Modern Aquarium

Page 1



JUNE 1994 volume I number 6


AQUARIUM is;':.MM::;;



Series III

Vol. I, No. 6




Fartoweila (A.K.A. "twig"): catfish are rarely bred: in the home aquarium. ;Tni$:; rnontfi' s covet depicts one oi these fare • occurances,: shawing a Farlowette arid eggs on the*s?de of ;ar» aqtiariurn. Flegid "Sticks and:Sticks and Sticks* , ." : Photo by John Moran

From the Editor's Desk


Sticks and Sticks and Sticks


I Wanted a No Work Filter ,


GREATER CfTY AQ.UAR>UM SOCtETY J Members ;;;•;•:•::




President . . :, . Vice-President

. . . . ...-••, . ."-Sen Haus

Treasurer ,. . .. J . ... :';. ..:. ... Emma Haus

Spawning Triggers


Membership , < , ......... . i Wan^en Feuar

Principles of Aquaristics


'x-ii'- Members At Lafflie : a •';''£:'• Mary Ann Bug^ia iiSss i |:ij<je Bugeia Don Curtin < ;;?i :; ;i-?dpug Curtin Mark Soberman :::j ;?: : ; ;;Jack Oliya Steve Sagona I: Viricent

Haplochromis flameback


The Sturgeon General Returns


GCAS Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


Corres, Secretary , . > , < ,-Gr?g Wuest :f!ecordifig?SBpretary ;: v » . ;:pat Ptcciorje


;,, .Warren Feuer Assistant Editor .,.' ,. Alexander Priest . . Stephari Zander : AdvertisingiMgr., , . . MarfcsSoberrnan ^Executive Editor . .,,.: Joseph Ferde*izi 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.

From the Editor's Desk


can hardly believe it, but we've survived, and some would say even prospered through the first six months of Modern Aquarium. Because it is true that no good deed goes unpunished, I would like to take this opportunity to give out some "special merit awards" to those people who have been especially instrumental in making our success happen. The first award goes to my Assistant Editor, Al Priest. Al has earned his award for being the unyielding conscience of the magazine, as well as my relief pitcher. Al is constantly bailing me out by providing material for Modern Aquarium whenever it's needed. Al functions as our quality control monitor, continually insisting on proof reading everything (even though I sometimes slip up and forget) and offering to do more and more. Basically, any time I'm in a jam and need help Al is always there. In addition to the award, you have my promise that all future issues will be proofed much more carefully. Thanks Al. Next up for special mention is Bernie Harrigan. Through his business Postal Press, Bernie produces Modern Aquarium each month. If you read my editorial last month, you will remember that one of my criteria for a hobby is that it not be a profit making enterprise. If that's the case, then Postal Press must be Bernie's hobby, because there is no way he could be turning a profit with the fees he charges for producing Modern Aquarium. In addition, Bernie continually supports Greater City as well as Brooklyn Aquarium Society by offering his personal time and assistance as well as the services of his business. If you look, you'll probably notice that at least one of Bernie's

excellent illustrations is usually included in each issue of Modern Aquarium. Bernie is only too happy to accommodate my requests for artwork, and the results are always top notch. As if all that weren't enough, Bernie can usually be found in the midst of any physical labor that occurs. What a guy! I can't thank Bernie enough for all he does. One thing I can do is encourage all of my readers to patronize Bernie's business for all printing needs. His number is (718) 643-8600. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have Stephan Zander on the staff of Modern Aquarium. Stephen, our Art Director is both talented and dedicated. It is Stephen who created and continually refines the look of Modern Aquarium. To accomplish this, Stephen spends a great deal of his own time and money producing a "photo ready" version of each month's issue. To do this, specially produced photos for the cover and any pictures we use in the issue must be prepared. We can reimburse Stephen for the money he lays out, but there is no way to reimburse Stephen's time. In addition to all the time he spends on graphics, Stephen also meets with me 2 or 3 times each month to prepare the layout; where each article will go, where to put any photos and/or drawings we might be using, where to place advertisements, and any other issues that go into producing the finished product you see. On top of all that, Stephen somehow finds time to produce some first class illustrations. And, like everyone else IVe mentioned, Stephen does all this with enthusiasm. Last, but most certainly not least, is my wife Susan. Susan provides me with encouragement, feedback and support. Without that approval and support, I could never devote the amount of time and energy that I do to Modern Aquarium and to GCAS. She's always willing to compromise, placing my needs before hers, especially when it involves my running around chasing that elusive "perfect issue". Compromise is not my greatest asset, but I'm learning a great deal from Susan, and I hope it's made me a better person. Susan continually encourages me and compliments me on my work. WeVe been through some hard times together, but she's never doubted me. I can't express my gratitude enough. I just hope that when she needs me to be there for her, or make compromises in my life as she has in hers, I won't let her down.

