Page 1


API JARIIM K:ll;:;li

Series III

Vol. XI, No. 6

June. 2004


" Jc^j;^ ^^ |^^

Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


GCAS 82nd Anniversary Show Awards The Chanchito

..... 4 5

A Short Histrionics of the Aquarium Hobby . . . 7


Beginnings: A Memoir of My Early Days in the Hobby




Oh7 The Changes I've Seen


What's It All About, Alfie?


Aquarian Minds Want To Know Question and Answer Column


This Month's Speaker: Albert J. Klee


Second Sight (Reprint): "Spawning the Golden Severum" (Bronx A.S.) . . . . . . . . 21


Looking Through the Lens


The Original New York Aquarium


2003 FAAS Publication Awards


Wet Leaves (Book Review Column)


Reality TV: Aquarium Society Auctions


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


by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST As I was going up the stair I met a man who wasn 't there. He wasn rt there again today. I wish, I wish he'd stay away - Hughes Mearns here were the Greater City members for our show and auction? If every member only entered two fish, we would have had more entries for the show than we finally wound up with (and all I can say is "Thanks, North Jersey, your members came through when ours did not!"). When the fish entries of just two people (Claudia Dickinson and myself) represent over 20% of all fish entries, you know that something is wrong. Is it that you, the Greater City members, do not want a show and, since you never were asked to vote for one, you "voted with your feet" against it? (I could not help but notice that many more Greater City members showed up for the giant auction the following day!) I have long maintained that the Editor of this publication should not serve on the Greater City Board, nor should this column be used to criticize Board decisions, unless related to the magazine. I still maintain that position. However, before yet another show is announced for 2006 (which would be our next one, as we have a show every two years), I would urge the Board to give serious consideration to obtaining the approval and support of the membership before proceeding with the project, maybe even start planning now for the next show (or deciding now that there will be no next show). And, that's the last thing I intend to say on this, for now. In the past, I announced my intention to have "theme issues" of Modern Aquarium. In several member surveys I have conducted, our members have indicated that they enjoyed and preferred such issues. Unfortunately, some of my


ideas for theme issues (including "diseases and treatments" and "do-it-yourself projects and repairs") did not generate enough interest (that means, enough articles!) for me to proceed. Last month, I was able to do a "Conservation/Endangered Species" theme issue — something I wanted to do for quite a long time. I want to give special thanks to our President, Joe Ferdenzi, and to our Membership and Program Chairperson, Claudia Dickinson, for their "above and beyond" help and support in making last month's theme issue both a reality, and a resounding success. And, I want to thank both of them for helping me do more theme issues this year (with this current "historical" theme issue being yet another example) than ever before. It is impossible to produce a magazine of this quality without the very active help and involvement of many other people. In addition to the already mentioned Claudia and Joe, Jason Kerner saves me many hours of work by adapting photos for use on our front covers, and by acting as our intermediary to our printers. (See, Fm not always complaining!) If any of our members has computer skills, and would like to assist in the production of this magazine, please talk to me at one of our meetings (or e-mail me through our website). Elsewhere in this issue are the results of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies "Publication Awards" for 2003. As we did the previous year, and the year before, etc., this magazine took first place in its class (that of publications printed more than six times a year). While people may root for the underdog, just about everyone wants to be on the "winning team." Modern Aquarium is the "winning team" as far as aquarium society publications are concerned, and we welcome any and all who want to be a part of that team, to help us continue our "winning streak." We are ending another season of Greater City meetings. Remember, you must renew your membership in September, regardless of when you joined Greater City. Greater City's membership dues are the lowest of any society in the area. Our magazine is, itself, worth the cost of membership. See you in September See you when the summer's through. Here we are saying goodbye at the station; Summer vacation is taking you away. See you in September Words & Music by S. Wayne & S. Edwards Recorded by The Tempos, 1959

June 2004

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI s I write this, the 82nd Anniversary Show has come and gone. By my accounting, it was a successful event. No fish died — that's a start. Then, we had many exotic and beautiful fish in the show. I especially wish to congratulate our own Claudia Dickinson for her Reserve of Show win, and Rich Martucci of the North Jersey Aquarium Society for his Best of Show award (a complete list of all our show winners appears immediately after this message). But, my heartfelt congratulations go out to each and every one of you who entered a fish. You were all winners as far as I'm concerned. Of course, the success of a three day event like this depends on the contributions of many. And many did valuable service (with apologies to anyone whose contribution may be inadvertently omitted). Carlotti De Jager, as our Show Chair, did a wonderful job. She remarked to me that it was a great learning experience for her — it made her realize just how much planning has to go into a show. I think she knew it would be a lot of work, and that is why she is to be thanked for her courage in accepting the position. And, she was there for every step of the process. Friday is the day on which we set up the show. The people I wish to thank for giving much help that day are many, but Pete D'Orio, as usual, had the lion's share of the work. He is, in a word, terrific. Others lending help were (in no particular order): Artie Friedman, Frank Gannon, Mark Soberman, Warren Feuer, Eric Feuer, Rod Du Casse, Steve Miller, and Greg Wuest (who was also responsible for setting up the air supply system). Saturday was an event-filled day. That's the day the entries are judged. Mark Soberman was in charge of assembling our panel of distinguished judges: Rosario LaCorte, Ray Lucas, Dan Katz, Lee Finley, and Mike McNamee (and Mark himself). They did a superb job. Claudia Dickinson arranged for the gifts we traditionally present to our judges, and, once again, she out-did herself with beautiful wooden meteorological stations that were custom engraved. Warren Feuer was busy making sure that all the entries were properly registered — a very time consuming job, that he performed virtually single-handedly. Thanks to Al Priest, we had show journals, class signs, and all the other signage and labels that were


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

needed — another gargantuan task that Al performed with tireless energy. Sunday was a very labor-intensive day. First, there was the giant auction. You need many people to pull it off successfully. Ours was, indeed, well run. Although we ran out of some forms, the rest went like clockwork. We had a team of alternating auctioneers — Ray Lucas, myself, Warren Feuer, Bill Amely, and Jim White (he is the Vice President of the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies) — so everyone was kept alert and energized. The auctioneers had helpers, like Steve Miller and Eric Feuer, to select auction items and to keep track of winning bids. Roberta D'Orio and Sue Priest kept the running logs of the winning bidders and the amounts bid for each lot. Lenny Ramroop and Frank Bonnici worked tirelessly to place all of the sold items in the respective boxes and bags with the bidder's number on it. Jack Traub and Greg Wuest acted as our treasurers for the auction, and they were kept working long after everyone else had departed. The auction system we had in place worked very well. Second, on Sunday, there was the break-down of the show room. This task also went very smoothly under the able generalship of Pete D'Orio. Many hands gave help to taking down the tank stands, which, thanks to the design and construction brilliance of our own Horst Gerber, are the easiest stands I have ever seen to assemble and disassemble. Did everything go perfectly? No. If you expect perfection from human beings, you will always be disappointed. Were there any major mistakes? No. Everyone from Greater City who worked on the show made me proud. All I can offer in return is a sincere thanks. I am equally grateful to our guests who helped make our show a success. In addition to our judges, I am thankful to the members of other clubs who either attended the show, or our auction, or both. I personally know that the North Jersey Aquarium Society, the Nassau County Aquarium Society, the Norwalk Aquarium Society, the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, and the Long Island Aquarium Society all had members in attendance. Lee Finley, of Finley Aquatic Books, came all the way from Rhode Island to be a judge on Saturday, and to offer his vast array of aquarium literature for sale on Sunday. Last, but not least, my heartfelt thanks goes to Ray Lucas of Kingfish Services. He always plays a large role in our shows. He arranges for a professional manufacturers display, their donations to our auction, and sponsorship of various show classes. He judged on Saturday, and was an auctioneer on Sunday. In between, he was our goodwill ambassador. He spoke to the people

June 2004

who were just passing through, offered goldfish cracker treats to the children, and, in a phrase, charmed everyone there. I suppose that one day, Ray will retire from this show circuit. For many of us, when that day comes, shows will never be the same. Have you noticed that, so far, I have said nothing about how much money the club made on this event? There's a reason for that. Money is not

how I measure success. I know we lost no money. Beyond that, my concern over money is tangential, at best. What I thought most valuable about the 82nd Anniversary Show was your spirit of camaraderie towards each other, and your display of loyalty to this hobby which we all enjoy. Excelsior!

The 82nd Anniversary Show Awards Class A - NEW WORLD CICHLIDS 1st Place: Claudia Dickinson 2nd Place: Edward Vukich 3rd Place: Carlotti De Jager

Class J - FANCY GUPPIES 1st Place: Lenny Ramroop 2nd Place: Rich Levy 3rd Place: Rich Levy

Class B - OLD WORLD CICHLIDS 1st Place: Claudia Dickinson 2nd Place: Artie Friedman 3rd Place: Larry Jinks

Class K - OPEN CLASS 1st Place: Larry Jinks 2nd Place: Larry Jinks 3rd Place: Joseph Ferdenzi

Class C - CHARACINS 1st Place: BillAmely 2nd Place: Larry Jinks 3rd Place: Carlotti De Jager

Class L - NEW WORLD CATFISH 1st Place: Artie Friedman 2nd Place: Stephen Sica 3rd Place: Steve Miller

Class D - AQUATIC PLANTS 1st Place: EricFeuer 2nd Place: Joseph Ferdenzi 3rd Place: Joseph Ferdenzi

Class M - OLD WORLD CATFISH 1st Place: Claudia Dickinson 2nd Place: Claudia Dickinson 3rd Place: Claudia Dickinson

Class E - KILLIFISH 1st Place: Bill Adams 2nd Place: Anton Vukich 3rd Place: Larry Jinks

Class N - ART 1st Place: Alexander Priest 2nd Place: Frank Nell 3rd Place: Sue Priest

Class F - LIVEBEARERS 1 st Place: Frank Nell 2nd Place: Larry Jinks 3rd Place: Frank Nell


Class G - ANABANTOIDS 1st Place: Alexander Priest 2nd Place: Frank Nell 3rd Place: Richard Martucci Class H - GOLDFISH 1st Place: Claudia Dickinson 2nd Place: Claudia Dickinson 3rd Place: Claudia Dickinson Class I - FANCY BETTAS 1st Place: Richard Martucci 2nd Place: Richard Martucci 3rd Place: BillAmely

Richard Martucci

RESERVE OF SHOW Claudia Dickinson

PEOPLES CHOICE Sue and Al Priest

BEST CATFISH Artie Friedman

BEST CICHLID Claudia Dickinson

June 2004

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

The 'Chanchito' A True Pioneer in the History of the Aquarium Hobby by CLAUDIA DICKINSON "Chameleon fish," or "Acara Camaleao," by the he year was 1895, and the aquarium hobby Brazilians where the fish originated, Camaleao was flourishing with the passion and fervor meaning "chameleon" in Portuguese (Klee 2004), of expectancy and new discovery. Novel because of its capacity for dramatic change in fish were arriving on the scene at a frenetic pace as colors due to mood and environmental conditions. the prominent Mulertt shipping vessels, similar in Many fish are now known to exhibit such changes, appearance to a metal milk can, dispersed the but if we keep in mind that this was the first bountiful emergence of toy fishes (Mellen 1927; opportunity to note such behavior, the observation Klee 2003) across the country by rail. Reports in resulted in quite an understandable stir. America's first "real" aquarium magazine, "The A hardy and adaptable fish, the chanchito Aquarium " (Klee 2003), which was published by was able to weather the experimental stages of our the "Father of the Aquarium Hobby," Hugo hobby as it endured well Mulertt (Klee 2003), the rigors of cold water, relayed spawning low oxygen and high narratives of the nitrite levels. I consider 'Brazilian Zebra Fish,' those fish who survived or 'chanchito,' as it to have duly earned their would come to be title of the "first to be known, in Germany one kept as aquarium year earlier, and of this habitants" as a matter of fish now having been high merit that was imported and bred in ordained by natural the United States. This selection, or 'survival of would define a the fittest,' as they were milestone in aquarium Cut of "Cichlasoma facetunf originally the stalwart ones, able to history as the first appearing as "Brazilian Zebrafish" in withstand a w i d e cichlid to be introduced into the aquarium The Aquarium (1895), courtesy of Albert J. Klee variance in temperature and water conditions. hobby, and subsequent The chanchito, alongside its predecessor into the only to the Paradise fish in order of 'firsts' for aquarium hobby that we mentioned earlier, the tropical fish to be kept in the home aquaria of Paradise fish, is a prime example of the relative hobbyists. ease of adaptability to fluctuations and extremes in The actual origins of the chanchito in our the surrounding environment in which they were hobby are found to trace back to Charles Darwin. subjected due to an innocence of the times, as well The original description was given as Chromis as an absence of latter-day technology. facetus, Jenyns describing it in Jenyns, L., "The Some years ago, to my great delight, I had zoology of the voyage of the H. M. S. Beagle, the good fortune of having a group of juvenile under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R. N., chanchitos given to me by my dear friend, Wayne during the years 1832 to 1836," (London: Smith, Leibel. These have since proven to be, in my eyes, Elder, and Co., 1840-42) (Klee 2004). one of the most brilliantly beautiful of creatures as The chanchito is made up of at least three they are of the species 11C." oblongum, and I South American species, "Cichlasoma" facetum, believe to be an exceptionally extraordinary strain "C." autochthon and "C." oblongum (Leibel of this engaging medium-sized cichlid. Their 1996; 2004). These occur in southeastern Brazil fascinating interaction and parental behavior, along and Argentina, the La Plata basin, Uruguay, with their lovely appearance, places them amongst Paraguay and the Rio Parana basin (Leibel 1996; one of the most interesting, at times challenging, 2004). The designation of chanchito, or the and certainly enjoyable of cichlids to work with. Spanish 'piglet,' derived from "its habits of Chanchitos range in size from 4 to 5 fighting like a young pig and of uprooting plants" inches, with some males obtaining an adult TL (Mellen 1927). It has also been coined the


