JUNE 1996 volume III number 6
From the Editor's Desk
here's nothing like new love. That feeling of your heart beating faster and your pulse racing. The rush you get whenever you see the object of your desire. It's all that you can think about and talk about. Everything you do reminds you of that special one. On the other hand, don't ever play down the merits of a long time relationship. One that has been built over time and forged with commitment and trust is not an easy thing to achieve, or cast away. The two seem mutually exclusive, don't they? How can you have a new love, and, at the same time continue a long term relationship? Maybe you live in a country that allows multiple spouses. But, wait a minute. Who says that we are talking about spouses, or even human relationships? This is, after all, a magazine for aquarists. By now, of course, you realize that I'm talking about your relationship with your fish. It is certainly exciting when you add a new specimen to your collection, especially if it's a fish you've wanted for awhile. I know that when I pick up a new fish, I often check on it first thing each day when I get home from work. Of course, I stop to say hello to my wife and children first. Once I'm sure that all is O.K. in the Feuer household, I make my way to my quarantine tank (yes, I am finally practicing what I preach and using a quarantine tank religiously for all my new additions!) to check on my new fish. Once I've ascertained that my new treasure is doing well, I take a look at each of my other tanks, just to make sure that everything is as it should be. For while there is the definite allure of the new addition, I deeply treasure those fish that I have a long term relationship with. For example, I have a pair of Silver Dollars for over eight years. My Snow King Pleco has been in my keep for over seven years! These fish have been in my household longer than either of my children. Of course, they can't walk or talk, and
they certainly can't use a computer to learn reading and arithmetic, which my son does. Still in all, for me, having kept these fish for this amount of time is quite an accomplishment. Especially when you consider that I once thought six months un-attainable. I know that some of our members like to keep a fish only long enough to breed it and then move on to another species, and that certainly helps to prevent boredom. I myself have followed this practice. But, I also have more than a few fish that I intend to keep as long as they live. Some of these are unique, rare fish. Some have grown so large that moving them is difficult enough, not to mention the guilt I would feel if their new home turned out to be somewhat less than hospitable. It was with great difficulty that I parted with my Tinfoil Barbs after 6 years. However, they had grown way too large and I was fortunate to find a great new home for them in Bernie Harrigan's store. Luckily, Bernie had a large enough tank to house them. Bernie also has my complete faith in his ability to care for them. I don't think I could go through that anxiety again. I know I'm not alone in this practice. For example, the Curtin brothers have a strain of Guppy that they've been keeping for over forty years! Now that's a long term relationship, and one to be applauded. Well friends, another June is upon us. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the continued success of Modern Aquarium. as well as to all who helped make this a memorable year for Greater City. In September, we will begin celebrating our 75th Anniversary. Plans include the 75th Anniversary Fish Show. As usual, lots of help is needed from all. So have a great summer and come back in September ready to get involved. Remember, Greater City is only as good as the sum of the contributions of our members. What can you do to be more involved? Bring fish to the Bowl Shows. Participate in the Breeder Award Program. Write articles for Modern Aquarium. Bring in fish you've bred or plants you've grown to our auctions. Play an active role in the 75th Anniversary Show. Don't take the attitude, "if I don't help someone else will". Maybe someone else will, but you will be missing out. Have a great summer! Warren Feuer
JOHN MORAN ynodontis multipunctatus, a Lake Tanganyikan catfish, is sometimes referred to as a "multi". Multi- (Latinmuch, many) punctatus-(Latin-dotted)referring to the many dots or brown spots covering the tan to cream body of this beautiful catfish. So much for the language lesson. At 5:OOPM on Sunday I went down to the fishroom to give various fish fry (Haplochromis sp. 'flameback' and Astatoreochromis alluaudi), and an assortment of other recently acquired young African cichlids their second feeding of the day. They get lucky on the weekends. Afterwards, I sat down in front of a 55 gallon tank, threw in some flakes for the four adult flamebacks, two Labidochromis caeruleus, and five Synodontis multipunctatus cats. Ahh, how nice to be off my feet for a while. I knew there was a relaxing reason for keeping fish! In most fish tales people tell how their fish recognize them and come out and dance around when they enter the room. Mostly they are talking about cichlids and others of that ilk. In my tank, the multis come out of their caves to greet me and do the FEED ME NOW! dance in front of the glass. The cichlids (flamebacks and caeruleus) go into hiding until they can actually see the