Modern Aquarium

Page 1

July 2016

volume XXIII number 5

Series III ON THE COVER Ruben Lugo, our speaker this evening, has been a prolific supplier of photos on our Fishy Friends Facebook page. Our cover photo subject this month is Pseudohemiodon cf. apithanos, also called the chameleon whiptail catfish, a very striking catfish indeed. I look forward to Ruben’s presentation. Photo by Ruben Lugo GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY BOARD MEMBERS

President Vice-President Treasurer Assistant Treasurer Corresponding Secretary

Dan Radebaugh Edward Vukich Jules Birnbaum Ron Wiesenfeld Vinny Ritchie

From the Editor

G.C.A.S. 2016 Program Schedule President’s Message Emma Jordan Haus

Greater City’s Legendary Treasurer by Joseph Ferdenzi

June’s Caption Contest Winner Cartoon Caption Contest Family Koi

by Xavier Deng

The Restoration

Walter Gallo Ben Haus Leonard Ramroop

Joe Gurrado Warren Feuer Mark Soberman Al Grusell Alexander A. Priest Marsha Radebaugh Joe Gurrado


Origin of Creation, by Takashi Amano Book Review by Jules Birnbaum

Pictures From Our Last Meeting


Photos by Susan Priest


L-Numbers and LDA Numbers Explained by Derek P.S. Tustin

The Making of a Fish Wife MA Classics by Mary Carson

Sharon Barnett Sandy Sorowitz

An Aquarist’s Journey

Dan Radebaugh

Our Generous Sponsors and Advertisers


Alexander A. Priest Donna Sosna Sica Dan Puleo

Chapter 23 by Rosario LaCorte

Fishy Friendsʼ Photos G.C.A.S. Classifieds G.C.A.S. Happenings The Undergravel Reporter Deep Jelly

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

A Sucker Born Every Minute

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

by Elliot Oshins

Pete D’Orio Al Grusell Jason Kerner

Sharon Barnett Susan Priest Advertising Manager

In This Issue

G.C.A.S. Member Discounts


Bowl Show Breeder Award Early Arrivals F.A.A.S. Delegate Membership N.E.C. Delegate Programs Social Media A/V Coordinator

Vol. XXIII, No. 5 July, 2016

11 12 13 16 19 24 25 26 28 29 30

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh


his has been a year of too many obituaries in this magazine. Earlier this year we lost Bill Adams. In this issue we mourn the passing of Emma Haus, a long-time member of Greater City who served this club faithfully and in many vital positions for many years. Our hearts go out to her husband Ben. Be sure and see Joe Ferdenzi’s farewell to Emma on page five. We also note with sadness the passing of the great Takashi Amano, a luminary in our hobby and an inspiring figure in the area of aquarium design. See Jules Birnbaum’s review of Mr. Amano’s new book, Origin of Creation, on page 11. None of the rest of us is getting any younger either. By way of balance though, we’ve recently been pleased to present contributions from a younger generation, namely drawings by youngsters Zachary Hammerman and Lauren Ramroop. This month we welcome yet another young artist, Xavier Deng. See his drawing “Family Koi” on page nine, appropriately facing this month’s cartoon by our oldest current member, Elliot Oshins. Elliot contributes an article to this issue, as well. See “The Restoration” on page 10. With Greater City member Ruben Lugo speaking to us this evening on keeping and breeding L-number (and other) catfish, you’ll see on page 13 an article on L-numbers and LDA-numbers by Derek Tustin, whose writings have appeared before in our pages. Our MA CLASSICS feature this month is “The Making of a Fish Wife” by Mary Carson, from the March 1969 issue of Modern Aquarium (Series II). Mary wrote many fine articles back in the day, and several of those have been reprinted here in Series III by me and by other Editors. Rosario LaCorte is back this month with Chapter 23 of his autobiography, An Aquarist’s Journey. This series has been a reader favorite since it began a couple of years ago. In this chapter Rosario takes us to Madagascar, with that island’s aquatic (and other) creatures.


Elsewhere in this issue you’ll see some Photos from Last Month’s Meeting, as well as our monthly Fishy Friends’ Photos. The issue closes with The Undergravel Reporter’s “Deep Jelly” and our Fin Fun puzzle, this month entitled “A Sucker Born Every Minute.” Our projected “Do Fish Think?” issue is starting to shape up. There is still time and space available, so if you have an article, or even an observation you'd like to share on the subject, please let me know soon. In fact, if you have any article, photo, or drawing that you’d like to submit for inclusion in Modern Aquarium, it’s easy to do! Email it to gcas@, fax it to me at (877) 299-0522, or just hand it to me at a meeting.

July 2016

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. March 2

Matthew Wickey from Tetra/ Spectrum Brands Fish Nutrition

April 6

Thomas Keegan Ponds

May 4

Tom Allison Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.

June 1

Rusty Wessel Fishes of the Maya!