Farlowellas: The "Twig" Catfish

• or -

Sticks and Sticks and Sticks and Sticks and Sticks . JOHN MORAN All photos by the author


t is not without reason that Farlowellas are often referred to as twig catfish. Although sexually dimorphic, both sexes look like little more than sticks, so neatly perfect is their camouflage. In a well-planted aquarium they can be very difficult to find. In my experience they rarely move about or eat in the daytime. These fish are usually attached by their sucker mouths to leaves of Java fern or driftwood branches in a dark area of my tanks. When attached to the driftwood, they appear to be part of the wood. Farlowellas are members of the Loricard group of catfishes with rasping sucker mouths. Since there are anywhere from 37 to 60 species, impossible for the layman to identify, I will follow other authors faced with the same problem and call them Farlowella acus (the most commonly imported species?). They are armor plated over the entire length of their long, thin, pencil-like bodies. My male is 16 1/2 cm from the end of his nose to the caudal peduncle; the female, somewhat smaller, is 14 1/2 cm. There are differences between males and females that make identification easy. These fish have nasal protuberances that, in the males are fringed with bristles and, in the females are smooth. At breeding time the female is noticeably swollen with eggs. Mine became so swollen that I had begun to think she had a bacterial infection. I should mention that I knew nothing about breeding these fish, nor was I intending to do so. Other than buying a pair, I had no idea what conditions would be necessary to produce offspring. Although I had bred several different cichlids in the past, what happened here was simply a case of good luck. When originally

Guarding the rapidly developing eggs. Note the pattern of egg placement purchased last summer, both fish were kept in a small outdoor pond (pH 6.5). I had hoped they would have been able to keep the algae under control, but this proved not to be the case. When returned in September to a bare 10 gallon tank (pH unknown) in my fish room, these fish spent all their time at opposite ends of the tank attached to the glass. Having read that most Loricarids need some kind of wood as a part of proper nutrition or to aid in their digestion, I added some dead branches to their tank, I had previously collected these branches upstate, scraped off the bark, and tested them with other members of this family. This unidentified wood

them in a 55 gallon tank loaded with plants and algae. This tank was kept at 72 degrees Fahrenheit and was filtered by an Aqua-Clear 300 at one end, with an air stone at the opposite end. The water hardness in this tank was 2.8 DH and the pH 6.4. It got a few hours of direct sunlight every morning in addition to 13 hours of fluorescent light. The algae in this tank was so thick that it was impossible to see through the glass despite its having been home to an Ancistrus in the past. The pair of Farlowellas immediately began cleaning the front glass, and in very little time I was able to see into the tank. I stopped feeding them vegetables at this point so they would eat the algae. The pair did not work side by side but stayed at opposite ends of this tank as well In about a week nearly all the ete" - sees were sparkling and they began to i! - "ava fern leaves. They did not, ^it any of the hair algae which was ~oj in the tank. This tank also housed a Striped Raphael (Platydoras costatus), a Midnight cat (Auchenipterichthys thoracatus), a small Brachysynodontis batensoda, two adult Synodontis nigreventris, an adult Driftwood cat (Parauchenipterus sp.), a Bumblebee cat (Leiocassis siamensis), a Marbled Lancer cat (Pseudobagrus fulvidraco) and a Betta, all getting along peacefully. The Farlowellas didn't hang at the water surface anymore and the female, already somewhat swollen in the 10 gallon tank, began to grow even more blimp-like. All day long the male stayed in the sunniest, brightest part of the tank stuck on the glass. In the past this type of

