Modern Aquarium

Page 1



MARCH 1998 volume V number 3

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York


AQUARIUM :'..-.:. Jlil-V :::|i|ON THE COVER '•111|;

Series III

Vol. V, No. 3

March, 1998


Not commonly seen jn the hobby today, the Ctenopoma ensorgei on our cover this month {life :size) is a bubbfenesting African Anabantoid that is the subject of an article authored by AI Priest. : S:s is Photo by Alexander A. Priest

Editor's Desk


President's Message


An African Bubblenester


GREATER CnTY AQUARIUM SOCtETY Board Members President ; . . . , . . . . . . Vincent Sileo Vice-President . , . . „ , , . . . Ben Haus Treasurer Emma Haus Corres. Secretary , , . . ' . , , Greg Wuest Recording Secretary . . . Pat Ptccione Members At Large Mary Ann Bugeia Joe Bugeia Tom Bohme Carlotti DeJager;! Ellen Haliigan Rosie Sileo Committee Chairs s Breeder Award , , . . , Garlotti DeJager; Greg Wuest Membership . . . ' , , ' , Claudia Dickinson Rosie Sileo Early Arrivals . . . . . Leonard Ramroop MODERN AQUARIUM


Editor . . . . . Warren Feuer Managing Editor . . . . Alexander Priest Photo/Layout Editor .. . Jason Kerner; Production Director . Bernard Harrtgan Advertising Mgr. . . . , Mark Soberman Editorial Assistant . ,., . . Pat Piccione Executive Editor , . . , Joseph Ferdenzi

Our 1996 Holiday Party and Awards Banquet


The 1996-97 Breeders Award Program Results Hobbyist Profile: Gene Baiocco

8 9

The Amusing Aquarium


Bowling For Fishes


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)


Printing By Postal Press

Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the I Oth day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 1998 by the Greater City Aquarium Society Inc., a not-for-profit New York State corporation. All rights reserved. Not-for-profit aquarium societies are hereby granted permission to reproduce articles and illustrations from this publication, unless the article indicates that the copyrights have been retained by the author, and provided reprints indicate source and two copies of the publication are sent to the Exchange Editor of this magazine. Any other reproduction or commercial use of the material in this publication is prohibited without express written prior permission. The Greater City Aquarium Society meets every' month, except during July and August. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month and begin at 8:00 P.M. Meetings are held at the Queens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact Vincent Sileo (718) 846-6984. You can also leave us a message at our Internet Home Page at: http: //ourworld. CompuServe. com/homepages/greatercity

After fourteen years as the Hospitality chairpersons, Maryann and Joe Bugeia have finally retired. They continue to serve the society by remaining on the Board of Governors. In the meantime, our recording secretary, Pat Piccione, has agreed to bring cake and make coffee at the meetings. Pat also has been nice enough to let us use her slide projector at the meetings, and she lugs it to just about every meeting herself. She VINCENT SILEO also assists our Treasurer, Emma Haus, with record keeping during the auction. So, we are s you may already know, there have been still hopeful that another society member, who some recent changes and shifting of responsibility in the society. To begin can more easily arrange for cake and coffee at with, Carlotti De Jager and Greg Wuest have the meetings, will come forward as Hospitality Chair. taken on the Breeder's Award Program with Carlotti as meeting liaison and Greg as record Joe Ferdenzi may have stepped down keeper, in addition to his duties as from his role as President for the past HIGHLIGHTS: Corresponding Secretary. Al Priest, eleven years, but he hasn't stopped our Federation of American Aquarium working to make Greater City better Societies (FAAS) liaison, is working • Breeders Award than it already is. His latest idea that with Greg and Carlotti to set up a Program changes he is putting into practice is providing system so we may compete in the easier access to the meetings for the FAAS Breeders Award Program and * New Membership senior members of the society. Please Liaison speak to Joe if you would like to help gain some national recognition as one of the most actively breeding these more experienced and • New Program aquarium societies in the country. knowledgeable members of the Claudia Dickinson has lent flliisslCoordinator society continue to attend meetings her overwhelming enthusiasm to the for the benefit of all. role of Membership Liaison and * T»SWrt Sales Next month will be your last works closely with Sue and Al Priest chance to get in on the Super 50/50 who continue to maintain the • New Publicity Drawing as the winner will be drawn I l i i l l i -Chair at the end of the April meeting, membership database. In addition, Claudia has volunteered to help us following the Silent Auction. Tickets arrange for new and interesting * Hospitality Chair are five dollars each and can be speakers at our meetings. Having purchased from any Board member. attended some of the larger aquarium You don't need to be present, or Senior Member society shows and conventions on a even a member of the society, to win. Buddy Program The prize will be half of the money regular basis, Claudia has had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of collected, which can be as much as Super 50/50 speakers. Most recently, she arranged $250.00. Since we are only selling for this month's speaker, Dr. Patrick ||* one hundred tickets, your chances of Donston of Aqua Tropics in Clifton, NJ who will winning are better than any casino or state run be speaking on water quality. game. More importantly, the other half of the Another member who has recently been money will go to supporting Greater City, so we very active is Jeff George. Jeff has been bringing can continue to educate novice aquarists, bring in the T-Shirts to the meetings since Jason Kerner interesting speakers each month, continue our relinquished that position this past fall. Although regular activities such as the bowl show and Jeff can't join the Board of Directors yet (since monthly raffle, and start new activities such as he hasn't been a member for one year), he has participation in the F.A.A.S. Breeder's Award agreed to take on the responsibility of publicity Program. for the society. In addition, Jeff provided an As I stated before, you don't need to be excellent presentation on guppies at our present or even a society member to win. We November meeting, and is preparing "Fishy did this to bring in support from outside of our Jeopardy" for our meeting in May. Please see already generous membership. Please tell your Jeff or one of the members of the Board of family and friends of this opportunity to help the Governors if you are interested in helping or society and possibly themselves if they should participating in this game. win.

