Modern Aquarium

Page 1



APRIL 2006 volume XIII number 2

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York


API JARIT JM This months-cove^ ||f|f|rican ll§||l; Dan Radebaugtv. should^convince;-you otherwise, ;.; ",;;,v :;^^.::'v;r-;-''--/^\;;/^••;;^:.^•:^'• :;,;:; Dan Radebaugh.,.@%5

GREATER CITY;AjQyARlOtoS&Ctl^^ : — Board''Members ;/ff 1 J^l ffK;-S President;;;;.&;. jj.... j > . Josepn: Ferdenzi: Vice-Presideni .;;;;•,;.....:, Treasurer . . . . . : .... (v. - ; .-.— : -. : Jack Traub. Gorres. Secretary, v .,,,.:..,,;;• ;.;WaiTen Feuer;: ;;Reeord ing Secretary -/v W Edward"

:'•' •:;F .;.;;:.:"".Menibers;At Pete Garlotti pe' Jager . : , ; v : ;,;;^ ';v -^-Ben1 ;Hau.s . Jason Kerner ,: : : ; : - : v : Enima-Haus; Leonard -Rarnroop W Committee Breeder Award . , vlft 'Warren Feuer and. . : / ... :;;;::-. : : ; , : : . ; x.- :;: v,; :: ,Mafk..;Soberrnan. Early :; Arrivals;/ j:)^;;;;.^,.;;:^ F.A.A.S. Delegate;.; ,::,,, ..Alexander Priest Members/Program's , . Dickinson : N,E;C. Delegate . , , / Claudia Dickinson :

;;;;.;[; . MODERlSlAQUARiyfVl Editor in Chief . . . , Q^^fSffl^fi Associate ;E.d.itors. . , | Susan Driest and ; : . ; :; : ; : : ; ; : Copy Editor , , ,:.yiiij^jjj; "Exchange .Ed.itor . : : -; :,.;;€ la uciia Dickinson:;. |l|||p7 L a y o ut; Ed 1 to r . (: 11;;:;;j a son Ke rn er | jl|||||rtiS!ng-.Mgr, : ; .. : ;.•',;>.•- MarR-Sobernlaa lllilutive Editor 1.:;,;;::,:.; H • Joseph, Ferde:nzi:;:

Series III

Vol. XIII, No. 2

April, 2006

FEATURES Editor's Babblenest


"Silent Auction" Rules


President's Message


Natives, Anyone?


The Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis

........ 7

Our Generous Members


Swamp Thing (Okefenokee Sunfish) . . . . . . . . 8 A Neon is a Neon, is a Neon...NOT! . . . . . . . . 9 Fishkeepers Anonymous


Fishy Surprises


Looking Through The Lens - Photos From Our Last Meeting


The Seahorse Chronicles: The ABCs of Acclimation


The Amusing Aquarium (Cartoon)


A Quick and Fun Method to Spice up Your Aquatic Life


Wet Leaves (Book Review Column)


Crossbreeding for Fun and Profit!


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 2006 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 January and February. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month and begin at 7:30 P.M. Meetings are at the Queens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact: Joe Ferdenzi (516)484-0944. You can also leave us a message at our Internet Home Page at: http: //www. or http: //www. greatercity. com


his month, we have two new authors: Sharon Barnett and Dan Radebaugh! Dan also provided us with the cover photo for this issue. Please let them know how much you enjoyed reading their articles, and that you appreciate the support they have shown for Greater City by contributing to its publication, Modern Aquarium. And, thanks to Dan, Modern Aquarium has its first cover photo and feature article on American native fish. So, in keeping with this idea, Joe Ferdenzi and I have each written a short article on natives we have kept (and, in my case, am currently keeping). Last month, my wife, Susan, started anew feature column in Modern Aquarium, "Fishkeepers Anonymous." Some societies may have interviews with members in their publications, but we think that the "Fishkeepers Anonymous" approach is unique. For one thing, the "interview" is conducted by the member him or herself by answering some (or all) of the suggested questions we provide (and maybe by adding one or two


more). For another thing, the fishkeeper does not identify him or herself during the "self-interview," but instead is identified the following month. We hope you will enjoy guessing who the "Anonymous Fishkeeper of the Month" is so much that you, yourself want to participate. Just look at the questions in the box on page 12 as an example of the questions you can answer. (Remember, you do not have to answer all the questions, and you can make up new ones!) Then, without specifically identifying yourself by your answers, send them by e-mail to, or hand them to me at a meeting. And, yes, you can even get a little silly (as long as you don't mind making fun of yourself!). Remember, this is intended to be a fun column! Since I'm on the subject of new things about Modern Aquarium (new authors, new column), if any member has an idea for something new for our magazine (or wants to see something done in the past repeated), please let me know. Modern Aquarium is in its 13th year of publication in its present form (that is, Series III). This is the longest running series of any publication Greater City has had in its 84 years of existence, and also the most award-winning. But, we do not intend to have our magazine stagnate, nor do we intend to rest on the many laurels we have been given. We are always looking for new writers, new columns, new staff members, and most important, new ideas. Time and resources (monetary, personnel, and/or technology) may prevent us from being able to implement fully all of the suggestions we get. (Yes, I'd like to see heavy glossy paper and color photos on every page too, but that's not about to happen in the near future!) Nonetheless, all suggestions will be given careful consideration, and, of course, all suggestions are welcome.

Rules for this month's "Silent Auction" / Fleamarket This month, Greater City has its annual "Silent Auction'Vfleamarket. Here is a brief summary of the rules: ^r The seller sets an opening price for each item. ^r Bidders write down their bids in increments of at least $1.00 (That is, your bid must be at least one dollar more than the previous bid, and you may only bid in even dollar amounts, such as $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, etc. Bids of dollars and cents such as $1.50, $2.75 will be invalidated.) * A bidder may not cross out his/her own bid to enter a lower bid. * The highest bidder at the end of the auction wins the item. ^r Proceeds are split 50/50 between the seller and Greater City. (Of course, the seller may also donate 100% of the proceeds to Greater City!) ^r Items not claimed by winning bids (or if there were no bids, by their owners) at the end of the auction become the property of Greater City. ^r Bids entered after the auction has been declared closed will be invalidated. The decision of the Auction Chairperson or President on whether this has happened is final. April 2006

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

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI

ast month, our "guest" speaker was Warren Feuer. I placed the word guest in quotes because, as all of you know, Warren could hardly be classified as a guest at GCAS meetings. He is a longtime member who has done much to make GCAS the great club it is. Testament to this fact can be found in his election to Greater City's Roll of Honor (our version of a Hall of Fame). His talk on Lake Tanganyikan shell-dwelling cichlids was as informative as it was state-of-the-art. His computerized presentation not only included lovely photographs and graphics, but it included moving images as well. Leave it to Warren to do something innovative.


His presentation undoubtedly represents the leading edge of things to come. Future hobbyists can undoubtedly expect to see more and more of such outstanding programs from amateurs who can utilize all the wonders of the computer age. Similarly, Al Priest's and Jason Kerner's work with Modern Aquarium show what can be done by amateur volunteers who combine hard work and dedication with computer savvy. What Al accomplishes by himself and what Jason does with the photography in his computer "studio" was unthinkable a mere 30 years ago, not to mention how it would have taken numerous professionals to compose such a quality magazine in 1922, when GCAS was founded. I'm an old-timer who lags behind others in this computer age, but I certainly appreciate its benefits. Of course, no machine is of any use unless you have great people utilizing it. GCAS has such people, and we are grateful to them. For my part, I can't thank them enough.




