MAY 1994 volume I number 5
AQUARIUM ON THE COVER X
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This month, yve have: an article ::;?:Breetifng:Kiilifi$h in Natural vs. Artificial Conditions,":: :;Tr}e goal: of breeders|is :io produce quality Sfish,:iikesthe kiliifish on the cover, an ifyjhysemion^ga i: photo ,by|F. Verrfteulen.
Vol. I, No. 5
FEATURES From the Editor's Desk
Report On The 1994 Show
GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCtEEY ;::.:. • ^M'•' •. 8 oaf 6 ^President . . . - i > • • . Vica-Presiderrt
Cichlids In The Community
. , . . , , . . . 8eh
Treasurer ... 1. , » . : . ... . Emma
Breeding Nannacara Anomola
Carres; Secretary . , . . . , Greg VVueiit Ftecordihg Secretary
.-, . Pat iPtcciorie
The Ideal Tank
^Membership »;, . . . .:, . . Warren Feuer
At Mary \n Don Curtin
Steve ; Sagona
; Joet Bugeia :Doug Curtin
Breeding Killifish in Natural vs. Artificial Conditions
Show Me To The Show .
Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)
MODERN AQUARIUM Editor!. , . . . 1:\ . v . Assistant Editor: . , . ; < : Art Director v f . . , . / StBphan:Zani:li^r Advertisingftflgr.. . . . :Mgrk Soberman Executive Editor . . . . Joseph Ferdenzi Printing By Postal Press
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.
An eye-catching Turquoise Discus -1st Place in New World Cichlids and Best of Show
contributed wonderfully to the show journal. The latter was printed on a super rush basis by (who else?) Bernie Harrigan. Moving from the printed world to the world of hardware, several people were busy on the latter front. Greg Wuest was busy preparing and assembling our air delivery system. It was a terrific first effort for Greg. Brothers Don and Doug Curtin made sure that we had plastic sheeting, electrical extensions, and other hardware needed to set up the exhibition room. Patricia Piccione graciously loaned us her brand new 50 foot Python速 water hose for filling the tanks, and Gene Baiocco once again loaned us his air blower to power our air supply system. The rack system designed by Horst Gerber and the Lustar速 tanks were ready to go, but we had no bowls for the Fancy Betta and Fancy Guppy classes. Fortune smiled, and it was in the person of Mary Eve Brill who loaned us some two cases of quart bowls that she owned. All the while, as expenses mounted, our indefatigable treasurer, Emma Jordan Haus, kept writing checks. I knew Emma was getting edgy about our dwindling bank account, but her husband (and our Vice-President), Ben Haus and I each held her up by one arm whenever she would go into a swoon. Ben and Emma also
"Gee, no one told me judging would be this hard. Oh, let's just flip a coin!"
VeilTail Goldfish - 1st Place in Goldfish
Cichlids In The Community
y guess is that the singular, most important attribute of community aquariums is that they are so darn interesting to watch. Tropical fish behavior can be mesmerizing, it will draw you in. Finish interacting with fish of their own species and other species can hold you spellbound. People in general, not just hobbyists, are hard pressed not to watch the goings-on in an aquarium. A fact often brought to light in professional journals and publications servicing such careers as doctors, lawyers and dentists. Waiting rooms and reception areas for professionals and corporations are often complimented by an aquatic ecosystem. The peace, tranquillity and harmony with nature an aquarium brings to these areas is priceless. As aquarists, we are sometimes more concerned with different aspects of behavior, since we tend to specialize in certain species. Our observations often center around males and female deportment, for purposes of having the fish spawn and multiply. This is often expanded to awareness oh how a certain species of tropical fish reacts in a group of the same type fish with emphasis on dominance and mate selection. This causes some of us to lose the 'community tank syndrome'. No matter how many tanks for breeding, rearing show fish or observing specialized behavior, we should always have at least one community tank around the home. Community tanks offer a more varied focus on animal behavior - species to species and male to female. It proffers a view of inter-
species dominance, aggression, symbiosis, territorial systems and range habitation. Without prejudice(Ha!), I would offer that the most behavioral group of fishes for an average hobbyist with one, two or more community tanks are cichlids. Cichlids are some of the most obvious tropicals with regard to their deportment. Actually, I wonder if there is any hobbyist who hasn't kept a cichlid at one time or another? Of course, it would take a certain, even special community tank to house the big cichlids. Tank size, as well as, special needs is a major consideration in cichlid communities wit the likes of Red Devils, Oscars, Jaguars, Trimacs, Green Terrors and Festae. Their kind require tankmates of proportional size and defenses. These would include : other big cichlids, Snakeheads, Arrowanas, Pacus and Pikes, South American redtails, Megalodoras, Pterodoras and Pseudodoras species are either tough enough or well armored enough to sustain co-habitation with the large cichlids. One can always expect to see some torn fins or minor body and scale damage in this type of community. One of the great clues to keeping a 'big fish community' (from Mike Sheridan-20 years ago) is eliminating any physical