President's Message


ALEXANDER A. PRIEST ention "Anabantoids" or "Labyrinth Fish" to most hobbyists and you'll probably conjure up images of Siamese Fighting Fish, Gouramis, or Paradise Fish — all of which are native to Asia. There are, however, a number of species of African labyrinth fish, one of which, the Ctenopoma ansorgei, I recently purchased at a local store. Many articles have appeared in Modern Aquarium on the importance of local pet shops (as opposed to "mail order" and large chain stores). The advantages mentioned focused on individual service, advice, and the ability to place special orders. Well, here's another. The owner of one store I have been buying live brine shrimp at for over five years (twice a week!) recently called me over. He knew I am interested in Anabantoids. (I've bought Bella splendens, Bella imbellis, and Gouramis from him in the past.) He wanted to show me an " i n t e r e s t i n g " Anabantoid he just got in that day. 1 assumed it was some variety of Paradise Fish, which I was not in the market for at that time. However, I'm always ready to look at an "interesting" fish. What he showed me was Ctenopoma ansorgei. I broke several long-standing rules, by purchasing all he had (six) on the spot, without knowing anything about the fish, or how to care for it. They were placed in a five gallon, bare bottomed tank with some artificial rockwork to provide hiding places (to which I later added a coconut shell half with two openings to serve as a cave), a very small and gentle filter, and a few Java Fern plants. Then, I pulled out the books. What I found was a fair amount of conflicting information. The books could not even agree on the spelling of "ansorgei.'" It was spelled "ansorgii" in some books (for example: Vierke1 and Baenscrr) and "ansorgei" in some others (Mills 3 and Pinter 4 to name but two). For the purpose of this article, I'll use "ansorger (unless I am using a direct quote, of course). The differences among the sources that I consulted were not limited to spelling. For example: "Very peaceful fish that can be kept in a well-planted community tank that offers refuges, if the other fish don't harass them.'"


"Ctenopoma ansorgei are best kept by themselves. They are peaceful toward other fishes, but because of their shy nature they are easily intimidated, and in the presence of other fishes they remain hidden most of the time and will not compete for food."4 "Though not aggressive the species may become predatory toward smaller tankmates. . . May be combined with gentle, bottom dwellers as Corydoras."2 So, they are either easily intimidated community fish, or they are predatory and best kept by themselves. In my case, I decided the latter (that is, a species tank) was safest. The female lays either about 600 eggs (Vierke 1 ) or 6000 eggs (Pinter4) which hatch within 24 hours. Considering that these are bubblenesting fish, with the male preparing and tending the nest, much like Bella splendens, 600 eggs appears to be a more reasonable number. As my group is, as yet, not mature enough for breeding, this is only a guess on my part. There were even differences among the reference works I consulted as to the common name of this fish, which is "Orange Ctenopoma"4 or "Ornate Ctenopoma"2 or "Orange Bushfish."3 I don't want to give the impression that these reference works were useless or in total disagreement with each other. It's just that this fish is not commonly seen in captivity, and it would appear that most authors are not personally familiar with it. The Baensch Atlas2 reports: "Little is known of its habits. . . It is difficult to import from the Congo and has become rare." Vierke1 agrees ("African labyrinth fishes are unfortunately only rarely available commercially."). Pinter4 gives one explanation of why this might be so. He suggests that "For several reasons Ctenopoma are rarely encountered in the aquarium trade. One is that far fewer fish are imported from Africa than from Southeast Asia. Another is that they are usually less conspicuously colored than the Southeast Asiatic labyrinth fishes (most hobbyists prefer brightly colored fishes). In addition, they are frequently very shy in an aquarium, and many are active only nocturnally. Some are also quite predatory and can be kept only in special aquariums."

