Modern Aquarium

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Series III

Vol. XIII. No. 5

July. 2006


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Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


Spotlight on Plants


A Swimming Dragon


The Amusing Aquarium (Cartoon)


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This Month's Speaker: AI DiSpigna


Last Month's Bowl Show Winners


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Through the Lens


Fishkeepers Anonymous


The Seahorse Chronicles: Seahorse Sustenance


Last Month's Door Prize Winners


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You Like Tomato and I Like To-mah-to . . . . . 21 G.C.A.S. Happenings


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Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 10th day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 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: / or http: //www. great ercity. com

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by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST ast month, I announced that this month would be the start of a new column. Well, I have to somewhat revise that statement, as this month marks the start of TWO new columns. (The sound you just heard was that of other aquarium society publication editors reading this and shaking their heads in amazement and envy!) The first new column is by Sharon Barnett. Until a few months ago, Sharon's main "claim to fame" in the GCAS was her infectious smile, and shrewd auction buying skills. But, after she offered to help with proofreading some pages in Modern Aquarium, things changed. Oh, Sharon still smiles a lot, and still bids at our monthly auctions. But, just last month, she participated in the "mini-program series" of member presentations, AND she had her first article published in Modern Aquarium. She was also the first "Anonymous Fishkeeper" in our "Fishkeepers Anonymous" column. This month she starts a new column, to appear from time to time, entitled "Mermaid Tales." (Watch out Joe, at this rate Sharon looks like a real contender for President next year!) All kidding aside, I'm sure you'11 enjoy Sharon's unique stories as much as I do. Now, about that second column I mentioned earlier; how many of you remember "Catfish Chronicles?" It was a column (on catfish, of course) that was the most reprinted, and one of the most highly awarded, columns Modern Aquarium ever ran. Well, the author of that column, Charley Sabatino, is starting a new column titled "Spotlight on Plants" that could prove to be even more popular than his catfish column. Charley really knows aquatic plants. He brings rare and unique specimens to the Greater City auctions, and sells plants on (where his positive feedback is unbelievably high, attesting to not only the quality of his stock, but to his integrity and caring nature). Thanks, Charley!


It seems that every other month, I'm asking for articles. Some of you who have given me articles that have not yet appeared may be wondering why I haven't run them yet. There are several possible reasons. In some cases, I have "commissioned" (usually through our own illustration artist, Bernie Harrigan), an illustration or cartoon to accompany the article. In fact, the design on Sharon Barnett's column this month is an example. It's a "Bernie original" based on Sharon's nome de plume, "Gypsy Mermaid." (And, yes, Sharon had prior approval rights over its use, and loved it!) In other cases, your article may be similar to one I already have, have planned, or have been promised, and I want to hold it until I can print your article along with the other one(s). Whenever possible, I like to create a "theme" issue consisting of several articles on related subjects. (Did anyone notice the plant theme of last month's issue?) Finally (and you'll probably hear that sound from those editors again), sometimes I just want to save some articles for future issues. So, I'm still going to keep asking for articles. I especially want articles from people who haven't written before, and even more especially on topics we haven't had many articles on in recent years (killifish, fancy guppy and fancy betta genetics and breeding, native fish, marine invertebrates and fish, catfish, characins, loaches, goldfish and/or koi, to name but a few). If you give me an original article it will be published. If it isn't printed immediately, that's because I'm working behind the scenes to make it look better, or be presented in a better context. I realize not everyone feels comfortable writing articles. You can still make a major contribution to Modern Aquarium (and accumulate Author Award Program points) without writing a single word. Modern Aquarium is in constant need of photographs, especially high quality color photos for our covers. We can take prints and slides, or files on disks, CDs, DVDs (any format), memory cards (any format), or sent by e-mail. All prints, slides, and memory cards will be returned .unharmed. However, the photographs must be originals that were either taken by you, or by someone who has given his or her permission for us to use them in our publication. Even more so than with articles, photographs may be "held" until they can be used most appropriately to complement an article or the theme of an issue. But, we really need them, and you would be making an important contribution to Modern Aquarium.

July 2006

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

the details of their programs, I do wish to extend my personal thanks to Sharon Barnett, Karen Ottendorfer, Steve Giacobello, Sue and Al Priest, and Dick Moore, for their terrific presentations.

President's Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI ast month's meeting featured a program that was informative, entertaining, and, to say the least, innovative. Actually, it wasn't one program but a series of "mini-presentations" (each was about 10 to 15 minutes in length) that were prepared and given by several members of Greater City. I felt that these presentations were extremely well conceived and delivered, and, judging by the reaction of the members in the audience, my sentiments were the norm. I won't belabor the details of each presentation, but suffice it to say that each topic was of interest to our membership, each was unique, and each displayed great familiarity with the subject (for the details, just read the June issue of Modern Aquarium). I was very impressed. I was also very delighted that others got to see an example of what I have known for a long time: that we have a very talented membership. I hope that Claudia Dickinson, our Program Chair, and the muse for this format, will favor us with such a program every year. While I have not given you


The issue of Modern Aquarium that you are currently reading represents a historic moment. It is the July issue. In the 84 years of existence of Greater City, there has never before been a July issue. That's because Greater City has never met in July before. Therefore, your attendance at the July meeting is also historic. I wonder what our founders would think of this "new fangled" meeting schedule. Back in their day, 1922 to be exact, when the Society was founded, I doubt that any meeting halls had air conditioning, and this might have been a very good reason not to have meetings in the sultry New York City months of July and August. Of course, that concern doesn't exist in the high-tech world of 2006. Summer vacations? Yes, people still go on these. But, many people nowadays also go on winter vacations, something that I believe was not as common in 1922. So, meeting in the summer nowadays has no particular disadvantage. In fact, it seems altogether appropriate to meet in the summer months when temperatures are more...well, they are tropical fish, aren't they?