decor that would allow, encourage or establish territorialism. That includes large rocks, caves, flower pots and PVC pipe - anything a dominant fish can call his property. Also, if you avoid pairing fish (male and females of the same species), it will relieve a great deal of foreseeable tension. Medium size cichlids are a lot easier to deal with in community settings, the obvious reason being their size, but also because there are so many more relatively peaceful ones. Some of the great intermediate cichlids for compatibility are most of the Aequidens and Geophagus (eartheater) type species. There are exceptions to both groups, so ask about the fishes' temperment if you are not sure. Also good in the medium size group are Uarus, Firemouths and related species, Discus and some of the three to six inch riverine species from Central America like convicts and C. Spilurum. Many of the same cautions will exit here, as with the larger cichlids, but the degree of risk is much less. For tankmates, these fish can be co-opped with most all of the medium to large size tetras and barbs. Even some exotics. loaches, polypterus and medium size catfish like
Synodontis sp. , Pimelodus species and doradids make cohabitants. Fish from related species to those already mentioned that that are not companionable include Aequidens rivulatus (Green Terror), Netropulus sp. and Geophagus brasilensis and it's orange lipped cousin. Now some of the most exciting and conducive cichlids for a community tank setting is the group of fish commonly called 'dwarf cichlids'. These are fish that do very well in the standard community tank, interacting with the usual population of fishes labeled community tank fish. The unique aspect of 'dwarf cichlids' is that they really don't lose their behavioral qualities just because they are small. They are just as territorial, only the territory is smaller. They are still aggressive, only their aggression is much less effective. They are still parental, maybe even more so because of their stature. Yet, they are still companionable with fish like swordtails, platties, goodeids, tetras, danios, barbs, small catfish like Corydoras species and other smaller bottom dwellers like weather loaches and algae eaters. And let's not forget killies and rasboras. Some of the small cichlids that can be put into most any common community set up are: all of the Apistogrammas ( I'm particularly fond of A. caucatuoides, borelli, agassizi and viejtd); the checkerboard cichlids of the Crenicara sp.; the Microgeophagus ramirezi (both the blue and the gold form) and M. altispinosa; and one of my favorites - Taeniacara candidi. These fish do well in planted aquariums as is not the case for many cichlids. The only fish that I see as a possible problem sharing a tank with the dwarf cichlids are fancy or show guppies - that colorful flag-waving caudal may be too much for even the smallest cichlid to ignore! The one thing that I would suggest doing the opposite from the larger cichlids, is giving them a place to find security and territorialize. A small cave, rock enclosure or piece of PVC pipe. I have not mentioned angelfish for a reason. They can often be a community tank inhabitant with the dwarfs, but larger ones can also be kept with the medium cichlids. You have to use your own discretion here. One final word about cichlids in the community setting. There are exceptions to all the rules. And I say this not as a 'cop-out', but as a word of advice that will apply to more than just what IVe written here. It will apply to most circumstances in this great hobby. The writings
of our combined experiences are just guides. what you might expect. It is not intended to be a guarantee. What you should consider is experimenting in your way, and then letting us (we're all still learning whether we like it or not) all know the results by writing about it yourself. That way we all grow a little and I won't have to write so manv articles!
Breeding Nannacara anomola JOSE PEREZ
his little gem of the aquarium, originally from West Guyana is now bred extensively in the hobby, mostly by private breeders. The fish itself is a very beautiful dwarf with iridescent green color throughout its body. It also has red edging on the dorsal fin. Nannacara anomola is called a dwarf because adult fish reach a maximum size of 3 inches for the male, while the female only reaches a maximum of 2 inches. Accommodating this fish is simple as can be. A small tank is more than enough. When I say small, I mean small! Any tank between 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 gallons will suffice for a pair. Sexing the fish is child's play as males are an iridescent green while the females are plain brown with a dark horizontal bar running along their body. Water quality is not a major issue, but I'd suggest slightly acidic and medium soft water (pH 6.2-6.5 and 5 degrees hardness). For filtration, a sponge filter will suffice. The temperature in the tank can range anywhere from 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Like everything else about this fish so far, feeding them is never a problem. They can be kept alive and healthy on just regular flake food, however, for them to look their best and breed successfully, a varied diet is suggested. I'd recommend adding live foods such as black worms, blood worms, mosquito larvae and brine shrimp, which will all be taken readily.
