Modern Aquarium

Page 1



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Series III

Vol. II, No. 6

June, 1995


I:' : ^i::|:i:;:JON THE COVERS'


i Jj|||| tike the Aitolampro/ggas ca/vus ("tr)^KPeartY\ComprecissepSx||p ; our cover, can be; frustrating to breeii. •:?Hfs month's speaker; SDrc Paul Loisejle, of fersjiSgrrte encouragement ;:arKi:tJp5i|in his ary|!e1l:Hlf : At & First You .

||rJotd by Joe tozito

Editor's Desk


President's Message



If At First You Don't Succeed

:i: Boar cj; ; Mem bers -a Us . . -: - . . Joseph :


H aus

. Emma Haus ::;i: Greg Wtiest

Members At large i:Mary;:!Ann Bugeia | i i | i | | Joe . Don Curtiif |:::;: : : ::|i|: |1 ,:S:Oq^ Mark •. Sober; man W^ 1 1 | | | Jack • i l l V f !ncent: Sileb: ' Committee . Chaif s :; :,:.:, .. ;•.. || ...... Susan Priest Pubitcity! , , . . , . . . Bernar

... 4

Aquatic Plants: Something for Everyone


The Federation of American Aquarium Societies Publication Award Program .


Aquarium Society Dues and Don'ts


Wet Leaves (Book Review)


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)



; Art


Priest Zariiilef

i|pbut*ve;::Editar:^:i:::;:::|__ 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 1995 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.

York City; yet, 60 years later, our city has only two, ours and the current Brooklyn Aquarium Society). However, just as the focus of the New York Zoological Society sharpened over time, so must ours. We can no longer devote ourselves exclusively to the pleasure pursuits of a relative JOSEPH FERDENZI few. I believe that purely hobbyist-oriented aquarium societies will confront extinction if they n the day I write this message (April fail to evolve. 26, 1995), the New York Zoological A q u a r i u m societies must be Society, which recently changed its multi-faceted in their focus. They must strive to name to the Wildlife Conservation Society, educate and to preserve. Learning how to cross celebrates the 100th Anniversary of its founding. a red guppy with a blue guppy to get a purple An article in the New York Times (April 25, guppy, while not unworthwhile, is simply too 1995) reports on the anniversary, and offers a narrow a field on which to play our role in the glimpse of the original purpose of the Society world of the future. Our place as potential and its subsequent evolution. As the recent educators is not to be taken lightly. The name change symbolically indicates, the message of B. Dioum, a Senegalese transformation has been quite remarkable. What conservationist, should guide us: "In the end, we may have started as a Society of hunters and will conserve only what we love. We will love collectors (in part, presumably interested in only what we understand. We will understand preserving and propagating certain animals for only what we are taught." The aquarium hobby hunting pursuits) has evolved into a dynamic, fosters understanding of our ecosystems, of the multi-faceted agency dedicated to the protection interdependence of water, plants, and animal life. of all our Earth's diverse wildlife; a goal that In short, the aquarium is a wonderful teaching benefits everyone as opposed to one fostering the tool. It can be a house decoration; but, we must pleasures of a few. make it more than just that. We must promote The Greater City Aquarium Society is our hobby as would educators. Granted, we no "spring chicken" either; in a few scant years participate in public events designed to foster this (in 1997, to be exact), we will observe the 75th understanding; we publish an informative Anniversary of its founding. Yet, I do not magazine; we produce pamphlets for school believe that our evolution has been satisfactory. children; but, we must do more. Each one of Certainly, just to be in existence for 75 years is you should think of yourselves as potential quite an achievement (the significance of this educators; volunteer to do something. achievement might be underscored by noting that As for preservation, we must do more in his 1935 book, "Tropical Fishes And Home to support it. Aquatic life is threatened Aquaria," Alfred Morgan provided a list of worldwide. Even in the United States, where aquarium societies, which included seven in New economic pressures are not as great as in most other parts of the globe, aquatic wildlife is N.H. 3/55 imperilled in virtually every state in the VT. 2/88 1 £2\ IMB\ union (see the accompanying map and „ W.VA. 9/148 ,-VVS\ figures). We are small, but we are not insignificant. We have donated funds to international conservation efforts, but, we can do more. In a time when government funding is dwindling, we must dig deeper into our hearts and pockets. Our Society could donate more funds and play a greater part in preservation efforts if you would donate more to the Society. If we are unwilling to ask these commitments of ourselves, then we should not complain or exclaim surprise when history asks that we step aside and join the dinosaurs. Source: National Biological Service