Norwalk Aquarium Society ~ 40th Annual Show & Auction October 2, 2006 Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center 10 Woodside Lane Westport, CT

Danbury Area Aquarium Society Annual Auction October 22, 2006 Carmel Firehouse Rt 52 & Vink Rd Carmel, NY For Information, call: Joe Masi (845)896-4793 or Rich Litsky (845)228-0372 Internet: E-mail:

The North Jersey Aquarium Society Fall Show October 27 - 29, 2006 Show Chair: Christine Policastro Details to follow in future issues Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

July 2006


Rotala Macrandra: "The King of Reds" he purpose of this ongoing series is to expose you to the vast array of plants available in the hobby: their origin, characteristics, and structure, growing requirements, common names, synonyms, availability, and cost. I will try to sprinkle in any personal experience I have had with these plants and will also try to answer any of your questions—so feel free to e-mail me.


first as there are a lot of options and consequences using this route.

My first installment is Rotala macrandra. This is one of the "Holy Grail" plants—infinitely beautiful, and equally as difficult to cultivate. • Origin and Structure: Rotala macrandra has been in the hobby for quite a while and is originally from India. It has leaves that are egg-shaped and range from green in the underside and pink on top to a uniform safety cone orange/red depending on growing conditions. Rotala macrandra has a rather thick stem and the plant can have several branches. Growing Requirements: Rotala macrandra is a plant for the advanced aquarist—it has specific requirements for cultivation and is not very forgiving. •

Rotala macrandra likes neutral to slightly acid water (pH 6-7) that is soft to medium hard.

Rotala macrandra is considered a midground plant—usually it is backed by taller plants like Vallisneria and Myriophyllum species.

Substrate fertilizers (i.e., laterite) and addition of micronutrients would also increase your chances of success. Of course, CO2 injection would be great—but I would suggest researching it

It is an extremely light-hungry plant. Light intensities of four WPG (watts per gallon) or more is not out of the question to keep this plant alive. This plant cannot take overcrowding. I have placed stock in a tank that was perfect for them in terms of the above conditions, but crowded the bunches in a bit and they all rotted from the bottom in a week. When I took bunches and spaced them in the same tank so that light reached the bottom, they survived and rooted.

Common Names and Synonyms: I have seen Rotala macrandra labeled as Rotala micrantha, Rotala magenta, and Broad Leaf Indian Hygro. Availability and Cost: In past years, Rotala macrandra was always available in many local fish stores. However, it has grown scarce lately—at least at the stores I frequent. It is readily available online and ranges $5-7 per bunch. I hope this article has helped you to appreciate this gem of a plant and has inspired you to try to cultivate it. Lots of Luck!!!!

July 2006

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

Dragon by BERNARD HARRIGAN reatures from mythology (e.g., ogres, fairies, and gobblins) are derived from our reverence, our fear, and our imagination. Some are combinations of animals that our forefathers dreamed up into fabulous beasts. Some examples of such creatures are Pegasus (with the body of a horse and the wings of a bird), the chimera (with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and a serpent's tail), and even the mermaid (which was half woman, half fish). There were even mythical places, such as Brigadoon, Olympus, and the River Styx. Even with all the fanciful folklore of bizarre beasts contrived from the corners of our minds, we can't come close to what God has placed upon this planet. There's a creature that seems to be straight from Atlantis; an animal that can be looked at as a sea monster if it wasn't for its diminutive size. It is a gastrerosteiform that seems to be a combination of the fish world and the plant world. It is a fish that looks so mythical that it's called a "dragon" — the Leafy Seadragon. Leafy Seadragons, Phycodurus equus, is only one of two species of seadragons that exist in the world. The other is the Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. Both are found off the southern and western coasts of Australia, from Kangaroo Island to Rottnest Island. They hang out among kelp-covered rocks along sandy areas at depths of from 3 to 50 meters below the low tide line. They are part of the Sygnathidae (Greek


meaning fused jaw) family along with pipefish and seahorses. I say "hang out" because they do that more than they swim. Ultrasound has been used to track their movements in the wild. It has been observed that they can spend up to 68 hours without moving. When they do move, it is in short spurts, traveling at from 5.5 to 46 feet per hour. The saying "a snail's pace" could easily be changed to "a seadragon's pace." Its slow movements generally mimic the seaweed around it, helping it to blend in with its surroundings. Propulsion is provided by its dorsal fin. Steering is achieved by using the pectoral fins. Both types of fins are nearly invisible. Elaborate green leaf-like cirri extend from its head, body, and tail, making it virtually indistinguishable from the seaweed. Its body is covered with armor-like boney plates for protection, but this limits its mobility. The body is yellow with white stripes, and sharp spines run along its back. Seadragons curl up into a ball of spikes as a defensive posture. It's no wonder that the adults have no known predators. Its head is seahorse-like with a long snout, and eyes that move independently in turret-style sockets. Its body is flat with an oscillating curve running down it. There is no prehensile tail. It moves with its body horizontal, as opposed to a seahorse, which moves with its body vertical.