" -:C

• 1 . • • % ,r.'i:;;.;,.,;, ;TER Guest Speakers! <3iant Auetion! Livestock/Product Vendors! Rare Fish Raffle! Mecr^atibn& Dining!

Giant Fish Show! Isfew York Tours! Manufacture VVjne Tasting! Sight-Se^ihg!


• Rich Serva, Convention Chair & Treasurer: (330)-650-4613

Ted Coletti, Site Coordinator & Public Relations: (908)541-4905

Rit Forcier, ALA & NELA Chairman:

DJrecf flights from Q£Q$ti$itie. globei

I ; : , jj .;...

€ST fill BONUS:

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

April 2006



American Livebearer Association Convention Schedule: Friday-April 28 8:00 am: NYC & NY Aquarium Tour boarding 4:30 pm: NYC & NY Aquarium Tour returns 6:00 pm: Convention-Show Registration opens. Vendor/Show Exposition Room opens 8:00-9:00 pm: Ted Coletti (NJ): "Planted Aquariums & Water Gardens for Livebearers" 9:30-10:30 pm: Jim Langhammer (MI): "What is a Livebearer" (you'd be surprised!) 10:00 pm: Registration & Vendor/Show Exposition Rooms close. Hospitality Room opens Saturday-April 29 9:00 am: Convention-Show Registration opens. Vendor/Show Exposition Room opens 9:00-10:00 am: Rich Serva (OH): "Xiphophorus: The Sword Carrier's Tale" 10:30-11:30 pm: Kees de Jong (Netherlands): "Collecting Livebearers" Lunch Break: Closed ALA Board Meeting 1:30-2:30 pm: Bob Larsen (NJ): "Guppies Then & Now" 2:30 pm: Convention-Show Registration closes 3:00 pm: Judging-Show Area roped off 3:00-4:00 pm: Dr. Bruce Turner (VA): "Livebearers as Exciting Systems for Evolutionary Analysis" 4:00 pm: Closed ALA Board Meeting 6:00 pm: Hospitality Room Opens. Vendor/Show Exposition Room closes 7:00 pm: Banquet in the Wardley's Banquet Hall 8:00 pm: ALA Awards Presentation 9:00 pm: Wardley's Banquet Speaker - Lee Finley (RI): "Where are all the Livebearers?" After Banquet: Hospitality Room opens Sunday April 30 9:00 am: Vendor/Show Exposition Room opens 10:00 am: Auction Registration and viewing offish begins 12:00 pm: Super Auction Begins. (Seller/ALA split = 70/30 for ALA auction) LIVEBEARERS, LIVEBEARERS, & MORE LIVEBEARERS: This year we are serving up 2 fish shows (IFGA guppy and ALA livebearer) featuring 100 show classes and 700+ fish. Enter a fish - you'd be surprised how often a first timer takes home a plaque! With record attendance, this also means more hobbyists than ever selling fish out of their rooms, and bringing fish to the Sunday auction. Come to our auction if you can't make the whole weekend.- RARE FISH are being brought for the auction by the ALA — CZECH-BRED LIVEBEARERS with collection data are trying to be imported by Adam's Pet Safari ( and will be for sale in the Vendor Area SHOW & AUCTION RULES NOW AVAILABLE at If you are entering the ALA show, try to bring your own mini tank. If you need one, make sure to indicate that on the registration form and we will provide one. The IFGA show will supply bowls for all entries. ALA SHOW TO FEATURE 3-TIER RACK SYSTEM...Courtesy of our Mends at the North Jersey Aquarium Society. Check them out at and don't miss one of the most unique and largest auctions in the country May 7th in the Meadowlands, NJ. ROOM SALES: Anyone wishing to sell livestock or dry goods from their room must register with the ALA. Doing so entitles you to advertise your wares on our Large Bulletin Board, as well as on your hotel room door. The fee for this privilege is only $5, and the proceeds are donated directly to the Vern Parish Fund. We also hope you join in a Convention tradition and provide some of your leftover livestock and wares for our Sunday auction. AND FOR YOUR FAMILY: Right on site or across the street is a multiplex theater, bowling, Target, and Chuck-E-Cheeze. A few blocks away is Funplex indoor amusement park, and Anchor Golfland. A few miles away is the exclusive Short Hills Mall, and Florham Park roller skating rink. The Morris Museum and Arboretum are minutes away, and American Revolution historic sites abound. Liberty State park with ferries to the Statue and Ellis Island is 29 miles away. 4

April 2006

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

Natives, Anyone? by DAN RADEBAUGH y first experience keeping fish was with Gambusia. I was nine or ten, and we lived on a lake north of Tampa, so collecting them was simple. Keeping them alive in glass jars proved less so, but the seed was sown. I tried Gambusia again a few years later - then keeping fish in an actual fish tank (and an outdoor pond)—this time my goldfish & tropicals got their fins shredded by these small but aggressive natives, so the Gambusia got returned to the swamp from whence they came. These days I'm more interested in larger fish than Gambusia, but the idea of natives still appeals to me, so I've put together a small collection of natives, both wild-caught and hatchery-bought. My current native residents are three yellow perch, four pumpkinseeds, two warmouths, and a spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus), as well as a longnose gar. There are a lot of reasons people don't keep native fish. They are generally perceived as being rather drab, many require living food, most prefer cooler water than we are used to providing, or than indeed was possible in the old days of incandescent lamps. Then there is the matter of acquiring them. There is little or no uniformity among the states as to the laws for collecting, buying and selling, or even possessing native fishes. While many of these laws make some sense when placed in local historical context, just as many are illogical, arbitrary, or just plain silly. Add to this the issues of acquiring the needed licenses, possibly further endangering threatened species, private property ("What are you doing with that net in my creek?"), and it becomes apparent that you need to do some homework before you sally forth to collect your natives. In fact, to those of us living in cities like New York, the whole idea of sallying forth into the wilderness when there are perfectly good pet shops within walking distance can seem more than a little masochistic. Besides, what about that drab thing? Well, let's talk! First, about the drab thing. There are hundreds of North American fish potentially suitable for aquariums. Many are strikingly colorful! Who knew? Very few aquarist books even mention them. Ironically, many of our North American fishes have become rather popular among European aquarists. Between all the minnows, darters, shiners, catfish, and sunfish, there are plenty of natives to suit nearly any color


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

preference or tank size. Fortunately, there are now some field guides and other books that show decent color plates of a wide range of North American native fishes. Often the choice of substrate and lighting make a surprising difference in how your fish display. For my fish, a switch to a lighter gravel and stronger lighting was a revelation! Water Conditions: Many natives occur over a wide geographical and climatic range, and with some exceptions are not too picky about pH, hardness, etc. Salmonids, such as trout, are very difficult (and in many states illegal) to keep in aquaria. They require pristine water, usually too cool for average aquarists to maintain. The Southeastern brook trout, for example, will not survive sustained temperatures of over 68 degrees Fahrenheit. I have not heard of largemouth or smallmouth bass being successfully kept in home aquaria over a long term. In general, for the fish I will mention below, the trade-off seems to be that they will grow more quickly in warmer water, but not live as long as they would in cooler water. All of these fish seem to need cool water, followed by a rise in temperature, as a spawning trigger. With the advent of more reasonably priced large tanks, and now, thanks largely to saltwater enthusiasts, affordable chillers, there is probably reason to believe that aquarium spawning of many of these species is possible. Temperament For tropicals common to the hobby, there is usually pretty good available information regarding diet, temperament, and spawning. This kind of information is less readily available for natives, especially as regards keeping them in aquaria. There are a few books and web sites that summarize how some of the more well-studied species behave and spawn in the wild, but not much data is available on how most of our natives behave in glass cages. I'll confine my remarks to the few that I have some experience with. Yellow Perch (Percaflavescens)'. In his excellent book, American Aquarium Fishes, Robert J. Goldstein dismisses yellow perch as being unsuitable for aquaria. I would really like