President's Message



The number of native freshwater fish species that are considered imperiled, by state, and the total number of native species.

the parents were eating their fry. Careful examination of the aquarium revealed the culprit was an infestation of Hydra. In fact, infestation is probably an understatement. There seemed on close examination to be as many Hydra growing on the bottom as there were pieces of gravel. And, if this weren't enough, they were also showing up on the leaves of the water sprite. Where they came from, I have no idea. This particular tank had been set up for Tanganyikan cichlids before it was used for the Rambo curviceps and never developed Hydra. The plants that were put in the tank were assuredly free of them. In fact, I checked with the person who gave them to me who told me he never had Hydra in that particular tank and the rock work, likewise, was a most unlikely source of the infestation. The only hypothesis that seemed plausible is that they came in with the brine shrimp. However, the notion of a Hydra that can live happily in the salinity required to hatch brine shrimp and in the almost totally soft water that these fish were breeding in is almost too frightening to contemplate. In any case, wherever they came from, they were there, and in numbers and obviously nailing my free swimming fry. The problem arose how to get rid of them, or more to the point, how to get rid of them without wiping out the fish and plants. There are any number of ways that Hydra can be destroyed. One of them is to simply raise the water temperature to about 140 degrees for 2 or 3 days. This works quite effectively. It also does a fairly thorough job of turning fish and tank into a rather messy form of home bouillabaisse. I was told that Hydra could be killed with any number of chemicals. The problem is the chemicals were likely to be just as toxic to the fish as they were to the Hydra, and I wasn't really thrilled with the notion of removing the curviceps and the fry for the treatment. Finally, I read in a copy of Innes' "Exotic Aquarium Fishes" that you could get rid of Hydra by connecting a standard copper wire to the two leads of a 12-volt lantern battery and simply allowing things to proceed for about an hour's time before removing battery and wire from the system. This seemed to be a rather exotic way of introducing copper ions into the water, possibly in the form it would be more directly lethal to the Hydra and less toxic to the fish. It certainly seemed an experiment worth trying. There was no problem securing the appropriate lantern battery from my local K-Mart and there was plenty of suitable wire available at the aquarium. Shortly before lunch the next day, I set

the apparatus up as recommended in the Innes book, the battery resting on top of the tank and the 2 wires inserted at opposite ends. The recommended treatment time was an hour, so I left the system in full operation while I went off to lunch. In point of fact, the system was up and running for about an hour and a half before I was able to get back and remove the wires. It was fairly obvious just from looking at them that the Hydra were not happy. They were sort of folded in on themselves and generally looking rather discontented with their lot. Unfortunately, the fish weren't looking very happy either. Both fry and parents were sitting on the bottom with a very dark coloration and clamped fins. Apparently they didn't appreciate the copper that had been added to the water either. I quickly gave the tank a 50% water change which perked the adults up considerably. However, the fry never really recovered from the treatment and by the next day most of them were dead. Unfortunately, by the next day, the Hydra were looking a little better as well. Figuring I really had nothing to lose at this point I set the apparatus up again, ran it for an hour's time and this time it really looked like the Hydra had been done in. They were extremely infolded on themselves and several of them had actually detached from the substratum to which they had originally become attached and were floating free in the water. The adult Rambo curviceps again were looking a little peaked, but a 50% water change brought them around. Since it looked like the Hydra had been decidedly demolished, I floated a pad of poly filter to scavenge any remaining copper from the water and crossed my fingers. Sure enough, a week later, there was no sign that the Hydra had survived the second treatment. They were totally gone. The curviceps were looking good. The female had filled out and dropped an ovipositor and matters proceeded as previously described, with the excavation of a spawning pit, the cleaning of a site on the rock and the appearance of a plaque of eggs. Seven days later, we had another batch of fry and this time I'm pleased to report, they prospered mightily, providing a great deal of education and entertainment both to me and my colleagues. This particular batch of fry was raised to maturity and some of them are now on display in Discovery Cove where they are both educating and amusing the public with their normal parental behavior. It also afforded me much pleasure to photograph both sexes in full parental coloration and their typical parental behavior