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

July 2006

GCAS a, mo zt to

Al DiSpigna m on

Beginning with Saltwater" July 5th 2006 By Claudia Dickinson ittle did Al Dispigna know, as he and his girlfriend stepped over the threshold of a pet shop on 23rd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenue, that a new path was about to open that would set the focus of his life forever. A beautiful piranha caught his eye, and in celebration of his eighteenth birthday, Al's girlfriend purchased the fish for him, along with! a ten gallon tank, filter, and other supplies. Well, Al was never j one to do anything in a small way, and a mere three months | | | later, his basement held not one, two, or even three tanks ~ he had 25 tanks! His tendencies, then and now, towards abundance extend not only to the number of tanks, but to the size of the-tanks, as well as to the inhabitants, for Al loves his | colossal fish! Shortly after Al was married to his lovely wife, Rachel, j his new bride did not wish to hear another word about his past girlfriend's eighteenth birthday gift to him, and so she put the story to rest by purchasing him a 225 gallon tank! Al has kept and raised every variety offish imaginable over the years, be it saltwater or freshwater. The ultimate Renaissance man, he says he "knows everything on the planet that there is to know about fish." How did his knowledge become so all-encompassing? It was through his deep, true passion for fish, and for the hobby. Working as a manager in retail for a total of six years, Al went on to set up research labs across the country. He has built numerous aquariums, the largest being 1600 gallons, as well as the systems to run them, and currently owns and operates 'Shell Aquarium Maintenance.' A Marine Biologist, Al's daughter, Olympia, has certainly followed in her father's footsteps. In the 3rd grade, the topic of her science project was "Breeding Freshwater Angelfish!" Today, Olympia is an independent researcher and has opened up her own aquarium maintenance service, 'Olympia DiSpigna



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

July 2006

Aquatic Systems.' Al and Olympia have teamed up to host an aquatic high definition television show, which will appear in the coming weeks. The present residents of Al's 25 to 30 sizeable aquariums are vast and varied, but one thing the majority do have in common is that they are enormous fish! A sampling of his freshwater inhabitants includes an arowana (2 feet), a pacu, a 14 year old Parachromis managuense, a tiger shovel nose catfish, an electric blue Jack Dempsey (9"), piranhas, angelfish, discus, and fancy goldfish. His saltwater selection includes a broomtail wrasse (18"), a yellow golden puffer (10"), a Soho tang (9"), a tiger eel (18"), a yellow tang, and a blue dotted grouper, as well as an exquisite 125 gallon reef tank. The Brooklyn Aquarium Society has the great fortune of having Al as their esteemed President, and the society's publication, Aquatica, holds many of his excellent and informative articles. A strong and knowledgeable advocate of conservation, Al has taken admirable steps for the future of our fish through his assistance with the introduction of the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program into the hobby. Along with his vast wisdom, Al is a genuine and caring man, always ready to share his knowledge with fellow aquarists. Whether we keep saltwater or freshwater, we can each be assured of walking out of this room tonight enlightened with new ideas, and inspired to try them out in our own fishrooms. It is with great pleasure that we welcome Al DiSpigna this evening, as he brings us "Beginning with Saltwater. "

Last Month's Bowl Show Winners

GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi (center) congratulates Bill Amely (left) for winning the First and Third Place ribbons, and Ed Vukich (right) for his Second Place ribbon.

July 2006

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

by "The Gypsy Mermaid" (A.K.A. SHARON BARNETT)

"The Asian Upside-down Catfish Story" ne Friday at lunchtime, I was cruising the tanks at the Petland Discounts near work, when I spotted a fish in a tank labeled "Upside-down Catfish." The fish caught my eye because it was jet-black with just a few silver/grey speckles — cool! I wonder if it's a "syno?" It looks a little different — I gotta have it. The fish gets bagged, and I take it back to work with me. I place it on a shelf in the judge's robing room (I work in Bronx Supreme Court). Later that evening, at home, after I've changed into an old denim jumper, taken my shoes off, and I have one hand on the phone to call for pizza delivery, I freeze . . . I don't have my fish! Aaarrgghhh . . . I left it at work! Maybe it's not so bad — a couple of the court officers at work have tanks in their locker rooms. I can just call and get somebody to put the fish into one of the tanks until Monday. Ohhhh noooo . . . the bag is in the judge's robing room—the LOCKED robing room, and none of those guys has the key. It's a shame. I really liked that fish . . . I never saw one like it, but I'm NOT going back to the Bronx. But, the poor fish is gonna suffocate in that bag over the weekend . . . I can't help that. He could just as easily have been eaten by a bigger fish in the wild. I'm not soins; back to work. I


