MAY 1996 volume III number 5
AQUARIUM iiiiiiiii^^ The beauty of ;the Konaku variety Kot on our ieoVer? smalces ? it ;i dear why this national '•• fish of .., Japan is :. becoming increasingly popular woricivVide. React " A Vie WiiVVith A Off f eren<;$ ?; and: "fonci ••;•:.:. Kbi " • in this isstjt||| f or ; . : more formation . . • • • , •'•:•'"'•...'••• iTI • SIX*.,! l£ Shin Nippon KyOiku Tosho C<5.r;i:::: ;
Vol. Ill, No. 5
FEATURES Editor's Desk . . . . . .
A View With A Difference . . .
Pond View Koi
Good News: The NEC Publication Awards
CttY AQUARIUM SOCIETY * Board Mem bers : ; a;/:>•:•,:. . r .''-: Joseph Fe«ii|||£
iderrt . ..;*::.;:.•... .......ServHatis urer * , . ..';-. .. -•;..^:.|s;
The Beautiful 10 Gallon Aquarium
Recording; Secretary ;, . Pat f?ipcibne ':'.•: -Members A Mary Ann: Bugeia Don Cuftp ":i;: Mark Soberman Warren
Aquarium of the Americas
Joe Bugeia 66l^:;£uj|ir|. ,:Jack.Oiiya
Committee Chairs :: : -: ' : Ji|-: : . . . •; i i :. :!!:Susafr Priest
The 1996 GCAS Show Award Results
The Oddball Files: Triangle Bushy nose
The Aquatic Greenhouse
Were You There? (Undergravel)
Wet Leaves (Book Review)
Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)
Feu$rj Assistant Editor .. ,*; Alexander Priest Photo/Layout Editor . . . Jason Kerriigr Prodtlcttori::it>ir<Sctor .-Bernard Harrlgan j&Jftorial Assistant'. i:;:;JSJffSpat11 Executive Editor . . | .Joseph Ferdenzi Printing By Postal Press Series III design concept by Stephan Zander
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 1996 by the Greater City Aquarium Society Inc., a not-for-profit New York State corporation. All rights reserved. Not-for-profit aquarium societies are hereby granted permission to reproduce articles and illustrations from this publication, unless the article indicates that the copyrights have been retained by the author, and provided reprints indicate source and two copies of the publication are sent to the Exchange Editor of this magazine. Any other reproduction or commercial use of the material in this publication is prohibited without express written prior permission. 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.
A View With A Difference: Pond View Koi Farm and Hatchery JOSEPH FERDENZI elaware County in New York State is a land of farms — much of it for cows. Japan — the land of the rising sun — is the home of the fabled colored carp known as Koi. What do these two lands have in common? Read on. But first, I suppose I should tell you a little bit about Koi. Scientifically, Koi are an ornamental form of Cyprinus carpio, or common carp. They are related to Goldfish (Carassius auratus) but Koi grow much larger than Goldfish, and can be distinguished from them by the two pairs of barbels on the upper lip (Goldfish don't have any). Koi have been bred in Japan since the early 1800's. The Japanese have developed numerous color varieties. Perhaps the most famous is the Kohaku variety, which is a snow white fish with blood red markings (see cover photo). Koi have been specifically bred to be best viewed from the top, which is, of course, the way you see fish in a pond. They are exceedingly beautiful and intelligent creatures. In Japan, they are the national fish, and are much revered. Once you have seen a truly prize quality Koi, you will never forget its beauty — I speak from personal experience.
completely unexpected. It happened because, for years now, my family has vacationed at a farm in Delaware County called Suits-Us Farm. Suits-Us is in the town of Bovina (yes, Bovina as in cows — I told you this was cow country). Anyway, when we're up there, we often drive into the nearby county seat of Delhi. While in the supermarket there, I picked up a copy of a local circular. Back at the farm, I was leafing through it when the picture of a Koi caught my eye. It was in an ad for a local Koi hatchery (see illustration number 1). Well, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. A Koi farm in upper New York State — who ever heard of such a thing? As any fish nut can imagine, I couldn't wait to call the place and arrange for a visit.
