Modern Aquarium August 2012

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August 2012 volume XIX number 6

Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies Serving the Northeastern Portion of the United States

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Series III ON THE COVER This month's cover features Sphaerichthys selatanensis, known also as the cherry chocolate gourami or cross-band gourami. Find more information on this very pretty fish recommended for more experienced aquarists in Al Priest's article, "A Chocolate Covered Cherry." Photo by Alexander A. Priest

Vol. XIX, No. 6 August, 2012

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2012 Program Schedule President’s Message Last Month's Caption Contest Winner Cartoon Caption Contest


President Dan Radebaugh Vice-President Edward Vukich Treasurer Jules Birnbaum Corresponding Secretary Sean Cunningham Recording Secretary Tommy Chang Members At Large

Claudia Dickinson Al Grusell Emma Haus Leonard Ramroop

Pete D’Orio Ben Haus Jason Kerner

Committee Chairs

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

Claudia Dickinson Leonard Ramroop Warren Feuer Mark Soberman Al Grusell Alexander A. Priest Marsha Radebaugh 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

Nostalgia Notes: Nassau Pet Shop by Joseph Ferdenzi

That Dreaded Green Stuff! by Jules Birnbaum

Fish Wars! A Tale of Two Channels Part I: MONSTERS! by Dan Radebaugh

Pictures from our Last Meeting by Susan Priest

A Chocolate Covered Cherry Sphaerichthys selatanensis The “Cross Band” or “Cherry” Chocolate Gourami by Alexander A. Priest

A Plague of Frogs Participate in a Study! by Dan Radebaugh

Our Generous Sponsors & Advertisers

2 3 4 7 8 9 11 13 16 18

21 22

Rules for August's Silent Auction/Fleamarket 22 "The 90" by Susan Priest

My Favorite Marine Fish The Spotted Drum: Equetus punctatus by Stephen Sica

Our Generous Members Member Classifieds G.C.A.S. Happenings The Undergravel Reporter The Game's Afoot!

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) Yummy Treats

23 25 26 27 28 29 30

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh


f you’ve looked at our very busy contents page, you’ll have seen that this issue really gets around! We’re delighted to have another of Joe Ferdenzi’s excursions back to the hobby’s past; this time with a look at the Nassau Pet Shop, a fixture in lower Manhattan for many years. That store was way before my time (in New York at least), and this story evokes a very special time and place in the aquarium hobby. Jules Birnbaum has written more than one article for us on the subject of plants. In this issue he talks about some plants that many of us would prefer not to be quite so good at raising―“That Dreaded Green Stuff,”―algae. Thanks, Jules. Did you ever hear the admonition, “Never speak the name of the tiger?” Acouple of TV channels that often showcase tigers have also lately been showcasing fish. Even tigerfish! I talk about their competing shows a bit in “Fish Wars!” on page 13. I also have a small entry on page 21 called “A Plague of Frogs.” Not really an article, it’s just passing along an emailed invitation for fishkeepers who may be housing the African clawed frog, to take part in a study investigating the fungal disease that has been devastating amphibian populations around the world in recent years. For those of you not keeping these frogs, maybe this is just the excuse you need to do so! The beautiful fish on our cover this month is Sphaerichthys selatanensis, also popularly known as the the cherry chocolate gourami, or the cross-banded gourami. See Al Priest’s article, “A Chocolate Covered Cherry,” for details about this attractive anabantid. In addition to being our cover subject, S. selatanensis, with its yummy popular name (I’ve always had a weakness for chocolate covered cherries), also seems to be the inspiration for this month’s Fin Fun puzzle, “Yummy Treats.”


Sue Priest tells us about “The 90,” her favorite fish tank, and also provides us with “Pictures From Last Month’s Meeting,” on pages 16 & 17. And speaking of favorites, Steve Sica’s “Favorite Marine Fish” (this month) is the spotted drum, Equetus punctatus. Looking at the photos accompanying this article, it’s easy to see why! As I write this, Marsha and I are getting ready to watch the Olympics' opening ceremony on TV, so it’s appropriate that The Undergravel Reporter checks in this month with “The Game’s Afoot!” * * * Remember, as always, we need articles! Modern Aquarium is produced by and for the members of Greater City Aquarium Society. Our members are our authors, and with ten issues per year, we always, always need more articles. I know several of you are keeping and/or breeding fish that I would like to know more about, and I’m certain other members would be interested as well. Share your experience with us. Write about it! If you’re a little unsure about the state of your writing technique, don’t worry – that’s why there are editors. If you have an article, photo, or drawing that you’d like to submit for inclusion in Modern Aquarium, it’s easy to do! You may fax it to me at (877) 299-0522, email it to gcas@earthlink. net, or just hand it to me at a meeting. However you get it to me, I’ll be delighted to receive it!

August 2012

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! Enjoy! Claudia March 7

Meet the Experts of the GCAS

April 4

Felicia McCaulley Tips and Tricks to Aquarium Photography on a Budget

May 2

Jeff Michels Dwarf Cichlids

June 6

Rich Levy Virtual Fishroom Tours: Joe Ferdenzi and Jules Birnbaum

July 11

Rich Levy Virtual Fishroom Tours: Jeff Bollbach and Rich Levy

August 1

Silent Auction

September 5

Felicia McCaulley Seahorses

October 3

Rachel O'Leary Freshwater Invertebrates

November 7

Joe Ferdenzi GCAS 90th!

December 5

Holiday Party!

Articles submitted for consideration in Modern Aquarium (ISSN 2150-0940) 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 gcas@earthlink. net. Copyright 2012 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: or Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2012


