Modern Aquarium

Page 1



SEPTEMBER 1994 volume I number 7

From the Editor's o Desk


ello there. Welcome back to another year of GCAS meetings. If last year was an indicator of the direction that the club is going in, this year should be even better. And 1993-1994 was some year. There is certainly a lot more to be said about our accomplishments last year, and our president, Joe Ferdenzi has done just that in his president's message, which follows my editorial. As regards Joe's comments, let me just say "Thanks for the kind words, it's my pleasure to be able to help GCAS, and an honor to be a part of Modern Aquarium". And , while compliments are being handed out, let me say a few kind words about Joe. He's great. There, enough kind words. Just kidding. Being involved with GCAS at the organizational level has given me a true appreciation for all the things Joe does. He's always able to resolve any problems, and manages to come up with a solution that offends no one. Joe puts a tremendous amount of work into making the club successful and always thinks of ways to make it better for the membership. Many people have taken credit for our success as an organization, and, yes, they all play a part in that success. But it is Joe Ferdenzi who is the major reason for GCAS being where it is today. We all owe Joe our thanks, and I for one want to say it here. Thanks, Joe, and don't ever think about relinquishing your office. How was your summer? Although there were no club meetings, the staff of Modern Aquarium was quite busy this summer preparing for the year to come. WeVe created a monster that we want to keep going. Having almost three months to catch our breath and plan has allowed us to work out some of the kinks in the process of creating and producing Modern Aquarium that we had to live with last year. Our goal is to improve on what weVe done so far, and I think we're succeeding. When we set out to revive Modern Aquarium, we set our direction and proceeded cautiously. We did not go for any quick fixes or

short cuts, and I'm glad we followed our course of direction at the speed intended. We decided that the first issue would be in January, 1994 despite the fact that we had ceased producing our previous publication, The Network in September, 1993. There were many questions asked as to when the magazine would appear. It would have been easier to come out with the first issue earlier than we did, with several short cuts and compromises, but we stayed the course, even though as the months of preparation passed, there were times when the outlook was bleak. But, because we stayed true to our goals, the results were spectacular, and Modern Aquarium has set the hobby world abuzz since the first issue. What's my point in all this? Simply that short cuts do not work in life. Many of us have read adds stating that the use of the product presented will eliminate the necessity of ever doing water changes again. My personal favorite is the ad showing clown fish and stating that something like seven years had passed without a water change and that the fish had even spawned. Now, I'm not from Missouri (the Show Me state), but I find that hard to believe. There is simply no substitute for water changes. They can be delayed by lightening the load in a tank, and by feeding less, but water changes must be done. There is no other way to remove waste products produced by fish. Any time IVe considered a short cut, I evaluate the situation and usually find that, in the end, using that short cut will result in even more work. The fact is that there are no substitutes for the basic aquatic principles. In case you need or want a refresher course, here they are : Don't over feed your fish. Do feed your fish a proper and varied diet. Don't over stock your fish. Do make sure to mix compatible species. Do make sure to perform water changes. Do clean your gravel while changing water. Do take the time to read up on your hobby and any new species you might consider purchasing. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, proper fish keeping is really quite simple. Just remember that there are no short cuts to success, and make a commitment to do the right thing.

President's Message JOSEPH FERDENZI


s I begin my ninth term as President of G.C.A.S., it occurs to me that I am truly fortunate to be a member of such a great group of hobbyists. Last year (1993-1994 season) was an exceptionally rewarding year. Each meeting was well attended by the membership. The speakers were entertaining and informative. Our monthly auctions continue to display the diversity of the breeding and botanical talents of our dedicated hobbyists. These auctions often make available plants and fish that are simply not readily obtainable elsewhere. This is nothing compared to the camaraderie and exchanges that occur between the members. Last year (April 1994) saw the success of our 72nd Anniversary Show. Many beautiful and exotic fish were entered (along with our inaugural aquatic plant class). Again, the talents of our members were on display in the professional way the show was prepared, organized, and conducted. And, to boot, the show even made money for the club. Our next show is scheduled for 1996. The highlight of the year, for me, was the re-emergence of our society's fabled magazine, Modern Aquarium. The very first issue, published in January, 1994 caused an immediate sensation in the aquatic hobby. Here are just a few comments from some reviews appearing in other society's publications : Ray Albanese, Pisces Press (March 1994), Nassau County Aquarium Society : "If this first attempt is a portent of things to come, you'd better be first at our exchange bulletin table because Modern Aquarium is going to be much sought after." Mike Sheridan, The Reporter (March 1994), North Jersey Aquarium Society : "Editor Warren Feuer and the club look like they will be putting out a professional 3