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

June 2004

(total length) of 6 inches. They are defined, as their historical name 'Brazilian Zebra Fish' suggests, by an overall striping, which consists of two dark stripes across the forehead, two running over the nape and six to seven vertical bars running the entire length of the body to the caudal peduncle, highlighted by a mid-lateral blotch, and in many cases, a secondary blotch at the base of the caudal peduncle. There is a subdued horizontal bar that may appear, or not, according to the "chameleon mood" of the fish. The range of the fundamental color varies according to species, from golds to rusts, from olives to chocolates, and even velvety charcoals. The "C " oblongum is particularly breathtaking as it exhibits lovely golds, with touches of red and shimmering metallic hues of blues to varying degrees across the entire body, extending out over the dorsal and caudal fins. By circumstance, I recently discovered that placing the "C. " oblongum over a substratum of black sand is most to their liking, as I have never seen such a rich display of colors! In 1894, Dr. Ludwig Slaby wrote, "The chanchito should be kept in water at from 10 to 20 degrees Reaumur (50 to 68 degrees 짜)..."(Natur und Hans 1894; translation by Angus Gaines in Natural Science News June 1895 [Vol. 3, No.35]) (Leibel 1996). This being said, the chanchito was clearly as hardy as were the people of the 1800's, but as we all live a more 'comfortable' (and longer) life in this, the 21st century, please bear in mind that it would be most beneficial to maintain your chanchitos in a practical range of 72 to 78 degrees F, with a raise in temperature of 82 to 84 degrees F for breeding purposes. The chanchito will well withstand a wide pH variable, but here again, a moderate pH, ranging from 6.8 to 7.2, is most appropriate. As always, regular partial water changes are the key to a healthy and contented fish. Expectantly waiting, with nose pointed skyward, and relishing with gusto just about any morsels that come their way, your chanchitos will flourish with a varied diet of live foods such as earthworms, blackworms and grindal worms, the latter two fed sparingly due to their richness. This should be accompanied by a high quality commercial pellet, as well as a daily ration of vegetable matter, such as peas or commercially prepared vegetable wafers. When not feasting on the foods which you have rationed them, the remainder of the day should find your chanchitos rooting about in the substrate and uplifting your favorite plants with glee! Particularly during, but not exclusive to breeding and parental defense, the chanchitos are pugnacious by nature and will go out of their way to go after one another, pursuing the subordinate mercilessly about the aquarium. I am the first to give reason to the inhibition of escape due to the

confines of the five walls of an aquarium, but even I draw the line when five-inch chanchitos attempt to maul one another for no apparent rationale other than "bullydome," in a 125 gallon aquaria! They do just as well when relegated to a forty gallon breeder ( 36W" x 18D" x 16H") that is filled with the sheltering nooks of driftwood and PVC piping that can be tucked away out of sight, along with clay pots. You may choose and find them quite comfortable in a 75 gallon aquarium as well. If given plenty of hiding places, the results of the skirmishes will in general be those left with frayed fins and no greater tragedy. If your aquarium husbandry practices are kept up, with feeding and water changes as described previously, procreation of your chanchitos will follow in short order. A male and female will choose their site; mine seem to select the driftwood, but this can vary from a smooth stone, a clay pot or on the leaves of plants. The spawn will range from 200 to 500 eggs, and the couple will care for these and the sequential fry in the epitome of diligent and fascinating cichlid fashion. Over the years, I have enjoyed sharing the chanchito "C." oblongum with fellow hobbyists and watching the descendants passed down and come back around, which is one of the great joys of our hobby. Keep yours eyes open, and the next time you too may have the great delight of discovering the 'chanchito,' a true pioneer in the history of the aquarium hobby, on the auction table! References: Klee, Albert J., The Toy Fish: A History of the Aquarium Hobby in America - The First OneHundred Years. (2003) Rhode Island, Finley Aquatic Books, pp. 45; 49; 57-60. Klee, Albert J., Personal discussions (2004). Leibel, Wayne S., Aquarium Fish Magazine.(1996) Goin' South - Cichlids of the Americas: It's the Chanchito, September, 8 (9), pp. 76-83. Leibel, Wayne S., Personal discussions (2004). Loiselle, Paul V., The Cichlid Aquarium. (1994) Germany, Terra Press, pp. 369-376. Mellen, Ida M., Fishes in the Home Aquarium. (1927) New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc. pp. 100-102.

June 2004

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

i SHORT HISTRIOMCS 01 THE AQUiRIIffl HOBBY by ALBERT J. KLEE, Ph.D. (Note: This article originally appeared in the Beijing Journal of Aquatic Desuetude, Vol. II, No 61,2001) he earliest record of fishkeeping is found in Egypt where, along with Mesopotamian graffiti and Hittite expletives (deleted, of course), pictures of well-known African aquarium fishes are found carved on the sides of tombs. The instructions for keeping these fishes were written in a script based upon aquatic plants known as "Egyptian hyacinths." These earliest of all fish keepers lived in the Sahara desert, so although there was little water to be had, there was plenty of sand to cover the bottom, the middle, and the top thirds of their tanks. There was, in fact, only enough water to allow rubbing each fish once a month with a damp rag. Fishkeeping at the time was fraught with many problems; the tombs leaked, it was hard to see through the marble sides, and the climate was such that the Egyptian aquarists had to live elsewhere, requiring a long commute from Nubia just to feed their fish. The next record of the aquarium hobby is found in ancient Greece, where Socrates devised the first practical method for filtration, which involved pouring aquarium water through discarded hosiery to remove food particles. This was known as the "Sockratic Method." The members of his combined aquarium society and school of philosophy were called "Tetrahedonists," and they practiced their oratory by tossing Barbs at one another. Socrates' specialty was Discus, but his wife kept throwing them away. Next on the scene were the Romans. The first killifish society was established by the brothers Rivulus and Remiss, the latter so named because he forgot to put covers on the tanks and the Rivulus jumped out. Later, Neapolitan aquarists combined their hobby with their love of cooking and made famous such dishes as Brine Shrimp Scampi and Neon Tetrazzini. These early Italian aquarists were in the habit of drinking much vino when they were building their aquaria and


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

their tanks invariably, especially those built in Pisa, leaned to one side. A British publican, Fillup Gosh, actually invented the first straight-sided tank by first devising a rectangular commode for use under a Queen-size bed. The Queen, however, found the right-angled corners too uncomfortable to use so Gosh decided to offer his containers to aquarists. They were sold with a guarantee known as a "30-day Warrington." (It has sometimes been argued that Nathaniel Ward invented the aquarium; however, his was a sad case and he took a job with the British Civil Service and became a Ward of the State.) The hobby in England at that time was a favorite of female aquarists but was constrained by the strict moral codes of the day. Victorian ladies could not, for example, raise either their skirts or the water levels in their tanks without undergoing social opprobrium. Male aquarists, on the other hand, met nightly in local pubs and got tanked. After Gosh's death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. Although Gutenberg had long since invented movable type and the bible, the world was now entering a time of great inventions and discoveries. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, people stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits and, at the American Museum in New York City, Barnum displayed the famous musical insect known as the humbug and also the first Beleaguered whale. Barnum was a very rich man and could afford a Butler. William Damon, who also worked for Barnum, circumcised the world, looking for new species of marine fishes for the Museum. The greatest of the early American aquarists was Hugo Mullet, who was born in Germany in 1846, supposedly on his birthday. He had to leave Germany in a hurry when he was found defacing the currency, an offense known as

June 2004

"Deutschmarking." Mullet settled in Cincinnati and bred goldfish, a corruption of the German word for the then very expensive "geltfisch," itself derived from the Hadassic plankton feeder, "geltfilterfish." Unfortunately, Mullet could not spell Cincinnati properly, often leaving out one of the n's, a condition known as "enervation." He was therefore forced to move to Brooklyn where correct pronunciation was unheard of. Mullet was a snappy dresser and when he strolled by at the Packer Collegiate Institute where he was employed as an aquatic cosmetologist, the girls would say, "There goes that striped Mullet!" One of our first aquarium club organizers was Phosgene Smith, who founded the New York Aquarium Society. Smith had a very poor understanding of ge o g r a p h y , so although the club actually met in New Jersey, it held its monthly bowl shows in Omaha, Nebraska. He had a hard time on the road w h e n checking into motels, as no one would believe a name like "Smith" on the register. What made it all the more difficult was his insistence on asking for three-hour rates. In any event, his book, "The Home Aquarium... Wherever It Is Located," set down some of the basic principles of fishkeeping that aquarists follow today, such as wearing rubber-soled shoes when transferring electric eels and eschewing pianos as aquarium stands regardless of the number of tanks they might be able to hold. Smith, by the way, loved playing with his instruments and kept a spinster in his attic just for this purpose. A famous aquarist of the day was Rachet Dawn, who imported many of our most popular aquarium fishes. Two of his numerous catfish introductions included the Corydormouse, named for its prominent whiskers, and Lawncareria, prized for its ability to keep aquatic grasses under control. Other introductions included the unfortunate Hapless Chromis, the singing catfish

Doras dayi, the predatory Belly Knee Sox, a number of Labeos whose names were on everyone's lips, and both Hemigramma and Hemigrampa species. Dawn was a very energetic aquarist, most likely stemming from his habit of eating overactivated charcoal. Dawn died in 1929, and is still dead. One of the most influential pre-World War II aquarists was William T. Inners. Inners was half English, half Irish, and half Scotch, but he mostly drank the latter. Inners lived in Philadelphia, the home of Benjamin Franklin, who in the early days of the American hobby discovered electricity by rubbing together two electric eels, one positive the other negative. (It is mistakenly thought that Franklin invented electricity "while flying a kite" but this was a transcription error, and as it is well known that he liked his ale, it should have read, "while high as a kite.") Inners was a printer, often typecasting most of the well-known aquarists of his day. The Neon tetra, Hyphenated Innersi, is named after him. Inners was one of the earliest photographers of tropical fish, his most famous being of a Glue Bularis, which, unfortunately, stuck to his lens. He published a very popular magazine called "The Aquarium," but it was hard to read because of all the watermarks. Inners was also a prolific writer, his most famous book being "Erotic Aquarium Fishes," containing innovative ideas such as mentholated breath mints for Firemouth cichlids, Docksiders for Walking catfish, tarnish removers for Silver Dollars, turn signals for Head-and-Tail-Light tetras housed in very short tanks, tiny pliers for removing the thorns from Rosy Barbs, and small waterproof microphones for Talking Catfish wanting to break into show business. After his death in 1969, however, he wrote very little.

June 2004

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


A Memoir Of My Early Days In The Hobby by JOSEPH FERDENZI

y serious involvement in the tropical fish where we lived — Coral Gables Pet Shop on hobby began at the very non-serious age Junction Boulevard (just north of 37th Avenue) in of about 12. It was during the 1965-66 Jackson Heights (Queens). At that time, I had no academic year (sixth grade) at Our Lady of idea that "Coral Gables" was a city in Florida — I Sorrows (that is not a made-up name) Grammar thought it was just a reference to a fish house made School that I made friends with Michael Graziano, of coral. who was to become a lifelong influence and friend. After buying the tank and glass You see, Mike not only went to school thermometer (no filter, as I didn't have enough with me, but he lived up the block from me. So, money for that), I carried the tank home and filled naturally, we would spend a lot of time in each it with water. From Mike, I learned that I had to other's homes. Well, Mike had his own room, and wait a while before I put any fish in it. In the his parents let him keep five (!) tanks in it (the meantime, he and I enthusiastically discussed what largest of which I now know to be called fish I would buy for my new aquarium. Of course, "20 gallon Highs" — he had two of these). Now, this tank was of the then common stainless steel you have to imagine what it was like for a kid like frame with slate bottom variety. Therefore, even me to see this. To begin with, I lived in a three without gravel, it didn't look so bad to me because room basement apartment where my "bedroom" of the natural slate bottom. consisted of a convertible couch in the livin groom. My first tropical fish purchases were a The bathroom was in a common hallway outside pair of Zebra Danios (very inexpensive) and a pair the apartment. Therefore, M i k e ' s of Neons (slightly more expensive). Frankly, I bedroom/fishroom seemed don't remember much about what I did with them, how long very impressive to me — mliR^:r- ;f^lP>-S soon, I too wanted fish tanks (I they lived, and so forth. I have knew that having my own a vague recollection of thinking room was out of the question). they were just very pretty. When I told my Soon thereafter, I found a "10 parents that I wanted a fish gallon Long" that someone had tank, they sort of indulged me placed next to their garbage like so many parents who cans. Wow! I found a spot for simply sigh and regard it as this in the hallway, and I bought another passing fancy that they some more Zebras. have to temporarily put up By then, my interest with. However, my mother was pretty much established. laid down one rule: "no tanks Mike and I would regularly in the apartment." If I could | walk to Coral Gables to look at find space in the common the fish, buy live food, and an hallway, and the landlady occasional magazine. Because didn't object, I could keep a of the ads in these magazines fish tank or two. (Tropical Fish Hobbyist and I scouted the hallway The Aquarium), we learned of and concluded that there was the Aquarium Stock Company space for at least one small in lower Manhattan. On some tank. While I remember that Saturdays, we would take the Exotic Aquarium Fishes 19th Edition hallway as though it were only Revised, the "yellow Metaframe edition" subway there. What a place! It yesterday, I no longer recall was "Fish Heaven" — a store a exactly where I found the space for that first tank. whole block long, stocked with everything a But, suffice it to say that I was very happy to be budding aquarist could want. able to join Mike as a fishkeeper. We went other places as well. You see, Somehow, I saved up enough money to Mike's parents, who were (are) very kind and enable me to buy a 5 1/2 gallon tank — that was lovely people, would take Mike and me (they also the largest I could afford. The next stop would be had a car!) to various other aquarium venues. I the only pet shop within easy walking distance of remember going to the Saxon Plastics