July 6

Ruben Lugo My Adventures Keeping and Breeding L-numbers and Other Fish That Suck

August 3

Silent Auction

September 7

Artie Platt From Fish Tank to Fish Room: My Journey

October 5

Mark Duffill (U.K.) Loaches

November 2

Joseph Ferdenzi Killifish Demystified

December 7

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 email submissions to, or fax to (877) 299-0522. Copyright 2016 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 that two copies of the publication are sent to the Exchange Editor of this magazine. For online-only publications, copies may be sent via email to donnste@ Any other reproduction or commercial use of the material in this publication is prohibited without prior express written 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 or email gcas@earthlink. net. Find out more, see previous issues, or leave us a message at our Internet Home Page: http://www.greatercity. org or Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh


ur election ballots last month for the Board of Governors yielded a new member-at-large, Walter Gallo. Thanks, Walter, and welcome! For those of you who haven’t yet turned in your ballots, it isn’t too late. The positions we are in need of filling are Treasurer and President. Jules Birnbaum has done an excellent job in his stint as Treasurer, and he would now prefer to turn the job over to a younger candidate, so that he can go back to enjoying the meetings. Ron Wiesenfeld has helped out immensely by taking on the role of Assistant Treasurer, so if any of you feel that you’d like to give the job of Treasurer a try, you will have some help, and Jules will be glad to show you the ropes. If you think you’d like to try it out, please speak to me or to Jules. Thanks! As to the job of President, a couple of people nominated others, which we truly do appreciate, but there were just a couple of names offered. Two of those names were mine and Joe Ferdenzi’s, and Joe would prefer to retain his emeritus status. I’ve served for eight years, and Joe for quite a few more than that before me. The job of President really isn’t an impossible one, but serving as both President and Editor of Modern Aquarium does take some time and energy. While I have no immediate plans, I am inexorably closing in on the “R” word, and if for some reason the next phase of my life involves leaving this area, that would mean that new candidates for both positions would need to be found at the same time. So please, think a bit, and reconsider that nomination form once more. On another subject, our access to the parking lot at QBC has now been readjusted to better match the time of our meetings. We usually wind up our meetings slightly after 10 PM, give or take a few minutes. Until recently, the attendant for the parking lot went off duty at 10 PM, which created some anxiety for both the attendant and for us. We have now arranged for the attendant to stay until 10:30, so if we finish at ten or even 10:15, there is still adequate time to retrieve our cars from the lot without causing pain and suffering for the attendant or for ourselves. So for our part, we need to begin our meetings closer to our scheduled 7:30 start time than we’ve been managing lately, especially considering how large our auctions have been so far this year. That’s a good problem of course, but we do still have to stay within our agreed-upon schedule. Oh! And remember—next month is the Silent Auction, so no bowl show.


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July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Greater City’s Legendary Treasurer

Emma Jordan Haus



t is with deep regret that we document the passing of our beloved Emma. She went to eternal peace only a few days after celebrating the holiday season with her fellow Greater City members at our annual December party. She was only 74, and her sudden death left all the people who loved her in shock. No one of course was more grief-stricken than her husband Ben (Berek Haus). They had been together for 44 years. Indeed, they were inseparable. So constant a fixture were they at Greater City meetings and events that a few years ago they were given the membership award for having been members for more than 30 continuous years. That honor comes with the privilege of never again having to pay membership dues. I can still recall Emma asking somewhat incredulously, whether that meant that they really didn’t have to pay dues anymore. Yes, dear Emma, it really meant that. But even prior to that award Emma and Ben had received Greater City’s most prestigious award, being inducted into the Roll of Honor. That honor is reserved for GCAS members who have given significant service or brought high recognition to Greater City over the course of at least a decade. Emma and Ben certainly qualified. Putting aside for now Ben’s contributions, Emma served a record 14 terms (from 1983 to 1997) as Treasurer of Greater City. Indeed, when I first joined Greater City in 1984 Emma was already the Treasurer.

And what a wonderful Treasurer she was. Always vigilant, she not only recorded income and expenses, she was consistently the voice of fiscal caution. Under her care the treasury withstood the lean days, and flourished as membership grew. By the time she stepped aside, Greater City’s treasury was sound in every way. Even after stepping down as Treasurer, Emma continued to serve on the Board of Governors, lending her expertise and experience to every discussion. No major Greater City event was ever lacking for her and Ben’s participation. She was truly dedicated to the society and its members, and was selfless in that devotion. Emma was a dear friend to many of us. She was always happy to see you, and cared about what was going on in your life. Emma was born in Illinois, but spent her career working in New York City government service. After many long years in her position with New York City, I recall how thrilled she was to finally be able to retire. It meant that she and Ben could now fulfill their dream of traveling around the USA, and they did just that. Besides Ben, Emma leaves behind a sister and other family members. She also leaves behind many fond memories among her friends at Greater City. For me and many others, our society will never be the same without her.

Joseph Ferdenzi Photo by Joseph Gurrado

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


June’s Caption Winner: Denver Lettman

Finally! They got El Chapo!


July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Member Discounts at Local Fish Shops 10% Discount on everything except 'on sale' items.

10% Discount on fish.

20% Discount on fish. 15% on all else.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on fish.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything except 'on sale' items.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


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!

