Modern Aquarium

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1994 —

July 2013 volume XX number 5

20th Anniversary — 2013

Series III ON THE COVER Our cover this month features Fishkeeperus longislandi, a species well-known to our members. For more information on the habitat requirements of this denizen of Suburbia, see Jules Birnbaum's "Three Years in the Fishroom," on page 14. Photo by Alexandra Horton GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY BOARD MEMBERS

President Dan Radebaugh Vice-President Edward Vukich Treasurer Jules Birnbaum Assistant Treasurer Ron Wiesenfeld 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

Vol. XX, No. 5 July, 2013

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2013 Program Schedule President’s Message June's Caption Contest Winner Cartoon Caption Contest Bad Rap for Goodeids? by Dan Radebaugh

G.C.A.S. Bowl Show Rules Pictures from our Last Meeting by Susan Priest

Three Years in the Fishroom: My Grades by Jules Birnbaum

Key Largo Revisited by Stephen Sica

2 3 4 5 7 9 11 12 14 17


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

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

Bujurquina Vittata: The Banded Acara by Joseph Graffagnino

Our Generous Sponsors & Advertisers Rules for August's Silent Auction Member Classifieds G.C.A.S. Happenings The Undergravel Reporter

Remember When All Fish "Swam"?

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) Heads Up!

20 21 22 24 26 27 28

From the Editor


by Dan Radebaugh

ince I’ve been Editor, our group of active authors has been pretty stable; some are less active now than they once were, others have left, and still others have joined and are making their own, unique contributions. I want to be sure that all our authors know how much I (and our members) appreciate their contribution to the improvement of our fishkeeping knowledge, as well as to our reading pleasure and entertainment. I have lately been reading old issues of Modern Aquarium (see the President’s Message for further elaboration), and a few things come to mind. In terms of quality, this has been a stellar publication for many years—it was in fact excellent for some years before it began to be recognized as being so. In the past couple of weeks I’ve added 2007 to the volumes available online. Fortunately, Al Priest had given me the 2007 issues in their electronic format when I took over as Editor in 2008. I say fortunately, because the printing of the issues prior to 2008 was, except for the front covers, all done in black and white (color was costprohibitive). For the text of course this wasn’t a big deal; it looks great, as does the hand-drawn art. The problem was the photos. They just didn’t print well. Here’s where fortune comes in. As I was perusing 2007, I noticed that these same photos in the electronic document look perfectly fine, even though they’re still (mostly) in B&W. So this is one case in which the issues online will look even better than the printed ones did! This wasn’t the only thing I noticed, of course. For one thing, we used to have many more articles on plants than we’ve had recently. I see a lot of plants at our monthly auctions, so someone here clearly knows what they’re doing. Come on, guys & gals—pass on the knowledge as well as the plants. Tell us about your plants! Tell us how you succeed! We also used to have more articles on saltwater subjects. I know that we’re presently a very freshwater-heavy group, and I’m very much in tune with that bias, but I have to believe that some of you are doing more than you’re saying. Right now, I feel like if I had to learn how to keep up with salinity levels, specific gravity, preparing saltwater mixes and all, I’d probably just cry and throw up. Who knows, though? Maybe if I read the right thing I’d be motivated to try. So on second thought, never mind about the saltwater articles. Ignorance is bliss, so they say.


Also, I know both first-hand and through my spies, that more than a few of you have some very interesting breeding projects going on. We want to know. We want to know. We want to know! In a slightly different vein, in one of Al Priest's “Babblenest” columns in 2007, he mentioned that one of his motivations in turning over the editorship was so that he could spend more time with his fish. I’ll now testify that he wasn’t kidding. The amount of time and attention my fish receive has steadily decreased over the past five years or so. Though they might like to, our fish (unlike say, our cats), can’t hunt us down and remind us to feed them, clean up their environment, or just be companionable (I have no documented proof of this, but I am convinced that many of our watery friends like to see us and interact with us as much as our furry ones do, even absent the familiar mammalian exchange of body heat and physical play). So Al, I can totally validate that time claim! * * * Remember, just in case I was too obscure above, we need articles. We always 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, or just hand it to me at a meeting. However you get it to me, I’ll be delighted to receive it!

July 2013

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 6

Joe Ferdenzi 90 Years of GCAS!