fish has always hidden in the darker parts of my tanks while the lights were on. I began to wonder if both of these fish weren't sick. At first the female spent her days on a piece of wood in the shade. As time went by she spent more and more time on the glass about 18" away from the male. One day, after several weeks in their new home, I arrived from work to find 70 eggs on the glass in the sunny spot where the male had spent most of his time. The female was right along side the male. The eggs were large ovals 4 mm long by 3 mm wide. Instead of being laid over a wide area, as cichlids do, these eggs were laid in a narrow column 1 cm wide by 9 cm long tapering at the bottom. This is nearly the exact size and shape of the males' body! "The better to protect you, my dears." After several hours the female dropped to the bottom of the tank. By the next day she had returned to her stick in the shade. The male remained fixed in place guarding the eggs. Over the next few days I read several articles on hatching and raising these fish. All of them said that Farlowella breeding was a rather rare event in hobbyists' tanks. Lucky me!! One stated the eggs would be laid in a dark comer of the tank and another that these eggs need very bright light just to grow and develop properly. In fact, they would die without the light. Oh well, I guess Poppa knew best. The first few nights showed little change in the eggs but on the fourth evening I could see the thin yellowish embryos in the eggs

Female on driftwood — "A Stick On A Stick?"

wrapped around a clear yolk section. Even without my glasses I could see them wiggle inside the egg shell! The male spent all his time hanging on one side of the column of eggs or the other. At night he more or less covered them with his body. A 15 watt bulb in a ceiling fixture was left on in the room every night after the tank lights went out. With cichlids this sometimes keeps the parents from eating their own eggs. I don't know if it did anything in this case, but I slept better. The embryos darkened by the fifth day and the yolk sacks became blotched with gray. I did a 20% water change on the sixth day and held my breath waiting to be sure that there were no ill effects from the chlorine in city water. Safe! With magnification I could see heads, eyes, tails, and even little hearts beating. Pectoral fins were visible the next day. On the eighth evening four of the eggs were empty with no evidence of young anywhere in the tank. I spent the next two evenings folding and stitching plastic needle point material into variously shaped cages and lined some with nylon window screening to keep the young, should I be lucky enough to catch any. The cage I chose to use was about 2" deep, 8" long, and 4 1/2 " wide. It would keep the fry up near the light and allow freshly filtered tank water, in a gentle current, to flow through. The eggs were nearly black by the ninth evening and completely filled with the embryos. Several more were empty. The embryos had grown considerably since they were laid. At that time there was plenty of room inside the egg shell for tail wagging and other movement. Now there wasn't any room left. The embryos completely filled the eggs. On the eleventh night I found my first hatchling on the gravel at the bottom. I suspended my needle point tray at the surface of the water and sucked this fry into some flexible 1/2" plastic tubing. It was then released into the tray. This fry went belly up almost immediately! Since the tank was open, I began to move some of the water sprite that had overgrown the surface above the eggs blocking the light. There among the leaves and algae were two more fry ... YEA!! I managed to get them into the cage, one by picking up the entire plant (the fry came along for the ride) and the other I sucked into the plastic tubing. I proceeded to add other algae covered leaves to

Early Stage: "a tadpole with fins"

the cage and went to be feeling rather lucky to have two living fry. There aren't too many good reasons to get up at 7:30 A.M. on a Saturday-one of them, however, is to check on your Farlowella eggs. The sun shines on this tank between 7:00 A.M. and 9:30 A.M. On this bright sunny morning of the twelfth day there were five fry stuck to the glass and two more with their tails sticking out of their eggs. I tried to suck the five fry into the tubing to put them into the cage. Four escaped into the plants and one made it into the cage. One of the articles I had read stated that Farlowella eggs are roughly mauled by the male to help them hatch. (I was not able to observe this, I did occasionally see the male mouthing them as he suckered his way from one side of the egg column to the other but he had been doing this since they were laid and it didn't seem connected to the hatching process.) Following directions for hand hatching, I began to rub some of the remaining eggs that were still well stuck to the glass with my finger. They had a tough rubbery feel, not at all slimy or sticky. One popped open, the fry sucked into my finger, and was immediately transferred into the cage. On repeating this process, several more fry escaped into the tank. At this rate, most of the fry would become fish food instead of adult FaHowellas. In desperation I decided to scrape the remaining eggs of! the glass with a razor blade and put them into the cage. I successfully removed about 25 eggs this way without

