Modern Aquarium

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APRIL 1994 volume I number 4



Series III

Vol. I, No. 4

April, 1994

FEATURES in this tissue, QCAS President ^ Fredenzi writes-about his make an orange from a lemon; i "How... To Make; An; Orange (Note; vKthe/ Nea/atrtprotogits shown on: this ; month's front cover;: ;is sometimes eajled tfrie " Lemon CichjjiiU" because:; of : -its bright :•• yellow Cover photo: bysioe iUbzJtcj, ;.':::

From the Editor's Desk How To Make An Orange Leleupi


If There Are Fish In Your Future, • CHTY AQU AR>UM

Will There Be A Future For Your Fish? .


Soard President » , . . . > . . » Joseph iBen Treaaitfer . '\ . . . , .^ .:,

Aquarium Plants For The Black Thumbed Aquarist


Corres. Secretary ; > i ,•/; . , . Greg Recorcjir^ Secretary: , , . PafRcctone Membership ; . .•".'•. :i '.:. . Warren : gssigggaas-fiyi embers; At tar^ie • . fu?ary:Anri Bugeia : ->: Joe Don ; CuPtjn : 00i^| Mark feoberman • .. ; • : ^ Jacfc Oliva Vincent


Assistant: Editor , , ,„'. < Alexander sArt';Directbr:-..';:'^v ..'.:• ....: Marie:;Soberr^p ., . Jo&epife Executive s

Why "Potted" Plants?


The Silent Auction


The Sturgeon General Has Determined



Keeping and Breeding Lamprologus Multifasciatus Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

15 16

Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 10th day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 1994 by the Greater City Aquarium Society. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form of the articles, illustrations or photographs appearing in this magazine is prohibited without express written prior permission. Unless other rights have been retained by the author, and noted in the article or photograph, the Greater City Aquarium Society generally grants noncommercial reproduction rights to other recognized aquarium societies and naturalist organizations upon request. The Greater City Aquarium Society meets every month, except during July and August. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month and begin at 8:30 P.M. Meetings are held at the Queens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact Warren Feuer at (718) 793-8724.



saw my first picture of Neolamprologus Leleupi in an article in the June, 1979 issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine. The article was by the renown German aquarist and photographer, Hans J. Richtcr. He called the fish "The Lemon Cichlid of Lake Tanganyika". Indeed, his beautiful photos show a bright yellow fish. Not being involved in the organized aquarium hobby at the time, and not having ever seen it in any local stores, I thought of the fish as just one of those German rarities that I would probably never see in the flesh. Well, in 1981, I happened to phone a young man who had some aquarium books and magazines for sale. He invited me over to his parents' house in the Bronx. When I arrived, I observed a umber of tanks set up in the living room. He explained that most of the tanks contained cichlids from lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. I was fascinated as I had never before seen any of the ones he had. As I looked about, I sported a flash of yellow in a bottom 15 gallon tank. I almost jumped when I realized they were those fabled " leleupi" I had seen only in photos two years earlier. Anyway, I went home with some magazines and books and a new acquaintance. About six months later, the young man called, explaining that he was giving up on the aquarium hobby, and wanted to know if I wanted to buy his fish. I jumped at the chance. Previously, I had never kept African cichlids of any sort. However, I had bought a house in 1981 and had begun setting up my fish room. There would be room for them, even if I lacked the experience. At last, I had N. leleupi. I prepared a tank for four of them. I chose a 20 gallon high. I combined a substrate of regular gravel (#3) and #3 dolomite, upon recommendation of my friend from the Bronx. I went down to the beach near my home in Whitestone and collected large granite rocks.