with this third successful spawning of fry. So, in all respects, this particular project proved to be a success. Although, getting to that point proved to be a rather awkward and sometime frustrating experience. The most useful thing I learned from this particular episode was the necessity to match the filtration system chosen for a breeding tank with the swimming abilities of the fry so produced. I had never had problems with Central American cichlid fry in a tank equipped with a power filter, and I assumed quite erroneously that these South American cichlid fry from a quite different genus would be able to cope with this kind of water movement. This assumption was quite clearly wrong and I've learned to be rather more cautious about generalizing from one group of cichlids to another when setting up a breeding tank.

The other useful thing I learned from this particular project was a fairly effective way to get rid of Hydra: a way that, while it may not be totally benign to fry, certainly does not seem to bother adult fish to any serious extent, and I would have no hesitation about recommending the lantern battery technique of eradicating Hydra to anyone who is plagued with these notorious pests. I still, however, don't know where they came from and if anyone can shed any light on the question of whether you can introduce Hydra into a tank with brine shrimp nauplii, I would be more than glad to hear their views on the subject. In any event, this is one case where it paid to persist in the long run, and I hope that some of the readers of this article will find that my failures were at least as instructive as my success.













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"swords", Amazon, Brazilian, radican, melon, horizontal, red, double red, broadleaf, narrow leaf, pygmy chain, etc. You could stock up on only swords and still do a respectable amount of plant sales. But there are still others which I would include in this category. Some of these are Cryptocorynes, water sprite, onion bulb plant, Anubias, Nymphea bulbs, Aponogetons and banana plants. The Singular Varieties can be broken down into the following sub-categories: Crown Plants: These are mainly the swords and Cryptocorynes, both of which need additional iron to maintain a deep green color and for continued growth. As mentioned above, only plant the roots of these plants paying careful attention not to cover the "crown." As with any plant, prune off any discolored or dead leaves or roots prior to planting. The roots of these plants should be white but may be stained if they were grown in soil. Rhizome Plants: These include Anubias, Bolbitis, Microsorium and Lagenandra. A rhizome is a fleshy stem which usually grows horizontally just above the surface of the gravel or soil. Unlike true roots, a rhizome has leaves and buds and, if cut apart, will grow into a new plant. Roots grow downward and leaves grow upward out of the rhizome. As with the crown, it is important not to bury the rhizome, only the roots. This type of plant can also be tied to a porous rock or piece of driftwood with a piece of fishing line and the roots will eventually attach themselves to the rock or driftwood. This is very popular among discus hobbyist who do not want to use any gravel or soil in their tank because it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. / Tubers and Bulbs: Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea maculata), Dwarf Asian Lily (Nymphaea stellata), Onion Bulb Plant (Crinium thaianum) and Madagascar Lace Plant (Aponogeton madagascarensis) are some of the varieties that belong to this group. These do best just lying on top the gravel with the roots (if any are present) buried. Crinium is the only true bulb which is characterized by a mass of overlapping leaves on a short stem which serve as a source of food for the plant. Crinium propagates by sprouting a new stem at the base and thereby starting a new bulb. Nymphaeas, Aponogetons and Barclayas are tubers which are short, swollen food-storing stems. Tubers have buds (eyes) on them which grow into new plants. The new plant gets its nourishment in the form of starch from the tuber until it is mature enough to develop roots.

