INTERVJEW wirh rhe KiNqfish VINCENT SILEO
had the good fortune to find Ray ("The Kingfish") Lucas of Kingfish Services at home one Saturday evening recently. Fortunate, because out of 52 weekends in a year, Ray spends about half of them working aquarium society events. For those of you who are not familiar with Kingfish Services, they represent nine aquarium products manufacturers who donate a good variety of their products to the clubs and societies who are lucky enough to have Kingfish Services attend their event. The amount of the products brought to the event and displayed is not the standard aquarium society donation from the manufacturers. IT IS BETTER! As you can imagine, their services are very much in demand by aquarium societies here in the United States and Canada. We are very fortunate to have retained their services for our 75th Anniversary Show. I have had the pleasure to work along side Kingfish Services at various events over the past few years and I wanted to tell my fellow G.C.A.S. members all about Kingfish Services. But the best way is to hear it directly from the source, the Kingfish himself. As usual, Ray was more than happy to help out a fellow hobbyist and spent a good amount of time on the phone answering my questions and doing what he does best, educating. So without any further ado . . .
Modem Aquarium: Exactly what do you do? Kingfish: Perform an educational promotion for the aquarium society and the aquarium manufacturers. MA: Do you provide any other services? KF: I also give lectures on aquarium plants, fish nutrition, water quality, and can act as the banquet speaker. I act as auctioneer for all of the product that I bring and can auction other items as well. I conduct surveys for manufacturers and societies on the number of societies in the US and Canada, which ones produce publications,
which ones have regular shows and auctions. MA: What makes you different from a manufacturer's representative? KF: They are there to sell, I'm there to educate and promote the hobby. MA: Who are some of the manufacturers you represent? KF: Aquarian Flake Food, Aquarium Products, Aquarium Technology, Inc., Coralife/Energy Savers, Eheim Products, Feller Stone, Mardel Labs, Python Products, and San Francisco Bay Brand. MA: How do you choose the manufacturers you are to represent? Are there any you are looking to add to your repertoire? KF: Manufacturers come to me. I have a criteria that I look for in a manufacturer such as: Is their product readily available through both retail stores and mail order companies, and, of course, quality. I'm not looking to add any to my current line up. MA: How many products do you bring with you? KF: Approximately $2000.00 worth at the manufacturers cost, not retail. In addition to the products supplied by the manufacturers, your society also receives a free subscription to the Cichlid News and a free subscription to the Discus Brief. MA: Why do the manufacturers donate so much product to the shows that you do? KF: Manufacturers know that when they send a donation with Kingfish Services, their product will be visibly displayed. Many times when the donation is sent directly to the aquarium society, the hobbyist doesn't see the product until just before the auction. The manufacturers trust me to stand there and promote their product and answer questions. And the manufacturers tell me I'm a well known aquarist among hobbyists.
KF: The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is the lobby group that represents the pet industry in American legislature. Most people are not in touch with their politicians and are unaware of the bills that are coming up every day. PIJAC keeps the industry and the hobbyists informed by publishing a monthly newsletter and sending out Pet Alert Bulletins for urgent issues. PIJAC lobbies government by organizing letter writing campaigns and taking the issues directly to Congress. Anyone can join PIJAC, even individuals who are only concerned about their rights to keep pets can benefit by joining this lobby group. You can reach them by writing to PIJAC, 1220 19th St. N.W. Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036 World Wide Pet Supply Association (WWPSA) is one of the largest pet trade organizations. It covers all areas West of the Mississippi and they produce the largest trade show in North America in Long Beach, CA every year. MA: Many people feel that the hobby is going through a slowdown in interest, what is your opinion? KF: True, the hobby has been going through a slow down for many reasons; computers, fast paced lifestyle, etc. People don't want to go out to meetings, they would rather sit at their computer or talk on the phone. MA: Where do you see the hobby in five to ten years?