April 2006

to ask him why. Fve had my three for a year now, and they've been model citizens. They're easy to feed, not aggressive, and entertaining to watch. They like to hang out together, and show schooling tendencies, so having three allows them to do so. For a while I kept them with some cichlids, and they adopted the Jurupari as their leader. Their diet in the wild is opportunistic — insects, crustaceans, and small fish. Mine are hatchery-born, so flakes and now pellets are readily taken. I supplement with minnows, mealworms, crickets, earthworms, freeze-dried krill, etc. Despite being rather shy, they can be boisterous feeders. In the wild they spawn in the spring, and are egg-scatterers, providing no care to the eggs or fry. I have not heard of any home aquarium spawning, nor have I seen any spawning behavior in mine. Probably there is a rising water temperature cue, and my unheated indoor tank stays in the upper 70s through the winter. Size is usually from 8-12", and mine are in that range. They are altogether delightful fish, though sometimes a bit skittish. Sunfish: There are many sunfish species, and they generally fill the ecological niche occupied by cichlids in the Southern Hemisphere. In North America they include Crappie, Bluegill, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, as well as many lesser known and/or smaller species. Pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus): One of the most common and best known species—truly beautiful fish when given adequate lighting. They are active, a bit scrappy with one another, and brave, but not aggressive in the way we think of with cichlids. They're colony-nest builders, clearing a hollow in the substrate using a sweeping movement of their caudal fin, which the male will then defend. Mine have not spawned, but one of the males did build and defend a nest, though he couldn't seem to interest a partner. As with the perch, there is probably a water temperature cue in the spring. Not fussy eaters. Warmouth (Chaenobryttus sulosus}: They have an interesting, coppery color, are more laid-back than the pumpkinseeds, and more piscivorus, though they appreciate veggies — peas, cauliflower, chopped spinach, etc. — from time to time. Both pellets and flakes are readily taken. Ambush predators — they like to hang out around driftwood or other decorations. They're very aware of the space outside the tank. They will come to the glass to meet and greet, but remain somewhat shy. Warmouths' behavior will seem more familiar to cichlid veterans, as compared with

that of pumpkinseeds — rather more solitary — conspecific dominance is an issue. They will mix it up with cichlids of a similar body shape. Spotted Sunfish (Lepomis punctatus)'. A surprise on all counts. I acquired mine by accident. Initially totally silver, it has developed the signature spots and dark ventral fins as it has grown. It has shown some aggression with certain other fish — the warmouths for example — mostly over who gets a preferred spot. Like the others, it appreciates veggies from time to time. Shortnose Gar (Lepisosteidae platostomus)'. This is an "I think." I bought it as L plastostomus, but store ID's are not always to be trusted. A gar expert of online acquaintance finds the photos to be more suggestive of L, osseus. Peaceful, but when hungry it will try to eat what it thinks will fit in its mouth. It took a long time to convert this fish to eating pellets. These guys require a large tank, as they can eventually grow to over three feet. Mine is about half of that length right now. Use some care with tankmates. Gars look quite fierce, but are defenseless against fish like large, aggressive cichlids. All of these fish, separately and collectively, have been a pleasure to keep and observe. While these particular fish require large tanks for long-term care, there are smaller and more colorful species that would be just as rewarding to keep as any tropical. And just as with tropicals, plenty of our native species are suffering from habitat destruction, and are in need of help. Suggested References: Goldstein, Robert J., American Aquarium Fishes, Texas A&M University Press, October 2000 Page, Lawrence M. and Burr, Brooks M., Freshwater Fishes, First Field Guide, National Audubon Society Bianchini, Francesco, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Freshwater & Marine Aquarium Fishes, Simon & Schuster, 1977 fishspecs/

April 2006

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

Gambusia affinis:

The "Mosquito Fish" by JOSEPH FERDENZi

any people have often heard me say in a I'll give them this: they are tough sons-of-*!?!. They can be found in tropical and parody of Will Roger's famous saying that he "never met a man he didn't like," sub-tropical climates all over the world, in freshwater to practically marine water, in all kinds that I have never met a fish I didn't like. Well, it's a bit of an exaggeration, because while it is true, of puddles, ponds, and pools. They are survivors. there are some fish that I do not Most other fish are more find to be enjoyable as aquarium delicate. Plus, Mosquito Fish are residents. quite prolific. They have been In this article, I intend to introduced all over the world, although their native range was write about one such fish. This, in originally here in North America. itself, is a bit of a first because Gambusia affinis So, what is the most hobbyists do not write about problem? Here is what my fish that they do not like to keep experience with them in an aquarium has taught in their aquariums, and I am no exception. This article is, therefore, a rarity. me: they are vicious and they are extreme My subject is a very small fish. Females cannibals. They are definitely not candidates for the community aquarium, unless your tank is rarely exceed one and one half inches, and males are even smaller. They are Poeciliids, and would populated with larger piscivorus predators where generally remind you of a colorless guppy, if with the Mosquito Fish become part of the food chain. Even if you keep Mosquito Fish by a slightly more elongated body. So, what does such a fish have going for it, at least as far as themselves, you will have problems. If you do not keep them in a large aquarium (30 gallons or more) humans are concerned? with many, many hiding places for the fry, you will The answer is: mosquito control. You never have any population growth. In smaller see, they are not called "Mosquito Fish" because aquariums, the dominant fish will harass all other they resemble a mosquito, or behave like a mosquito. No, they are called "Mosquito Fish" adults into oblivion, and the fry will be eaten until you are down to one fish. because they have a prodigious appetite for Mosquito Fish belong in the great mosquitos. Well, at least they are reported to have outdoors, in larger bodies of water than we can this voraciousness. Frankly, that quality may be usually provide in our homes. Hey, maybe that's overrated in that I have encountered few fish which their master plan. "Plain, colorless fish that are do not relish mosquito larvae. Most livebearers nasty to boot will not appeal to humans, and they and killies will feast on them to the point of having exploding bellies — so will danios, barbs, and won't keep us in those awful glass cages" — what gouramies. So, what is so special about the a thought! Mosquito Fish?