purchased. Although smaller than the Tin Foils, the Tri Color Sharks had definitely out grown the 75! Owning a big tank is great, you will definitely impress friends and neighbors, especially those who don't keep fish, and a big tank will give your fish room to grow. Just remember not to stock the tank with too many fish that will grow and realize that bigger tanks mean larger costs in terms of filtration, power usage and feeding costs. In addition, larger tanks take longer to clean, so if you plan to own several large tanks, make sure you have the time and resources to maintain them. Having reached my allowable maximum tank size, and not wanting any more large tanks, I began anew my search for the ideal tank. It was clearly not the 75 gallon tank, mostly because it is too large and costs too much in terms of time and money to become a mainstream tank for me. It looked like I had found my ideal tank in the 30 gallon long. It fulfilled all my requirements, other than for the super large fish I had transferred to the 75, and I clearly was not going to be purchasing any more potential monsters, as I had decided to concentrate on dwarf cichlids and reasonable sized catfish. It was about the time that I "declared my major" that I began noticing the 29 and 20 long sized tanks. My good friend Victor had just purchased a 29 gallon to use as a community tank and as we went about setting the tank up, I really began to admire it's dimensions. At last my search for the ideal tank seemed over. The 20 and 29 gallon sizes looked like the answer. The dimensions on the 20 gallon long are 30 X 12 X 12, and if more height is needed there is the 29 gallon tank, whose dimensions are 30 X 12 X 18. You can use a 29 gallon tank to breed all but the very largest cichlids, but bear in mind that I mean only to breed. Presently I have a 29 gallon tank set up as a planted community tank housing a breeding pair of Microgeophagus altispinosa (Bolivian Rams to you non-Latinites!!) and a school of Cardinal Tetras as well as a school of Marble Hatchet fish. In my opinion the 29 gallon is the perfect blend of esthetic and functional offering an attractive look and good air/oxygen exchange. At last, the ideal tank(s)!! Or so I thought until the other day when, while visiting Art Director Stephen Zander's fish room, I
noticed two extra long, extra wide, and not particularly high "breeder" type tanks. Just perfect for keeping Corydoras species catfish in. Hmm... A " â&#x201A;Ź
Breeding Killifish in Natural vs. Artificial Conditions JOSEPH FERDENZI
hat is the best way to breed killies? Talk to a dozen killic keepers, and most likely you will get a dozen versions of the answer. The purpose of this article is to explore the pros and cons of two basic methods of breeding non-annual plant spawning species. For want of a better label, the two methods will be referred to as the "natural method" and the "mop method". Let me also preface this article by saying that I do not prefer one method over the other. I use both of them. I wish simply to share my experiences and acquired knowledge with you. To that end, I hope to be as objective as possible. The "mop method" of breeding presents several advantages. For one, tank maintenance is simplified. Generally, mops are used in bare tanks. Because no gravel is used, mulm and detritus can readily be siphoned off the bottom. Water that is poured into the aquarium does not disturb either gravel or plantings. The mop is easily removed and reinserted in tanks after the water change is complete. The mop itself, unlike plants, requires no care or maintenance. The mop, which should only be made from synthetic fibers, will last virtually forever, and is easily transferred from tank to tank. The same might be said of plants such as Java Moss or those planted in pots. But, of course, live plants require a great deal of care, and some such as Cryptocorynes, do not take kindly to being transferred under any conditions. When transferring plants such as Java Moss, the inability to pick out eggs laid therein might result in unwanted killifish occupants in the "new" tank.
