Modern Aquarium August 2010

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August 2010 volume XVII number 6

Series III ON THE COVER Multiple caves give the Betta raja on our cover and other Betta mouthbrooders a sense of security. To learn more about using caves with mouthroooding bettas, read Al Priest’s “The Cave Secret” on page 13.

Vol. XVII, No. 6 August, 2010

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2010 Program Schedule

Photo by Alexander A. Priest


Our Generous Members

Board Members

President Vice-President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

Dan Radebaugh Mark Soberman Jules Birnbaum Warren Feuer Edward Vukich

Members At Large

Claudia Dickinson Artie Friedman Ben Haus Leonard Ramroop

Pete D’Orio Al Grusell Emma Haus

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

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

G.C.A.S. Sponsors and Advertisers My Backyard Aquarium by Stephen Sica

Live Foods: My Perpetual Daphnia Tank by Joseph Ferdenzi

The Cave Secret

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

Rules for August’s Silent Auction

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

or Spawning Mouthbrooding Bettas by Alexander A. Priest

Our 2009 FAAS Publication Award Winners Photos from Our Last Meeting by Alexander A. Priest

Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners Photos from Our Last Meeting by Alexander A. Priest

Fish Bytes by Stephen Sica with Donna Sosna Sica

Member Classifieds G.C.A.S. Happenings The Undergravel Reporter Small is the New Big

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) No Bones About It!

2 3 4 4 5 6 7 11 13



19 21 22 23 24

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh


t’s summertime! Not that anyone who was here at our meeting last month would doubt it. During this time of year, many aquarists’ thoughts turn to subjects like moving their fish outdoors, and cultivating live foods. Coincidentally enough, this issue contains articles on both of those topics! Steve Sica tells us about his experience setting up an outdoor fish tank, and Joe Ferdenzi gives us an overview of how to raise a never-ending supply of daphnia, one of the best live foods available for small fish. Steve also checks in with his “Fish Bytes” column, a review of other fish society journals from around the country, and even outside the country! Al Priest contributes a photo spread from last month’s meeting, dedicated to recipients of FAAS awards for 2009. Al reminded me to mention that Greater City had three married couples who won awards this time! Wow! For all you authors out there, remember that winning an award from the FAAS or the NEC gives you bonus points in Greater City’s own Author Awards Program. Al’s photos also include last month’s Bowl Show winners, and he also gives us a short, beautifully photographed article on the use of caves for spawning mouthbrooding bettas. Ever prolific, Al also chips in with the Fin Fun puzzle that ends the issue. As I write this introduction to our issue, I notice (all by myself) that every author in this current issue, including the Undergravel Reporter, is a current FAAS award winner. This highlights the quality of contributions we have become accustomed to here at Greater City. Once again, I congratulate all of our talented writers!

We need more articles! We can’t be complacent! Remember, 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!

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 Copyright 2010 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


August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Programs 2010-11


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 August

Silent Auction


Ed Vukich Cichlid Breeding Tails


Rusty Wessel Mexico - The Panuco Valley: Livebearers and Cichlids of the Region


Joseph Ferdenzi


Holiday Party!


Winter Break


Winter Break


La Monte Brown Native Fishes

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2010


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh


t’s always a pleasure to announce when the one of our members is honored by organizations out in the wider world. We know they’re wonderful―everyone else should too! In the wake of last month’s annual convention of the American Cichlid Association, I received word that our own Claudia Dickinson had been singled out for a major honor. The following is taken directly from the ACA website. I’ve highlighted some of the text:

The following individuals have been awarded the title “Fellow of the ACA”, the highest award that the society confers, and is based on past, outstanding service to the ACA: Guy D. Jordan, Jr. (1972) Ross B. Socolof (1973) Rosemary Lewis (1976) Paul V. Loiselle (1976) James K. Langhammer (1977) J. Randy Crout (1983) Jim Mortensen (1983) David D. Herlong (1990) Steve Somermeyer (1990) Gene Aldridge, Jr. (1992) Wayne S. Leibel (1993) Dick Stratton (1995) Glen Eaves (1995) Rusty Wessel (1997) Chuck Rambo (2001) Phil Benes (2010) Claudia Dickinson (2010)

Congratulations, Claudia!