As with all the previously mentioned aquatic plants, only the roots of the bulbs or tubers should be planted under the gravel. The bulb or tuber should be resting just above the gravel. If the plant has only few or no roots it is possible to plant the bulb or tuber half way into the gravel with the leaf growth pointed up until the plant has produced enough roots to hold it in place. Be careful to keep detritus from building up around the bulb or tuber. When buying plants as bulbs or tubers without any plant growth evident, it is difficult to determine whether the bulb or tuber is viable. The first thing to look for is the condition of the bulb or tuber. Give it a hard squeeze. A healthy bulb or tuber will feel hard to slightly spongy. But watch out, if it is rotted inside it may explode all over you and the smell is less than desirable. Once you have all the bad tubers and bulbs culled out, place the good ones in an aquarium with good circulation, heat and light. Some will sprout within a few days, others may take a few weeks and there may be still others that seem like they will never sprout. After two to three weeks, take out any unsprouted bulbs and start moving them around to other aquariums every couple of days. Very often this is the only stimulus they need to get started. If you still don't see any growth, the bulb is probably no good. Floating Plants: Many retailers don't carry floating plants simply because they don't display well hi the average display rack of aquaria and because they are a little more difficult to divide into equal portions for sale. Yet, in many ways floating plants fill a niche which no other plant can satisfy. Any one who has seen a tank covered with floating water sprite (Ceralopteris pteroides) with the delicate roots hanging down to form an intricate labyrinth for baby fish to hide in can attest to this spectacular sight. By providing a shade cover, floating plants create an oasis for shade loving fish such as clown loaches and bushy nose plecos. Floating plants also provide the proper lighting for other plants like dwarf African spearhead (Anubias nana) and Asian water fern (Bolbitis heteroclita). Other floating plants that will do well in the home aquarium include Azolla caroliniana, frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum), duckweed (Lemna species), and butterfly fern (Salvinia articulata). The requirements of these plants are simply slow moving water and a full spectrum of light. I have seen some types of floating plants get by for a while under cool white fluorescent or yellow incandescent light, but they really thrive under a full spectrum florescent bulb.

Careful care and selection of aquatic plants can result in a planted aquarium such as the one in our centerfold. Photo by Dino Barbarisi Continued on page 12



Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)



The Federation of American Aquarium Societies Publication Award Program Results of the 1994 Competition


he Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS) is composed of aquarium societies in the United States, Canada, Central and South America. Its main purposes are to further the growth and activities of aquarium societies; to serve as a mechanism of communication among aquarium societies; to promote the maintenance, propagation and growth of tropical fishes and other aquatic life forms; and to represent aquarium societies before governmental bodies. FAAS has a Publication Award Program to recognize the efforts and contributions made by aquarium society publications to promote interest in the fish hobby, share information, and encourage communication. For the first time GCAS entered this Award Program with articles published in Modern Aquarium in 1994. While we did not have any entries in 6 of the 22 possible categories any one Society could enter; to put it mildly, we did well. The submission process was time consuming, requiring extra effort by Al and Susan Priest, who volunteered for this task. Thanks to them and congratulations to all the winners! See the January, 1995, issue of Modern Aquarium for our 1994 Index of articles. •Best Editor/Publication More than 6 issues/year 1) Calquarium - G. Kostera - CAS 2) Modern Aquarium - W. Feuer - GCAS 3) Aquatica -J. Todaro - BAS Number of GCAS Entries - 1

•Best Spawning Article - less than 500 words 1) Australian Desert... - D. Clendinnen - SCAS 2) Corvdoras burgessi - D. Grzanka - MoCAS 3) Dwarf Hoplosternum... - D. Grzanka - MoCAS Number of GCAS Entries - 4

•Best Editor/Publication 6 or less issues/year 1) Cichlidae Communique - Zadnick/Taylor - PCCA 2) SCAS Journal - D. Grover - SCAS 3) Aqua News - A. and D. Sarslow - MAS Number of GCAS Entries - N/A

•Best Spawning Article- 500 to 1,000 words 1) Dwarf Croaking Gourami - I. Lees - CAS 2) The Silver Torpedo - S. Lundblad - SCAS 3) Telmatherina antoniea - P. Farrell - RSG Number of GCAS Entries - 4