I suppose, however, that the single greatest advantage of the mop method is that it facilitates what I will call "controlled breeding". Eggs are relatively easy to pick out from the mop, especially if, like me, you use dark green yarn. This egg picking procedure usually maximizes the number of fry you can get from any given breeding group. Conversely, if you get few eggs, it provides valuable information, namely, that there is something wrong with your breeding procedure or fish stock. Then, by artificially incubating your eggs, you can maximize the hatching success or conversely, if hatching rates are low, be able to study what is going wrong and take progressive steps to reverse the trend. The drawback to a spawning mop in a bare tank is visually obvious, it is fairly unaesthetic. If you believe in the "aquarium beautiful" concept or in trying to recreate a "slice" of nature in your home, then the mop method would be unsatisfactory. The other drawback of the mop method is that it is labor intensive. This is especially true if you are working with many different species, or if you are trying to raise large numbers of a particular
species. If you lead a "normal" ( I use that word advisedly) life filled with family, career, and civil obligations, the labor required by the artificial method can indeed be a formidable obstacle to successful killifish propagation. Now, the natural method also has disadvantages along with the advantages. Beginning with the advantages, a planted tank is usually pleasing to the eye, even if the plants are in clay pots. I personally find growing plants to be very enjoyable and an integral part of the aquarium hobby. Indeed, killifish as a group, are wonderfully suited to showing in a planted tank. The combination of attractive plants and attractive fish goes a very long way towards approximating the idea of a beautiful aquarium. Undoubtedly, the single greatest advantage of the natural system is that it is a real time saver. By keeping killies in wellplanted aquaria, picking eggs becomes unnecessary. The parents will lay their eggs in the plants, and the resulting fry will find both protection and food there. My favorite plant for this purpose is Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyand). This plant is hardy, it requires nothing in the way of special water conditions,
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no special fertilizers, does well in low and medium light, grows profusely, looks pretty, and is full of hiding places. While the plant is rarely seen in petshops, at least not in the New York City area, it is readily available from other killie hobbyists or by mail order from plant specialists. Squirting some newly hatched brine shrimp into the tank will ensure that fry will be able to find ample nutrition. The brine shrimp nauplii work themselves into the Java Moss, or whatever other plants you are using, making themselves safely available to the fry and less so to the parents. Of course, in the natural method, you are likely to have less fry reach adulthood, or, more precisely, reach a size where the parents will not cannibalize them. However, you will get successive generations without the painstaking effort of picking and caring for eggs. The natural method has worked for me. I have kept several generations of Aphysemion calliurum, A. bivittatum Funge, and A. bivittatum splendopleure in this manner. In fact, the natural method seems to be the preferred method amongst hobbyist I know for such fish as Epiplatys annulatus, whose fry are very small and where parents do not have strong cannibalistic tendencies. Another disadvantage of the natural method is that if you get no fry, adding a synthetic mop may not help. Killies choose where to lay their eggs, and with natural plants available, the mop may be ignored. In the natural method, the hobbyist gives up some degree of control over the breeding process in return for the decreased labor required to obtain fry, and the inherent beauty of a planted tank. Regardless of which method you employ, persevere in your efforts. It is really up to you, the hobbyist to preserve the killifish we have in the hobby for future generations.
Correspondence to Modern Aquarium should be addressed to : Warren Feuer 68-61 Yellowstone Boulevard Forest Hills, New York 11375
how Me To The Show
by "The Undergravel Reporter"
In spite of popular demand to the contrary,; this humor; and i nformation column continues-i As always, it does N OT necessarily rep resent trie opinions of the iEditor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society,