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

June 2004

manufacturing plant just off of Canal Street. This area apparently had a bevy of places that specialized in plastics, and Saxon further specialized in making aquarium products such as filters, feeding rings, breeding traps, etc. In those days, they would sell retail to people who could find their plant. I also recall going to other small, dank, and dimly lit aquarium stores. Ah, I fondly remember the "smell" and "look" of those places, but, with the exception of the Nassau Pet Shop on Nassau Street (which was a short walk from the Aquarium Stock Company on Murray Street), I can't remember the names of any of them. The Nassau Pet Shop was the place famous for having a tank in the window which had a sign on it that boasted something to the effect that that particular aquarium had been set up since 1953 (or some such long-ago year) and had never had a water change! Back then, it was your claim to fame if you could achieve the mythical "balanced" aquarium in which fish and plants could live in perpetual harmony with nary a further effort on the part of its owner. The other thing Nassau Pet Shop was known for was its cheap prices for fish. Unlike the Aquarium Stock Company, Nassau's tanks were unadorned — no gravel, plants, or ornaments — just fish. They didn't have as wide a selection as Aquarium Stock, but they usually had all of the more popular species. By now, my interest in the hobby was fairly well fixed, but two other events cemented it. The first was a gift from Mike (although, knowing how generous his parents are, they were probably the ones who paid for it) on the occasion of my 14th birthday (or it could have been a Christmas present — it doesn't matter which, because I was born on Christmas Day!) of a copy of William T. Innes's classic book, Exotic Aquarium Fishes (it was the 19th Edition Revised, the so-called "yellow Metaframe edition" — I still have it). Well, before long, I Back of the had read it from cover to cover. Then, I reread it. I reread it again! Then I practically memorized all of the fish "biographies." Incidentally, it was this book that first gave rise to my lifelong interest in killifish. Upon seeing Dr. Innes's color photo of a Blue Gularis, I became entranced over the fact that such a beautiful and


exotic fish could exist, and be available to a hobbyist like me. Dr. Innes became one of my "idols," and I have been an avid aquarium book reader ever since. The second eventful moment came about at around the same time that I received the Innes book. It was then that I chanced to come across an article in The Aquarium magazine entitled, "The History of the Aquarium Hobby in America." Its author was one Albert J. Klee. I was fascinated by it. It turned out that this article was just an installment of a history that was being serialized in the pages of The Aquarium (the venerable magazine that was founded by Dr. Innes, who had by then retired; its then current Editor was none other than Klee himself). It was that series of articles that gave me an appreciation of the other facet of the aquarium hobby that would later play such an important role in my life — that of the so-called "organized hobby," the clubs and the people behind the hobby. Al Klee joined my pantheon of "idols" on the basis of that series of articles. In the ensuing years, I continued to maintain aquariums wherever I lived. In fact, I cannot remember a time period when I did not maintain at least one aquarium. Of course, even after we moved to a "spacious" four-room apartment, I was not allowed to keep fish tanks in the apartment, and I always had to find space in either the common hallway or the basement. It was not until I got married and had my own apartment that I ever owned anything larger than a ten gallon tank. When I did get my own apartment (which had a spare bedroom), the first thing I did was go out and buy a 55 gallon aquarium. Boy, was I pleased with that! Eventually, I placed four smaller aquariums in this extra room. I had finally achieved something resembling Mike's old bedroom. A couple of years Innes book later, we bought a house with a large basement. Yes, a large basement that eventually came to be home to 80 (yeah, 80) aquariums, the largest of which was 125 gallons. A few years after buying the house, I joined Greater City and — well, you know how the saying goes — "the rest is history!"

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

Oil, The The history of the Aquarium Hobby as I have seen it for over 40 years by RAY "KINGFISH" LUCAS s a youngster, I shopped at a "Mom & Pop" pet shop in Buffalo, New York. As I became older, and aware of the business end of the hobby, I watched and waited to see where everyone would land. I saw changes to the "old companies" like Tetra, San Francisco Bay Brand, O'Dell, Metaframe, Hartz Mountain, Wardleys, Penn Plax, and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. During this same period, I noted that aquarium societies were also undergoing many changes. I have called this a "roller coaster" effect for a long time. Magazines got better. Tropical Fish Hobbyist ("TFH") was the leader with Dr. Herbert Axelrod in charge. Freshwater And Marine Aquarium ("FAMA") appeared in the mid 1970s with Editor Don Dewey. And in the 90s Aquarium Fish Magazine ("AFM") appeared. All of these magazines are still going today, but they remain very basic magazines, in that all they seem to want are articles for beginners. But, for a number of advanced hobbyists, these magazines just exist, but do not add much to their knowledge. Thank God that the fish change, with new species and color strains "wowing" people. With these changes come a need to pass along the way the hobbyists have been getting these fish to breed, and passing along these fish to fellow aquarium society members. Thank God also for national societies like the American Cichlid Association ("ACA") and the Federation of American Aquarium Societies ("FAAS") that help advance the causes of species maintenance, and the passing along of information. In the 70s, the aquarium societies were on a downhill ride. Clubs were folding because of many reasons: boredom, not enough volunteers, personality conflicts, and the economy was also not too good. The pet industry was still growing strong. Metaframe/Longlife was bought out, and names changed. O'Dell became part of Perfecto; Mardel Labs was coming on strong; Aquarian Flake Foods entered the U.S. market and made everyone stand up and listen about true nutrition values. All Glass Aquariums were making a mark for themselves selling tanks, and the Hagen Company was also coming on strong, both in the U.S. and Canada. On the store front at this time, Mom & Pop shops were still strong. The Dr. X chain of


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

stores died out, but Petland was still growing. Now in the 80s up comes PetCo. Then, in the early 90s, PetsMart and Pet Supplies Plus came into being. The mail order shops still survive. That Fish Place is still growing more every year. Drs. Foster & Smith purchased Pets Warehouse and Wet Thumb Aquatics. Today, in the 21st century, we now have the concept of computer shopping "online." Everyone is doing it. So, the large chain stores, mail order houses, and even local pet shops and hobbyists are buying and selling online. Don't forget AquaBid (http://www.aquabid.com/) for online auctions for hobbyists. Club Publications have gone from the mimeograph machines to the Gesteners (very sophisticated mimeographs), and now computers. Some have progressed from front covers in black and white, to full color, from simple drawings to full color pictures! Wow, where will we go next? Another part of clubs that has changed is shows. They used to be a weekend-long event. Now, they are most often just a one day show and auction. More clubs are doing auctions, instead of shows, because of the amount of work involved. I have even witnessed something new called "swap meets." It takes money to keep clubs running these days, with expenses including meeting room rental, insurance, publications, speakers, etc. Why not just do an auction or a swap meet? The cost of speakers is also rising. Manufacturer's speaker programs are all but gone. Big name hobbyists cost a lot, and even local hobbyists who speak deserve to have their expenses covered. When doing a show, it also costs money for the judges. Many clubs forget this fact. Today, many hobbyists from the "old school" still attend a lot of meetings and shows. Much of the future of the hobby depends on the knowledge these hobbyists have. So, respect them; and learn from them. If aquarium societies are to survive in the future, get young people involved. KIDS: talk to them, not down at them. When new faces attend meetings, shows, or auctions, greet them with friendship and kindness. And remember: Fish, Food, Fun, and Friends!

June 2004


What's It All About, Alfie? (Dedicated to the memory of Ray Albanese) by RICHARD LEVY n the 1980s Ray Albanese and I belonged to the NCAS (Nassau County Aquarium Society), and we were hosting our yearly convention at a Long Island mall. I had brought two of my inner city students, who loved tropical fish, and Ray took it upon himself to make them comfortable with his generous contributions of time and fish. Years later, in 1994, Ray wrote about this in a college term paper. It was entitled "What's It All About, Alfie? (An Interview With a New York City High School Teacher)." That teacher was me. It described the challenges the school system faced in a changing social environment, and how I, as an individual, as well as the curriculum as a whole, was meeting these challenges. It concluded with these words: "The interview was a good learning experience for me. Rich alleviated some of my concerns about becoming a teacher, and made me anxious to get started. New York City is fortunate to have such a motivated and motivating teacher in its system like Rich. I am fortunate to have him as a friend." Ray's passing reminds me to try to continue his legacy of helping to help keep our hobby available to our youth. That's what it is all about. What can we "old codgers" do to pass this passion on to the next generation? Throughout my years as a teacher of science, especially biology, I realized the value of my fish hobbyist friends. Whereas most teachers would only have their students read about brine shrimp, rotifers, daphnia, planaria, hydra, microworms, salamanders, frogs, and the eggs of killifish, we used them in the classroom. I really learned about these things, not from college, but out in the field with my fish hobbyist friends. I have learned that the best way to teach and learn science is to have these materials in your classroom, incorporating them into the curriculum. One summer, while I was still teaching, I served as a teacher trainer at LaGuardia College on how to do "hands-on, minds-on" science. Ten teachers, working with twenty students each, received the materials to continue using a ten gallon fish tank in their classroom. Every Friday the entire staff was bused out to Caumsett State Park for a field experience. Watching some of my friends, like Harry Faustmann and Bill Adams, show them how to seine, collect, and observe organisms, stuck with me. I hoped I could do more of this. Although I had been working as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College at night for six years, I never knew that a former professor



of mine had a 2.5 million dollar facility for marine and environmental science. Distinguished Professor Dr. Martin P. Schreibman (known for having sent swordtails into space) took me on as a volunteer, allowing me to set up five guppy tanks. We now have over 50, along with many more swordtail and platy setups that were already in place. Along with doctoral student Chester Zarnoch, who also does the "College Now" program, we serve as consultants to teachers and students at PS 225 in Queens. If I can reach ten teachers a year, and each of them works with 150 students, well, we need Ray again, as he also taught math. Doug Patac is a young teacher who has done a wonderful job of incorporating the aquatics theme into his teaching. He reached out to the fish community, and received many donations to add to the materials he had been able to come up with. The basic theme we use in the classroom is called "The Balanced Aquarium." I am including a sample paper done by two student teachers attending a class entitled "Urban Marine Environmental Sciences," which was run by Dr. Schreibman and Chester Zarnock, in which I assisted. The students were Marji Parker and Katherine Soverall. [Graphs, charts and tables are omitted for this article.] Balanced Freshwater Aquaria Laboratory Activity This project is a collaborative effort, with both participants having undertaken equal responsibility for completion of the work. Purpose To create a balanced environment in which two guppies (Poecilia reticulatd), a male and a female, can survive and reproduce. Hypothesis We predict that our guppies will be healthy and reproduce if maintained under the following conditions: • Proper aeration (oxygenation) of the water through circulation, • pH maintained between 6 and 7. This will be accomplished by adding a carbonate releasing clamshell to the tank. • The prevention of ammonia and nitrate buildup in the water. This can be accomplished through the use of water-filtering snails and by not overfeeding the fish. • The presence of Java Moss (Vesicularia

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

dubyana) that will provide the guppies with a • Once the plant was added to the system, the pH of the water increased from 5 to 6 during week 1. suitable site for the deposition and development of In all subsequent weeks, the pH remained at 6. fiy. • Lastly, no guppy offspring were observed during • Water temperature kept at 75 degrees F. This the three-week study. will provide ideal conditions for spawning. • One mature male guppy and one mature female Conclusions and Applications guppy. Aquarium Health We conclude that our balanced aquarium Materials remained healthy for the duration of our 2!/2 gallon aquarium experiment for the following reasons: 2 cups of gravel • fish did not come to the surface of the water to 2 Guppies, Poecilia reticulata (1 male, 1 female) get oxygen, indicating that there was sufficient 02 5 Snails throughout the aquarium. Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) Plant • there was no observable algae growth, indicating Clam Shell that the lighting was adequate; there was no nutrient deficiency; the pH level of the water was Procedure stable; and there was no overproduction of 1. Work in two groups, A and B, and in pairs nitrogen, in the forms of nitrates and ammonia. within the groups. These critical variables: light, food, and nitrate 2. Fill tanks with aged water to the bottom of the buildup were monitored by AREAC laboratory label on the tank. technicians. 3. Record temperature of the water. Organism Growth 4. Cover bottom of the tank with a thin layer of Fluctuations in fish and snail weights gravel (approximately 4 scoops). could be due to the fact that different balances 5. Choose one female and one male fish per tank. were used on each day and for each specimen. A 6. Lightly anesthetize, gently blot and record possible cause for the weight gain observed in the weight of each fish to nearest 1/10 of a gram. Add female guppy is "pregnancy." to the aquarium. Although total snail weight was observed 7. Measure the fish to the nearest mm. to be greater in week 3, this may not be due to 8. Select five small to medium snails. Record growth. There were 5 snail shells in week 2 (one weight and add to the aquarium. of which was dead and disintegrating) and only 4 9. Obtain a small clump of green aquatic plant shells in week 3. Yet, the total weight of all snails about the size of a golf ball. Record the weight still increased by 3% between weeks 2 and 3. and spread out in the aquarium. There were inconsistencies in the measurement of 10. Put lid on aquarium. the specimens. Therefore, the gain or loss of 11. Complete label in pencil as follows: weight in fish, snails and plants cannot be Name offish conclusively explained. Number of fish Guppy growth, in terms of length and Gender of fish weight, did not seem to be contingent upon pH or Date tank was set up water temperature. As shown on the data tables Group participants' names and graphs, guppy growth increased and decreased, Observation while pH remained constant. Similarly, as water During our observations, the following temperature steadily increased, guppy growth first trends were noticed: decreased then increased. • The male guppy's weight decreased by 50% There was one notable trend when guppy between weeks 1 and 2, and then increased by 70% and snail weights were compared. Male guppy and by week three. snail weights both decreased by 50% and 36% • There was no change in weight for the female respectively, between weeks 1 and 2. Male and guppy between weeks 1 and 2. The female guppy's female guppies and snails experienced weight weight increased by 40% between weeks 2 and 3. increases of 70%, 40%, and 3% respectively, • The only change in guppy length was observed between weeks 2 and 3. Although increased in the male; his length increased by 4% between feeding could have affected this growth pattern, it weeks 1 and 2. was a factor over which we did not have control. • The weight of all snails decreased by 36% A possible cause for this pattern of organism between weeks 1 and 2. However, it increased by weight loss and gain is that they were adjusting to 3% between weeks 2 and 3. On the other hand, the their new environment in the first two weeks of the plant weight increased by 19% during weeks 1 and study. 2, but decreased by 12% between weeks 2 and 3. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

