Modern Aquarium August 2009

Page 1

August 2009 volume XVI number 6

Series III ON THE COVER Our cover photo this month features Rasbora borapetensis (the brilliant rasbora), a small, strikingly beautiful fish from southeast Asia. For more information, see Al Priest’s article, “The Fish from Bung Borapet Swamp,” on page 14.

Photo by Susan Priest


President Vice-President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

Dan Radebaugh Mark Soberman Jack Traub Warren Feuer Edward Vukich

Vol. XVI, No. 6 August, 2009

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2009 Program Schedule Rules for This Month’s “Silent Auction” President’s Message Our Generous Members Groupers Are A Diver’s Best Friend by Stephen Sica

Member Classifieds

Members At Large

Claudia Dickinson Artie Friedman Ben Haus Leonard Ramroop

Pete D’Orio Al Grusell Emma Haus

Voyage to the Bermuda Fry-Angle by Joseph Ferdenzi

Fishkeepers Anonymous by Susan Priest

2 3 3 4 5 7 8 9 11

Committee Chairs

A.C.A. Delegate Bowl Show Breeder Award Early Arrivals F.A.A.S. Delegate Members/Programs N.E.C. Delegate Technology Coordinator

Claudia Dickinson Leonard Ramroop Warren Feuer Mark Soberman Al Grusell Alexander Priest Claudia Dickinson Claudia Dickinson Warren Feuer

MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief Copy Editors Exchange Editors Advertising Mgr.

Dan Radebaugh Sharon Barnett Susan Priest Alexander A. Priest Stephen Sica Donna Sosna Sica Mark Soberman

Looking Through the Lens Photos from Our Last Meeting by Claudia Dickinson

The Fish from Bung Borapet Swamp Rasbora borapetensis - The Brilliant Rasbora by Alexander A. Priest

The GCAS Author Award Program by Susan Priest

Cichlidically Speaking by Claudia Dickinson

The Undergravel Reporter G.C.A.S. Happenings Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)



16 17 20 21 22

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh

ell, here we are in the heat and humidity of August, and this issue does somewhat reflect the idea of escaping town for a while. Steve Sica tells us about swimming with friendly groupers in waters off the Cayman Islands, and Joe Ferdenzi relates his experiences as he and his wife Anita were guests of the Bermuda Fry-Angle Society for the society’s 20th Anniversary celebration. It all sounds really refreshing. Even the Undergravel Reporter shows us a couple of pictures of ways to beat the heat. Too bad our banquet isn’t until December. Al Priest tries to bring us back to reality with his profile of a fish from the swamps of Southeast Asia (speaking of hot and humid), but the fish is so gorgeous that we can’t really mind, and Claudia Dickinson reminds us of the cool days of a month ago with her “Through the Lens” photos. Claudia also brings us another in her “Cichlidically Speaking” series. In addition to showing us new additions to the CARES list, Claudia tells us about a new book by Al Klee on one of the legends of our hobby, Ida May Mellen. Sue Priest reveals the identity of last months, Anonymous Fishkeeper, and the issue ends, as usual, with the popular “Fin Fun” puzzle. Be sure and look on page three for a summary of the rules for this evening’s Silent Auction.


Have you gone on a trip lately? See anything fun and interesting? Were fish involved? Did you take pictures? Sit down and write a story about it! I always need more! This is your club, and your magazine. I thoroughly enjoy getting stories from our members. Everyone here has a slightly different take on the hobby, and all of us are curious about what others are doing that might work for us. So share your experience! There is even the prospect of extra prizes for writers. See Sue Priest’s summary of our Author Award Program on page 16 to see some of the benefits of writing for Modern Aquarium. You can send me your stories, pictures, or drawings by email (, fax (877-299-0522), or just hand them to me at a meeting. Remember, I always need more!

Articles submitted for consideration in Modern Aquarium must be received no later than the 10th day of the month prior to the month of publication. Please fax to (877) 299-0522, or email to Copyright 2009 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 January and February. Members receive notice of meetings in the mail. For more information, contact: Dan Radebaugh (718) 458-8437. Find out more, or leave us a message, at our Internet Home Page at: http://www. or


August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Programs



t is our great fortune to have another admirable cast of speakers who have so graciously accepted our invitation to join us throughout the coming season, bringing us their extensive knowledge and experiences. You certainly won’t wish to miss a moment of our prominent guests, not to mention the friends, fish, warmth, and camaraderie that accompanies each meeting. I know I can barely wait to see you here! Claudia September

Members Night


Tim Nurse Diving Lake Tanganyika


Joseph Ferdenzi History of the GCAS


Holiday Party!

Rules for August’s “Silent Auction” / Fleamarket Next month, Greater City has its annual “Silent Auction”/fleamarket. Here is a brief summary of the rules: i The seller sets an opening price for each item. i 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. i A bidder may not cross out his/her own bid to enter a lower bid. i The highest bidder at the end of the auction wins the item. i

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!)