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh


couple of months ago we collected names on a petition protesting the city’s proposed drastic budget cuts for, among other things, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Aquarium. I recently received the following email message below. I believe that everyone who contributed to this result should feel gratified. We should bear in mind going forward though, that this issue will almost certainly come up again, and our legislators and other political leaders will once again need our help to do the right thing. But for the moment, we can take a well-deserved deep breath. Dear New Yorker, Now that the holiday has passed, we wanted to take this moment to thank you and everyone else who showed their love and support our city’s cultural institutions during this year’s budget process. Because of you, the NYC Council was able to work with Mayor Bloomberg to restore approximately $38 million in funding to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in the Fiscal 2013 Adopted Budget. This includes a $3.6 million increase to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium and the other members of the Cultural Institutions Group, which together act as a key economic engine for our city and serve as a major source of enjoyment and enrichment for millions of residents and their families. It also includes funding for the Cultural After-School Adventure program, which has been a hallmark of the City’s partnership with cultural programs and institutions to provide arts enrichment citywide, as well for the Coalition of Theatres of Color, which includes some of our city’s finest multi-cultural theatre arts organizations. Finally, the Fiscal 2013 Adopted Budget includes over $100 million in capital funds for critical maintenance upgrades, key expansions and renovations, and equipment needs for over 60 cultural organizations around the City. With this budget, we’ve made providing access to culture for New York City’s residents and schoolchildren a top priority. Given the huge cuts in funding to childcare, afterschool programs and other critical services that we also had to fight hard to restore, this was no easy task, and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without you. Special thanks as well to all of the advocates who helped us stand firm in our commitment to supporting this vital sector of our city’s economy. Now that the Fiscal 2013 budget season is over, we hope you’ll continue to stay actively involved in our work here at the City Council. In fact, if you haven’t had a chance to yet, we encourage you to sign up for Council “enews”. These issue-based e-mail updates are an important way for us to stay connected and engaged with you and other New Yorkers about the budget, Council hearings and events, and other important issues impacting our city. It should only take a minute or two to sign up at Thanks again! Sincerely, Christine C. Quinn Speaker NYC Council Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. Chair, Finance Committee NYC Council Jimmy Van Bramer Chair, Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations NYC Council


August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Do you recall the the Vanishing Species stamp that Sue Priest told us about in her "Wet Leaves" column back in June? I've reprinted it below, because I recently received an email from the WCS (see right-hand column).


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2012


Support Fish in the Classroom! If you have any 5 or 10 gallon tanks, or any filters, pumps, or plants that you could donate to NYC teacher Michael Paoli's classrooms, could you please bring them in or email Rich Levy ( If you'd like to donate larger tanks, be sure and email Rich so he can make sure Michael can accommodate it.


August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Cartoon by Elliott Oshins

July's Caption Winner: Al Priest

When no one else can catch 'em, they call on me, the "Masked Netter!"

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The Modern Aquarium Cartoon Caption Contest August, 2012

Modern Aquarium has featured cartoons before. This time though, you, the members of Greater City get to choose the caption! Just think of a good caption, then mail, email, or phone the Editor with your caption (phone: 347-866-1107, fax: 877-299-0522, email: gcas@ Your caption needs to reach the Editor by the third Wednesday of this month. We'll also hand out copies of this page at the meeting, which you can turn in to Marsha before leaving. Winning captions will earn ten points in our Author Awards program, qualifying you for participation in our special "Authors Only" raffle at our Holiday Party and Banquet. Put on your thinking caps!

Cartoon by Elliot Oshins

Your Caption:

Your Name:


August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Nostalgia Notes: Nassau Pet Shop by Joseph Ferdenzi n my prior installment of “Nostalgia Notes” aquarium. Since she lived in New York City, I can (Modern Aquarium, Nov. 2011), I wrote about only imagine that Dr. Clark was referring to the same one of the legendary aquarium stores, The Nassau Street store I patronized in the 1960s. Hence Aquarium Stock Company. This installment is not this would mean that the store had been in existence about quite such a legend, but one that is nevertheless at least as of the early 1930s. Further evidence that remembered by most New York the store was in business in the City aquarists who, like me, had early 1930s is to be found in my their hobby beginnings in the copy of a booklet entitled Popular 1960s. Tropical Fish, by Edna May The Nassau Pet Shop was Goldberg, published in 1933. This so named because it was located copy has a rubber stamp imprint on Nassau Street (number 129, to on the inside front cover and back be precise), just a stone’s throw cover that says: Nassau Pet Shop, from City Hall and only a few 129 Nassau Street, New York blocks from the Aquarium Stock City. I also found a newspaper Company. For me this meant that clipping inside from June 1933. virtually every visit to Aqua Stock I don’t know when it went out of (its nickname for many of us) business, but just like it’s much also included a visit to the nearby more well-known neighbor, Aqua Nassau Pet Shop. Stock, it was certainly gone by the I’m not sure when the Nassau early 1980s. Pet Shop first opened, but I doubt Compared to Aqua Stock, it was as old as Aqua Stock, which Nassau was a very small store. was established in the 1910s. In fact, if my memory serves me However, it probably was around correctly, compared to any other as early as the 1930s. Indeed, The front cover of the Goldberg booklet. Although store it was very small. While Dr. Eugenie Clark, a renowned the cover was printed in color, the inside Aqua Stock was the length of American ichthyologist born in illustrations were in black and white. one whole city block, Nassau was 1922, recounts this episode in her autobiographical probably not much larger than my family room, which book, Lady With A Spear (1953): is 20 X 12. The store’s single door was flanked by One Saturday, instead of going to a movie after two small bayfront-style display windows. There was lunch, we went down to Nassau Street to pick out a step up from the sidewalk before you entered. If my Christmas present. I coaxed her [mother] into you looked at the display window on your left as you buying me a large fifteen gallon aquarium. We stepped up, you saw an aquarium of somewhere in the had to get some gravel and a few large stones vicinity of fifteen gallons in size. The tank was filled to give the bottom a “natural” look, a variety of with water, and obviously had some plants and fish aquatic plants including the emerald long-leaved in it, though I couldn’t tell you what, exactly. Taped Vallisneria, and some coral-red snails. It was the to this aquarium was a small cardboard sign whose most exciting spending spree either of us had ever message is forever etched in the memory of people known. We picked out a pair of veil-tailed guppies, black-speckled red platies, pale green swordtails, who visited the store. It went something like this:


striped danios, iridescent pearl danios, “head-andtail-lights,” a weird looking scavenger fish with “whiskers,” and a pair of graceful angelfish.

Given the context in which this passage appears in the book, I would venture to say she was about ten years old when she made this purchase of her first Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

This tank was set up on August 15, 1942. Other than replacing water lost to evaporation, no water changes have ever been made, and no filtration device has ever been used.