I will now relate what is known of these fish. This is based upon my personal observation of them for several months, and upon information that is generally agreed upon in the aquatic reference material I consulted. The word "Ctenopoma" is derived from two Greek words: "ktenos" (or "comb") and "poma" (for "cover"). This refers to the fact that Ctenopoma species have spines on their gill covers. Although I discovered this fact only after I had gotten my bunch home and placed them in a tank, I usually use a net only to extract a dead fish, or one that is very difficult to catch by any other means. Normally, I only use cups to catch and transfer fish. This was fortunate for me, because ". . . when caught with a net, they frequently get stuck. Usually the net has to be cut to free the fish. Hobbyists who keep these fishes should use a large glass jar to trap them."4 The word "ansorgei" (or "ansorgii") is derived from the discoverer of the species: W.J. Ansorge. These fish are native to tropical west Africa in the lower Congo River, including Stanley Pool. As seems common with this fish, the literature disagrees with whether they are found in Cameroon (Pinter 4 says they are, Vierke 1 states that this claim was in error). It is generally agreed that this fish requires soft water, and a heavily planted tank. Vierke' recommends Salvinia. Easy for him to write, not so easy for me to get. Where would I find this plant? Here's where being a member of an aquarium society comes in. Salvinia is a frequent item in our monthly auctions. Fortunately, I did not even have to wait until our next meeting because, as luck would have it, I had to drop off some Modern Aquarium articles at Joe Ferdenzi's house. I wasn't even thinking about my own fish and plants when, just before I left, Joe asked, "Do you need any floating plants? I have a tank of Salvinia I need to thin out." (Sometimes, Joe is downright spooky — an attorney who doubles in mind reading!) Anyway, I took him up on his kind offer and practically overnight the Ctenopoma in my tank went from shy, hiding fish, to fish that practically jumped into the strainer we use to give them live brine shrimp. (They also readily accept flake and small pelleted food.) The adult length of this fish is about 3 inches. They prefer a temperature in the range of 79-82° F. The coloring of the fish varies from turquoise to orange, with dark vertical bands on the body. The male's fins are reportedly more pointed and his colors become more intense at breeding time. As my specimens are not yet old enough to spawn, I quote Pinter4: "The body is

elongate, and the head is uniformly tapered anteriorly. This fish is one of the few truly colorful Ctenopoma species. Normally it shows a light brownish yellow background color over which run six darker vertical stripes. At spawning time these fish change color, but especially the males; their vertical stripes fade and are replaced by greenish iridescent stripes. The dorsal and anal fins become orange with diagonal dark brown to black stripes. The dorsal and anal fin stripes are a continuation of the vertical stripes that run across the body. These colors are duller in females. Adult males frequently have elongated soft rays on the posterior end of the dorsal and anal fins. The caudal fin is brown to reddish brown, and the elongated pelvic fins are white in front and orange at the base." As I mentioned, this is a bubble nesting fish, with spawning behavior similar to that of a Bella splendens. One difference is that, most of the time, the female is not turned upside down during the spawning embrace. Also, as with Bella splendens, it is recommended that fry first be fed microorganisms (such as paramecium), followed shortly by newly hatched brine shrimp. Again, as with Bella splendens, the female must be removed after the initial spawning stage; the fry hatch as early as 24 hours later. They are free-swimming after another three days. It is too soon to tell if there is at least one male/female pair among the four fish I have. (These were wild-caught fish, not in the best of condition when they arrived at the store and two of my original six died within a week.) If they spawn, and the spawning is anything of unusual interest, I may supplement this article. My fish are not overly aggressive among themselves, certainly less so than I've seen among my Angelfish, Barbs, and Badis badis (all in different tanks, of course). So, for now, I am quite content to just watch them grow.

References 1 "Bettas, Gouramis and Other Anabantoids" by Dr. Jorg Vierke 1988 TFH Publications. Inc. 2 "Aquarium Atlas, Volume I" by Dr. Riidiger Riehl and Hans A. Baensch 3rd Ed., 1991, Baensch 3 "Aquarium Fish" by Dick Mills 1993, Dorling Kindersley, Inc. 4 "Labyrinth Fish" by Helmut Pinter 1986 Barren's Educational Series, Inc.



Jason Kerner receives a "Special Merit Award" from club president Vince Sileo.