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

August 2009


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh ast month we were treated to Jim Breheny’s excellent program on the Bronx Zoo’s Madagascar exhibit. We were delighted by the presentation, and are delighted that Jim has this year joined us as a member of Greater City. Thank you, Jim, it was a pleasure. Marsha and I had already seen the exhibit, and now we’ll likely return to see it again, with a new and broader perspective. For those of you who have not yet seen this exhibit, and may be wondering about its specific relevance to aquarists, one of the aspects that I appreciated (and which is also true of the Congo exhibit) is that fish are included as an integral part of the ecological presentation. To me, this is a very refreshing approach, and helps us aquarists to better understand how our fish fit into their larger environment. I was also intrigued by the fact that crocodiles in Madagascar are not endemic to that island, but rather are garden variety Nile crocodiles that somehow made it there from Africa. These are big, strong animals, but that’s quite a long swim, and I don’t know what their tolerance for saltwater is. Seems to me that that would make a great dissertation project. I know that there is also some mystery concerning how cichlids came to exist there―including whether



they came from Madagascar to Africa or vice-versa. Perhaps one of our cichlidically-inclined members could look into this as an article subject for Modern Aquarium. If so, I’m pretty confident that our Editor would love to publish it. One troubling aspect of the Madagascar exhibit (and not just the Madagascar exhibit) is the reminder of the desperate situation of the wildlife there, including the fish. This is, unfortunately, the situation in most of what’s often referred to as the Third World, though by no means is it confined to those geographical areas. The political and economic causes are entrenched and well-documented, but the bottom line is that it’s difficult for people who are themselves in a desperate situation to see beyond hand-to-mouth solutions. Nevertheless, there are people trying to make a difference, and in some cases succeeding. Projects like CARES do help. They do it on an astoundingly limited budget, and they deserve what support we can give. Please do consider donating surplus aquarium supplies and/or equipment for “CARES Packages.” If you have items to donate, please see Claudia Dickinson. Thank You

August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Our Generous Members Each month a blue sheet is located on our auction table where those members who donate items to the auction can indicate their donations if they wish to do so. Due to the immense generosity of those who donate, we have no shortage of items to be auctioned. A warm thank you to the following members and others who so generously contributed, making last month’s auction the bountiful success that it was: Mario Bengcion Jeff Bollbach

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Harry Faustmann Ed Vukich

August 2009



August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)


Are A Diver’s Best Friend


Story and Photos by Stephen Sica

t was Friday afternoon on May 1, 2009 on a Little Cayman dive site appropriately named “Donna’s Delights.” Donna and I were swimming at a depth of thirty feet, inspecting the animal life on the reef, when I spotted two Nassau groupers (Epinephelus striatus). One was about two and one-half feet in length, and the other rather smaller. I thought that the larger one would make a nice photo, so I swam toward it. The grouper was keeping track of the five divers in the water, and when it saw me swimming toward it, it swam to me―so close that I was unable to photograph it. I tried to keep my distance, but it kept swimming up to me. In fact it began to follow me. “What’s wrong with this fish,” I thought to myself as I was finally able to elude it. I figured that I would find another one to photograph later, so I went on my way. After the dive, I had forgotten about the grouper.

The next morning we were sitting in the boat, attending the dive briefing that is given prior to every dive. We were at a site named “Mixing Bowl.” Divemaster Jackie reminded us not to touch or disturb the sea life, but she said that we could interact with Little Cayman’s tame groupers. In fact, we would likely see Ralphie and Lappi on this dive, and that they really enjoyed having their heads and chins scratched. I mentioned to Jackie that we had seen friendly groupers at a dive site the previous day. Jackie said that those Nassau groupers were probably Benji and Mini Me, and that they were also tame. She told us that squirrelfish were the favorite food of the local groupers, which were often observed hunting in groups. As I write this, I wonder if this is the reason Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

they are called groupers? In any case, Jackie said that if we found the groupers, we could form up into a pack with them and help them hunt squirrelfish. We began the dive swimming along one of the fabled Cayman walls at a depth of sixty to ninety feet, when a Nassau grouper floated down the wall and began swimming along it with Jackie, whom it apparently recognized. Later in the dive, on the reef atop the wall, Jackie helped Ralphie and Lappi surround a squirrelfish under a coral head, where the larger Ralphie was able to inhale the careless fish into its cavernous mouth before slowly chewing it up. I watched while Ralphie ate the whole fish―no bones, no fish scales, and definitely no leftovers. Both groupers swam with the divers throughout the sixty minute dive, so I was able to take several photos of Donna interacting with Ralphie as I directed her to pet and scratch him. Or is Ralphie a she? Another question I just thought about now. It seems to me that

August 2009


the Cayman locals know the difference between a male and female grouper. But how, I wonder. We observed a good deal of interesting sea life during our three days of diving. I attempted to photograph, successfully some of the time, each of the following: a juvenile nurse shark sleeping in a crevice, several Hawksbill turtles, including a small turtle, which ignored me and let me swim within inches, a striking queen triggerfish, a school of tarpon, a goldentail moray eel, colonies of garden eels, two octopuses in their lairs (only the second time we saw an octopus), a yellow seahorse hanging out in a small crevice, an eagle ray, a flamingo tongue snail, sea cucumbers, a channel clinging crab in a basket sponge, an arrow crab, banded coral shrimp, various greater anemones, worms, and finally a sponge brittle starfish. On the eighty-eight mile flight from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman we sat next to a woman from California on the fourteen seat Twin Otter. She dove in the South Seas, so we asked her if she enjoyed her Little Cayman diving. She said that the diving was world class! This was our fourteenth trip to the Cayman Islands. It’s one of those places that we never tire of.

Editor’s note: The Nassau grouper has historically been an important food fish in the Caribbean region. Currently assessed as “Endangered” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), all harvest is prohibited in the U.S. It is also currently a candidate for the U.S. Endangered Species List.