publication. Excellent pictures and drawings as well as a color cover... Congratulations GCAS!" Besides these, the society has received many accolades (communicated directly to me) from additional distinguished hobbyists, professional writers, and other professionals in the pet industry, on the quality, both textual and visual, of Modern Aquarium. Indeed, two of our original feature articles are slated for publication in two different national aquarium magazines. That is a record achievement in an of itself. The June 1994 (Vol. 1, No. 6) issue was a landmark. Along with a color photo on the cover, there was a color photo inside, coupled with numerous excellent black and white photos and other illustrations. The editorial board really outdid itself on that issue. Speaking of the editorial board, that issue's editorial column left something to be desired. While it copiously, and quite correctly, praised the efforts of Stephen Zander, Al Priest, and Bernie Harrigan, it contained a glaring omission: the work of the editor himself, Warren Feuer. Warren has sacrificed greatly to bring Modern Aquarium to fruition. Warren continues to give generously and steadfastly of his time and talents. I take the liberty of speaking on behalf of the entire society in saying that the society is exceedingly grateful to him (and his supportive family) for the large role he has played in making Modern Aquarium one of the premiere club publications in the United States. I look forward to this year's coming achievements. Most of all, however, I look forward to our continued friendship. Let us excel in that.


Photo courtesy of Hikari, U.S.A.



ention catfish to most tropical fish keepers and what do you think will come to mind? Chances are it's the ubiquitous Corydoras\s are probably the most taken for granted fish in existence. Most people keep them strictly as scavengers, never bothering to consider them anything more. Many people even keep them believing that their Corys will eat fish excrement, as well as other detritus and mulm. Because of these misunderstandings, many Corys are kept without any attention paid to their nutritional needs. In addition, because many people don't know, or care, their highly social nature is often ignored and they're kept singly in a tank, or, merely as a pair. The truth is, Corys are fascinating, complex fish. Scientifically, Corydoras are members of the armored catfish family Callichthyidae. They share the sub-family Corydoradinae with

their close relatives Brochis and Aspidoras. Also in the Callichthyidae family is the subfamily Callichthyinae which includes the Hoplosternum and Dianema genera. In the wild, Corys can be found in South America in a distribution that spreads from northern Argentina to Columbia, as well as Trinidad. They do not get very large, on average between 2 and 3 inches, the largest being Corydoras barbatus which grows to about 5 inches, while 3 species C. pygmaeus, C. hastatus and C. cochui, at the other end of the spectrum only grow to a maximum size of 1 inch. Not suprisingly, since they are members of the armored catfish family, a Cory's body is covered by two series of armored plates and the dorsal, pectoral and adipose fins are each preceded by a "spine". These are not actually spines, but in fact are hardened and

An unidentified wild-type species of cory

Photo by Warren Feuer

various Cory groups later on, I'll try to indicate the preferences of each specie. Much of the literature that I've read indicates that Corys have very little tolerance of salt in their water, but I've never found that to be true. Let's face it, no matter how soft the water, there has to be some mineral content in it, and I can't imagine Corys to be fish that are so sensitive. As a general guide line, however, don't treat a tank containing Corys as you might a tank containing African cichlids of the Malawi Tanganyika Victoria type. These two fish should never be mixed. Although Corys are quite adaptive, they cannot adapt to the extremely hard water these cichlids prefer (I might even say demand), and the general boisterous behavior of these cichlids would be too much for the Corys to handle.

