OCTOBER 1997 volume IV number 8
From the Editor's Desk
f you have been paying attention, you might have noticed the absence of one of our columns the past few months. "Catfish Chronicles," Charley Sabatino's superb column on identifying, keeping and enjoying catfish has, in my mind, been conspicuously absent from the last few issues of Modern Aquarium. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that "Catfish Chronicles" re-appears this month. Sadly, however, it is Charley's farewell article. Like the rest of us who work on and contribute to Modern Aquarium. Charley does so while also having to meet the demands of a "real life," which includes a job, a family and all the other demands that pull one this way and that way. When the demands became greater than the time available, something had to give. In this case, it was "Catfish Chronicles." I understand completely. This past June, I resigned from the Greater City Board of Governors because I just did not have enough time to serve on the Board while meeting the rest of the demands of my life. We should consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have been able to treasure Charley's gems for the past two years. I enjoyed each and every article Charley wrote, but then again I am extremely biased, since I am a catfish enthusiast. I am also biased because I consider Charley a good friend. We keep in constant touch with each other and see each other as often as possible. I am particularly enjoying watching Charley's son, A.J., grow up; as it brings back memories of my own son's progress, and it helps remind me how far my son, and I, have come. Charley's arrival and departure from the magazine is an example of the continual struggle to obtain quality articles for Modern Aquarium. We have been able to produce the magazine with almost exclusively original articles for the past four years (very few reprints from other club publications), and have the efforts and talents of many to thank for that. To continue our success, we need other members to step forward and
participate. This is your club and your magazine and it will only continue its success with your participation. I know I have touched on this topic before, and I am quite sure this won't be the last time it comes up. It is important however, to realize that without your participation, Modern Aquarium might as well become another reprint vehicle. I won't allow that to happen. So, what do you say? How about writing? We have been lucky so far in that almost all of the original staff of Modern Aquarium have remained on board. So far, only our original Art Director, Stephan Zander is no longer involved with the magazine. We were extremely fortunate that Jason Kerner stepped in and more than admirably filled the spot. But I am sure that will not be the case forever. If the magazine is to succeed it will be necessary for others to step forward and get involved. For example, at every meeting I give out the magazine and keep track of who has received the issue. This restricts my movement during the meetings and does not allow me to walk around and talk to everyone. To give me some freedom, the magazine is now distributed at the break. For now, that is fine. But there should be more than one person who does this. Therefore, I am asking for help. It is a good way to get to meet each member and know who they are, and it would help me out. Anyone interested in helping should see me. This would not have to be done at every meeting, or for the entire meeting, just enough to share the load. Every little bit of help that is given to us makes it easier to continue producing Modem Aquarium. As you can see, there is a great deal that you can do to help out. There are no extra special skills necessary, or any substantial previous experience needed that should prevent you from helping out in one way or another. Give it a thought, and then take a chance and step forward to help out. It's easier than you think and your rewards will greatly outweigh your effort. Warren Feuer
President's Message VINCENT SILEO here are many different ways to be involved and enjoy the aquarium hobby. Not everyone is cut out to be a master breeder, while others may feel that an aquarium beautiful, set up just to be looked at, is a waste of time. But you shouldn't knock something until you've tried it. I'd like to encourage you to try something different this season, just to see if it makes the aquarium hobby more enjoyable. At one time both my angels and my dwarf cichlids were breeding. Now I can't claim to have bred them. All I did was give the dwarf cichlids a five gallon tank to themselves and the angels bred regularly in a 55 gallon community tank. What I did do was remove the angelfish eggs and help to hatch them. Then I hatched brine shrimp eggs for all my fry. It was a lot of fun watching those fish grow up, but it took more time, discipline and room than I am currently willing to dedicate. So for now my tanks are "aquarium beautifuls" which was my first attraction to the aquarium hobby, but I would like to try breeding again when I have more room and time. One of my greatest enjoyments with the aquarium hobby has been meeting new people who are also interested in aquariums. Tropical fish shows, seminars and auctions provide a wonderful opportunity to meet people outside of your local aquarium society. One of the best, without a doubt, has been the annual convention of the North East Council (NEC) of Aquarium Societies. They bring in about a dozen speakers from around the country and around the world to give presentations, put up a vendors room, host entertaining aquarium related games, a silent auction, a giant dry goods and livestock auction, and a really fantastic banquet. I've been going to the NEC Annual Convention for the last three or four years and it is always a pleasure to meet with friends and acquaintances, old and new. The Greater City Aquarium Society won the title of Most Active Aquarium Society in NEC Events at the last NEC Convention. I can't claim to have helped to win that title, but I'd like to help hold on to it! There are a few aquarium societies which are members of the NEC that are not too far away and put on annual fish shows.