live in Queens, and work in the Bronx — that means wait for a bus, and then take an hour-long train ride. I worked all week, I've already changed, I want my pizza, and I want to curl up with my book! But suppose the fish is rare — I'll never forgive myself if I find out that I'm never likely to see another one again. Well, I'll go online and see what info I can find. Later that evening, as I exit the subway station near the courthouse, I stop for a Whopper®, fries, and a Coke®; then I reenter the courthouse. I do a partial water change on the bag, and then settle in with my book and my dinner to wait for my ride home to get off from work at 10:00. He'll be coming in from Queens, and he doesn't know that I'm back at work because I forgot my fish. The fish (which turned out to be Mystus leucophasis, a very hardy species which is infrequently available) now resides happily in one of my dad's tanks with my pair of Oreochromis mossambicus, my mystery female livebearer, my dad's Black Tetras, his seven year-old striped Raphael (which used to be mine), and until just recently, a Red-Eyed Tetra which I saw heading down the gullet of the male Oreochromis mossambicus a week or so ago (my dad hasn't noticed yet). Jj^

EXCHANGE EDITORS PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Greater City's new Exchange Editors are: Stephen and Donna Sosna Sica 80-40 223 Street Hollis Hills, NY 11427 Please send your society's exchange issues directly to them. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

July 2006

Photos and captions warm and heartfelt thank you to the participants in our first Members Night, the evening's program of the June meeting. You were *STARS!!!* I tingled with pride as you delivered your presentations, each one as extraordinary as the next. Members Night was proof of the immense knowledge and talent that fills our meeting hall each month. I am truly grateful to all of you ~ and looking forward to our next GCAS Members Night!


President Joe Ferdenzi gives warm congratulations to our GCAS Members Night participants.

Sharon Barnett enlightened us with her experiences in "How to Ship Fish."

Steve Giacobello shared his extraordinary talents in the art of "Aquatic Photography."

Karen Ottendorfer showed us methods of doing (and ways not to do!) "Water Changes."

Dick Moore's hands-on demonstration of "Stripping the Female of Fry" was nothing short of amazing!

Al and Sue Priest's superlative presentation, "It's a Small, Small World (Microscopic Aquatic Images)," had the audience roaring with laughter! 10

July 2006

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

by Claudia Dickinson

A demonstration of "Stripping the Female of Fry," given by Dick Moore, had us out of our seats and into the action!

This female had spit some of her fry, but Dick's expert eyes could see that she was holding more. Using wet hands, the female is gently placed in position over a small container of water.

Dick Moore, Bennie Graham, and Artie Friedman offer support as Jeff Bolbach strips like a pro!

1 The female's mouth is carefully opened with a pen cap as she is adeptly lowered to the water's surface.

Volunteers were ready to try their hand, as Jeff Bolbach reaches into a bag for the next holding female.

Dick Moore is definitely in element as he looks over his prize ft |,1 Victorian female cichlids to choose the next candidate. Dick Moore and Artie Friedman

Greater Aquariuffi Established 1


ven before the first episode of Fishkeepers Anonymous made it to the copy shop, I harbored fears of "what if nobody likes this thing but me?" Well, this is the fifth consecutive month that this column is appearing. The interest and participation shown by so many of you gladdens my heart. As it has from the beginning, this column continues to create itself. I can clearly see an ongoing trend. I believe that this column serves as an educational tool for fishkeepers of all levels of experience. Each of our authors has taught us things which cannot be learned in other venues. This month's author is no exception.


Anonymous Fishkeeper/July 2006 Please introduce yourself. Unlike most of the fishkeepers that are members of GCAS, I cannot say that my fish hobby started at the tender age of 7 or 8 years old. I do recall having goldfish for short periods of time that we had won at different carnivals and fairs, but I do not consider that to be the start of my love for fishkeeping. Compared to most people that attend GCAS, I am a beginner fishkeeper. I started my hobby in October 2002. I can describe it no other way than, like that song in South Pacific "Some Enchanted Evening." Only, instead of seeing a stranger, I saw a metal stand with two 10 gallon fish tanks on it. These were left behind by people who were moving out of my building. I saw potential there, and my heart and mind raced with all the art it entailed to get it started. I could not get my hopes up until I got permission from my mom to keep the tank set up. Permission was granted! Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. My education in the fishkeeping hobby consisted of the following: reading fish magazines, going online and checking out fish forums, asking my veterinarian, and talking to employees of fish pet stores. I was overwhelmed by all the information I was learning along the way. I decided that the facts must be those bits of information that were repeated over and over again. So, I cycled my tanks for 4-6 weeks, as