/ New York Ctty^
KOI JAPANESE ORNAMENTAL
For Ornamental & Mud Ponds. Great Algae Eaters. Spawned & Raised in Central New York. Deal Direct With Breeder
607-369-4060 Illustration 1 My experience stems from a recent event that happened by chance and was
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Illustration 2 The woman who answered the phone was warm and gracious, and dutifully explained how to get to the Koi farm. It turned out that the farm was located about 15 miles outside of Walton, which is one of the big towns in Delaware County (see illustration number 2). This put it at about 47 miles from Suits-Us Farm. However, 47 miles in Delaware County is a pleasure to drive on a bright Summer day. There are no traffic jams, and the scenery is composed of the beautiful Catskill Mountains and bucolic pastures. Driving there was a pleasure. The farm — which a sign announced as Pond View Koi — is located at the top of a hill, and the view is indeed lovely. As I drove onto the property, I could see a modern house and various other smaller buildings. Of course, what really caught my attention was the huge pond (actually, more like a small lake) next to the house.
• ., • - - : :• ..-
a day with Maria and Charles at their Koi Farm descendants of the black carp known as Majoi. Originating from eastern Asia and China, where the earliest written record of the species is found, carp were introduced to Japan by the invading Chinese around 200 A.D. In the 17th Century, Japanese rice farmers stocked their paddies to supplement their diets in the isolated Niigata region. Color mutations were first noticed in the 1800's. Many of the color varieties we see today were established during this period. Breeding "fancy" Koi was restricted to the Niigata region until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1914. 27 Koi were sent to the great Tokyo Exhibition to promote the economic plight of the poverty stricken Niigata region. They were awarded a second prize, and eight Koi were presented to the Emperor Taisho's son. The ornamental Koi had its first recognition. At the end of WWII, with the advent of commercial air travel, the export and transportation of Koi all over the world was made possible. Breeding and keeping Koi outside of Japan has increased tremendously from the 1980's to the present. Most countries are now producing Koi for their own markets. It is possible that the most beautiful Koi have yet to appear! People purchase Koi for many reasons. Some for their decorative garden ponds, others for commercial properties and enterprises. For whatever reason, all enjoy the beauty and
tranquility of the Koi. With all the color combinations, each Koi may be enjoyed as an individual. Under the right conditions, they can grow to 30 inches or more and have a possible lifespan of 100 years! People have trained them to take food from the hand. They can also be enjoyed in the more natural environment of a mud pond where they will respond to food and people. Others with mud ponds purchase them for algae control. Commercial enterprises such as golf courses, developments and office complexes have obtained Koi for many of the same reasons. Upon purchasing a Koi from us, it will be examined for any problems or potential sickness. We will not sell a fish that displays any problems. We will bag, oxygenate the water, and box the fish for transportation. The water will be treated with an ammonia lock which neutralizes any ammonia present in the water. With this, the fish can easily be transported for 12 hours. Temperature extremes are to be avoided, so don't travel with your Koi near a vehicle air conditioner or heating vent as that would result in an unhealthy temperature fluctuation. The fish would also feel safer in a location where they cannot be viewed. Upon arriving home, the bag can be floated from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature difference, before being released. Koi in new surroundings may react differently depending on the circumstances. Some will start
New Orleans SARA MONHEIT he beautiful glass-covered, state-of-theart Aquarium of the Americas, in 16 acre Waldenberg Riverfront Park, is well worth a visit while touring New Orleans. This two story 110,000 square foot facility is located on the historic French Quarter waterfront, at Canal Street and the river. It houses more than 8,000 birds, reptiles, and fish indigenous to North, Central, and South Americas. Total habitats are realistically recreated and visitors are brought into close contact with aquatic animals. Visitors can see sharks, sting-rays, red-bellied piranhas, black-footed penguins, and endangered sea turtles. The two-story aquarium is divided into five major exhibit areas which include the Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rainforest, Living in Water, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico exhibits. The 132,000 gallon Caribbean Reef exhibit includes a stroll through an underwater tunnel, where you are surrounded with aquatic life. Other displays include live coral, seahorses, and marine fish. At feeding times, divers feeding the fish use a specially designed communication system to answer questions from visitors. The Amazon exhibit is a replica of a rainforest in its dry season, complete with waterfalls, fish, birds, plants, reptiles and a pathway through the treetops. The Living in Water Exhibit explains how fish adapt their shape, color senses, and use their electrical currents in their ever-changing environment. A touch pad allows tactile exploration of aquatic creatures, such as baby sharks. The Mississippi River Exhibit includes a flora and fauna of Louisiana display. This includes a rare, blue-