Dan 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 Jules Birnbaum Jeff Bollbach Pete d’Orio Rod Du Casse 4

Harry Faustmann Joe Graffagnino Al & Sue Priest Dan Puleo Ed Vukich August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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 8 Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2010 March 2007

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


GCAS Thanks You! Our Generous Sponsors and Advertisers The Greater City Aquarium Society extends our heartfelt thanks to the following manufacturers for their generous donations. Thanks also to our advertisers, whose contributions to our success as a Society are deeply appreciated. Please patronize our supporters. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Technology Inc Ecological Laboratories HBH Pet Products Koller-Craft Kordon, LLC Marineland Microbe Lift Ocean Nutrition America Omega Sea Red Sea


Rena Rolf C. Hagen San Francisco Bay Brand Seachem Zoo Med Laboratories Inc. Cameo Pet Shop Coral Aquarium Nassau Discus World Class Aquarium Zoo Rama Aquarium

August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

MY BACKYARD AQUARIUM Story and Photos by Stephen Sica


aving attended many monthly meetings of the Greater City Aquarium Society, and as its exchange editor, having read countless club publications and magazines on the fine merits of outdoor fish ponds, barrels and tubs, I decided that, as a result of having some free time, 2010 would offer me an opportunity to give it a try. When we purchased our house many years ago, it had a small backyard pond that I never used. After a rain I would often find frogs and other creatures in it, but the next day they would all disappear. After a couple of years, I deemed that it was not practical, and filled it in. I did not wish to invest much money in this new venture, so in order to support my project I went down to my basement to rummage through any unused or broken equipment that might be there collecting dust. I found the six gallon acrylic tank from my broken Marineland Eclipse Aquarium. The next day I dragged a heavy concrete pedestal from my garage and placed it up against the garage’s south wall. The pedestal was one of two that were formerly used to display carved dragons that had adorned the backyard. We had purchased our home from a Chinese family, who had decorated their property in a traditional Chinese motif. Coincidentally, about fifteen years ago we donated the other decorations to the Queens Botanical Garden. Some of them were on display in the wedding garden area for a number of years.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

I placed the six gallon tank on the pedestal, and half-filled it with aged water from an operating tank. I topped it off with regular water, threw in a small clump of Java moss, and covered the top with a piece of black fiberglass screening. Last year, I had repaired the screen on my front storm door, and had fortunately kept the leftover screening. The very small holes were perfect for keeping leaves and acorns from my neighbor’s tree from falling into the tank. A few days later, I purchased six White Cloud Mountain minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) from a local pet store, and added them to the setup. I figured these hardy fish would be too small to attract the attention of the local raccoons. Besides, since it was mid-May, with its cold nights, these fish should be quite comfortable. I lost one fish about ten days later, but the remaining five appeared robust.

A week later I attended the June GCAS meeting, and successfully bid on a bag full of White Clouds ranging in size from adults to fry. I also won a bag of duckweed (Lemna minor) that I really did not want, but that no one else was bidding for. When we arrived home, Donna asked where I would put the fish. I didn’t have an answer, so I put them in a small holding tank for the night. The next morning I went down to the basement to scrounge around some more. I discovered my old SeaClear twenty gallon acrylic “show” aquarium. Of course its face was scratched, but the non-viewing sides were perfect! It is described as a “show style” because its width is only ten inches with a thirty inch length. I decided to replace the six gallon with this twenty.

August 2010


I hauled out the second pedestal and placed it end to end with the first one, then laid a short plank of pine across both pedestals, and centered the twenty gallon on the wood. I trimmed the screening for a better fit, and in my garage located a twofoot section of one-by-four inch pine, that I laid across the top to keep the screen in place. Then I transferred the water, fish and moss from the six gallon, and added the new fish, along with another clump of moss, and additional water from my garden hose. I have read that the experts believe that this filling method is contra-indicated due to alleged toxic chemicals in the hose composition that are harmful to the fish. My opinion is that if I could take an occasional drink through a garden hose in my younger days, it’s good enough for the fish today. It’s never bothered me―so far! I left two inches of clearance in case a heavy rain should flood and overflow the system. Finally, I spread almost all of the duckweed on the surface of the water. About one week later I changed a few gallons of water, and the Java moss floated to the surface, where it remains in spite of all my efforts to poke it back down to the bottom. I think that the duckweed may be keeping it afloat.


When a June heat wave arrived, the water and aquarium walls developed a coating of algae, so I changed about one-third of the water, but with no effect. Then I put a siphon in the tank while concurrently refilling using the garden hose. It dawned upon me, albeit rather late, that the green water look was predominantly the result of algae on the aquarium walls, so I scraped the front clean. Behold, I saw my fish―and I think that they saw me! I completed this article in early July. On the thirteenth of the month, Donna and I will depart town for almost two weeks, so the fish are going to be on their own. Right now, I wonder what we’ll find when we return home. Ironically, by the time this is published, I’ll know!