food particles floating by their caves. I think everyone should know that multis, corys, dianemas, and some pimelodids are also smart enough to greet their keepers and dance for food. (Is this a pro-catfish article or what?!) Anyhow, the multis began their usual feeding frenzy and I seeded back to watch. Shortly thereafter, little brown and white spidery things began swimming from between the dark cracks in the rocks (Welcome to the Twilight Zone, pilgrim!) that make up the aquascaping, along with some Java fern, in this particular tank. I hurredly stumbled upstairs for my glasses and a flashlight. Even with the flashlight and glasses on I couldn't really believe what I was seeing! There were three baby multis, at least 1/2" long, swimming around in the shadows! They appeared very fat and were sucking down whatever flakes were falling into the caves. They worked over both sides of the rocks- even inverting to go over the ceilings of the caves. My adult multis don't ever seem to do
this even when feeding from the surface. The fry were very short and stumpy compared to the long sleek shape of their parents. They seemed to be mostly fins. I guess that when these fins (pectoral and dorsal), large for a fish this size, are erected and locked in place it would take a rather large mouthed fish to have them for dinner. (Is that why puppies have such big feet?). In fact, they seem to spend all their time with these fins fully extended and seemed to be nearly oblivious to the much larger fish around them. These babies were very dark and blotchy. They had two or three dark vertical bars alternating with a cream color on their sides, one or two dark blotches on their heads, and white lines on the edges of their fins. This blotchy and barred coloring is not at all like that of adult fish. I'll have to watch carefully and see how the color changes as they grow.
S. multipunctatus juvenile patterning We've all read countless articles and books about multipunctatus' cuckoo breeding behavior, so I won't repeat it again here. (But if you're not familiar with it, see reference articles.) This reproductive style is usually reported with much larger cichlids (big Haplochromis, Aulonocara, Pseudotropheus, etc.) from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika, rather than with Lake Victorian cichlids such as flamebacks. The flameback females in my tank are barely 3" long including the tail. The male is no giant either perhaps 41/2" long. I was aware that two of the female flamebacks had been carrying eggs for at least the last two weeks, but since they were so small I never really expected multi breeding to occur in my tank. I must admit to crossing my fingers
Conditions in this tank must be "right" enough however, since the flamebacks and the multis both bred. The only reason, so far as I can tell, why the Labidochromis have not is that both appear to be males! As I sat nervously watching the baby multis swimming in the shadows I worried that they would be eaten by morning. But, as I watched, several adults touched them with their barbels and ignored them. At this point, being unable to contain my astonishment and excitement I decided to call Joe Ferdenzi and share the good news. In the course of our conversation (my yelling and jumping up and down, and his attempts to calm me) he suggested that I write this article. (He could probably write a better one about all the nuts that call him at all hours of the day and night!) In panic, my response was "But Joe, that means I'll have to take the pH of the tank!" If the fish are getting along and acting healthy I usually don't bother testing the water. So, here's how I maintain these fish. The bottom of the tank has about 1/2" of crushed coral mixed with ordinary aquarium gravel. This coral helps keep the water alkaline, as it is in the rift lakes. Slate or bluestone is piled up half way to the surface along the back of the tank creating lots of caves and hideouts for the fish. Many crevasses are planted with Java fern. A few pieces of ocean coral are strewn about the bottom. The tank is filtered by an Aqua Clear 200 power filter containing two nylon pot scrubbers, a mesh bag of crushed coral, and the sponge that conies with the filter. There is no charcoal or ammo chips. The tank is lit by a 15 watt flourescent bulb on a timer for about 14 hours a day. The oil burner that warms the fish room, as well as the rest of the house, keeps the tank at 75Â°F. The fish are fed almost every day from one or two of the following: basic flakes, spirulina flakes, brine shrimp flakes, Tetra bits, shrimp pellets, Tetra Doromarin, and Hikari Marine-A. Fifty percent water changes are done almost every week. In addition to about 20-25 gallons of unadulterated fresh water straight from the tap (chlorine and all), I add five tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1/2-1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2-1 teaspoon of epsom salts. This is something like the formula Joe gave me when I got the flamebacks, my first African cichlids, as fry 15 months ago. Hopefully this turns our soft-acid New York City water into hard-alkaline rift lake water. (I finally did test the water â€” the pH is 7.4 and the dH is 9). The flamebacks bred for the first time in October 1995. At that time I pulled the female and raised the babies in a separate 10 gallon tank. I was lucky enough to get 40 fry that time.