eyed white alligator (not an albino). The Gulf of Mexico Exhibit has 14 foot high windows and an underwater video camera for spectacular views, where interactive educational programs are offered. Currently the exhibit titled "Sharks!" features more than 250 sharks and rays. The aquarium hours are 9:30 to 8:00, Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 to 7:00. v Admission is $10.50 for adults, $8.00 for seniors, and $5 for children 12 and younger. AAA offers a two dollar discount off adult admissions and one dollar off a child's. Phone number (504)5653033. The IMAX theater located in the aquarium has a five and one half story screen and presents various films every hour, with 4,500 watts of surround sound. These include "The Living Sea" narrated by Meryl Streep that brings you up close to humpback whales. The 3-D movie "Into the Deep," withy special headphones using infrared to present an environment that literally floats before your eyes, begins in March. Combination tickets are offered (aquarium plus IMAX) for a discounted price. While on the waterfront you may want to visit the floating Flamingo Casino, beautiful shops, or enjoy Cajun and Creole food. For the more adventurous, Mardi Gras in mid-February turns the streets of the French Quarter into one big party with parades and costumes galore.
varieties, as the plants complete with each other for the nutrients and they will not do well. Remember, less is best. Excellent starter plants are: Vallisneria and Cyrptocoryne griffithii. Three "Vals" and three "Crypts" are a good Stan. Place the Vals in the back and the Crypts in the center. Now place the six snails in the tank. Hook up your light source (seven to fifteen watt fluorescent bulb fixture with starter) to the 24 hour timer. Set it for fourteen hours of light. Seven A.M. to nine P.M. works for me. Plants need at least fourteen hours of light a day; this is more important than the intensity of the light. Too much light intensity will cause unwanted algae to form. After the fifth day introduce three small fish, no more, into the tank to start the tank's biological cycle. Fish provide nutrients (waste is converted to nitrates by bacteria) and carbon dioxide for plant growth. Feed the fish flake food initially; a small pinch one or two times a day. Do not overfeed; fish will not starve to death. Less is best. When introducing fish into the tank, transfer them first to a glass bowl and net the fish. Do not add foreign water to the tank, which could introduce bad bacteria into an otherwise sterile tank. If, after two or three weeks, these fish appear lively and healthy, you can then introduce additional fish. If you exceed twenty small fish the size of guppies, you will have to add some form of filtering system, as the waste produced will not be able to be handled by the bacteria in the water. A magnetic drive overflow (waterfall effect) filter is ideal. You will also have to make a 20% water change about once a month to remove excess waste and nutrients to prevent algae from forming and to keep the water crystal clear. This is accomplished by syphoning enough water to fill the two gallon bucket from the tank (20% for a ten gallon tank). Before the water change, 2 one gallon juice containers should be filled with tap water and be allowed to stand for a period of a minimum of two days to allow for the elimination of chlorine and to reach room temperature. Patience is the key ingredient in caring for tropical fish. I, myself, who have been caring for and breeding fish for 47 years caused a catastrophe to happen a short time ago because I was impatient. I had cleaned some aquarium ornaments, which are porus, in Clorox. Usually I would allow them to air dry for several weeks to eliminate all traces of chlorine. But, this time, I put the ornaments back in the tank after
only two days. The results of my actions were that overnight 85 baby angels (the size of a quarter) and ten exotic tetras expired. Only ten albino catfish survived. This was in a 30 gallon tank. Speaking of albino catfish, two are ideal for this ten gallon Beautiful Aquarium, as more than two would not get sufficient food. Less is best, again. Albino catfish are excellent scavengers. They just keep on eating. After several weeks the Vals should be sending out runners with baby plants attached. The Crypts can take up to six months to propagate in a similar manner. Remember, patience is the key word. When you see how much beauty can be achieved with a minimum amount of effort, you may want to go on to bigger and better things, if you are so inclined. Watching the fish swimming and the snails moving up and down the glass sides and up and over the leaves of the plants is a very relaxing and stress reducing experience. After the initial set-up and cycling time the only work necessary should be the daily feeding and the monthly water change which can be stretched over a longer period of time if fewer fish are kept. Less fish means less waste to get rid of. Less is still best. Now that you are hooked, as I am, good luck on your next 30 or 40 tanks.