I am going to try to enter fish into these shows (listed on the events page) and I hope you will too. Please see me if you are interested and perhaps we will put together a "Fish Showing Group" to represent GCAS at the local shows. Those of you who are "computer literate" and "on line" can explore the aquarium hobby in a whole new way and correspond with hobbyists worldwide. You can start by visiting the Greater City Aquarium Society Website (http://aurworld.campuserve.com/homepages/greatercity). Here you will find information about our society, a list of local society events, links to other societies' websites and other aquarium related websites. You can also send us e-mail if you have a question or issue that can't wait until the next meeting. Next, take a look at one of the major on-line services. Both America On Line and CompuServe have aquarium sections where you will find information on every aquarium subject, post questions and answers on bulletin boards, and "chat" with other on-line aquarists. Finally, search the Internet and you will find many sites that pertain to the aquarium hobby. Some are bulletin boards where you can correspond with many people who do not use either America On Line or CompuServe. You might be surprised to find nationally known aquarists answering questions. So, try something new this season. You just might find a whole new side to your aquarium hobby. A
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WARREN FEUER t is my opinion that, in order to be a successful aquarist, one must be very much like a boy scout, ready for anything. One of the central themes of occasional "discussions" between my wife and myself is why I need to store so much "stuff' (spare tanks, filters, heaters, food, etc.) in our apartment. I can't say I totally disagree with her. You would think that nine fish tanks in one apartment is enough, but, unfortunately, it is not. Perhaps after reading this, my wife and other patient and long suffering spouses, will better understand the causes and reasons for our hoarding mentality. It all started innocently enough. I started, as most aquarists do, with one tank and rapidly progressed to two when I found that Tin Foil Barbs and Angelfish did not go together. It was one Saturday, after my weekly water change was completed, that it began. I noticed water trickling off of the bottom of one of my tanks (in this case, a 30 gallon long). Panicking, and fearing the worst, I immediately ran out and bought a new tank. Just before leaving the house, I had drained about 20 per cent of the water out and shut off the filters. Had I thought for a few minutes instead of reacting in panic immediately, that probably would have been enough. I think that "cracked tank syndrome," and its result, the leak, are the greatest phobias of the fish keeper. While these fears are not unfounded, the incidence of them happening is probably quite low. On the other hand, you only need have it happen to you once and you'll never forget it. In addition, the more tanks you have, the greater the chance of it happening. Now, back to my tale. Once the new tank was set up and all the fish and equipment successfully transferred, I brought the suspect tank out on my terrace and filled it with water, determined to find and repair the leak. A visual inspection ascertained that there was no cracked glass. Two days passed and guess what? Right! No leak in sight. I had probably just over-filled the tank during the water change. All was not for naught, however, as I now had a perfectly good spare 30 gallon tank. And this tank has
come in most handily. I used it as a transition tank while cycling my 75 gallon tank. In addition, should I ever need to replace one of my two current 30 gallon tanks, one is in the ready. Perhaps some day I'll even have a house with a fish room and be able to set this tank up. Obviously, for several reasons, spare tanks are necessary. Perhaps the largest stock of spare items I keep is filter related. I have found that these mechanical necessities quite often need maintenance and repair and there are never enough spare parts around. Let me relate some of my experiences. Because of space and budgetary constraints, almost all of my tanks use a hanging outside power filter (HOPF). In some tanks, I have undergravel filters added as additional filtration, while others use a sponge type "pre-filter" attached to the intake tube of the filter to aid in biological filtration. Because I have relatively young children, I have kept away from canister filters and the like that might prove tempting to curious hands and minds. For the most part, I find the HOPFs to be trouble free and easy to use. But, when a problem occurs, you had best be ready. Here are some I've had (how many can you relate to ?): I came home from work one day to find the filter in one tank not running. Thinking that it had lost its prime, I attempted to restart it. Guess what? The motor had burnt out, rendering the filter into a plastic box with two smelly filters pads inside. The solution? I used a spare filter I had until I picked up a new motor. Could the fish have survived until I got a new motor (in other words, without the HOPF)? In this case, yes, as this particular tank also had an under gravel filter. My quarantine and hospital tank has an HOPF and a small, air powered, sponge filter. After one water change I noticed leakage from the bottom of the filter. The filter case had cracked. Once again, my spare HOPF was utilized until I could obtain a new filter case. In addition, I've had to replace impellers and filter tubes untold times. These pieces always seem to
