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modern

AQUARIUM

OCTOBER 1994 volume I number 8


modern

AQUARIUM ;;;Jl||f

ON THE COVER

fn an article this ismonth, the nicknarne "peacock of the rice paddy" is-given! io the Betta sptenctens- Our front cover shows some ofJitne beauty andsvariety of this easy to:;e:are: for fish. ForSatta breeding: tips art|:lnteresting facts/ read "it Doesn't Lookpike A Rice Paddyi" Photos by Sue and A) Priest

Series

Vol. I, No. 8

October, 1994

FEATURES From the Editor's Desk

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The President's Message

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It Doesn't Look Like A Rice Paddy

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GREATER CiTY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members President . . . , i , . . . Joseph Vice-President

y y - - - - . . . Bert

Treasurer , . ..;,:.;:. . . . . . Emma Haus

Betta Splendor

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Corres. Secretary ,., . , . Greg Wuest Recording Secretary.'.'.. „ . Pat Pjcciqrie Membership . .,.;:, . . . . Warreri FeUer

Bob McKeand: An Unauthorized Biography

Members At iar^e : Mary Ann Bugeiav :Jo& Bugeia Don Curtin Opug Curtin Mark Soberman ...; Jack Olivra Steve Sagona Vincent'Sijeo

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Badis badis So Nice, They Named It Twice!

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MODERN AQUARIUM Editor <;:.:. . . .w. . , . , Warren;Feuer Assistarvtf£ditor::?; . , . AJexanderi Priest Art Director . ,.:i;:'!;.'.>.. , Stephan gander Advertising Mgr,:, . . .• Mark Sobermah Executive Editor:^ \ -.-; Joseph Ferdetizi

The Rules - According To Me

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Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

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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 Feuerat (718)793-8724.


From the Editor's Desk

S

ometimes, things are just not as they appear. At first glance, for example, the small tank would appear to be the ideal first tank for a beginning aquarist. The small tank does not take up much room, seems relatively inexpensive, and easy to take care of. This could not be further from the truth. True, a small tank does not take up much room, but this also means that there is not much room inside the tank for keeping fish. This soon becomes a problem, as most beginning (as well as many intermediate and advanced) aquarists want to keep as many fish as possible. A small tank just does not give you room to grow. While the purchase cost seems to be small, in fact, small tanks are really quite cost inefficient. Compare the 5 1/2 and 10 gallon tanks From a size standpoint, these tanks may seem similar. A 5 1/2 gallon tank is 16 inches long X 8 inches deep X 10 inches high. A 10 gallon tank is 20 inches long X 10 inches deep X 12 inches high. Not much of a difference on first glance. In fact, the two tanks are as different as day and night. I have both sizes in my current possession and have found it almost impossible to successfully maintain the 5 1/2 with more than 1 or 2 fish, even small ones. Presently, my 5 1/2 holds a Paradise Fish and a small Clown Pleco, and is mostly used as a plant tank. A great deal of maintenance is required to keep water quality high. Definitely not a tank for a beginner. In comparison, I have several 10 gallon tanks that I'm currently using and find them more than twice as capable of holding fish as the 5 1/2 is. There are good reasons why the ten gallon tank is one of the mainstays of the hobby. For one thing, the 10 gallon tank is actually less expensive and much more cost effective than the 5 1/2. It has been my experience that the purchase price of a 10 gallon tank is almost always less than the price of a 5 1/2. In addition, I have found that many 5 1/2 gallon tanks leak, or at least, don't seem to be sealed that well. Because of its small size, the 5