Middle Stage: Note the emerging markings on the backs

Late Stage: Just Like Mom & Dad, or "A twig off the old stick"

damaging any. I had to pick up the male several times and move him away from the eggs as he kept trying to cover them with his body. Shortly thereafter I began nibbing the eggs in the cage. Some hatched immediately, some after 10 minutes or so, and some not at all. I rubbed them several more times that day at 20 minute intervals. I also covered the bottom of the cage with well microwaved (15 min.) zucchini slices 1/8" thick in the hopes of getting the fry to eat. The rest of the cage was filled with algae to give the fry a choice of food. Thank God for Saturdays. Can you imagine the following happening...?

"Boss, I need to stay home tomorrow to hatch my Farlowella eggs." "Sure, John. Take a couple of days off! Do a good job! Bob's here, he'll take your place. Let me know how it turns out." ...Not in my lifetime! At around 2:30 P.M. the last 6 or 7 eggs hatched. These remaining few had to be rather thoroughly and roughly massaged to get them to hatch. Two or three had hatched on their own in the last half hour. The fry were about 10-12 mm long at birth and a nearly black greenish-brown with a thin gold line on each side. They looked like toad tadpoles. The article I had read claimed that the fry would not seek food for at least six weeks and had to be dropped on it just to get them to eat. Being a tad nervous, I kept trying to shake the fry off whatever they were hanging on in an attempt to get them to land on the zucchini and eat. I'm almost sure I remembered to look to see if they still had yolk sacs! Boy, was I exhausted!! During this whole process the male Farlowella hung on the spot where the eggs had been laid. At about 10 P.M., an hour after lights-out, I looked in on the fry to find they had all lost their color and looked like albinos. On Sunday morning, the first "fry-day" (Ha!), the fry had regained their color and looked pretty much as they did the day before. I noticed that most of the zucchini had fungus threads all over it. None of the fry seemed



wanted a filter system that required NO work - ever - and I found it! At least, I think I have. Feeding fish is not a problem for me, in fact, I enjoy it. I don't like to eat, they like to eat - we're all happy. I don't like to perform the regular maintenance chores like cleaning filters, changing water and siphoning detritus from the bottom of the tanks. So I needed a system that did all that! Automatically! So I designed a filtering system - no, a full service, life support system that has been work-free for a couple of years. Not too much new technology involved, just some old stuff hooked together for relief from the parts of the hobby I don't like. Setting-up eight 40 gallon "breeder" tanks (approximately 18"W x 12"H x 46"L) on a central filtering system was my goal. The rack for the tanks was made of wood (2" x 4"s) and was built to hold the tanks end-wise, that is looking in the 12 x 18 glass panel. The bottom tier of four tanks was three feet off the ground and the upper tier of four tanks was 78 inches to the top of the tank. Lights were installed above the top tanks with bare bottoms so that dimmer light penetrated through to the bottom tanks. The lights were on timers, being lit for twelve hours a day (two 2 bulb fluorescent strips). The tanks were bought used and luckily came predrilled with one hole in the bottom on one end (they also came with most of the fittings, but I decided to buy all new hardware). I placed the tanks on the rack with the holes on the top tier opposite the holes on the bottom tier, so as to get a good flow of water through the tanks. The top tank in figure #1 also' shows a much larger PVC sleeve placed over the stand pipe with holes or slits in it near the bottom. This is to drain the water overflow from the bottom of the tank, getting as much detritus as possible. The water returns to the giant homemade filter on the floor