KF: The hobby has gone through this cycle before and it will come back. I think we have already bottomed out and we are on the upswing. There are over 400 aquarium societies in North America right now. There are aquarium societies dissolving and others forming all the time but, in general, the numbers have held steady. Your society is having its 75th anniversary this year. So is the San Francisco Aquarium Society [actually, the SFAS was founded in 1923, making it 74 years old this year - Exec. Ed], and the Pittsburgh Aquarium Society will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Interest in the hobby has always been like a roller coaster. I have no doubts that it will be as popular again. MA: Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? Will you still be running the aquarium society circuit? KF: I'll be retired from GM and doing more shows, open houses at retailers and wholesalers, and seminars in schools like Paul Speice's 4H aquatic program, nursery schools, grade schools, and institutions also. It was a real pleasure conducting this interview â€” speaking with someone who travels all over North America to promote the hobby and, in the process, has a lot of fun. Ray's bark is worse than his bite! I expect every GCAS member to put him to the test and ask questions about all of the products he has on display. -
"/ did not mind the guppies, and I put up with your catfish phase, but the mermaid tank has got to go.1"
Soribimichthys planiceps, normally called the Planiceps shovelnose (real original), is found throughout the Amazon, Orinoco and its tributaries. Unlike the shovelnoses mentioned so far, the planiceps is a real giant reaching 5-6 feet in the wild (3+ feet in captivity). This should not be considered by any hobbyist unless a 220 or 300 gallon tank is in your home or in your future (by the way, the same goes for the Red Tail, Juruense, or Tiger Shovelnose). Obviously mega-filtration and maintenance is required. The planiceps always looks thin as it has an almost "eel-like" appearance along with "butterfly-like" fins. If money is no object, then the Merodontotus tigrinus is for you. This fish is a real beauty. It is similar in shape to B. juruensis, but has a striking zebra stripe pattern through its body and both upper and lower caudal fin extensions. I have seen this fish available every few years in the $1000+ range.
There also exists a South American Red Tail/Tiger shovelnose cross-breed. I will only mention its existence, but will not elucidate further. So, as with many aspects of the hobby, the area of shovelnose catfish is full of diversityenough to satisfy practically all tastes. Much success!!! References Axelrod, Dr. Herbert A. Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes (TFH Pub., 1991), 6th Edition. Riehl, Dr. Rudiger and Hans A. Baensch Aquarium Atlas. Volume II (Baensch Pub., 1993). Sands, Dr. David D. "Shovelnose," Aquarium Fish Magazine, March 1997. Lambourne, Derek editor The Catfish Association of Great Britain vol 1, (CAGB pub., 1983).
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Greater City in trie Early Aquarium Magazines JOSEPH FERDENZI ccording to an article written by Charles Elzer (who was a President of the Society) for the 1968 Show Journal, Greater City was founded in August of 1922. Is there any announcement of this event in the aquarium periodicals of the day? Such an announcement would be of significant interest and value if it existed. Fortunately, ascertaining the answer is not all that difficult. From 1922 to 1931, there was only one professionally produced national magazine: Aquatic Life. I own almost all of the issues published between 1919 and 1941, including all the ones from 1922 and the early months of 1923 (January to April). Regrettably, none of these issues have any mention of Greater City. The January 1923 issue does, however, mention the Ridgewood Aquarium Society. This last fact is noteworthy because, according to an account published in the February 1972 issue of Modern Aquarium (entitled "Old Timer's Night"), Greater City was founded by some former members of the Ridgewood Aquarium Society. The item appearing in the January 1923 issue of Aquatic Life reports the election of officers for the coming year, that it meets at the Alhambra Hall, and that it has a membership of 160. There is no mention of a new club being formed by some of its members. So, what does my research reveal to be the first announcement about Greater City? It is one that appears in the September 1929 issue of Aquatic Life. While this item arises a full seven years after the founding of the Society, it is still of significant vintage. It establishes beyond peradventure that the club was, indeed, in existence in the 1920s. Moreover, although it is a very brief article, it offers a wonderful glimpse of the early format and philosophy of its meetings. It is herewith republished in its entirety for the reader's enjoyment:
The Greater City Aquarium Society of Brooklyn N.Y. Some aquarium societies prosper, others go back and since it is pretty well known that you must do one or the other, we are publishing the modus operandi of the Greater City Aquarium Society of Brooklyn, New York, with the idea of helping some other association which might not be so prosperous. They meet twice each month, on the second and fourth Wednesdays. The first meeting, that on the second Wednesday of the month, is a semi-business meeting and the second is devoted to a lecture and an exhibition. They are controlled by a board of directors which meets on the first Friday of each month, and this board acts on all suggestions offered at the first monthly meeting and they also take care of any other business that might arise.