every six months. Of course I, like almost wear out on my filters. Therefore, I keep at least everyone else, do not replace a bulb until it has one of each spare part. Extra filter pads are a burnt out. Usually, at the most inopportune must. These things are always needing moment. I keep spare bulbs for just such an replacement, usually right after a water change is completed (why is that?). I've found from event. While I am able to store the 24 inch bulbs rather unobtrusively, the 48 inch spares do experience that you can run, but you can't hide present a problem. Currently, I keep them in the from filter pad changes, and if you read my space behind a tank stand holding 29 gallon and article "Lessons Learned the Hard Way" (Modern 20 gallon long tanks that are "double deckered" Aquarium-December, 1995) you know that you on a Queen Anne stand. should clean the entire filter when you replace Shortly after I finished writing this the pads. In the long run, you are only hurting article, a minor crisis occurred, for which I was your fish by not allowing the filter to perform at prepared, on a topic which I had not included in its maximum, so bite the bullet and do the right the article. It seems that one of my air pumps thing! Consequently, I keep many spare filter had given up the ghost and stopped working. pads. What if one day, all my tanks ganged up Historically, air pumps have played an important on me and decided they needing changing at the role in our hobby, being used to drive untold same time? quantities of box filters and under gravel filters. Since we mostly keep tropical fish, Many are used today. Typically, I use them only heaters are a necessity to ensure our charges are to power air stones in my tanks, as I use power kept in the proper water temperature. Basically, filters and power heads for my under gravel this is a heating coil in a glass tube regulated by filters. However, the air a sensor. Sounds like stones in my tanks do an accident waiting to A brief recap of the "Emergency Kit" provide necessary water happen? You bet! I movement, especially have to be honest and Spare tank during the warmer say that I've never had Spare filter months. So, when the the dreaded "sticking pump stopped working heater" experience. I Filter parts (impellers, tubes and pads) (just as the temperature use Visi-ThermÂŽ Spare heater got especially high, of submersible heaters course!) immediate exclusively, and, while Light bulbs repair was necessary. some of my fellow Parts for air pumps (especially diaphragms) Included in my bag of aquarists don't like tricks are all sorts of them, I've found their Basic medications spare parts for my air performance to be A helpful dealer (for when all else fails) pumps, but I've found exemplary. Well, I that it is usually the have had to replace one â&#x201E;˘~â&#x201E;˘~~^^^^~~ diaphragm that goes, so I make sure to have heater in my 75 gallon tank. It seems that m> extra ones always around. In this case, replacing Tin Foil Barbs had gotten too large for the tank the diaphragm was not enough. The pump still (yes they outgrew a 75 gallon tank!) and while did not work. This leads me to my final source swimming about, had crashed into the heater, of help. I brought the pump to Cameo Pet Shop, cracking the case. What clued me in to this? I which happens to be one of the best places to go have a thermostatic device that controls the when you are stuck. In no time at all, Steve heaters (this tank has two), and, while one heater Grubel, Cameo's owner, had the pump up and was on, the other was not. Upon closer running. It just needed his magic touch. A good inspection, I noticed small bubbles coming out of pet shop is a must item to have on your list of the glass heater tube. It's a good thing that the resources. For my money, Cameo is one of the heater did not go on! After unplugging the best, and the place I go to for help. heater (safety first), I removed it and used a There you have it. A boy scout's spare, smaller, heater as a temporary replacement "emergency kit" for the well prepared aquarist. until a new heater was ordered. So add heaters One additional suggestion that I have is to be to the list of items needed for our "emergency sure and include some basic medications in your kit." stock. Be prepared!!! If you keep live plants in your tanks, lights are a must. Presently, fluorescent units are the most popular. I have read in several different sources that fluorescent bulbs should be replaced