The filter can be placed under the rack to save space. The filter was housed in a large poly/plastic vat (36"W x 40"L x 30"H). To hold the various filter mediums I purchased four poly/plastic grates or trays, similar to what is used to deliver bread to stores. They each measured 34" x 24" x 6". Stacked on top of each other in the vat, they made an excellent wet/dry filter for the system. See figure #2. Basically, the bottom tray was just a platform to hold the other trays, but it had to be weighted down. I could have used a variety of things to do this - rocks, gravel, etc. - but I decided to use Z-rock or zeolite, taking advantage of any extra water conditioning I could get. Tray two holds what I call the "fine" filter. It is filled with six 1" thick foam pads cut to the size of the tray. The third tray is filled with "bio-balls", the kind sold for most of the commercially made wet/dry systems. Tray four, the top tray is my "mechanical sandwich". It is filled with biomech ceramic "noodles", sandwiched between two pieces of the foam pads like in tray two. The bottom layer of foam filters, but mostly it keeps the "noodles" from falling through the grate. The top piece acts as a mechanical filter, removing the larger pieces of waste matter. It can be removed and washed off if necessary. In the reservoir area of the vat, IVe hooked up a sponge pond filter to the water line that goes to the water pump as a final "polishing" filter. In that same area, I have placed three 250 watt submersible heaters.

Filter trays


These are sufficient to heat the entire system to a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the top tier, and about 76 degrees Fahrenheit on the lower tier of tanks. I cannot stress enough the importance of buying good quality heaters. They are an investment worth every penny. Finally, I've installed a constant water changing system. This is what I believe guarantees the NO WORK system. I added an extra valve to the water pumping line which drains directly to the floor drain and out of the system. This flow can be regulated. To

replenish this water, I installed a common toilet float system (all plastic) in the vat. When the water level drops to a certain level from draining the last valve constantly, the toilet float refills the vat to the desired level automatically. I estimate the system is changing about IS gallons an hour (with the valve barely open) or the complete system once a day. This costs about 50 cents a day. That's 7 water changes a day for $3.50! See figure 3 below. In figure til you can see that I drain one tank (top) into another (bottom). Many hobbyists, retailers and wholesalers prefer to have an individual water feed and drain for each tank. I agree that is a much better system, since you can isolate any individual tank. The way I have it set up, you must shut off both the top and the bottom tanks to shut either one off the system. When installing my system, I just was too lazy to do two sets of drains and water spigots! This way seemed much easier and much less complicated. Not shown in the diagrams is the aeration. I have air stones in each tank, powered by a large standard air pump with dual outlets, each feeding a 4-way gang valve. I think this is important for water circulation to FIGURE #3

Heaters Pond F i l t e r

Toilet Float


clear and sweet smelling. All the elements work. Why ? There are only eight adult fish in 20 gallons of water ! Not eight large fish eight small to medium-sized fish. Example number two: tank "B". Another 20 gallon aquarium. Two killifish — a male and female Blue Gularis (Fundulopanchax sjoestedti) averaging about 4 inches in length; two box filters; a few potted aquatic plants; some ramshorn snails. Feed once a day, sometimes twice a day on weekends. Change what fouled water ? Clean up what mess ? Example number three: tank "C". A 15 gallon aquarium. Some rocks; dolomitic gravel; one small plant (a Bolbitis fern); one sponge filter and one box filter. Inhabitants: seven Julidochromis ornatus cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. The adult fish average about 2 inches in length. Feed once a day flake food or frozen brine shrimp. Water changes every now and then. Clean the gravel once in a blue moon. Final example: tank "D". An 80 gallon tank, 6 feet long. Two canister filters, each about 120 gallon-pcr-hour flow rate and one air stone; gravel, rocks, no plants. Swimming about are twelve Cyphotilapia frontosa cichlids averaging 6 inches in length. This is one of my more "overstocked" tanks. Fish are fed, on average, once daily on pellets, flakes, frcezedried shrimp. Very little to clean up. An occasional water change. Clean the canister filters twice a year. At this point, some readers might say: "Big deal! Easy for you. Yor must have a lot of space in your house. Whenever you want a new fish you just add another tank." Well, that's only partially true. No one has limitless space. I may have more space than some, but I still have to follow my rules. For example, tank "D" doesn't have 20 Frontosa. Tank "C" does not get new inhabitants like Clown Loaches, Labidochromis caeruleus, or any other fish, unless and until I move the Julidochromis ornatus. I have no room for more tanks. Right now I have about 70 species of fish. With over 1,000 gallons of water in my basement, don't you think I could easily have twice that number? Sure, if you live in confined quarters you will have to limit the size and number of aquariums. But, let me ask you: What is the point of having a collection offish if ou have to constantly struggle to maintain them ? No one will be impressed by the number of fish you have unless they know nothing about fish. The