The multis came from four different pet stores. I've had one since 1993 and the others were purchased at various times during 1994. They do not seem to have grown any larger in the time that I have had them. So, how do fish know when it is spring? The tanks are in the basement. Day length stays the same, temperature stays the same, water conditions are nearly the same, yet the flamebacks in one tank, and the Astatoreochromis alluaudi in another tank, both bred the same week in late February, and apparently, so did the multis. The alluaudi fry were released last week. Despite the large size of the young multis (compared to cichlid fry) it is possible that they were "born" (released) only a day or so ago. I do watch my tanks fairly closely and this was the first sighting of the multi fry. One magazine article mentioned fry 1/2" -2/3" long, at release, and only two or three at a time. It is also reported that multi fry prey on the cichlid eggs and embryos while they are being carried in the female's mouth. This would explain their large size at "birth". There are no baby flamebacks anywhere to be seen in the tank and both flameback females are no longer carrying eggs in their throat pouches. Getting these fish to breed and raising the fry was easier than any others I've done. Simply provide a large tank with rocks and caves, get five or six multis and a small harem of mouth brooding cichlids, do water changes, and sit down and relax. The fish will eventually do the rest. Try it! The most wonderful thing about this whole experience was that the babies were so huge that I did not have to raise brine shrimp to feed them. I HATE raising brine shrimp! Multi fry at the 1/2" size eat little pieces of whatever I feed the adults. Well, if you've read this far, I guess the secret is out: Synodontis multipunctatus catfish will breed with small, mouthbrooding cichlids from Lake Victoria too! All photographs are by the author REFERENCES 1. Colditz, G., Feb. 1992, The Strange Life of Synodontis Multipunctatus: Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Vol. XL, No. 6, Pg. 130-134 2. Taylor, E.C., Apr. 1995, The Man Who Would be Synodontis King: Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Vol. XLIII, No. 8, Pg. 84-105 3. Allen, B.,Jun. 1995, Breeding Synodontis Multipunctatus: Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Vol. XLDI, No. 10, Pg. 146-162 4. Scheuerman, I., 1990, Aquarium Fish Breeding: Barren's Educational Services Inc., Happague, N.Y., Pg. 94 5. Sands, D., 1986, A Fishkeepers guide to African and Asian Catfish: Tetra Press, Morris Plains, N.J., Pg. 66-67 6. Ferraris, Dr. C., 1991, Catfish in the Aquarium: Tetra Press, Morris Plains, N.J., Pg. 79-80 7. Burgess, W., 1989, An Atlas of Freshwater and Marine Catfishes: TFH Publications, Neptune City, N.J., Pg. 190
The Aquatic Greenhouse A column by VINCENT SILEO
Aglaonema Chinese Evergreen is a common name that has been used to describe a number of varieties of plants. The Chinese Evergreen which I have come in contact with most often in the aquarium hobby have been of the Aglaonema family. Aglaonema 'Silver Queen' to be more exact. As with many of the plants used in the aquarium hobby, there is some debate as to what the correct common name is. That is why I prefer to use the Latin name when describing plants. Whether I am speaking to a supplier in Asia or South America or Europe; the Latin name is always the same. Aglaonema 'Silver Queen' is a tall plant by aquarium standards, reaching a height of 8 12 inches. The leaves account for half the height of the plant and can be 2 - 4 inches across. It is used most commonly as a centerpiece. Dark green with white horizontal stripes, Chinese Evergreen makes a striking appearance. I did not have much respect for this plant's use in the aquarium while I was in the retail market of the hobby. We would receive Chinese Evergreen two to three times each month because it sold very well, but we didn't have any success keeping it alive in the store for more than a few weeks. If we couldn't keep it alive, how could we expect our customers to? So, I would steer my customers towards plants which I knew would thrive in the aquarium. Now I know that we were mishandling the plants which arrived as cuttings and could not be kept completely submerged. Like many plants used in the aquarium Chinese Evergreen comes from swampy areas where the plant adapts to the water level. At times the plant may be completely submerged while at other times the plant is only partially submerged (emersed) with the base under water and the upper portions of the plant above water. The plant is propagated by cutting of the rhizome. Since growth does not