Your Caption: Your Name:


July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Xavier Deng

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The Restoration by Elliot Oshins


n the September 2015 issue of Modern Aquarium, I wrote an article called “Creativity,” in which I discussed my 55-gallon tank that broke. The plastic rim that holds the glass top broke away from the front middle section of the tank. I replaced that tank with a 125-gallon tank. Because the tank was so large, I called on my good friend, Artie “The Maven” Friedman, who gave me a helping hand (or, I should say, Artie did all of the work.). He rearranged some of the tanks in “The Franklin Square Aquarium,” better known as my basement. We then moved the fish from the 55-gallon tank to the new 125-gallon tank, leaving the 55-gallon empty. Now what to do with it? So I put it into the back room of my basement until I could figure out a way of repairing it. After a month, I figured I could repair the tank with plastic strips that I had in my home workshop, so I went out to Home Depot and bought a special glue called Loctite®, that would bond the plastic in about ten seconds. I honestly believe that the section that broke away from the tank is stronger now than it was before breaking. A while back a friend gave me a 20-gallon tank, for which I ordered a new glass top. To my surprise, the glass top did not fit—it was too narrow for the tank. Figuring that those strips of plastic I had would make the opening smaller, I cut four strips of about one and a quarter inch wide by about four inches long, and glued them under the top rim of the tank using the special glue, making the opening smaller. Well, what do you know…Presto! The glass tops now fits! And just a word of advice: because the glue bonds very fast, I would suggest that you use rubber gloves when working with it. If you don’t, you might find that your fingers get glued together, and you’ll feel like you’re wearing boxing gloves. Then how would you feed your fish?


I have quite a few tanks that I believe are older then the spats George Raft wore in the movie Some Like It Hot. By the way, it’s quite a good movie with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. A must-see. Some of my tanks have plastic rims to support the glass, which are very narrow, and are worn down from moving the glass every time you feed your fish or do water changes. After gluing in strips of plastic to help support the glass cover for the 20-gallon tank, I figured, why not glue the plastic on all the older tanks where the glass didn’t fit quite right? And for those members who have tanks that are not new and the rims are worn down, I have extra pieces of plastic that I could cut for you. You would need to get the glue to bond the strips. If any members want to pick up their own plastic, some picture framers use plastic on large frames instead of glass, and they should have extra pieces that they throw out. To cut plastic, you have to get what they call a “scorer,” that scores the plastic, until you can snap it. Home Depot sells a blade that looks like a string, about an eighth-inch thick, that fits into a hacksaw. That cuts plastic. It also will cut clay flowerpots, which are good for making caves for fish that like to live and spawn in caves. It’s a handy tool to have, and will give you something to do when you get bored watching old movies on TV from the year of Gimel.1 1

The third letter of the Hebrew alphabet

July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)




A Book Review by Jules Birnbaum

s soon as I heard the biography of Takashi Amano was for sale, I ordered it on Amazon Smile. Ordering this way earns a little money for our club and does not cost me anything extra. The book was published in Japan in March 2016. It is 11" X 11", contains 270 pages, and is done in a matte finish. It is filled with wonderful pictures and text. The book has now been translated into English. Takashi Amano was one of the giants of our hobby. He was a professional track cyclist, photographer, designer, and aquarist. The Amano shrimp was named after him. His firm, ADA (Aqua Design Amano), sells many quality aquarium products. He wrote regular articles for Tropical Fish Hobbyist, as well as for Practical Fishkeeping in the UK. Amano was born in Niigata, Japan in 1954. His early childhood was similar to some of ours, starting out in the fish hobby in his childhood. He went to local ponds and marshes (gone now—turned into rice fields) to look at wildlife and became fascinated by it. Although living on the other side of the world, his early fascination with wildlife was very similar to that of another giant of the hobby, Rosario Lacorte (and, by the way, also with little me).

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Knowing that he was in failing health, Amano told his life story to his daughter Sayuri, who wrote the book with editing by Takashi. Working together, it took them a year to complete it. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this book does that job well. Each of the pictures has just enough text to keep your interest and make you want to turn to the next page. Most of the photographs in this book are Amano’s, and looking at them I truly was amazed by this man’s genius. The biography ends with Amano’s last project, an enormous aquarium for the Oceanário de Lisboa, in Portugal. It is the world’s largest nature aquarium. In January of 2015 he flew his family and a staff of 12 to Lisbon. The total staff was over 50 people. The project was completed in April of 2015. Though in failing health, he was given his doctor’s permission to fly to Portugal for the opening ceremony. As a young child, his daughter had asked him, “Daddy, when are you going to be famous?” When you look at this 131 foot aquarium masterpiece, you will have your answer. Takashi Amano died on August 4, 2015 at the too young age of 61.

July 2016


Pictures From Our Last Meeting

Photos by Susan Priest

Our esteemed speaker, Rusty W essel

Rusty preps his program: “Fishes of the M aya�

We warmly welcome our newest members:

Alonzo Garrett

M arc Richmond

Bowl Show Winners:

2nd Place: Bill Amely

1st & 3rd Place: Rich W aizman

Door Prize W inner: M ichael Loweth

Larry W hitfield accepts an AAP Certificate



July 2016 July 2016

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

WTFish?: L-Numbers and LDA-Numbers Explained by Derek P.S. Tustin


f you take the opportunity to visit, if you read some of the different aquarium magazines, if you visit several of the various aquarium stores in the local area, or even if you see some of the different plecos at our various auctions throughout the year, you will often see Loricariidae listed not under a binomial name, but under an “L-Number”.