June 2004


Lack of reproduction among the guppies is possibly due to presence of one mature male and one immature female. Another possible explanation is that the optimum temperature for spawning was not maintained. Further research in this area is needed. Application Ideas: The balanced aquarium project is an excellent hands-on activity that would be useful in my classroom. I can teach physical science concepts as well as review life sciences concepts using the aquarium. • At the beginning of the year, I can assist student cooperative learning groups with setting up their own balanced aquarium in the classroom. Through discussion, the students will generate lots of questions that can be explored through research and experimentation. • Exploration and experimentation leads into teaching the Scientific Method. Students will learn how to design and carry out experiments following the Scientific Method. •My entering seventh graders will benefit from the aquarium project at the beginning of the year because it will provide a review of 6th grade Life Science concepts such as: biodiversity, classification, taxonomy, anatomy and physiology of vertebrates and invertebrates , ecosystem, food web and microscope use, and microorganisms. • The aquarium project will introduce students to Physical Science concepts such as elements, compounds, water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), temperature, volume, and displacement.

• Throughout the school year, constant maintenance and monitoring of the aquarium will lead to study of further Physical Science concepts, such as buoyancy, the law of motion (guppy locomotion), physical and chemical changes, i.e. evaporation and chemical reactions. Motivating students is critical and challenging. An ongoing research project, such as the aquarium, will spark and keep students interest throughout the year. They will gain an appreciation for long-term scientific study, as well as appreciate the complexity of the natural environment in which they live. Throughout 33 years in the New York City school system, I was able to reach many students. Now that I am "retired," I think I can reach more. Even if you are not a teacher, there are many ways you can do your part, if you are willing to give some of your time. Encourage younger members to come with their parents to aquarium club meetings. Assist any teachers in your club by volunteering to share your knowledge and materials. I can't think of any nicer way for us as a club to honor Ray's memory than for each of us to contribute two ways we can attract or keep the youth in the fishkeeping hobby. If we each give Claudia two ways in writing, our total list should be quite impressive and useful. Editor's Note: This article is being published on the one year anniversary of the death of Ray Albanese.

Focus on our Youth By: Claudia Dickinson April's issue of Modern Aquarium was devoted to a "Beginner's " theme, the May issue's focus was on "Conservation and Endangered Species, " and this June issue is centered around the "History of our Aquarium Hobby." As diverse individuals, we share a common bond through the warmth and camaraderie of our fellowship, and the passion of our fish and our hobby. As we step back and take a look at the Grander scheme, certainly we wish for all of the joys and wonderment of our friendships, our fish and new discoveries to continue on for many years to come, and for those who follow in our footsteps to have the opportunity to enjoy that which we treasure today. The "Beginner's" are waiting eagerly in our young people, as we work towards "Conserving" for them, that which we have had the good fortune of appreciating ourselves. There will be those who care just as deeply tomorrow as we do today, to emulate us and have the desire to delve into these issues many years from now in search of the "History of our Aquarium Hobby, " as they carry on our rich tradition of fish and friendships. For tonight's Door Prize Entry, please take a moment to write down on the form provided on your seat, two ways that we can contribute as a society, and/or as individuals, to attract and preserve our young people in the fishkeeping hobby. Thank you!!! You are the best!!! Claudia


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



quarian Minds Want * To Know .. Âť 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 offish or plant and with every new spawn, our insatiable inquisitiveness only grows and flourishes without bounds on this, the journey of our hobby. CD. This month's theme of The History of the Aquarium Hobby brings up so many questions where did it all begin and who were the pioneers who led the way? How did we and our fishes get to where we are today? As we begin to understand the answers to these and many more questions, we will then know in what direction that we are going, and how best to proceed for the preservation of all for the future It is with deep gratitude that I welcome two aquarists who are very dear to me personally, and truly a treasure to our hobby as whole. Wayne Leibel and Lee Finley have so generously taken their time and made the effort to share their vast knowledge on this subject of the history of our hobby with the GCAS, and for this we warmly thank them!

"Who was William T. Innes, and what was his influence on the aquarium hobby as we know it today?"

William T. Innes was the son of a long line of Philadelphia printers, distantly related to Benjamin Franklin. He was a photography hobbyist who attended a meeting of a goldfish •^. society in Philly at the urging of a friend, and the rest is history. He printed the first edition of a goldfish book authored by Herman Wolf in 1908, secretary of the Philadelphia Goldfish Club, which was really an expansion of several roundtable discussions at that fish club. When Wolf did not want to write a second edition of the book (the first printing was only 1 000 copies and ran out), Innes himself revised it as Goldfish Varieties and Tropical Aquarium Fishes. He later authored the classic Exotic Tropical Fishes (1935) and published his seminal magazine The Aquarium from 1932 - 1960s, as well as Goldfish Breeds and other Aquarium Fishes: A Guide to Freshwater and Marine Aquaria, Their Fauna, Flora and Management (1908), by Herman T. Wolf. This book had 385 pages, 15 chapters, and 280 beautifully illustrated drawings. Only 1,000 copies were printed. This book was written from detailed notes taken at meetings of The Aquarium Society of Philadelphia (founded in 1898) in 1900. Published by Innes & Sons, Philadelphia, PA, this book was handset and printed by the famous Innes Jr. It covers most of the aspects of this hobby that was known at that time. It also formed the basis for Innes' books, published at a later date.

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

June 2004


"Before the first heater, how was the correct temperature maintained or acquired in the fish tank?"

TheY had heaters, just oil burning lamps put under the cast iron bases of early tanks. Electrical heaters really were not popular until the late 1920s and early 1930s, when aeration via pumps •5^. also became popular. Until then, people either located tanks near radiators, heated with gerry-rigged devices, or kept cold water fish like goldfish.

Âť "When was the first tank heater introduced to the hobby?"

Innes (1917) has pictures of 'heaters' dating back to the 1910s, and earlier.

Wayne and Lee, in vintage costumes, pose next to an antique pedestal "Fiske" aquarium

Wayne Liebel (left) A lifetime passion for fishkeeping has spanned the aquatic horizon for Wayne Leibel, earning him the respected role as a world-renowned leader and authority on both the scientific and hobbyist levels of the aquarium echelon. Authoring several books and over 150 articles, Wayne currently treats us to his Tropical Fish Hobbyist monthly column, "Cichlidophiles. " He is a Fellow and Board member of the American Cichlid Association. Maintaining over 2000 gallons of aquariums, housing a wide variety of species, Wayne's focus is on New World Cichlids. Wayne has a keen interest in the history of the aquarium hobby. His collection of antique aquariums, bowls, books, literature and other artifacts is that of a museum, and rivaled by few. Breeder, collector, author, judge, Wayne is a gem to the aquarium hobby and all who know him!

Lee Finley (right) His interests in the aquarium hobby spanning over 30 years, Lee Finley has earned the prestige and respect of hobbyists worldwide. An internationally recognized authority on catfish, Lee has written extensively on this and other aquarium-related subjects in Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Aquarium Fish Magazine as well as many other publications and journals. His travels to Peru and Brazil to observe and collect specimens have brought Lee first-hand knowledge and understanding of his subject, which he is always glad to share with fellow enthusiasts. Lee's extensive studies and mastery of the 19th century history of the aquarium hobby have earned him tremendous admiration as a leading authority on this subject, for which he is a highly sought-after speaker. His expansive literary collection and talents at locating extremely rare and hard-to-find books, as well as vintage postcards and hand-colored lithographs bring collectors from far and wide to "Finley Aquatic Books," (http://finleyaquaticbooks.com/), which Lee owns and operates in Pascoag, R.I. Lee's collections go far beyond his exceptional books in the way of uncommon and remarkable aquarium memorabilia. Author, collector, catfish expert, breeder, judge and a wonderful individual, Lee is a genuine treasure to the aquarium world!


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

FOUR QUESTIONS By Lee Finley "There are no short answers, only short questions" (Finley, 2004). My thanks are offered to GCAS, through their representative Claudia Dickinson, to be able to comment on a few provided questions relating to various aspects of aquarium history. The questions that were given to me were quite thoughtful, and each is easily worthy of a full-length article (or more!).. .but that was not my assignment. So, I have tried, often through snippets, to provide some reasonable (and short) answers to the questions. Hopefully they will provide you a little, slightly opened, window into some interesting history areas.

=Jj "What were aquarium fish fed before flakes and pellets were invented?"

In regards to this question, I can do no better than to offer the following section from Henry D. Butler's 1858 book "The Family Aquarium" one of the first two aquarium books written in the •5^. U.S. (In relation to the question, think "pellet" when you read "pill." What goes around, comes around! Also, I should note that "flake style" foods for goldfish, consisting of flour and hardboiled egg yolks, were produced in the U.S. as early as 1833). ^^

"FEEDING THE FISH." "Before we leave this portion of our subject, it may be as well to indulge in a few remarks relative to supplying the fish with food, now that we are supposed to have gotten them, with the plants and mollusca, into the Aquarium. The spawn of the mollusca serve in a measure, it is true, to furnish the daily table of our favorites, and, in peculiar circumstances, this might be enough to satisfy their hunger. But, we desire to do more than this. It is our wish to render them plump and hearty; to bestow on them all the beauty of shape and brilliancy of coloring, of which they are susceptible. To effect this, they must be made happy and contented; they must be so well fed as to make life an enjoyment to them; their wants and necessities must be so anticipated as to rob them of all disposition to forage upon each other, or thin themselves in their endeavors to hunt up a banquet. In short, they must be fed, and fed daily; but never with biscuit or bread, both of which are always perilous to their health, and never nutritious. Common red worms, cut up small, form the best food for them. As an occasional change, you may give them well-scoured gentles [Note from LF: An 1854 dictionary at hand defines this term as fly maggots] and millet seeds. The worms are best, at any time, for small fish, and may be easily kept through the winter, by placing them in a small box filled with earth, and keeping the box in some spot where it cannot be reached by frost. Pieces of dried beef, divided into minute fragments, will do as a substitute sometimes for the worms. A little flour, mixed up into paste, and made into pills, is relished by all kinds of fish. About a pill to each fish is sufficient. In spawning time, a few of the brewer's fresh ale-grains are given in England, and might answer here. But care must be taken not to kill with kindness. They must be fed sparingly, and whatever is not eaten must be removed, to avoid the unpleasantness of its decomposition."

"How were the water values checked before present day testing methods?"

The development and evolution of water testing is a topic worthy a book length treatment. In that my personal aquarium history interests lie in the nineteenth century, I will take you back •^L close to the beginning and look at what was commercially available for early aquarists wishing to test their water in 1858. (Of course, those of a more scientific leaning might seek out various modes of chemical water testing that were available at the time, but not generally obtainable through aquarium supply dealers.)

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

June 2004


1. Hydrometer (or Specific-Gravity Balls). 2. Floating Thermometer. Pretty simple, actually.. .and all of the water testing supplies that were included in a 128 page catalog.

=ij "When were fish aquariums introduced as a means of therapy in the medical field?"

Comments regarding the potential therapeutic value of aquaria are not uncommon in the early literature. Some of these comments might be considered as casual observational thoughts, •^^••^ although this in no way lessened their potential impact. But, observations of this nature were also made by influential persons and these most likely had a positive influence on the adoption of aquaria as a means of "therapy." Sarah Willis (writing under the pen name Fanny Fern) was a prolific New York City writer. From the early 1850's to the early 1870's Willis produced numerous regular newspaper columns, novels and children's books. Much of her work dealt with the concerns and issues important to ordinary women of the time. In October of 1857, after visiting the newly opened "Aquaria" at the [Barnum's] American Museum, Willis (using the Fanny Fern pen name), wrote a letter (which was published on the front page of the New York Times) to John Greenwood, Jr. and Henry D. Butler (the then "owners" of the museum) expressing her pleasure regarding the "...most wonderful, instructive and delightful of novelties." In relation to our topic here, the following comments in her letter are of interest (I have compressed the piece somewhat to emphasize the topic): "To the invalid, whose eyes may not rove beyond his chamber walls.. .it must be a ceaseless joy." Well known aquarists also realized the value of aquaria as useful tools for the sick. John Ellor Taylor, a popular and prolific English writer and Editor, provided the following in his book "The Aquarium - Its Inhabitants, Structure And Management" (1876): "Fresh-water aquaria especially, may be arranged so as to add to the usual cheerful aspect of our English homes. The sight of the moving objects, and of the green water-plants covering and shooting above the surface of the water is undoubtedly cheering. Invalids, or people of sedentary habits, who are much confined within doors, might find comfort and enjoyment from keeping an aquarium. The antics of its little inhabitants, and the little care required to keep this miniature world in a healthy condition, will draw off their attention from many an hour of suffering, or care, and unconsciously develop a love for God's creatures."