occur when submerged, and the rhizome will get no larger, most suppliers grow this plant in an emersed state. To get Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) started successfully you must first pot it in either a plastic net pot with rockwool or a clay pot with fine gravel. Then place it in a temporary aquarium tank with only enough water to cover the pot and the lower third to half of the plant. Then cover the tank with a cling wrap or tape a large clear plastic sheet over the top. Provide any type of fertilizer you care to use, but only to the water in the tank. Mist the plant as often as possible. The optimum would be every 1 5 - 3 0 minutes, but most of us do not have that much time. When I did this, I was only misting 5 - 6 times a day and the plants did great. Once the plant has been kept in this state for three - four weeks, start looking for new root growth. Once the root growth has become evident, you may transplant the Chinese Evergreen to the aquarium. You must move the plant and pot into the aquarium to be successful. Do not remove the plant from the pot. Chinese Evergreen does not have any other special requirements in regards to water conditions and lighting. Other varieties of Aglaonema go under the following common names: Malayan Sword, Borneo Sword, Kelatan Sword and Dwarf Kelatan Sword. Follow the directions here and you should be successful with any of them. Anubias Spearhead plant is the "common" name for this family of plants, but they are more commonly known by their Latin name, Anubias. Perhaps the most common is the Dwarf Spearhead, Anubias nana. This small, dark green plant with round leaves has become one of the most popular aquarium plants for a number of reasons. First, they do not need or even do any better under bright lighting. They actually prefer partially shaded areas. Second, they are a very slow growing plant and respond to changes in their environment very slowly. So if the water conditions are less than desired for a period of time, this plant can hold out until the next water change without falling apart on you. And finally Anubias nana is a very pretty plant, complimenting, but not detracting from the other fish and plants in the aquarium. Anubias come from the river banks of Western Africa. Growing on a riverbank, these plants are exposed to various degrees of submersion. Since Anubias nana is a dwarf, and doesn't grow much taller than three inches, it
fishes and other aquatic life forms; and, to represent aquarium societies before governmental bodies. FAAS actively promotes breeders and horticultural award programs and makes slide and video tape presentations available for the exchange column member societies. Member societies (such as Greater City) receive the bimonthly publication FAAS Report. Individuals can also subscribe (only $8 for those who are members of FAAS member societies). For that, you get a publication which keeps you ALEXANDER A. PRIEST up to date on important legislative issues (not surprising, considering why FAAS was formed his column is not a list of articles in in the first place). The last two issues have had other publications, nor is it a list of our a discussion by FAAS President, Maxine articles that other publications reprinted. Gorsline, on the use of cyanide in collecting fish. This "Exchange Column" is about the exchange Hopefully, there won't be another threat to our of ideas and what can be learned from other hobby as great as that which caused FAAS to publications. The concept of an exchange of come into being. But, should such a threat arise, ideas among aquarium societies is not new. it's nice to know that aquarists have an alert and However, few organizations are as active or capable advocate in FAAS. effective in this area as the Federation of Member societies can have upcoming American Aquarium Societies (FAAS). shows and activities listed in the FAAS Report. Most publications I see only mention the In the March/April issue, Greater City is FAAS Publication Awards, when they mention mentioned in the President's Message regarding FAAS at all. The purpose of their Publication our "history quest" for Awards Program is: "To 3Pederation::;:bf::American; articles and information recognize the efforts and about Greater City, as ;..' â€˘ Aquarium,: Sacietiesi| contributions made by far back as possible. aquarium societies and FAAS Report t h e i r members to serves as a forum for promote interest in the discussion of the role of tropical fish hobby, share information, and aquarium societies and for debate on numerous encourage communication by way of a issues of interest to those charged with running publication. In 1995, for the first time, Greater City participated in the 1994 FAAS Publication aquarium societies. Its Editor, Steve Beck with is currently writing a column on putting out a Awards. We did very well. By the time you newsletter. A recent debate that appears to still read this, we may know how well we fared in be going on involves the Internet and a "modest the judging of our 1995 issues. Over the proposal" that Internet conferences and E-Mail Summer, the official publication of FAAS, might replace meetings. F.A.A.S. Report should publish all the winners, Since I mentioned the Internet, I'd like and we hope to report that to you in September. to mention that FAAS has a Home Page on the There is, however, much more to FAAS Internet. In addition, the President of FAAS is than publication awards. FAAS was formed in the moderator of several aquarium forums on 1973 as a direct response to proposed U.S. CompuServe. (And, for those of you with Department of the Interior regulations which, by CompuServe access, Modern Aquarium has two prohibiting the importation of most species of issues to date, with more to follow, in the fish, would have effectively ended the aquarium Freshwater Library of the aquarium forum of hobby in this country. After the threat to our CompuServe.) hobby had passed, the need for communication As with all publications reviewed here, among aquarists and aquarium societies sample issues are available for loan to any GCAS remained. The main purposes of FAAS are to member. Just contact me at a meeting. actively promote, support and keep
communication open among aquarium societies; to serve as a mechanism of communication among aquarium societies; to promote the maintenance, propagation and growth of tropical
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The 1996 Greater City Show JOSEPH FERDENZI ur 1996 show is now part of history. The show was a resounding financial success ~ indeed, on that score, it was the most successful show we've had in the 1990's. It was the first time we held a show at the Queens Farm Museum. It was also our first show to award truly artistic trophies â€” hand blown glass angelfish from Murano (Venice), Italy with differing colors that correspond to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Our auction, held on Sunday (April 13th), featured many kinds of fish, including two fish never before available at a general auction - Cichlasoma (Archocentrus) nanoluteus (the Yellow Dwarf Cichlid) bred by the author, and Nematocharax venustus (the Sabrefin Tetra) bred by world-class hobbyist Rosario LaCorte. The show competition featured over 160 entries. It had everything from breathtaking Turquoise Discus, to new fish like Corydoras gossei, to rarely seen fish like Poeciliocharax weitzmani, and traditional favorites like goldfish that were truly outstanding in size and color. The show also featured our unique Aquatic Plant Class. First prize went to Don Curtin (who else?) for his outstanding display of a one year old Valliseria "jungle" grown in a 5 gallon jug. (It was sold for a whopping $60 at the auction â€” the highest bid of the day, but well worth it.) The Best of Show award went to Mary Eve Brill for her magnificent Aulonacara Peacock. Mary Eve's Peacock also won the American Cichlid Association medallion for Best Cichlid. Mary Eve took five trophies in all, second only to the six won by Tom Miglio. Of course, the "catfish people" did not go home empty-handed; Mark Soberman took the Reserve of Show with his Corydoras gossei. By the way, there is a whole story behind Mary Eve's success. It turned out that on the Friday night that we were setting up the show, we had to stop work at 10 PM because of a miscommunication with the staff of the Farm Museum (one of the risks you always run at a new site). That wouldn't have been too bad, except that our show rules said that we'd accept entries till 11 PM! Well, we thought we squeezed everybody in, when, at 10:15 PM, Mary Eve and her husband appear with a car full of entries. Managia 1'Ambica! (loosely
translated: "*@ + !D#$!"). Mortified, we had the nerve to ask Mary Eve if she could return the next morning. (You'd really appreciate our "chutzpah" if I tell you that Mary Eve lives an hour away!) Anyway, Mary Eve agreed. Well, her tenacity sure paid off. I'll always remember this show as the one Mary Eve had to enter twice! Another nice note was struck by Brian Schmeider, from whom Mary Eve had acquired her champion Aulonacara some months before the show. Brian, who won the 1994 Best of Show, privately told me that he was very happy Mary Eve had won because she is such a dedicated hobbyist and all-around nice person (and, may I add, the same goes for Brian). This genuine camaraderie is what the hobby should be all about. Because of people like Mary Eve and Brian, it usually is. Mind you, the show was not perfect. The building in which we held the show was still under construction. It had annoying automatic doors that kept opening every time some body walked near them, and the heating was inadequate. The water got very cool, but we did not lose a single fish. One Congo Tetra was having a rough time after the overnight chill, but Doug and Don