his column is a last minute substitution. Originally, I told our esteemed Editor that I would write about anthropomorphism. And, yes, that column will appear at a later date. (This will give those of you who don't know what it means, plenty of time to look up "anthropomorphism" in your dictionaries.) What happened to change the content of this month's column was the "Greater City Aquarium Society's 72nd Anniversary Fish Show" held on April 9 and 10, 1994. Those who have been following this column know that I feel that competition and acquiring "points" (breeders', bowl show, etc.) and awards is not what the hobby is about. If I had to create a "breeder's award" program, I'd award points for keeping a healthy trio (one male, two females) of adult mollies or guppies together for six months or more, without having them breed. I feel that, except for endangered species, or improving or developing new colors or fin shapes, breeding for "points" should not be encouraged unless there is a ready market for the fry, and not as culls or feeders â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I didn't go into the hobby to kill fish. (Now you know why I use a nome de plumel) Yet, in spite of the competition, the trophies, the ribbons and the hype, I consider the GCAS Show to have been very worthwhile. I spoke to many GCAS members who devoted long hours to the show. I saw GCAS members cooperate and bring their many different skills together for the common good of the society. For example, I saw an air distribution system of pipes and tubes created from scratch. I saw members doing daredevil balancing acts on chairs to hang banners and signs. Some members
G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS The Show : Well, the Spring 1994, 72nd Anniversary Show has come and gone. Between Joe Ferdenzi's account of the goings on and our "Under Gravel Reporter" giving his take on the show, I think enough coverage has been given to the show. However, in case you missed it, here is a list of the show winners : CLASS 1ST : 2ND : 3RD:
A - NEW WORLD CICHLIDS TURQUOISE DISCUS CICHLASOMA MANAGUENSE NANACARA ANAMOLA
BRIAN SCHMEEDER(LIAS) HEINZ NESTLER(LIAS) CARLOTTI DEJAGER(GCAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
B - OLD WORLD CICHLIDS LABIDOCHRONDS CAERULEUS JULIDOCHROMIS REGANI LAMPROLOGUS BRICHARDI
JOE FERDENZI(GCAS) TOM MIGLIO(GCAS) MARYEVE BRILL(LIAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
C - CHARACINS SILVER HATCHETFISH BANDED LEPORINUS PRISTELLA TETRA
DON CURTTN(GCAS) HEINZ NESTLER(LIAS) AL AND SUE PRIEST(GCAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
D - AQUATIC PLANTS ANUBIAS NANA ANUBIAS COFFEAFOLIA RED NYMPHIA
JOE FERDENZI(GCAS) MARK SOBERMAN(GCAS) HORST GERBER(GCAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
E : KXLLIFISH JORDANELLA FLORID AE PACHYPANCHAX OMALONATUS APHYSEMIONEXIGOIDIUM
JOHN FAVORITO(NCAS) BILL ADAMS(NCAS) GERRY GORYCKI(GCAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
F: LIVE BEARERS MONTEZUMA SWORD HIGH FIN LYRE TAIL SWORD HIGH FIN WAGTAIL PLATY
JOE FERDENZI(GCAS) HEINZ NESTLER(LIAS) HEINZ NESTLER(LIAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
G: ANABANTOIDS COLISA SOTA CTENOPOMA SP. COLISA SOTA
STEVE SAGONA(GCAS) DENNIS EGLffiSKI(GCAS) DENNIS EGLffiSKI(GCAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
H: GOLDFISH VEFLTAIL FANTAIL BUTTERFLY FANTAIL
GEORGE VERES GENE BAIOCCO(GCAS) HEINZ NESTLER(LIAS)
CLASS 1ST: 2ND: 3RD:
I:~BETTAS BLUE DOUBLET AIL RED BLUE
AL AND SUE PRffiST(GCAS) FRANCIS LEE(GCAS) FRANCIS LEE(GCAS)
Fin Fun Yuppie Guppies In the box below are words associated with fancy guppies, in scrambled form. See how many of them you can unscramble.
LEAVITIL . LETATALID SNNIAKKSE DLRIOAWTS LILYRATE . DONELB
Clowning Around On the left of the box below are scientific Latin names of some of the many fish whose popular names include the word "clown" or "harlequin." On the right side are their common names, but not in order. Draw a line connecting each fish's Latin name with its common name.
Puntius everetti Botia macracanthus Microglanis poecilus Epiplatys annulatus Notopterus chitala Labeo variegatus
Harlequin Catfish Clown Knifefish Harlequin Shark Clown Barb Clown Killi Clown Loach
Answers to last issue's puzzles : J
"Gold Rush" - Fancy Goldfish .,,;...
'Tociisf • ;: :;•.; ;:' ;':;•.,..' f •: • • '•• •••• • \? • ' - - - - $• -:: > • • - - COMET TAFNAIL .'•.":.:§.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .,:;,,. . ; . . . . .FANTAIL TELILIAV , . , , . . . . . . , . . . ; . . . . . . , ; • , : , . . VEILTAIL . . ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; . ; LIOHHEAD ELASTIGEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .CELESTIAL ; | | | | | | | | | | f 11 Illllif ; "Latin Greenery " • -~. ' Plants" • illil ' i i I: : Wii^jl iLerana minor . 7 . . . . . . . . . , . , v , . , . . . . . . . . .Duckweed Microsorium pteropus . . ..... ,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . J a v a Fern iEleocaaris acicufaris . . . . * . » . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hairgrass Pistia stratiotes ;'••» . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; . . . . . . ; Water Lettuce Vesicularia dubyaoa , . , . > . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Java Moss LJmnophila aquatjca . . . . . ... ,;:.,, ,:......^ ,.,:.::,. , . Ambulia 20