You can see from this plan that the major portion of the meetings is devoted to something of interest to the fish breeder and no time is wasted by idle controversy over trivial matters. This plan has worked wonderfully with the Greater City Aquarium Society and they boast that their meetings consist of 100% good fellowship. All meetings are open to the public and a copy of each lecture presented is mailed to every person in attendance at the meeting when the lecture was delivered. By this method it is impossible to stay home and say "1 can tell what happened from my report." You are either present, or you get no report. While the society is quite young, they have made good progress in promoting the hobby in Brooklyn, New York.
As you can see from the foregoing, the Society's basic organization and philosophy has not changed considerably. Good fellowship and active participation by its members are still the enduring goals of the Society. Thereafter and throughout the 1930s, Greater City made frequent appearances in the nationally distributed aquarium magazines. What follows is a list, a sort of bibliography if you will, of what I have found. I am sure it is not a complete list, particularly with respect to The Home Aquarium Bulletin, of which I only own a few issues. As can be gleaned from this list, Greater City was a very active and prominent club in the 1930s. Some of this prominence is reflected in the fact that it is the only local aquarium society mentioned in the recently published memoirs of noted hobbyist Ross Socolof (Confessions Of A Tropical Fish Addict. 1996).
Creature Cfcest For April, we offer you articles on two of your favorite topics; fish breeding and aquatic plants. Marcia Repanes (another of the recipients of our 75th Anniversary Membership Awards) and her husband, Nick, wrote the first article in January of 1973. We have chosen the second article for its artwork as well as the information it contains. It originally appeared in April of 1972. We hope you enjoy . . .
The spawning of the Aequidens portalegrensis Marcia and Nick Repanes, GCAS They were free-swimming less than 2 weeks when we got them and eight months later they were spawning. That is what makes the hobby so interesting — so fascinating — and so worthwhile . . . raising fish to maturity and then watching them spawn and produce fish of their own. We had never before seen the Aequidens portalegrensis until we attended an Aquarium Society annual show last year. Right next to our own family tank was a "family tank of Ports." At the close of the Show when the tanks were being disassembled for their return trip home, we noticed that some of the portalegrensis fry had eluded the net and were about to be washed down into the vat which contained all the used water. That was when we approached the exhibitor with a net of our own and asked if he would pour the water through our net and let us keep the fry that remained in it. To our delight, he complied willingly — and that is how we acquired our 7 Aequidens portalegrensis. 14
We took these tiny fry home with us and placed them into a 2!/z gallon tank, which was all we had available at the moment. And, of course, they could barely be seen. After two months in that tank, however, we lost three of them, and it was then we decided to place them into a larger tank — this time a community tank. They really grew quickly then, except for one, which we decided to cull, and then we only had three. We hoped that 2 of the 3 might be a pair, but we couldn't be sure, until one day we found the middle-sized Port dead in the gravel for no apparent reason. But, when we noticed that the remaining pair had their tubes down, we knew that the third one had been an intruder, which accounted for its demise. We now had a spawning pair. Have you ever seen the Aequidens portalegrensis^ They are a peaceful fish and a delight to own. They grow quickly; they eat well; and they spawn at an early age. As they grow, their scales become more prominent and when they reach breeding size, their markings become more vivid. Our male was 4'/2 inches and the female about 3'/i inches. They are somewhat blunt-nosed in appearance and their body is plump in girth. We understand that some Ports reach 6 inches in length. Their native habitat is in Southeastern Brazil and they were named after the Brazilian capital "Porto Alegre" which should help you to remember the name "portalegrensis." The day after we noticed their tubes down, we observed that the Ports were cleaning the flowerpot in emest, and we decided to remove the other fish that were in the community tank. Now they were alone in the 20 gallon tank, and except for the gravel, a piece of shale, and a flowerpot, the tank was bare. The water was soft and acid. The temperature was 76 degrees F., and the pH was 6.5. The Ports chose to spawn inside the flowerpot, all along the bottom half. It looked as though there were 1,000 or more eggs and none had fungused. The spawning process consisted of both fish cleaning the inside surface of the pot. The female then deposited the eggs on that surface via her tube, or ovipositor. The eggs were placed very closely together and they never overlapped. The male then swam over the eggs, fertilizing them. This spawning and fertilizing procedure lasted more than two hours, after which the Ports took turns fanning the eggs. About three days later, the eggs became wigglers. By that we mean that when the eggs hatched the tails became visible and started vibrating vigorously.