Member Classifieds EQUIPMENT: 3 Rena Filstar XP3 Cannister Filters -- Up to 350 GPH -- $65 each 1 Marineland Cannister Filter C 530 -- 530 GPH -- (used for one month) $125 1 Eheim Pro II 2026 $90 1 Emperor 400 Bio-Wheel HOB Power Filter $40 1 Coralife Turb Twist 18 watt with 3 extra (never used) UV bulbs $100 All nearly new, in original boxes. Call (631) 563-1404 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2-10’s---complete $15 each 2-20 Longs complete, no lights 20 each 1-20 high-complete, no filter 20 2-29’s complete 30 each Refrigerator 30 1-55 complete 60 1-65 with canister filter, full lighting, Laterite in gravel metal stand---$250 Some large wood, meds, rock, caves. “Complete” means heater, filter, full lighting (they were used as plant tanks), canopy. Call Charley: (917) 837-6346 8

August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Voyage to the Bermuda Fry-Angle by Joseph Ferdenzi

ver the weekend of June 19-21, the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society celebrated its 20th anniversary. My wife Anita and I were graciously invited to attend as their guests. Here is my account of what transpired during that three-day event. We arrived in Bermuda on Friday afternoon, knowing that the society’s event was to be held at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, one of the finest in Bermuda, and a place where Anita and I had already stayed many times before, including our honeymoon in 1979. We also knew that they had reserved a room for us there (or so we thought). After checking into the hotel, we were escorted up to our “room.” At first I thought there had been a mistake, because what awaited us was not a room, but a luxurious two-room suite! Its twin balconies overlooked the beautiful ocean on the south shore of Bermuda. That evening the club held a reception for its members, former members, and guests in an even more luxurious penthouse suite. We had great fun meeting old and new friends, including the other out-of-town guests, Rusty Wessel and his wife Suzi of Kentucky, and Spencer Jack from Canada. At that reception, the club presented a very well-deserved award to Craig Morfitt, their current and long-time President, who was a co-founder (along with James Tavares) of the society. I knew that without Craig, the society wouldn’t be where it is today, and that he continues to be their driving force and inspiration.


The next day, Saturday, was a very busy aquarium hobby day. It began at 11:30 AM, when I gave a presentation designed for beginners. The society had extensively publicized the event, and so there were members of the public in attendance, including parents and their children. Craig and I fielded questions from the audience, and some of the best questions were from the children! If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s talking with beginners.

Craig Morfitt (on right) receiving his award from Nyon Steede.

That evening, starting at 8 PM, we had a series of more advanced lectures, beginning with mine, followed by Rusty Wessel’s, and topped off by Spencer Jack’s, which ended just after midnight. Both Rusty’s and Spencer’s talks were so entertaining that no one fell asleep! Certainly not I! Rusty showed photos and amazing underwater movies he had taken in beautiful rivers and streams in Mexico and Central America―really fantastic stuff! Spencer’s talk involved a series of humorous vignettes about various aspects of the aquarium hobby (especially cichlids) and the aquarium industry. Spencer has a very amusing sense of humor, to be sure! Probably the most amazing event on Saturday was the auction that took place following my first talk. This auction mostly featured bags of valuable fish (many were cichlids) that had been donated by Rusty and Spencer (I donated some bags as well, as did Bermuda’s Chris Roy). The bidding was Joe along with Rusty Wessel (on right), holding their Fry-Angle stupendous, even by Bermuda standards. With shirts. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY) August 2009 9

somewhere fewer than 90 bags of fish (about the size of a typical monthly auction at Greater City) and about 30 bidders (about half our normal monthly attendance), they nevertheless managed to raise the outstanding sum of $5,000! Now that’s what I call a charity auction! Although the Bermuda aquarium society is small, they enjoy a well-deserved reputation for generosity when it comes to fundraising and donations to benefit the aquarium hobby. And let me assure you, the hospitality they show their guests is second to none! Sunday was spent in social activities with members and fellow guests. There was a sumptuous brunch, and a delightful dinner on the ocean. Anita and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as we have on every visit to the enchanted island of Bermuda. I don’t know when they’ll be celebrating their next gala anniversary, but I sure hope Anita and I will be there. For now, we extend our congratulations on a very successfully staged 20th Anniversary event.


Anita (third on left) with the spouses of members, along with Suzi Wessel (fourth on right, sitting).

Photos by Beverly Morfitt.