April 3

Larry Johnson Lake Malawi

May 1

Sal Silvestri

Apistogrammas June 5

Leslie Dick Livebearers

July 3

Joe Ferdenzi Do-It-Yourself Aquarium Gadgets

August 7

Silent Auction

September 12

Mark Denaro Bettas/Labyrinth Fishes

October 2


November 6


December 4

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 2013 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)

July 2013


President’s Message


by Dan Radebaugh

ne of my long-term projects as President (and Editor—I forget which of us thought of it) has been to make our magazine available online. So far, all issues from 2008, my first year as Editor, through 2012 are now accessible. You can get to them from our website (, or you can go directly to and search for Modern Aquarium. In recent weeks I’ve been looking through earlier issues to determine whether we should try to make them available as well. This is in large part a matter of historical preservation. A club like ours doesn’t have an “office,” or a staff, or a library. What we have are members who donate their time and energies to helping us do the things that need to be done to keep the club able to adequately serve its members. Things like awards, records, magazines, and other physical memorabilia of our existence are left to individual members to take care of (or not). For a club with a longevity like that of Greater City, this can sometimes be a problem. Greater City has been fortunate over the past twenty or so years to have members who have stepped up and taken ownership of some of these important tasks. Joe Ferdenzi in particular has been a stalwart. Not only did he serve as President for many years, he has also written many articles for our club magazine, spoken many times to our club and others, and served as de facto club (and indeed aquarium hobby) historian, among other, lesspublicized roles. We of course have other members who have made very important 4

contributions—most of you know who they are, and I don’t have the space here make this an honor roll). The point is that much of our historical archiving is quite understandably done on a rather ad hoc basis. When the member handling one of these important areas leaves (all of us will sometime experience life changes, grow old, move away, etc.), the club may or may not be able to find another member who is willing and able to pick up the reins. This brings me to the subject of online access to Modern Aquarium. Until the past few years our web site was hosted on a Compuserve account set up by Al Priest. With Compuserve’s purchase by AOL and subsequent effective demise, we moved the site—still administered by Al— to an Earthlink account, and it continues to cost the club nothing. Meanwhile, our data, namely six years (so far) of Modern Aquarium, is stored and accessible online, again at no cost to the club, and the club is not dependent on any one member for server space. So if Al or I wear out, as eventually we must (this club has been going for over ninety years now, remember), Modern Aquarium will still be available as a legacy for future members.


July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

June's Caption Winner: Denver Lettman

Up for bid — a breeding pair of Dentura labiatus!

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


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.


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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The Modern Aquarium Cartoon Caption Contest 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: Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


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

SUMMER AUCTION – 2013! SUNDAY August 11, 2013 OF FISH (All Species), AQUARIUM EQUIPMENT AND RELATED DRY GOODS, Location: THE CROWNE PLAZA 100 Berlin Road Cromwell, CT (860) 635-2000 Registration : Register at the auction, 50/50 split, 10 or more lots 60/40 split, 1 red dot per

vendor, add’l red dot/10 *lots, please label your bags (see auction rules) *Acceptable lots will be determined by the auction committee

Vendors Tables Food & Refreshments will be available AUCTION HOURS:

REGISTRATION.................................8:00 AM TO 11:00 AM VIEWING OF GOODS........................9:30 AM TO 10:45 AM AUCTION..................................................11:00 AM TO 5 PM RAFFLE..........................................................................50 / 50


July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Bad Rap for Goodeids? Story and Photos by Dan Radebaugh


ver the past year or so we’ve had several articles on, and a few guest speaker presentations detailing efforts to preserve endangered “little gray ditch fish,” such as the North American family of goodeids, a group of livebearers now seriously endangered by habitat destruction exacerbated by unwise introductions of exotic species—in short, the things afflicting virtually all the wildlife—plant and animal—on the planet. However, along with the pleas for our (aquarists’) help by devoting tanks space to help preserve some of these species, comes a rather explicit rejection of their worth as denizens of our tanks. I know it’s So that’s part of the motivation for this article; done partly in humor, but the message seems to be, the other part is that I believe these guys (the “I know they’re not much to look at, but it would goodeids) are getting a bad rap on their level of be really noble of you to keep some of these guys attractiveness. When Rit Forcier came here to speak alive.” a couple of years ago, I bought a couple of his Ilyodon While this approach may work to some extent, whitei at that evening’s auction. I bought them by making us feel “special” for devoting some “excess mostly out of curiosity— tank space” to these fishes, they looked pretty plain I believe it also does them in the bag (though in my a disservice. Can we really opinion most fish do). I say that all of the other have in turn brought in fishes we routinely keep in some of their fry to auction our tanks are miracles of from time to time. (This living color? Please! How brings up an embarrassing colorful are guppies? Or side-story: Somewhere cory cats? Or even most along the way I managed tetras, for that matter? to confuse myself about Take a look at your tanks, the name of the fish, and so and honestly evaluate for the BAP points and ID how you’re making Above: Ilyodon wheitei in 30 gal. with unidentified rainbow fish. info for our auctions I have your decisions on what Upper right: I. wheitei checking out the photographer. referred to them as Ilyodon populations you maintain? Lower left: Juvenile I. wheitei in 10 gallon. furcidens, a closely Is it really all about the related, but larger species. Preparing for this article, color? I like color probably as much as anyone does, I checked my original records and confirmed that and I enjoy keeping fish that visually pop. However, they are in fact I. whitei. So, if you’ve bought any of not all of my fish are chosen specifically for their those fry from me at auction, take note of their true color. I’ve noticed in the fishrooms of some other identity!) One member of the original pair (there members here a similarly catholic approach. We were three in the bag, but one of them had already like what we like, sometimes for rather odd and bought the farm) became ill and died several months personal reasons. So why run down an entire family ago, and to give the younger ones more room in their of fishes just ten gallon tank, I moved the surviving parent into my because they “miscellaneous” 30 gallon tank, where he quickly aren’t intensely became a star attraction. Not that he was unattractive colorful? And in the 10 gallon; but these are (for livebearers) fairly who says large, robust, and active fish, with subtle but striking only intensely coloration, and the additional space allows them to colorful fish are show themselves off to much better advantage than beautiful? Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