genus. These include C. aeneus, C. metae, C. arcuatus, C. rabauti and C. panda. Corydoras aeneus is probably one of the most well known of the Corys as well as most distributed throughout the hobby. In addition to the standard green C. aeneus, there is also an albino form that is widely available. Corydoras metae is one of my favorite Corys. This "masked" Cory has a black stripe running vertically from its shoulder through the eye to the cheek, and another black stripe starting at the dorsal fin and extending back to the caudal fin. All in all it is a very attractive fish and quite popular. C. metae gets its name from its place of origin, the Rio Meta in Columbia. Like most Corys, this one likes soft, neutral to slightly acidic, water. Is there any catfish fancier who has not fallen in love with Corydoras panda! This lovable little fish has been popular since its introduction to the hobby. How it was named is quite obvious, with its markings so like those of the Chinese panda. Originally from Peru, it has been bred commercially, but still commands a respectable price when available. An interesting fact about these Corys is that the water they were originally collected in was considered cool (72 degrees Fahrenheit and rather alkaline with a pH of 7.7). The acutus group, in addition to C. acutus also contains C. septentrionalis, C.

Corydoras sterbai

The Corydoras species Because there are at least 115 different species of Corydoras, there have been several attempts to break the various species down into groups. The most recent attempt, by Nijssen and Insbrucker in 1980 has the various members of the Corydoras genus divided into 5 groups : acutus, aeneus, barbatus, elegans, and punctatus. The aeneus group contains some of the most well known and available members of the Photo by Mark Soberman

Corydoras similus — the "violet" cory treitlii, C. semiaquilus and C. simulatus. Although not as well known or available as some of the other groups (certainly not the aeneus group members), this is a group of interesting fish. While researching this group I found that C. septentrionalis, C. treitlii and C. semiaquilus were each referred to while reading about the others. C. simulatus, originating in the same Rio Meta as the previously mentioned C. metae, is in fact so named because of its similarity to C. metae, its major distinguishing factor is its longer snout. When you find these Corys available, grab them, for even if you're not interested in them, there will definitely be several other Cory enthusiasts that are. The barbatus group is populated by such species as C. paleatus, C. natteri, C. erhardti and, of course, C. barbatus. If there is a king of the Corys, it would have to be Corydoras barbatus. This is one of the largest of the Corys, if not the largest, and quite possibly the most attractive. Unlike many Corydoras, whose sex can only be determined by observing the girth of the fish (the females are fuller due to the eggs they have), C. barbatus is sexually dimorphic, that is, the male and female are different in appearance. The males are darker with spangles of gold throughout their body, and have bristles on their cheeks (it is these bristles that give them their name, barbatus - bearded). In the wild these Corys inhabit water that is slightly cooler than the typical Corydoras habitat, but, like that of most Corys, the water is soft and acidic. Their native habitat, which stretches from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is in water that is clear and flows briskly.

Perhaps this explains why they have a reputation of being difficult to keep in the home aquarium. They certainly require a larger tank than many Corys would be happy in, and would seem to require flowing water such as they are used to in their native waters. Somehow, C. barbatus have gotten a reputation for being aggressive. In my experience, they are perfect tank mates, and even mixed well with other Corys in their tanks. I have been told by others that C. barbatus do indeed get aggressive during spawning.. With their requirements for cooler, rapidly flowing water, C. barbatus may be harder to keep than most other Corys, but they are well worth going the extra step for. The ability to successfully breed this fish on a regular basis would be most welcome among the Cory fanciers I know. This fish is always in demand, and there never seem to be enough of them available. Somewhat less demanding, in terms of space requirements and water conditions, is another member of this group, Corydoras paleatus. Along with C. aeneus, this is probably one of the most well known and distributed Corys. It is also one of the easiest to keep and spawn. Its salt and pepper spotted patterning make it an attractive fish. As with most Corys, the females are slightly larger and rounder than the males. Most of the specimens available are captive bred, since it is such a prolific and popular fish, and there is also an albino variation of this species available. Unlike the albino version of C. aeneus, which is quite plain, the albino C. paleatus retains the spotted patterning. The largest group is the punctatus group. Included here are C. agassizii, C. julii,