Fishy Values VINCENT SILEO y wife doesn't complain much about all the aquariums in our house. She knew what she was getting into right from the start. A hot date for us would be to visit a pet shop we had not been to before. Finding a "new" pet store was like finding buried treasure. Many of the stores were very similar, but it was fun to discover what made each one unique and occasionally we would stumble upon one that was really special. I'm sure you know what I mean. The type of store that has everything you need and want, a knowledgeable, friendly staff, and an ambiance all its own. Now my days are filled and it isn't so easy to just waste a day looking for "buried treasure". So it was a real treat to have the opportunity to make deliveries for a local wholesaler this past Fall. I was familiar with most of the stores in the New York City area, but I was also making deliveries throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. UNCHARTED TERRITORY! I found a number of stores that I had wanted to go back and visit with my wife (yes, she still enjoys it as much as I do!) when I didn't have a schedule to keep. One store in particular was Tropical Petland in Metuchen, NJ. This store was reminiscent of days gone by. First of all, you have to picture the setting. It is on the Main Street in Metuchen which looks like typical small town America. The store takes up the space of two store fronts made up of many paned picture windows. Once inside the front door you must walk past aisles of dry goods before you see any livestock. This is the only similarity this store had with the supermarket style stores you see popping up all over. Many of the dry good items were in old fashioned display cabinets. I imagine that if you wanted an item that was on display they would get a new one from the stock room as they only had one of each item on display. It was a nice change from the cluttered shelves I am accustomed to seeing, and I'm sure that it cuts down on shoplifting! I was really suprised to see that not only were the dry goods in old fashioned display cabinets, but so were the livestock! In wall display cabinets with sliding glass and screen doors housed a nice variety of small birds, herps, and small mammals. It is unusual, to say the least, and a nice change to be able to see the
animals so easily without having to find a salesperson. The fish section was not to be outdone! All of the tanks were good ole' slate bottomed, stainless steel. Even the display tanks! Most of the tanks had blue glass gravel adding to the uniformity of the room. And while the fish section was small compared to some of the newer stores, I don't think any have a better selection. Now, I do have to admit that they only carried freshwater fish, but they were all spectacular. The lights in this section were dimmed to allow the fish to take center stage, and there were more display cases for aquarium equipment with their own lighting. The cherry on the cake was the staff â&#x20AC;&#x201D; friendly and knowledgeable. There when you need them, but not hovering over you every step of the way. Now that I have sparked your interest and you might even be tempted to visit this store, I have to tell you that it is no longer there. Out of business like so many others before it. There are a lot of reasons why businesses fail and I'm not going to pretend to know the financial workings of this one. But the first thing that comes to mind is whether they were doing enough business to stay in business. Did they have regular customers who returned for everyday, staple items? Was there a regular flow of higher ticket sales? Who knows for sure? Having worked in the pet industry for the past ten years I have heard tales of the "Good Ole Days" and have actually witnessed the overall decline of business. I have watched many poorly managed businesses fall by the wayside, while even the best only barely got by. One reason for this is lack of interest in the hobby. With so many new and exciting ways to spend their discretionary dollars, today's hobbyist is hard pressed to make a decision. They are constantly bombarded with advertising by the entertainment industries, who are able to offer nearly instant satisfaction. Just buy it, plug it in, and you are off and running. And there is a newer, bigger, faster, more exciting form of entertainment waiting for you even before you've brought the current one home. All the new supermarket type pet stores that are opening new branches every time you turn around have actually helped to bring attention back to the aquarium hobby. These pet superstores present a clean, streamlined image, with every store exactly the same. It doesn't matter which one you are accustomed to, you will always be able to find what you are looking for in exactly the same spot. They are bright and
spaceous and inviting. Very often they will even use up valuable sales space for community services. And to top it off, their prices are sometimes lower. They attract people who would not step foot inside a pet store like Tropical Petland, falsely stereotyping it as a dank, dark, smelly specialty shop for "those" people. This is good for the hobby. Pet superstores are able to introduce the hobby to people who would have never considered it before. Unfortunately they rarely offer anything "different;" they are all striving to be the same. They tend to offer only "bread and butter" items which are known money makers. Their staff always appears to be young, and, while they usually have a good grasp of the basics, are hard pressed to offer advice on some of the more complicated problems that come up. It is simply a lack of experience. Trying to keep overhead to a minimum, the salaries offered by these stores are not enough to keep a more experienced staff. Many of the people these pet superstores bring into the hobby quickly get out of it when they find that it isn't what they thought it would be or run into a problem that cannot be solved with some quick fix remedy. Luckily, some of them have sense enough to go to one of "those" specialty shops for advice when they realize their problem is beyond the superstore staff. All too often, the problem could have been avoided altogether if they had followed good aquarium