Exchange Issues and Exchange Issues should be mailed to: Alexander Priest 1558 McDonald St.; Bronx, NY 10461 Correspondence to Modern Aquarium* should be mailed to: Warren Feuer 68-61 Yellowstone Blvd, apt. 406 Forest Hills, NY 11375
Class G - ANABANTOIDS 1st: Tom Miglio (GCAS) 2nd: Tom Miglio (GCAS) 3rd: Doug Curtin (GCAS) HM: Tom Miglio (GCAS) Class H - GOLDFISH 1st: Walter Knoblock (NCAS) 2nd: Ray Albanese (NCAS) 3rd: Walter Knoblock (NCAS) HM: Ray Albanese (NCAS) Class I FANCY BETTAS 1st: Al & Sue Priest (GCAS) 2nd: Al & Sue Priest (GCAS) 3rd: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS) HM: Al & Sue Priest (GCAS)
Red Flame Dwarf Neon Dwarf Kissing Neon Dwarf .
Black Lionhead Fancy Goldfish Black Lionhead Fancy Goldfish
Cornflower Blue Single Tail Red Cambodian Single Tail Bella splendens Blue Butterfly Single Tail
Class J - FANCY GUPPIES 1st: Tom Miglio (GCAS) 2nd: Robert Carpentieri (GCAS) 3rd: Tom Miglio (GCAS) HM: Tom Miglio (GCAS) Class K - OPEN CLASS 1st: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS) 2nd: Michael Weiner (LIAS) 3rd: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS) HM: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS)
Gourami Gourami Gourami Gourami
Half Black Pastel Half Black Red Double Swordtail Double Swordtail
Badis badis Rhadinocentrus ornatus Lacustris Rainbowfish Boesemani Rainbowfish
Class L - NEW WORLD CATFISH 1st: Mark Soberman (GCAS) 2nd: Mark Soberman (GCAS) 3rd: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS) HM: Mary Eve Brill (LIAS)
Corydoras gossei Corydoras sterbai Vampire Pleco Spiny Red Devil Pleco
Class M - OLD WORLD CATFISH 1st: Mark Soberman (GCAS) 2nd: Carlotti DeJager (GCAS) 3rd: Joseph Ferdenzi (GCAS) HM: Steve Sagona (GCAS)
Synodontis caudalis Synodontis schoutedeni Synodontis petricola Synodontis decorus
Class N - ART 1st: Rene Delgado 2nd: Rene Delgado 3rd: Rene Delgado HM: Rene Delgado
"Robo Trigger" "On Target" "Turtle Soup" "Din Din Time"
Next month there will be more Show coverage
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A Column by CHARLEY SABATINO
The Oddball Files: The Triangle Bushynose Pleco reading the||; articles religiously and foltowing | ii|diHcei;:;: j^ti should sfaiptMi;.; your becoming a catfish aficionado. For those <jtf vs i*ho have reached, or aspire to reach:!i (tirat !evei> Charley now presents tlie: lOddball FUei" a pertftditi loi»k at thop catfish that are out df ttie ordinary, even;; :jFor catKsb tovers. Byithe • way,; ^ven ifyou are tibt an aficionad<p i|^s always fun :-1iiii; read about new and tinusual fishl his Month's column is pan of the Oddball files where I try to introduce you to new and unusual catfish that are available. My first installment is about a pleco known by the common name of Triangle Bushynose. The Triangle Bushynose (Andstrus rannunculus) is an unusual Loricariid which is found in clearwater basins of the Rio Xingu'; initially during outings to find Hypancistrus zebra. They have shown up sporadically over the past few years in various sizes (from 4-6 inches), and they generally have cost in the $20$50 range retail. I have seen only a few pictorial references to this fish in the literature: one is a reference in which it is assigned the label "L34" (a system originated in Germany whereby undescribed species are numbered in the order they were found, preceded by the first letter of their respective family; L for
Loricariidae, C for Callichthyidae, etc.), another is in the book "The World of Catfishes" where it is identified only as an Andstrus sp., and a third was a picture in FAMA magazine where it is called a "Chubby Bristlenose". The first time I heard of this fish was about 2 years ago when a friend of mine who works in a pet store in NJ made his weekly trek to a wholesaler. When I saw him the next day he told me about "...a round thing, a pleco I think...with spikes all over it...!". Naturally, I had to know more. A week later I went to that same wholesaler and saw, with my own eyes, a tank of the weirdest pieces I had ever seen labeled "Triangle Bushynose Pleco". Of course, I bought one (like you're surprised!!!). From the side, this fish looks like a regular bushynose pleco that's been run over by a steamroller in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. From the top, it looks like a cross between a paint scraper and a snowshoe. I have seen them colored flat black to grey black, some with fine white dots. All had varying degrees of appendages on the snout. Unlike the normally seen bushynose, these