•Best Non-Changing Cover 1) Youngstown Aquarist - C. Smith - YATFS 2) Tropical Topics - L. Croddy - IAS 3) The Reflector - J. Bilbrough - CNYAS 3) CAFE Menu - CAFE Number of GCAS Entries - N/A

•Best Spawning Article - over 1,000 words 1) Observations on Bantom... - D. Cook - CAS 2) Sticks and Sticks... - J. Moran - GCAS 3) Desert Goby - D. Ayres - YATFS Number of GCAS Entries - 4

•Best Changing Cover 1) Calquarium - CAS 2) Modern Aquarium - S. Zander - GCAS 3) El Oio De Agua - Carmelo Matos - AAA Number of GCAS Entries - 1

•Best Article on a Family of Fish 1) Rating The Loricarids - W. Feuer - GCAS 2) Fish For Beginners - C. Morfitt - BFAAS 3) Victoria's Secret:... - C. Rambo - PCCA Number of GCAS Entries - 2

•Best Exchange/Review Column 1) Current Exchanges - R. Leemis - GDAS 2) Cichlids In The News - K. Plazak - PCCA 3) Fireside Reading - H. Padgett - CCAC Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Marine Article 1) Biotopes For Beginners - T. Quinn - SCAS 2) A Few Words Of... - T. Quinn - SCAS 3) Reef Tank - T. Lewandowski - GPASI Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Continuing Column by One Author 1) Anatomy Of A Coral - J. D'Agostino - BAS 2) Ask Pam - Pam Chin - PCCA 3) DCAS Voice Box - J. Yanik - DCAS Number of GCAS Entries - 2

•Best Horticulture/Aquascaping 1) On Plants - K. Schoeler - MAS 2) The Basics of the Aquarium - F. Greco - BAS 3) Aquarium Plants For... - W. Feuer - GCAS Number of GCAS Entries - 2


•Best Show/Judging Article 1) On Your Mark. Get... - W. Chriasty - CAS 2) Home Show Hints - R. Pon - CAS 3) Showtime. It's... - L. Pattenaude - MeCAS Number of GCAS Entries - 1

•Best Article on the Traveling Aquarist 1) Two Rare Flowers... - R. Serva - GAAS 2) Elephant Butte Lake - C. Kuhne - GCAS 3) About The Stores R. and P. Coogan - KAS Number of GCAS Entries - 1

•Best How-To Article 1) Killifish Killer Worm - D. Sweet - MoCAS 2) Repairing Your Aquarium - P. Alvis - KAS 3) "On Line" Information... - R. Pon - CAS Number of GCAS Entries - 3

•Best Collecting Article 1) A Close Encounter... - C. Morfitt - BFAAS 2) The Puzzle Of... - J. Yanik - DC AS 3) no entries Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Article on Society Management 1) I Didn't Know... - R. Sams - GPASI 2) CCAC Makes Contrib... - J. Nees - CCAC 3) Get Involved... K. Smith - YATFS Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Article Not In Other Classes 1) Back To Basics - C. Morfitt - BFAAS 2) Better Living... - T. Quinn - SCAS 3) Concepts of Hardness - B. Resech - MAS Number of GCAS Entries - 9

•Best Article By A Junior Member 1) Breeding Neolampro... - A. Archibald - BFAAS 2) Junior Jottings... - J. Duran - YATFS 3) Starting Brine Shrimp... - C. Grimbly - CAS Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Humorous Article 1) Letter Perfect - T. Janssen - CCAC 2) Steph's Folly... - S. Topping-Zander - GCAS 3) The Other Side Of... - N. Palso - GPASI Number of GCAS Entries - 2

•Best Article on Live Foods 1) Collecting and Feeding... - D. Sarslow - MAS 2) Piscine Cuisine - Vinegar... - P. Price - CAS 3) Wolffia: Great Food... - P. Unmade - RSG Number of GCAS Entries - None

•Best Artist/Cartoonist 1) E. Shim - CAS 2) W. Klockers - KAS 3) J. Finn - PCCA Number of GCAS Entries - 2

