Modern Aquarium

Page 1





volume II number 10






Vol. II, No. 10

December, 1995


On ;ptjr : cover trjis month ijar Poecifia reticuteta. Learn: about the cafe ar%f breeding of ; : -Shpw : qual tty i ariey g uppies '.M ni: : '• " 6uide;;J|b:;: Cham pioriship sjSbow. ' Guppies"; by ^Slepheft *:kw^l&**n this: is sue.; ; : : %••;.; ' '' '"""••:' • • ; " : ; ' : :;: llllll Photo by Joseph :Ferdenzl CREATED CrfY AQUAR}UI« SOCtETY

Editor's Desk


In Memoriam — Herb Fogal


Hobbyist Profile: Steve Kwartler


Guide to Championship Guppies


Catfish in Isolation


: : .iiijiSoard Members President ..;;.. . .-, Joseph

. . .


. f i e r i Haps • • • ; •

Members^ At Large : "-. Mary Ann Bugeia-K : Jo&'Bugeta Dpn:Curtin: ; :V v^Doug Ciirtin Jack Olivst Steve Sagoha : Vincent Sileo •Warreh Feuer

Lessons Learned The Hard Way


Then And Now


. Alexander Priest . Stefrfian Zatilpier % Mark i:

G.C.A.S. Happenings


PM Ptccipne Executive Editor . ... , Joseph Ferdenzi

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


| Bernard :Harrlgan


MODERN AOU ARUM ^Assistant Editor;! Art Dir€K^tor; •»..,', Advertising :Mgr.

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 Inc.. a not-for-profit New York State corporation. 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 8:00 P.M. Meetings are held at the Queens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact Warren Feuer at (718) 793-8724.

3fn Jltmorjam Herb Fogal 1929 - 1995 n October 27, 1995, Herb Fogal, age 66, passed away after a protracted illness. It is important that Greater City notes his passing because Herb played an important role in the development of Greater City. Herb was the President of the Society for two terms, from 1973 to 1975. Undoubtedly, however, Herb's most significant contribution was his service as Executive Editor of Modern Aquarium (Series II) from October 1970 (Vol. Ill, No. 1) to June 1974 (Vol. VI, No. 10), a total of 35 issues. This was, by far, the longest tenure of anyone as the Editor of the magazine. During his editorship, the magazine achieved a very high level of quality and, hence, popularity among the hobbyists of the day. Production of the magazine required a great deal of work. In this he was assisted by, among others, his loving and able wife, Joan, who survives him. Herb's attitude about Modern Aquarium can best be described in his own words from his November 1973 Editorial: "Four years ago this magazine was turned over to us. With the help and good nature of the people who have worked with us, it started to grow little by little. Our hope is that it will continue to do so. We may never become strictly commercial, but our goal is still for quality NOT quantity." Those who knew Herb can tell you that Herb was not shy about expressing his opinions. His editorials were often scathing essays directed at those who were not perceived as conducting themselves hi the best interests of the hobby. Indeed, it was altogether fitting that Herb's monthly editorial column was entitled "Both Barrels," and prominently featured a drawing of a smoking double-barreled shotgun. Herb was an active fish-breeder, specializing in goldfish and large cichlids.

He was the first person in the club to breed Oscars, Astronotus ocellatus. The very first Breeders Award Certificate that our Society ever issued, Certificate No. 1, was given to Herb for his successful breeding of that fish. (For that matter, Herb also had Certificate Nos. 2 and 3 for breeding other fish.) Steve Grubel, the current owner of Cameo Pet Shop in Richmond Hill, remembers Herb as the first person from whom they bought home-grown Oscars. While other hobbyists were firmly aware of Herb's accomplishments in the aquarium world, perhaps only a few knew of his accomplishments elsewhere. Herb was a distinguished war veteran. He was the recipient of two Purple Hearts for being wounded on two separate occasions. In addition, he was also awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. Herb, in other words, was a real American hero who put his life on the line for his country. Besides his wife Joan, Herb is survived by his two sons, Richard and Michael, and several grandchildren. His family must surely agree with Herb's long-time friend, and fellow Greater City member, Gene Baiocco, who said that now that Herb is in Heaven, he must have, at least, an 80 gallon aquarium to play around with. Herb, the Society will always remember. JOSEPH FERDENZI