"For those interested in collecting antique aquarium ephemera, what are the best resources for them to begin this facet of the hobby?"

Shoe leather and tire rubber! Seriously, there is a lot of traveling and looking needed to find and build a collection of various ephemeral objects (be they paper or otherwise) related to the •i^*"^. aquarium hobby. Be they used book stores, antique markets, book fairs or whatever, you need to travel and look to find good items. It is time intensive, but fun.. .and can provide surprises to make your day (or week, or year). Did I mention the internet? In this way, to quote an old ad, "Let your fingers do the walking." Certainly, the impact of auction sites such as eBay cannot be overestimated as an area of procurement for various ghosts of aquariums past. (Just don't go crazy.. .and don't bid against me.)


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

GCAS a to

ALBERT J. KLEE Speaking On: 'The Aquarium Hobby and the Primrose Path " Text reprinted with the generous permission of Al Klee from the introduction in his book The Toy Fish - A History of the Aquarium Hobby in America - The First One-Hundred Years r. Albert J. Klee has a diverse educational background, holding five American university degrees including Engineering, Business, Mathematics, Modern Languages, and Computer Sciences, as well as a diploma from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where he studied Hispanic art and culture.


Al has traveled to 37 foreign countries and reads and translates nine languages. He has collected reptiles, fishes, birds, insects, and mammals from South and Central America for the Cincinnati and Detroit Zoos, and has discovered several new species of fishes and a new genus of cichlids (Apistogrammoides). He has also served as a consultant to the Fleischman Aquarium at the Cincinnati Zoo. He is an Honorary Member of many aquarium associations and societies and has written hundreds of articles on fishes, both popular and scientific. He has been an Associate Editor of the AQUARIUM JOURNAL, Contributing Editor of TROPICALS MAGAZINE, Contributing Editor of the Swedish aquarium magazine, AKVARIET, Editor of THE AQUARIST' S NOTEBOOK, Editor and Publisher of AQUARIUM ILLUSTRATED, and Editor of THE AQUARIUM magazine. His articles, some of which are indexed in the ZOOLOGICAL RECORD, have been translated into many foreign languages and published in journals all over the world. Al's writings have not been all serious, however. In 1961 the San Francisco Aquarium Society published a book of his humorous aquarium columns and cartoons called 'The Finny Bone!" Al is, along with Robert Criger, a founder of the American Killifish Association, and is responsible for use of the term, "killifish," used throughout the aquarium world today. He was the first Chairman Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

of the AKA's Board of Trustees and its first Fellow. He was author of the original AKA By-Laws, the first Editor of THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN KILLIFISH ASSOCIATION (JAKA), and the first Editor of its KILLIFISH INDEX. His interest in fishes is diverse, and Dick Stratton credits him with the idea of first establishing a national cichlid association, although he had to leave it to others as he was just starting up the AQUARIUM ILLUSTRATED magazine. He has photographed animals, people, landscapes, and historic sites all over the world and is one of the Cincinnati area's noted nature and travel photographers. Al is a frequent contributor to the JOURNAL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA and has won numerous awards for his editorial contributions. Braz Walker, one of the aquarium hobby's "greats" once commented: "There is a rare breed of individual who can hardly maintain an interest without an intense drive toward mastery of the subject at hand. One such individual is at the same time a warm and sharing human being with linguistic capability in a number of tongues useful in the scientific pursuit of his chosen laity, plus a tremendous storehouse of related technical and practical knowledge with a spring-trap mental key for withdrawing the knowledge for scriptic or oral presentation. Because of a facility for presenting ordinarily indigestible material in a completely palatable way, it was perhaps inevitable that Albert J. Klee would one day be willingly drafted into the professional service of his non-professional ichthyological and. aquaristic peers. "He is university teacher, explorer, discoverer, researcher, scientist, author, adventurer, husband

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and father, but most of all he is a naturalist who loves nature equally as well as the knowledge of it. His affinity with nature is evident in his written word and in his chosen epitaph, 'Knowing that Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.' 11 There are perhaps few persons, certainly within our aquatic field, who more thoroughly research and analyze material before signing their names to it than Albert J. Klee. Truth and accuracy are of prime importance to him, and he is quick to see issues developing and to comment on them editorially. His literary resources, many of which are retained in his head, are of such that few aquatic inquiries cannot be answered no matter how obscure. His is the education of conviction and assurance, for he is one of the rare experts who finds no difficulty in saying that he does not know if indeed this does occur. It seldom does, but if it should he can probably find the answer in short order.


"If you have never met Al Klee, you indeed have an experience in store for you. Frankly, he's one of myfavorite people in the hobby - he's like meeting an IBM machine with a sense of humor. He is also the only person that I could sit through the same speech within a two week period of time and not try desperately to find any old opportunity to go out and powder my nose, hide under the tablecloth, or seek an opportunity for a short beer on the second go around. In short, this boy is a fabulous personality." Finally, one of our most distinguished aquarists, noted fish farm entrepreneur, and discoverer of new fish species in the jungles of Central America, Ross B. Socolof, wrote: "When the history of the aquarium hobby in America is brought up to date, his name and accomplishments will probably shine brightest. He is one of the most accomplished aquarists of all time."

"Knowing that Nature never did betray The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, Through all the years of this our life, to lead From joy to joy: for she can so inform The mind that is within us, so impress With quietness and beauty, and so feed With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Rash judgements, nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold Is full of blessings."


Revised it Expanded Edition

"Many to whom near perfection in their field comes easily lack patience and tolerance with those for whom the plodding is a bit more soggy. To be a 'stickler for minutiae, to quote his own words in a personal letter of a few years back, Al has at the same time helped plenty of little old ladies across the street with their attempts at literalizing, and at least one medium sized, not-too-old man."


Diane Schofield, noted aquarist and writer, provided this observation:

It has been through Al Klee that I have come to discover the true sense and beauty of this poem written by William Wordsworth on July 13th, 1798. I feel quite certain that upon the completion of this evening's program that you too shall know a deeper truth of those poetic words written so many years ago What a tremendous honor and privilege it is for us this evening to share the company of such a legend of the aquarium hobby. It is with great warmth and deep pride that we welcome Al Klee as he presents us with "The Aquarium Hobby and the Primrose Path."

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econd Reprints deserving a second look art of the history of the aquarium hobby are clubs that are no longer in existence. One such club, the Bronx Aquarium Society (founded in 1952), still "lives" in the memories of some of its former members. One of those members, Horst Gerber, is now a Greater City member. Horst has given his permission for Modern Aquarium to reprint the 30 year old article below, which originally appeared in the April 1974 issue of the Bronx Aquarium Society's publication, Of Fins And Things. Does anyone remember the Greenville Aquarium Society of Jersey City, NJ, the Exotic Aquarium Society of Lodi, NJ, or the Elm City Aquarium Society of Hamden, Conn.? They are all named on the list of "local society meetings" in this issue. By the way, the editor, John Hopkins, had a sense of humor. In his plea for typists, writers, artists, etc., he says "... Pay is open. Hours: make your own. We are an equal opportunity publishing outfit, you can do as much work as you want." The cover art was drawn by Eveline Ferrara, who was president of the organization at that time.


Spawning the Golden Severum by HORST GERBER A year ago, a | friend gave me six j three-month-old I severums, which were tank spawned. Out of || the silver dollar-sized fish in my bare j 50-gallon homemade | tank came six 6 inch poor men's discus. | Lately, I began noticing some heavy | activity between them. [ They started pushing and pulling each other j around by locking jaws in a cichlid-type fashion. This tug-of-war is a preliminary courtship wrestling game used to test each other's strength. (By having | several adult fish in a tank you will have given them a chance at a "natural selection.") So, I started to feed them heavily with liver paste, earthworms, and frozen brine shrimp in order to induce spawning. Soon after this, they started to clean the glass in the front corner of the left side of the aquarium. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

In checking with my friend about their spawning behavior, I was told that they probably wouldn't breed until they were approximately two years of age. He explained that this was the time when his fish first started to breed in his 125 gallon tank. But, against regulations (according to some books, they are not supposed to spawn before 18 months of age), they just kept on cleaning the glass in the left corner of the tank. I then introduced (in an effort to entice PUBUSHED BY them further) thirty AOJARW SOCIETY 1C. ^^ i pounds of gravel and some slate, which I stood on an angle in the left-hand corner where they had been housekeeping. After I introduced the slate, they decided to change bedrooms (corners). Four fish prepared the new bridal chamber (now the rear corner - left side of tank), and paid no attention to the slate.

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Two fish then started to pair off; and at this point, I would have preferred to separate them. But, as I share the problems of all apartment fish breeders (no room for an extra tank unless you are willing to give up a bathtub), I had to leave the couple in the tank on a honeymoon shared with the other four. Now things began happening. One of the other males decided to break up the happy marriage and started to butt in. This particular male is a good 1 1/2 inches bigger than the rest of the fish, and has been bullying everyone around for the past half year. According to his appetite he should be twice as big as he is. What two fish can eat, he eats alone. When I feed garden worms, out of six he devours four, slurping them like strings of spaghetti before anyone else gets even a taste. My five-year-old former step-daughter gave him a name: "The Fat Slob." Erika goes out and digs worms and feeds them to the severums. Sitting in front of the tank she excitedly calls out, "I hope the fat slob won't get them all." Right now, the fat slob has taken over the cleaning, and chases everyone away as if he feels he is the only one who can do the job right, and wants to do it alone. Maybe he doesn't know he can't lay eggs. I hope someone tells him about the birds and bees. Somehow, in the last few days, he must have gained some knowledge because he and the other male are chasing the female around so much that the poor thing doesn't know what to do. She is being chased by two males, one bigger than herself, and being bullied around by the largest while she tries to make out with the first. But eventually things worked out. The female paired off with the large male, and they started to clean the slate together. When it comes to cleanliness, the breeders take nothing for granted. They will scrub the place where they intend to lay their eggs to the point where I'm sure it could compete with any modern delivery room. I had scrubbed the piece of green slate I introduced with Clorox, and then with salt, but this was not good enough for my severums. They scrubbed and scraped their selected spot which was to receive the eggs till no fragment could be found. Long after anything could be detected with the naked eye, they stood in front of it wagging their bodies and attacking the place with efficient swipes at whatever particles tried to settle on the slate. That went on for days—all cleaning, but no action. Talking with a couple of people on what to do to get them to spawn, I decided to switch to a method used by angelfish breeders. I changed five gallons of water with clear cool tap water—no results. After speaking again with my friend who bred the severums, I found out that they spawn a lot on the slate bottom of the tank in the gravel. In 22

my tank I have a glass bottom and they had dug through two inches of gravel down to the glass bottom. Since the stand which holds the tank has no bottom, this must have given the fish the impression that something was wrong and that there was no bottom. Realizing that something of this sort must be the reason for their not going any further than courtship, I pasted a light brown piece of construction paper to the outer bottom of the tank. I was highly rewarded for this piece of strategy. Ten minutes later, the breeding tube of the female started to come out from l/8th of an inch to 1/4 of an inch, and the cleaning of the slate started to become more intense. This breeding tube, or eggplacer as it is sometimes called, is a small tube which is located near the vent. It shows up during spawning behavior as a small nipple and increases in length considerably shortly before the actual spawning takes place. The trial runs of the female up the slate began. I think she felt every little ridge and crevice on the piece of slate with her breeding tube and scoured the slate thoroughly once again. It looked as if she wanted to polish all the ridges off of that slate. (What a magnificent carpenter she would have made.) But, here I sat, not realizing that she was placing rows of small pink adhesive eggs in an angelfish manner — never criss-crossing on the slate. The proud papa followed immediately after each row of eggs was laid, gently fertilizing the deposited eggs with his milt. Within an hour, a large area of the green slate was covered with 100 to 300 little pink eggs. From the time the breeders decided that this was the spot to raise their little ones, there was an intensive protection of the breeding place. Even during the time the female was placing her little strings of pearls (eggs), papa was driving any intruder away who dared to come too close and then returning quickly to fertilize the eggs, while mama took her turn keeping the other severums away from the spawning ground. The standing guard over the eggs is done alternately by the male and female. They stand in front of the eggs wagging their bodies and fanning the eggs with their breast (pectoral) fins. The reason for this is still a question. Some people believe that the circulation of the water around the eggs gives the embryo oxygen. My personal belief is that it prevents the settling of dirt particles on the eggs that would cause fungusing of the eggs. Fungused eggs will be eaten sometimes by the parents to prevent spreading of the fungus. This results sometimes in not only bad eggs being eaten, but good ones as well. The breeding pair started to eat frozen brine shrimps which I introduced in the opposite

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

corner from the breeding place shortly after the laying of the eggs, but they didn't touch their eggs. Since it was the first spawn of this pair, I decided to leave the eggs in the tank with them. Normally, I would have taken the slate with the eggs out and placed it into another tank with the same water and placed an airstone on the bottom of the tank near the eggs for water circulation. This would have eliminated the possibility of the parents eating the good eggs or young fry because they would have been raised away from the parents. For three days they fanned and watched their eggs faithfully with me. Then Saturday morning, I went on a picnic and the pair noticed that guy wasn't watching today and they decided to have a feast on their eggs. When I came home that night and saw everybody swimming around peacefully I guessed right. The eggs were gone. I was quite depressed after that but, as the saying goes, don't count your fish before they hatch. If after reading my sad experience you still have enough nerve to leave your eggs in with the adult fish the following might happen if you are lucky. The eggs hatch within three to four days and the little fish wiggle their way down into the shallow hole in the gravel dug by the parents prior

to spawning. During the next nine days, the parents will dig several of these holes and transfer the jelly-like mass (for that is exactly how the young fish look) for cleaning purposes, from one hole into another. They will spit them into another hole, keeping a close lookout at all times for any intruders. The parents will leave the young on an alternating basis, to eat or chase intruders away, but they generally won't eat their own fry. After nine days, the young start free-swimming, heavily guarded and kept close together by the parents. At this time, you should start feeding the fry with infusoria, microworms, or baby brine shrimp at least twice daily. This way, they will grow at a magnificent rate and soon they will be gobbling up just about everything you feed them. At the age of six to eight weeks, the young fish will be able to take care of themselves and the parents will go off and start to raise another batch. (Hopefully!) Good Luck!!! Editor's Note: Legendary best friends and fish enthusiasts, Wayne Leibel and Lee Finley, our "Aquarian Minds Want to Know... " guestpanelists for this issue, met at the Elm City Aquarium Society of Connecticut in the early 1970s.