August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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

SUMMER AUCTION - 2010! ����������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������� ������ Location: THE CROWNE PLAZA 100 Berlin Road Cromwell, CT (860) 635-2000 ���� ����������������: Register at, 1 red dot/10 *lots, 60/40 split, and

preprinted lot labels (please label your bags) Lots registered day of auction receive 50/50 split *Acceptable lots will be determined by the auction committee Vendors: Finley Aquatic Books, Harris in Wonderland, Ken’s Fish (preorders only)

Food & Refreshments will be available ��������������

REGISTRATION.................................8:00 AM TO 12:00 PM VIEWING OF GOODS........................9:30 AM TO 11:45 AM AUCTION..................................................12:00 PM TO 5 PM RAFFLE..........................................................................50 / 50

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

August 2010



A maximum of 30 lots per vendor in the auction. There is a limit of 5 dry good lots and a limit of 3 lots per species. Nothing deemed illegal by the state of Connecticut will be accepted for auction. Dry goods must be clean and in working order, no broken items or cracked tanks.


All lots must have the assigned Lot Number written on the bag. Pre-registered lots receive descriptive labels. Lots registered at the auction will receive lot numbers only, so label your bags with Vendor & Species Name, Quantity, and Sex of Fish with a waterproof marker.


All fish lots must be properly double-bagged; a fee of $2.00 will be charged if we have to rebag your fish. *****NO ZIPLOCK BAGS*****


Auction proceeds will be 60/40 for lots registered online at and 50/50 for lots registered at the auction.


To register auction lots, complete the Online Auction Lot Registration at We are planning to offer online registration from July 19th to midnight August 13th; after this date lots must be registered at the auction.


Printable Vendor Forms will be downloadable at Complete by writing your name, address, phone number, email address and list of lots. Paper Vendor Forms should be turned in at the registration table between 8am –noon on Sunday.


Vendor proceeds will be mailed to the vendor within 3 weeks after the auction.


Lot labels for pre-registered and lots registered at the auction will be available at the registration table Sunday morning from 8:00am to 12:00pm. ALL unused labels must be returned to the auction registration table.


Each Seller will receive one “RED” dot per 10 lots to mark which lot will be the first auctioned, all other Seller lots will follow the 10-table system.

10. The Auction Committee and auctioneer have the right to refuse any lot due to size, defects, sickness, inadequate bagging or any other disqualifying reason. If a buyer brings a lot to the attention of the NEC within 24 hrs that is obviously sick or deformed your phone number will be given to the seller and vice versa so that both parties can work out an agreement. 11. The seller at the end of the auction must pick up any lots that fail to sell. Any items left will become the property of the NEC. 12. Auction items should be brought to auction room between 8:00am – 12:00pm Sunday, August 15, 2010. Viewing of auction items is from 9:30am – 11:45am. Please drop off your lots as early as possible. 13. All bidders must register at the auction table for a bidder number. Bidder numbers are available for $2.00 each. 14. Bidders wishing to run a tab must leave their driver’s license or a blank signed check at the registration desk for security purposes (this requirement can be waived by Auction committee personnel). Lots will be handed directly to the buyer at the time of sale. Before leaving for the day buyers must pay for their lots at the registration desk with cash or by check at which time drivers license or blank check will be returned and bidder card must be turned in. Buyers who choose not to run a tab must pay the runner each time they make a purchase. If you plan to pay cash please try to bring small bills (singles, 5’s & 10’s) with you. The NEC will have a limited amount of small bills. 15. The NEC will do its best to assure that all items at the auction are what they claim to be, but nothing works better than actually viewing the item that you intend to bid on. With this in mind, the NEC cannot be held responsible for any items after they have left the auction site except for defective livestock as stated in #10. 16. The auctioneer has the FINAL WORD on all bids. 17. The auction will start promptly at 12:00 pm, Sunday August 15, 2010. 18. Lot pushes will be $2.00 per lot.


August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Live Foods: My Perpetual Daphnia Tank by Joseph Ferdenzi