These I carefully cleaned and sanitized. I siliconed the rocks together, making caves and subterranean passageways. I then poured in the gravel. After that came the water - prepared with one teaspoon of marine salt per 3 gallons, one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, and one of Epsom salt per 10 gallons. I then sat back and enjoyed. The fish were a vivid yellow, like that of a fine yellow canary. The fish ate flake food and posed no problems. They grew and prospered. The fish took two years to pair off. Finally, they spawned inside a cove they had dug out beneath one of the rocks. It was so delightful to see those first 40 to 50 fry swimming about their tanks with their parents. Since that time, 1 have had many spawnings of N. Leleupi in my fish room. Here are my "secrets" for successful leleupi spawning: 1. start off with at least six young fish 2. provide plenty of caves 3. keep the water of the best quality 4. be patient! I usually wait for a spawning, observe the fish closely to determine which is the pair(they're the only two fish permitted by each other to venture near the spawning site), and remove all other fish. Neolamprologus leleupi form stable pair bonds, and once you have one, you'll generally have consistent batches of fry for years to come. The fry are easily reared in the parents' tank or in a separate tank. The parents will spawn in the presence of older fry. Once in a while certain spawns will be eaten, but it's rare. The fry do well on newly hatched brine shrimp and crushed flake food. Be forewarned, however, that they grow slowly. This is more than compensated for, by the fact that they live a long time. Currently, my oldest N. leleupi is a big male which I conservatively estimate to be ten years of age. These fish have never, ever come down with any diseases. Add to this the fact that you can breed these fish in a tank as small as 15 gallons, and you have the almost ideal aquarium fish. This brings me to the "orange" N. leleupi. The fish depicted in the TFH magazine were bright yellow in color, as were my fish.

female companion, " Janet, look! Orange N. leleupi." He was right. I had give the dealer fish with a decided orange sheen, yet born of socalled yellow parents. Further proof of my theory was added several years ago. Some friends and I traveled upstate to the home of Doug Conklin, an aquarist who breeds vast quantities of N. leleupi. He had two tanks of leleupi fry for sale. One tank contained beige ones. Doug explained that beige ones come from a pair of wild parents. All my friends passed up the beige leleupi. I decided to purchase the first generation fry for their genetic material. When I got home, I placed these fry by themselves; within a month they had all turned bright yellow, and I now have a beautiful pair of breeding N. leleupi from Doug's stock. This was outstanding enough. Most cichlids from Lake Tanganyika are somewhat drab in color. Moreover, I know of no freshwater fish that is solid yellow in color - I mean solid; no spots, bars, or anything. However, in 1983, I joined the American Cichlid Association and began noticing advertisements for orange N. Leleupi in the Trading Post newsletter. I paid no particular attention to this until I saw some "orange" N. leleupi in the home of a friend and fellow aquarist, Horst Gcrbcr. Horst had a wonderful 55 gallon tank full of rocks and spawning pairs of N. leleupi. These leleupi had a wonderful orange sheen to their yellow. Hmmm, I thought. About a year later, Horst graciously gave me six robust juveniles. I set them up in a standard (dolomite, salt, etc.) 20 gallon tank. Within a week the fish were yellow. Hmmm, I thought. For years prior, I had noticed that my own fry began life as fawn-beige fish and became lemon yellow over time. I began experimenting with my fry. Certain aquarium conditions seemed to produce brown fish, others produce beige fish, others produce yellow fish, and still others produce orange fish. My greatest triumph in this regard came when I sold about twelve of my older juveniles to a pet shop that specialized in African cichlids. These fry were from my original yellow pair. As the juveniles began to cavort in the dealer's tank, a couple walked in and began to browse. As they passed my fish, I overheard the man say to his

My "secret" recipe for making orange leleupi is as follows (in no particular order): 1. a light colored substrate (i.e. white) 2. color enhancing foods such as brine shrimp, spirulina (algae) flakes, and krill 3. bright lighting, and, for "orange", I especially recommend "Gro-Lux" bulbs Dominant individuals also tend to have brighter colors. In short, if you keep the fish in dark surroundings, you will have dark fish. Keep the tank bright, use "brightening" food, and "Gro-Lux" the fish and you will grow "orange" N. leleupi. As a postscript, I would like to add that a few days after writing this story, I chanced to come across a very interesting article. It was entitled "New Tropicals from East Africa" by Klaus Merke, and was published in the December 1960 issue of TFH. This article discussed two fish, Tropheus moori and Neolamprologus leleupi, which the author dubbed "the Golden Cichlid". This certainly had to be one of the earliest, if not the first article on N. leleupi published in an American magazine. In the article, the author has the following to say about its coloration: "The color is so unusual that it is difficult to find words for it. Basically it is an even yellow, changing occasionally with the background and lighting to a deep orange". Well, what can I say?