As aquarists, we are very adaptable, Squaliforma villarsi and referring to these plecos by both a common name and L-Number has become accepted as standard practice. I was recently at Lucky Aquarium in the market Village Mall in Markham, Ontario and saw a tank containing several Blue Phantom Plecos, along with the label “L-128: Hemiancistrus sp.” Just another day of spelunking through fish stores... But where did the L-Number originate, and what does it mean? Most people don’t give it a lot of thought, but there is actually a story behind it all. As mentioned in my article on Loricariidae that appears in this month’s edition of Tank Talk, the popularity of Loricariidae exploded in a relatively short period of time. As more and more regions of Central and South America were explored for the presence of different forms of plecos, more and more species were quickly discovered, exported and found their way into local aquarium stores. But this short period of time between discovery and exportation left no time for the newly discovered species to be scientifically described. Still, exporters needed to be able to describe the fish on their export sheets. We all know that common names, while acceptable for most fish, can occasionally not be accurate enough to differentiate between different fish. Arthur Werner, the owner of Transfish (which was one of the first companies to import Loricariidae to Germany on a mass scale) and Rainer Stawikowski of DATZ (Die Aquarien und Terrarienzeitschhrift – translated as The Aquarium and Terrarium Magazine) saw this developing problem and created the L-Number system. It was hoped that as most species had not yet be scientifically described, yet still wanting to be able to provide a unique and specific name for the fish, they could identify each species by assigning an LNumber (“L” standing for Loricariidae). As new species of Loricariidae were featured in DATZ, they were given an L-Number starting at L-1 (now recorded as L-001) and progressing forward. All well and good, right? Well not really. Business being what business is, another German aquarium magazine, Das Aquarium (The Aquarium) also wanted to feature newly discovered species. But if they used the L-Number system that had been introduced by DATZ, This article is reprinted from Tank Talk – Feb 2013 / Volume 40, Number 06, published by the Durham Regonal Aquarium Society.

Tank Talk –Modern Feb 2013 / Volume 40, Number 06 Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016

13 Page 23

they would essentially be promoting a competitor. So instead of using an L-Number, they instituted their own labeling system, going with the “LDA-Number”. “L” again stood for Loricariidae, but they added “DA” (for Das Aquarium) to come up with the “LDA-Number”. Again, the numbering started at LDA-001 and progressed onwards. But two different and competing labeling systems wasn’t the only problem. The reality was that the same fish was often caught at differing locations and exported at different times by different exporters. As we all know, fish that are genetically different can look very similar, and the same fish can look very different if from different locations or caught at different times. Therefore, instances occurred where the same fish was described under different L-Numbers and instances where different fish were described under the same L-Number. So, we’ve got two systems where duplication was becoming common and problems with assigning a single number under either system to a single fish. Confusing. But the problems don’t stop there either. One of the difficulties with using either the L-Numbers or the LDA-Numbers in North America is that they originated in German publications that had little circulation outside of Europe, and backissues that were hard to come by. So, even though fish were being exported to North American under both the L-Number and LDANumber, the source for hobbyists to confirm the identity of the fish wasn’t available. Aqualog, the publisher of multiple fish identification books, decided to publish a book, Aqualog Loricariidae: All L-Numbers, to present all Loricariidae species described by L-Numbers. But many of the fish described under one L-Number in the original DATZ publication were not the same fish under the corresponding L-Number in the Aqualog publication. So the L-Number in DATZ may describe a different fish than the same L-Number in Aqualog. But... it still doesn’t end there. In attempt to rectify the problem of different populations of the same species being identified under separate L-Numbers, Aqualog subsequently instituted an alphabetic suffix to the L-Number. So instead of just L-136 (an undescribed Hypanscistrus species), there is also L-136a, L-136b and L-136c, each identifying different populations of what is believed to be the same species. And yet another problem. Currently, once the fish is described the corresponding L-Number/LDA-Number is “retired”, and the scientific name takes precedence. But this wasn’t always the case. During the early days of L-Number usage, once a fish was scientifically described it was known under the binomial name, but the corresponding L-Number was recycled, identifying a new fish. Since the hobby tends to hold on to certain things even after we shouldn’t, this resulted in some L-Numbers identifying both a scientifically described fish, and a different undescribed one. Fortunately this practice has stopped, but there may still be legacy issues that affect certain fish, and definitely affect historical literature on some Loricariidae species. So... • • • • • •

L-Number vs. LDA-Number Multiple L-Numbers for the same fish The same L-Number for different species of fish DATZ L-Number vs. Aqualog L-Number Alphabetic suffix to an L-Number L-Numbers being recycled 14

Tank Talk – Feb 2013 / Volume 40, Number 06

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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To give an example of the confusion that the above can cause, let’s take a quick look at Parancistrus nudiventris, also known as the Peppermint Pleco. This fish, native to the Rio Xingu in Brazil, was scientifically described in 2005. Prior to that it was known under L031, but also under L176, L300 and LDA004. So, three L-Numbers, one LDA-Number, one common name and one scientific name – all for just one fish... How about the Zebra Pleco? Three L-Numbers (L-046, L-098 and L-173), the common name and Hypancistrus zebra. Blue Fin Thresher Pleco? L-093, L-153 and L-195, common name and Hypostomus villarsi. Peckoltia ucayalensis

Peckoltia ucayalensis? Also known as the Bola Pleco, L146, L232 and LDA30.