1/2 gallon tank often gets set up with filtration, heating and lighting systems that are either under- or over- powered, but rarely just right. The 10 gallon tank is perfect for spawning all but the largest of species and can be used for raising spawn. Indeed, you can even raise (at least) a pair of many fish in a 10 gallon tank. The little bit of added space that a 10 gallon tank occupies as compared to a 5 1/2 gallon tank can go a long way towards making ones first tank a success. It would also seem, at first glance, that goldfish are ideal beginner fish, especially when purchased along with a tiny 1 or 2 gallon bowl that they are so commonly sold with. Do I have to comment on this? If the goal is to purchase one of these small bowls, a goldfish is anything but the fish to place in this bowl. Much, much preferable would be a Betta, such as the Betta splendens that figures so prominently throughout this issue. Both Al and Susan Priest address the keeping of Bettas, so I don't feel the need to write much more on the matter. Read their articles and decide for yourself. O.K. You say you went out and bought a 10 gallon or larger tank, an appropriate heater, filter and hood and want to stock this first tank with fish. What should you get? There are several choices that could be made, none of them really better than any other, merely one's preferences and indicative of the wonderful flexibility of the hobby. One way to go might be with some live-bearers such as platties, mollies and guppies. Another choice would be some of the heartier tetras such as the black, serpae and bleeding heart tetras. Perhaps your fancy might be some of the colorful active barbs like the tiger and rosy barbs and even the black ruby barb. A mix of some of the above tetras and barbs would do quite nicely as well A dwarf cichlid, such as the "Kribensis", Pelvicachromis pulcher, is a great fish to start with also. I have had the pleasure of helping several friends and acquaintances set up their first tanks with some of the above listed fish, and, most of them are still keeping at least that one tank, while in several instances more tanks have been set up and fine aquarists have developed. Unfortunately, some of these people were given incorrect information on first asking, and came to me for help. They didn't accept those first glance impressions and are better off for it.


The male's role has now become that of a "little soldier." Few things in my life have impressed me as much as the hard work and dedication to his task of this little male betta. He stands guard under the bubblenest tirelessly, after days of building it and of coaxing and spawning These fish are not shy about being his mate. Sometime in the next 24-48 hours, the watched as they perform their private mysteries. The male will embrace the female by wrapping eggs will undergo the miracle of changing into fry. his body around hers, cradling her in the horseshoe-shaped space he has You will probably created. As you watch him need a magnifying glass to see Your Bettas AVtU Need caressing his mate, his the tiny tails hanging down Breeding tank reputation for fighting is far from the bubbles. The father Heater betta will earn your highest from your mind. He gently squeezes her, and as her eggs respect after his many days Aged water are released, he is fertilizing and nights of work as he Plants them. After each embrace, replaces the fry that fall from Styrofoam cup the female will float to the the nest. Some of them will Hurricane lamp sleeve surface while the male is jump down and then back up Light retrieving the sinking eggs in into the bubbles, rather like Air stone & Pump his mouth. The eggs are fleas. When the fry begin to Tank cover swim horizontally, in another white, flat, oval shaped, and *Thfi:; >P": word day or two, it is time to about the size of a pinhead. While she recovers, he is depositing the fertilized remove the male, and give him some of his eggs into the bubblenest. favorite food. I would like to mention here that there are two theories about feeding the male while he Sometimes the female will be ready is in the breeding tank. One says that if you for the next embrace before the male has put don't feed him, he will become hungry enough the eggs in the nest, and he must hold them in to eat the fry. The other says that if you do feed his mouth while embracing her. him, it will stimulate his appetite, and he will eat the fry. It has been our experience that if you The first few embraces may produce no offer the busy father a meal, he does not eat it. eggs at all, or only a few; but later on there may There are two more things you must add be 20 or 30 eggs at a time. The embraces will to the tank at this time. Put in a slowly bubbling be repeated many times, and may continue for a air stone, for the purpose of breaking up any few hours. Every time you think there can't be film that may form on the surface of the water. any more eggs, there are! Sometimes one or You should also put a cover on the tank. When both fish will eat a few of the eggs. If this the betta fry start to breathe air, it is crucial that happens, it will usually be a small percentage of the air be very humid, and of the same the total. Anyone who has ever raised a batch of temperature as the water. The experts agree to fry knows that less can be better than more, but disagree on when this will take place. I have it is frustrating to watch. read estimates of from 2 to 6 weeks. You will When there have been several see the fry going to the surface for air more and unproductive embraces, it is time to remove the more regularly. Plan to keep their tank covered female to a bowl. At this time, you can also for at least 8 weeks. remove the hurricane sleeve. Now is the time to add a low wattage light, leaving it on day and night, until the fry are swimming and l| The older a betta becomes, the eating well. its oxygen. when removed from the tank, the fish usually will have torn fins and bites. To The cover can be a piece of glass, or lessen the risk of infection, we put them in some plastic food wrap. It shouldn't be air-tight, BETTAMAXâ&#x201E;˘, an antibiotic and vitamin just provide a warm, moist atmosphere above the "tonic" available in most larger pet shops. water. if yOU have a reluctant bride, try adding a second female to the tank. Jealousy might provide the push she needs.