This, then, was its claim to fame! Here was a balanced aquarium that proved the theory that you

August 2012


could maintain an aquarium successfully for decades with a minimum of fuss. In the early days of the aquarium hobby, it represented what aquarists aspired to have: the balanced aquarium―a balance of plants, fish, and snails living in perpetual harmony without artificial lighting, filtration, or any other gadgets. Of course this particular aquarium, being in a sunny window, always seemed shrouded in algae. I certainly never thought of it as the epitome of aquaristic skill, but still, it was a unique piece that I never saw duplicated in any other store then or since. Once you entered the store, you were flanked by tanks on shelves set against the walls. These tanks, as I recall them, contained no gravel, rocks, or anything other than fish. This alone made the store different from others. Most pet shops decorated their tanks in some way, even if it was only gravel and a background. The Nassau tanks, by contrast, were as Spartan as the tanks of wholesalers (with whom I would become familiar much later in my life). At the back wall of the store was the likewise Spartan sales counter. The selection of dry goods and plants certainly paled in comparison to Aqua Stock, but the one big advantage they had over their famous competitor was their prices―far lower than just about any pet shop that I frequented. Just to give you an example, here is what I paid for a medium sized (2 ½ inches) red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) in 1968: 79 cents! (I documented these prices in a journal I used to keep back in the ‘60s.) If Dr. Clark’s mom was of the frugal variety, I could very well understand why she chose Nassau as the place to purchase her daughter’s first aquarium. I don’t recall buying anything but fish there, but of course taking a tank home on the subway all the way to Corona, Queens, was probably not something I would have relished doing.

The title page of the Goldberg booklet, showing that it was printed in 1933 and that it was self-published (!). The smudge at the top is from the ink stamp on the inside front cover.

The back cover, showing the Nassau Pet Shop ink stamp. As far as I can ascertain, this is a very rare printed documentation of the store’s name and address―I have never seen any advertisement or mention of the store in aquarium magazines or books.

I also have a vague recollection that, just before it went out of business altogether, Nassau was taken over by someone with a small chain of aquarium stores, but it didn’t last long. There is currently a Petland Discounts at 132 Nassau Street, but that location is on the east side of the block, and further south from the store I’m writing about, which was on the west side of Nassau Street, close to the corner of Spruce Street. The Petland is on the block between Beekman Street and Ann Street. To an avid hobbyist like myself, it is sad to think that we no longer have a little jewel of an aquarium store right near New York’s mighty financial district. As an aside, I should mention that, although it was called the Nassau Pet Shop, I never saw anything but aquatic pets there. And that was just fine with me!

Kingfish (

Good for the Hobby – Organizations – Industry Ray “Kingfish” Lucas Celebrating 23 years in the business (1989-2012) of participating at your events. 10

August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

That Dreaded Green Stuff! by Jules Birnbaum


icture the following: Parents go out and buy their kids a small aquarium. They then place the tank in direct sunlight, fill it with fish that will eventually outgrow its size, feed the fish too much, and don’t do water changes. The water soon becomes a green soup, fish die (very disturbing to the kids), and the whole ugly mess is put out with the garbage. This of course completely solves the algae problem, but we probably lose a future aquarist. So the dreaded green stuff strikes again. Does this sound familiar? Algae means seaweed in Latin. Algae (plural of alga) are a large and diverse group of organisms. The largest and most complex marine forms are called seaweeds. Algae are found in the fossil record dating back approximately 3 billion years. Algae do not have roots, leaves or rhizoids, but do produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Wherever you live, if you are going to keep tropical fish, algae will Green water. always be there. It is not your enemy, but rather a signal to you of what is going on in your tanks. It can indicate that you are overfeeding or overpopulating, and/or that you are not doing enough water changes, substrate cleaning, and filter maintenance. I’m not a scientist, and I assume neither are the majority of you. Most of what I do is based on trial and error and the advice of recognized experts. I also do lots of research online. Although most of the information I acquire there is accurate, much of it is written by aquarists who are guys with a few tanks in their basement (kept far away from their wives). What works for them might or might not work for you. Light, temperature, and water quality can vary greatly depending on the location of your tank. Much of what you will find on the subject is without scientific evidence; simply based on their own experiences, and so is just someone’s opinion. Most of the successful breeders I’ve visited use low or dim light with bare-bottom tanks, and perform large, frequent water changes. These people have no trouble with algae, but of course they can’t see their fish either. That’s why they use shop lights when they want to show you their fish.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Algae’s growth depends on the amount of light it gets, the temperature, and the amount of nutrients in the water. The water, carbon dioxide, minerals, and light are all important factors in algae cultivation. There are various forms of algae that we commonly have to deal with: brown, green, bluegreen, thread, hair, beard, fuzz, diatoms, and red, to name a few. Keep in mind that algae can kill your valuable plants by covering the leaves and depriving the plant of light and some nutrients. Algae can literally strangle your plants. So how do we get rid of it (you can’t) or keep it to a minimum? You should try to keep to a minimum all the things algae need to grow. If you have an excess of algae try some of the things I suggest below for a few weeks. They can’t hurt you or your fish. The first remedy is improving water quality, so do more water changes. If you are doing a 50% water change once a month, start doing 50% water changes once or twice a week―at least for a few months. Use aged water (to avoid chlorine) if you are going to do major water changes, or use a chlorine remover to avoid killing your fish from chlorine poisoning. Next, clean the substrate on a weekly basis. I’ve learned to keep as small a layer of gravel as possible, to make cleaning the bottom of the tank a simple matter. The gravel can act as an additional filter, but a depth of more than 1/2” of gravel can mean more wastes accumulate and become compacted in your substrate, thus provideing more nutrients for your algae. You might ask how you can grow plants with larger root systems without a few inches of gravel. The plants can be grown in pots, and so can be moved around during tank maintenance. Try feeding your fish once a day instead of twice, and then only as much as they will eat in less than 30 seconds. You might also skip one day a week for all but the fry. Remove as much algae as you can from the glass. You can remove algae from plant surfaces by rubbing your fingernail over the leaf. There are also all kinds of gadgets with which August 2012 11

to clean the glass, such as a Mag-Float and ruff pads. I’ve tried them all, but I usually prefer safety razor blades for my glass aquariums that might show a spot of algae on the glass. Keep the lights off for one day a week. Do not expose the tank to direct sunlight, as this can turn your water green very quickly. However, I have a 2½ gallon tank that is exposed to direct sunlight for approximately an hour every morning, and because it is heavily planted with water sprite, duckweed, and Java fern, the water is crystal clear. Fishroom lights for my planted tanks are usually kept on for eleven hours a day, which closely mirrors the daily light duration in the tropics. Any of my tanks that are not planted have lights on for just a few hours a day. My African cichlid tanks (no plants) receive no more than four hours of light daily. Try transferring some fish to another tank. I have overpopulated tanks, but algae has never caused a problem because I’m doing all the other

Spot algae.

There are additional algae control methods that may be used, such as keeping a large amount of plants to take up the nutrients needed by the algae. Some aquarists also use diatom filters to take algae (green water) out of the water column. Some say the use of live foods, such as blackworms, unlike excess flake food, deprives the algae of the food they need to grow, but this idea can be very expensive, and is really not necessary for getting rid of algae. I prefer to stay away from chemicals, which I believe can be harmful to plants and fish if not administered correctly. Also, they don’t work on all forms of algae. Have patience, because algae removal might take some time. If you need more help don’t call me, because I’m busy removing this green stuff from my tanks.