they're able to in a smaller The I. Whitei in the 10 gallon tank are tank. Keeping this fish cohabiting with an Aspidoras catfish and a couple of involves no aesthetic kuhli loaches, as well as many snails. The 30 gallon sacrifice whatever! Who is likewise heavily planted, but heated, with pH also knew? in the 6.8 pH range. Tankmates include a couple of Ilyodon whitei is golden snowball plecos (Hypancistrus contradens, Distribution of Ilyodon whitei native to Mexico’s Pacific L201), a mormyrid, a Synodontis nigriventris, two slope, inhabiting the upper tributaries of the Rio leopard ctenopomas, many, many snails, and one Balsas in the states México, Michoacán and Morelos1. lonely rainbow fish. Their habitat consists of “pools and riffles of clear The adult I. whitei has been a great addition to turbid streams, over to this tank— substrates of sand, silt, brightening it up SPECIES NOTES mud, gravel, rocks and visually and adding boulders. The currents Scientific name: Ilyodon whitei some energy and are usually slight to Synonyms: Goodea whitei Meek, 1904 movement. There are swift. Vegetation splashes of yellow Balsadichthys whitei Hubbs, 1926 can be absent or Ilyodon lennoni Meyer & Förster, 1983 on its fins that really made of green algae, Common names: Balsas Splitfin add some flash to the Potamogeton and tank. Nevertheless, White's Ilyodon Ceratophyllum. The these tankmates preferred depth is Adult total length: 3.5 inches would not be suitable less than 1.3m.1” Temperature: 68-83° F for a family group The species within pH: 7-9 of these fish, as the this genus have been Distribution: Pacific slope of Mexico ctenopomas would difficult to firmly Reproduction: Livebearer. make short work of classify, being very any fry. Although I Temperament: Suitable for community tanks closely related, and do currently have a they have amassed Environment: Rivers group of youngsters a number of Latin Nutrition: Omnivore in a ten gallon tank, names along the IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered a twenty would really way. According to be better, considering the Goodeid Working their size and energy level. Easy to feed, and easy to Group, “This genus is definitely in a specification keep, I highly recommend this very attractive fish for process, which makes it very difficult for scientists a place in your collection! to classify the different forms1.” I. whitei is an enthusiastic feeder, and not fussy. An omnivore, it will eat whatever you put in there, wherever in the water column it can find it. In keeping with what we know of its native habitat, most of the water recommendations you will see are to be expected: relatively hard water, with a pH of 7 to 9. However, I have not found them to care much about this sort of thing. I’ve mostly kept mine in a planted ten gallon tank with no heater, and have made no attempt to alter the pH of our New York City tapwater (7.0 out of the faucet), so it stays right around 6.8. I do a 50% water change once a week. They do seem to be somewhat sensitive to chlorine, so either use a dechlorinator with your water changes, or keep some aged water on hand. For more information: 1 Newborn fry are surprisingly large, and I have no signs of fry predation by the adults. My whitei 2 2nd generation group began reproducing at about 1.5 inches. Brood quantities have been 4 or 5 so far, but mp/20m?map=Ilyodon+whitei 3 the literature suggests that up to ten times that is not uncommon. 3


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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