But then, to our dismay, we discovered a serious error on our part . . . but mistakes of this kind serve to increase our knowledge, if that is any solace. What happened was that the parents had dug holes in the gravel and put the wigglers there. We hadn't anticipated that and therefore didn't think of turning off the undergravel filter, and some of the wiggling mass was being sucked into the filter openings right before our eyes. We disconnected the filter as soon as possible and succeeded in saving about half the spawn. Had we not been there at the time, we might have assumed that the Ports ate their eggs. For several days afterwards, the parents continued digging holes in the gravel until it looked like the surface of the moon. And each time we looked at the tank, the wiggling fry were at the base of another "crater." By the 8th day they became hoppers, not yet free-swimming but close to it. The parents were exceedingly
protective. On the 9th day, the fry became freeswimming and rose up to swim like a cloud surrounding their parents. After about a month, we removed the parents and placed them once more into a community tank. The undergravel filter remained off, but the outside filter stayed on with fine strainers on the ends of the tubes. The fry remained in the 20 gallon tank and were fed freshly hatched brine shrimp right from the start. At about 10 days we alternated the brine shrimp feedings with baby TetraMin and we added floating Watersprite to the tank. As the fry grew, we added chopped tubifex worms to their diet and later on some finely grated frozen beef heart. As they grow larger, you can give them coarser foods without having to chop or grate. Adult TetraMin, small chucks of frozen beef heart, and cut mealworms are devoured eagerly, and from then on, they just thrive. MICHAEL FOGAL, GCAS
W A H The water hyacinth is one of those beautiful tropical plants that many of you probably have trouble keeping. In this article I hope to make this task a little easier. First, I will tell you a little something about the plant for those of you who have never encountered the delicate beauty. The water hyacinth is a floating plant whose roots remain below the water level, while the plant itself floats on top of the water. The stem of the plant starts out thin and shortly widens into a globe-like bulb, then thinning out again and forming a leaf. The flower stems directly from the base of the plant without widening, and forms a flower, which differs in color throughout the many different species of hyacinths. The flower closes up at night, and does not usually last for more than a few days â€” to possibly a week or more. As I mentioned earlier, the water hyacinth is a very delicate plant. It should very still water and a temperature ranging 77 to 86 degrees. The plant should always
very warm moist air. Try to handle the ant as little as possible, because handling usually results in bruising the bulbs which is more times than not the cause of the plant's death. The bulbs are made up of air filled spongy cells which keep the plant floating. If the plants are healthy they will reproduce rapidly. They do this by sending off shoots which form other plants and later result in a chain of hyacinths. We have often started out in the beginning of the summer with three or four plants and ended up with more than we could handle by the time autumn rolled around. As I mentioned earlier, there are many different species of water hyacinths which all differ in width, height, and the color and shape of their blossoms. The roots of the water hyacinth are very bushy, which makes them ideal natural spawning mops for top spawners and egg scatterers. Hopefully, with this information, you too will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the "WATER HYACINTH." [Exec. Editor's note: Water Hyacinth is largely used as an outdoor, pond plant]