Hobbyist Profile:



n the 1950s, '60s and early '70s, New York City was home to one of America's (if not the world's) leading fancy guppy breeders, Paul Hahnel. Hahnel was one of the giants of the hobby. Because he lived in The Bronx (the Northern most borough of New York City), Hahnel was often involved in activities of the Greater City Aquarium Society, as documented in the 1969—74 series of Modem Aquarium. This brief historical note provides the setting for the introduction of the hobbyist who is the subject of this article: Steve Kwartler. Steve, like Hahnel, is one of the country's leading fancy guppy breeders who happens to live, of all coincidences, in The Bronx. Steve was bom and raised in The Bronx. He recalls that he discovered his first fish tank when he was about five years old, and rummaging about in his parents' closet. There he found an old aquarium belonging to his father, who had previously kept some tropicals. Steve convinced his mom to let him set it up. Next, off they went to a local pet shop. There, Steve bought his first fish. What else? Guppies! Steve remembers them fondly as the "feeder" type — i.e., the original strain from the wilds of Trinidad and Venezuela. So began a love affair, which, on and off (Steve did find time to get married), has culminated in his present preeminence in the guppy world.

Steve Kwartler (left) with GCAS member Francis Lee Photo by Joe Ferdenzi A recent visit to Steve's home revealed a basement fish room of some 200 tanks, full of beautiful varieties ofPoecilia reticulata (the guppy) in sparkling clear water. One look at this fish

room makes it apparent that Steve is a meticulous breeder who practices rigorous aquarium maintenance. Steve is very careful about feeding his fish: a couple of light feedings each day is his rule. He also ages his water in several 32 gallon plastic garbage pails before using it for water changes. Steve has a drain in the floor of his fish room into which he pumps the old water. Believe me, Steve has a method for success. It is also apparent that Steve is a true specialist. His tanks, consisting almost entirely of the five and one half and ten gallon size, are bare of just about everything but guppies; no gravel, no plants, no other fish (well, I think I did spot a few albino Cory doras catfish in a couple of tanks). With so many tanks, this simplicity undoubtedly assists in "housekeeping" chores — bare bottoms make it easier to syphon waste from the bottom, no plants means that lights are not needed, and one kind of fish means that water chemistry requirements are uniform. This simplicity is surely needed when you are raising as many quality fish as Steve, on top of which, let us not forget, Steve has a family to raise and "the day job" to keep. Steve's devotion to the guppy hobby is also evidenced by his stellar participation in various societies. Foremost, he is the current President of the International Fancy Guppy Association (IFGA). In that capacity, he is striving mightily to keep the IFGA at the forefront of the hobby as one of the world's oldest and leading guppy associations. He is working to better its publication, improve show standards, computerize membership information, and to make sure that the IFGA leaders are accessible to the members, among other things. He is also actively involved in his local club, the East Coast Guppy Association, whose membership includes some of the finest guppy breeders in the Greater New York area. Steve's basement is a testament to his participation in the organized hobby - show trophies are everywhere (which is also a testament to his keen eye for good fish), as are hobby magazines and correspondence from other hobbyists. Despite his many honors and achievements, I found Steve to be modest and unpretentious, with his only goal being the betterment of our hobby. He often attends and speaks at meetings of general aquarium societies in order to promote guppies and the IFGA. It is clear that he is in this hobby for the greater good. Of course, Steve still devotes much time to breeding and raising his outstanding guppies. How does he do that? Well, what follows is Steve's own words on that contained in an article he wrote for those interested in quality guppies.

shrimp. Recently I added a conditioning food as well as an egg flake. I crush all the flakes until it becomes a fine powder. I feed only a pinch of food to each tank every hour or so. Never over feed to compensate for being away from your fish. When feeding, pay attention to each tank and observe to see that the fish are active before you feed them. When a tank of guppies are not attacking the glass when you approach the tank, do not feed them. Adding food to that tank can create a problem. Uneaten food or improper feeding or overfeeding is to me the number one killer of tropical fish. Try to be consistent and follow some sort of feeding timetable each day. If I can assist you with any questions or problems please feel free to call to call me any weekday evening. This applies to everyone whether you purchase fish from me or someone else. ABOUT MY STRAINS All my strains are set and breed true. Some variations will occur in some lines. Overall, they breed better than 80% true. Most offspring will develop into show quality fish. By proper breeding, accurate record keeping, and a basic knowledge of raising fish, you will be able to maintain strains for many years. HALF BLACK AOC Symbol of the These are my favorites. I have been breeding H/B aoc's Fancy Guppy for many years. [Ed. note: all other colors refers to tail and dorsal] I have developed several different lines with different patterns. I have won the IFGA Championship in this class for the past five years. Besides having dark half black bodies, the dorsals and caudals have a beautiful matching pattern. Some varieties have blue or purple variegated patterns. My half black leopards are another variety. Each variation is a separate line and will breed true. Also each line will cross well with one another. HALF BLACK ORCHIDS This strain is shown in the half black purple class. A solid purple caudal is the feature of this strain. Developed by crossing blacks, greens, and purples together several years ago helped produce this strain. Most of the fish on the show bench in this class are descendents from this strain. I recommend keeping a line of