•Best Review Article 1) Wet Leaves... - S. Priest - GCAS 2) Book Rev. Baensch... - C. Morfitt - BFAAS 3) Plant Books I... - M. A. Angros - GPASI Number of GCAS Entries - 3

•Author Of The Year 1) J. Ferdenzi - GCAS 2) C. Morfitt - BFAAS 3) W. Feuer - GCAS 3) J. Baily - CNYAS Number of GCAS Entries - 3

Key To Society Abbreviations AAA - Asociacion de Acuaristas de Aguadilla BAS - Brooklyn Aquarium Society BFAAS - Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society CAS - Calgary Aquarium Society CCAC - Circle City Aquarium Club CNYAS - Central New York Aquarium Society DCAS - Delaware County Aquarium Society GAAS - Greater Akron Aquarium Society GCAS - Greater City Aquarium Society GDAS - Greater Detroit Aquarium Society


GPASI - Greater Pittsburgh Aquarium Soc., Inc. IAS - Indianapolis Aquarium Society KAS - Kitsap Aquarium Society MAS - Minnesota Aquarium Society MeCAS - Medina County Aquarium Society MoCAS - Motor City Aquarium Society PCCA - Pacific Coast Cichlid Association RSG - Rainbow Fish Study Group SCAS - Southern Colorado Aquarium Society YATFS - Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc.

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115-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418



G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS THANK YOU! At this time, we would like to thank the following sponsors who generously donated products to Greater City Aquarium Society. We encourage our members to support these companies by buying and using their products: Aquarium Systems, Inc. ,,,:::#^:Hagen Corp. '^^^m^^,,..,. ^x^,K.^i^f^'" La Mpjjt Company "::::%,,

Perfecto Mfg. Seachem Labs, Inc. Tetra Tropical Fish Hobbyist Wardley .&MK-:-



Let's welcome Monica and William Knack as o(ir newest GCAS members!



, ! .th^i results of theiiMavi-Bdwl Show: :||§: ^ 1st: C. DeJager (black aniel) ::::2li?SlZander (A. cacatoutdes); 3rd: Doug Curtin ( '/> black guppy)

;;The Editoriai::;$fa1f wtfitfiixn A(^^nie^j^jjaf-:\<)\i^e best Society publication Mtnf iio|>|)y. sflFnis mpa1|;fwe report wirniii^|iJ!i:;awards in competition with top Society publications fr<tt&J31;.pver ,|^9fifh, Central and Sout||)||te)t:ica. Last month,, ;\^e reported winning,. awafdS||in publications from all oV|r:|%^orit|0!^t UmteS:;S|i||s.) But, "detritus happens" nd, ;some|iiijes, we do make mistakes. cpr|ect some errors and omissions;; in oafMay i;pie: 1P;;;::::-'. The"::eqyer photo was by Joseph Fer%Bjsi^:TuStiJpe Lozito |:v .:-:':!::':v:x:|:::;:. ..


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iiiSl^orrect tite:':o"i;|||g,,article winning first:::pri?efinstrie North Ai||arniin Societ«?|; 19^4 c^rftpetwfroh*;a^ reported on page 15, shduldi have: read: "It 'l^iiy^tpolldiCike A R||| Paddy w$|pt Rices*||itty") b '

GCAS does or August. Our next meeting will be September 6. Members who are entered in our "Fish: Fry" contest::::are: remindedjto'^biijtplhe' best specimen from the Haplochromis sp. "Flamebacks" they have^be^hKraising to the September meeting for judging. Dues for our 1995/96 meeting year should be paid at the September meeting. Our dues remain at $15 dollars for a member (and that person's immediate family) and includes 10 issues (one for each month we meet) of modem AQUARIUM, our award winning magazine. Please have your checks, made out to "Greater City Aquarium Society," or exact change ($15), ready. Finally, the success of modem AQUARIUM depends on the willingness of our members to contribute articles. Our Editorial Staff will work with you to help you put on paper your experiences: good, bad, or just different, in the aquarium hobby. Talk to any modem AQUARIUM staff member (listed on the Contents page), if you are even considering writing an article.


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