Brush algae.

things mentioned above. I have one twenty-gallon tank with over a hundred all-black guppies in it, and another with fifty juvenile buffalo heads. These are grow-out tanks, and periodically I reduce the population by finding a new home for some of the fish at our auctions. Being retired, I have more time to maintain these overpopulated tanks properly, so if you are working, “don’t try this at home.” Add a few Corydoras catfish to scavenge uneaten food, and introduce a young Ancistrus (bristle-nose pleco) to keep the plant leaves clean. Some snails, such as mystery (apple) snails, Japanese trap-door snails, and nerite snails, are good algae eaters. These snails’ reproduction can easily be controlled. Be aware that apple snails will attack some soft leaf plant leaves if they don’t get enough to eat otherwise.


Hair algae.

Photos from

August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

FISH WARS! A Tale of Two Channels

Part I: MONSTERS! by Dan Radebaugh

Zeb Hogan, pictured with an alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) from National Geographic's "Monster Fish" series.


hile it may be true that cable-TV has mostly provided us with hundreds of channels of nothing to watch, we have to acknowledge that it has in fact provided some bright spots. For instance, on TV at least, we seem to be in a new “golden age” for fish people. There has never, at least in my memory, been such a wealth of fish-related (indeed, nature-related) viewing to choose from. Networks are seriously vying for our attention! Just look at the current competition between Animal Planet (Discovery), and Nat Geo Wild (National Geographic) for the hearts and minds of those of us interested in fish. Even setting aside all the shark attack shows, there’s still plenty to watch. By the way, what is it with this shark obsession, anyway? According to the International Shark Attack File, run by marine biologists at the Florida Museum of Natural History, during the years between 2001 and 2010 an average of 4.3 people per year died as a result of shark attacks―most of these in North American waters1. Put this in perspective with the more than 32,000 people killed in 2011 in car wrecks in the USA alone (the lowest number since 1949), and then throw in the fact that in 2009 auto wrecks were overtaken by drugs as a cause of death nationally. Meanwhile, estimates of the number of sharks killed by humans each year vary from 30 million to 150 million. Anyway, I digress. Over the past couple of years National Geographic has carried a series called Monster Fish. Some of these are “Hooked” and some are not. I

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

confess that I’m not really clear on the distinction, but the Monster Fish franchise takes us around the world with their biologist host Zeb Hogan, who searches out the biggest, baddest freshwater fishes out there: the big catfishes, the piranhas, the tigerfish, rays, sturgeons, groupers, sharks, you name it. These days it goes without saying that many of these fishes are severely threatened by human activities: overfishing, habitat destruction, dams that prevent successful spawning in various ways, etc. We are shown Zeb’s efforts to catch these fish in their native (or sometimes adoptive) environments, and we’re familiarized with the rudiments of how biologists go about studying population health and numbers. In many cases we learn what is being done to try to save the species in question from extinction. All in all, this is a well-considered, wellexecuted, informative series. I find it well worth the time spent to view it. If I had to issue a grade, I’d probably award it an A-minus. For some it may be a bit dry (sorry…), due perhaps to its efforts to appear scientifically sober and credible in spite of the series' title. In direct competition, Animal Planet gives us River Monsters, many of which are "un-hooked." This show is also hosted by a biologist, in this case Jeremy Wade. Jeremy is additionally introduced to us as being an “extreme angler” – this being a fisherman who carries around tackle that looks capable of landing a small submarine. The species profiled in these two series are mostly the same; the difference is in the presentation. The “hook” in River Monsters is that―to cash in on the shark mystique I suppose―each species is introduced

Animal Planet's "River Monsters" host Jeremy Wade, pictured with a giant wolf fish (Hoplias amira).

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with the charge that it is possibly a man-eater, and brave, monster-hunting Jeremy is sent off with his big rod to hunt them down and ascertain whether or not their man-eating reputation is deserved. Now, from reading this brief description, and indeed from the way this show is scripted and musically reinforced, you might think that the end result is something not too far removed from the “Searching for Bigfoot” programming that is currently so ubiquitous, and therefore probably not worthy of attention from anyone older than nineteen or so. You would be wrong. Yes, there is the corny man-eater theme going on, and the over-pumping of the “danger” element, but all that stuff is just marketing hyperbole, and fairly easy to filter out. While less overtly didactic

Jeremy Wade with short-tailed river stingray, Potamotrygon brachyura.

Zeb Hogan with a Murray Cod, Maccullochella peelii.

than the Nat Geo entry, River Monsters still finds a way to use the "man-eater" theme to do a good profile of each fish, and to let us know what it’s status and prospects are. Mr. Wade (to this viewers eyes at least), while embracing his “white hunter” role, and not preaching to us, makes no effort to hide his affection for these animals and his concern for their well-being. My grade for this one is also an A, but without the minus, as its “stealth teaching” may be a little more appealing to a broader audience. I like them both. Whichever is your preference, it’s great that we have them! In Part II we’ll leave the fish behind, and look at tanks, as we check out another set of head-to head TV competitors: Tanked, and Fish Tank Kings.

Zeb Hogan photos from Jeremy Wade photos from 1


August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

North American Native Fishes Association

2012 NANFA Convention Sept 13-16, 2012 Salt Fork State Park, Eastern Ohio Hosted by the Fish Division of the Ohio State University Museum of Biodiversity The convention features Friday night banquet and auction Great lineup of speakers on Friday Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday field trips All for just $75 For additional information including a schedule and on-line registration visit Or contact Brian Zimmerman 330-417-9476 T-shirts available soon‌

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2012


Pictures from our

“Professor Levy” Prepping the program

Sean Cunningham Our new Corresponding Secretary

Jeff Bollbach and Rich Levy We went on a virtual tour of their fishrooms

Donita Maynard Our Door Prize winner

BAS President Joe Graffagnino asking for donations of fishkeeping hardware

July’s Bowl Show Winners

1st Place: Ruben Lugo

3rd Place: Rich Waizman

2nd Place: Bill Amely



August 2012 August 2012

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

last meeting Photos by Susan Priest

A warm welcome to:

Returning member: Ron Pandolfi

New member: Leslie Dick

FAAS Publication Award Winners

Jules Birnbaum

Tommy Chang

Ed Vukich

Steve Sica

Sue Priest

Dan Radebaugh

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

Elliot Oshins

August 2012 August 2012



A Chocolate Covered Cherry Sphaerichthys selatanensis The “Cross Band” or “Cherry” Chocolate Gourami Article and photos by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he cross-band (or banded) chocolate gourami This species originates from Kalimantan, the is a challenge to maintain in the home Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo (in the aquarium. It is also a challenge to find southeast part of the island). Its native habitat is in reliable and consistent information on this species, acidic black water brooks. (At the discovery site the making it even more difficult for the aquarist to pH of the water was a very acidic 4.5 and the create suitable conditions for them. temperature was 26EC, or about 78EF).1 There has always been considerable The scientific name for the genus confusion with respect to the several species of fish Sphaerichthys is derived from the ancient Greek referred to as word for “spheric,” “chocolate gourami.” referring to the For one thing, the rounded shape of the Scientific Name: Sphaerichthys selatanensis number of species in members of the genus. Common Names: thin barred chocolate gourami, t h e g e n u s The species name cross band chocolate gourami, cherry Sphaerichthys is in selatanensis is derived chocolate gourami dispute. Current from the Province of Special consideration: anabantoid (air breather) literature appears to Kalimantan Selatan, Adult Total Length: 2" have settled on four the location in Borneo pH: 4.0 to 6.5 (acidic) (maybe five) species, where the fish was Water hardness: very soft to soft as follows: initially discovered. Temperature: 75EF - 86EF (23.9EC - 30EC) The most common Distribution: Kalimantan (Southeast Borneo) • Sphaerichthys name for the species Reproduction: maternal mouthbrooder osphromenoides (the is “cross banded” Temperament: very peaceful, somewhat timid “common” chocolate chocolate gourami, Environment: low-light, caves and/or driftwood, gourami) which comes from the tight-fitting cover with no gaps • Sphaerichthys patterning of the Nutrition: primarily carnivore (live or frozen selatanensis (the stripes on either side. daphina, brine shrimp, etc.) “thin-barred” or At one time, this “crossband” species was chocolate gourami considered to be a originally considered a subspecies of subspecies of the “common” chocolate gourami, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) Sphaerichthys osphromenoides. In fact my 1991 • Sphaerichthys vaillanti (Vaillant’s edition of Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater chocolate gourami) Aquarium Fishes (6th edition) lists them as • Sphaerichthys acrostoma (the “black-tailed” Sphaerichthys osphromenoides selatanensis.2 Now, or “sharp-nose” or, since it is the largest member however, it is firmly established as a separate of this group, the “large” chocolate gourami) species. The possible fifth species I mentioned is Sphaerichthys malayanus. However, it now Appearance appears likely that this is only a subspecies of As I previously indicated, Sphaerichthys Sphaerichthys osphromenoides. means circle-like, referring to the round body shape None of the species in the genus of all species in this genus. Sphaerichthys Sphaerichthys is a “beginners’ fish.” They should selatanensis has a laterally compressed (flat) body only be considered by the more experienced and is the smallest f the chocolate gourami species. aquarist who is willing to provide the extra care The caudal fins are nearly transparent at the outer and attention these fish require. This article will edge. Sexual dimorphism is subtle, females being focus on Sphaerichthys selatanensis the “cross- somewhat more colorful. banded” chocolate gourami, and the species in the Sphaerichthys selatanensis are similar in Sphaerichthys group for which there appears to be appearance to Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, the least consistent information. except that selatanensis has additional light colored stripes running across the body.



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

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

Sphaerichthys vaillanti

Sphaerichthys osphromenoides

Sphaerichthys selatanensis

Sphaerichthys selatanensis

Nutrition In my experience with many different gourami species, I have found that feeding worms (whether tubifex, black, white, blood, or grindal) to any gourami species (and most especially to any species of chocolate gourami) results in almost certain death. Nonetheless, Sphaerichthys selatanensis do require live foods (although mine have been seen to eat micro, or crushed pellets), and do I feed them brineshrimp which themselves have been fed phytoplankton and on which I put liquid vitamins for fish (I use Vita-Chem) just prior to feeding them out (adult brineshrimp being not very nutritious without supplementation). Reproduction All gouramis are anabantoids (fish having a labyrinth organ in the head allowing them to capture and use oxygen directly from atmospheric air). Generally, anabantoids (or “labyrinth fish”) reproduce in one of two ways, either by use of a bubblenest or by mouthbrooding. In either case, it is the male who tends the eggs until they hatch, either by guarding the bubblenest or by holding the eggs in his mouth. However, Sphaerichthys selatanensis may be an exception - a maternal mouthbrooder. I say, “may be” an exception, as I have never had them spawn in my tank, and so I cannot attest to their spawning behavior. The 1991 edition of Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas I mentioned previously had no indication of how this species Modern 18Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

reproduces — that information was simply left blank. One source (in an article about Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) reports: “Historically there has been some confusion surrounding this species’ method of reproduction with some sources listing it erroneously as a bubblenester or paternal mouthbrooder when it is by all accounts a maternal mouthbrooder. This is intriguing since this species and S. selatanensis are the only anabantoids in which the female broods the eggs, with all other mouth-brooding relatives having evolved a paternal strategy.”3 [emphasis added] My volume 2 of the Baensch Aquarium Atlas (1993 edition) states that “After the spawning act the % (symbol for male) takes the eggs off the bottom and into his mouth for about 14 days”4 The Baensch Aquarium Atlas Photo Index (copyright 2002) clearly indicates that Sphaerichthys selatanensis is a maternal mouthbrooder.5 I believe that the latter is the most current and correct information, and it is supported by independent accounts of aquarists.6 Aquascaping All moutbrooding species require caves and/or other hiding places where the fish holding the eggs can hide and feel safe. I have found Sphaerichthys selatanensis to be less timid and shy than the other Sphaerichthys species I have kept in the past. Nonetheless, as with almost all species of fish, especially mouthbrooders, the safer they feel,