normal purples to cross back from time to time. This will help insure that the purple will not become too dark in future generations. H/B PASTELS I acquired this strain from Elvis Bryant of Missouri several years ago. One of the most popular fish on the show bench. This strain has a half black body with a caudal and dorsal of almost pure white. When young the males seem to have yellow tails. As they mature they lighten and turn almost pure white. Breeders from this strain should be set up at an early age. Older virgin females (in my experience) seem more difficult to impregnate. BLUES This strain is also very prolific. Originally from Shubel stock. I have been maintaining this line for several years. A very popular seller. Crosses well with several strains. REDS Developed from stock acquired from Fred Fragass, which was a Shubel strain. This strain is of a golden body with the males carrying a red dorsal and caudal. The males from this line are also used to keep my half black reds from becoming too dark. HALF BLACK REDS After several years of International breeding, this line is now Association producing quality show fish. It is necessary to use a gold red male every three to four generations to help keep the good red color. PURPLES Several years ago I acquired this line from Terry Wasylink. At the time his purples were among his best show fish. I believe this was a line originally developed by Stan Shubel. I have been line breeding this strain since. I have found this strain to be very compatible when making crosses into other strains to increase size or color. I would not have been able to develop my H/B Purples without this strain. All males have good caudal to dorsal matching. This line is very prolific. I recommend this line to all beginners. AOC/PASTELS Originally acquired from Dave Poluana




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if this is good advice. My first tank was a run for about a week. Then I add a few fish to twenty gallon hex tank that I kept as a really get things going. During the break in community tank, basically experimenting by week I usually sprinkle a small amount of flake trying out different fish and keeping those I liked food into the tank to keep the bacteria going. I while trading in those that I didn't. One of the had decided to use a few Corydoras paleatus and fish that made the grade was the kuhli loach. In some velvet sword tails as the initial inhabitants fact, I had several in the tank. They are one of of the tank. Several weeks after adding the fish, the most innocuous of fish, often hiding. A I noticed some white spots on the glass of the problem developed in this tank and the fish were tank. At first, I thought they were water spots. dropping like flies. My attempts to medicate the However, closer examination revealed them to be tank failed and the result was an almost complete Cory eggs! The fish had actually spawned in a wipe out. With no other choice, I decided to tank being cycled. Several days later there were break the tank down. While doing so, I came baby sword tails as well! So much for the sterile upon the carcass of a dead kuhli loach that was environment of new tanks. completely covered by some sort of fungal At the present time, I'm enjoying growth. This dead kuhli had allowed the keeping and breeding Lake Tangynikya cichlids. bacteria to proliferate. If I had removed the To that end, I was fortunate enough to receive kuhli when it died, the tank probably would not several of Joe Ferdenzi's "daffodils" have been wiped out. I just never looked for it. (Neolamprologus brichardi or elongatus). I After that incident, you would have thought that placed them into a 20 gallon long that I had set I had learned, but it took another disaster to up specifically for them. Several months later, finally teach me. I had a thirty gallon tank that while on a "road trip" with some of my fellow contained a group of fish keeping friends, I Lake Malawi mbuna. >_— i became enamored with One of the main fish and obsessed with /"Remove all' \d fish in the tank was a large some Neolamprologus male Pseutropheus brevis (as chronicled lombardoi that totally in my "Struck by |A Lightning", in the dominated the tank. V Expect the The tank was September 1995 issue decorated with pieces of Modern Aquarium). Unexpected \2 I was assured by my of artificial coral and friends that I could put the lombardoi had hidden in the hollow the brevis into the tank with the "daffodils" middle of one and died, unknown to me. and that all would be By the time I realized that the fish was missing fine. and found it, it was partially decomposed and a Imagine my surprise when war broke very unpleasant sight. The smell was disgusting, out and the poor brevis became instant victims. to say the least. In addition, the bloated, rotting Despite my every effort, I could not successfully body polluted the tank beyond belief. I had to keep the fish apart while in the same tank and quickly remove the dead fish, perform a 90% eventually had to place the brevis in their own water change, and diatom the tank before I could tank. From these two incidents and several bear to go near it. Imagine how the fish in the others like them I have learned to expect the tank felt! Luckily, I didn't lose any other fish in unexpected and always be prepared. that tank due to my lack of diligence, but it was No matter what excuse you may have, close. The message? Look for, and remove all and there are many, you must have a quarantine dead fish. tank. As you begin to keep more and more fish Despite what some people may think, and invest more into the hobby every new fish keeping fish is not boring. There are often added is a time bomb waiting to go off and unexpected events that keep you on your toes. destroy your sense of well being (as well as the Here are some that happened to me: health of the fish in the tank they are added to). I was cycling a 29 gallon tank for I myself am as guilty as anyone. Several times eventual use as a South American in the past I have set up quarantine tanks only to community/biotope tank. The procedure I follow have them become full time abodes for new fish. when cycling a new tank is to use gravel and Since I live in an apartment that I share water from an existing tank and let the filtration with my wife and two children, available space