BOWL SHOW RULES There is a Bowl Show at every GCAS meeting, except our Silent Auction/fleamarket meeting and our Holiday Party and Awards Banquet meeting (December). These shows are open to all members of GCAS. Rules are as follows:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Only current GCAS members may enter fish in the Bowl Show. There is a limit of 2 entries per member per meeting. Unlike some other clubs, every month is an “open” Bowl Show at the GCAS (i.e., there is no “theme,” such that one month cichlids are judged, the next livebearers, the next anabantoids, etc.). Any fish that wins any prize (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) may not be entered again in the same meeting year. The current Bowl Show Coordinator is Leonard Ramroop, who usually also serves as judge (although guest speakers are often asked to do the judging honors). 2.5 gallon containers are available for use (brought to the meetings by the Bowl Show Coordinator), but entrants are responsible for providing enough (and suitable) water for their fish. For a fish too large (or too small) for those containers, entrants must supply a suitable container, which must be clear on at least three sides. Only one fish per container (i.e., no “pairs”). No plants, ornaments, or equipment (filters, airstone, etc.) are allowed in the judging tank (an external mirror, or opaque cards between containers is acceptable, as is a cover that does not obstruct side viewing). Points are awarded: 5 points for 1st Place, 3 for 2nd Place, and 1 for 3rd Place. Ribbons are awarded: blue for 1st Place, red for 2nd Place, and green for 3rd Place. The person with the most points at the end of the meeting season receives the Walter Hubel “Bowl Show Champion” trophy at the Awards Banquet. The decision of the judge(s) is final. A running UNOFFICIAL total of the points awarded is printed in Modern Aquarium. Only the tally of points maintained by the Bowl Show Coordinator is official. In case of ties: 1st Tiebreaker – most 1st Places 2nd Tiebreaker – most 2nd Places 3rd Tiebreaker – most entries

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

March 2010 July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)


Pictures from our



The evening’s speaker, Leslie Dick, with GCAS President Dan Radebaugh

Leslie and Dan with Claudia Dickinson

Leslie’s sidekick for the evening, Rit Forcier, making a point

Brad Dickinson and Joe Ferdenzi -They must be talking about water changes

Jules Birnbaum -- can it be true that he is (almost) 80 years young?

How many did you count?

July July2013 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City M odern A quarium - G reater C ity A .S. A.S (N Y (NY) )

last meeting A warm welcome to our newest members:

Andrew DeSantis with sons Michael (Black shirt) & Christopher (white shirt)

Photos by Susan Priest

Emanuele Viola

And welcome back to:

Brad and Claudia Dickinson

Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners

1st Place: Jerry O’Farrell

2nd Place: Rich W aizman Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S M odern A quarium - G reater City(NY) A .S. (N Y )

3rd Place: Mario Bengcion July 2013

19 13



n case you missed Rich Levy’s video tour of my fishroom, I’ll give you a short review. His interview showed the 9 X 12 room and discussed how it all came about. I’ve been in this room for many hours over the past three years, so I will give you some of my personal experiences working there, and some of the grades I give myself. There are two points I would like to stress before I proceed. First, never stop learning, regardless of your age. You can learn from fellow club members, speakers at our meetings, conventions, books, the internet, and by spending time with your fish. Second, form some good habits that successful aquarists have utilized over the years. Good habits make much of what we do in everyday life automatic and thus less stressful. My fishroom has a Mitsubishi heat pump, which provides air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. This unit has been running for three years, and I’m very satisfied with the results. If I come into the room during the summer and the room temperature is uncomfortably high, I simply lower the temperature by using the remote. In the winter I control the temperature the same way. All individual tank heaters have been eliminated. The heat pump is a luxury that has worked out well. This unit deserves my grade of A+. A small TV keeps me up to date and also keeps me company. I don’t have to miss what is going on in the world by being in a room with


no windows. This TV has worked out well, and deserves an A+. A refrigerator in the room is shared by my wife; fortunately it is full-sized. So far there have been no complaints from my wife or the kitchen staff (me). Another A+. The fact that the room is on the first floor of a converted garage (we have no basement) has also worked out well. There are no stairs to torture tired legs, and I just go out the back door to work in the garden. This also gets as A+. My water changing system is composed of two water pumps, one for each side of the room, attached to tubing which empties into the laundry room sink. I have a contraption for filling the tanks that has an automatic cut-off when the water reaches the level I desire. This system allows me to change 80 per cent of the water in each of my 25 tanks in a total of 2 ½ hours. I perform this water change once a week. Although some larger fishroom owners have developed automatic water change systems, mine works for me. If someone comes up with a better system without the need for drilling tanks, I’ll consider changing my system, but for now I’m satisfied. I give this system a B. My racks were constructed of 2X4 and 2X6 wooden boards. The racks remain unpainted. The plans came from JEHMCO fishroom supply company, and I also received advice from Joe Ferdenzi. All my tanks are positioned the long way, for maximum ease of viewing. My racks were designed for 20, 29, 30, and two custom 45 gallon tanks. The only space I have for additional tanks is in the center of the room. The racks could be improved to get the lower tanks higher and offer room for more tanks. I grade the racks a C. The tanks sit on sheets of clear plastic to protect the shelving from decay caused by water spills or leaks. There are two levels, one at eye level and one at a lower level, about 12 inches above the floor. All tanks are covered to keep down the humidity in the room. The standard covers are sometimes annoying, since the seams