practices from the start. So do these new hobbyist continue to patronize the "specialty" shop who gave them advice for free? NO! "Their prices are too high. I saw that for less at the super store," they say to themselves. Die-hard hobbyists aren't much better. The local pet store tries to cater to your every want and desire in an effort to keep you as a customer: allowing you to take up valuable sales time talking "shop," while they should be assisting other customers; going out of their way to always have the latest gadgetry; and badgering their suppliers for that rare and unusual fish you keep pestering them for. Then what do we do? We go to the pet super stores, the mail order warehouses, and our friend in the business who can get it cheaper. Some gratitude! Now I know that you all have your own Tropical Petland type of store that you treasure. And if you don't, I have a few stores that will knock your socks off! If you want these stores to be there for you, to provide you with the information you may not be able to get anywhere else, to have the most up to date equipment available, to always have rare and unusual fish for sale, and to provide an ambiance unlike any other store, you have to patronize them. It may cost a few dollars more, but I think it is worth it, don't you?
AHHH SHOULIE LOACHES
Ever since Al added that old castle to his aquarium, strange things have been happening to his Coolie Loaches in the middle of the night.
can be alone. Social behavior (with con- and heterospecifics) is very important for the fish's overall health and your enjoyment. Buy from a reputable dealer. Carefully examine your intended purchase. Remember to look for sunken eyes, hollow or bulging stomachs, listlessness, heavy breathing or parasites. Ask how long it has been in the shop, if it is eating and what it is being fed. Quarantine your fish before placing them in a show tank.
A Column by CHARLEY SABATINO
An Overview and a Farewell
nfortunately, due to family and professional obligations, I can no longer do "Catfish Chronicles" every month. (You may have noticed, and I hope missed, this column for the past two issues.) The past two years have been a great fun; we've learned a lot together and I hope I have converted some of you over to the wonders of keeping catfish. From now on, this will be more of an "irregular" column, with no guarantees from me of exactly what that means. I want to use this article to summarize all that we have covered with respect to keeping catfish: Choosing a Catfish
Before any purchase, you MUST research the fish you intend to buy. A little knowledge can go a long way to prevent a problem before it occurs. This may be something as simple as querying an experienced friend or dealer, or referring to any of the available literature. More than any other group (in my opinion) catfish are full of cute little things in shop tanks that quickly grow into 5 foot long eating machines (ask anyone who has purchased a baby South American Red Tail Cat, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, unaware of its growth/destruction potential). Make sure your new prize is compatible with your water conditions, feeding regimen and tankmates. Know when a fish needs to be in a group, pair or
As always, opt for the largest tank you can, keeping the maximum size of the catfish in mind. Remember the "tank twice as wide as the fish's whiskers" rule!!! Most catfish are bottom dwellers so a tank that is (relatively) wide and long is best. All catfish are to some degree territorial, and most are nocturnal, so hiding places and territory markings are very important. These can be made from natural or artificial materials provided they don't alter water chemistry and are free of jagged edges that may hurt the fish. Remember to include aquascaping materials and structures that meet to the needs of the catfish you intend to keep: examples are driftwood for certain Loricarids and dark caves and crevices for fish like Doradids and Synodontis. Filtration The type of filter is not really an issue here; just choose one that you feel is best and has sufficient biological filtration. I tend to choose a power filter that is larger than what is recommended for my tank. Catfish are heavy waste producers, and are among the first to get sick or die when there is a water quality problem, so it will save you trouble in the long run. Furthermore, the increased current produced by the oversized filter, along with a good air pump/bubbler will help to provide sufficient oxygenation and water movement. Maintenance The longer I'm in the hobby, the more I am convinced that regular partial water changes are the single most important factor in successful fishkeeping. As mentioned above, catfish are heavy waste producers, so weekly 30+% changes are not out of the question. Of course, this depends on the size and number of fish in your tank. Personally, I find that the mounds of waste that pile up in my tanks are motivation enough to do frequent water changes.