Curtin took it to their nearby home, placed it in a warm tank, it recovered nicely, and was back in the show before you could say "Barbados." The auction also had some glitches, but, as we intend to learn from our mistakes, they will not be repeated for the next show and auction. (Of course, we'll probably make some other mistakes.) A lot of people helped to make the show a wonderful event. This article was not intended to list all of them (I'd probably omit somebody who deserved to be mentioned). Suffice it to say that the Society owes them each a debt of gratitude. So, on behalf of Greater City, I thank each and every one of them - they know who they are. We sincerely hope that each member will participate in the next show. It is scheduled for 1997 - our 75th year of existence. It may turn out to be a diamond in the rough, but a diamond anniversary it will be. Be part of it. Celebrate it. See you there!
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The Catfish Condo ne of the goals of every fishkeeper is to provide a stress-free environment for each of the inhabitants of his/her aquarium. For the cat-fishkeeper, this must include 'hiding places' to provide daytime refuge for nocturnal species and to help reduce potential territorial disputes. Now, this does not have to be anything elaborate or expensive. Things like PVC pipe or overturned flower pots are quite effective. But a more visually pleasing layout can be achieved by including these hiding places in your aquascape. Crevices and artificial burrows can be hidden among rocks, wood and plants (plastic or real) reducing the stress levels of both tankmates and fishkeeper, while still looking natural. These can be placed singly, or if grouped together, can give the impression of a little condominium complex. My 'catfish condos' are generally built out of some combination of the following: driftwood, slate, rocks, PVC pipe and ceramic tubes (Hagen makes great ones, available at your local pet store through Royal Pet Supplies). My goal is to construct a natural looking, complex structure with crevices of many sizes and orientations that will fulfill the requirements stated above, while still making it easy to observe aquarium inhabitants. The following are examples of two I constructed: The first is in a 65 gallon tank (36x18x24). I took my inspiration from articles on collecting expeditions where catfish were found among twisted roots and rock crevices. A piece of 3" PVC pipe approximately 24" long
was chosen as the base of the structure. Slate and rocks were used to anchor it in place along the back of the tank. Pieces of driftwood were then placed over it in an overlapping fashion to give the impression of a waterlogged tree stump. The aquascape was then finished with a selection of live plants The second is in a 220 gallon tank (84x24x25) and is based on pictures I had seen of river banks in South America where Loricariids (i.e. pieces) had dug many rows of burrows to lay their eggs. Here, ceramic tubes and PVC pipe of different sizes were stacked perpendicular to the back wall in a pyramid fashion, about midway front to back (this allows for entry from either side of the tubes). Driftwood was then placed around and over the tubes to make it look like a root ball. A long piece of driftwood was placed next to it giving the impression of an uprooted tree. This arrangement allows for multiple catfish dwellings made from the tubes themselves as well as from the spaces between the tubes and the driftwood. Again, live plants finish the structure. No silicone was used to cement either of the structures together. This makes maintenance easy (i.e. gravel cleaning) and allows for changes in aquascaping. Driftwood was pre-soaked before placing it into the aquarium to prevent tannins from staining the aquarium water brown. Now, the two examples described here are in very large tanks, but the concept is easily translated to any size aquarium with a little planning and patience. I've made a similar structure in a 10 gallon tank just using small pieces of driftwood and Java moss. Furthermore, none of these were completed overnight; they both evolved over many months. I still constantly move, add and remove piecesespecially to reduce aggression toward a newly added fish. Furthermore, while the main purpose for these structures in my tanks was to house catfish, it may not be its sole purpose. Other tankmates will appreciate it as well. Especially if you have an 'aggressive tank', or one with active spawning fish. I hope I have helped you on your way to making your own 'catfish condo'. It can really be a nice addition to an aquascape. Much success!!! References â€˘Ferris, Dr. Carl, "Catfish in the Aquarium", Tetra Press, 1991. -Kobayagawa, Midori, "The World of Catfishes", TFH, 1991. â€˘Stawikowski, Rainier, "The Biotope Aquarium", TFH, 1993.