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Their BAP starts on December 1 of each year and ends on November 30. Apparently, the reason for this schedule is to allow for prizes to be awarded at their December meeting. (This year, the BAP first prize will be a 29 gallon tank the exchange column with hood and stand, with second and third prizes of filters.) There are some other interesting differences between the TFCB BAP and that of GCAS. Their BAP requires that 3 to 6 one inch or larger fry be donated to their auction (GCAS ALEXANDER A. PRIEST encourages, but does not require this). The TFCB allows additional credit for up to three he publication of the Tropical Fish Club separate spawns per year per species, with of Burlington (Vermont), "In Depth," is additional points awarded for 2nd, 3rd, etc., the focus of this month's installment of generation spawns. Thus, there is an emphasis "Surfing The Pubs." on species maintenance over just breeding for First, here is some background on the points (and bonus points are awarded for Tropical Fish Club of Burlington (TFCB). Like breeding a species for more than two years). Greater City, the TFCB is a member of both the Another similarity between the TFCB Federation of American Aquarium Societies and and GCAS is that we both have Internet websites. the North East Council of Aquarium Societies. Their website is http:\\eionmr.med.uvm.edu\tfcb TFCB started in 1989. They hold an annual fish I have been looking for a term to describe the show (this year, on May 2-4 at Christ the King person (such as myself) who maintains a website School in Burlington). Their publication, "In that sounds less pompous than "webmaster." The Depth," is printed on 11 "XI7" paper, folded in ^m^^m^^,,,,^ title used by the person half to form S'^'XH" In DeotH ^â„˘ maintaining TFCB's pages with most articles website is, according to printed in two column Tropical Fish Club "In Depth," "Webpage format with fully-justified Curator." It may be an text (that is, the right of Burlington improvement, but I'll margin always extends to pass on this one, also. the edge of the column). An interesting program I found The front cover picture changes every month. mentioned in one of the issues of "In Depth" that This layout and format should seem familiar to I reviewed for this article was the "Meet The Greater City members, as this is the same format Speaker" program. Members are invited to host used by "Modern Aquarium" (except that the "In a monthly speaker for dinner, with the TFCB Depth" cover is a black and white photo or paying for up to $20 (alcoholic beverages not drawing and is of the same paper weight as the included) for the member's meal, with the rest of the publication). speaker's meal covered in full. "In Depth" shows a fair amount of In the six issues I reviewed to prepare planning and creativity. For example, a "line" this article, I found only one mention of their separating articles or beneath the title of an Bowl Show, and no description of its rules. But, article might be a line, or it might be a row of since it's a mention of first, second and third fish. Aquatic clipart can be found throughout the place, their Bowl Show is probably similar to publication, along with frequent illustrations and Greater City's (that is, without classes). even black and white photos. Their publication Also in those six issues, I only found has a more polished and professional look to it one Exchange column, entitled "Exchange than many society publications. Reviews," written by Eric Schuele. "Modem Now, I'll get to what their publication Aquarium" was not mentioned in that column tells me about the TFCB. For one thing, they (but our records show that Greater City had only have an active Breeder's Award Program (BAP). just begun exchanges with TFCB at that time). There are five point classes (of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, In short, TFCB is an active society with and 100 points). The TFCB's BAP points use a an attractive newsletter. As usual, copies are formula placing emphasis upon the availability of available upon request. the species within the hobby (with 70% based on availability and 30% on breeding difficulty).
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Fin Fun TOPPING OFF YOUR TANK There are some fish that inhabit the top of our tanks, and some that live on the bottom. The same can be said of aquatic plants. Indicate on the chart below which plants float (TOP) and which plants set roots in the substrate (BOTTOM). Hint #1: The answer to the first question can be found on page 15. Hint #2: This is April, so don't be fooled!
TOP Water Hyacinth Waterwigg Four Leaf Clover Duckweed Madagascar Lace Plant Frog Bit Water Lettuce Water Sprite Hair Grass Giant Vallisneria Reference Aquarium Plants. Rataj and Horeman, TFH 1977
Answers to last month's puzzle, A Jumble Of ARULIUS CUMINGS CLOWN STRIPED SPANNER ODESSA STOLICZKAE SCHUBERTS CYPRINIDAE
APRIL 1997 volume IV number 4