Pat Piccione also receives a well earned "Special Merit Award" from Vince Sileo.

Joe Ferdenzi and Vince Sileo present a special Award to long time GCAS supporter, advertiser, and all around "good guy" Steve Gruebel, owner of Cameo Pet Shop.

Long time members, Jack Oliva, Marcia Repanes, and Gene Baiocco enjoy the Holiday Party.

^svwara ]~^

Old prez' Joe Ferdenzi graciously accepts induction to the "Roll of Honor" from new prez', Vince Sileo.

Bemie Harrigan receives his well deserved "Special Merit Award".

Claudia Dickinson, Vince Sileo and junior GCAS members, prepare to give out door prizes.

Mark Soberman receiving his "Roll of Honor" plaque from Vince Sileo.


Fish Bred


Donald Curtin Donald Curtin Doug Curtin

Poecilia sphenops Gambusia affmis Gambusia affmis

5 5 5

Carlotti DeJager Carlotti DeJager Carlotti DeJager Carlotti DeJager Carlotti DeJager Carlotti DeJager

Julidochromis transcriptus Colisa sola Epiplatys dagetii Pseudotropheus ornatus Pelvicachromis pulcher Betta simplex

15 20* 5 10 10 25*

Joseph Ferdenzi

Poecilia (Limia) tridens


Gerald Gerald Gerald Gerald

Aphyosemion bivittatum Carlchubbsia stuarti Pachypanchax homalonotus Cichlasoma nicaraguense

10 5 20* 10

George Maroti

Haplochromis sp. "flameback"


Robert Robert Robert Robert Robert

Xiphophorus birchmanni Ilyodon furcidens Poecitiopsis prolifica Limia tridens Skiffia multipunctatus

15 20* 15 15* 20*

Tom Miglio

Xiphophorus maculatus


John Moran

Julidochromis transcriptus


Steve Steve Steve Steve Steve Steve

Sagona Sagona Sagona Sagona Sagona Sagona

Neolamprologus brevis zaire Tropheus laputo Labidochromis caeruleus Neolamprologus magarae Poecilia perugiae Aulonocara baenschi

15 25* 10 25* 5 10

Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark Mark

Soberman Soberman Soberman Soberman Soberman Soberman Soberman

Telmatochromis burgeoni Julidochromis ornatus Chilatherina bleheri Melanotaeniapraecox Corydoras duplicareus Labidochromis caeruleus Pachypanchax sakaramyi

25* 15 15* 15* 65** 10 10

Bruce Weiler Bruce Weiler Bruce Weiler

Haplochromis obliquidens Protomelas fenestratus Labeotropheus fuelleborni

10 10 10

Gregory Gregory Gregory Gregory Gregory

Protomelas tanzanian "tiger" Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum Tanichthys albonubes Aphyosemion gardneri Nematobrycon palmeri

20* 5 5 5 10

Gorycki Gorycki Gorycki Gorycki McKeand McKeand McKeand McKeand McKeand

Wuest Wuest Wuest Wuest Wuest

* = First in GCAS ** = First in U.S.A. For information about our Breeders' Award Program (BAP), talk to Greg Wuest or Carlotti DeJager at any meeting. BAP Handbooks are available at all regular meetings, at the Membership Table. 8

JOSEPH FERDENZI ene Baiocco joined Greater City around 1955. No one before or since has been a member for as many years as Gene. It is so remarkable that I doubt that many aquarium societies can claim to have anyone of such long standing membership. Moreover, Gene has always been a very active member and hobbyist. He served as Greater City's President from 1959 to 1964 (six terms), the second longest tenure in the Society's history, and an additional term in 1977-78. He has chaired many shows, and participated in countless others. He has lent his assistance to the publication of both Series I and II of Modern Aquarium. He is the recipient of many awards, including election to Greater City's "Roll of Honor." At one time, he was also President of the American Goldfish Society, and held leadership positions in other local aquarium societies. He has seen and done so much that I thought it worthwhile to interview Gene and present excerpts from that interview to you. But, before doing so, allow me to present some biographical information about Gene. Quite coincidentally, Gene was born in 1922, the same year in which Greater City was founded. Gene was born on the East Side of Manhattan (New York City) and went to school there. At an early age, his family moved to Astoria, a section of Queens County in New York City. He continued to live there even after his marriage to Elenor in 1946. Around 1953, after they started having children, they moved to Glendale (another section of Queens County). They have lived there ever since. The Baiocco's have three children, Richard, Carol Ann, and Jean (they are also the proud grandparents of six). Gene's father was a tailor and his mother was a homemaker. Gene did not enter his father's profession, becoming, instead, a designer of aircraft parts. He worked for Gruman and for Smith Industries, and he retired in 1988. Fortunately for us, however, he continues to be active in the Society and in the aquarium hobby. Here, then, are edited selections from Gene's interview:


JF) What is your earliest recollection of having tropical fish? How old were you? GB) I was about 15. I had a friend whose father went down to Florida and brought back several baby alligators. We used to feed them killies. There was a creek down in Astoria were we used to get killies every day. There were a lot of creeks in Astoria in those days. That's what started it. JF) So, at first, you were just collecting killies to feed the alligators? And then what happened? GB) My friend brought over a fish tank. I couldn't bring the fish tank in the house, so we went to his place. We got a couple of bath tubs we had found, and we were raising fish in the bathtubs. JF) Where did you put the bathtubs? GB) In his back yard. I practically moved in with him. We were raising fish there, including Pumpkinseeds [a type of native Sunfish] in the tubs. JF) Oh, you could catch those too? GB) Yes. In Corona-Flushing Meadows Park. Somewhere in that area. We got to a point where we started buying tropical fish, buying Guppies to start off with; then we started playing with White Clouds. Imagine White Clouds by the thousands! JF) In the bathtubs? GB) Yes.

JF) What did you do when the Winter time came? GB) They died. Then we would start over again. The alligators we brought inside. All the White Clouds and stuff like that, when they died we used to feed them to the alligators. Very few of them went to waste. JF) It sounds like your mother was like my mother, not allowing fish tanks in the house. When did you get your first fish tank, after you got married? GB) No, I got it before; I had one tank and that was it. JF) Your mother let you keep that one tank in the house? GB) Yes.

JF) And what did you keep in that tank? GB) Guppies, just guppies. Later, after I got married, I got more tanks. I kept having tanks at my mother-in-law's house and my brother's house. JF) Where did you keep the tanks? GB) Always in the basement. We went to an affair at a little church — we threw balls at Goldfish bowls. We won a few fish but they died. What happened was that the fish were sick, didn't look healthy at all. The kids were worrying about them dying; so they put rosary beads around the edge of the bowl. Rather than have the kids worry about the fish dying, I took the dead fish out, and

example, he didn't get up till three in the afternoon. JF) Was he retired0 GB) No, he worked in the Steinway Piano factory and he was a cabinet maker, too. He would get up late in the afternoon. He would stay up at night and go to bed late. Every time I'd go down to his house, he'd say, "Don't come before three." He told me that he didn't sell fish. He would take them to Aquarium Stock [a famous and large store in Manhattan], and the store would give him supplies, brine shrimp and things like that. Aquarium Stock got fifteen dollars for a pair of his Guppies. JF) That's a lot of money at that time. GB) That's what they were selling them for. JF) Where did he have his fish tanks? GB) On the main floor in the dining room and the living room. JF) Did he live in an apartment or a private house? GB) A private house. A two family house in the Bronx. And every time he'd have a drink he'd say, "I'll have a 'schooch' and ginger ale." JF) Did he have a thick German accent? GB) Yes, he had a heavy accent. JF) Did he have children? GB) He had one child. Once, after Paul died, I brought Dan Carson [GCAS President in 1972-73 and Editor of Modern Aquarium from 1968 to 1970] over, and Dan Carson started taking photographs of all his paperwork, all his notes and stuff like that. His wife didn't like the idea, she got sort of annoyed. Maybe they were personal papers or what, but I never saw the papers myself, so I don't know. You should ask Dan about that some time. JF) At what point did you find yourself getting really involved in the Greater City Aquarium Society? GB) What happened is I went to their meeting place in Highland Park [around 1955]. I joined right there and then. JF) That same night that Paul Hahnel spoke? GB) Yes. I remember meeting Sam Estro and Lenny Meyers [each served as President of Greater City — Lenny in 1954, 1955, and 1958, and Sam in 1956 and 1957]. After Highland Park, the club met at a place in Middle Village, Stephen's Hall, right on Cooper Avenue, right down the block practically, from where I lived. Here is a copy of the October 1959 of Modern Aquarium. It says Paul Hahnel was to speak. JF) Paul Hahnel must have spoken quite a few times. GB) Yes, he was there any number of times, and it says that we are meeting at Stephen's Hall which was located at 71-32 Cooper Avenue. From there,