Our Generous Members reater City's regular monthly auctions often approach, both in quantity and variety, the "yearly" auctions of some other societies. Each month, we provide a sheet where members who have contributed to the auction can write down their contributions (and yes, a "50%/50%" split js a contribution!) to be recognized in Modern Aquarium. Only a few of our members are doing so now, but we encourage everyone who contributes to "sign in" on that sheet. Our auction contributors make a major contribution to our Society, and we'd like to recognize them. Last month, the following members (among others who chose not to identify themselves) contributed to the success of our monthly auction:


Al Grusell Harry Faustmann Artie Friedman

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

Rich Levy Ed Vukich Anton Vukich

April 2006

The Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma okefenokee} by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

he Okefenokee Swamp is the largest (or chopped) blackworms, as well as mosquito freshwater swamp in North America. The larvae, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms. Swamp is a relatively shallow 400,000 acre For spawning, a male slowly approaches (1600 km2) peat-filled marsh straddling the a female and uses fin and body movement to Georgia-Florida border. It is home to a diverse "point" to the plant he previously selected as a collection of animals, including bears, deer, spawning site. (Occasionally, the male will nip the alligators, and over two dozen species of snakes. female in the process.) If the female follows him into the selected plant, his body becomes more At one time what is now the Okefenokee Swamp was part of the ocean. A brightly colored, and he quivers while sandbar developed and cut this area gently nipping at the female's genital off from the rest of the ocean, creating papilla, nudging her abdomen on each a pool of water. As it collected side. rainwater and runoff water, it While this is happening, the eventually became a freshwater pool. Elassoma Okefenokee female selects the best location in the Over the years, leaves, dead plants, (Approximately actual size) plant for her eggs. The male places himself next to the female. Her eggs and other organic debris fell into the water. These built up, decayed, and formed layers (about 20 to 25), and his milt, are expelled into the plant. The male then chases the female away and of peat. In places, the peat layer is five to ten feet guards the spawning site for about three days, after deep. While you can walk on the peat, it sometimes shakes because of the water beneath it. which the eggs hatch. Once the eggs hatch, there is no parental care (on the other hand, the adults do In fact, the Okefenokee Swamp gets its name from Native American words meaning "Land of the not eat the fry, either). Fry require green water, paramecium, and similar micro-foods, and can start Trembling Earth." The peat has turned the water taking newly hatched brine shrimp after about two in the Swamp a very dark brown color, and has weeks. added tannic acid to it, lowering its pH. In short, Elassoma okefenokee need a well planted this is not the sort of ecosystem that you might tank (I suggest hornwort), filtration with slow normally expect to find suitable livestock in for the water movement (sponge or box filters), and soft home aquarium. (dH about 5) acidic (pH about 6) water. If you use Yet, as its name implies, the Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma okefenokee) are found a box filter, peat can be added as a filter medium, but I've had no problems using blackwater extract (among other locations) in the Okefenokee Swamp. instead. These are basically "coldwater fish," These fish occur from the Altamaha River in tolerating temperatures as low as 39째F (4째 C), but Georgia, south to the St. Johns and Hillsborough able to withstand as high as 86째F (30째C). rivers in Florida, and west to the Choctawhatchee River in Florida and Georgia. They inhabit shallow, heavily vegetated areas in slow-moving References streams and swamps over sand or soft mud Tate, W. B., and S. J. Walsh. 2005. Distribution and substrates. The Genus Elassoma (dwarf sunfish) ecological requirements of the Okefenokee pygmy consists of six members (although there may be sunfish and the blackbanded sunfish in Florida. Final two distinct species si Elassoma okefenokee), all report. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation of which are endemic to the southeastern United Commission, Tallahassee, Florida States. The genus name comes from the Greek words elasson (smaller) andsoma (body), referring Wikipedia: to the fishes' small size, as compared to members of the family Centrarchidae (the "true" sunfishes). Gilbert, Carter R., Family Elassomatidae, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, The Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish is both a Gainesville, Florida fishkeeper's delight, and a major challenge. They are very small, with a total adult length of 1.34 Mettee, Maurice F. and Scharpf, Christopher, inches (3.4 cm), and require live food. I keep Reproductive Behavior, Embryology, and Larval several containers of microworms and daphnia Development of Four Species of Pygmy Sunfish, going all the time. The adults will eat very small American Currents. Winter (Feb.) 1998


April 2006

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

A Neon is a Neon, is a Neon...NOT! by BERNARD HARRIGAN

eon Tetras, Paracheirodon innesi and Cardinal Tetras, Paracheirodon axelroodi resemble each other closely. Most advanced hobbyists can tell them apart. Few hobbyists know that there is a third tetra that looks similar. As a matter of fact, it resembles the Neon Tetra so much that its common name is the "False Neon Tetra," Paracheirodon simulans. All three tetras have almost identical colors and patterns, most notably, red and blue running horizontally down their bodies. The illustration has a color key and the fish are drawn at double their normal adult size to help you see the major differences among them. The Cardinal Tetra is the largest of the three, growing to 5cm. The red portion of the fish starts from the middle of its head and extends down the body through the caudal peduncle, and even bleeding into the tail. Of the three tetras, this one has the most red in its body. There's a small swath of white on the bottom of its abdomen. Blue starts in the eye, sometimes with a drop of blue ahead of the eye. The blue stripe runs above and parallel to the red, ending under the adipose fin. Brown is above the blue, going up the rest of the body. The Neon Tetra measures in at 4cm. The red starts above its abdomen and extends in a "V" shape higher, lower and back, meeting the blue almost two


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


P. axelrodi


P. innesi

;:J:fJ|tf;#: £&$*

"' ^^"^^SS^^^^^ ' : :T^4«:N:S$::y

P. simulans

^"^ •



-|- ^

-|p: '':';*4«. ,s

+1-4-ff*-t1-4 +t4t-t+^'


April 2006


thirds of the way down its body. It continues down to the caudal peduncle. From the back of the eye down to, and including the abdomen, it is white. Blue starts in the eye, and basically runs above the lateral line, meeting the red two-thirds of the way down the body, and stopping before the adipose fin. Brown is above the blue, going up the rest of the body. The False Neon Tetra is the smallest of the three, attaining a length of only 2 to 3.5cm. The red portion of the fish starts from the middle of its head, and covers its gill plates. It stops there, picking up again less than halfway down its body. It silhouettes the abdomen and hugs the blue all the way back to the caudal peduncle. The abdomen is whitish. Blue starts in the eye and basically runs above the lateral line. It meets up with the red less than halfway down the body to the caudal peduncle, ending a little before the tail, further

down than either of the other two tetras. In comparison to the other two fishes, the False Neon's color seems muted. The white isn't as white, and the red and blue are not as bright. Brown is above the blue, going up the rest of the body. The False Neon needs more stringent water parameters than the other two — soft water, a pH of 5.2-6.0, a temperature of 73°-81°F and very low nitrate levels. They're known to be susceptible to the parasitic disease Oodinium (or velvet). In the wild, they are found in the company of Cardinal Tetras. They could easily be caught with them, and end up as an unsuspected by-catch in some store's tanks. According to Baench's Aquarium Atlas Volume I, "The three species are not related but do look much alike."

1j. l^iiiiii!(L l^.-liltW :





:" .«ls»isi*:;rs»;:s:sSif,,,,

;; • I l l l l l l i l lihlllll":il li|lSplllilill

This photo shows two holding pens, crafted by the people of the Amazon, for cardinal tetras (left pen) and simulans tetras (right pen). These tetras are the entire livelihood of these people, hence Project Piaba. Photo by Claudia Dickinson


April 2006

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



ishkeepers Anonymous just keeps on creating itself as it moves forward. My original plan was to reveal the identity of the anonymous member from the previous month in the beginning, and then follow that up with a new biography. However, for reasons I will explain shortly, I am opening this month's column with a new fishkeeper. So, let's just plunge right in!