ome of the best discoveries are made by accident. So it was with what I call my perpetual daphnia tank. What makes it a wonderful discovery? That will become clearer after I give you a little background on daphnia and daphnia raising. Daphnia are minute freshwater invertebrates, and they make an excellent live food for aquarium fish. Here is the problem: pet shops don’t sell them anymore. Once upon a time daphnia were the staple live food used in the aquarium hobby. Just peruse any book or magazine devoted to aquarium fish from the 1930s, ’40s, or 50s, and you will see copious references about daphnia as fish food, where to collect them, and how to culture them. When I was just starting out in the hobby (mid 1960s), you could walk into virtually any pet shop, especially those featuring tropical fish, and find daphnia for sale. I don’t know exactly when shops stopped carrying them, but they gradually were phased out (at least in New York City) sometime in the ’80s. Real old-timers tell of collecting daphnia in the wild from stagnant ponds that were free of predators (like fish). Alas, land development and mosquito eradication programs have done away with once cherished collecting sites. With no commercial or wild sources available, what was a hobbyist to do? The answer seems simple―grow your own! Ah, but there is a rub to that as well. You see, no live food is all that easy to culture. There are ways to do it, but all the methods I had observed first hand were somewhat cumbersome. Allow me to illustrate. One of the great veterans of the hobby, Bill Jacobs (New Jersey), used to culture his daphnia indoors with a system of 5-gallon plastic pails. Bill would set out a row of about three to four pails on the floor of his basement fishroom, in the path of sunlight streaming in through one of the windows. Each pail would then be filled about three-quarters with water that was allowed to age for a few days. Into this aged water would then be added the following: a few scraps of iceberg lettuce, a handful of red ramshorn snails, and then some daphnia. The idea was that the snails would eat the lettuce, thereby producing the “green water” that the daphnia would then feed upon. By staggering the inoculation of the buckets, Bill could produce a steady supply of daphnia. When a bucket went bad (foul water), he would start afresh.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Another well-known hobbyist and live food expert, Harry Faustmann (Long Island), uses a different method. He sets up a small tank that produces green water, primarily by using intense lighting after he has inoculated the tank with some green water starter. When the tank is full of green water, he then feeds it to his daphnia culture. In essence, he has a rotating system of tanks: one produces green water, and the other houses the daphnia. While the daphnia are eating the green water in one tank, another tank is producing the next batch of green water. The only problem with both of these methods is that you have to be vigilant; if you are not producing enough green water, the daphnia will eventually die out. Suffice it to say that indoor daphnia propagation is enough of a hassle that most aquarists who want daphnia propagate them outdoors. There, a container of water inoculated with grass clippings or rabbit food pellets, set out where it gets some sunlight, will produce daphnia throughout most of the year. When the weather turns cold the adult daphnia die, but their egg cysts survive until the return of spring. It is much easier to culture daphnia outdoors; the only drawbacks being that you have no daphnia in winter, and you have to figure out a way to keep mosquitoes from reproducing in your “daphnia pond.” I do this by using window screening over the container.

A few years back, I acquired an old-fashioned stainless steel tank at the annual Greater City A.S. Silent Auction that was probably the most diminutive that I have ever seen. It measures 10”L X 6.5”W X 8”H, and probably holds about one-and-a-half gallons. I decided it would be suitable for growing some pygmy chain sword plants and a small colony of August 2010 11

non-fancy guppies. I outfitted the bottom with about an inch-and-a-half layer of number three size natural quartz gravel (which has a light gray cast) and an incandescent stainless steel reflector that fit the top. However, I did not want to use an incandescent bulb, because it a) is not energy efficient, b) produces too much heat, and c) would not give off as much light as a compact fluorescent bulb. I reasoned that the sword plants would need abundant light to grow well, so I chose a bulb that produced the equivalent light of a 40-watt incandescent bulb. I also reasoned that the algae would be kept in check by the pond snails I would add, as well as the ever-nibbling guppies, not to mention the hoped-for lush growth of sword plants. Well, reason can only take you so far. The setup worked fine for awhile. The plants sent out runners, the snails did their thing, and the guppies were fine. But after some weeks, the water began to turn pea-soup green. Granted the tank had no filtration, but obviously the intense lighting was largely to blame for the green water. OK, I thought to myself, the green water is not killing the guppies, and if I keep up with my water changes and don’t overfeed the fish, eventually the sword plants will win the battle with the algae, and all will be well. Nice theory, but no such results; the water stayed so green that I could hardly see the fish. This struggle went on for months without any success on my part. Next move: remove the fish, and for now (I said) I’ll just get some of my outdoor daphnia, put them in the green water, and after the water is clear I’ll figure out what kind of lighting will give me the correct balance to enable the sword plants to thrive, but not produce green water. As for the daphnia, I’ll have enough for one feeding of the fish, and that will be that. Sure enough, the scoopful of daphnia did their work. Within a week the water was crystal clear. OK, next I’ll figure out what lighting to use, and then my fish will get a daphnia treat. Next never came. You know how it is―you get busy, you’ll do it next week. As we say in Italy, tomorrow never comes. But as time dragged on, I began to think that something remarkable was happening. I observed that the daphnia were not dying off, but rather were increasing in number. They were multiplying despite the fact that the water was not green, and that I was not feeding them anything! Hmmm, I thought to myself, how long can this go on? Over a year later, it is still going on. The tank has the same gravel, the same sword plants, the snails, the compact fluorescent bulb (warm white), and no filtration. The water temperature fluctuates between 73° and 75°F, and the pH is about 7.5 (slightly alkaline). Despite the snails, algae does grow on the sides of the tank and over the plants, so I recently added a small (two inches) Ancistrus catfish (that’s a suckermouth variety) to help with the algae chores (I also feed it tablet food several times a week). The 12

Colony of albino Ancistrus catfish (in a larger tank).