we went to meeting in a pet shop. Ray Heuer and his family had a pet shop, and we met there, in the back of the store. After there, we met at the 74th Street Tavern. JF) When you went to that first meeting, where Paul Hahnel was speaking, do you remember having a sense of how many people were there? Was it very crowded? GB) About 40 people. In fact, I have some old membership cards that can probably reveal some names, some old names, of people that belonged at the start, like Gian Padovani, he's a catfish expert, and is an artist too. He was there that day. JF) And he was involved with starting Modern Aquarium. GB) Yes. He started the art work and everything else. JF) Now, eventually, around 1959 you became President, right. GB) Yes. JF) So when this issue of Modern Aquarium came out in October 1959, you were already the President? GB) Yes. JF) How did you wind up becoming the President? GB) We had a guy who was taking care of the meetings, Ray Heuer. He would get up and he would speak. We would be sitting there and he would be standing there drinking beer. He was having a ball. And at the end, we would wind up and say, "What do we have in the Treasury?" He drank the Treasury! There was only fifty cents left in the Treasury at the time I took over. We assessed a lot of members of the club that were there; we assessed them five dollars a piece. We started having Guppy and Betta shows. We borrowed tanks from Jersey and Hudson/Bergen. We had to put a show on. Every time we put a show on, Queens County would put a show on first. They'd bring the tanks to Queens and we'd return them. We must have put on five or six Guppy and Betta shows. From that we started getting more money, and everything else. We started buying little 2 1/2 gallon tanks. From fifty cents in the Treasury, by the time I retired from the presidency we had something like a hundred tanks. We sold the tanks to the Nassau County club out on Long Island. JF) This was after you had the big shows in the '60s, right, you sold these tanks? GB) Yes. I was no longer President by the time we were selling the tanks. JF) We've been looking at some of the show journals from the late '60s and early '70s. In those years, at some point, you guys were meeting in the Hall of Science [built for the 1964-65 World's Fair in Corona-Flushing Meadows Park]. 11

over, and they don't bother coming any more. But now it is coming back: more women in the hobby with their husbands, or who work with their husbands on the hobby. So that makes it much more easy. I know I used to go to New Jersey a couple times a month, and Elenor would say, "You're going to another fish show?" But now it's a different story. JF) Were there any women breeders in those early days, in the '50s and the early '60s, who stood on their own, apart from their husbands? GB) None that I can remember. JF) What about teenagers? Were there ever a lot of teenagers in the club? GB) There were a lot of teenagers here. I used to give a lot of fish to the kids in the neighborhood. They came down to the meetings. Various boys used to help set up, break down, put fish in the show — they used to put Bettas in the show. I don't know how many shows they were in. They were up and coming kids. I gave them all this stuff so they got started. In fact, every time some one joined the club, I used to give them fish to get them started. JF) Now, these teenagers that used to come down to the meetings, what proportion would you say they were of the members? GB) I would say about five percent. There weren't that many of them to start off with. JF) Would it be fair to say that the majority of the members and the ones who were the most active breeders and the ones that were most involved in running the club were middle aged married men? GB) Yes, I would say that. They were married men, family members. JF) And who else, besides Paul Hahnel, do you remember being very famous as a breeder in those days? GB) Louie Rexford and Arnold Sweeney. JF) Louie Rexford, he was a big Guppy breeder? GB) Yea. So was Sweeney. JF) Do you remember Warren and Libby Young? GB) Yes, they were into Bettas. JF) What about Rosario LaCorte? Was he a famous breeder back then? GB) Yes, in Killies (among other things). Rosario LaCorte used to come down and speak at our meetings quite a bit. JF) Anyone else? GB) George Torres. He was a famous Betta breeder. He was President of the Bronx Aquarium Society. JF) Back when you started in the hobby, was there a particular magazine you liked reading? GB) Tropical Fish Hobbyist, basically that was it.

JF) Did you get The Aquarium, the Innes magazine? GB) Not really, but I have a couple of them. JF) In those days, where would you say you got most of your fish keeping information? GB) From clubs and from reading magazines to start off with. At that time the only way to get information was by joining a club. Different speakers would talk about their experiences, and you would pick up information that way. JF) Would you say that back in the mid to late '60s, when GCAS met at the Hall of Science and had these big shows, that's when we had the biggest membership since you've been a member? GB) Yes, at the Hall of Science, that's where we had the biggest shows and turnouts. JF) What do you think has happened over the years to cause the membership in the hobby to go down, and the entries in shows to go down? GB) Everyone is afraid to put a fish in a show because they're afraid someone has a better fish. This is stupid. They don't want to be embarrassed. They think they don't have something worth while. JF) What about the membership itself — why do you think we don't have as many members in the club as we had back in the '60s? GB) We have as many now, on certain days. JF) So, what do you think of the state of the hobby today? Do you think it's as good as it used to be? GB) I think it is. I think they're more advanced today. People know more. There are so many different types of species now, it's all diversified and people go off on different tangents. One guy specializes in this, another guy specializes in that. But, the hobby is good the way it stands today. There are so many different species, I don't think anybody has all the fish, except for yourself — you've got all kinds of fish. I don't think there are very many people like that. A guy like John Stora [a veteran GCAS member], he has a hatchery, and he has a bunch offish, but he specializes in certain things, too. There are very few people that really work with a lot of different fish. They have a few of this and a few of that. JF) That's probably true. Well, back in the '50s, when you first got started in the hobby, I would imagine that, Cichlids weren't as big back then. Right? GB) Right. They were just popping up at the time. JF) But, there must have been a lot of people doing things like livebearers, different kinds of minnows, Danios, Barbs, and Tetras — those were popular, right? GB) Yes, those were the popular fish at that time. You would see a lot of those fishes in shows, too. 13