quality of the fish you have is far more important and impressive to aquarists. However, forget about impressing people. Let's get back to what aquariums should be. An aquarium should be a source of beauty and enjoyment. Nature's beauty often takes time to reveal itself. Sardine cans and seafood salads may be appetizing but they hardly mirror natural beauty. Crowded aquariums require too much work to be truly enjoyable. They are not very happy places for their occupants either. You have to make up your mind. Do you want a successful aquarium, or do you want a glass container with some water and fish in it ?

Beautiful and Easy!! Haplochromis "flameback" STEVE SAGONA

~W~ ~W~aplochromis sp. "flameback" is an f—J endangered African cichlid from Lake J~. JL Victoria. This colorful fish has a bright red upper body and a silver gray to blueblack lower half and red fins. In breeding dress the male's red color is unrivaled. The fish from Malawi called Pseudotrpheus zebra (red) is actually orange. This fish is red. H. "flameback" is an easily bred fish. Remember GCAS breeder points? As if the fun and satisfaction of rearing young fish, breeding them and raising successive generations weren't enough, these fish are easy to breed! This mouth brooder can be bred at a small size and a young age. A big tank is not necessary, just one containing plenty of rocks piled together to form caves, or flower pots used as caves. Even though flower pots work just as well there's something that bothers me about using them. IVe seen a lot of under water pictures and haven't seen all that many submerged flower pots - well, O.K., none at all. I use either large round rock or slate, or

What I mean is, our fish are completely dependent upon us - whether they know it or not. True, some cichlids and livebearers are very much aware that we feed them, and show it by acting up whenever we are near. Other fish seem to actively avoid any contact with us. No matter how many times we and their favorite food appear at the same time, they never seem to draw the connection. Still other fish may or may not draw the connection, but remain aloof and don't seem to care whether we're there or not; they just keep minding their own business and attending to their own agendas. Regardless of the attitudes of our fish towards us, we know that it is ultimately our responsibility to take care of them. Whether we take our responsibilities lightly or not and just how conscientious we are will ultimately determine whether our fish thrive or not. In virtually every book on the aquarium hobby, you'll find a recommendation to have a "quarantine tank" always ready and to use that tank whenever you obtain new fish. While the recommended times vary with the "expert" writing each book, the general idea is to isolate a new fish for a period of time (I've seen recommendations of several weeks) before introducing the fish to your tank. The theory here is that if the new fish is diseased, that condition will show itself while the fish is in isolation, so you won't be introducing a sick fish into your tank, where disease or parasites can spread from the new fish into your established tank. While I won't say that this is a bad idea, I would like to mention one small thing. Never have I read that so-called "feeder" fish (usually hapless wild guppies or plain goldfish) should also be isolated for weeks before using them as food. If just letting a sick fish swim in the same tank as healthy fish will cause healthy fish to get sick (and it can), then doesn't it stand to reason that giving disease carrying feeder fish to your fish subjects them to the same, or even greater danger? Those of you who have been reading this column for a while already know that this Undergravel Reporter is not in favor of using live fish as food for other fish. As I wrote in a previous column, I didn't go into this hobby to kill fish, either by culling or by using other fish as food for my fish. Fortunately, I have not had to do any "mercy" killings, as yet. Whether or not you agree with me, before you buy your next