August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

by SUSAN PRIEST hen you think of Temes Mo, you have to think BIG, as in BIG fishes, and even BIGGER fish tanks! His favorites include arowana, oscars, and jaguar cichlids. The biggest of them all is a redtailed shovelnose catfish!!! To quote Temes; “this one will need a REALLY BIG tank.” As you read here last month, some of these fish are still in the grow-out stage (anywhere between six inches and thirteen inches). When I compare those to the size of my juvenile Endler’s livebearers, WELL, there really is no comparison. My whole tank full of Endler’s wouldn’t provide a single meal for even one of his fishes. No matter how early I arrive for the meeting (I’m always on the prowl for a good parking space), Temes is always here before I am. He doesn’t want to miss even a single moment of all that the GCAS has to offer. I don’t know that I would call him shy exactly, but he is soft spoken, and very polite. Shortly after Marsha and Dan arrive, you will see him with his nose buried deeply into Modern Aquarium. I wonder if Fishkeepers Anonymous is his favorite feature? When he can’t put it off any longer, and he Temes Mo photo by Claudia Dickinson has to purchase those I’m sure that someone REALLY BIG tanks, Suggested Questions who has read your he is going to need to 3 Please introduce yourself. story is saying to free up some space in 3 Tell us about your favorite aquarium. themselves “I can tell his apartment. You 3 What was your very first fish? my story too!” might be able to get a 3 Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. great bargain on a 3 Is there someone you think of as a mentor? Suggested sofa, a desk or a Tell us about him or her. bookcase. I’m questions to help you 3 Describe your “Fantasy Fish Tank.” guessing that he will tell your story are to 3 If you were a fish, which one would you be? want to keep his your left. You can 3 Who is your “Hobby Hero?” “beanbag chair,” so s e n d y o u r 3 What fish which you have never kept would that when he isn’t A n o n y m o u s you like to acquire? busy doing those Fishkeeper to: Describe your biggest fishkeeping “blooper!” 3 REALLY BIG water 3 Describe your most memorable fishkeeping changes, he can sit and I’ll be watching for experience. watch his BIG (and you! 3 What changes have you seen in the hobby getting bigger) during your tenure as a fishkeeper? FISHES to his heart’s 3 What advice would you give to a content! beginning fishkeeper? 3 What are your fishkeeping goals? Thank you, - OR write a narrative story Temes, for sharing your passions with us.


Modern 10Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2009 2009 August

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


Looking through the Photos and captions

Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and GCAS Member, is given warm words of appreciation from GCAS President Dan Radebaugh following Jim’s extraordinary presentation, Madagascar Comes to the Bronx Zoo.

Julianne is walking in her Uncle Jim Peterson’s aquatic footsteps!

Ron Kasman holds the winning ticket of one of the evening’s Door Prizes, presented by GCAS President Dan Radebaugh.

Sue Priest jumps into action when needed to help with dispersing copies of Modern Aquarium!


A warm welcome to our new GCAS member, Flor Munoz!

August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Lens with the GCAS By Claudia Dickinson

Bob Strazzulla is thrilled with his Door Prize win, presented by GCAS President Dan Radebaugh. “New York City Zoos and Aquarium,” authored by Joan Scheier, is most appropriately themed for the evening, and the topic of Susan Priest’s column, ‘Wet Leaves,’ in the July issue of Modern Aquarium.

Marsha Radebaugh saves the day with the all-important laptop!

Gino Cusano and Jerry O’Farrell are ready for a trip to the Bronx Zoo!

Mario Bengcion wins First Place in the evening’s Bowl Show.

Champion of Malagasy freshwater fish conservation and advisor on the fishes of the new Madagascar exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, Dr. Paul Loiselle joins us for the evening.

What a pleasure it was to learn the inside story of the new Bronx Zoo Madagascar exhibit, given by the Director himself, Jim Breheny!

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Richard Waizman wins Second Place in the evening’s Bowl Show.

August 2009


The Fish from Bung Borapet Swamp Rasbora borapetensis - the Brilliant Rasbora by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST ost of the fishes native to Southeast Asia are fascinating to me. While I keep mostly anabantoid species (and most, but certainly not all, anabantoids are native to Southeast Asia), I’m always looking for new species from this part of the world to care for, observe, and, hopefully, have spawn in one of my tanks. This article is about a small and relatively easy to keep cyprinid: the “brilliant rasbora,” (Rasbora borapetensis) that I’d like to recommend to all aquarists, beginner and expert alike. Before I describe this fish and its care, I want to alert you to one possible pitfall should you decide to research them (I like to research all new species I acquire). I had no problem finding information about this fish when I Rasbora borapetensis searched the Internet for: {“brilliant rasbora” “Rasbora borapetensis”}. Then I decided to write this article and the waters, as they say, got a bit muddy. While “brilliant rasbora” is one of the common names attributed to Rasbora borapetensis, I discovered that this same common name is also associated with another species, Rasbora einthoveni. In fact, Rasbora borapetensis has quite a few common names associated with it, including (but not necessarily limited to) brilliant rasbora, redtail rasbora, blackline rasbora, Bora Bora rasbora, magnificent rasbora, and Borapet rasbora. As some of these common names suggest, Rasbora borapetensis have a golden (upper) and silver (lower) colored body divided by a horizontal black stripe extending from the gill cover to the base of the caudal fin, and with red in their caudal (tail) fin. Adults reach a total body length of about two inches. The only external difference between males and females is that mature females will generally have a rounder body, due to the presence of eggs. The caudal fin is in a “scissor” (or “V”) shape, the mouth is upturned, and, except for the caudal fin (which, as I mentioned has some red in it), the other fins (i.e., dorsal, anal, and pectoral) are mostly transparent.