~Y7~ eeping and breeding ornamental fishes 1^ ranks among the the most popular -L. jLJiobbies in America. Thousands of people each year decide to set up aquaria, attracted by the vivid colors and fascinating behavior of tropical and cold water fishes. Managing a home aquarium can be a marvelous learning experience. Most successful amateur aquarists gain a better understanding of broader ecological processes from their hobby and in the process come to appreciate more fully the need to protect he environment. However, certain features of ornamental fish keeping can also pose risks to the environment. As these may also bear directly upon your success as an aquarist, they warrant your consideration on practical no less than on broader ethical and environmental grounds.



Nearly 2000 species of freshwater fish and roughly a quarter as many marine fish have at one time or another been kept by amateur aquarists. Approximately a third of this total are regularly available through commercial channels. These species differ dramatically in size, behavior, and maintenance requirements. Faced with so many possibilities, novice hobbyists often buy attractive fish with little regard for either their ability to meet the immediate needs of their purchases or for their eventual disposition. Such impulse buying invites problems and accounts for much of the rapid turnover among beginners in the hobby.

ALWAYS research the behavior and husbandry requirements of a prospective aquarium resident PRIOR to its purchase. Fish from environments with very different physical and chemical characteristics are unlikely to prosper if housed together in captivity. Some species are extremely aggressive and will injure or kill their tank mates. The predatory or herbivorous life styles of others pose a real risk to smaller companions or their tank's aquascaping. The aquarist who does his homework is much more likely to avoid unpleasant surprises and assemble a harmonious community of fishes than is the impulse buyer.

TANKBUSTER ALERT! It is particularly important to determine how large a fish will grow before taking it home. A number of species sold as ornamental fish simply grow too large to make appropriate home aquarium residents. Uninformed aquarists often purchase these fish as juveniles in the mistaken belief that their ultimate size will remain proportionate to that of the aquarium in which they are housed. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Though both are influenced by water quality, the growth rate and ultimate size of any fish are determined by the amount it is fed, not by the size of its tank. The accompanying table lists the more commonly available of these tankbusters, together with their adult size. Often irresistibly appealing as youngsters by virtue of their attractive coloration or outgoing behavior, these fish will outgrow both their quarters and their welcome with appalling speed. While they may have a place in a specialist's fish room, such species simply do not belong in the average home aquarium.




want to start with a confession: I have a black thumb. I can't even grow a cactus. .And those "spider plants" that everyone grows so successfully, forget it. They last about three weeks in my care. My wife had a magnificent rubber plant and a jade plant that each lasted about six months after we got married. When we moved into a new apartment, my aunt bought us a rubber plant that actually was doing well. My son managed to reverse that trend, picking off one leaf at a time until the plant died. It's true what they say, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. With these facts in mind, why am I writing about growing plants? It seems that I have managed to stumble upon some aquatic plants that even I can't kill. In fact, these plants are actually flourishing. What is the secret of my success? Let me start by describing the planted tanks I have and together we'll try to discover the reasons for my horticultural good fortune. Tank # 1 is a 5 1/2 gallon tank that sits on the counter in my kitchen. It is lit by a single 8 watt fluorescent bulb for 10 hours (controlled by a timer) each day (the tank also receives about 6 hours of indirect sunlight each day). The tank is filtered by a Whisper Model C power filter and heated by a 25 watt submersible heater. Residing in the tank right now are a clown pleco, two Corydoras panda, five Kuhli loaches and two Otocinclus. Growing in the tank are several small Anubias nana, one chain sword plants (Echinodoms sp.), one African Tiger Lilly. Tank # 2 is a 10 gallon tank that is located in my children's room. The tank has a 8