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Once the fry have started to swim, they will have absorbed their yolk sac and you must begin to feed them. Most literature on this subject recommend infusoria as a first food. By now, there are some naturally occurring infusoria in the tank. The bubbles of the nest provide nourishment for any infusoria in the tank. I I have never prepared an infusoria culture. There are commercially available "baby foods." Two that we have used are Wardley's "Liquid Fry" food and Tetra's TETRA-MIN baby fish food, both for egglayers. (Each of these come in livebearer formulas, as well, so make sure you get the right one.) These have to be fed in minute amounts, several times throughout the day, to keep from fouling the water. You should also start small daily water changes at this time. A baster is a good tool for removing water while not disturbing the fry. The betta fry will soon require more nourishment than these first foods can provide. Before the end of their second week, you should be feeding them newly hatched brine shrimp a few times a day. All betta photos in this issue are by Susan and Alexander Priest

After a couple more weeks, you can add one feeding a day of very finely ground spirulina flakes or other vegetable-based fish food. Proper attention to the feeding of the fry is the most important thing you can do to help them reach their potential as adult fish. They will also be outgrowing their tank and you will soon have to move them to larger quarters. The males should be given their own bowls as soon as you can identify them, but the sisters can be left together quite peacefully. If you and your fish have gotten this far, congratulations! I know you are all enjoying your success. Anyone who has read the list of things "Your Bettas Will Need" is wondering what the "P" Word is. It is that intangible, indispensable element — Patience. You will need it right from the start. It is likely that one fish from the pair you have chosen has other ideas about who should be co-parenting its offspring. The opportunities for individual behavior only increase from there. Expect the unexpected; nature is famous for it! Author's Note The "we" that I refer to I several times includes my husband, Alexander; my partner in all things.

SUGGESTED READING FLARE — The publication of the International Betta Congress (IBC). For membership information, contact: Steve Van Camp 923 Wadsworth St. Syracuse, NY 1 3208 "Bettas and More" — A monthly column written by Dr. Gene Lucas for Freshwater And Marine Aquarium (FAMA) magazine A Complete Introduction to Bettas by Walt Maurus — T.F.H. Publications Bettas, Gouramis and other Anabantoids, Labyrinth Fishes of the World by Jorg Vierke — T.F.H. Publications A Beginner's Guide To Bettas by W.L Whitern — T.F.H. Publications Labyrinth Fish by Helmut Pinter — Barrens Educational Series


males away, the male Bella splendens "flares" its fins for much the same reasons. When a full-finned betta male flares, it can be an awesome sight. The male will flare at a male in a neighboring bowl, or at its own reflection in a mirror. This flaring, and its aggressive behavior towards others of its own species, have earned Betta splendens the name of "Siamese Fighting Fish." Males must be kept in separate bowls because of their aggressiveness towards each other. In a community tank, bettas are more likely to be picked on by other fish than to be the aggressor. They are relatively slow, graceful, swimmers that cannot hide or avoid attack as easily as fish with slim bodies and shorter fins. Bettas can co-exist with other peaceful fish, if the other fish do not have finnage which too closely resembles that of the betta. Strangely enough, however, most bettas actually seem to "prefer" to be in separate bowls. I've often put bettas in tanks with other fish and without fail, they lost their color, stopped flaring and allowed their fins to droop or held their fins close to their bodies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all these are signs of stress for bettas.