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

The upturned mouth is an indication that Rasbora borapetensis feeds mostly at or near the surface of the water, and can generally be found in the upper third of an aquarium. These are very fast moving fish that prefer to swim in groups. When I first transferred them from quarantine to my 90 gallon community aquarium, I feared that they might suffer the same fate as the neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and Otocinclus affinis (a dwarf suckermouth catfish) that ultimately became expensive “feeder fish” for the several large angelfish in that tank. But (fortunately!), that has not happened. At two inches in total length, adult Rasbora borapetensis are too large for my angelfish to eat, and the juveniles are simply too fast to be caught. They are an excellent photo by Susan Priest choice to add to a community of peaceful fish. Because Rasbora borapetensis prefer soft (dH <12) neutral to acidic water (pH 6.5 to 7.0), with a preferred temperature range between 72E to 78EF, and a dimly lit and heavily planted tank, they are also excellent tankmates for most gouramis, and many other Southeast Asian species, most of which share these same environmental preferences. Rasboras are cyprinids. Members of the Cyprinidae family include barbs, danios, minnows, red-tail sharks, and carps, among many others. Nearly all rasboras are native to Southeast Asia (but at least one species, Rasbora gerlachi, comes from Africa). There are about 70 species in the genus Rasbora1. The name Rasbora borapetensis literally means “fish from Bung Borapet Swamp.” (Rasbora is an Indian word, also used in the Malay peninsula, for “fish.” Borapetensis refers to the Bung (or Buang) Borapet (or Boraphet), the biggest freshwater swamp in central Thailand, to which this species is native.) Rasbora borapetensis is probably the most common species of Rasbora in Thailand2.

August2009 2009 August

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S 5 (NY)

In a tank with (thereby simulating the enough swimming rainy season in their room, Rasbora native habitat). Several borapetensis is a very spawning episodes will easy-to-keep fish for the usually result in from 5 aquarist. They will eat to 12 eggs from each almost any food you female being produced, give them (so far, I with a typical spawn haven’t found anything total, per female, of 30 to 50 eggs. they will not eat!). As is true for They do not, however, many cyprinid species, readily spawn in the Rasbora borapetensis home aquarium. If you are egg scatterers. They want yours to spawn, provide no parental care they need to be the only and in fact will readily species in the tank. You eat their own eggs. should have a group of Large pebbles on the at least a half-dozen. (I bottom of the tank will should not have to allow the eggs to fall mention it, but I will through and (hopefully) not be eaten. Supposedly, anyway: you do need both sexes in that group!) plastic mesh will serve the same purpose, but in my A bare-minimum spawning setup would be experience, if the mesh has openings wide enough six (preferably eight to a dozen) fish, with at least to allow most of the eggs to fall through, hungry two females to every three males (a 50% balance adults can and will use those openings for a being the ideal), in at least a 20 gallon tank “snack” and could potentially become trapped (preferably, a “20 gallon long” or larger), heavily under the mesh, so large pebbles are my choice, planted with both floating and rooted plants, but even though some eggs will be exposed to the with a center area being clear for swimming. The ever-hungry adults. tank should be dimly (Since adults will eat lit (the best plants for any eggs they can this would be an Scientific Name: Rasbora borapetensis find, adults should be Anubias species Common Names: Brilliant Rasbora, Redtail removed once you and/or Java fern), Rasbora, Blackline Rasbora, Bora Bora have evidence that a and the water should Rasbora, Magnificent Rasbora, spawning has be slightly acidic and Borapet Rasbora occurred.) as soft as possible. Adult Size: about 2 inches (TL) Anyone who Live food should be Water temperature: 72E - 78EF (22E - 26EC) has read any of my provided for Hardness: <12dH prior articles on care conditioning. Live Acidity: 6.5-7.0 pH and breeding of fish or frozen worms and Nutrition: Omnivore; small live, frozen and dry knows that I am a brine shrimp closely foods strong advocate of approximate their Native Habitat: SE Asia: Mekong, Chao Phraya having a sponge filter native diet (in the Meklong basins; northern Malay in every tank, wild, Rasbora Peninsula regardless of what borapetensis feed on Sexual dimorphism: Adult females rounder body other filtration you zooplankton, insects, Temperament: Peaceful, very active, schooling may use, and this worms, and species is no crustaceans). The exception. Any filtration in the now fry/egg tank should be well-filtered (good water quality is “grow-out” tank (as you should have removed all especially important to induce spawning), but adults) should be discontinued, except for a mature filtration that causes large water movement should sponge filter. Depending on the water temperature, be avoided (Rasbora borapetensis is native to the eggs will hatch within18 to 48 hours (the swamps, ponds, streams, and drains, usually in warmer the water, the sooner the eggs will hatch, slow-flowing, sometimes muddy water). but high temperatures are best avoided), with the Once the fish have been conditioned by fry free-swimming between 24 to 48 hours feeding live foods, and one or more females appear afterwards. to be full of eggs (they will become noticeably The first fry food should be extremely small, “fatter”), spawning may be induced by adding such as green water, paramecia, newly hatched small amounts of cool water every few hours Modern 6 Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2009

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


The first fry food should be extremely small, such as green water, paramecium,Commercial newly hatched brine shrimp, or microworms. fry brineshrimp, or microworms. (Commercial food for egglayers will also work, but this typefry of food egglayers will alsofoul work, this type of foodforcan more readily thebutwater if left food can Even more ifreadily foulhave the green water water if left uneaten. you don’t or uneaten.) if youifdon’t green water parameciaEven handy, yourhave sponge filter oris paramecium handy, (meaning if your sponge filterbeen is sufficiently mature that it has sufficiently (meaningfish thatforitawhile), has been running in amature tank containing the running in a graze tank containing for a while), then fry can on thefishnaturally-occurring the fry can graze on the naturally-occurring microorganisms on the sponge. Frequent water microorganisms on thefor sponge. water changes are essential the fry Frequent tank. Initially, changes are essential for the fry tank. Initially, when the fry are very small, a length of airline when fryanare very small, length airline tubingthe with airstone on the aend worksofwell as a tubing with an airstone on the end works well as a mini-syphon. This will allow you to make water “mini-syphon.” will allowthe you to as make water changes withoutThis endangering fry, water will changes without the fry,syphoning as water will pass through theendangering airstone without out pass the airstone without out eventhrough the smallest newborn fish. syphoning This, however, even the remove smallestsolid newborn This,change however, will not waste,fish. so a water that will not remove solid waste, sodetritus a water change suctions up accumulated shouldthat be suctions accumulated detritus should be performedupas soon as it is safe to do so. performed as soon as it is safe to do so.