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

sometimes fail from the constant use. They also need periodic cleaning so that the maximum light can get through. Tank maintenance would be easier if the tanks were uncovered, but humidity would have to be watched closely. I might try this in the future. Grade B. I recently converted all my light fixtures to LED, using Current’s Satellite Freshwater LEDs. I can’t fully rate them yet for growing plants, but they are 6500K and have wireless remote controllers. They look great, and the light brings out the best in my fish and plants. I’m certainly saving a lot on electricity, and the bulbs are good for 50,000 hours. I previously had 20 fluorescent bulbs. By using the LED fixtures I don’t have to replace bulbs every two or three years. I give lighting a provisional grade of A+ for now. One linear piston air pump runs the box filters (Poret Hamberg type) and sponge filters. The pump was purchased from JEHMCO fishroom supply house, and can supply 60 to 80 tanks. It’s been running for three years with no problems, but I do have a backup pump that will supply 40 tanks. I have eliminated all but this one pump for the room. I would rate the pump an A+. The fishroom floor is covered with 12-inch foam squares, that are constructed to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. This has made it easy on my feet and knees when servicing the lower tanks. The flooring is also water and mold proof .When fish jump out they now bounce. Grade A+. All but three tanks are heavily planted; I love live plants almost as much as I do the fish. The plants I have thrive on moderate or low light. The more heavily planted tanks have less of an algae problem. Most of my planted tanks have a slight layer of fine substrate. This thin layer avoids a buildup of mulm, is easier to keep clean, and the gravel makes the tanks look more natural. Some of my plants are grown in clay pots or attached to rocks and wood, making it is easier to break down the tanks, or to move the plants to a different tank. Each clay pot is half filled with potting soil and then covered with gravel. Grade A+. Tanks below eye level cause maintenance (and bad back) problems. Any lower level tanks should be avoided; if it can’t be helped they should be at least a foot or two above the floor. Higher rows of tanks, above eye level, are also a problem to maintain. After the experience of these past three years I will try to stay away from any more

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

high or low tanks. I grade the positioning of my lower tanks and one higher tank a failure. My fish are mainly small killifish, livebearers, and dwarf cichlids, a choice dictated by the size of my tanks. I have one big 11-inch mistake, a 10-year-old gold severum that I raised from a 1-inch juvenile to its present large size. The lesson I have learned is to try and stay away from large fish unless you have large tanks. The trouble here is I have never met a fish I did not like. My tanks are overpopulated. Grade C. Feeding once a day means using a high (46%) protein flake such as beef heart/color enhancing varieties, Repashy gel food, frozen bloodworms, blackworms, brine shrimp, microworms, or table food such as salmon, shrimp, and chicken. The saying goes, “you are what you eat.” My wife and I have always tried to eat a balanced diet, and this has been carried over to my fish. My grade here is an A+. Our local weather has changed for the worse, and we have looked into obtaining emergency generators for the house. We don’t have natural gas, and prices for anything worthwhile ($3,000 and up) don’t warrant our expenditure at this time. We also looked into a permanent propane generator, but our current local regulations make this impracticable. This situation is hard to grade because the weather is beyond my control, and so far I have not purchased a generator. A “grade pending” for now. I am still learning, and open to new ideas. The next three years might bring many changes to my fishroom, and hopefully I will improve my overall grade. Graduation is a long way off, if ever. Photos by Alexandra Horton

July 2013



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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Key Largo Revisited Story and Photos by Stephen Sica


n one of my latest articles about our travels in Key Largo last year, I briefly mentioned our experience with the Coral Restoration Foundation, or CRF. We were introduced to the CRF during our annual Key Largo diving reunion. I have a lasting reminder of this adventure in the form of a small permanent lump on the end knuckle of my left index finger where I was stung by fire coral while scraping growth from a PVC plastic coral growing tree. Unfortunately, many different lifeforms, aside from specific corals that the foundation is attempting to grow, abound on their growing trees. We began our reunion weekend on a Friday morning by attending a lecture and slide show about the history, development and goals of the foundation. The presentation was given by Ken Nedimyer, the founder of CRF. The foundation provides classroom training followed by work in the field. They also offer lectures to local groups such as schools, civic organizations, and dive clubs. As a non-profit conservation organization, the CRF operates via grants, donations, and fundraising. Nedimyer has a small staff that is supplemented by unpaid volunteers. The CRF has a website (http:// where you can adopt a coral for a donation, or make an on-line donation in any amount, or even purchase a tee shirt! Nedimyer relocated to Key Largo many years ago with his young family, where he started a wholesale business in the saltwater tropical fish industry. Ultimately, he became interested in conservation as he experienced, firsthand, the decline of Florida’s reef system. Coral reefs comprise a very small part of the marine eco-system, but they provide refuge to a much greater percentage of fish and other sea life. Without reefs, where would all the reef fishes live? With no place to hide, would they be eaten by the open water pelagics? The CRF specializes in elkhorn and staghorn corals. These are the primary reef-building species in the Florida Keys and most of the Caribbean. I believe that these corals are now officially listed as endangered in the United States. Every time that we visit Florida or the Caribbean, it seems that the coral reefs are shrinking. Signature dives, such as

