi


Panagrellus redivivus

Vinegar Eels

Turbatrix aceti

Confused Beetles

Tribolium confusum

White Worms

Enchytraeus albidus

Broccoli Romaine Lettuce Zucchini 30

Scientific Name

Brassica oleracea (var. botrytis) Lactuca sativa (var, longifolia) Cucurbita pepo (var. cylindrica) April 2004

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

April 2004 volume XI number 4

Modern Aquarium  

April 2004 volume XI number 4