explained by my local fish store, using the bottled bacteria recommended to speed up the process. I tested my water for the ammonia and nitrate/nitrite levels. The day finally came when I could introduce fish into my two 10 gallon tanks. I had learned that it was best to keep few fish in each tank to prevent overcrowding, and keep the bioload down. I also learned that you should keep in mind the size the fish would grow to, so that he/she would not outgrow the tank being used. Knowing all this, I decided that I was going to keep about 6 community fish per tank. Armed with all this knowledge, I went to the fish store where I had seen the healthiest fish being kept. It was not until a year into fishkeeping that I learned of and joined GCAS. This, I will say is the best place to obtain the correct answers to any of your fishkeeping concerns as a beginner. The experienced members have only the best interest of the fish in mind, and have gone through the experience of the various scenarios that a new fishkeeper goes through. Some fish stores (not all) may just want to make a quick buck, and not care if your fish tank is the best home for that particular fish you inquire about. What was your very first fish? I requested to see the tanks that had community fish that would grow to no more than two inches when full grown, and that would eat flake food as a regular diet. I was told that one whole side of tanks was what I was looking for. Finally, I was free to choose my fish! I was going to get a dozen fish altogether where half would go into the top 10 gallon tank, and the other six fish into the bottom 10 gallon tank I had set up. I picked some nice black fish I later learned were Mollies, I got some attractive colored fish that looked to me like Flamenco dancers which I learned were Fancy Guppies, and a few beautiful red/orange fish with black tip fins that I learned were called Platys. My final three were different looking from my first chosen fish, but so cute and lively that I could not pass them by. They were a dark orange with some black markings throughout. Their bodies were not long & thin like the others. They

July 2006

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

seemed to have some height and thickness to them. I didn't see a name on their tank, so I asked one of the employees what kind offish these were and he said he didn't know but that definitely they were community fish, and would not grow much bigger than they were (which was about 2 inches). These were my first fish. Describe your most memorable flshkeeping experience. I'm going to have to say that this was the big blackout we had a couple of years ago that lasted about 3 days or so for those of us in Queens (and longer for those in other areas of NYC). The power was out, and I was at work at the doctor's office I worked for at the time. All I could think of was my fish! The hang-on filters that provided them with oxygen were now off because of the power outage, and time was running out. I could not drive back home because the traffic lights were out, and driving on Main Street was sure to be chaotic and dangerous to attempt. Even if I did make it home, the garage is also powered by electricity and I would not be able to get my vehicle inside and parked. I also did not want to have to waste any more time looking for a parking spot on Main Street. I found a land phone and was able to contact my mom who was home, and desperately trying to call me without success. I asked how my fish were doing. She told me they were all swimming at the surface (including the catfish!). That was ail I had to hear! I told my boss the situation and left work immediately. By car I would have been home in 10 minutes, but I left my car behind and walked home instead. It took me more than half an hour, but I also stopped by a store and purchased some D batteries to use for the battery operated air pumps that I had just purchased a few weeks before for an emergency. I hurried home and found my mom waiting in the front of the building with some flashlights. I live on the fourth floor, and had to walk up four flights in mostly darkness except where the flashlight glowed. I was exhausted by the time I reached my apartment, but I could not stop until my fish were out of their distress. I started by siphoning some of the water from my 3 tanks, and then had my mom filling them up again while I got the batteries into the air pumps. The fish started to feel better once the water was moving again upon filling the tanks back up. I took the full hoods/lights off the tanks and put an air pump in each of the tanks. The fish were happy again, and I was relieved to not have lost any of my fish during those 3 days of no power.

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

What advice would you give to a beginner fish keeper? I would have to say that as a beginner, my advice would be to do your homework before you purchase anything, including the fish tanks. You may be limiting yourself in what fish you can get if you rush and buy your fish tank set-up on impulse. The fish you may decide you want might require a larger tank than what you purchased already, and you would not be doing right by the fish if you insist on it living in less than what he/she (or they) need to live a happy, healthy and as stress free as possible. Find out all that you can about each fish prior to its purchase, and that will make a world of difference in your enjoyment of your fish tanks and their inhabitants! Remember the last three fish I purchased earlier on that I did not know what kind they were, and neither did the store employee? Those beautiful dark orange fish with the black markings were baby Oscars! My two 10 gallon tanks were only temporary because these fish quickly outgrew their tanks, and all of my real community fish ended up dying from the stress of living with "the enemy," and due to misinformation I was given about maintaining my fish tanks. I could have been greatly disappointed and turned off to flshkeeping with the mistakes I committed, despite having done my homework. Instead, I was turned into a cichlid lover. I ended up giving the two 10 gallon set up away, and went from having a 29 gallon, a 30 gallon, and a 55 gallon (three tanks) to now having a 55 gallon tank and a 125 gallon tank instead. These tanks housed five Oscars, two Catfishes, and a Dwarf Pike cichlid. I have since lost some of my fish, but I can honestly say that I have learned a lot, and will continue to learn by keeping myself informed with the most current information out there, as well as, continuing to belong to GCAS. The club's experts and fellow members are always open to questions, and helping you whenever they can. If one particular member doesn't know the answer, you are then brought over to another member who can help you out with your fish dilemma. The point is that you should inform yourself as much as you can, because otherwise the life (or lives) of the fish you obtain will be at stake.

was enjoying an animated conversation with William (he has since said "Call me Bill; everyone else does.") Luckett prior to the start of our May meeting. When he came over to pick up his copy of Modern Aquarium, I said to myself "Hmmmm ..." I opened M.A. to the Fishkeepers Anonymous page, and asked him "Have you been


July 2006


reading this?" His enthusiastic response was "Yes, I have!" So (predictably), I asked him if he would consider being one of our anonymous fishkeepers. His equally enthusiastic response was "Yes, I would!" As you all know by now, he is a dad with a 75 gallon tank, a pleco named Cliff, and enough patience to put up with all of the nonsense that the rest of us dish out! Bill has been a member of GCAS for a little over a year now, and regularly attends our meetings. The two mentors which Bill mentions in his article are Brian Grossberg and Andy Jacovina. They are both members of GCAS, as well. Clearly Bill is well on his way to becoming a mentor, himself.