is always a problem. So, for the most part, I've mentioned Pimelodus pictus cats and a done without a quarantine tank. On a few Hypostomus pleco that I'd had for about six occasions, I have added new fish and caused years. I managed to save the rest of my minor disasters, but for the most part I've been wonderful catfish collection in that tank, lucky. Finally, my luck ran out. Things began including the decorus, but it was close for innocently enough when I added a new fish to several weeks, and several times I went into the my 75 gallon community tank. The fish (whose tank to remove a dead fish, only to find it was identity shall remain hidden to protect the still alive. Now, several months later, it all innocent) was purchased at a reliable pet store seems like a nightmare. However, I did learn from someone who knows what he's doing, and my lesson this time. I've dedicated space for a seemed to be in great shape. At first, the fish tank that will only be used as a seemed to settle into its new environs quite well. quarantine/isolation tank. Its set up is really It swam about the tank and seemed to fit right in quite simple; one ten gallon tank, one fifty watt with the other members of the tank. All went heater, one aged sponge filter that runs in well for about a week. One day I could not find another tank until needed, and a glass top. I the new fish, search as I might. Since the fish make sure to put some gravel from an existing was a Loricariid (pleco for you non catfish tank into the quarantine tank at start up time and types), it was not unusual for the fish to be I take about six gallons from one of my tanks hiding, although that had not been its behavior and place it into the quarantine tank. Usually, I up to that point. The next day I found it dead, take water and gravel from the tank that the new and removed its corpse from the tank. Then, fish will go into once the quarantine period is disaster. First I noticed that my two angelicus over. The advantage of this set up is that the catfish (Pimelodus tank can be as pictus) were hovering ^^^^ _ temporary as I want it near the surface, not ~~^^~ to be, and then be set /Make space Âť their usual location. up and ready to go in a matter of hours. Within two days they for and were both dead and Never again, however, will I allow myself to quite a few other utilize a be w i t h o u t a members of the tank Quarantine quarantine tank. To looked equally close to the same condition. reiterate the point, Tank Oddly enough, for the make space for, and most part there were utilize a quarantine tank. no visible signs of Well, there disease on many of the fish. Two of my you have it. Some of the lessons that I've learned. I hope that you've silver dollars, however, looked like lepers, with come away from this article with some new skin peeling off their bodies and several more of my catfish were at, or near the surface of the knowledge that will help you in your fish tank, although not gasping for air. I should keeping. If you have, then this effort has been mention at this point that, although I hate to lose a success, if not, then you too may have to learn them the hard way. any fish, these were especially difficult deaths. I had the angelicus cats for almost six years and the silver dollars for over eight! Ouch! I was totally at a loss as to what to do. I noticed that my Synodontis decorus seemed to be covered with white spots, similar to ich, although none of the other fish had any spots. At least I now had Exchange Issues one symptom to work with. I had been feeding the fish medicated food, and now I combined should be mailed to: Alexander Priest that with doses of Malachite green. I also did 1558 McDonald St.; Bronx, NY 10461 50% water changes every other day, and ran my Correspondence to Modern Aquarium diatom filter in the tank every other day as well. should be mailed to: Warren Feuer In the end, I wound up losing one of my silver 68-61 Yellowstone Blvd. apt. 406 dollars, a rather rare Leporacanthicus heterodon Forest Hills, NY 11375 (see Lee Finley's article in the December 1995 Aquarium Fish Magazine), both of the previously

\e Issues




Fin Fun Celestial Bodies The scrambled words in upper case letters represent the "celestial" part of the name of some fish whose common names refer to things and activities which are definitely not earth or water bound. (For example FINGYL fox would be FLYING fox.)

EHTIW OLDUC minnow IWRONAB fish KTOCRE panchax NIMOSOHF platy RATSYR woodcat ESSTUN gourami DERIAAPS fish GLANE fish THWEI RATS tetra .

SOLUTION TO NOVEMBER, 1995, PUZZLE: IT'S ALIVE! Anableps anableps Jenynsia lineata Ameca splendent Characodon audax Girardinichthys viviparus Skiffia bilineata Xenotoca eiseni Belonesox belizanus Phallichthys amates amates Phallichthys amates pittieri


Four-eyes One-Sided Livebearer Butterfly Goodeid Black Prince Amarillo Black-finned Goodeid Red-tailed Goodeid Pike Livebearer Merry Widow Orange-dorsal Livebearer