August August 2012 2012

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


the more they will swim about where they can be seen. So, more caves and other hiding places translates into a greater likelihood that you will be able to see them swimming around. They generally prefer a dark tank. If you use gravel or another substrate, a dark almond brown shade is best. Lighting should be subdued. This species does best in fairly acid and very soft water. When those water parameters are combined with low intensity lighting, few live plants last very long. (In their natural habitat, tree roots are common, but aquatic plants are not.) Floating plants, (e.g., Salvinia) are a good choice. They help to keep the tank itself dark and remove some otherwise harmful nitrogen compounds. Most species of Anubias also do well under those conditions; and can simply be tied to rocks or driftwood if, like me, you prefer a barebottom tank. Water Parameters Tank water should be as soft as possible. Fortunately for me, New York City tapwater is very soft. The water should also be acidic, with a pH between 4.0 and 6.5 (a pH of 5.0 to 5.5 being best to encourage spawning). Here, I need to lower the neutral pH (7.0) of my tapwater. To do so, I use blackwater extract, Indian almond leaves, driftwood, and caves made from coconut shells. The driftwood, almond leaves, and coconut shells leach tannins into the water, thereby lowering the pH. This results in a “tea-colored” water that some find unattractive (I personally like the look). If you want to lower the pH in a tank without changing the color of the water, a product called “Betta Spa,” which has been around for a long time and is basically liquid Indian almond leaves, now also comes in a “clear” formula (which I have not yet tried). I’d like to emphasize something I have mentioned in several articles on other fish requiring acidic water. When doing water changes, it is more important that the newly added water closely approximate the pH of the


tank than to have it match the exact water temperature. Also, because at very low pH values the nitrogen cycle ceases to operate (or does so very inefficiently), unless newly added water approximates the pH of the existing tank, a deadly ammonia spike can occur. Speaking of temperature, Sphaerichthys selatanensis tolerate a higher temperature than most tropical fish. Ideally the tank water should be between 75EF - 86EF (23.9EC - 30EC), although I usually keep mine at around 80EF. These fish are very sensitive to water quality and to even minor changes in their environment. I find that small, frequent water changes (10-15% at least once a week, usually more often) are better tolerated. Although most sources would recommend at least a 20 gallon tank for two pair, I have around 10 in a 10 gallon tank, but with three filters: a small power filter, an air-driven filter using chemical pads, and a sponge filter. It is important to note that, while I am using multiple filters in a relatively small tank, the filters produce very little water turbulence. Recommendations I have found Sphaerichthys selatanensis to be the most hardy of the chocolate gouramis I have kept to date, surpassing even Sphaerichthys vaillanti, which is reputedly the most hardy of the group. Since I have never kept Sphaerichthys acrostoma I cannot comment on them from personal experience. Nonetheless, they are still quite delicate (among other things, they are very susceptible to oodinium disease, or “velvet,” a condition caused by a parasite), and require considerably more care than most beginning hobbyists are able to provide. This is a fish for advanced hobbyists looking for a challenge. But, they are attractive and interesting, and for those up to meeting the challenge, keeping them can be a very satisfying experience

Axelrod, Herbert. Dr. Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes 6th ed: TFH publications, 1991





Baensch, Hans A, Aquarium Atlas Volume 2, Hans A. Baensch GmbH, 1993, page 806


Baensch, Hans A, Aquarium Atlas Photo Index 1-5, Hans A. Baensch GmbH, 2002, page 591


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

A Plague of Frogs An Opportunity to Participate in a Study by Dan Radebaugh


hytridiomycosis is an infectious fungal used as a pregnancy test. Unbeknownst to anyone in this era, Xenopus can carry a deadly frog disease, disease of amphibians, and has been, at least the chytrid fungus. Shortly after Typhoid Mary spread in part, blamed for the world-wide decline in disease among the people of New York, this frog amphibians over the past few decades. The fungus, started spreading chytrid around the world. Chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, seems to have kills most frogs on contact and has already driven a number of species extinct in the wild. Right now about affected over 30% of amphibian species worldwide, 3,900 amphibians, over half of all resulting in 100% mortality in species known to science, are some populations. endangered. Help us discover if The leading hypothesis Xenopus is still spreading chytrid around New York City. Please concerning the spread of this visit your local pet shop and buy disease is that it was imported a frog! Sold under the common along with the African clawed names of “Underwater Frog”, or frog Xenopus laevis (sometimes “African Clawed Frog”, baby Xenopus are confused with the African dwarf available for just a few dollars frog Hymenochirus boettgeri), in stores in all five boroughs. which was primarily used by Choose the color you’d like— the pharmaceutical industry African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. white albinos and speckled brown frogs are both available. Write for pregnancy testing. The Photo from down the phone number and speculation is that either the pharma companies address of your local store and bring a frog along to released some into the wild or (more likely) the folks the Proteus Gowanus gallery. We’ll test to see if your who supplied the pharma companies with frogs also frog has the fungus, and show you how to cure your new friend if he or she is a carrier. This crowd sourced sold the frogs into the pet trade. This may or may research project will be part of an academic study. All not all be correct, but it is a credible hypothesis, as participants are potential coauthors of a paper that will many fish, particularly some of the large catfishes, be submitted for publication. get into the pet trade as a secondary channel from the For pictures of this frog, see: industry. The epicenter of the release of xenopus or some of these frogs into the wild was thought to be California, which is where the disease became widely More information: Dr. Eben Kirksey, ekirksey@ known in this country. The frog, the fungus, or both, are now found in the Americas, Europe, Australia, This event is free and open to the public New Zealand, and "Oceania." Proteus Gowanus However, this straight-line explanation seems 543 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 not to be holding up well under closer scrutiny. There appears to be some evidence that B. dendrobatidis My goal is to get a total of thirty frogs, from thirty may have been resident in both North and South different pet shops. So, please help me spread the America for several decades. It is also not entirely word by forwarding the below announcement to a clear whether the fungus has increased its range or couple of your friends. simply its virulence, and whether either or both of Thanks for joining the survey and for caring about the those events has been affected by climate change or frogs living all around us. other as yet unidentified agencies. There are various effective ways of curing Eben individual amphibians of this disease, but none to my S. Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. knowledge is useful in any large-scale application. Mellon Fellow + Visiting Assistant Professor My purpose here is not to provide a detailed review of Science Studies - CUNY Graduate Center this very serious problem, but to advise our members New York City of its existence, and to pass on an email that I recently Personal: received. This is a study in which some of you might CUNY: well consider being participants. The email reads: New York City pet stores sell Xenopus laevis frogs for cheap. In the 20th century this frog was widely Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2012


Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Technology Inc. Cameo Pet Shop Cobalt Aquatics Coral Aquarium Ecological Laboratories HBH Pet Products Kingfish Koller-Craft Kordon, LLC Marineland

Microbe Lift Ocean Nutrition America Omega Sea Red Sea Rena Rolf C. Hagen San Francisco Bay Brand Seachem World Class Aquarium Zoo Med Laboratories Inc. Zoo Rama Aquarium