The L-Number and LDA-Number systems, for all the duplication, error and confusion, have given at least some clarity to identifying a given fish. The concept is sound, but the execution was lacking. If the hobby had agreed to one numbering system rather than the two that seemed to originate from commercial competition, there would have been less conflicting duplication. If there had been some communication between DATZ and Aqualog, the erroneous and contradictory labeling of species between the two publications would have been avoided. If the numbering system had have been clearly though out before being instituted, the recycling of numbers would probably not have occurred. So, with such a range of problems, is the system even useful? Well, at present there are 457 L-Numbers and 105 LDANumbers describing various Loricariidae. If not for they numbering system, these species would probably only have been identified by common name and/or collection locale. I’d have to say that the L-Number and LDA-Number systems are a useful tool, but should not be relied upon as the sole and definitive source for identifying Loricariidae. And looking back on it that is what these systems were designed to be, an interim tool to help with the acquisition and discussion of new species, not the end source. So the next time you encounter a fish labeled with an L-Number, you’ll have a better idea how it came to be identified as such, and realize that what you may acquire is likely a fish on the cutting edge of aquatic discovery. Hypancistrus zebra

Tank Talk –Modern Feb 2013 / Volume 40, Number 06 Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

This article previously appeared in the March 1969 issue of Modern Aquarium, (Series II) Volume 1 number 5.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016



July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

AN AQUARISTʼS JOURNEY Story and Photos (unless noted) by Rosario LaCorte


Chapter 23

s a young student I was very fond of sketching The whole purpose of this project was to with pencil, and I recall in eighth grade seeing maintain the species in captivity, as Madagascar was a picture of a diminutive lemur called an rapidly losing much of its forest—the trees being cut aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). This is a down for firewood. The consequence of this forest very strange (and ugly) primate found on the island mismanagement was massive soil erosion, with of Madagascar. Mother Nature Network ( silt overloading the rivers and streams and causing calls it one of the thirteen ugliest animals in the extremely turbid water, resulting in the loss of breeding world. The large eyes and claw-like hands fascinated habitats for much aquatic life. It was important to me. My first sight of it inspired me to make it the collect as many threatened species as possible, in the subject of a drawing. Little did I imagine back then hope of returning them, should the habitat destruction that someday I would ever manage to be become involved in a reversed. project covering some Within ten days of the fish fauna of that eggs began to appear faraway land. in the nylon mops, and Madagascar fry shortly began to is officially known appear at the surface. as The Republic of I was extremely Madagascar. It is an successful with all of island country (the the species, with one fourth largest island exception: Rheocles Bedotia marajejy in the world) located alaotrensis. With this in the Indian Ocean. To see it on a map one might species few eggs were collected, and the few that think it a part of the African continent, but it broke off were found succumbed to fungus. Paul monitored the from the Indian Peninsula 88 million years ago and habitat waters, and some of the temperatures showed has since drifted to its present position. The flora and a considerable range: a high of 85° F at sea level, and fauna have evolved in relative isolation; 90% of its a low of 62° at 843 meters. The Rheocles were found fauna are found nowhere else on earth. at the higher elevations, so perhaps I would have had As a longtime member of the North Jersey more success had I tried using cooler water. Aquarium Society, it was my good fortune that another For many years we did have one species of member and friend for many years, Dr. Paul Loiselle, Bedotia—B. gayei (now B. madagascariensis. As asked me if I would be interested in becoming I mentioned earlier on this page, I was a member involved with a conservation program involving the of the North Jersey Aquarium Society, and Bill propagation and preservation of fishes in the family Vorderwinkler, an author and one-time Editor of Bedotiidae. Of course anything new and uncirculated Tropical Fish Hobbyist, was also a member. Most was always a welcome challenge. So it was that on aquarium societies have a bowl show component of December 18, 1997, Paul Loiselle presented me with their meetings, and during one of these Bill questioned four new species of Bedotia, collected by Paul himself. me about a particular fish, unknown to me at the time. Paul was associated with the New York Aquarium on Pointing to a very colorful specimen, he asked, “Do Coney Island. The Denver Downtown Aquarium was you know this fish?” I responded, “No, I’ve never also involved in this project. seen it before.” Older than I, and a hobbyist since A contract was drawn up, and was signed by the 1920s, Bill quickly responded, “Well, it’s Bedotia Paul, and by Louis B. Garibaldi, the Director of the gayei,” and went on to give me a little historical Aquarium. The contract specified that the fish were background, and remarking that he had first seen them on loan, in accordance with the A.Z.A. Fish Taxon in the early 1930s. This introduction to the species Group’s recommendations. The agreement was that served as an inspiration to acquire some, and it wasn’t the first 150 young would be split between the New too many years before some became available. I had York Aquarium and myself. After disposition of my great success with them, and was able to supply a part of the loan, the remaining young would stay with number of wholesalers with many fish. me, and any subsequent offspring could be dispensed Besides R. alaotrensis, from 1997 to 2002 Paul as I saw fit. supplied me with the following Bedotia species: Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY) July 2016 19