American Cichlid Association 2006 Convention July 19-23, 2006 Sheraton Chicago Northwest Arlington Heights, IL The convention for cichlid hobbyists!

List of Speakers: Dr. Jos Snoeks Dr. Uwe Romer Dr. Mark Mitchell Ad Konings Chris Persson Eric Hanneman Randy Carey

Dr. Phil Willink Dr. Wayne Leibel Juan Miguel Artigas Azas Dick Au Rusty Wessel Joe Middleton

For more information, and to register on-line, go to:


July 2006

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

THE SEAHORSE CHRONICLE/ SEAHORSE SUSTENANCE by BERNARD HARRIGAN magine for a moment that you're a seahorse in the ocean. Your tail is wrapped around a leaf of seaweed. This allows you to be somewhat stationary, even with the currents and eddies whipping around. Your eyes move independently, scanning the waters for food. Your food consists mostly of small crustaceans like copepods, amphipods, isopods, tanaids, decapods like Caridean Shrimp, ;<-i..tmn& percarids like Mysid Shrimp, along with the larval stages of a number of different life forms. You're a :i;; :l: hunter who doesn't go out and hunt. The waters that surround you are rich in prey. All you have to do is wait. Wait until a succulent little morsel swims by. When one does, your ever watchful eyes look on : and track it. Your body extends. Your head pivots, lining up your snout like a sniper lines up his rifle. Once in range, l_. a downward contraction of your p o w e r f u l sternohyoides muscle pulls the hyoid bone, causing a venturi effect, which will draw the hapless prey into your snout faster than the eye can see. As long as the sun is out, you will ambush like this 50 to 100 times a day. Your simple digestive system makes it necessary for you to feed this often. Luckily for you, there's an ample supply of lipid-rich quarry to be found. You spot a Gammarus Shrimp — delicious, you think. You would be licking your lips, except that you don't have a tongue, or even lips for that matter. This is the environment that seahorses have evolved from. An environment with a myriad


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

of eatables, and a vast array of different selections that contain a goodly amount of Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (HUFA). Foods without a good amount of HUFA won't meet the seahorses' nutritional needs. That's why proper nutrition is our biggest challenge when we try to keep our seahorses healthy, and maybe even breeding. HUFAs are produced by marine algae, which in turn gets eaten by small crustaceans, which in turn get eaten by seahorses. If the foods they eat ; "J ^ : ,.^; d o n ' t h a v e the - ;,^||P^': • - - ^i:. I HUFAs they need, the ";0-f -.;• K '•:':,:; v-,. "'"'.. \s will become I g0 i; * 1 malnourished, making ^kv%:5S^@;fi^^. them susceptible to • ; --'-1}fl&:^^^3*&^ €/ disease, and possibly .:ife^Hf$: - 1 %3^S::: ( death. V/;-:f •'";^|;•; -.y ^3®%:^ Most marine •V|/.' .7^4 \?flwft crustaceans have the p%;:.;f-.;.f <:%^|| HUFA profile that |-:^3s21 v -fe. ,i seahorses need. The || / / one exception is brine .•-

:,\".. ?: v.?: : <^ : VV^-: X ;::.:•::„: -;.V;:.:.-

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hatched brine shrimp have some nutritional value as long as they are eaten within 12 hours of hatching. The problem is that /^my^:-- baby brine shrimp are too small for most species of seahorses. Adult brine shrimp not only don't have the HUFA profile needed by seahorses, but since the shrimp aren't fed, they are devoid of almost all nutritional value. Luckily, with the advent of HUFA supplements, you can beef up your brine shrimp by "gut loading." Gut loading is when you feed the shrimp with supplements like Selco, Vibrance, Spectra Vital, or a phytoplankton paste. Wait about half an hour, and then feed the shrimp to your seahorses. Most captive bred seahorses will readily eat frozen foods. This not only makes the job of

July 2006


feeding them easier and less expensive, but it also opens up a vast array of foods that you would have difficulty getting live. Some companies, such as Hikari and San Francisco Bay, put out a line of enriched frozen foods. When it comes to your seahorses, vary their diet. Try feeding them Grass Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Gammarus, Gamma Shrimp, Krill, or my favorite, Mysid Shrimp. The more variation you give them, the better their nutritional needs will be met. Feed your seahorses at the same time, and at the same spot in their tank, every day. This will help train your seahorses to accept the foods you are offering them. They will begin beating you to the feeding spot, if you keep the time consistent. Lastly, as with every fish, don't overfeed your seahorses. Overfeeding leads to uneaten food and deteriorated water quality. An adult seahorse will eat three to four good sized shrimps per

feeding. After that, they seem to lose interest in the food. If they were still hungry, they'd still be eating. They don't need as much food in captivity as they do in the wild. I feed in the morning and again in the early evening with frozen food. On the weekends, I'll throw in an extra feeding of live food in the afternoon. I also use live rock in the tank. This not only helps with bio-filtration, but it's also inhabited by small crustaceans that end up being an occasional live snack for the seahorses to snicker down. Feeding seahorses has become a lot easier, but it still requires thought and knowledge. Meeting the nutritional needs of seahorses is the greatest challenge in caring for them. We can't duplicate what they eat in the wild, but we can make sure that their needs are met.