you'd never believe. I was buying her Discus at better than half a dollar size for half a buck a piece. She had like a Venetian Blind in front of the tank so you wouldn't spook them, or scare them with too much light. She would feed tubifex worms in globs, which they say you're not supposed to feed to Discus.

later [I joined in 1984] so I never knew any of these people personally, like Walter Hubell. We have a trophy named after him for the Bowl Show. GB) Hubell worked for a pet shop in Richmond Hill, and he worked for the club, and his son worked for the club, too. There were two sons — they all worked for the club. He was all right.

JF) I've always been curious about the early days because I didn't join the club until much, much

JF) I've just about talked you dry, I think. Gene. I thank you very much.

Post Script: I also wish to mention that, over the years, Gene has been very generous to me, supplying me with various documents and memorabilia pertaining to Greater City's past. In addition, we've attended and entered many fish shows together. Gene is a lot of fun. I'm sure we all wish him continued health, happiness, and membership in Greater City.



But Officers, I swear, it's just a bag of dried out duck weed. I said duck WEED!" 15





CORAL AQUARIUM 75-05 Roosevelt Ave Jackson Heights, NY 11372 718-429-3934 Open Mon.-Fri. 10AM-8:OOPM Sat. 10AM - 7:OOPM Sun. 12PM- 6:OOPM •



















All Major Credit Cards Accepted


Bowling For Fishes A series by "The Undergravel Reporter"

In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does NOT necessarily represent the! opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aq u arium So ciety.

he idea, in theory at least, behind an "open" Bowl Show, such as those Greater City has, is that the entered fishes are not judged against each other, but how close they approach the "ideal" or "standard" of their species. So, for example, a Lionhead Goldfish that is, say 75% of "perfection" (based on the standard of an "ideal" Lionhead Goldfish, whatever that may be) would lose to a Kuhli Loach that approaches 90% of the standard for Kuhli Loaches. Right. Sure. Believe that, and boy do 1 have a deal for you on a bridge in Brooklyn you can have real cheap. I thought about this after visiting an aquarist friend who had a planted aquarium, which was primarily intended to grow plants. In that tank, my friend had several Kuhli Loaches. Because the plant growth was so lush, the Kuhlis could barely be seen. But every so often, I'd catch a glimpse of one, and each one I saw looked larger than the one before. If I didn't know better, I might have thought that the tank housed aquatic snakes or eels. Since my aquarist friend is a member of several aquarium societies, I almost suggested that he take one of these giant Kuhlis to a bowl show. Then the realization struck me that even if these were the best Kuhlis of their kind in the world, they didn't stand a chance against a so-so Guppy or just about any Cichlid. It's not that the people who judge bowl shows are biased against Kuhlis (or White Clouds, or any other fish), it's just that judges, being all too human, will generally pick as "best," their favorite fish (as long as said favorite type of fish is entered and is in reasonably good condition). I know I've done it myself, when judging a bowl show. (Don't worry, I haven't judged for a long while.)