(appointment required)

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

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Photos and captions of our May 2004 meeting

What a pleasure it was for Sue Priest and me to welcome our guest Susan Jewett (center), who treated us to her extraordinary program on Coelacanths! (photo by Lenny Ramroop) Congratulations to Roger Brewster ~ our proud new GCAS "dad!"

A heartfelt welcome to our new GCAS member Jeff Bollbach, as he discovers some new additions for his aquatic collection in the evening's auction.

A warm welcome to new GCAS member Barry Lynch who brings with him a wealth of knowledge on livebearers.

Rich Levy ~ shining GCAS mentor of our youth and the aquarium hobby!

Famous Amos came to the rescue of Artie Friedman's customary jovial demeanor following a brief moment of concern upon the realization that the evening's treats had been left behind in Montauk!

One never knows what may appear in one of our GCAS auctions, as star auctioneer, President Joe Ferdenzi, demonstrates the multitudes of uses for one of the evening's 'finds!' 24

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by Claudia Dickinson

Steve Giacobello is delighted with his lovely new shell dwellers and a perfect 'collectible' jar for their transport!

Anton won by the draw, but the highly contended "Baensch Atlas" Door Prize will surely be amicably shared between brothers Edward and Anton Vukich! Joe Graffagnino is our *STAR* author, with articles making simultaneous appearances in Tropical Fish Hobbyist, as well as in the American Cichlid [ A s s o c i a t i o n ' s Buntbarsche 'Bulletin.

It was a packed audience of GCAS members and guests who convened for the exceptional presentation by Susan Jewett on Coelacanths!

We will be left with much wisdom gained on Coelacanths, and many fond memories of the evening, as Brad Dickinson whisks Susan Jewett to her waiting Jitney ride home.

President Joe Ferdenzi extends the warmth and gratitude of all of the GCAS for the time and effort that Susan Jewett put into the evening's performance.

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American Cichlid Association 2004 Convention ^ July 22 - 25, 2004


\d by the Am

Marriott Southeast, Denver, Colorado Go to http://www.aca2004.com for details

North Jersey Aquarium Society Fall Show September 10 -12, 2004 (Details next issue) http://www.nj as .net/

All Aquarium Catfish Convention - Oct 15 -17, 2004 Best Western Maryland Inn 15101 Sweitzer Lane Laurel, Maryland Speakers and panelists include: Lee Finley, Ian Fuller, Shane Linder, Ng Heok Hee, Ron Nielson, Ingo Seidel, J.R. Shute, Stan Weitzman, Eric Bedrock, Don Kinyon, and OCAS's own Mark Soberman Go to http://www.pvas.com/catfish/welcome.htm

Aquatic Gardeners Association 2004 Convention mm mh November 12 -14,2004 Arlington, Virginia Hosted by the Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association (http://www.gwapa.org) Speakers include: Takashi Amano, Jan D. Bastmeijer, Diana Walstad, Mike Senske. Registration available online at: http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/convention.html/ 26

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T k e Origina1 JMew lork Aquarium by JOSEPH FERDENZI ew York City has long been the epicenter of the tropical fish hobby in America. This historical prominence is exemplified by the original New York Aquarium, which was a privately run institution of amusement located in Manhattan in the 1870s. The publically financed New York Aquarium, whose descendant is currently located in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, and run by the Society for Wildlife Conservation (formerly the New York Zoological Society), was founded many years after the privately owned one had come and gone. What follows are excerpts from an article (accompanied by illustrations) about this original New York Aquarium that was published in an 1877 issue of Scribner's Monthly Magazine, written by W.S. Ward. It is significant because it highlights the role New York City played in the development of interest in the aquarium hobby here in the United States.


THE NEW YORK AQUARIUM The recognized value of aquaria as aids to the study of natural history, and the evident popular favor with which they are regarded abroad, render the final establishment of a kindred institution in America an event worthy of special congratulation. The history of his initial efforts in behalf of the New York Aquarium was given to the public by Mr. W. C. Coup, the manager of the enterprise, on the occasion of the opening of the Aquarium, October 11th 1876. From this communication we learn that it was during a European tour made four years since, that the writer's attention was first attracted and his interest engaged by the number of great public aquaria there established; , A , Mr. W.C. Coup, founder and so impressed was he r with the value of these institutions that he at once determined to secure the establishment of one in New York. His first proposition was to construct one in the Central Park, defraying all the expense, but claiming the privilege of retaining, for a given period, such profit as might be obtained from a small fee for admission; and when compensated for the outlay, to present the institution to the city as a gift. The Park Commission was not able to accept this proposition, owing to certain legal restraints forbidding the use of public grounds under these conditions. Having, however, become convinced of the importance of such an institution, Mr. Coup finally determined to undertake the work alone. The large plot of ground at the corner of Thirty-fifth street and Broadway was selected as affording a central site, and upon it the erection of

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

a suitable building was begun. At this time Charles Reiche & Brother became associated with him, and it is under their joint direction and proprietorship that the work has been completed. Although possessed of all the attainable data regarding the aquaria of Europe, Mr. Coup was yet constantly embarrassed by unforeseen obstacles which only repeated experiment and the lavish expenditure of money could remove. Many of these obstacles were of a nature which occasioned discouraging delays; for, this being the first great American enterprise of this character, he was obliged to secure many of the needed materials and appliances in Europe. Mr. Coup has directed the attention of the of the N.Y. Aquarium U1 . , r . r^i XT 1 public to a feature or the New York Aquarium which is specially designed to promote and encourage original scientific research and aid in the study of natural history in all of its most important branches. This consists in the establishment of a free scientific library and reading-room, as an adjunct to the Aquarium, together with a naturalist's workshop, fitted out with all the needed modern appliances, including microscopes, experimental tanks, dissecting tables, etc. This department is under the immediate charge of the writer, at whose suggestion it was established, and it is proposed to admit to the privileges of this scientific quarter any and all of those who, either as students or teachers, may desire to avail themselves of the advantages of study and research here afforded.

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On approaching the Aquarium, the uninitiated might be led to deplore its lack of architectural proportions; let it be known however, both in the interest of art and science, that the architect of such a work is under the severest restrictions, imposed upon him by the special demands of the case. The tanks within must be so arranged as to admit of a direct flow of sunlight upon the surface of the water contained in them; and for equally important reasons, the main pavilion must be but dimly lighted from above. To effect these ends, therefore, the walls of the main structure need be no higher than will admit of the movements of the attendants above the tanks which these walls inclose. Entering the lobby, one receives from the ticket-agent a check whose obverse is engraved with a grotesque image of one of the members of the finny tribe. This check is surrendered at the entrance of the main pavilion.

Exterior by night Advancing between counters on which are displayed for sale every form of parlor and experimental aquaria, we approach the point which the artist who has been in advance of us chose as the proper site from which to secure his sketch of the interior. The building occupies an area of over twenty thousand square feet, and the skillful arrangement of tanks, screens, rustic-work and statuary, gives to the whole the effect of a cool and refreshing summer-garden, the inclosing walls of which are lined with crystal cages, containing the fish and other objects of interest. Before entering upon our round of observation, attention may be directed to the accompanying ground-plan of the work, while we examine as briefly as possible the construction and purpose of the numerous and complicated mechanical devices. Since fish breathe common air, just as men and women do, the grand problem to be solved in the construction of aquaria relates to the methods by which a constant supply of oxygen shall be maintained. In nature, the tides, waves, and currents, with the rain and wind as allies, serve to 28

aerate and charge the water of sea, lake or river, as often as it is needed. In the inclosed and protected tanks of the aquarium, however, these natural agents and forces are excluded, and hence their service must be replaced by kindred artificial processes. Referring to the ground-plan, we notice along the right a series of dividing lines which indicate the position and relative size of the main fresh and salt water reservoirs known as wall tanks; these consist of a series of receptacles resting on foundations of solid rock, the three interior walls of which are composed of heavy brickwork laid in cement and lined with rock, the latter being so arranged as to give to the interior, when viewed from without, the appearance of a rock-walled grotto. The fourth side, which faces the main pavilion, is composed of plate glass, an inch thick, over eight feet high, and three to four feet wide. The construction of these tanks, which includes the securing of solid foundations, the designing and adjustment of the iron framework or sashes, and the final procuring and firm adjustment of the heavy glass plates, was a work calling for the exercise of great caution, wisdom and taste. One of these great wall tanks has a capacity of fifty thousand gallons, and the front wall of glass is nearly sixty feet in length. This tank occupies the whole of the eastern side of the pavilion to the right of the entrance platform and is the home of the shark, porpoise, sturgeon, etc. At the farther end of this shark tank is a concealed reservoir in which are located the filters through which the overflow is made to pass before returning to the grand storage reservoir beneath; still farther on and at right angles with the shark tank, extend in uninterrupted series the remaining great marine and fresh water wall tanks, in which are contained and displayed all the larger forms of marine life. The tanks composing this series are sixteen in number; the four central ones are each ten feet in width, with a proportionate height and depth, flanked by six of six feet width, followed by a third series having fronts of four feet The depth from top to bottom of the four central tanks is eight feet, which decreases in the smaller ones in such a proportion as to secure an active flow of the water from the center toward either end. The problem of the water supply for fresh water fishes was one easily solved, as Croton water from the city mains, after being carefully filtered, answers all the needs of the lake and river fish here displayed. To obtain the salt water, however, a special steamer, fitted out with reservoirs and pumps, was sent on repeated trips out to sea, beyond Sandy Hook, and so far from shore that the water should be dear and pure. On its return from these trips, the steamer sometimes stopped at the fishing stations along the route to take on board

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such new or rare varieties of marine forms as the fishermen, acting under previous instructions, have been able to capture and secure. Arriving at its pier, a mile or more distant from the Aquarium, the steamer proceeds to discharge its freight. The fish, often the larger varieties, are carefully removed by the aid of slings and blankets to great portable tanks, which are slowly driven to the Aquarium, into which they are conveyed with as tender a care as an infant who is about to be treated to its morning bath. The water from the vessel is next transferred to the wheeled tanks, and in turn is discharged from them into the great storage reservoirs. These immense receptacles, hidden from the view of the visitor beneath the entrance platform, are three in number, and were constructed with special care and skill. From these grand storage reservoirs the water is forced into the tanks above, and by the aid of pumps and an intricate system of distributing and return pipes, the needed aeration and circulation are secured. When once the grand reservoirs are filled, it is only necessary to make good such loss as may be occasioned by evaporation or leakage. It therefore appears that upon the proper construction and maintenance of this circulating system the whole success of the aquarium scheme depends.