Bedotia longianalis, B. marojejy, B. Sp. Sambava, B. Sp. Ankavia, B. Sp. Mahanara, and B. Sp. Namarona. All of these were attractive and easily cared for. I feed a variety of foods, and have always been interested in providing the best care possible. Over a short period of time I was feeding some fairly large bloodworms, which were frozen in 2-pound chunks, to my large adult breeders. Very soon some of them were coming down with bloat, a malady where the abdomen becomes swollen. Once this happens the fish lose their appetite and soon die. I strongly suspected that those bloodworms were the cause, though I had used bloodworms often, collecting them from my own pond, and never experienced problems. Further investigation revealed that this particular brand was imported from China, and I strongly suspect that they were collected from areas where the water quality was poor, harboring toxins that not only affected the bloodworms, but also anything that fed upon them. Once I eliminated these from my fishes’ diet, the bloat went away. At about this same time, many African cichlid breeders were reporting similar problems, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they were feeding bloodworms from the same source. Another problem that I encountered, with juvenile Bedotias especially, was oodinium (velvet), an external protozoal parasite. Some of the commercial medications were quite harsh, especially those that were copper-based. The appearance of

oodinium was the result of my collecting live foods from my backyard pond. However, I discovered that Bedotia had a high tolerance for salt, and so I used the same method I had previously found effective with the genus Nothobranchius back in the 1950s. I added small amounts of salt to their water each day. The parasites drop off the host’s body when they die. The salt is kept in the tanks for a few days to be certain the protozoans have been eradicated. Once you are certain they are gone you can begin to make small water changes until all the salt has been removed. Acriflavin is also effective, but turns your water yellow until you’ve cycled it out. For some time it was thought that Bedotia had evolved from marine fish, which theory might have explained their tolerance for salt, but that hypothesis has been disproven by subsequent research. However, one species, B. longianalis, has been found to occur in brackish waters. The Bedotias are called rainbow fish, and are closely related to the Melanotaeniinae, or as many refer to them, Australian rainbows. That whole group has a wide variety of colors, and some are dazzling in the reflective colors. One of the Bedotias Paul collected was Sp. Sambava. A single pair was imported by Paul and given to me in the hope that F1 stock would result, and distribution could take place. I had a high rate of success with them. The fish was quite impressive, as you can see from the photo below, both in its very rich,

Bedotia leucopteron

Bedotia Sp. Namarona

Bedotia betamphora

Bedotia Sp. Savamba


July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Bedotia species deposit their eggs in nylon mops.

Bedotia longianalis

Bedotia ankavia

Blue form of Pachypanchax omalonotus; also from Madagascar. Collected by Paul Loiselle.

golden reflection as well as its unique caudal, with the pointed extension in the center. Within a short period of time I had close to 200 fry swimming with their parents. I kept them in a 20 gallon long aquarium, and fed them well to prevent cannibalism. I had mentioned to Paul several times that he should take some of the fry, as the tank was overcrowded and I didn’t have the space to provide additional quarters, but Paul was in a bind as well. The New York Aquarium was undergoing some expansion, and he wasn’t able to house them adequately. This was during the winter months, and as I often do for water changes, I was mixing hot and cold water to achieve the proper temperature, and adding a commercial dechlorinator. One morning after such a change I found the entire family dead. This was a very uncommon occurrence, and I was baffled as to why it had happened. It also shook my confidence to lose these very valuable fish. Shortly after this disastrous episode I was preparing to feed all the fish, and while standing in front of the sink I felt a very small, fine spray of water on my head. Looking up, I saw the leak, coming from an elbow joint in one of the pipes, where the solder was failing. As I searched for the equipment to fix it I discovered that my gas tank was empty, so breaking the solder and repairing it was out of the question. I called my son-in-law Mike, who was well-equipped with tools and plumbing equipment. Mike assured me that he’d be there the next evening. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

When Mike arrived we had to drain the water from the pipes so that the proper temperature could be reached in order to re-solder the connection. We placed a bucket at the base of the hot water tank, and as I opened the spigot, I immediately said “Bingo!” The water draining from the tank was jet black. There is a metal core in all hot water tanks, and the tank needs to be drained from time to time to remove the sediment that has gathered at the bottom. I had not been doing this, and as it aged, the water in the tank had slowly become more and more toxic until it reached a point that was fatal to my fish. I do have storage containers where I keep extra water for changes, which is always drawn from the cold water supply. Now I also make sure to periodically drain the water heater tank, so that in the wintertime, when the hot and cold need to be mixed to be used immediately, the water is always safe. In the early 1970s, Steve Sellers, the first New Species Chairman for the American Killifish Association, successfully imported a number of new fish for the national membership. One of these was Aphyosemion (now Chromaphyosemion) riggenbachi, a handsome killifish from West Africa. I was very successful in rearing these for several years. Len Mackoviak later took over as New Species Chairman, and Len came to my home very frequently to pick up various cyprinodonts for shipping to AKA members who requested them. A few years passed, and Len asked me if I still had any A. riggenbachi available.