All in all, this is a very attractive and small fish that considerable to Allwill in add all, color this is(and a very attractive action) small fish any peaceful community tank whose basic water that will add color and considerable action to any parameters match its requirements. It is water also peaceful community tank whose basic excellent by itself in a species tank. But, to show parameters match its requirements. It is also them at their you put them in to should excellent bybest, itselfany in atank species tank. But, show be long (and wellput planted, have an them at enough their best, anywhile tank you them in should open areaenough wide enough), allow these have fish to be long (and whiletowell planted, an school. open area wide enough), to allow these fish to school. References References 1 (as of 1 7/19/2009, 04:35 EDT) (as of 7/19/2009, 04:35 EDT)

Brittan, Martin R., Rasboras, Keeping & Breeding 2 Them In Captivity, Publications, Inc., 1998 Brittan, Martin R.,T.F.H. Rasboras, Keeping & Breeding Them In Captivity, T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1998 2

The GCAS Author Award Program by SUSAN PRIEST his brief article is here to serve as a refresher for continuing members and an introduction to those of you who have joined our ranks since March 2009. The GCAS has a program which provides various incentives and awards to members who contribute to Modern Aquarium. With every article, photograph, puzzle, or drawing you contribute to this magazine, you will earn points. As these points accumulate, you become eligible to receive certificates of accomplishment. An article of less than 500 words is worth five points, and an article of more than 500 words is worth ten points. If an article is accompanied by photos or illustrations, the first two will each earn an extra five points. A photo which is used on the cover will earn you ten points. A puzzle will earn five points. Articles on fish in the C.A.R.E.S. program earn double points. Levels of accomplishment start at twenty five points which designates you as an “Author.” The levels progress all the way up to “Editor Emeritus,” which means you have earned ten thousand points! (No one has accomplished this yet.) There are ten levels in between, and each time you reach a new level you will receive a certificate of accomplishment. The person who earns the most points within a calendar year will earn the designation of “Author of the Year.” I bet you didn’t guess that I was a mind reader. I bet you didn’t know I could tell that in the back of your mind you were saying to yourself “is that it?!” Well. that’s not it. There’s more. Every year at the GCAS Holiday party we hold a special raffle for “Authors and Contributors Only.”


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


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

The only way you can be entered in this special raffle is to make a contribution to Modern Aquarium within the current calendar year. For every five points you earn in a year, you will be given one raffle ticket. This year’s prize will be an autographed book by someone who is very well known in the hobby. I will not tell you who it is. I’m not done yet. There is one more opportunity (actually two more) to reap rewards with your contributions. Virtually every article which gets published in Modern Aquarium is also entered into the Northeast Council of Aquarium Society’s article contest, as well as the Federation of American Aquarium Society’s publication awards. Your articles will be in competition with those by other authors from all over the country (as well as Canada and Puerto Rico). Winning authors will receive extra bonus points in, you guessed it, our own Author’s Award Program. It is particularly gratifying to have your article recognized in these national venues. Regular contributors to Modern Aquarium believe that writing is its own reward. We also believe that sharing your knowledge and observations is the most lasting gift you can make to the hobby. For those of you who need a little bit of extra incentive, we hope that there is something here, some feature of the GCAS Author Award Program, which will give you that incentive. For a complete list of the rules and rewards of the AAP, see the December 2008 issue of Modern Aquarium.

August 2009

August2009 2009 August

7 Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S 7 (NY)

Cichlidically Speaking Your Link to the American Cichlid Association

by Claudia Dickinson Newest Cichlid Revisions to the CARES Conservation Priority List Recent cichlid additions have been made to the CARES Conservation Priority List, as submitted by CARES Conservation Priority List Lake Victoria Regional Coordinator Greg Steeves, and approved by CARES Conservation Priority List Technical Editor of Freshwater Fishes Dr. Paul Loiselle. If you are maintaining any of the listed species, please be certain to let me know so that I can set up your registry in GCAS CARES and ACA CARES. Otherwise, there may be a species listed that you would like to research further and consider maintaining as a CARES colony.



Mbipia sp. 'porthole' Neochromis rufocaudalis Paralabidochromis sauvagei Paralabidochromis sp. 'red fin piebald' Psammochromis riponianus Ptyochromis fisheri Ptyochromis sp. 'salmon' Pundamilia pundamilia Pundamilia sp. 'blue bar'

Near Threatened (NT) Vulnerable (VU) VU At Risk (AR) VU VU VU VU VU

Greg has been so kind to supply photographs to offer you an idea of the appearance of the new additions. He notes that the fish with lake-wide distribution have distinct locale variants that contrast in color from region to region.