daphnia continue to thrive, and I do nothing except an occasional 10% water change (maybe once a month), and I top it off if there’s significant evaporation. My perpetual daphnia tank produces enough daphnia to feed my smaller fish this treat about once every two weeks (I consider 35 of my 45 aquariums as having smaller fish, albeit there are small populations in each tank). This may not be a lot, but the benefit is that there is no real effort involved. Given my busy life, I’ll take that trade-off any time! My explanation for this phenomenon is simple (remember that I’m not a professional scientist―I have a doctorate, but it’s in law): the light that produced the green water is still doing so, but because it is in equilibrium with the daphnia population, the water does not get a chance to turn green. The algae cells that produce the green color are eaten as fast as they reproduce. Does anyone have a better explanation? If so, I’d like to hear it. But regardless of the explanation, anyone who wants to have a nofuss method of culturing daphnia indoors can try to replicate these conditions. Maybe it would work in an even bigger tank―say a ten-gallon, with even more satisfactory results (more daphnia for more feedings). Anyway, good luck to anyone who cares to try this method; I’d enjoy hearing about your results. Or better yet, reading about them in the pages of Modern Aquarium!

August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

or, Spawning Mouthbrooding Bettas by ALEXANDER A PRIEST - photos by the author he genus Betta consists of species that reproduce in one of two ways: by building bubblenests, or by mouthbrooding. Bubblenesting bettas belong to one of three “complexes” (there are currently eleven): the Splendens Complex, the Coccina Complex, or the Bellica Complex. All other Betta species are mouthbrooders (although some members of the Coccina Complex have also been reported to spawn by mouthbrooding). All mouthbrooding Betta species are paternal mouthbrooders, meaning the male holds fertilized


First, I use no substrate. Mouthbrooding bettas spawn by the male encircling the female, thereby expelling her eggs. The female puts the eggs in her mouth and nibbles at the male’s vent to obtain his milt, thereby fertilizing the eggs in her mouth. Then she “tosses” the eggs, one by one, to the male, who catches and keeps them in his mouth. This process is made more difficult if an egg falls among gravel. Plants are hardy low-light species (Java moss, Anubias sp., etc.), anchored to driftwood or rocks.

Suitable “caves” come in all sizes, shapes and colors eggs in his mouth until they hatch. Most mouthbrooding bettas require soft acid water, and low-light tanks. The only exception I know of is Betta simplex which, being native to limestone pools, prefers hard alkaline water. So, except for B. simplex, here is how I create favorable spawning environments for mouthbrooding bettas. Keep in mind that for many species of Betta mouthbrooders, unless the pair are totally compatible, there is nothing the aquarist can do to induce spawning. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY) Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Next, I use dual filtration: a power filter of some kind, and a sponge filter. I cover the intake of the power filter with filter material to avoid “sucking up” fry. The sponge filter provides even the smallest fry with microorganisms to graze upon. Most Betta species adapt to a wide range of water parameters, but I find duplicating their native water assists spawning. Since most Betta species (except for Betta simplex) come from soft, acid water, I add blackwater extract or Atison’s Betta

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A Betta macrostoma near “his” caves (actually sold for reptiles)

A driftwood cave gives this female Betta raja a sense of security

Spa (containing extracts of almond leaf and yucca, calcium, and salt) to lower the pH. I also use driftwood and dried almond leaves. All Betta species are carnivores. They can be conditioned to survive on algae flakes, but to condition them for breeding, use live or frozen food (especially worms).



Now for the big “secret”: CAVES! Caves provide a sense of security (stressed fish don’t spawn), give brooding males a quiet place to stay, and provide shelter to harassed fish. For Betta mouthbrooders, always have more caves than fish.

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

Not only adults seek the security of caves, as shown by these Betta midas fry

This Betta enisae is never far from the cave in the background

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

August 2010 August 2010



Presenting our 2009 FAAS by Alexander A Priest t our July meeting, the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS) award certificates for the 2009 Publication Awards were presented by GCAS Recording Secretary Ed Vukich. On behalf of the Society, and as a former Editor of Modern Aquarium (so I know the value of these contributions to our society’s multiple-award winning magazine), I’d like to extend my congratulations and thanks to all those honored below. For a complete list of our award winners (some members were not present to receive their awards), see last month’s Modern Aquarium.


Winning multiple awards as both editor and author, Dan Radebaugh (right) won: 2nd place for Best editor and Publication More than six issues, 2nd place for Best Changing Cover - original art, 1st place for Best article on health or Nutrition, 2nd and 3rd place for Best traveling aquarist article, and 5th place for author of the Year for 2009.

and, dan’s wife, Marsha Radebaugh, won 1st place for her Best humorous article.

Stephen Sica and Donna Sosna Sica accepting 3rd place for and, Stephen Sica also won 1st and 2nd place awards for Best exchange Column. Best Marine article - Fish.