Anonymous Fishkeeper/April 2006 Please introduce yourself. My hobby has been in my blood on and off for over forty years. It all started when my father used to take me fishing on the Shannon River for salmon. That was my first memory of live fish. Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. When I was six years old we moved to America, and lived in the Bronx. That's where I had my first introduction to fishkeeping. I was about ten or eleven years old at the time. My first girlfriends' father used to raise guppies. When I went to visit, I would sit in front of the fish tank and watch the fish instead of paying attention to Kathy, my girlfriend. My next introduction into fishkeeping was from a man named Pete who owned a German deli. I worked for him as a stock boy. In his apartment he used to keep about twenty assorted tanks, all chromed and shiny. Pete used to have all kinds of fish, and he was the first person to teach me the names of different fish. Then the worst thing happened; just as I was learning, Pete passed away. My fish education was put on hold until I went to a Catholic school, and when I was in the seventh grade one of my teachers put a fish tank in the classroom. It was a community tank full of tetras, barbs, guppies, and swordtails. Well, my education was back on track again. As luck would have it, I got a job delivering groceries. I was making sixteen dollars a week plus tips. Needless to say, I was rolling in the dough. So I went to Petland Discounts on Creston Avenue, and I bought a ten gallon setup and some goldfish from Neil Padron, the man who owns the business. Wow! Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)


Well, I graduated from that school in the eighth grade. I went to high school at DeWitt Clinton, which at the time was one of the few schools that had an animal care program. We used to have lion cubs, pigmy goats, and monkeys walking through the hallways, and fish tanks in the classrooms. But, once again, my education was put on hold, as my father died and I had to go to work and support my family. I was lucky in a way because I got to work with my first love, horses, at the race tracks and riding academies. It was a love that changed my life for the better. I grew up and met Kathy, my one true love (no, not the same one), and I owned many beautiful horses over the years. During that time in my life I always kept fish tanks, both salt and freshwater. I'm still learning, and probably always will be. I don't have a favorite fish species because over the years I have had a lot of them from guppies to apistogrammas, with no regrets. I do favor African cichlids, my albino eureka reds most of all. Is there someone you think of as a mentor? Yes. A friend of mine opened a tropical fish wholesale business in Mt. Vernon where I started to hang out and learn more about fish and their care. It was there that I met Gino, my best friend and mentor. He taught a guy who thought he knew everything about discus some new tricks. We had a rivalry going. Whenever a new shipment of discus would come in, one of us would try to beat the other to the wholesale warehouse to buy the best fish. If one of us got there first, then the other would not buy any discus because the best ones would be gone. But me and my good friend Gino would hang out and talk about fish all day. Do any of your fish have "pet names?" Yes. The first article I wrote [for Modern Aquarium] was about a manmade fish called a flower horn. I used to have one named Irving that I kept in an eighty five-gallon tank with three clown loaches and one pleco. Needless to say, Irving was one tough cookie. I had to provide a lot of hiding places for the others to hide in. I'll give Irving one thing; he was a smart fish. You could hand feed him and pet him.

April 2006


Describe your most memorable fishkeeping experience. One day while Gino and I were hanging out at the wholesaler, we made an offer to rent some space from him. We wanted to raise and breed fish. Well, he accepted our deal, and we were on our way to a new aspect of fishkeeping. We became well known by word-of-mouth, and had a successful run at selling fish. Then, as fate would have it, our friend had to shut down the business, and we had to go. So, having a lot of '-lifo fish and no place to ;-:siOT go, we divided them up. I wound up with fifteen tanks ranging in size from ;:lis& two hundred and ^ fifty gallons down to a two gallon fry ;m tank. Even though we no longer have the business, I now breed fish at home. fi;j|ft||^ I have albino eureka red peacocks to albino angelfish to albino guppies. What advice would you give to a beginning fishkeeper? Talk to lots of people, and visit lots of stores and auctions. Also, join aquarium societies. Once I was into fish full time, I decided to go to a tropical fish show at a hotel in Queens. (This was in the late 1980's.) The show was run by a club called the Greater City Aquarium Society. Well, I joined up and became a member, but not a good one. I could never get to a meeting. Needless to say, I let my membership lapse. Then in the 1990's I got my first big tank; a one hundred and fifty gallon beauty which I purchased at That Fish Place in Pennsylvania, where I even ran into some members of Greater City. Well, I joined the Greater City Aquarium Society again, and this time I became a good member. I started writing articles for Modern Aquarium, and became author-of-the-year. Because of Al Priest, I also won third place for one of my articles at the NEC. He took the time to send it in, and gave me support when I needed it. Well, one meeting a month wasn't enough for me, so I also joined the Brooklyn Aquarium Society with my buddy Gino. That was where I entered my first bowl show, and won second place with a red peacock. Sadly, it was their last bowl


show, but that didn't stop me from going. Between the two clubs, this "Fish Monger" has made a lot of friends. I have a lot of good memories, and hope to have a lot more.

ow it is time to reveal the identity of our very first "anonymous fishkeeper." She introduced herself to you hi the March 2006 issue. I'm sure all of you enjoyed reading her biography; I know I did! This multifaceted fishkeeper with the beaming smile is our own Sharon Barnett. Sharon has been doing some proofreading for Modern Aquarium over the last year or so. If you like what you see, she is part of the reason why. Thank you, Sharon, for "breaking the surface" of this new column. I know I put you on the spot by asking you to be the first; to set an example that others among us might follow. You did a fabulous job. T h e reason I saved this until the second part of Sharon Barnett the article is that Sharon has yet another "surprise" for us. Not only is she our first biographer, but she is Modern Aquarium's newest author as well! (Actually, we have two new authors this month!) She has submitted what we all hope will be the first of many more articles to come. As you move to the next page, you will most assuredly enjoy "Fishy Surprises" by Sharon Barnett.


April 2006

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

by SHARON BARNETT ne of the best perks of fishkeeping for me is the unexpected, like glancing up over my laptop at my ninety gallon mbuna tank and seeing a tiny fry dart out from under a rock for a quick bite... "Oh, hello! Who's your daddy? And for that matter, who's your momma?" Although I usually know which females are holding, and when to expect fry, there's always a secret spawner or two who surprise me. A couple of weeks ago, I was pleased to witness the spawnings of two different species of catfish. Although I had read about the spawning activities of Corydoras catfish, and had seen evidence of it in my planted fifty-five gallon (eggs all over the glass and plant leaves), I had never actually seen the display, and truth be told, I could not envision the female making "an envelope" of her ventral fins for holding and placing the eggs. So, as you may imagine, I was spellbound watching her clasp those fins together and extruding the eggs into the "envelope." By some odd coincidence, the Synodontis petricola colony in my mbuna tank got into the mood on the same day. I don't remember having read much about the spawning techniques of the petricola, though I did read somewhere that there was some question about whether or not they practice the same "cuckoo trick" as the Synodontis multipunctatus. I did, once, see a video of some petricola spawning blithely, and obliviously right in the middle of an open area of a cichlid community tank, where the eggs were, of course, eaten as quickly as they were laid. What I witnessed in my tank was two petricola swimming side by side, around and around, up and down, then stopping, and one of the fish (I assume the male) wrapping his body horizontally around the head/forepart of the other fish, quivering ever so slightly for a couple of seconds (I'm speculating that he was releasing milt at this time). I never actually saw the eggs falling, but I knew that they did because all of the fish in