Psammochromis riponianus has a lake-wide distribution in Lake Victoria. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Pundamilia sp. ‘blue bar’ inhabits Lake Victoria at Hippo Point, Kenya. Photo Credit: David Hansen

August 2009

Pundamilia Pundamilia is located in Mwanza Gulf and Spekle Gulf in the southern portion of Lake Victoria. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves


Paralabidochromis sp. ‘red fin piebald’ inhabits Lake Kyoga and possibly some finger lakes. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves

Mbipia sp. ‘porthole’ inhabits Yala Swamp of Lake Kanyaboli, Kenya. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves

Paralabidochromis sauvagei has a lake-wide distribution in Lake Victoria. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves

Neochromis rufocaudalis has a lakewide distribution in Lake Victoria. Photo Credit: David Hansen

Ptyochromis sp. ‘salmon’ inhabits Lake Victoria at Hippo Point, Kenya. Photo Credit: Greg Steeves

The First Lady of the Aquarium Hobby…Ida May Mellen, by Albert J. Klee, Ph.D. The book that has been enthusiastically awaited by aquatic historian buffs and general hobbyists alike, is here! And, we could not have greater fortune than for Al, the inimitable and celebrated aquarium hobby historian, a legend in and of himself, to take on the task of authorship. He went about it in his characteristic style, delving into the facts and leaving no stone unturned in his path to discovery of finite detail amongst intertwined lives and events of years long since past. “There was a lady bright and kind Whose history did so please my mind; I only saw her passing by, But will praise her till I die.” Albert J. Klee

Ida May Mellen, 1931. Photo by Clifton Adams from The National Geographic Magazine, March 1931, Volume LIX, Number Three.

Who was the most remarkable person in aquarium hobby history? After years of investigation, Al concludes that the answer is not only clear, but feels that the runnersup are left far behind. He states, “Ida May Mellen… is, without doubt, the most multidimensional and fascinating of all the personalities I have encountered in my research.” And, he goes on to say, “Ida Mellen 18

In 1928, Ida Mellen became famously known as the “Fish Doctor.” The Daily Times-Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, October 8, 1940.

had many difficulties during her lifetime because of the ‘glass ceiling,’ a term referring to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism. This was especially the case during her years at the New York Aquarium, although it was a persistent source of tribulation at other times as well.”

August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

This compelling story of a life filled with an intense diversity of tragedy and triumph is a must read for all aquarists, and one that will linger in hearts and minds long after the final page has been turned. With his customary enormous generosity, just as he donated the proceeds from sales of his 1987 limited edition book, “A History of the Aquarium Hobby in America,” to the ACA in support of the Guy D. Jordan Endowment Fund, Al has so kindly offered to donate the Ida Mellen manuscript to the ACA. The earnings will go to support the ACA Paul V. Loiselle Conservation Fund. Over four decades ago, the idea of an American Cichlid Association was born in the mind of Al Klee. Al, for this book, and so much more, a warm and heartfelt thank you! The book will be sold at the ACA Membership Sales table at ACA Conventions. To pre-order your copy, please contact me at

Al and Joy Klee Visit the GCAS in 2004 and are given a warm greeting by then GCAS President Joe Ferdenzi (center). Photo Credit: Claudia Dickinson

Upcoming Buntbarsche Bulletin! The October issue of BB is traditionally chock full with a recap of the annual convention. You won’t want to miss out on what fish won each class and division, as well as Best in Show and Reserve in Show, the People’s Choice Award, and the Mike Sheridan Tankbuster Award. Then, of course, you have the Patrick Mahoney Award that goes to the person who has gained the most points in ACA sanctioned shows across the country throughout the year. The celebrated Ron Geoegeone has taken this award with his stunning cichlids for numerous years in a row. Will Ron take the award home again this year? Find out this and so much more in the upcoming October issue!

Join the ACA! Be certain that you are a part of the ACA by logging onto Go to the membership section where you may join directly online or you may prefer to print out the membership application and send it to: Marty Ruthkosky ACA Membership Chair 43081 Bond Court Sterling Heights, MI 48313 Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have during our meetings, or by e-mail at I’m sure you will find becoming involved with such a special group of individuals as rewarding as I have!

Until next time… Keep on Enjoying Your Cichlids! Claudia

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2009


Smoke Rings in the Water A series by “The Undergravel Reporter” In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society. hose of you who are New York City residents, and who are old enough to remember what Times Square used to look like (before Disney, et. al.), probably remember the Camel Man, a giant billboard advertisement for Camel cigarettes mounted on the Claridge Hotel on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets that blew actual smoke rings around the clock for decades. (The Claridge Hotel, which served as a location for the film "Midnight Cowboy," no longer exists, and neither does that billboard). I have to admit to having a bit of nostalgia when I see the “new” Times Square, sans arcades and tourist traps, but I never really thought about that Camel billboard sign until I came across mention of beluga whales in Japan that have been trained to blow bubbles in the shape of smoke rings. Leave it to the inventive Japanese to figure a way to train whales to blow a ring of bubbles.

Speaking of Japanese inventiveness, where else in the world would eating raw fish from the body of a naked woman be considered to be both an art form and an accepted culinary practice? Naked sushi, or “nyotaimori” (roughly translated as “adorned body of woman”) is a well-accepted and practiced tradition in Japan. It is recognized as an art form, and has been part of the Japanese Geisha culture dating back hundreds of years. It is based on the idea that sushi is made to delight the eyes as well as the palate. Sushi making is an art form and an artful presentation is the goal. Tokyo is world famous for this type of dinner theater and art practice.2


If you want to see this in action (and see them playing “trade the ball,” doing circle spins, and waving goodbye), check out the YouTube video titled “Whales Blowing Bubble Rings.”1

It should not surprise anyone that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is opposed to the aquarium hobby3. Hardly anything PETA does with respect to so-called “animal rights” should surprise us any more. But, PETA managed to somehow become even more ridiculous, as evidenced by their reaction to President Obama’s swatting a fly during an interview for CNBC at the White House. PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.4

Photo: New York Daily News, 6/18/2009 A “Katcher” (left) and the Presidential swatter (right)

References 1 2 (accessed 7/26/2009) 3 4


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

August 2009 August 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY) 17

GCAS Happenings


A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS members Steve Miller and Jerry O’Farrell! A special welcome to new member Flor Muñoz!

Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Mario Bengcion 2 Richard Waizman

Synodontis Catfish Flowerhorn

Unofficial 2009 Bowl Show totals to date: Robert Hamje 17

Mario Bengcion 14 Richard Waizman 9 Ed Vukich 3 Richard Levy 1

Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: Greater City Aquarium Society

East Coast Guppy Association

Next Meeting: September 2, 2009 Speaker: None Event: Members’Night Meets the first Wednesday of the month (except January & February) at 7:30pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main Street - Flushing, NY Contact: Dan Radebaugh (347) 866-1107 E-mail: Website:

Meets: 1st Thursday of each month at at 8:00 pm. Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. Contact: Gene Baudier (631) 345-6399

Big Apple Guppy Club Meets: Last Tuesday each month (except Jan & Feb) at 7:30-10:00pm. Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. Contact: Donald Curtin (718) 631-0538 Next Meeting: September 11, 2009 Speaker: Dana Riddle Event: Raising Coral Spawn Meets the 2nd Friday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30pm: NY Aquarium - Education Hall, Brooklyn, NY Call: BAS Events Hotline: (718) 837-4455 Website: Next Meeting: September 18, 2009 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBD Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) 8:00pm. Greenhouse Meeting Room, Holtsville Ecology Center, Buckley Road, Holtsville, NY Email: Margaret Peterson - Website: Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Next Meeting: September 8, 2009 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 2nd Tuesday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30 PM Molloy College - Kellenberg Hall ~1000 Hempstead Ave Rockville Centre, NY Contact: Mike Foran (516) 798-6766 Website:


Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Long Island Aquarium Society

Nassau County Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: September 17, 2009 Speaker: Chris Moscarell Event: Breeding Apistos Meets: 8:00 P.M. Lyndhurst Elks Club - 251 Park Ave - Lyndhurst, NJ Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 e-mail: Website:

Norwalk Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 17, 2009 Speaker & Topic: TBD Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS E-mail: Website:

August 2009


Fin Fun More Than Bora Bora This month’s Modern Aquarium has an article on the Brilliant, Blackline, or Bora Bora Rasbora, Rasbora borapetensis. Of course, there are many other Rasbora species. See if you can correctly match the scientific name with the common name of the Rasbora species listed below. Answers next month.

Rasbora species scientific name

Rasbora species common name Slender Rasbora

Rasbora argyrotaenia Rasbora beauforti

Silver Rasbora

Rasbora daniconius

Chinese Rasbora

Rasbora elegans

Spotlight Rasbora Yellow Rasbora

Trigonostigma hengeli Trigonostigma heteromorpha

Twospot Rasbora

Rasbora daniconius

Harlequin Rasbora

Rasbora lateristriata

Glowlight Rasbora Pearly Rasbora

Rasbora vaterifloris

Goldline Rasbora

Rasbora steineri Source:

Solution to last month’s puzzle:

Uncommon Bettas

Betta species scientific name Betta species common name Betta albimarginata ------------Whiteseam Fighter Betta channoides------------Snakehead Fighter Betta coccina------------Wine-Red Betta Betta enisae------------Blue Band Mouthbrooder Betta fusca------------Dusky Betta Betta livida------------Jealous Betta Betta picta------------Painted Betta Betta rutilans------------Reddish Dwarf Fighter Betta smaragdina------------Emerald Betta Betta unimaculata------------One-Spot Betta

22 24

August 2009 August 2009

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

The Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island presents

Triple Crown Fish Auction Sunday, August 30, 2009

St. Joseph’s Parish Center 1303 Mendon Road (Rte. 122) Cumberland, RI DIRECTIONS TO THE AUCTION: Route 295 to Route 122, (exit 10). Take a left off the ramp, proceed past the Burger King on your left and Route 116 on your right. Continue on route 122 for approximately one mile. St. Joseph’s church will be on your left. Turn left into the driveway immediately before the church, and follow the driveway around the rear of the church and proceed to the top of the hill. The Parish center will be on your right. Doors will be open at 10:00 AM. The auction starts promptly at 12:00 PM

Free Admission! All are welcome! The Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island meets on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at 7:30 PM. Meetings are free and all are welcome to attend. Go to for meeting location

BRING YOUR BEST FISH! For a $1 fee you can put a reserve on any lot! YOU set the minimum bid, if the lot doesn’t sell for your price or better, you get it back!

TFSRI’s split is $3 per bag sold, all the rest goes to the vendor. Limit: 3 bags per species & 15 bags per seller. No more than 7 lots of dry goods. Preregister and get a red dot sticker to bump one bag to the start of the auction. Lots not selling for the minimum bid of $3 are returned to the seller. Vendor Fee: $2 Bidder Card: $2 (Waived for Vendors) Bump any lot $2 Rebagging fee: $2

Visit for complete rules. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Al Wagonblott (401) 847-3364 or visit us on the web at:

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

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