appendages are thick, unbranched and seem more like thorns. The opercular odotones are curved anteriorly, and sometimes have a yellow-gold sheen on their tips, as do the first spine on the dorsal and caudal fins. The primary rays of all the paired fins are covered with odotones to varying degrees. Unfortunately, I have had trouble keeping this fish alive. They seem to come in very sick with (probably) internal bacterial infections. I lost 3 while in my isolation tank, and one died in my local pet store before I arrived to pick it up. Then they appeared once again on the wholesaler's list. I was a bit wary; but I had to have this fish. Two showed up at my favorite pet store and I studied them long and hard to pick the healthiest fish. It was all black with the yellow-gold sheen aforementioned. I was pleased to see droppings in the bag when I got home which shows that it was eating—a good sign. The fish was placed in my 25 gallon isolation tank~pH 7.0, medium to low hardness, temperature 78 deg F. I then broke my cardinal rule and medicated it, even though no symptoms were present: Kanacyn (Aquatronics), 2 full treatments as per the manufacturer's instructions. This turned out to be a good move; from the second treatment on, the fish's color began to darken, and many highlights appeared. The plates on the body became more defined; looking like the armor from the Batmobile (the
The Aquatic Greenhouse A column by VINCENT SILEO
elcome to the Aquatic Greenhouse. While you're here I would like to introduce you to some of the plants I have known and tell you a little bit about them. But before we start, I would like to familiarize you with some terminology and some commonly held beliefs. Aquatic plants are any plants which grow in and around water and cannot thrive when they are away from water. Aquatic plants may be grown submersed, completely below the water or emersed with part of the plant growing above the water level. Some people use the term "true aquatic" to describe plants which can only be grown submersed and "bog plants" to describe those that can be grown emersed. Most "bog plants" do not thrive when completely submersed, but many are still used in aquariums. Starting in alphabetical order our first species of plants is Acorus of the family Araceae. Acorus are "bog plants", they can grow out of the water and most varieties do not thrive when completely submerged beneath the water. Some of the more common varieties used in the aquarium are Acorus gramineus var. pusillus and Acorus gramineus var. varigatus. A. graminus var. pusillus is the dwarf variety, it is solid green and only reaches a height of 5 - 10 cm. A. graminus var. varigatus is variegated meaning
having more than one color, green and yellow in this case, and reaches the normal size of 15 - 20 cm. Some common trade names used for Acorus are "Japanese Rush," "Sweet Flags," and "Fan Plant." Acorus grows from a rhizome which is a modified stem. The rhizome grows horizontally along the substrate and spike shaped leaves shoot up from it. Very often the rhizome will grow in a circular pattern giving the plant the appearance of a hand held fan. Acorus will grow in a wide range of water conditions, pH from 6.4-7.0, hardness from 10-25DH and temperatures from 65 - 75 degrees F. It requires bright light to grow but can survive with moderate lighting. Plants which are grown submersed grow very slowly when compared to those that are grown emersed. Propagation from seeds is somewhat difficult due to the brief period during which germination can take place. For this reason most Acorus are propagated from cuttings. I have not had much success keeping acorus completely submerged in an aquarium. It did work fairly well in a paludarium which I have set up for fire belly toads and newts, but it still seemed to need more moisture in the air. I have a screen top on the paludarium, it would probably do better with a regular aquarium hood or glass canopy. Acorus also requires a fair amount of full spectrum light to thrive, but I have had success keeping it alive with a common shop light and clear incandescent bulb. The important thing, as with all tropical plants, is the duration of light â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ten to twelve hours of light and ten to twelve hours of darkness, so that the photosynthesis cycle is fully optimized. That's all for this time. Join us next time when we will discuss Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema) and African Spearheads (Anubias).