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

the vicinity rushed in for the caviar! About a week later, I partially stripped a holding Metriadima estherae of four tiny fry. Three of them were the expected bright orange color, but the fourth was pale with some dark markings and was considerably smaller than the other three. Could this be & petricola fry? Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to test that theory, as the odd-colored runt didn't survive. Sometimes, I buy a plant and later notice a snail, or two (or two hundred), with an interesting shell and feel as though I've won a prize. This is why I am so taken with the idea of keeping a reef tank; aside from the breathtaking beauty of the tanks, I am enthralled with the idea of filling a tank with a pile of rocks, and watching what crops up over time. The two saltwater species that I would someday like to keep are uniquely suited to a well-established reef tank—as a matter of fact, it's almost a requirement for them: the psychedelic-colored Mandarin goby (Pterosynchiropus splendidus\d the magical dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zoster ae). Both of these fish require large amounts of tiny live foods which can only be produced reliably in a large, established reef system (unless you spend your entire life doing nothing but producing live food for your fish). There is one other saltwater fish that I must have at some time in my fishkeeping career—an algae blenny (Salarias fasciatus)\, at a Petland Discounts store o Avenue, I saw for the first time an algae blenny (a.k.a. "lawnmower blenny") which rushed around the tank, darting in and out of the rocks, peeking at me, and which reminded me of nothing so much as a tiny alien (and now that I think of it, there was an alien on "Farscape" which could very well have been modeled after a blenny!). I was so amused at the antics of this fish that I found myself chuckling aloud, and very nearly clapping with glee (yes, I know—geeky!).

April 2006


Photos and captions

Our evening's *STAR* guest Mark Soberman and Warren Feuer speaker, Warren Feuer, is given are two of the superb speakers of GCAS. warm congratulations by President Joe Ferdenzi. Warren says of his dear friend, "Joe corrupted me!" by introducing him to the cichlids of* Lake Tanganyika in 1992. GCAS buddies' Brad Dickinson, Warren Feuer, and President Joe Ferdenzi share hearty laughter inspired by an evening with our IIGCAS 'family!'

The talents of Steven Giacobello know no bounds as, among many other accomplishments, excels in, and teaches, aquatic photography. A heartfelt welcome to our new member, Mervyn Bamby, who is most enthused over his 90 gallon West African tank!

The author pauses to take a moment on the 'other side of the lens' with her dear aquatic friend, Leonard Ramroop.

Joseph Graffagnino proudly s u p p o r t s the A m a z o n i a n conservation efforts of Project Piaba with his striking new t-shirt!

In charge of the layout of each cover of Modern Aquarium, as well as carting the issues to and ;'Tom the printers, Jason Kerner always wears a cheerful smile! It is always a joy to have GCAS Member, as well as Brooklyn Aquarium Society President, Al DiSpigna join in our evening festivities!


April 2006

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

by Claudia Dickinson

Horst Gerber dreaming up one of his exquisite creations for a Natural Lake Tanganyikan Aquarium.

Between the evening's program and his Door Prize book winning, Stephen Chen is most enthused over a d d i n g n e w Lake Tanganyikan dwarf cichlids to his J aquatic collection!

•I flip. ;iiiiiiii

This was a night of good fortune for Artie Friedman, as he held the winning ticket for the book, Introducing Cichlids! Every night that Artie is at a GCAS meeting, is our good fortune!

After another Grande evening with the GCAS, Bill Amely and Jannette Ramirez head out the door, ready to start rounding up items for the highly anticipated April Silent Auction!


Mark'Rubanow 205 8th Street, Hicksville, NY 11.80.1 (516) 939-0267 or (516) 646-8699 (beeper)

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

April 2006



ou've worked hard on making your seahorse aquarium the best possible habitat for your seahorses. You can't visualize them being anything but happy in their new home. The problem is, you have no idea what their old home was like. You don't know what they had to tolerate and get used to. Even if they come from the most superb of situations, they'll still need a chance to acclimate themselves to their new environment. Not just seahorses, but any new organism, whether it's a fish, an invertebrate, or even a plant, should be acclimated to the water conditions in its new living quarters. Otherwise in this case the seahorse could be overly stressed, struggle just to swim, lay on its side on the bottom of the tank, go into shock, and possibly even die. Why take the chance? How you go about acclimating depends on how closely the water in the bag matches the water in the aquarium. The first step is to test the water. It is prudent to test both the water in the bag as well as the water in the tank. There are a number of factors that could change the aquarium's parameters, even over a 24 hour period, so you need to know the most current numbers. You're checking the temperature, pH, carbonate hardness, and salinity. If your new acquisition came from a local pet shop, and you came straight home, that's all you have to worry about. If your purchase was shipped to you overnight (isn't the Internet wonderful?), it's been in that bag for at least a day. In this circumstance the oxygen content will be low, and the ammonia level has probably built up. There are two methods I use to acclimate. Which one I use depends on how different the two water samples are from each other.


depends on how big the bag is, and how much water was in the bag when you started. You want a third more water than what the seahorse was traveling in. You also want to be finished by your fourth fill and ten minute wait. In less than an hour, your new prize has adjusted to your aquarium's unique water chemistry. If possible, by hand, gently "cradle" the livestock out and place it into the aquarium. Then remove the bag and throw it, as well as the water, away. If you find that the water parameters deviate widely from one another, then you'll have to do some earnest acclimation. You will need a five gallon bucket, some airline tubing, and an airline valve. THE DRIP METHOD

THE FLOATING BAG METHOD This is the quicker and easier of the two methods. Open the bag and discard about half of its water. Set the bag into the tank. Clip it to the side of the tank so that no water from the bag enters the aquarium. I clip it using an old lettuce clip, but a clothespin will work as well. Pour a couple of ounces of tank water into the bag. I use a cup and pour it from several inches high to help agitate and reoxygenate the water. Wait for about ten minutes. Then, pour a few more ounces of tank water into the bag. How much water to put in


April 2006

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

This method is more elaborate and takes longer, but it will ensure a smooth transition from the bag to your aquarium. Start by gently emptying the contents of the bag into your bucket. If the seahorse isn't covered by the water, tilt and prop up the bucket so that it is. Make sure that the bucket isn't teetering, or you will have an accident waiting to happen. Place the bucket next to the tank that will be the new home of your seahorse. Connect the airline valve to one end of a length of airline tubing. Put the other end in the tank. Start a syphoning action. Adjust the valve until the water drips out. I like a 40 drop-per-minute rate. Cover the bucket to reduce stress, and to prevent jumping. You should be done once the water in the bucket equals two to three times the amount of water you started with in the bag. You can test the water's parameters in the bucket and compare it against the reading from the tank. As gently as you can, and by hand if possible, transfer the seahorse from the bucket to the tank.

Don't ever pour any water that the new arrival came in back into your aquarium. Besides its possible high nitrogen content, most seahorses are kept with copper in the water to help prevent disease. That copper can not only kill your prized invertebrates, but leave your biological filtration in a shambles. If you're introducing more than one new arrival into your tank, do it in separate buckets. Stress and cramped quarters pose numerous risks to the "acclimatee." Lastly, you might want to add AmQuel速, or something comparable, to the bucket or the bag before you even get started with the acclimation process. Ammonia can still build up while the animal is waiting to be relocated. AmQuel stops ammonia from building up. Most fish shippers use it for that reason. Acclimating takes a little extra time, but doing it will help remove the letdown and guilt you will feel by watching your new seahorse struggle to swim, or just sink to the bottom of your tank after being introduced.