Breeding It is a well documented fact that fish do best when fed a varied diet. Unfortunately, catfish are seemingly the last fish to receive this attention. Many are subjected to leftovers that happened to hit the bottom, expected to "cleanup" after others, or fed the same old pellets or wafers night in and night out. Catfish need to be "target fed" to be kept healthy. Feed them at night. If they are housed with aggressive eaters, place the food in a cave or crevice to give them a chance to feed unhindered. Feed ALL catfish a varied diet, as they are more omnivorous than we credit them. For example, the most vigorous algae eating Loricarid would relish an occasional treat of frozen bloodwoorms (or other meaty food), and I have seen Synodontis cats nibble on algae and on pieces of zucchini intended for Loricarids. Read up on your catfish to obtain all the possible foods it eats, and try to incorporate some in a regularly rotated feeding regimen. Your fish will be healthier, more colorful and active.
A vast majority of the catfish in the hobby, especially the "fancy" varieties, are wild caught. As responsible fishkeepers, we need to include catfish in our (aquarium) breeding activities. This will benefit us twofold: first, it will insure supplies of reasonably priced tank raised fish to future hobbyists, and second (and more importantly), it will lighten the burden on imported specimens and thereby help preserve the environment. I am new to fish breeding, and have just set up a colony of Triangle Bushynose (see MA 5/96). To my knowledge it has never been bred in captivity—wish me luck. You'll know I've succeeded when you see fry at the auction!!!! Well, I hope this overview will help you to include and keep catfish in your tanks. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to write about my fishkeeping passion. As always Much, Much, Success!!!!
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565 Woodward Ave. Ridgewood, NY 11385
Annual Giant Fish Auction Friday, October 17 X-"
Aquarium For Wildlife Conservation • Brooklyn, NY Pavillion Tent - Surf Ave. entrance (next to handball court) FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL THE BAS HOTLINE: (718)837-4455
The North Jersey Aquarium Society
TROPICAL FISH WEEKEND EXTRAVAGANZA October 31 — November 2 Multi-class Show (ACA sanctioned); Giant Auction; Raffles; Door Prizes; Speakers - Meadowlands Quality Inn: 1 Polito Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ (Rte 3 to Rte 17) - Admission $5 a day FRI. OCT31: 6:00 PM Registration and viewing of show fish begins 8:00 PM Speaker: Ray Kingfish Lucas 9:30 PM Halloween Theme Dry Goods Auction SAT. NOV 1
9:00 AM Registration and viewing continues; Vendor and Manufacturer Room opens 10:00 AM Joe Ferdenzi: "Your First Community Tank" 11:15 AM Lee Finley (TFH Magazine): "Corydorus Catfish" 12:30 PM Dave Herlong: "Malawi Cichlids" 1:45 PM Mike Schadle: "Introduction to Livebearers" 3:00 PM Ginny Eckstein (AFM Magazine): "New World Cichlids" 4:15 PM Karen Randall (AFM MAgazine): "Aquatic Plants" 8-11:30 Show Awards Banquet with Full Buffet ($28.00) SUN. NOV 2 10:30 AM Registration of auction fish begins 11:30 AM Viewing of Auction Fish 1:00 PM Giant Tropical Fish Auction Info: (201) 432-1042 (daytime) or (201) 437-6724 (evenings) ^^•^••I^^^H
Giant Annual Auction Sunday, October 26
Long Island Aquarium Society Babylon Town Hall Annex 281 Phelp's Lane, Babylon, NY RAFFLES, REFRESHMENTS, FREE PARKING Doors open at 10 A.M. for viewing & entries; Auction begins at Noon Directions: From L.I.E. or So. State Pkwy., take Deer Park Ave. south. Immediately after crossing over Southern State, the road forks — take the right fork. Pass high school and turn right at the light onto Phelp's Lane. Proceed to sign for Babylon Town Hall Annex (on the right). FOR INFO: Vinny (516)938-4066 10
the exchange column
ALEXANDER A. PRIEST