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August 2010

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

Publication Award Winners - photos by the author

Former Modern Aquarium editor Al Priest won 1st places in: Best spawning article Under 500 words, Best spawning article, 500 - 1000 words, and Best spawning article, more than 1,000 words; as well as 1st place for author of the Year for 2009.

Former gCas President Joe Ferdenzi won a 2nd place for Best spawning article, 500 - 1,000 words, and 3rd places for Best article on a species of Fish and Best show article.

and, al’s wife, Susan Priest, won: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for Best review Column; 5th Place for author of the Year for 2009; and honorable mentions for Best article on a genus of Fish and Best Continuing Column.

Bill Amely received a 2nd place for Best article on a species of Fish.

Rich Levy received an honorable Mention in Elliot Oshins won 3rd place awards in both the Best show article. Best original artwork and Best Cartoon categories. Modern Aquarium - Greater City City A.S (NY) Modern Aquarium - Greater A.S. (NY)

August2010 2010 August



Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners

1st place winner: Al Priest

3rd place winner: Harry Faustmann

2nd place winner: Mario Bengcion



August 2010 August 2010

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

An occasional column for society exchanges, guest appearances, articles, and items of general interest. We try not to bite off more than we can swallow. If you wish to offer comments, suggestions, or any information that you would like to see in this column, the authors encourage you to contact us through the Editor (, or at a monthly meeting.

by Stephen Sica with Donna Sosna Sica


was trying to make a quick exit from Greater City’s March meeting when Claudia called out my name. Foolishly, I stopped and turned around, and she pushed at me a handful of publications from various aquarium societies. Thank goodness they are mailed to her rather than to me. Back home, it occurred to me that now I have an excuse for some of my dated ramblings―it’s Claudia’s fault! Well, it sure feels good to be off the hook (for now). Some online publications that are beginning to be e-mailed to me are the Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society’s The Underwater News, the Delaware County Aquarium Society’s Fin Fax, and the Cleveland Aquarium Society’s The Wet Thumb. Pioneer Valley is located in Springfield, Massachusetts; Delaware County is in Springfield, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland is in Cleveland, (Ohio, of course). The Cleveland society was established in 1923. Its March/April issue reprinted an article that was originally published in its April 1968 issue. They also publish a member’s tank profile that reminded me of Sue Priest’s GCAS “Fishkeepers Anonymous.” I found the tank profile both interesting and enjoyable reading. I realize that some of our members may also be members of the Long Island Aquarium Society, but “Angelfish Surprises” in February’s Paradise Press caught my eye. A female and two male angelfish lived happily in a twenty-nine gallon tank. The males took turns caring for fry; the “stepfather” initially tended newborn fry and the biological father tended young free-swimming fry. Both returned wandering fry to the nest. They may only be fish, but I found the story heartwarming! Here is some interesting information from Kitchener-Waterloo’s Fins & Tales. The Canadian

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

government wants to treat ornamental fish similar to the manner in which it treats exotic birds, reptiles, and mammals. Shipments will be subject to a good deal of paperwork and inspection. Zenin Skormorowski’s April “Exchange Editor’s Report” mentions Sue Priest’s book review of Catfishes by Lee Finley, and Dan Radebaugh’s chocolate cichlid article, both of which appeared in Modern Aquarium’s March issue. After attentively listening to Mark Soberman’s “Keeping and Breeding Corydoras,” I came across Eric Bodrock’s spawning article, “Corydoras sp. CW 21,” in the July 2009 Finformation. From Mark’s talk I now know that “CW” indicates a yet to be described species; this one happens to resemble C. axelrodi. The author reported success in breeding this catfish. The January issue of the Reflector contains a very brief article, “The Miracle of Subwassertang and Taiwan Moss,” by Ray Spahn. He recounts that at a club meeting he picked up the above two plants that were new to him. He added them to his thirty gallon aquarium that always had some algae growing on the glass and on the leaves of the older plants. After six weeks the glass was clear, and after eight weeks all plants were algae-free and growing better than ever before. The Youngstown Aquarist’s January/February 2010 issue reprinted from our August 2009 issue of Modern Aquarium Al Priest’s “The Fish from Bung Borapet Swamp, Rasbora borapetensis - the Brilliant Rasbora.” The Missouri Aquarium Society’s March/ April 2010 The Darter reprinted an article coauthored by Joe Ferdenzi. “The Natural History and Aquarium Husbandry of Pachypanchax sakaramyi