Last Month's Door Prize Winners Photos and captions by Claudia Dickinson

Walter Gallo holds the winning ticket for the Door Prize Baensch Atlas I.

Jeff Bollbach is all set to stock his pond for the summer as he wins the Door Prize book on Koi.


July 2006

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

Let's Cross The Bridge By ELLIOT OSHINS s a lover of art, I find art shows and museums a great place to visit. I recently went to the Museum Of Modern Art, and in one of their galleries they had paintings on display by the abstract artist Kandinsky. His great works of art illustrate beautiful colors and design. As I kept looking at his paintings, I could visualize fish


meet other members of the club that haven't caught up to the new movement, you can always tell them you're buying them for your four year old nephew. Plastic plants in bright colors can also be added to the colorful mosaic you call your fish tank. Then come the fish: guppies, sword tails, rainbow fish, and most cichlids add lots of needed

by Bernard Harrigan

"Picasso Tank" swimming between the patches of color (and I don't even drink). Why can't we design a fish tank with an abstract look, using all of the colors of the rainbow? Colors such as red, yellow, and blue are your primary colors. Green, purple, and orange are your complementary colors. An abstract fish tank, like a work of art among conventional fish tanks, would add a great deal of color to one's aquariums. The gravel or sand should contain the colors of a Hawaiian sunset; namely red, yellow, orange, and pink. And we can't forget those very fancy ornaments they sell at the aquarium stores. A very learned sage told me that such items would become collectors items i.e., mermaids, deep sea divers, sunken ships, castles, pagodas, treasure chests, lighthouses, etc. If, when purchasing those soon-to-become collector's items, you happen to Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

color to your tank. When you're all finished, your tank should be a glowing, colorful masterpiece. In essence, the tank now has a psychedelic look. By following these simple steps, you can become the Kandinsky, or the Picasso, of the aquarium world. So, let us climb on the bandwagon and cross the bridge to the colorful and abstract side of the aquarium world. Like the "Bowl Show," members could submit a digital color photo of their tanks. Ribbons would be given out for the tanks with "The Best Design, Color and Mood." It would also help if the judges had some artistic training. A bachelors or even a masters degree in fine art would be a big plus. Working in the field of interior design or fashion would also be a great help. All one would need is an artistic eye to jury the show.

July 2006


So, let the competition begin! Like an artist with a brush in hand and a palette full of colored pigment, let the colors dance on the canvas to form a magnificent kaleidoscope. Joining the new movement would bring you many hours of enjoyment, however the piece de resistance would

be if you turned your not-so colorful tanks into works of art. Maybe even piping in some music to play in the background would add a little ambiance. So just sit back, relax, and admire your beautiful and colorful tank, and enjoy. Welcome to the 21st Century!

All Aquarium Catfish Convention 2006 October 20-22 Holiday Inn Laurel West 15101 Sweitzer Lane Laurel, Maryland All-Day Auction Sunday October 22 The Potomac Valley Aquarium Society offers one of its famous all-day auctions to the conventioneers, buyers and sellers. Bidding starts at 10:00 am sharp and will end when all lots have been sold. Pizza Fest during auction approximately 1:30 pm. Pizza and sodas will be provided to those pay for the Pizza Fest however, there will be NO lunch break during the Auction. Please register for the Pizza Fest to ensure that there is enough provided for you. Imported Fish: Predominately Catfish plus other Freshwater Fish will be imported from other countries especially for this auction.

Speaker Line-Up: Jon Armbruster, Ph.D. - Loricariids

Chuck Davis - Banquet speaker

Lee Finley - Auchenipterids

Ian Fuller - Corydoradines

Shane Linder - Bagrids

Mark Sabaj, Ph.D. - Doradids

*Mark Soberman - African Catfishes

Peter Unmack, Ph.D. - Australian Catfishes


Catfish Forum - Breeding Loricariids Greater City's own Vice President and resident Catfish expert!

For more information, or to register, go to:


July 2006

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

San Franciso^ CA * ^V^>>H;; IfMZ, 1 1 1 § {I :

:•:„. •„'. I I

2006 AGA Aquatic Gardeners Convention November 10-12th 2006 Sheraton Gateway Hotel 600 Airport Boulevard Burlingame, CA Speaker line-up: Ole Pedersen from the University of Copenhagen Troels Andersen of Tropica Jeff Senske (of Aquarium Design Group) Dr. George Batten (Research director of Seachem) EricDo(ofSFBAAPS) Ricky Cain (of DFWAPC) and the AGA f s own Dorothy Reimer Saturday night will also feature our banquet and aquascaping contest awards, plus a new feature: The Iron Aquascaper. Watch three masters go at it in a head-to-head spontaneous competition using only the aquaria and plants given to them. Between talks, chat with fellow hobbyists and speakers. After the evenings' events, kick back and enjoy a snack or beverage in the hospitality suite. Sunday, spend your hard-earned cash on the largest all-aquatic-plant auction in the country. Find some new species, or load up on something you haven't seen in a while. For more information, or to register, go to:


M&rk Mubtmow 205 8th Street, HIcksvilie, NY 11801 (516) 939-0267 or (516) 646-8699 (beeper) moreansfini'

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

July 2006


wa rd I ey





Cqrrie see our large Aquarium Plant display and receive I ONE FREE cultivated plant, just for stopping by!