Interior view * * * In early days, when the largest tanks held but a score or more of gallons, it was possible to replace the water pumps with those which would project air alone; but when the tanks had expanded to miniature seas such as the one before us, and the number and size of the fish demanded a system of feeding somewhat more generous, it was necessary not only to charge the water, but to change it from one reservoir to another, — each change being accompanied with what filtration might be needed. Hence, this circulating system was devised, which combines the advantages of the old with the demands of the new, since we have the air supply for needs of the fish, and for the purification of the

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

water by the oxidation of all organic impurities, together with an active movement of the water itself, thus imitating the methods of nature. Still another and an equally important consideration favors this modification of the old methods. This relates to the temperature of the water. Were it possible to surround the tanks with an atmosphere having an even temperature ranging from 50° to 60° Fahrenheit, the labors of the Aquarium manager would be vastly simplified. Fish, accustomed to living in a stable medium are extremely sensitive to extremes of temperature, especially when the range is above the limit of 65° Fahrenheit. Now, in order to keep these comparatively small bodies of water within this range, particularly during the heated term of an American summer, it is necessary to convey it at frequent intervals to a secluded and concealed receptacle; hence the plan for returning it, by means of constantly active supply and overflow pipes, to the sunken storage reservoirs. In these the water is allowed to settle; owing to the absence of sunlight, the growth of vegetation is checked, and, most important of all, the temperature is lowered, and the water cools before it starts again on its circuit. In the New York Aquarium the water in the shark tank completes a circuit of its own. In the continuous wall series a second circuit is established, the supply being from the same main, but the overflow passing from the four central tanks downward and outward toward either end. This overflow from the two terminal tanks is conducted back to the reservoir through underground channels already indicated. In addition to these two marine circuits, a third is needed to supply the series of table tanks, while a fourth and entirely distinct system is established for the storage, distribution and return of the fresh water. Ascending again to the floor of the main pavilion, attention may at once be directed to three special features which have not yet been indicated, and for which no apparent provision has been made in connection with the distributing system already described. The first of these is the great circular glass tank which occupies the central location indicated in the plan, and which is now the prison house of the whale. If no mention of this whale tank has been made in connection with the technical description of the circulating system adopted with the others, it is because this tank and its occupant constitute an aquarium by themselves. The water with which the monster is supplied must, for good reasons, be constantly changed, — an absolutely fresh supply being added at frequent intervals, while that which it replaces is drawn off into the sewer, not being allowed to enter the main

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reservoirs. The tank is composed of panes of plate glass, supported in iron frames, which in turn rest upon heavy walls of solid masonry. The form chosen is that best adapted to the movements of the imprisoned monster, though the location of the tank and the consequent modifications of the usual system of lighting render the inspection of the creature a more difficult task. The presence of the whale at the Aquarium is in itself evidence of the energy and zeal of the manager. After months of weary watching on a desert island, the agent of the Aquarium was rewarded by the arrival offshore of a school of cetacea. A deep bay terminating in a narrow river was to be the cage, and a line of piles driven across its entrance for a length of two miles, its prison gates. At high tide this wall was sufficiently submerged to allow the whales, driven

blossom. That they are animals, science no longer doubts; yet the precincts of a tropical garden cannot rival in the beauty of its blossoms the display here given: rich red, yellow, and purple blossoms in streaks of deeper hue, delicate petals surrounding a mass of softest velvet. Flowers they seem to be, yet they are conscious living organisms, as is proved by the characteristic habit of one of the class, who has taken his abode upon the shell of a hermit crab. However, the crab is only paying the penalty of his robber propensity, since the shell in which he is housed is not of his own making. So accustomed have these combative marauders become to their living burden that when they see fit to change from one shell to another, they have been known carefully to detach the anemone and transfer him to the roof of the new domicile, — a tender attention which the recipient

Ground-plan of the NY Aquarium (looking South) before the fishing fleet, to enter. The fall of the tide left them prisoners, and the subsequent retaining them in safer quarters above a second line of flood-gates was the work of the agent In this manner three were secured. These were put into boxes lined with sea-weed and then hurried forward by the aid of special boats, wagons, and trains. The two which made the journey first did not long survive, but the third arrived in safety, after being seven days and seven nights out of water. The capture of this monster, and, most of all, his transfer to the Aquarium tanks, stands as an achievement unrivaled in the annals of aquarium history; and were the creature not actually here and alive, this narrative might pardonably be consigned to the large array offish stories which have special quarters assigned to them in the ranks of imaginative literary efforts. * * * We next come to a veritable sea-garden, where anemones of all shades and sizes grow and 30

repays by conveying to the crab an additional supply of food through the agency of its current-producing tentacles. Crossing the narrow lane, we tarry to view an equally interesting array of the smaller fresh water forms here displayed. Passing by the little trout, sun-fish and pickerel, we halt in front of the tank where there swims in state, as its imperial rank deserves, the rare and royal kingiyo, — the famous three-tailed fish of Japan. To the student and naturalist, this fish is the most attractive member of the Aquarium company, as its development of silken-like tail is said to have been the result of years, decades, and possibly centuries, of careful selection and culture. If beauty and fitness are synonymous, then the survival of the kingiyo is a Darwinian argument that should receive the immediate attention of the opposition. With its golden body and its tail of pearly gossamer, the kingiyo is a symbol of beauty sad grace. These qualities, too, are heightened when brought in

June 2004

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

added to the contrast with the museum of the supreme ugliness of Aquarium, and its neighbors, the duplicate copies hellbenders. A long will be placed at story might be told the command of of the habits of these hideous such educational institutions as may creatures, as also of desire them. Here their equally ugly also are tables and interesting equipped with neighbor, the dissecting banded proteus, instruments and whose gills are on naturalists' tools. the outside of its Adjoining body, and whose the laboratory, and structure is overlooking the suggestive of one of entrance, is the the "missing links" The Kingiyo richly furnished for which the library room. Experimental tanks and microscopes modern theorist is searching. Before passing out, and a full assortment of scientific periodicals are we must not forget to note the motherly devotion of here placed, without cost, at the service of the the alligator. student or inquiring visitor, together with a Attached to the Aquarium on the second carefully chosen and constantly increasing library. floor, and open to the public by an approach from In the evenings, this room, which is thoroughly without, are the free scientific library, naturalists' lighted and warmed, is occasionally devoted to laboratory and reading room. Ascending to the lectures and discussions, free use being granted to laboratory, we are ushered into the presence of a any organized scientific body which may desire to student company, one of whom, clothed in the garb avail itself of the privilege here afforded. of a practical manipulator, is securing a plaster cast of a dead angler. When completed, this cast will be

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

June 2004


The 2003 FAAS Publication Awards he Federation of American Aquarium Societies ("FAAS") was formed in 1973. It is a service organization of and for aquarium societies of North, Central, and South America. Its membership currently consists of over 60 Aquarium Societies and individual members from Canada to Puerto Rico, California to Maine. FAAS has a Publications Award competition, in which Greater City's Modern Aquarium magazine participates. Just about any article, illustration, or cartoon you submit to our magazine is eligible to be considered for a FAAS award. The results of the judging of last year's articles and publications are finally in. Modern Aquarium and its contributors took a considerable number of awards, as did our neighboring sister society, the Nassau County Aquarium Society. Congratulations to all the winners.


Best editor/publication - more than 6 issues 1) Editor Al Priest - Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Editor Martha Volkoff - The Tropical News - SAS 3) Editor Jerry Montgomery - In Seine M.E.N.U. - CAFE Best editor/publication - six or fewer issues 1) Editor Pam Chin - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Editor Cheryl Miller - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 3) Editor Vickie Coy - Swam - SWMAS HM) Editor Kevin Plazak - Cichlid Blues - PCCA Best non-changing cover 1) Editor Judy Marshall - Swam - SWMAS 2) Editor Cheryl Miller - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 3) Editors Earl & Marge Steffenson - All Wet Gazette - MCAS Best changing cover - original art 1) Editor Pat Smith - Pisces Press - NCAS 2) Editors KC & Carol Ross - The Buckette - BCAS 3) Editor Jennifer Lioto - Reflector - CNYAS Best changing cover - non-original Art 1) Photo Editor Jason Kerner Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Editor Pam Chin - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 3) Editor Lisa Enlander - Wet Thumb - CAS HM) Editor Mike Jacobs - The Filter - TEAS Best FAAS - related article 1) Joe Semeister - Fin Fax - DC AS 2) John Clark - All Wet Gazette - MCAS 3) Pat Smith - Pisces Press - NCAS Best exchange column 1) Jim Graham - Swam - SWMAS 2) Deborah Dano - The Tropical News - SAS 3) Cheryl Miller - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS Austin R. Braganza & Brian Torreano - The Splash - MAS HM) Ray Albanese - Pisces Press - NCAS


Best review column 1) Chuck Rambo - Cichlids in the News - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Susan Priest - Wet Leaves Modern Aquarium - GCAS 3) Martha Volkoff - Product Review: The Fish Catcher - The Tropical News - SAS HM) Stephen Sica - Product Review & Ramblings - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best spawning article - under 500 words 1) Scott Tetzlaff - Badis Badis - It Really Wasn't That Bad - Swam - SWMAS 2) Eric Rogne - American Characin Basics - The Splash - MAS 3) John Clark - Phallichthys Tico - All Wet Gazatte - MCAS Ken Smith - White Clouds - Pices Press - NCAS Best spawning article - 500-1000 words 1) Eddie Correia - Neolamprologus brichardi - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Anthony Tu - Cyphotilapia frontosa, mpimbwe blue - Cichlidae Commonique - PCCA 3) Anthony Tu - Julidochromis transcriprus - Kissibemba - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA HM) Richard Forse - Discus Spawnings - Fin Fax - DCAS Best spawning article - more than 1000 words 1) Chase Klinesteker - Breeding Tropical Fish - Swam - SWMAS 2) Eric Hannemen - Mustax My Way - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 3) Alexander Priest - The Littlest Croaker Modern Aquarium - GCAS Susan Priest - Mothers Day - Modern Aquarium - GCAS HM) Ray Albanese - Modalities of Breeding Employed by Aquarium Fish - Pisces Press - NCAS

June 2004

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

Best article on a genus of fish 1) Ray Albanese - African Riverine Cichlids - Pisces Press - NCAS 2) Mike & Robin Schadle - Goodeids Revisited -Swam -SWMAS 3) Mike Foran - Clown in Lake Malawi - Pisces Press - NCAS Best article on a species of fish 1) Mark Robinson - Tahuantinsuyoa macanzatza - The Filter - TEAS 2) Joseph Graffagnino - Hoplosternum thoracatum - Brown Hoplo - Modern Aquarium - GCAS 3) Carlotti DeJager - Mega-Maculata, the Magical Fish! - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Jerry O'Farrell - Breeding the Rainbow Cichlid - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best Marine Article - Fish 1) Kevin Plazak - Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - Cichlid Blue - PCCA 2) Bernard Harrigan - Cichlid Lovers, Move Up to the Next Level: Damselfish! Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best Marine Article - Invertebrates 1) Dora Dong - Misadventures in Nano-Reefing - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best continuous FAAS column 1) Pat Smith - FAAS Report - Pisces Press - NCAS Best Article on Aquascaping/Design 1) Raymond Albanese - Ponds - Pisces Press - NCAS 2) Joseph Ferdenzi - The Perfect Aquarium Modern Aquarium - GCAS 3) Ludo Van DeBogaert - Ludo's Garden - The Filter - TBAS Best article on plant Maintenance/Cultivation/ Reproduction (SR) 1) Charley Sabatino - Oxygen Levels in a Non-Traditional Planted Tank Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Ray Spahn - Micro Pond Flowers - Reflector - CNYAS 3) Deborah Dano - Rotala The Hun Indica - The Tropical News - SAS HM) Deborah Dano - Propagating the Bladderwert utricularia - The Tropical News - SAS Best article on plant Maintenance/Cultivation/ Reproduction (JR - Level III) 1) Kapil Mandrekar - The Five Golden Rules of Growing Aquarium Plants - Swam - SWMAS 2) Kapil Mandrekar - Plants for the Planted Aquarium: Java Moss - Swam - SWMAS

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

Best show article 1) Pam Chin - AC A 2003 Cichlidfest Cincinnati - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Susan Priest - Non-Stop Fun at the NJAS 50th - Modern Aquarium - GCAS 3) Ron Fabiny - Central New York Pet Expo - Reflector - CNYAS HM) Joseph Ferdenzi - The 2003 Norwalk Show - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best judging article 1) Peter Goettner - My Trip to Loehne, Germany - Swam - SWMAS Best "how-to" or"do-it-yourself* article 1) Alexander Priest - We Need a Little Summer or How to Set-up Your Own Backyard Aquarium - Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Raymond Albanese - Ponds - Pisces Press - NCAS 3) Jerry O'Farrell - Going Once, Going Twice, Sold - Modern Aquarium - GCAS HM) Carol Ross - Microworms - How to Culture and Maintain Them - The Buckette - BCAS Best General Article on Society Management 1) Cheryl Miller - Why are You in This Club Anyway - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 2) Pat Smith - Hobbyist or Breeder? You Can do Both - Pisces Press - NCAS 3) Susan Priest - G.C.A.S. Holds New Year's Bash! - Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best Article on Health/Nutrition 1) Joseph Ferdenzi - A Cause and Care for Popeye Disease - Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Jim Greenwald - Does the Mealworm Get a Turn - The Filter - TBAS 3) Dennis Heltzer - Dealing with Velvet - Fin Fax - DCAS HM) Scott Davis - A Controllable and Safer Way to Raise Mosquitos - Swam - SWMAS Best collecting article 1) Richard Bireley - A Tanganyikan Dream Come True - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Pam Chin - Kambwimba - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 3) Pam Chin - Babes in the Cichlid Hobby, Tanganika Tour 2002, Species List - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA Christian B. Homrich, Jr. - My Fish Collecting Trip in Southern Florida - Swam - SWMAS HM) Mark Schlechty - Tennessee Adventures - Swam - SWMAS

June 2004


Best Traveling Aquarist Article 1) Chuck Rambo - Lake Tanganyika for Rookies - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Pam Chin - ACA 2003 Cincinnati Cichlidfest - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 3) Stephen Sica - Diving with a Dolphin Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best humorous article 1) Jerry Michels - A Plastic Plant Primer - Aqua News - MAS 2) Jan Goltz - Discovering Snigletts - The Buckette - BCAS 3) Susan Priest - The Perfect Fish Modern Aquarium - GCAS Best original artwork (SR) 1) Bernard Harrigan - May 2003 Modern Aquarium - GCAS 2) Diana Dubbeld - Sept/Oct 2003 - Swam - SWMAS Carrie Nixon - April 2003 - In Seine M.E.N.U. - CAFE 3) Pat Smith - March 2003 - Pisces Press - NCAS Best original artwork (JR I) 1) Andrew Roberts (age 8) - October 2003 - In Seine M.E.N.U. - CAFE 2) Mariah Reel (age 5) - Nov/Dec 2003 - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS Best cartoon (SR) 1) Cheryl Miller - July/August 2003 - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 2) Cheryl Miller - March/April 2003 - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS 3) Carrie Nixon - October 2003 - In Seine M.E.N.U. - CAFE Ted Ongirski - November 2003 - Fin Fax - DCAS HM) Cheryl Miller - Sept/Oct 2003 - The Youngstown Aquarist - YATFS Best cartoon (JR - Level II age 13 ) 1) Ryan Piechuta - July 2003 - All Wet Gazette - MCAS 2) Ryan Piechuta - November 2003 - All Wet Gazette - MCAS 3) Ryan Piechuta - August 2003 - All Wet Gazette - MCAS