August 2010


(Holly, 1928), The Lost Killifish of Madagascar” was originally published in the June 2005 Modern Aquarium. It was kind of Aquatica’s Exchange Editor, Stu Hershkowitz, to mention articles by both Sue Priest (“My First Favorites”) and Dan Radebaugh (“A Visit to Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery”) in his January/February column. Also, Izzy Zwerin profiles two plants in his “The Practical Plant” column: propagating Anubias congensis and Cryptocoryne balansea. He recommends Caribe Sea’s “eco-Complete” as a substrate for both plants. Alesia Visconti authored “Tips to Prevent Fish Loss” in January’s North Jersey Aquarium Society’s Reporter. She believes that the primary reason people give up our hobby is fish loss, and offers these suggestions: before putting your hands into the aquarium, remove all potential pollutants, such as lotion, cologne, and nail polish remover, from your hands and arms; don’t let your (long) hair touch the water if it has gel, mousse, or spray. I wish that I had this problem. I guess it mostly applies to females and former hippies. Keep aquatic gloves available for emergencies. Make sure that your frozen fish food did not thaw prior to purchase. This may be difficult to determine if a dealer is unscrupulous. Use the drip method, or something similar, to acclimate new fish; and lastly, (I never considered that some shops keep fish with plants); fish diseases can be carried in on plants―including the cyst and/or larval stage of ick. Bathe new plants for fifteen minutes in a water and a clarified lime mixture; rinse thoroughly afterward. But be careful, or you may also kill your plants. Joe Graffagnino authored “Thorichthys malculipinnis” for North Jersey’s May Reporter. This small Central American cichlid is “beautiful, friendly, and would be a welcome addition to any aquarium.” Here’s a credit that I probably missed. The October 2009 Reporter reprinted Joseph Ferdenzi’s “DOUBLE ROYALTY: LaCorte’s Emperor Tetra.” Did you know that there are various species of emperor tetras, differentiated by color variations? Me too, because I read both the original and the reprinted article! In its October Exchange Report, the Reporter mentioned several articles from the July, August, and September 2009 issues of Modern Aquarium: my own experience with lionfish in the Cayman Islands, William Amely’s “Breeding the Zebra


Danio,” Joe Ferdenzi’s “Voyage to the Bermuda Fry-Angle,” Michael Vulis’ “Breeding Rhinogobius duospilus,” a William Amely article on Betta splendens, Donna’s “Bermuda Blues” experience, Jules Birnbaum’s “A Small Fish for a Small Room,” Dan Radebaugh’s “On the Road, A Visit to Mote Marine Aquarium;” and finally the lovely Marsha Radebaugh’s “The Fishkeeper’s Wife’s Top Ten.” Still another article that caught my eye was published in the September/October 2009 issue of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society’s Aquatica. “Rummynose Tetras, A Fish That Can Drive You To Drink,” by John Todaro, describes his experiences with a new fish. His article begins “This is a very sensitive fish.” Personally, I feel that every fish is sensitive! For several years I have kept a school of about twenty-five in a thirty-six gallon aquarium along with cardinal, and currently neon tetras, after the cardinals expended their life span. The tank has no catfish. I believe that John is quite accurate when he states that the fish need to be carefully acclimated to a cycled tank. Although John eventually lost all but three of the twenty-four fish that he put in his tank, I have not lost a fish in years other than to old age. I think that the secret might be to have many plants in a well-established tank. I read an endorsement for an ingredient or food referred to as “natural astaxanthin.” It may be a frozen fish food or perhaps an additive that is supposed to help condition breeder fish without having to feed them live food. I know nothing of this substance, including the accuracy of this claim. But I thought I’d mention it as a potential research project for someone.

This Rock hind, a member of the Grouper family, does its best to blend into the background, but Donna knows she’ll have an easy time making a fish with the measles talk!

August 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Member Classifieds EQUIPMENT: 1 Eheim 2217 Canister filter $125 1 Emperor 400 Bio-Wheel HOB Power Filter $30 1 Coralife Turb Twist 18 watt with 3 extra (never used) UV bulbs $50 1 Coralife Superskimmer 125w/ pump $100 2 Solarmax 36� HO double-T5Lighting System w/Moonlight $159 ea (new) All nearly new, in original boxes. Call (631) 563-1404 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------46 bow tank, light, stand, all oak finish $250 Call Ron: 718-464-8408 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Moving to Florida 125 gallon tank fully equipped w/wood stand-300 30 gallon tank fully equipped w/iron stand-50 Contact Steve Dash: (516) 889-4876 noon till 8pm -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Filters: Eheim 2076 (for tanks up to 90 gallons) $200 Marineland C-160 (tanks up to 30 gallons) $50 Call Temes: 718-468-1569

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

August 2010


GCAS Happenings


Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners:

1 Al Priest Redback Paradisefish 2 Mario Bengcion Yellow Labidochromis Cichlid 3 Harry Faustmann Killifish — Nothobranchius cardinalis

Unofficial 2010 Bowl Show totals to date: Mario Bengcion 17

Al Priest 16 Robert Hamje 10

Harry Faustmann 1

Richard Waizman 1

A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS members Donita Maynard and Barbara Romeo!