July 2006

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

You like tomato and I like to-mah-to A series by "The Under gravel Reporter" ;^Jrv^ ;";;;tpntraryMti|s;::;h '•}?|(||T^^

ecently, the Editor of one of the largest commercial aquarium fish hobby magazines wrote an article for the journal of one of the largest and most prestigious aquarium hobby speciality groups. The article stated that the author was on a "crusade" to ban the use of common names among "serious" hobbyists. Hey, bubbula, I'm a "serious" hobbyist, and I, for one, don't intend to give up using common names. And, for the reasons I will now state, I don't think other "serious" hobbyists should do so, either. Not having grown up speaking Latin (or knowing anyone else who has), I happen to prefer, and use, common (that is to say, pronounceable) names in general. Despite what the author of the previously mentioned article may wish, common names are NOT going to go away. They serve a very useful purpose in the real (that is "non-scientific") world. You do not call your vet and ask for an appointment for your Cams familiaris. No, you get an appointment for your DOG. And, since ALL dogs are of the same species (the aforementioned Canisfamiliar is), you may further identify your dog as a Boston Terrior, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, etc. You don't go to a supermarket looking for a sign reading Lycopersicon esculentum when you shop for tomatoes. (In fact there is even a dispute here, since some authorities put the scientific name of tomato as Lycopersicon esculentus.) Do you remember the song "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off by George and Ira Gershwin (introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the film "Shall We Dance")? Part of the lyrics of that song are:


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

You like tomato and I like to-mah-to; Potato, po-tah-to, tomato, to-mah-to Let's call the whole thing off! Let's just say that the Gershwins would probably not have had nearly as much of a hit on their hands if the second line in the lyrics above was: You like esculentum, and I like esculentus O.K., let's go back to the supermarket on our tomato quest. Even when you find the tomato sign (be it in English, Latin, or some other ancient and obscure tongue), you' 11 still most likely want to look for another sign reading "beefsteak," "plum," "cherry," etc., to identify the specific type of tomato you want by its more common name. As with dogs, all species of tomatoes have the same scientific name. And the scientific name alone is totally insufficient to describe the specific tomato you may want for your very practical "real world" purposes (such as your salad, toasted cheese sandwich, etc.). I asked one of Greater City's anabantoid experts of his opinion on common names.. This is what he told me: "Not every anabantoid person has yet accepted a fairly recent renaming that changed the genus Colisa into Trichogaster, and Trichogaster into Trichopodus, with the result being that the common name is often the only way to know if the species being referenced is a Honey Gourami or a Dwarf Gourami." He further said that: "There is so much misunderstanding about the distinction between the genus 'Ctenopoma' and *Microctenopma' that some authorities put the species 'ansorgif in one genus, and others put it in the other. Nonetheless, all sides agree that I'm talking about the 'Ornate Ctenopoma'." Interestingly, he also mentioned that there is even a dispute over the spelling of the species name "ansorgiF with some authorities referencing it as "ansorgei" Yes, an importer may sometimes arbitrarily assign a "trade name" to a fish either to make it more marketable, or because the importer is not really sure of the species. And, yes, sometimes completely different species are known by the same (or very similar) common names. And, yes, common names are not universally accepted; and what may be "common" in one country (or even in one part of a country) is not necessarily the same in another country or region. Nevertheless, generally accepted common names are a valuable and useful tool for identification and just plain communication — that is, if you're not ashamed to speak like the rest of us "common" folk. And that's my opinion.

July 2006


TROPICAL FISH AQUARIUM Specializing in Tropical Fish and Aquarium Supplies Large Selection of Aquatic Plants Knowledgeable Staff Same Location Since 1947. 11 5-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418

(718) 849-6678

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

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


July 2006

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

Fin Fun It Takes All Sorts Just because you have never seen a fish with one of these names in a freshwater aquarium doesn't mean that it is a saltwater fish, and just because you have never, well, you get the idea! See if you can sort these fish into the correct column on this chart. Fish




Blennies Bettas Gobies Spade Fishes Butterfly Fishes Frog Fishes Puffer Fishes Feather Fins Feather Worms Pipefishes The solution to last month's puzzle: Plant Aptitude Test (PAT) 1) Which of the following environmental factors DOES NOT affect the rate of photosynthesis? a. Carbon dioxide b. Oxygen c. Temperature d. Light 2) Salvinia natans is also known as: a. Floating Fern c. Sunken Java Fern

b. Java Fern d. Sunken Arrrowhead

3. Which of the following is a sign of calcium deficiency: a. Lower leaves turn yellow from the tip inward b. Leaves are darker than normal c. Stunted growth d. New leaves are misshapen 4. Which of the following plants is native to Central America: b. Cabotnba sp. a. Anubias sp. d. Sagittaria sp. c. Hygrophila sp. 5. A rhizome is a: a. Modified stem c. Leaf that grows beneath the substrate


July 2006

b. Root ball d. None of these

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

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