C. reticulatus, C. caudimaculatus, C. sterbai, C. ornatus, and, of course, C. punctatus. All together, there are at least 32 species in this group. Corydoras sterbai is an outstanding fish, and, just happens to be the latest addition to my Cory collection. This resident of the Rio Guapore (a border river between Brazil and Bolivia) likes typical Corydoras water conditions, slightly acidic (pH range 6.6-7.0) and soft with some current. C. sterbai is quite similar in appearance to another popular member of this group, C. haraldschultzi, the major difference being that C. sterbai has a dark head with light spots while C. haraldschultzi has a pale head with black spotting. Both fish, however, have clearly noticeable orange colored pectoral fins that are their most noteworthy trait. And finally, we have the elegans group which contains some of the smallest Corys, Corydoras pygmaeus and Corydoras hastatus. Corydoras hastatus, besides being noted for its rather small size, is also one of the few Corys that actively and frequently seeks the middle layers of the aquarium to school in, often remaining motionless in mid-water, rather than prowling the bottom of the tank as we usually expect Corys to do. There are many species that have been captive bred by aquarists. A partial list includes C. aeneas, C. metae, C. paleatus, C. panda, C. elegans and C. adolfoi. Even Corydoras


barbatus has been spawned in aquarists1 tanks, although probably not as frequently or successfully as others. Although spawnings have occurred in a variety of conditions, there are some generalities that can be applied and discussed. Of the species, the following are considered the easiest to spawn: C. aeneus, C. paleatus, C. elegans, as well as the dwarfs C. pygmaeus and C. hastatus. The following are considered among the most difficult to spawn, and not coincidentally, are probably the least frequently seen in the hobby: C. barbatus, C. sterbai and C. haraldschultzi. It is best to have a separate tank for spawning. For the smaller Corys the minimum size tank to be considered is five gallons, for the average size Corys, 15 to 20 gallons, and for the larger Corys such as C. barbatus, perhaps as large as 30 gallons should be used. It is preferable to have the spawning tank well planted with broad leaved plants such as Java Fern to receive the eggs. I would like to point out that I have had Corys spawn in bare tanks where they laid the eggs on the sides of the tank, but obviously matching nature is best. The water in the spawning tank should be well filtered and aerated, and no skipping on water changes, either. Use a dark substrate on the bottom, or, if you prefer a bare bottom tank, paint the outside dark. An approximate ratio of 2 to 3 males per female should be used as a guideline. Again, however, I have had spawnings where there was only 1 male and 1

Photo courtesy of Hikari. U.S.A.

Photo courtesy of Hikari, U.S.A.

female in the tank. This was coincidental, not planned. Distinguishing the sexes is rather easy, once they've been compared and viewed from above. The females appear broader across the body and rounder, especially as they fill with eggs. In comparison, males appear smaller and thinner. Now that youVe selected your breeding males and females and have them located in the spawning tank, how do you induce the actual spawning act? This actually starts prior to placing the fish in the spawning tank by conditioning them with a high protein diet, usually consisting of select live foods. It is felt that a water change, or dropping the temperature in the spawning tank by about 4 or 5 degrees, or sprinkling water on the surface (to imitate the rainy season?) will induce spawning. Some of these "triggers", especially lowering the temperature and simulating rainfall would possibly work better with those specimens more recently brought in from the wild. Of course, if you choose to lower the temperature in the tank, do it gradually. Spawning usually begins with the females swimming about, which results in the males swarming around and following the females. In pre-courtship most Corys abandon their slow moving nature and dash about the tank, the males in hot pursuit of the females. Potential spawning sites are inspected, followed by cleaning of these sites. Although different species show marked preferences for certain