Friend Or Foe? A series by "The Undergravel Reporter" • irv? spite of popular; demand ••st ;:; contrary; *tii*s hyrripf ar*(i \f ormatioj;: ciplurnrj :contjnues. Asi usuaJ, it;doe| '•:• f!"J QT ;: necessiin Jy ;sfepresent : * ||>^l opinions i I of:" the : Editor* or ofS|ttTl0;;
• Greater-; ;Ctty Aquaf iu nil Society, : • I was in an aquarium store recently. Well, let's say this store USED to be an aquarium store. Yes, it still has tanks of tropical and saltwater fish and aquariums, filters and fish food. But, 1 remember years ago when that's all it sold. Today, there are cases of assorted reptiles, a bird room and bags and cans of gourmet dog, cat, bird, "herp," and primate foods. I've noticed this trend among stores a lot. It seems as if selling fish isn't profitable enough any more. I asked one of the workers in the store why they no longer sold aquarium hobby magazines. He told me that the owner of the store didn't want anyone to read ads for products being sold at prices that are less than the store's price. (Incidentally, two doors down from the store is a fully stocked magazine store.) The worker also told me that the owner doesn't particularly care for aquarium or herpetological societies. He feels that sales, giveaways and auctions at the meetings of these societies cut into his business. Now, this store does not advertise in Modern Aquarium, and never has. But, unless we understand the valid concerns of pet/fish store owners, and start taking steps to address those concerns, we will soon find that those we considered friends and allies have become our adversaries. First, and most important, those of us who are members of aquarium societies should let store owners know of our society affiliation(s) when we make purchases at the store. It's quite possible that the store owners don't realize just how much money aquarium society members spend in their stores. They may not realize that for every fish a person acquires, by whatever means, the need for airstones, filters, filter bags and other replacement media, air pumps, tubing and air lines, cleaning magnets, tanks, stands, food, etc., etc., increases. Mail order is certainly one way to meet those needs, but it's time consuming, often requires minimum
purchase size, and somewhat risky (as anyone who has ever received a crushed parcel can attest). On the other hand, some aquarists have made it a point to let everyone know of their aquarium society membership, while making themselves unwelcome at pet/fish stores. The result is that the owners of the stores associate those members with their societies. How do these people make themselves unwelcome? They brag; they attempt to show off their knowledge (often by ridiculing or contradicting what a salesperson said); they criticize the store, the condition of the tanks, the condition of the plants or fish, and what's worse, they do it in front of other customers! If people like that are the only ones who identify themselves as members of an aquarium society, is it any wonder that some store owners might feel somewhat less than fondness towards all of us? Some stores realize that the ideal partnership is a close relationship between the local aquarium society and the store. Questions of tank maintenance, breeding, etc., can be answered for beginners in general terms at the store, and the questioner then referred to the local aquarium society for greater, more in-depth help. The kind of help and advice a person can receive at the local aquarium society can mean the difference between a person who drops out of the hobby after three months, or one who adds more tanks and continues on (both in the hobby and as a loyal store customer). Some stores (such as those that advertise in this publication and those of our sister societies) already realize the value in supporting aquarium societies. But the attitude of the store I mentioned in the beginning of this article is not, unfortunately, all that rare. It's in our best interests, both as members of an aquarium society and as aquarists to bring over (and keep) more stores to "our side." When anyone asks me to recommend a store for aquarium supplies, plants or livestock, I always give them the names of the advertisers of this publication. These stores have shown that they care about the hobby and, by extension, that they care about the hobbyist. Next time you visit any pet store, wear your Greater City teeshirt or patch. If you think someone received the wrong advice or if you spot something wrong in a tank (mislabeled fish, dead fish, etc.), mention it quietly to die owner or salesclerk out of hearing of customers. Let the stores know that you support them and they, in turn will support us.