July 2016


Chromaphyosemion riggenbachi: a normally-colored young male

Chromaphyosemion riggenbachi: gold form

Chromaphyosemion riggenbachi: another color form

and yet another...

I told him that very few were left—in fact only a few females, as I had lost the last of my males a short time before. This sort of thing happens from time to time with many of us. As time passes we shift our interest to other species, neglecting the ones we have, and often end up losing that neglected species. Fortunately, I was able to salvage this one. The method I use when reproducing the majority of cyprinodonts includes using #3 aquarium gravel as a spawning medium, which was what I had done with the riggenbachi, so I thought it possible that I might still find a few eggs in the gravel still in resting stage, despite the relatively recent demise of the males. I was fortunate enough to retrieve twelve eggs, assuring the likelihood of having some pairs once these hatched and reached adulthood. Having nearly lost them, I gave these special attention. As they began to show color, I noticed one female that was completely different from her siblings. She was a gold mutation, which earned her my special attention. When she reached breeding size I used one of her brothers as a spawning partner, and the offspring of this bonding included a few more gold mutations. As these reached breeding size I paired the males and females with the gold marker, in the hope of fixing the strain. The surprising result of this was that all the males had their own “fingerprint,” as you can see from the accompanying photographs. I was overjoyed, and had high hopes of getting them spread throughout the country. All this took place more than 35 years ago at my old homestead, at the beginning of my water problems, which continued at my present home with the loss of Bedotia Sp.

Sambava. It was all tied in with the hot water tank. Each time my riggenbachi reached breeding size they would die off—after water changes with the hot & cold mix. I was extremely disappointed. My only satisfaction is that, although it took me years to discover, quite by accident, the cause of these deaths, I now have the answer. I had someone come to me who was distraught after losing some valuable cichlids following a hot/cold mix water change, so I suspect that this may happen more often than any of us realize. The lesson therefore, is that we should all be very aware of the state of our hot water tanks, and be in the habit of periodically draining them as routine maintenance, both for the health of your fish, and that of your hot water tank! In closing this chapter, I’d like to return to the island of Madagascar and mention another fascinating


July 2016

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) Photo by Ran Kirlian, via Wikimedia Commons Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

animal, Cryptoprocta ferox, commonly called the fossa. To look at it one might think it half dog and half cat. It’s the largest mammalian predator on the island (16 to 26 pounds), and though it’s considered closely related to the mongoose family, its classification has been somewhat controversial, and has inspired various hypotheses about how many times Madagascar has been colonized by mammalian predators1. The fossa is mostly nocturnal, but can sometimes be seen during daylight hours. In addition to small birds, reptiles, and mammals, they also prey on lemurs, even chasing them through the trees2. A few years ago the Bronx Zoo had a display of Madagascar species, including the fossa. A couple of representatives of the zoo came to my home and picked up 50 Bedotia luecopteron (whitefin bedotia) to be housed in a large aquarium in the same area as the fossa. Jim Breheny, the Director of the Bronx Zoo, became a member of the Long Island Killifish Association. Members volunteer their homes for our monthly meetings, and the host is reimbursed for refreshments. Jim offered the Zoo as a meeting place. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to see the display of the B. leucopteron that had been reared at my home! Jim’s wife Kathleen was kind enough to guide me and Mike McNamee, with whom I attend the monthly meetings, through the Madagascar display. Kathleen told us that if we were lucky we might be able to see the fossa, and in a matter of moments the male made an appearance. It is a strange-looking animal, with a large tail that is used to balance its very acrobatic movements in the upper branches of the forest. You can view this magnificent creature on YouTube as it jumps from branch to branch in pursuit of lemurs. It is one of only a few animals that can both ascend and descend head first, because of it’s flexible rear ankles. 1 2

Another unique Madgascar species, the highly endangered aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). A lemur, it is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world. The indigenous peoples of the island consider it unlucky, and kill it for no other reason. Photo from the Duke Lemur Center

Returning now to killifish, as can be seen from the photos included in this chapter, the family of Bedotia is quite colorful, easily maintained and reproduced, yet they have never reached the potential they deserve. One could easily send a mop of eggs to anyone who showed a interest in obtaining them, as egg-laden mops could be placed in a ziplock bag and sent almost anywhere, with an assured live hatching once placed in water and completely developed. Unfortunately, I no longer have any, though I would like to once again obtain Bedotia Species Sambava and finish what I started so long ago. Today, as far as I know, the only public aquariums that maintain them are those in Denver and Toronto. To date there are approximately 24 known species, a number of them still undescribed. There are also several areas in Madagascar still not investigated.