types of spawning sites, generally the sites are off the bottom of the tank, yet not anywhere near the water's surface. These sites can be as varied as plant leaves, driftwood, sides of an aquarium, even a filter depending on the specie, but almost always where current is strongest. By strategically locating an air stone or air stones where you'd like spawning to occur, you can probably influence spawning location. Once the preliminaries are over and spawning starts there is a great deal of contact between males and females. Corys generally spawn in the early morning hours. I say generally, because this may vary between species. As spawning progresses the female will chase the male, all the while positioning herself so that she can nudge the male on his side. After some moving around and positioning by both sexes, eventually the male will clasp the female's barbels with his pectoral spines. This embrace is referred to as the "T" position. During the 15 seconds or so that this position is maintained around 10 eggs. are passed by the female into a pouch formed by her clasped pelvic fins. This is when fertilization occurs. Eggs firmly clasped, the female will move off to one of the previously selected and cleaned sites where she will open her pelvic fins and release the eggs. Since these eggs are quite sticky, they will adhere to whatever they come in contact with. Once the eggs have been deposited (sometimes after a brief rest period, or a pause to grab a quick bite) with males in attendance, the

spawning process starts again. It is entirely possible that the female will eat some of her eggs while taking a break between spawnings. One possible way to prevent this is to have some food present in the tank during spawning. Caution should be exercised, however, to prevent pollution. This spawning process can go on as many as 50 times until the female signals that she has no more eggs. Once spawning has completed, it is best to remove the parents, or the eggs. Because spawning can last for several days, it is imperative that you, the aquarist carefully observe the fish to determine when spawning is complete. Although this may result in initial predation of eggs by parents that are left in contact with the eggs for too long, bear in mind that once Corys begin spawning, they usually can be counted on to spawn frequently. In the long run, observation will result in better understanding of the spawning process, which is worth the sacrifice of some eggs. If you choose to raise the eggs in a separate hatching and rearing tank, make sure the tank's water conditions are as close as possible to the spawning tank's. As the eggs develop, they darken and the embryo becomes more and more visible. Anywhere between 3 and 8 days later (although usually closer to 4 or 5 days) the eggs will hatch. It has been suggested that bright lights be avoided during the hatching period and its probably a good idea to use a fungicide in order to protect the eggs from fungus. Another good practice is to provide aeration for the eggs Follow these precautions and your eggs will hatch and tiny fry will appear. These newly hatched babies will spend the first few days of their lives on the bottom of the tank, living off their egg sacs.

Once this initial nutrition has been used up, it is your responsibility to provide food for your new charges. Start with infusoria, such as rotifers, and then quickly graduate to small live foods such as microworms, newly hatched brine shrimp (the good old stand by), and powdered dry food. Now you are on your way to raising a new generation of Corys. Fry are especially sensitive to water conditions, so keep up those water changes. Different aquarists have had success with with water changes done as frequently as daily, but certainly not less than weekly. One reccommendation would be to raise the fry in a 20 gallon tank, starting with the water level kept low, but increasing as the fry grow. Once the three week point has passed, losses should be minimal if water conditions are kept at a high level and proper nutrition is provided. Kept properly, Corys are said to live between 5 and 10 years in aquariums. I have had a Corydoras sodalis for over six years, and this fish has lived through several "plagues," so they are obviously quite hardy. Well, readers, there you have it, a brief look at some of the largest and smallest as well as some of the best known and least known of the Corydoras species. There are many that have been left out (perhaps for another time?). I encourage you to keep and breed as many species as you can obtain and take care of. Each specie is a unique creature unto itself and should be appreciated as such. Although some are definitely more "sexy" than others af present time, each is a wonderful addition to any fish collection and should be treated as such. Just don't think of them merely as scavengers!

REFERENCES Burgess, Dr. Warren E., (1989), An Atlas of Freshwater and Marine Catflshes, Neptune City, N.J., TFH Publications, Inc. Burgess, Dr. Warren E., (1992), Colored Atlas of Miniature Catfish, Neptune City, N.J., TFH Publications, Inc.