G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Vw GIGOmG. The following new members joined Greater City last month: Klaus Adam Howard Berdach Neil Blond Steven Denkberg Kenneth Hofmann George Myers Frank Zoepfl>0UR lOCmi^EMBERJTHIS YEAR!) Last month^s BOWL SHOW Winners; |p|| To|^lMig||p (Sailfln Molly) 2nd - Al?& Sue Prjsst (C%iflower Blue Beiii); Ijjfd j||bnip;;Knalki:(Gold Severum)
NASSAO COUNTY AOUARUIM SOCIETY PROGRAMS :;:
JunPJf: Dr. Paul V. Loiselle - Fishes of Madagascar i||t July 9: Bob Scherer - Ponds August 13: Joe Yaulo - Reef Tanks ,ffiyy\A ^fl'
"V ..j:;:, si
'JTHANKS! We want to thank Wajdp$?:f9|--;::dk)riajCpg fish foods and Tropicatiplsh Hobbyist for donating a one year mapziri^gSUb^r^Mbn! These were in our May Baffle. iPlease remember our advertipf£%rid product:|p6nspr| when you are about to makei;ybu)f next hobby purchase. Tj$lo support the concernsftnatisupport Greater City.
IHTERFE! - UJO^O illlDE LJEB Greater City's "Web Sit^i|s:
: Here are meeting times and locations of aquarimn societies in the Metropolitan New York area: Jig Apple Guppy Club Sipg-MM. - 3rd Thursday of Ipwrith .a|i^ Queens Botanical Garden JC^tabff Ml:. Diane Gottlieb Telephone: C^H:261-4650 East Coast Guppy Association j^leets: 8:(^j|||&s-,lst 'pursday rnllih at the <pi||RS Botanical G a l i i Contact: Stephen 1§«li8jier / Ed R&imond
Brooklyn Aquarium Societplf 0'Mli$i!|; Aquariu.nf jpf^pgraphy; i f n e 14, 8PM, F^ucauon;::Hall,pqiiarii|iDi::for *|||ldlife Conservation (l||odklyn : BAS
:00 P. M t f ilpWednesday:;;i|f each the (3u^ls;: Botanical Contact: Mf-: Vincent Sileo ::Teiep:niif(718) 846-6911**
Long Islantf Aquarium^Society Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Friday of each: month at Holtsville Park and Zoo^ Buckley Rd. Holtsville, NY 11801 Contact: Mr. Thomas Soukup Telephone: (516) 265-2682
Nassau County Aquarium Society "'PliM. - 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Merrick Road Park Golf Course, Merrick, NY (See schedule above) Contact: Mr. Ken Smith Telephone: (516) 589-5844
North Jersey Aquarium Society Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the Nutley American Legion Post Hall, Nutley, NJ Contact: Mr. Dore Carlo Telephone: (201) 437-5012
Norwalk Aquarium Society Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the Nature Center for Environmental Activities, Westport, CT Contact: Mrs. Anne Stone Broadmeyer Telephone: (203) 834-2253
JUNE 1996 volume III number 6