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Were You There? A series by "The Undergravel Reporter"
I n s p its of popularf demand Md the; contrary, this hurrio|sand information I: pbfurnn co htinues. ;As usual; it does INOT necessarily:; represent the ;S<opinJor»s of the Eciitpr, orjHofx tiie ?;G5 feat&r jXJttyf Aqjuaiffu rmSooiety.
he 1996 Greater City Tropical Fish Show is over. Many members participated. It seemed to me, however, that many more did not. Yes, I know that the location of the Show was not convenient for many and the conditions (especially the room temperature) were far from ideal. I could understand someone not wanting to risk a rare catfish or one of a mated pair of angelfish, but how many Greater City members have only those type of fish? I wonder how many people entered at least as many fish in the Show as the Breeders Award certificates they collected in the last 12 months? If every Greater City member submitted only two fish apiece for judging at the show, there would have been more fish in competition than there were. Over 20% of the awards went to persons who were not GCAS members. We can probably assume therefore that at least 20% of the entries came from non GCAS members. This makes the GCAS member participation even less. I expect Joe Ferdenzi, as the ultimate diplomat, to praise GCAS members for their participation. And, it is true that certain GCAS members did more than their share in preparing for the show, or worked during the show, or worked in taking down and putting away after the show. Not everyone can devote the time and not everyone has the skills or strength needed for those tasks. But, is it too much to assume that every member of an aquarium society has at least one fish at home that they can enter? I have frequently questioned the wisdom of Breeder Award Programs, except for rare or endangered species, or with the intent to improve or develop certain characteristics. I wonder what would happen if Breeder Award Points were only awarded after a fry that a member's fish spawned is entered in competition? (Notice I refer to such fish as fry that a member's fish spawned, not fry that a member spawned. Many times "fry happen" without any planning or
special effort on the part of the aquarist.) On the other hand, show quality fish don't often just "happen." The care and dedication it takes to raise show quality fish are exactly the qualities aquarium societies should be cultivating among their members. A fish show is not about ribbons or trophies as much as it is a recognition of, and a striving for, quality. It's also a time when we, as a Society, get to "show off" as it were to the public. Unless we promote ourselves, we will not grow and continue. Let's all start now to groom fish to enter next year. Let's focus on the hobby and the reasons we joined GCAS. Let's make our 75th Anniversary Show the biggest and best show ever! On another and unrelated note, I've heard various different versions of WHO the "Undergravel Reporter" really is. So, I'm going to share a little secret with you. But first, I want to ask if you know what Anne Rice and Stephen King have in common (besides the obvious fact that they are both very successful contemporary writers of horror novels)? Want a hint? Here it is: "Voltaire, Mark Twain, Ann Landers, and Copernicus." Did you get it? Voltaire, Mark Twain, Ann Landers, and Copernicus are each a nom de plume, which is an assumed "pen name" of an author. Many writers (Ms. Rice and Mr. King, included) have written under names not their own. Even some of the signers of our U.S. Constitution wrote under assumed names in the Federalist Papers. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the right to distribute unsigned political leaflets declared "[A]n author's decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment." This is just to let you know that "Undy" is in some pretty good company, historically and politically. As for WHY an anonymous opinion column — simply so that the issues raised will be considered on merits, not on whether one likes or agrees with the author. Anyone who wants to write a rebuttal can do so, anonymously or not. (Remember the "Waterlogged Journalist" in September '94?) As for WHO Undy is - here's the hint: NOT every word of every column is written by the same person! Yes, the Undergravel Reporter is a "they." Not even our Editor knows for sure who wrote what. So, if someone tells you she (or he) knows who the Undergravel Reporter is — she (or he) probably doesn't.