hose GCAS members who know me know that if I talk about acquiring another "African," it's more likely to be a Ctenopoma sp. than any cichlid or catfish. This puts me, as an Anabantoid fancier, in the distinct minority in this society. Warren Feuer keeps asking if I have had any "success" (breeding, he means) with my Neolamprologus brevis — alas, they have only grown and thrived for three years, without "success." But, heck, my Angelfish won best New World Cichlid and the Peoples' Choice awards at our Diamond Jubilee Show this year, so Warren (Mr. Catfish) and Joe (Mr. Cichlid) let me w o r k on M o d e r n Aquarium (under close Michigan supervision, of course). Since this column is not about individual articles, but rather learning about other societies and their programs, the fact that I am not a "cichlidiot" will not affect this review. ALL CICHLIDS is the official publication of the Michigan Cichlid Association Needless to say, the primary focus of their publication is on cichlids and articles about cichlids. But, their "Once Written Twice Read" column reprints articles from other hobb> publications, and those articles are more likeh than not to be of a general nature, of interest to any aquarist. For example, the July 1997 issue reprinted an article entitled "A Fishkeeper's Guide to Pronouncing Scientific Names" (always a problem for me). June '97 reprinted the self-explanatory article: "Making that Fluorescent Light Work with a Timer." In fact, from January to July this year (seven issues), only two articles in this reprint column were specifically related to cichlids. For example, in February, the "Once Written Twice Read" column reprinted "A Lazy Man's Guide to Fish Keeping," by Craig Morfitt, which first appeared in Modem Aquarium. This column is in addition to their "Monthly
Exchange" column, in which Modem Aquarium has had a few mentions. Of course, the main focus on this publication is on cichlids, which are covered in great depth and, at least to this novice in the area, exceedingly well. According to their exchange column, articles from ALL CICHLIDS are reprinted by other societies quite frequently. Using ALL CICHLIDS as a basis, the Michigan Cichlid Association seems to be a very active group. They have an active Breeder's Award Program, with monthly updates in their publication. To remain on the active roll of breeders, members must submit an article about a fish spawned during the year, or present a short program on a fish spawned for the BAP, or submit fish or fry spawned for the BAP for auction, or donate fish for a rare fish raffle. The MCA is on the Internet (http://www.ole.net/mca). Their monthly Bowl Show is, of course, devoted to cichlids, with first, second and third place for both New World and Old World cichlids. One activity I'd like to see more societies do (including GCAS) is recognition and reward to authors. Members of the MCA receive one raffle ticket for each
CICHLIDS siv i • /-<• 11-j • ClChlld Association
~U article from 50°to 1'000 II words ' and two tlckets for articles over 1,000 • words - A drawing wi" be held in December for
a 50 gallon tank set-up. While the intent is excellent, I wonder if authors of articles of under 500 or under 1,000 words w i l l be encouraged to "pad" their articles? ALL CICHLIDS does a monthly interview with a different society member by publishing the member's responses to 15 questions. It has a lively For Sale column entitled "The Trading Tank" for members to sell livestock and hard goods. ALL CICHLIDS is printed on 8!/2Mxl 1" paper with a green front and back page, and a non changing cover (except for the date) featuring the logo of the Michigan Cichlid Association. Articles are generally one column (as opposed to the mostly two column format of Modern Aquarium). From ALL CICHLIDS. it is clear that the Michigan Cichlid Association is an active society with an attractive newsletter. As usual, copies are available upon request. Considering the considerable interest in cichlids at Greater City, I will have to strictly enforce the requirement that all borrowed copies of this exchange publication be returned at the meeting immediately following the one at which the issue was borrowed.
Creature Modern Aquarium. Series II was noted for quality photographs and original articles, as evidenced by the "Treasure Chest" series so far. It was also noted for reprinting some of the best articles from other publications to give those articles a new and even wider audience. The article below appeared in the June, 1970 issue of Modern Aquarium. The article may have been a reprint (series II usually designated the origin of a reprint, and nothing was mentioned in this case). We ask our midwest sister societies with whom we exchange to let us know if the club in this article still exists. We hope you enjoy . . .