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


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July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Fishy Friends’ Photos B

by Greater City Aquarium Society Fishy Friends

elow are photo submissions to our “Fishy Friends” Facebook group. I’ve left the subjects unnamed, but not the photographer. If you see a shot you like, and want more info, ask the photographer about it! I’m sure he or she will be delighted to tell you!

Ruben Lugo

Joe Gurrado

Ruben Lugo

Gilberto Soriano

Gilberto Soriano

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


GCAS Classifieds FOR SALE: 50 Gallon Breeder Tanks (52 gal.) 48 X18 X 14H. Drilled, with bulkheads. $25ea. Call Coral Aquarium: 718-429-2934 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOR SALE: African cichlids -- all sizes, as well as tanks and accessories. Call Derek (917) 854-4405 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOR SALE: Frontosas -- all sizes. Call Andy (718) 986-0886 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOR SALE: Supreme AP-60 air pump. This pump easily supplies air for 30 to 40 aquariums. It is very quiet, and use less than 70 watts. They wholesale for $180. I have a brand-new, never used one for $120. Also, Custom made all glass 30 gallon breeder, 36"L x 18"W x 10"H, painted black bottom, $10. Contact Joe Ferdenzi at FREE TO GOOD HOME: I have a Giant Gourami who is now too big for my 80 gallons tank. He needs to be in much larger quarters. He is a beautiful and healthy 5 years old fish (see image). If you have or know anyone who has a big tank and would like to have this adorable fish, please send me an email message. Antonio (


July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016


GCAS Happenings


Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Richard Waizman 2 Bill Amely 3 Richard Waizman

Betta Betta Betta

Unofficial 2016 Bowl Show totals: Bill Amely


Richard Waizman

15 Ed Vukich


A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS member Dick Moore! A special welcome to new GCAS members Alonzo Garrett and Marc Richmond!

Meeting times and locations of some of the aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York City area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY

Next Meeting: August 3, 2016 Event: Silent Auction Meets: The first Wednesday of the month (except January & February) at 7:30pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main Street - Flushing, NY Contact: Dan Radebaugh (347) 866-1107 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 9, 2016 Speaker: Joe Graffagnino Topic: Joe’s New Fish-Room 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 16, 2016 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA 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 13, 2016 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 2nd Tuesday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30 PM Molloy College - Kellenberg Hall ~1000 Hempstead Ave Rockville Centre, NY Contact: Mike Foran (516) 798-6766 Website:

NORTH JERSEY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next Meeting: July 21, 2016 Speaker: Joseph Ferdenzi Topic: Killifish Demystified Meets at: Don Pepe's Restaurant Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Email: Website:


Next Meeting: August 18, 2016 Speaker: Dr Paul Loiselle Topic: TBA Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month except for July & December at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: Sal Silvestri Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS Email: Website:

July 2016

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Deep Jelly

A series by “The Undergravel Reporter” In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does N O T n ecessarily rep resen t the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society.


he Mariana Trench is the deepest place on earth. It plunges down about 11km (seven miles) deep under the Pacific. That’s further down than the summit of Mount Everest is above sea level. A remote controlled sea vehicle is prowling the area around the Mariana Trench, trying to find out more about one of the most remote and

mysterious places on the planet. The Trench lies just east of the Philippines. The robot belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Okeanos Explorer. Recently, the Explorer discovered a gold-and-red jellyfish while exploring the area. The jelly belongs to the genus Crossota, and scientists believe it could represent a new species.1 (Currently, there are five known species in the genus Crossota.)

The cameras photographed the jellyfish swimming 2.7 miles deep in a part of the Mariana Trench called the “Enigma Seamount.” (So named because of the lack of information scientists have on it.) The NOAA scientists who discovered it believe that it is likely an ambush predator. The jellyfish had its tentacles splayed out, as if ready to catch and kill any prey that swam its way, attracted by the jellyfish's glowing, vibrant colors, and possibly by its dangling tentacles. The newly discovered jellyfish has two sets of tentacles, a long set and a short set. Within the bell of the jellyfish, there are red radial canals that connect to bright yellow points. The researchers said they believe the yellow points are the reproductive glands of the jellyfish.

This jellyfish was found on the fourth dive down into the Mariana Trench. It was an exciting discovery that the researchers aboard the Okeanos Explorer made, but it will likely not be the last, as the Okeanos Explorer is scheduled to continue exploring the depths, as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, until July 10. While I am unaware of it having been given a species name, from the looks of it, I’d call it Crossota fireworks.



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

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

July 2016

July 2016



Fin Fun Find the “suckermouth� related words in the puzzle below.

Solution to our last puzzle Fish Astyanax jordani (Blind Cave Tetra)

Endmic to Mexico Yes



Ctenopoma acutirostre (Spotted ctenopoma)


Chapalichthys pardalis (Polka-dot Splitfin)


Herichthys steindachneri (Steindachner's Cichlid)


Devario aequipinnatus (Giant danio)


Dionda dichroma (Bicolor Minnow)


Pterophyllum scalare (Angelfish)


Trichogaster microlepis (Moonlight Gourami)


Goodea atripinnis (Blackfin Goodea)


Botia almorhae (Yoyo loach)



July 2016


July 2016

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


JUNE 2016

PG 13

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