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

“Mushroom Forest” in Curaçao, are now mostly skeletons in many places. I remember that we had paid extra for the long boat ride to this famous dive site almost two years ago. I almost spit my regulator mouthpiece when I saw the degradation of the corals! It was not worth the time and cost. After the introductory lecture, slide presentation, and basic instruction, we left for the dive boat, which took us a few miles offshore to a sandy bottom in about 25 to 30 feet of calm water. This was the location of the coral reef farm and planting fields. We were divided into groups of four and assigned to either a CRF employee or volunteer. Each group made two dives on specific growing trees that were assigned to us. The four of us were divided into two groups. On the first dive, Donna and I cleaned the trees with a wire brush and a paint scrapper, while our partners prepared small pieces of coral for “planting” on the trees. Actually, the new corals were fastened to the arms of the tree as if you were decorating it. On the second dive we exchanged jobs. To prevent damage to the coral we used a tiny metal tube to loop nylon fishing line around small pieces of coral. Then we hung the corals from the branches on the trees by inserting and crimping another tiny metal tube at the end with pliers to hold the coral in place on the tree. My camera was dangling from a wrist thong, so I found it difficult to work. I seized upon the opportunity to allow Donna to carry my share of the work for a few minutes while I took photos. There were several bold fish that would dart in periodically to eat the scrapings before they fell to the seafloor. I attempted to photograph these fish, some of which came within inches of us. After we finished, our group leader took us on a brief underwater tour of the coral farm before heading back to the boat. By the time we were back on the boat, the pain from my coral sting had subsided. It was a worthwhile experience. Nedimyer’s goal is to engage as many people as possible to help save the reefs. I’m sure that almost everyone, even members of aquarium societies, can help save a reef—or a least a coral here and there. You know what some people say: “After your dog, coral is man’s best friend!” Someday, we may find out if my statement is true—assuming that corals are not by then extinct.

July 2013


Donna fastening thin nylon line to a small coral fragment before hanging it from a tree.

Similar to land plants, corals are grown in flat or bed-like frames-albeit underwater.

Coral fragments growing on PVC plastic tree.

Adolescent corals to be either cut into small fragments, or fastened near or on a reef in larger pieces to re-populate barren areas.

Ken Nedimyer, the CRF founder, surveys and tends to his corals.

Donna and her team prepping coral fragments and hanging them on a newly cleaned tree.


July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Donna scraping growth and debris from a tree to prepare it for another coral planting or hanging.

Close-up of coral fragments hanging from their tree.

Coral fragments PVC plastic growing tree and resident White grunts, Haemulon plumier. This coral farm is on a flat sandy bottom so fish congregate at the trees for protection and a food supply.

Close-up of resident grunts.

After a long morning of coral restoration, Donna heads back to the boat for a well deserved rest--and lunch back on shore.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


Bujurquina vittata

The Banded Acara


Story and Photos by Joseph Graffagnino

ujurquina vittata is an interesting biparental mouth-brooding South American (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay) cichlid. This little beauty, not growing larger than 4.5 inches, is unique because both parents take the fry in their mouth when they change foraging locations. If predators are about, the fry zoom into the parents’ mouths, and the pair makes a quick escape. I fed the parents a diet of HBH African Cichlid Attack™ pellets, various types of flakes, and live blackworms. There were originally three females and a male when I got them from friends at the North Jersey Aquarium Society (hence the need to join multiple fish clubs). 8 It took several months, but eventually I found are excellent parents,one although of parents, the They male and thebut as days wore on, they they are very nervous, zooming started venturing further away. The across the aquarium at full speed. parents were trying to corral them females prodding the other Fearing for their safety, I taped to hear it. newspaper on the front glass. To After the babies were them I had to carefully and Not wanting two observe females away. toswimming have the for two weeks, I removed the parents quietly move to the side panes. I had to limit water changes for fear of up single females hurt, I moved them to another tank unlit so as not to spook them. setting them with a possibility of them They were able to see from the lights eating their fry. They managed to lay aquarium. quickly setThe up of other aquariums nearby. babies house their eggs in theThe inside of anew half of a pair coconut shell, along the top ridge. their parents and continued to graze after a few weeks of semi in theHowever, center of the tank. off the algae and bits of food around isolation, I was rewarded when I the tank. I started them on frozen witnessed a cloud of babies rising off They excellent parents, though very baby brine shrimp and crushed the bottom, inare the center of their flakes. Regular biweekly water parents. For the first few days of free changes of 15%aquarium declorinated tap swimming,zooming the babies rarely left their nervous, across the at full