glass hood and is lit by two 15 watt fluorescent lights sold in most hardware stores as "under cabinet" light fixtures. 18 inches long, they are perfect for the 10 gallon tank. The tank is lit for an average of 7 hours a day. The tank is currently filtered by an Aqua Clear Junior power filter (Note : this filter is no longer available and has been replaced by the Aqua Clear Mini), and since it is the tank I use to evaluate equipment, has also been filtered by a Whisper WDF 3000 wet/dry filter and a Whisper 1 power filter. The tank is heated by a 50 watt submersible heater. Living in the tank now are a Pseudacanthicvs leopardus, a Synodontis JJavitaeniatus, two Brochis splendens, 3 Corydoras elegans, 1 Rineloricaria lanceolata and several Microsynodontis batesi. Hygrophilia polysperma grows abundantly as a surface plant, floating untethered to the substrate, and diffusing light throughout the tank. Also growing in the tank are several pieces of Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus ) and two Amazon sword plants. Tank # 3 is the only tank that was intentionally set up as a planted tank. This 29 gallon tank has a glass hood and a double light fixture which holds 24 inch, 20 watt full spectrum bulbs. The plants in this tank are 2 Amazon swords, several Java Fern plants, 2 Anubias nana, 1 Anubias barter!, 2 Anubias congensis and 1 Anubia coffeeafolia. Obviously, I like the Anubias species plants. Since I am an aquarist, I've populated the tank with the following fish : 1 Pseudacanthicus spinosus, 1 Ancistrus sp. "bushy nose pleco", 2 Microgeophagus altispinosa, 12 cardinal tctras, 14 marble hatchet fish and several Corydoras sp. catfish. The tank is lit for 9 hours each day (controlled by a timer). Filtration for the tank consists of a Whisper WDF 4000 wet/dry filter and, on each side of the tank there is an eight inch bubble wand which provide supplementary water movement and aeration. Maintenance for each tank consists of weekly 30 % water changes, filter cleaning and replacement, when necessary. Tetra Flora Pride plant fertilizer is added to each tank once a month. One problem that I've encountered with my planted tanks is the accumulation of plant debris in the filters, making filter changes too frequent an occurrence. To remedy this, I place

The Silent Auction WARREN FEUER


ontrary to rumor, the Silent Auction was not created by a librarian, nor by Marcel Marccau, the French mime artist. My research indicates that, in fact, the Silent Auction was the brainchild of a harried and exhausted aquarium society president who needed a break. Indeed, our president, Joe Ferdenzi refers to the GCAS annual Silent Auction as his favorite meeting. For a change, Joe gets to take a back seat at a meeting and participate like any other attendee. Once it was discovered that a meeting could be held with a minimum of guidance and participation (except collecting money and yelling "Time's Up!"), aquarium societies everywhere jumped on the Silent Auction bandwagon. Today, many societies feature an annual Silent Auction. Before we go any further, let me point out that, almost all of the above is purely fiction, I have no idea how the Silent Auction started, but I'm not lying when I say it's Joe's favorite meeting. If you are planning to attend a Silent Auction soon (if you're reading this, you are probably going to attend the GCAS Silent Auction), here are some rules to follow and some tips as to what you can expect to find and how to get the most out of a Silent Auction : 1) Don't jump to put down a price on an item that you are interested in. Be low key and keep an eye on the bid sheet for the item(s) you want. Know your competition and observe the bidding. But don't forget to bid, after all, it's a Silent Auction, not an invisible one ! 2) Set realistic limits as to how much you are willing to pay. Otherwise, you'll get wrapped up in bidding and end up buying a stuffed frog worth half a dollar for twenty. 3) Be flexible. If you don't see exactly what you want, compromise.