Fish Hobbyists BEHIND WALLS By Edward Tromanhauser Ever hear of a tropical fish hobbyist by the name of "Icebox" Clinton? How about "Hubcap" Gleason or "Hannibal the Bear" Cunningham? Well, these are all "prominent" fish hobbyists in the Michigan City Fin and Gill Club. Michigan City, Indiana is a nice middle-sized town on the shores of Lake Michigan which has on its outskirts the Indiana State Prison. And within that institution are the 350 members of the Fin and Gill Club. They make up about 20 per cent of the entire population of this walled city. One of the major "movers" of the club is Jim DeMars. He started with one five gallon tank and a few guppies about three years ago, just after arriving at the institution for neglecting to open a bank account before writing checks. Today, DeMars is the owner often tanks, ranging 14
in size from 10 to 40 gallon capacity, and is one of the most enthusiastic breeders in Northern Indiana. Another dynamic member of the club is Dick "Hubcap" Gleason, who at one time was the proud possessor of the prison's only piranha. Gleason, owner of 14 tanks, has been breeding tropical fish for almost five years and sells over a thousand fish a year to aquariums and pet shops in the area. On the walls of his cell are displayed the 12 trophies and 26 ribbons which his fish and tanks have won around the state. The prison fish club was started in 1965 when local pet shop owners and fish hobbyists such as Wilbert Seifert, owner of the Michigan City Fish Bowl, and Mildred Williams, owner of the Monticello, Indiana Lakeside Aquarium, donated several tanks and the first fish ever to "do time" in the prison. Other businesses which supported the club were the Midwest Aquarium and the Pioneer Pet Supply Company of Chicago, Illinois. Within a few short years, the fish club became the most popular activity group in the prison. As enthusiasm spread like a virus, the men began assembling home-made tanks out of scrap material. Professional tanks, pumps, filters, and better breeding stock were acquired as the original stock of donated fish were bred and sold to local shops and stores. The original contributions from the community have been returned ten-fold as the Fin and Gill Club donated over a dozen large completely equipped tanks and hundreds of fish to hospitals, schools and children's homes in the Michigan City area. The recreation field house of the prison is used by the inmates to hold fish shows and exhibitions about twice a year. At the last show, 1286 outside guests viewed the 220 tanks on display, ranging from quart fruit jars to 50 gallon tanks. The shows attract fish hobbyists representing aquarium clubs in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana. These clubs are vigorous supporters of the prison Fin and Gill Club and the inmates would be the first to admit that without the enthusiastic support of such people in the community, the fish club would not be the success that it is. Among the outside guests at the last "in-the-walls" fish show were representatives of the Northern Illinois Aquarium Association, the Indiana Guppy Breeders Association, the Michigan Aquarium Society, the Illinois Fish Breeders Association, and the Fish Clubs of Indianapolis, Gary, South Bend, and Michigan City, Indiana. Also in attendance were Ralph Bodamer, Assistant Director of Chicago's Shedd
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Fin Fun FISH THAT GO BUMP W THE It's October. That means leaves start turning strange and wondrous colors and, just before this month ends, small strange creatures will be knocking on your door, with a cry of "Trick Or Treat!" Aquarists often have creatures living right under their noses whose everyday common names seem more appropriate to Halloween eve. With the clues given below, you should be able to complete the names of some of these fish.
PH_ NT _ M
_LEE _ IN_ G_ E_ N
_0 _ NFI _ H _I_
DR_ G_ N
(Southern U.S.A. Goby)
_LE _ O
(A Mexican Platy)
(Killifish from Venezula)
B_ O_ DF_ N
. . . . (Cichlid from Ecuador)
_E _ RA .
M_ S_ E_
_E _ RA . . (Brazilian Characin)
(Catfish from Equador)
. (Characin from Paraguay) (Cichlid from Nicaragua)
(Catfish from Brazil) Aquarium Atlas. Vol I and II Dr. R. Riehl and H.A. Baensch Tetra Press
Answers to last month's puzzle, The Gang's All Here! S E T H K O L K E R -
C L A U D I A D I C K I N S 0 N
N B R
G E H G E
- N A G I R R A H E I N R E B - - - - - - J P - - - - - - - - - - - - - O E - - - P - - - - - - - - - S R - - A E - - - - - - - - - E E - U T F I S H L U C A S - - Z L R N U Z - - - - - - - - - L O A - - N - - - - - - - - O C - - - - E - - - - - - - I A - - - - O D - - - - - - S L - - - - - E R - - - - - E O J - - - - - L E - - - - L I E O R G E - - I F - - - L R F - - - - - - - S E - - E A F - - - - - - - - E O - - S N R E K N O S A J - C J - O -
S T E V E S A . G O N A - - - - - I - 20
o 1922 W 1997