See how colorful the rabbit eggs get this time of year. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

April 2006


A Quick and Fun Method to Spice Up your Aquatic Life! by CLAUDIA DICKINSON

eginning this weekend with the gathering of the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies, the coming months hold something for everyone. The American Livebearer Association, the East Coast Guppy Association, the American Killifish Association, and the American Cichlid Association are ready to spice up your aquatic life! Let's take a look at some of the convention highlights for April so that we can make our plans, and pack our bags! Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies (NEC) When: April 7th ~ 9th. Where: Hartford Marriott, Farmington, CT. Contact: Convention Chair Janine Banks at:, tel: 802-372-8716. Did you ever wonder when the first tropical fish was housed in an aquarium, how fish were kept warm before the first heater was invented, how it was discovered that water changes were a critical element of healthy fish, if there were noted woman aquarists a hundred years ago? Have you thought about how the first tropical fish survived the rigors of crossing the Atlantic, what the first fish were that were brought to the United States, when the first cardinal terra was discovered, and what brought on the African cichlid craze? Dr. James Atz, Alan Fletcher, Dr. Albert Klee, Rosario LaCorte, Earl Schneider, Paul Speice and Dr. Stan Weitzman are ready to answer these questions and so much more, beginning this Friday eve, April 7th, as the NEC commences its celebration of fifty years! Ray "Kingfish" Lucas and the NEC bring us this Grande highlight of 'An Evening with the Legends!' This is reason enough for us to head north, but it is far from all, as Convention Chair, Janine Banks, has worked diligently to bring us an action-filled weekend of exciting activities! Our own multi-talented GCAS President, Joe Ferdenzi, will be there on Friday evening, as he performs his inimitable auctioneering talents at the NEC/Aquarium Hobby Historical Society auction. GCAS Vice President Mark Soberman is on the list of unrivaled NEC speakers, and will share his extensive knowledge of catfish with us. You are certain to see numerous fellow GCAS members, and will surely feel right at home. I know I can barely wait to see you there! American Livebearer Association (ALA), and the East Coast Guppy Association (ECGA) When: April 28th ~ 30th. Where: Ramada Inn & Conference Center, East Hanover, N.J. Contact: Convention Chair Rit Forcier at:, or visit:



Following on the heels of the NEC, you cannot resist this opportunity as the American Livebearer Association comes to our doorstep to hold its annual convention in New Jersey! Featured speakers are Dr. Ted Coletti, speaking on 'Planted Aquariums & Water Gardens for Livebearers,' Kees de Jong, speaking on 'Collecting Livebearers,' James Langhammer, speaking on What is a Livebearer?,' Bob Larsen, speaking on 'Guppies, Then and Now,' Rich Serva, speaking on 'Xiphophorus: The Sword Carrier's Tale,' Dr. Bruce Turner, speaking on 'Livebearers as Exciting Systems for Evolutionary Analysis,' and the Banquet MC, our dear GCAS friend, Lee Finley. The livebearers team up with the guppies, as the two shows are held side-by-side for a spectacular event of close to a hundred classes! Please plan to bring your own prize entries, as you may well come home with an award. Please remember ~ you must be in it, to win it! A luxury chartered bus will take those with the spirit of adventure to the heart of Manhattan on Friday for a narrated tour of the city, with time to shop and enjoy the sites. An opportunity to visit with the esteemed Dr. Paul Loiselle of the New York Aquarium may well be your choice, as those of us who wish may travel across the East River to Coney Island and spend Friday enjoying the exhibits, and the fine company of Dr. Loiselle. Certain to enthrall us for hours, the Giant Vendor-Expo Showroom is showcased by _TFH, with extraordinary sponsors such as Finley Aquatic Books, Kingfish Services, Discus Hans, Cichlid News, fish (lots!), blackworms, and so much more! If you have yet to keep livebearers, April 28th ~ 30th offers an exciting and memorable compact course, with the finest of teachers. By Sunday's Super Auction, featuring livebearers as we have never imagined, with rare finds and certain surprises, you are sure to be ready to have your first try with these lovely fish. Please, come out and have fun, support the ALA, and add a few livebearers to your life! Once we come down to earth from the NEC and the ALA, we will have a close look at May's American Killifish Association,, and July's spectacular American Cichlid Association convention, Until then, spice up your aquatic life, in two days at the NEC, and again in three weeks at the ALA!

April 2006

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

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST hat would a sign saying "75% OFF" induce you to buy? For Al it might be some clothes that don't fit him, or maybe some rusty tools. In my case, it might be an "orphan" plant in need of fresh soil and some turtle fertilizer (see "Susie's Greenhouse" in the June 2005 issue of Modern Aquarium). It DID get me to buy this lovely book. Not having a pond, I might have passed on the original price of $17.95, but a brief thumb-through convinced me that this was truly a bargain. The sub-title is 11^ "planning and maintaining a healthy water garden." The :;;|;!!!j;!j';fj| author makes no claim to a Phd., an M.D., a DVM, or any other professional designation. She speaks with authority on her subject that comes from the best credential of all: experience. Her guiding premise would have to be: "It usually takes less effort to prevent a problem than it does to solve it." Picture a how-to book peppered with hints-and-tips, whys-and-why-nots, dos-and-don'ts, and clear explanations that never left me with unanswered questions. Add to all of that, color photos with every turn of a page which serve to demonstrate, illustrate, enhance, and further instruct. There are eleven chapters. Some of the titles are pond siting, waterfalls, pumps and filtration, water quality, safety, insects and crustaceans, cleaning and maintenance. I know you are all wondering, and, yes, there is a chapter on fish. Are any of these names familiar to you: Charlene Strawn, James Brydon, William Falconer or Charles de Meurville? These are the names of varieties of water lilies, which are the authors' main area of expertise. There is a chart of recommended water depths listed by color as well as variety. For example, the hardy red water lily named 'Gloriosa' should be planted at a depth of from nine to eighteen inches. One of my favorite features of the book is the section on repotting, which is in the chapter on plants. It tells you when, why, and how, and then shows you photographs of the process. Who knew


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

that you pond keepers have so much dirt under your fingernails? O.K., I know you want to hear what she has to say about the fish. Here are a few points to ponder: "The digestion of food requires additional oxygen. Do not feed fish if the aeration pump is not working." "Since too much carbon dioxide in the water prevents fish from accessing available oxygen, their behavior will be as though they are oxygen deprived." "If the spring weather is erratic with fluctuating warm and cold spells the changes in the water temperature will stress the fish . . . once the water temperature rises above 50째 F, a pool heater may be used to maintain that temperature and lessen the fish's stress." Another feature of this book which I especially liked is the 'Fish Care Calender.' It is a care guide to fish which live in a temperate pond environment year round. A goodly percentage of the information offered is useful to aquarists as well as pond keepers. From disinfecting new plants to controlling algae to detecting as well as treating diseases in fish, just to name a few, there are many topics which apply to both disciplines. There are two appendices. The first, 'The Joy of Collecting-the Michael F. Duff Collection,' is "a rare glimpse into one hobbyist's private collection (of water lilies)." Simply put, it is a feast for the eyes. The second appendix is called 'Helpful Information.' It is a collection of conversion tables, including calculating pond volume and surface area, computing size of pump and tubing bore for waterfalls, and many more. By now you can tell that I liked this book very well. There were a couple of annoyances which were so minor that I withdraw from mentioning them. There is one, however, which detracted from the otherwise polished presentation. Scattered throughout are some line drawings which, due to their amateurish nature, diminished the publication as a whole. I suspect, however, that I am merely spoiled by Modern Aquarium's own artist-in-residence, Bernie Harrigan, and that in comparison, anything of lesser quality than his work can't help but disappoint. Ms. Nash is not one of those chatty authors who wants to be your friend. She is in control of her subject, and if you give her text your full attention, you will be in control of it as well.