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 1, 2010 Speaker: Ed Vukich Event: Cichlid Breeding Tails 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 E-mail: 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 10, 2010 Speaker: Jeff Bollbach Event: A Year In The Fish Room 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:

Long Island Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 17, 2010 Speaker: Joseph Graffagnino Topic: The History of Catfish in Africa and South America Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) 8:00pm. Greenhouse Meeting Room, Holtsville Ecology Center, Buckley Road, Holtsville, NY Email: Margaret Peterson - Website:


Nassau County Aquarium Society Next Meeting: September 14, 2010 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: September 16, 2010 Speaker: Dr. Jordan Topic: Mbuna Meets: 7:30 PM Lyndhurst Elks Club, 251 Park Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 e-mail: Website:

Norwalk Aquarium Society Next Meeting: August 19, 2010 Speaker: Tony Orso Topic: Australian Fish 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 2010

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

maintained with care (including very frequent water changes!), a Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens), or two or three White Cloud Mountain Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) might actually survive in such limited space for quite some time. But now, there are so-called “aquariums” that effectively have as little as 100 to 300 milliliters of A series by “The Undergravel Reporter” water1 (one (US) gallon is equal to 3,785.41 milliliters!). Can any fish survive in that? In spite of popular demand to the Well, there is Paedocypris progenetica, a contrary, this humor and information skinny and transparent distant cousin of the carp column continues. As usual, it does found in the highly acid peat swamps on the NOT necessarily represent the Indonesian island of Sumatra and in the Malaysian opinions of the Editor, or of the part of Borneo. It required a special stereoscopic Greater City Aquarium Society. microscope for scientists to measure it. They found that a mature nce upon a time, specimen collected in bigger was Sumatra measured only better. Bigger 7.9 millimeters (0.28 of gave you bragging an inch) from nose to rights. Automobiles tail. L a r v a l fish with oversized engines expert, Dr. Jeff Leis of and loads of horsepower the Australian were called “muscle Museum, says cars,” and cars with P a e d o c y p r i s generous head room and progenetica is half a room to stretch and even millimeter smaller than fully recline the seat into the stout infantfish a horizontal position (Schindleria were considered to be This "aquarium" is a plastic bird-feeder for bird brevipinguis), which in “luxury” limousines.” cages. it has around 100 ml of nominal 2004 was announced as Of course, that was when volume, probably half of that effectively. It has the world’s smallest sand substrate, a few "boulders" and the flora a record album was a fish. A related is composed of Hemianthus callitrichoides and foot in diameter, when Paedocypris species, Java Moss. you recorded a television Photo from P. micromegethes, has show on seven inch tape been discovered in reels, and when a Sarawak (one of two Malaysian states on the island cordless phone was slightly larger than a building of Borneo). At 8.8 millimeters (0.35 inches), brick. scientists say P. micromegethes is the second Nowadays, automobiles more closely resemble smallest freshwater vertebrate ever found. pregnant roller skates, you can record hours of video Just great; as I need to rely more and more on on a tiny card, and your portable my eyeglasses, the fish hobby is telephone can hide in your shirt or becoming more and more blouse pocket with nary a bulge (and microscopic. it also serves as a still camera and video recorder, a music and video player, a GPS navigation device, a 1 hand-hld game machine, an e-book tanks/e_tank0603.php text reader, an internet browser, a remote control, etc., etc.). 2 In the aquarium hobby, some news/stories/s1555027.htm aquarists still boast of their 100+ gallon tanks and/or the hundreds of gallons in their fish rooms containing “tankbusters” (i.e., very large fish). But the newest trend appears to be the Paedocypris progenetica mini-, micro-, nano-, pico- tanks. (Image: Maurice kottelat) photo: One, two, and three gallons tanks were always popular for desktops and, if

Small is the new Big


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

August 2010 August 2010

17 23

Fin Fun Bones. Humans have them, dogs have them, and so do fish. Well, at least most fish. Some of these “fish” (and other critters often housed in aquariums) are invertebrates. That is, they have no bones. Can you separate these into the correct columns? Hint - there are equal numbers of each. “Fish”


No bones

Cuttlefish Spiny Eel Hermit Crab Puffer Fish Red Tailed Black Shark Ramshorn Snail Anemone Anemone Fish Starfish Mosquito Fish Leaf Fish Crayfish

Answer to our last puzzle: Fish Temminick’s Bristlenose

South America




Reticulated Barb


Striped Glass Catfish


Banded Petrochromis


Badis badis


Peter’s Elephantnose


Japanese Ricefish


Croaking Tetra


Pearl Cichlid


Gold Spot Halfbeak


X August 2010


August 2010

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