"greeting" behavior from an angelfish or molly is always viewed as a food gathering instinct, and nothing more. Why? We accept the fact that humans form pair bonds. In fact, at one time when human pair bonding was discussed, it was generally understood to be a lifetime commitment. But, with the divorce rate growing as rapidly as it does today, some animals form longer duration bonds than do most humans. As any fish breeder will attest to, just having a male and female of the same species is no guarantee that a successful breeding will take place. I know a Betta breeder who has bred Bettas that refused to eat live worms or live brine shrimp, preferring dried flakes and dried worms. Apparently, this is a rare exception in this species. Yet, aren't these rejections (of potential mates or of certain foods) evidence of a fish selectively showing that it has preferences, likes and dislikes? If a fish can have preferences in a mate or its food, why is it so hard for us to believe it can not also have similar preferences (read this as "friendships") with fellow tank mates? Why can't fish even have preferences among its caretakers/owners? Maybe it's just that we don't want to think about the possibility that they can be judging us! Why is it so hard to accept the possibility that a fish can "enjoy" the company of people? Don't we enjoy seeing them? Deriving pleasure from observing interesting behavior is not exactly meditating on the meaning of life. I've known dogs and cats that will sit transfixed watching cars and people, or even watching television. My Betta breeder acquaintance showed me an article that appeared in the newsletter of the Bettas Buffs of Pittsburgh in February. 1992. This article, "A Tribute To Valentine" by Nancy Carr was reprinted by the publication of the International Betta Congress last year. Ms. Caneulogizes a Betta she named Valentine ("Val" for short) who would voluntarily swim into a cup in order to be placed in a maze, an activity that, by his objective behavior (as perceived by the author of the article), Val demonstrated he "liked." Additionally, Ms. Carr wrote of Val, "He was curious about everything that went on around him." Was she deluding herself -- I think not, but then again I think it doesn't matter. Naturally, we have to be careful not to infer too much from the observed behavior of fish. Yet, I read that introduction of another


male cichlid. or another female Betta in a breeding tank can spur spawning behavior. So, why can't we infer jealousy? If we see a fish that normally swims around in the front of a tank is now hiding in the corner, we often (correctly) infer that the fish is either sick, pregnant or egg laden (if female), or the target of some aggression by one or more of its tank mates. I'm going to suggest that it's O.K. to go even one step more and attribute "human" (although perhaps childish) motives to fish. If a healthy fish rejects certain foods that most of its species are known to eat, but eats other foods, the best explanation is individual preference. If a fish guards an area where its eggs or fry are, why not call this maternal or paternal behavior? True, it may be "instinct," but this might also apply in the case of humans as well. If we're willing to concede this, then why can't we at least admit the possibility of fishes feeling love, hate, interest, boredom, joy, etc.? Haven't we all seen fish that learned from past experiences? That fish we netted so easily last month now seems to "know" that the net means forcible ejection from its comfortable little world. (And ever notice it seems that all the other fish know you're not after them?) Put the net away and the object of your netting attentions seems to magically reappear (teasing you?). It's only by assuming that other people have similar motives to our own that we can function in this world (given that so few of us are mindreaders). Sure, we often make mistakes and assume the wrong motives are behind someone's action. That, (among other things) is how wars start. If you prefer to believe that your fish have taken a real liking to you for more reasons than their daily feedings, don't let anyone talk you out of that notion. You'll be a better pet owner with that attitude and your fish will probably do better. Who knows, you might have been right in your assumptions after all? (While both I and my spouse "know" that fish don't have eyelids, my spouse nonetheless swears that at least one of our Corydoras winks at us; and in a figurative sense, that might be true.) So, if you feel that your Elephantnose fish likes you to pet her (and her behavior seems to support this), don't let so-called "experts" tell you otherwise. It's your fish after all, so why shouldn't you know more about her than the "experts" do? It's only through our own observations and our feelings that we humans can