Best continuing column - single author 1) Chuck Rambo - Cichlid in the News - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) Susan Priest - Wet Leaves Modern Aquarium - GCAS 3) Ed Keene - It's as Easy As ABC...Aquarium Basic Concepts - Fin Fax - DCAS Alexander Priest - Fin Fun Modern Aquarium - GCAS HM) Deborah Dano - SAS Bites - The Tropical News - SAS HM) Jan Goltz - FishNet - The Buckette - BCAS Best article - All Other Categories (SR) 1) Dr. George Barlow - Are Cichlidiots Hopeless Addicts ? - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 2) E. Ray Latham - Confessions of a Cichlidophile - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA 3) KC Ross - In Search of the Elusive Poecilia ditchi - The Buckette - BCAS HM) Dave Locey - More Fur and Fins - The Tropical News - SAS HM) Raymond Albanese - Martin T. Goldfish - Modern Aquarium - GCAS HM) Dave Locey - Family Feud Cichlid Style - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA HM) Austin R. Braganza - Odd Aquarists & Odder Aquariums - The Splash - MAS Best article - All Other Categories (JR - Level II age 13) 1) Ilyssa Soberman - My Dad, The Fish Man Modern Aquarium - GCAS AUTHOR OF THE YEAR Chuck Rambo - Cichlidae Communique - PCCA

LEGEND: BCAS - Bucks County Aquarium Society CAFE - Champaign Area Fish Exchange CAS - Cleveland Aquarium Society CNYAS - Central New York Aquarium Society DCAS - Delaware Co. Aquarium Society GAAS - Greater Akron Aquarium Society GCAS - Greater City Aquarium Society MAS - Minnesota Aquarium Society MCAS - Medina County Aquarium Society NCAS - Nassau County Aquarium Society PCCA - Pacific Coast Cichlid Association SAS - Sacramento Aquarium Society SWMAS - SW Michigan Aquarium Society TBAS - Tampa Bay Aquarium Society YATFS - Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Society

June 2004

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST n 1859, Wilhelm K. H. Peters wrote the first description of the guppy. For starters, he named it Poecilia reticulata. (The word reticulata means "net-like.") In part, his description read: "Greenish-yellow with a blackish network, the tiny meshes lying parallel on the edges of the scales." Unbeknownst to him, he had only females of the species at his disposal, and he gave a perfect description of female wild types which have changed little in these past 150 years. And so, the adventure of the guppy begins! This delightful book encompasses every nook and cranny in the wide world of guppies. It covers geography, chronology, personalities (of people as well as fish), shapes and colors, basically everything a good fish story ought to have! I should probably leave it at that, but in this issue of Modern Aquarium which is dedicated to the history of our hobby, I feel a certain level of pressure to describe it as a history book. I will concede the point that it is a history which is made up of a multitude of stories, and stop myself short of calling it a storybook, even though I feel quite sure that the author wouldn't object. The first thing that the people of the 1850s learned about guppies was where they came from. In 1857 they were found in Caracas (Venezuela), in 1859, Trinidad, and in 1861, Barbados. Even before guppies were transported to Europe, they were displaying an international flair. Indeed, they have captured the attention of the entire globe since then! It took until 1908 for the ubiquitous guppy to enter the recorded history of the aquarium hobby. They arrived on the scene in the U.S. of A. in 1911. Here is a bit of a brain teaser for those of you who feel up to the challenge: aquarists of what nationality can claim the bragging rights of being the first guppy breeders? (I'll give you the answer later, but if you want a hint, it can be found in my description of the bibliography.) This book is a cornucopia of personalities. From Dr. Robert John Lechmere Guppy (18361913), the so-called "Dr. Guppy," to David StanJordan (1851-1931), who became known as "The Father of American Ichthyology," to Paul Hahnel (1902-1969), who earned the moniker of "Guppy


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

King of the Old and New World" (and who, incidentally, graced the pages of Modern Aquarium, Series II). Well, the list goes on and on, with each story more interesting than the one before it. There isn't a single page, if you don't count the contents or the index, without an illustration of one sort or another. (I know, because I checked!) There are maps, cartoons, drawings of guppies, vintage advertisements, and of course, photographs. And just because each of these illustrations is in black-and-white doesn't mean that the book isn't colorful. For example, anecdotes span from the recounting of a "piscatorial boner," to a "paranoid misanthrope." In between the fun and folly, you will find plenty of good old-fashioned guppy stuff. One by one, as each new shape or color was developed, it had to be entered into the shows as an "AOV," or "any other variety," as compared to the already standardized strains. The ones that established themselves, such as the pintails, the top and bottom swordtails, the lyretails, etc., eventually earned their own classes. In the 1950s, creating the "American Broadtails," which included the veiltails, became the goal of every breeder. In 1957 the American Guppy Association (AGA) was formed. The index is cross-referenced as to the illustrations. For example, if you want to see what a Bragg Guppy looks like, the index will send you promptly and efficiently to page 28. The multilingual among you will find the bibliography to be a treasure trove. There are books written in German, French, Spanish, Italian, and even a few volumes in English! By the way, if any of you are still wondering, the first guppy breeders were Italian!! For those of you who have read and enjoyed the book which I reviewed here in June of 2003, The Toy Fish, A History of the Aquarium Hobby in America-The First One-Hundred Years, by this same author, then this volume will make the perfect companion to it. To any accusations of my shamelessly trying to tease you into reading this book, I plead guilty as charged. This is one of those rare books which makes me wish that I could write one, too. Dr. Klee says of his own efforts "I have sought to bring the past alive and to the surface. Whether I have succeeded or not [therefore] is up to the reader." In this reviewer's estimation, he has succeeded in more ways than there are guppies! This book was donated to GCAS by Lee Finley of "Finley Aquatic Books."

June 2004




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June 2004

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

Reality TV: Aquarium Society Auctions A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"

s it just me, or has anyone else noticed that our auctions are getting a bit "strange" for a fish club? Any time soon, I expect to find a toolkit, radio, or a hubcap on the auction table. Not that I'm complaining â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the tomato plants were the best quality I've ever seen, and someone obviously found some use for that vacuum cleaner hose. Nowadays, auctions are the "in" thing. Entire towns are being sold on eBay, and other on-line auction sites. There are even several aquarium related online auction sites, the most well known of which is Aquabid.com. And, if you missed the giant auction at the conclusion of Greater City's show last month, you certainly missed a lot of great bargains. Except for our annual Awards Presentations and Holiday Party meeting in January, Greater City has an auction every month. That's nine auctions a year. If you look at the meeting schedule of neighboring aquarium societies, it's quite possible that you can attend a fish and aquatic plant auction within a relatively short drive from your home at least once a week. (Of course, the on-line auctions go 24 hours a day, seven days a week!) One of the most popular kinds of television program today are "reality" shows, where contestants are pitted against each other, until only one emerges victorious. Think about that. Isn't that exactly what happens in an aquarium society auction? SO, I propose a new reality show, "The Aquatic Auction!" Here's how I envision it: There will be bags offish, plants, and hardware on a table. Each contestant will be given a set amount of money. The challenge will be to bid on enough items to create a stable tank, with some money still left unspent. The first round will be to create a "species tank" (that is, a tank with only one species


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

of fish). That will require bidding on whatever chemicals would be needed to raise or lower the pH, the appropriate substrate, the proper filtration, and suitable "ornaments" (including live plants that will survive in the optimum pH for the fish, and caves, driftwood, shells, coral, etc., as appropriate). The five "survivors" of the first round (those with money left after properly outfitting a tank for the species offish they purchased) would next move on to the second round, which would be to bid on hardware, fish, and aquatic plants (if appropriate) for a "community" tank. (This is defined as a tank containing more than one species of fish that are mutually compatible under the conditions created by the competing aquarist.) Just as in the current series of reality programs on TV, "The Aquatic Auction!" would have some secret (to the contestants) "snares." For example, a bag labeled as Pacu might actually be a bag of Piranhas. Or, a bag labeled as Poecilia latipinna might really \>Q Xiphophorus maculatus. The bidding aquarist will have to be able to tell (as in the "real life" auctions at our aquarium societies) when a bag was mislabeled. There would also be "bonus" items for the sharp-eyed and knowledgeable aquarist. For example, a bag offish might be labeled "Vampire plecos," when it really was a bag of "Zebra plecos," or a bag of Betta unimaculata might actually turn out to be a bag of Betta macrostoma. A sharp-eyed aquarist who can spot that a bag labeled as a relatively common fish is, in fact, a bag of a much more desirable rare fish would get extra auction money. On the other hand, an aquarist who, either through ignorance, or because she or he got caught up in a "bidding frenzy," paid way too much for a bag of common fish (whether or not correctly labeled), would be further penalized by a loss of some of her/his remaining auction funds. The final challenge would pit the three people with the most money left against each other for a period of two months, during which time they have to maintain their tanks, using only the items that they purchased at the auction (excepting water, of course). So, if to save money a person did not bid on and win a gravel cleaner or syphon, then that person will have to either forgo water changes and gravel cleaning, or come up with a no-cost way of doing so that does not involve a commercially purchased item. The ultimate winner would be determined at the end of this two month period as the person with the most surviving fish (including fry, if the fish spawned). There you have it. A new "Reality TV" show. See my agent if you are interested in purchasing this concept.

June 2004




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June 2004

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS B O \ V i :S'!l-:,.\ Sjfgv




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in the Metropolitan New York area:

Here are meeting times and locations GREATER CITY

Next meeting: Septeinb§r -i|l004 Wednesday ltFQR]|lJfcr D!|) Speaker and Topic: f|p Bi Announced. (Check q|f webS||gp:and watch your mail for a jpifcard in August.) 8pm: Qui||§ Botanical Garden |r 43-^ttin St. - Flushing, NY ContaiMMr. Joseph Ferdenzi Teleholi (5 1 6) 484-0944

Brooklyff i^uarium Society Nff||ieg||ig: Junlail, 2003

Topic: "An dWlvi||Ppof Pol PlusrBASElec ^ "' |: 3 Opr.;S#!': • : lad : lav of the II_ . *1 the at the NY 3tfuariurrfi|[Surf fi|W/est 8th St., Brooklyn, NY)\J:{|I Events Hotline: (71S)1!


h^^JJwwvf .greatQTcity .org ••••••••••••••••••••••••i^^^iriiiiiiiiaMiii^aMJBa

East Coast Guppy

JXpple Guppy Club

8:00 P.M. - 1st at the Queens Wifrt: Gene Baudiejp

:|||^^^^^ Thursday p -ens Botanical Curtin

Long j|la|nd /|^iirium Society 1|1 ; '•" "ft: -;:.f ffrd Friday of each montB . dwi li|y gust) at :

, NY


»i;;:ii:l||Jp"j|ii) w^prmat, 'by Jeff GecifSbi^lKJ fT *" iMike..

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North Meets: 8:00 PM - 3lf:lll||^^ at the Meadowlands Environn ] 1 Dekorte Park Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ Next Meeting: June 17, 2004 Speaker: David Scares Topic: "South American Dwarf Ciehlids" Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 http://www.njas.net/ ore-mail: tcoletti@obius.jnj.com _

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

Wjja sllg;p:||jnty Aquanu n i ':'i : 8:00 at the Americ..,::||f:; 1| 'eterans Blv ,;, j|

June 2004

A(]y0rlum Society

iy_.^ 3rd Thursday of each ^Vtf'\)lace - the Nature Discovery "Center - Westport, CT Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253 http://norwalkas.org/html/


4 Fin Fun DECA:


The history of the aquarium hobby can be almost as interesting as the fish themselves. See if you can match the events listed on the right with the decades (listed on the left) in which those events occurred. Some (but not all) of the events described below are mentioned in this issue of Modern Aquarium. , 1900s

Publication of the 1st edition of William T. Innes's classic book Exotic Aquarium Fishes


Hobbyists in the U.S. welcome the guppy


Cameo Pet Shop was born


Joe Ferdenzi was born


Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies (NEC) holds its 25th Annual Convention


Super-sized chain stores enter the scene


Freshwater And Marine Aquarium (FAMA) magazine began publishing


The first cans of TetraMin速 flake food were manufactured


The Greater City Aquarium Society (GCAS) was established


Electric aquarium heaters were introduced

solution to last month's puzzle: In Danger, or Endangered? Ameca splendens (EW)

Butterfly Goodeid

Epalzeorhynchos bicolor (EW)

Red-Tailed Black Shark

Betta persephone (CR)

Black Small Fighter

Pandakapygmaea (CR)

Dwarf pygmy goby

Poecilia latipunctata (CR)

Broadspotted molly

Gymnochar acinus bergii (EN)

Naked Terra

Lepidocephalichthys jonklaasi (EN)

Spotted loach

Melanotaenia boesemani (EN)

Boeseman's Rainbowfish

Barbus serra (EN)

Schubert's Barb

Prietella phreatophila (EN)

Mexican blind catfish

EW = Extinct in the Wild; CR = Critically Endangered; EN = Endangered


June 2004

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

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

June 2004 volume XI number 6

Modern Aquarium  

June 2004 volume XI number 6