Remember, most of the items are used and come as is. 4) Be realistic. Don't expect to find that rare "Synodontis osteoporosis" that you may have read about recently and is the current "must have" fish. The Silent Auction is just not the place to find it. But, you might find some other wonderful fish, maybe even last year's poster fish. And the price will be reasonable, too (as long as you follow rule #2). With these words of wisdom in mind, here then are the rules for the Greater City Aquarium Society Silent Auction : - For any item for which the minimum bid marked on its card is under $1.00, the bids must be in increments of. 10 or more. - For any item for which the minimum bid marked on its card in $1.00 or over, the bids must be in increments of .25 or more. - Once entered, a bid may not be lowered by the same bidder. - Any cross-out by a bidder will disqualify that bidder for posting the winning bid unless that bidder enters a subsequent higher bid. - Winning bidders must submit cards and payments to the treasurer. - The amount representing the minimum bid marked on the card will be refunded to the donor; the amount bid over the minimum represents the donation to the society. - Items not claimed by winning bids or their donors at the conclusion of the auction become the property of the society.

"The Sturgeon General has Determined . . , II THE "UNDERGRAVEL REPORTER"

In spite of popular demand to the contrary; this • humor and information column continues. As always, it does i NOT necessarily represent the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society,


ne of the major "themes" of this series of articles is "Hey, folks, lighten up, this is a hobby, not an occupation and not an Olympic sport." By this, I don't mean we shouldn't take the hobby seriously 3/< we should, especially since the lives of other species depend on us. What I mean is that the aquarium hobby is not about contests, breeding, exhibits, number of tanks, ego, etc.; but it is about learning and observing fish, and having fun. We should never forget this. Now, after having said that, it's time for some serious warnings. (Yes, "Undy Gravel" does get serious once in a while!) There are real dangers in the hobby. Beginners should be made aware of the dangers and even "old timers" need an occasional reminder. First, some weighty issues. A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. For a gallon of gravel to displace a gallon of water (which it does, or the gravel would float), it must weigh even more. So even a relatively modest 30 gallon tank could weigh close to, or even more than, 300 pounds, considering the weight of the tank itself, the water, two to three inches (or more) of gravel, rocks, a "hang on" power filter, a heater, all topped by a hood with florescent lamp and, of course, fish. Because of this, it's very important that you carefully plan where you put your tanks. Once the tanks are in place and are fully functioning, you're ready for Warning 13

One: NEVER MOVE A FULL TANK!! Even if you think you're strong enough for the task (but probably aren't), there is a very great likelihood that the tank will spring a leak (at the very least) or simply crack and break. Tanks should not be placed on a floor. Tanks sitting on the floor are likely to be kicked, have objects dropped into them, and be the object of interest to small children and pets. Many fish are nervous about movement overhead (and considering the many bird and mammals that prey on fish, this is understandable). So, it's easy to see that, generally speaking, fish tanks should be elevated in some way. The most common way for the average hobbyist to elevate her or his tank is by means of a stand. The weight of even a modest tank means that care must be taken in selecting a stand. This brings us to Warning Two: USE ONLY STANDS DESIGNED FOR AQUARIUM TANKS!! That wrought iron stand you saw in the gardening center may be great for your roses, but it's an accident waiting to happen for your rosy barbs. To even out the great stress the water exerts on its sides, tanks should be as level as possible. Before the water, rocks, gravel, etc. go into the tank, the tank should be leveled with a carpenter's bubble level. Remember the potential weight you're dealing with. Don't put some pieces of cardboard or balsa wood under a tank stand to level it out. That material will simply flatten out to provide little or no leveling help when the tank is full. If you don't level the tank (or do so inadequately), there will be extra stress placed at the "joints" where the sides meet. From these stress point will eventually come cracks and leaks. So, we now have Warning Three: LEVEL ALL TANKS!! O.K., let's assume that youVe heeded all warnings so far and have level tanks set on properly designed and sturdy aquarium tank stands 3/< what about your floors? If your tanks are all on a cement floor basement, you're probably fine. But what about those of you (including those in apartments or condominiums) with tanks in your living room, bedroom or den? Remember the weight of a modest 30 gallon tank? You can nearly double it for a 55 gallon tank and, if the tank stand has legs, that weight is concentrated in four small