speed. Fearing for their safety, I taped newspaper on the front glass. To observe them I had to carefully and quietly move to the side panes. I also limited water changes for fear of upsetting them, possibility causing them to eat their fry. They laid their eggs on the inside of a half of a coconut shell, along the top ridge. Then, after a few weeks of semi isolation, I was rewarded when I witnessed a cloud of babies rising off the bottom, between their parents. For the first few days of free swimming, the babies rarely left their parents, but as the days wore on, they started venturing further away. The parents kept trying to corral them into one spot, but the fry didn’t want to hear it. After the babies had been swimming for two weeks, I removed the parents to a separate tank. I kept the parents’ tank unlit, so as not to spook them. They were able to see from the lights of other aquariums nearby. The babies didn’t seem to mind the absence of their parents, and continued to graze off the algae and bits of food around the tank. I started them on frozen baby brine shrimp and crushed flakes. Regular biweekly water changes of 15% declorinated tap water produced larger fry. The environment for the fry was 80 degrees Fahrenheit, neutral pH, and soft water, as are New York City standards. In a couple of weeks, they moved to frozen cyclopeeze and minced blood worms. The males have blue lips, with yellow flush cheeks and a gold streak moving horizontally above their lateral line. The males also have a red trim along the top edge of their dorsal fin. Males have lyre-tail strings that extend

July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)


from their dorsal, anal and tail fins. They have turquoise blue lines in their pectoral finnage, which are replaced with aquamarine dots in their anal fin and in the rear of their dorsal fin. The males develop a slight hump on their forehead. The females are slightly smaller and are blander in color, but still maintain the aqua blue in their anal fin and at the end of their dorsal fin. The females don’t have the extended fins of the male, and are grayish in color, with slight yellow in their face and cheeks. I highly recommend this interesting and pretty fish. Their temperament is mild, they don’t bother tankmates and they eat anything in flake, pellet or frozen form. They do especially love live blackworms. I feed them a few pellets or flakes and then the live food, because it will stay in their stomachs longer. This will, in turn, give them greater amounts of protein, which produces larger quantities of, and more fertile

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

eggs. Set them up in a tank of their own, such as a 30 gallon (36”L x 12”w x 20” H), let them pair off, and enjoy their antics!

This article previously appeared in the JanuaryFebruary, 2011 issue of Aquatica, the journal of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, Vol. XXIV No. 3.

July 2013



July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


Member Classifieds WANTED: For Restoration Project: Does anyone have some pieces of bubble-edge glass? Perhaps from a broken or old tank? Need three pieces -- Will pay! Please contact Steve: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FOR SALE: Need 6 1 2 3 1

to part with 10 fully set up tanks: Ten-gallon tanks 20-gallon-long 0-gallon tanks 125 gallon tank with wood stand and canopy

Call Gerry: 347-837-5794 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOR SALE: Fish Hobbyist’s Dream Home: $189,000! Fishroom: 15 X 26 – Almost 400 square feet. 10 Picture-window tanks, with builtin wall shelving underneath for storage. Room for more tanks, with pressurized air system throughout the room. Full sink (hot/cold) with work space; ceramic tile floor. Pond Room: 12 X 16 – Almost 200 square feet. 300 gallon indoor pond for tropical fish. Mag pump, ceramic tile floor, large cathedral windows, lots of light for growing plants. Gorgeous views. Great place to read the Sunday papers. Rest of House: 2 BR, 2 BA, HUGE kitchen with 49 cabinets and drawers. All rooms huge, LR/desk area. Almost 2,000 square feet. Central A/C. Climate: 340 sunny days last year. Mild winters with absolutely NO snow shoveling. Location: Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. Great name, huh? Was formerly called Hot Springs (and yes, we’ve got ‘em). Very friendly community. Cars actually stop for you to cross the street. Rarely hear a car horn. Two blocks from town. 24