bag of feeder guppies or goldfish, look at the conditions in that feeder tank. See how healthy those fish seem to be. Generally speaking, the tanks of feeder fish IVe seen in stores are not especially clean and, in fact, most of the fish are not in the best condition. Now ask yourself whether or not you may be killing your fish with your "kindness." In the past, I fed live worms to my fish. I have stopped that practice because too many otherwise apparently healthy fish got sick and even died immediately after eating the worms. This happened with several types of worms, tubiflex and bloodworms included, and from several different sources. (Much to my surprise, I had fewest problems with tubiflex worms, which are usually harvested under the most unsanitary of conditions.) One aquarium store owner confided to me that he had the same experience and that he "blanches" his worms just a little in boiling water before feeding them to his cichlids. While I'm willing to do a lot for my fish, boiling worms is not one of them! I even know of one instance where several fish died after eating dried worms, from a well known and respected maker of fish food. In that case, I suspect a bad batch, which can happen. What other ways can we aquarists pose dangers to our fish, when all we want to do is to help them grow? An all too common occurrence is the hobbyist who finds an unusually colored or shaped rock in her/his garden and decides to use it in the aquarium. Of course, our conscientious hobbyist will thoroughly scrub the rock (never using soap) before putting it in the tank. Our hobbyist will have forgotten the poison ivy killer, or weed killer, or bug spray, or just plain garden fertilizer that she or he treated the garden with last summer (or even several summers ago). The rock even with its surface scrubbed clean remains a biologic time bomb with potentially harmful and perhaps lethal chemicals deeply soaked into its core, ready to be released after a long period of submersion. Even if the hobbyist knows no chemicals ever came into contact with the rock, unless she or he can absolutely identify the type of rock (and any trace elements embedded in it), that rock can still produce toxic effects when it comes into repeated contact with aquarium water. While it may seem wasteful to buy rocks when every year your tomato patch seems to grow a new batch of rocks, it's much safer to only buy your rocks from a store that specializes in aquarium



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Dues will be collected in September for everybody. Since our change in policy, everyone's membership expires in September and dues for the year are collected then. By renewing your membership, and attending GCAS meetings each month, you can ensure that you get a copy of Modern Aquarium. There has been a great deal of interest in the magazine, so make sure you get your copy. More importantly, renewing your membership in GCAS helps to support us and contributes towards providing the funds which are necessary for the operation of GCAS. These funds allow us to have meetings each month and attract the caliber of speakers that you want. 1993-1994 was an exciting year for GCAS. We put on a fantastic, and successful, 72nd Anniversary Tropical Fish Show, and actually managed to make a little money from the show, too!! That was more of an accomplishment than may seem evident at first. Many aquarium societies will tell you that they would be glad to break even, much less make money from their shows. We also had some great speakers this year, such as Dorothy Reimer (plants), Vic Piteo (Guppies), Paul Loiselle (Madagascar cichlids), Jaap Jan de Greef (collecting fish in the wild) and Paul Giordano (pond set up and maintenance). Another major highlight was the rebirth of Modern Aquarium as a monthly magazine. All of these successes did not happen by accident and I applaud all of those who made them happen. I know how much work went into our collective success, and the results are clearly evident to those who regularly attend GCAS meetings. 1994-1995 promises to be another exciting year. Some of the speakers we have lined up include : Ginny Eckstein (catfish-if you haven't seen Ginny, you're in for a treat), Joe Gargas (from Chicago's Shedd Aquarium) as well as a Wardley speaker on fish nutrition. If there is someone you would like to have speak at a GCAS meeting please let Mark Soberman, our Program Director, know.

Brooklyn Aquarium Society presents Mary Ellen Sweeny speaking on "Fascination of Breeding Aquarium Fish" on Friday June 10,1994 at 8:00 P.M. For further information, call the BAS 24 hour information hotline at (718) 3326677. Listed below, is the proposed 1994-1995 Greater City Aquarium Society board :


President Vice-President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary Membership

Joseph Ferdenzi BenHaus EmmaHaus Greg Wuest Pat Piccione Warren Feuer

Members at Large Mary Ann Bugeia Don Curtin Mark Soberman Steve Sagona

Joe Bugeia Doug Curtin Jack Oliva Vincent Sileo