Rules for Tonight’s “Silent Auction” / Fleamarket ★ The seller sets an opening price for each item. ★ Bidders write down their bids in increments of at least $1.00 That is, your bid must be at least one dollar more than the previous bid, and you may only bid in even dollar amounts (such as $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, etc.) Bids of dollars and cents such as $1.50, $2.75 will be invalidated. ★ A bidder may not cross out his/her own bid to enter a lower bid. ★ The highest bidder at the end of the auction wins the item. ★ Proceeds are split 50/50 between the seller and Greater City. (Of course, the seller may also donate 100% of the proceeds to Greater City!) ★ Items not claimed by winning bids (or if there were no bids, by their owners) at the end of the auction become the property of Greater City. ★ 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) 22

Misc2012 August

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

“The 90" by SUSAN PRIEST


oney, will you please help me with a water change?” “Sure; which tank?” “The only one I like help with is ‘the 90.’ ” Whenever Al or I say those words, we both know exactly what it means. The 90 has been part of our lives, and the heart of our livingroom, since 1991. It is slightly off to the left and above horizontal center of the room, just as a heart is located in each of our chests. I have written about this 90 gallon community aquarium before. Back in 1997 (which was GCAS’ seventy fifth anniversary season), I wrote a four part article entitled “Welcome to Our Community.” It really hasn’t changed much over these past fifteen years. What might you observe if you Look into the 90? There are anubias plants, most of which have a fringe of hair algae. Many of the leaves on the Java ferns have holes punched in them, which I’m guessing were put there by the plecos. In spite of their handicaps, these plants have grown quite large. Ever since day one, and somewhat hidden from view by the plants, is the castle. This is a large ceramic structure with numerous windows, doors, and other assorted “holes.” Any of the fishes which will fit through these openings spend time inside, including the sailfin molly and the 12-year-old pristella tetras. Once every couple of years I take the castle out of the tank and soak it in a large bucket with a 2025% bleach solution. This always takes place in the summer when I can thoroughly hose it off, and then let it stand out in the sun for a couple of days. After this treatment it looks like brand new! In addition to the castle, there are several hollow ceramic bricks, a couple of bogwood logs, and a plastic “branch” which would probably feel more at home in a bird cage. A small flower pot which contains a charming “mystery plant” rounds out the display. I have gotten into the habit of turning off the tank lights a bit earlier than I used to, and right after doing so I drop in a few shrimp pellets. Then I watch for the large and long-lived clown loach to emerge from its ceramic log for its evening meal. It has been a resident of the 90 for so long that I fear its impending passing to the other side of the glass may not be far off. If this were to happen without

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

my noticing, it would imperil all of the other residents of the tank. For this reason I make sure that I observe it swimming and feeding every day. It is more likely to do both of these things after the lights are turned off. There are three gold angelfishes which swim and feed at every level of the water column. They think that they are the bosses of the tank. Actually, the tank boss is a bristle nosed pleco. She is a bit timid when people approach, but she is not shy about chasing any of the other fishes away from whatever space she wants to occupy. I’m pretty sure that this fish is a female because her bristles are quite small, but she is over four inches long, and is equal in girth to the clown loach. If you are having a very lucky day, you might spot a khuli loach prowling around (again, this is more likely to happen after the lights have gone off). Only the good Lord above knows how old this fish is! It never strays very far from the log under which it lives, but when it does, it is a treat to this fishkeeper’s eyes. In addition to the fishes which I have already mentioned, there is a school of brilliant rasboras, another of brass tetras, and a few white cloud mountain minnows. There are three corys, a smaller (male) pleco, and one lively red platy which can often be seen either entering or leaving the front door of the castle. The truth of the oftenencountered advice “the larger the tank, the more stable the environment” can be testified to by me. The 90 is the largest of our aquariums, and it has been the most trouble free. (There was that one time when three quarters of the water drained out onto the carpet, but that was a filter problem.) The fish within are long-lived, healthy, and beautiful to behold. This aquarium taught me how to be a fishkeeper, and it gives me enjoyment every time I look at it. I wouldn’t know how to put a price on that! The fact that I was reinspired to write about the 90 during GCAS’ 90th anniversary season has not gone unnoticed by this author, but I’m sure it is purely a coincidence.)

August 2012 August 2012



The Aquarium Club of Lancaster County Celebrates 40 years in the Aquarium Hobby

September 15 – 16, 2012 at

The Lancaster Host Resort 2300 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster PA 17602 Special Event Room Rate of just $79/night! Mike Hellweg ~ Dr. Paul Loiselle ~ Mo Devlin ~ Ray “Kingfish” Lucas

6 Programs by 4 Legends of the Aquarium Hobby Join us for "Lunch with the 'Kingfish'” and an “Aquamojo” Banquet ! You will have the chance to own artwork from some of the country's finest fishy artists! Huge Vendor Room

Raffles Galore

Silent Auctions

This is Your Chance to Explore our Local Specialty Clubs Giant Sunday Auction

Visit us at for more information! 24

August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

My Favorite Marine Fish The Spotted Drum Story and Photos by Stephen Sica

ne of the oddest saltwater fish that I have observed in its natural habitat is the spotted drum, Equetus punctatus. In the Caribbean Sea and associated areas there are three distinctive fish in the drum family. The others are the jackknife fish, Equetus lanceolatus, and the highhat, Equetus acuminatus. I do not believe that I have seen either of these latter two fish in the wild. A juvenile spotted drum and a jackknife fish have a very close resemblance; the young of the jackknife fish are often mistaken for the juvenile spotted drum. The highhat is also known as the striped drum. Those two fish grow to nine inches in length, but the spotted drum may reach a foot, though I myself have never seen a spotted drum of that length. Most adults are about eight or nine inches. A juvenile spotted drum is a small fish with a wispy appearance due to its thin, yet long, billowy dorsal fin. I can honestly state that the spotted drum―and I assume all the fish in this group―are in perpetual motion. I have never seen a stationary drum. Also, I have never seen more than one drum in any location, except for once last year when a juvenile and an adult were swimming to and fro in the same coral niche, separated by only three or four feet. I think this was either in the Florida Keys or, more probably, Curaçao. Their separation was too great and motion too erratic to photograph them as a twosome, though I remember that I did make the attempt.