relate to and arrive at an understanding of our world. Of course, we may make some totally wrong assumptions, but that's pan of being human too. Look at it this way, your fish tank is part of your world, isn't it? Well, isn't the area outside the tank (whether in your fish room, living room, or wherever) also part of your fishes' world? If you like to watch your fish, might it not just be possible that at least one or two of your fish are interested in watching you? Then who is the observer? Perhaps both of you. Einstein proved it doesn't really make any difference whether we assume the sun rotates around the earth, or the earth around the sun, since any point can be considered fixed in relation to another. So, as I've been saying in most of the articles I've written for Modern Aquarium, let's not take ourselves (either as individuals, aquarium hobbyists, or as species Homo sapiens) too seriously. Believe whatever seems to work for you and for your fish, and act accordingly. In other words, if it works for you, use it. Because, as Einstein might say, "It's all relative."

The Undergravel Reporter UNMASKED by "The Waterlogged Journalist" rom reading several of "The Undergravel Reporter's" columns, it has become apparent that he (or she) thinks it is O.K. to decorate aquariums with plastic plants, bobbing miniature divers, and replicas of Bavarian castles. Moreover, those who think such things are not appropriate, but who use clay pots and coconut shells, are hypocrites. Such piscatorial peccadillos cannot go unanswered. I confess that I do use clay flowerpots and coconut shells in my aquariums. So what? The clay pots are used in aquariums set up for breeding purposes. Clay pots, or, more precisely, "terra cotta" pots ("terra cotta" literally translated from Italian means "cooked earth") are certainly more natural than plastic



PVC pipes. Furthermore, these breeding set-ups have no pretense at being "decorated" or "natural" aquariums. Flower pots holding plants, if used in "decorated" or "show" aquariums, are hidden by gravel, rocks, driftwood, or other plants. These "decorated/natural" tanks may contain plastic filter parts and tubing, but the point is that they are not part of the decorations, as is the case with those repulsive plastic "ornaments," e.g., the floating dog in a diver's suit. As for coconut shells, I find they are completely natural. Most of our aquarium fish come from the tropics. Coconuts grow in the tropics. They often fall from the trees into water. Eventually, they may break open and sink. Hence, they come to rest "naturally" at the bottom of various bodies of water. The same cannot be said of cottages with spinning water wheels. As for plastic plants, please! I have less of a problem with plastic "driftwood" or "rocks." At least plastic "driftwood" and "rocks" are not trying to mimic living organisms. Again, plastic plants may have some useful purposes, such as in breeding set-ups. But, to me, they have no place in a "decorated" aquarium. If you are going to use plastic "plants," you might as well use plastic "fish."



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Fin Fun What's In A Name? Some Latin scientific names refer to the person who first brought the fish to the attention of biologists and hobbyists. (We had a Fin Fun puzzle of fish named in honor of Dr. Herbert Axelrod a few issues ago.) But, do we really know what some of those names mean? For example, Macropodus means "large foot" (read "foot" here as "fin," as in dorsal and anal), and opercularis means "with spot on gill cover." So, a Macropodus opercularis means a large fined fish with gill cover spots, which is the Paradise fish. Get it? If you can't wait until next month for the answers, consult Exotic Aquarium Fish by Innes, 20th Edition, published by Metaframe Corp. First, try to match the Latin words on the left with their meanings. Trichogaster

Spiny Fish With Helmet


Winged Leaf


Bony Tongue

hastatus Osteoglossum

Hair Belly With a Spear


Flight of Stairs


With Small Scales


With Two Barbels

Now, using the translations above, give the common name for these fish: Hairy belly fish with small scales . . . . Spiny fish with helmet and spear Bony tongue fish with two barbels . . . . Winged leaf fish with stair-like dorsal fin

Answers to last issue's puzzles: •!'., ^ -, 4?lilL . . Hidden . CostS | :":; | | | | i '

RETEAH , . . ; . , . . . . . . . . . . . . ,;;,. .;>-. . . . . .HEATED

ARGEVL . .; . . , .


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