The Perfect "Beginners" Fish Many a child has been reduced to tears and many goldfish have been doomed to an early demise when "free goldfish" have been given to children at amusement parks, store openings and street fairs. Goldfish need water with a high crxygen content, and demand good quality water with adequate filtration. These things are typically lacking from most "goldfish bowls." On the other hand, the betta doesn't need a heater, filter, or airstone. The typical goldfish bowl is perfect for the average betta, who needs only food and an occasional water change. I do not, however, recommend the betta bowls usually sold in pet stores. Personally, 1 use a bowl that has about 50% more capacity, and which allows it to be stacked. Flat sided goldfish bowls are perfect for bettas (and, in fact, are similar to the type used in competition). I've kept bettas in one quart plastic tanks at work, next to my computer. They thrived. One seemed to enjoy being "petted" and would take food from my hand. I believe they enjoy watching (and being watched by) people as much as we enjoy looking at them.

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asleep or on vacation somewhere. From what I've read, the Badis badis female sheds her eggs on the surface of a stone, and the male sheds his milt over them. What I did witness was one day the female was nowhere to be found and the male, who was pitch black, was reluctant to move away from the plastic bridge ornament even when I put food in the tank. Eventually the female came out from behind something. The male did not seem to be molesting her but I removed her to the community tank anyway. About 2 days later I spotted the wrigglers under the bridge. For the next couple of days I spotted

the same clutch of wrigglers in different hiding places in the tank as, apparently the male moves it around for their protection (or, simply to annoy me!). Within a week all the fry were free swimming and at this point I removed the male. The fry grew rapidly on vinegar eels, microworms and newly hatched bnne shrimp. I bred my Badis badis a few years back and unfortunately I no longer have them. If, however you ever stumble upon them do give them a try. They're unusual, pretty, undemanding and fairly easy Breeder Award points.

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Fin Fun The Betta Bunch While Betta splendens is the most well known Betta, it is by no means the only one. In the left hand column of the box below are the scientific names for some other bettas. In the right hand column are some common names for those same bettas (but not necessarily on the same line as the corresponding scientific name). See if you can draw a line connecting the common name with the scientific name. Betta imbellis

Banded Betta

Betta bellica

Emerald Betta

Betta climacura

Brown Betta

Betta fasciata

Slender Betta

Betta fusca

Banded Fighting Fish

Betta macrostoma

Peaceful Betta

Betta smaragdina

One-Spot Betta

Betta taeniata

Large Mouth Betta

Betta unimaculata

Laddertail Fighting Fish

Through The Labyrinth In the box below are scrambled names of some other anabantoids. See if you can unscramble them. SIKSIGN RAMIGOU . . . APRAISED SHIP TODDET KEANHADES GLIBCIMN CREHP ,

Answers to last issue's puzzles: What's In A Name? v ;:Tfichogaster , . . . .^;;. . . . . . . : . , . . . . . . . . ; . , ,S'-.-. . . . Hair Belly

microlepsis < . . . . . ; . . . . , : , , . , . . . . . . . . . . . ; ' , . , . .. ;;Whh Small Scales Corydoras . . . . . . . . . Spiny Fish With Helmet hastatus . . . . . . . . . , , . . , , . . . , . . , : , . . . . . . . With a Spear; Osteoglossum , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -I;::-. . .•".'.; . . Bony Tongue: bicirrhosum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - > , ....'. . ; i ^... . . . W i t h Two Barbels Pterophyllum '.. . S,, . . . . . . . Winged Leaf scalare , Flight of Stairs Hairy belly fish with small scales .. . . . . . . . r. . .Moonlight Gourami Spiny fish with helmet and spear . . . . . . . . . . . . . .•£%• . . Pigmy catfish Boney tongue fish with two barbels . . . . . . . ^ . . . . .'',-...... Arowanai Winged leaf fish with stair-like dorsal fin . . . . , ; . . . Angel fish

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Modern Aquarium  

OCTOBER 1994 volume I number 8

Modern Aquarium  

OCTOBER 1994 volume I number 8

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