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

I find this species of drum to be especially unique because the adult has a striped body―vertically in the front by its head and horizontally along the flanks of its body. The fins are covered with white spots. When I first began diving the Caribbean Sea, Florida, and Bahamas it was a rarity to find a spotted drum. My primary reference book, now in its third edition and about ten years old, claims that the spotted drum is “occasionally” found in the general Caribbean area. But I estimate that in the past five years I have seen at least one juvenile or adult spotted drum during every second or third reef dive. My personal experience is that this fish is more than occasional, or I am diving locales where the spotted drum is more common. Previously I have mentioned that every spotted drum that I have observed in the wild has been in constant motion in a very small area of only a few feet. I have never seen a stationary fish. Needless to say, it is almost impossible to take a sharp photograph of this fish. For this reason, if I see a drum while swimming along the reef I always try to photograph it. The procedure goes like this: the fish swims to and fro in an area about a yard wide in front of a cave or crevice in the coral. Sometimes the fish swims to and fro, and in and out of the cave―its den, I presume. If I am too forward in attempting to photograph the fish, it may dart into the cave. Usually that takes care of that photo

August 2012


Note the long, flowing fins on this juvenile (on the left). The fish on the left has a body length of probably two inches max. They slowly grow into those fins, as you can see from the slightly larger juvenile below, and the adult specimen on the right, whose design rather suggests an American flag.

opportunity, but sometimes it will re-emerge in either the same, or a nearby location. I usually take between five to eight photos during an encounter, but there is hardly ever a good photo to show for my effort. You just have to catch the fish at the right time; but with that old enemy shutter lag, the right time happens neither early nor often, so my rule of thumb is to snap as many photos as possible and hope that the camera catches a clear profile. Most profiles are not sharp-edged, because the fish just swims too quickly. If I am fortunate, sheer quantity of attempts may result in a quality photo; in other words, if you take enough photos, a few are bound to be decent, but hardly ever excellent. My observations of the spotted drum have usually taken place on reefs at a depth of fifty feet or

(usually) less. I estimate that thirty to forty feet would be about average. My wife Donna is excellent at spotting this fish. She usually signals me that she has seen one by pantomiming drumming with both hands, and pointing to its location. My reference book claims that the highhat is common in Florida waters, though I have never seen one there. Well, I guess another project will be to find a highhat and photograph it, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether that will come to pass. Anyway, I’m writing this on the 26th of January, so I’m afraid that project will have to wait a few months for the water to warm up. We’ve been having a mild winter though, so I don’t mind at all.

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: Bill Amely Rod Du Casse Jules Birnbaum Joe Graffagnino Jeff Bollbach Dan & Marsha Radebaugh Ed Vukich 26

August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Member Classifieds EQUIPMENT: Lifeguard AquaStep UV Light Hang-On -- 25 Watt $30 Reaction 4 Model DFU with built-in UV for up to 150 gallon cannister filter $40 Vortex Diatom Filter -- Model D1 $30 Marineland BioWheel Pro Hang-on filter -- rated up to 400 GPH $25 Pro Clear Skimmer -- Rated to 150 gallons $40 Call Warren: 631-563-1404 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Fish: Salvini cichlid fry -- Various sizes Call Herb 718-225-9648

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2012



GCAS Happenings


Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Ruben Lugo 2 William Amely 3 Richard Waizman

Blue-eyed Ancistrus Bi-color betta Dragon betta

Unofficial 2012 Bowl Show totals to date: Robert Hamje Ruben Lugo

10 Jerry O'Farrell 5 Carlotti deJager

10 3

Richard Waizman 9

William Amely 8

A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS member Ron Pandolfi! A special welcome to new member Leslie Dick!

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 5, 2012 Speaker: Felicia McCaulley Topic: Seahorses Meets: 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 (718) 458-8437 Email: Website:

Meets: 2nd Tuesday 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, July, and August) at 7:30-10:00pm. Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. Contact: Donald Curtin (718) 631-0538

Brooklyn Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 14, 2012 Speaker: Mike Hellweg Topic: Fish Breeding Contest with Ted Judy Meets: 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:

Long Island Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 21, 2012 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBD Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) 8:00pm. Room 120 in Endeavor Hall on theState University at Stony Brook Campus, Stony Brook, NY Email: Margaret Peterson - Website:


Nassau County Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 11, 2012 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBD 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:

NORTH JERSEY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next Meeting: August 12, 2012 Speaker: None Event: Picnic Meets at: The Lyndhurst Elks Club, 251 Park Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Email: Website:

Norwalk Aquarium Society Next Meeting: August 16, 2012 Speaker: Tony Orso Topic: Asian Fishes 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 Email: Website:

August 2012

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The Game’s Afoot! 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. n Europe, what we Americans call “football,” they call “soccer.” They also take their soccer quite seriously. So, it should not be a complete surprise to find some ingenious person showing a soccer-themed tank at a recent Interpet zoo trade show in Germany. The tank’s “grass” is hairgrass, the players are swordtails (in two team colors!). The referee is a black lyretail molly. The “field” was even floodlit by clip-on LEDs.

The sport of basketball (created at a Springfield Massachusetts YMCA in December 1891) was originally played using a soccer ball and a peach basket. The first official basketball game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York on January 20, 18922 Thus, basketball can be said to be mostly of American origin (unlike our football, which borrowed from early versions of rugby and association football as played in the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century).3 So, I offer for your consideration a somewhat more American image, that of Sparky, the Betta splendens basketball player.4


From the YouTube video: “Sparky Plays Basketball”

Copyright © Practical Fishkeeping 3 4 1 2

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

August 2012 2012 August

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Fin Fun Because of their unique color or shape, some species of fish have common names that suggest desserts or snacks. In the box below, the left column lists some of these common names. See if you can correctly match them with the corresponding scientific name of the fish from the right column. Answers next month.

Common name

Scientific Name Puntius titteya

cherry barb chocolate cichlid

Aphyosemion australe

chocolate lyretail

Etheostoma fragi

honey gourami

Coryphopterus lipernes

jelly bean tetra

Luciocephalus pulcher

peppermint goby

Trichogaster chuna

peppermint pikehead

Lepidarchus adonis Hypselecara temporalis

strawberry darter


Solution to our last puzzle:

Common name

Scientific name

Red phantom tetra ------------------- Hyphessobrycon sweglesi Redtail splitfin ------------------- Xenotoca eiseni Redtail shark ------------------- Epalzeorhynchos bicolor White Cloud mountain minnow ------------------- Tanichthys albonubes White piranha ------------------- Serrasalmus brandtii White Sands pupfish ------------------- Cyprinodon tularosa Blue acara ------------------- Aequidens pulcher Blue gularis ------------------- Fundulopanchax sjostedti Blue corydoras ------------------- Corydoras nattereri Flag cichlid ------------------- Mesonauta festivus Flag tetra ------------------- Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus Flagfish ------------------- Jordanella floridae Source:


August 2012


August 2012

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