April 2006


wa rd I ey ftauatt



'- ftiw! Sn , >




||pfx "'

FRANKLIN SQUARE'S COMPLETE PET CENTER 212 FRANKLIN AVE FRANKLIN SQUARE, NY 11010 see our large Aquarium Plant display and receive ONE FREE cultivated plant, just for stopping by!






April 2006

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

Crossbreeding For Fun And Profit A series by "The Undergravel Reporter"


'7 do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. " "You may not like them, so you say. Try them, try them once today. " Dr. Seuss hat gives with the current trend to change the colors of fish and other animals? Is it because we can, because it's "fun," or just because it's profitable? Apparently, all of the above. Remember the controversy over GloFish™ — those laboratory-created neon green fluorescent fish? The Taikong Corporation of Taiwan, which has earned global fame with its transgenic fish, has updated its product line with a new species which glows fluorescent gold under white light, and is able to change colors under other kinds of aquarium lights. To allay fears that these transgenic fish might cause harm by crossbreeding with wild species and producing "Frankenfish," the fish are sterilized through a "chromosome manipulation technique" before they go on the market — double genetic tinkering! Not to be outdone, researchers at the National Taiwan University claim to have succeeded in breeding three male green pigs. They accomplished this by injecting a fluorescent green protein into embryonic pigs. While there are partially green pigs in other parts of the world, the Taiwanese claim that their pigs are the only ones green from the inside out, including their hearts and internal organs. The pigs will apparently be used in stem cell research and the study of several human diseases. While we're at it, why not start teaching children that it's O.K. and fun to crossbreed and hybridize fish? With Fish Tycoon, a simulation game for Windows PCs, players are challenged to interbreed different species of tropical fish in hopes


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

of genetically recreating the "seven Magical Fish of the Island of Isola, a place where the most rare and exotic fish used to live." This "game" allows a player to create more than 400 species offish by combining species. You can download a free one hour trial version of Fish Tycoon from: (for those who don't think there are already enough species offish). And, now that we have "designer fish" why not "designed fish?" Well, unfortunately, that is also now a reality. A tropical fish supplier in Hong Kong is offering to tattoo fish with the words, patterns, or logos of your choice. "HK Aquaria Mall" sells Parrot Cichlids that are dye tattooed with Chinese New Year wishes, or sayings such as "I love you." Customers can even order custom tattoos with the words of their choice. According to translations appearing in the British magazine Practical Fishkeeping, Alen Lee told the Chinese newspaper Mingpao that, unlike some other forms of dyed fish, his are tattooed with dye using a special "low intensity laser," which he claims leaves a permanent mark, and does not cause the fish any pain. "Firstly, we need to select the appropriate fish and use only low intensity laser beams. We only engrave on the fishes' scales, not through them. We also had concerns over the possibility of animal abuse, but to date, the mortality rate has been zero. The fishes don't even bleed," he told Mingpao. Of course, handling the fish, and having it out of the water for this procedure, must cause extreme stress. We know stress by itself is enough to bring on numerous life-threatening fish diseases that can shorten the life of a fish. But, hey, look at the pretty designs on that fish floating belly up in the water? Isn't that cute, and aren't we clever? On a more serious note, I want to advise our readers that anyone with a "Current USA AquaPond Aquarium," model 7050 (a 12 gallon nano reef tank measuring around 16"xl5"xl6"), should disconnect it and return it to the point of purchase. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a voluntary recall, and has warned the public to stop using this tank. The tank has three power cords — two control the lighting, and the third controls the air pump. When only one of the two lamp cords is plugged-in, the unplugged lamp cord can "become energized," posing an electric shock risk. To date, seven fishkeepers have reported electric shocks from touching the energized power cable. (Why do I have the sudden urge to send one of these tanks to the guy who "painlessly" tattoos fish to order?)

April 2006


ET SHOP TROPICAL FISH AQUARIUM Specializing in Tropical Fish and Aquarium Supplies Large Selection of Aquatic Plants Knowledgeable Staff Same Location Since 1947. (718) 849-6678

11 5-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418

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

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


April 2006

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Last Month's Bowl Show Results: l)Bill Amely 2)BillAmely

3) Jerry O'Farrell

Unofficial 2005-2006 Bowl Show totals to date: Bill Amely-15pts Evelyn Eagan-9pts Rich Levy~8pts

Ed Vukich-3pts

Jerry O'Farrell- Ipt

We welcome the following new GGAS members: MervynBamby We extend a thank you to the following renewing members: Steve Berman, Carl Kaplan, and Jason Kerner Here are meeting times and

of some axjuariujn societies ^^^^fetropolitan New York area:

GREATER Cljjff AQUABHllHi Next meeting! May 3||(l9||k m Speaker: 5jSricjpJJon<%n of "Absolutely Fish" Topic: "Jfie Cici|||l of Lake Malawi" Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm (fipiept Jjmaary and February) at: if QulSijjIotanical Garden Jii.50 Main St. - Flushing, NY ContacPijIr. Joseph Ferdenzi (516) 484-0|^|;; .^ -. Website: http://www.greatercity.jjp

Society Next mellm Speaker: Martin Topic:

in i||:;::i:ai|js wi%all my

fish t^i^I^. %. Friday of thflpnth at 7:30pm: rium - Education H§ll|iife . at West 8th St., BrdUlyn, NY-, Events Hotline: (718) '* Apple Guppy Club1*1i|r

list Coast Guppyi|t|s(|pl||icfi • 1st Thursday of ea^f|v^y;S:^at the Botanical Garden at

- j .,, :;,;•-: iu^L»:

month (e>, -"p!1"': Pond Environmen|ll;il| Blvd. at 7:30-10:06pm. l o ialdCurtin(718)631

Lori N ex|p::eetipg: f .|:rJf 21,2006 JvleetsS ! L icept July and August) all |fe. ^L;Li':';>;i;;.:,, ''"'^m^rOOpm.

Ike 1|:S :"-- H

...^^i^^ ssda . ;i|iyifyi;u| ] .^ Legion ^^^f^

hffi;,:, •; .. jf


|l|xt m eetilpl^pril l|: J^fpresentation by J|boratories .^

:&*> " !


; ;

• Slp K;^

(5 1 6|||Pi766 ; \ i ,^pvT:


North Jersel;;l|,;|yayM,n, Society Next Meeting: April 2^'^^^^^^^^ Speaker: Discus Hans Topic: "Discus"

^^^ - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT

Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Website: or e-mail:

Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 E-mail: Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS Website:

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

April 2006


Fin Fun Natives, Everyone! We welcome Dan Radebaugh to our Modern Aquarium family. He has brought the term "natives" to the forefront of our minds. In this country, when we think of "natives," we generally mean fish which are endemic to North America. But every fish is native to somewhere! Challenge yourself to name the native home of each of the fish listed. (Hint: the April "Foolster" may be hiding between the lines.)

Name of fish

Native home

Brochis splendens Nandus nandus Cyprinodon macularis Hemichromis bimaculatus Barney fifeicus mayberrii Bedotia geayi Jordanellafloridae Channa argu Melanotaenia splendida splendida Chaenobryttus gulosus



April 2006


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

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.