July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

House Location: On historic site for Geronimo and his braves, where they ground holes in huge boulders (on the southern edge of the property) for cooking maize. Evidence still there (placard next to property). Just 20 feet below us stands a fish pond stocked with trout, and another hundred feet down is the Rio Grande River, for rafting, tubing, and fishing. For even greater bass fishing, we’re only five miles from Elephant Butte Lake, the largest lake in New Mexico, which also features water sports such as boating, swimming, fishing, jet skiing, etc. There are two marinas. View: Tremendous! From the front porch (completely tiled) you have the best view of Turtleback Mountain rising majestically above the park and river in front of you. Breakfast on the porch is breathtaking! Lunch too! Taxes: Only $600 per year. Summing Up: We’ve lived here for 19 years, and I both the fish pond and the fishroom built for my hobby, but I’m now 83, and it’s time to retire from the hobby. We watched our grandchildren grow up as they spent all their summers here. Irreplaceable memories. You could have them too. Charlie Kuhne: (575) 894-2957

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2013


GCAS Happenings


Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Jerry O'Farrell 2 Richard Waizman 3 Mario Bengcion

Salmon Elephant Ear Male Betta Gold & Black Koi Angel White Dragon Betta

Unofficial 2013 Bowl Show totals to date:

Richard Waizman 13 Ruben Lugo 6 Mario Bengcion 6 Carlotti DeJager 5

Jerry O'Farrell


A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS members Steve Berman, Frank Bonnici, Leslie Dick, Claudia Dickinson, Temes Mo, Steve Panagiotidis, Michael Vulis, and Richard Waizman! A special welcome to new GCAS members Andrew De Santis & Family, and Emanuele Viola!

Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY

Next Meeting: August 7, 2013 Speaker: None Event: Silent Auction/Fleamarket 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: 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


Next Meeting: September 13, 2013 Speaker: Joe Graffagnino Event: Knowledge of Useless Stuff I Acquired... 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:


Next Meeting: September 20, 2013 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:



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


Next Meeting: September 9, 2013 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:


Next Meeting: September 19, 2013 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBD Meets at: The Lyndhurst Elks Club, 251 Park Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Email: Website:


Next Meeting: July 18, 2013 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBD Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS Email: Website:

July 2013

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Remember when all fish “swam”? 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.

Spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus) Photograph courtesy CSIRO

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly from the song “Can't Help Lovin' That Man” Showboat - lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II he above line from a classic American musical makes for a great song, but, as another song puts it, “It ain’t necessarily so.” National Geographic News reports that there are 14 known species of handfish.1 These fish, in the genus Brachionichthys use modified pectoral fins to move about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands hence their scientific name, from Latin bracchium meaning “arm” and Greek ichthys meaning “fish.”2 They are found in shallow, coastal waters off southeastern Australia. Then, there is the Pacific leaping blenny about which National Geographic News reports “are amazingly agile on land, where they engage in complex social and courtship behaviors” and “can forage, court, and mate—basically take care of all their blenny business—only during the few short hours of midtide. That's when the water level is high enough to keep the fish's skin wet but the waves aren't strong enough to carry the animals out to sea.”3 And on the freshwater side, National Geographic News reports on a goby that can crawl up waterfalls for as much as 100 feet using the suckers in its mouth!4


Pacific leaping blenny (Alticus arnoldorum) Photograph by Courtney Morgans, UNSW

The Nopili rock-climbing goby has two suckers for climbing. Photograph courtesy Takashi Maie I’ve often wondered about the occasional “crispy critter” on my fishroom’s floor. Now, I think I understand.

References 1 -science-pictures/#/new-handfish-species-pink_20881_600x450.jpg 2 3 -blenny-evolution-animals/ 4 -evolution/

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

July July2013 2013

17 27

Fin Fun The common name of several fish species include the name of body parts. For the purposes of this month’s puzzle, all the common names on the left include reference to a body part that, at least for humans, is found from the neck up. On the right are scientific names of some of those species. See if you can correctly match up each common name with the correct scientific name for that fish. Common Name

Scientific Name Scleromystax barbatus


Trachyphyllia geoffroyi


Gnathonemus petersii

Thick-lipped gourami

Maylandia xanstomachus

Bearded catfish Green Throat Mouthbrooder

Thorichthys meeki

Elephantnose fish

Epiplatys chaperi

Firemouth cichlid

Betta chloropharynx Abramites hypselonotus

Pseudotropheus yellow chin

Trichogaster labiosa

Toothed carp

Anableps anableps

Brain Coral


Solution to our last puzzle: Scientific name Pterophyllum scalare Jordanella floridae Carassius auratus Xenomystus nigri Monocirrhus polyacanthus Gnathonemus petersii Parambassis ranga Toxotes jaculatrix Macropodus opercularis Astronotus ocellatus


Scrambled common name hansigfel gliffash foldgish hikneiffs felfaihs phantolensee flagshiss herfairsch radishfeapis casor

July 2013


July 2013

UNscrambled commonname angelfish flagfish goldfish knifefish leaffish elephantnose glassfish archerfish paradisefish oscar

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

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