I remember one Aquarium Society show at which a Harlequin Rasbora actually won Best of Show. I was very surprised, even though the fish in question was in excellent condition and quite attractive. Based solely on my own observations, I have arrived at the following conclusions about "open" bowl shows (that is, bowl shows in which different species can and usually do directly compete against each other): 1) Rare wins over common 2) Expensive wins over cheap 3) Big wins over little 4) Cichlids and Catfish win over anything else Now, some explanations are in order. If I had a highfin, lyretail, albino Kuhli Loach, it might win. In fact, the less common the fish is (which means the less familiar the judge is likely to be with the standards by which that fish should be judged), the more likely it will be to win a bowl show ribbon. Usually (although not always) rare also means expensive. Expensive fish impress judges. In fact, if there are no rules about decorations on or in the bowl in your local bowl show, including a price tag with a high price on it either in the bottom of the bowl (in a waterproof pouch, of course) or taped to the side of the bowl, is almost certain to increase your fish's chances of winning. You would think that a small fish would have an advantage (harder to spot flaws). But, no, a larger fish is almost guaranteed to catch and keep the judge's eye. For anyone who ever attended a Greater City meeting, the reference to Cichlids and Catfish is self-explanatory. But if I had a large, rare and costly Catfish, I'd be afraid to take it out. Which brings me to another thing, a bowl show is not a true representation of the quality or variety of fish kept by the members of an aquarium society. Some societies have "Home Shows" where judges visit the homes of the contestants to judge fish. The fish are subjected to minimal stress in these shows (usually no more than a flashlight shining in their faces for a few seconds), and fish which, because of size, special handling requirements, or special water requirements, can not otherwise be brought to a bowl show can be judged. The Home Show has the advantage of judging the aquarist (condition of tanks and of all tank inhabitants, not just the selected best brought to a meeting). It is probably a better test of fishkeeping ability. But, alas, even here, I doubt my friend's Kuhli Loaches would stand a chance.


G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Last Month's Bowl Show Results: 1) Jeff George - Red Delta Guppy 2) Steve Sagona - "Hap" morii 3) Jeff George - Snakeskin Guppy Sept '97 — June '98 Bowl Show Standings to date: 1: 22 points: Steve Sagona; 2: (tie) 6 points: Francis Lee & Jeff George 3: 5 points: Mike Loweth; 4: ,4 points: Ken Hooper; 5: (tie) 1 point: Claudia Dickinson and Ellen Halligan Let's welcome our ncWe'St GCAS members:; I III ;§ J| ,./' Bob WTanbvfcs; Albert Kohler; f ;j|rsu--Ypng

The INTo i-the as t Council of Acjviai'iuivi Societies 23x*d Ajmxaal Contention. - IVI ai-cl* 13-1S, 1998

Hertford Marriott Hotel, Farmington, CT (Exit Sfirff 1-84, Farm Springs Par% Speakers: Paul: Loiselle, Neil Frank, Al Castro, Mike Hellweg, Ginny Eckstein, Shane Linder; ||||r|o Hieronimus, Dave Ball, Lee Finley \| Auction of tropical fish and plants: Sunday starting at I I ;QOam. For Information contact: David andsjanine Banks 802-4P-36I6 (; At and Penriylaul 617-371-0593 (apfatii@#aot;coin); Aline Finfy 401-568-0371 ( or Sue and Wally Bush 860-276^9475 'yj^':^/|;;:;;;;;:::; -; ,,:,,,. Here^re meeting times and locations of aquarium societies in theMetropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY p?UA^IpM SOCIET^

Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Next Meeting; March ,4:'jf*:: Dr. Patrick poriston: ""SiVater Quality" Meetings: 8^PM $j\gt Wednesday of each month at the Queetis Botanical Garden Intact: Vincent Silep:::?: (718) 846-6984 E-Mail:

Next;;MeetirigjsJyIarch 13 :S;:;^1I* Charges Murpayil"! Pond, I^pm?" Meetings: 8PM: Educatiqr|;iHa||:Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation|{NY Aquarium) ; Contact: BAS Events Hotlitie ; Telephone: (718}S{B7-4455' • ;'•: :: || fff

East Coast Guppy Association Meets: 8*(^): P. M / -•••;1 st'I ThursJay of month at thV:(|)ueens Botanifsal Garden ill1 Contacts: Jeff if|orge / Gene; fia^jjsr::::::::,S:,::: Telephone: (718p|8-7190 / (516)345-6399 Long Island Aquarium





jMeets: ijOO P.^liiipS Thursday of each month at the Queens Botanical Garden Contact:lltlr™ Donald Cur||n: Telephone: (718) 631,0538 Nassau County Aquarium Society

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Friday of each month at Holtsville Park and Zoo,249 Buckley Rd. Holtsville, NY 11801 Contact: Mr. Vinny Kreyling Telephone: (516) 938-4066

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 2nd Tuesday of each month at the William M. Grouse Post 3211 V.F.W., Rte. 107, Hicksville, NY Contact: Mr. Ken Smith Telephone: (516)589-0913

North Jersey Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at the American Legion Post Hall, Nutley, NJ Contact: Mr. Dore Carlo Telephone: (201) 332-4415

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


Fin Fun Double Take There are a number of fish whose genus and species have the same scientific name (for example: Badis badis). As a result, seeing a mention of these fish in a magazine or book can cause a reader to do a "Double Take." See how many of these fish you can match up with their common names. Draw a line connecting the scientific with the appropriate common name for the fish below: Pungitius pungitius

Armoured Catfish

Anableps alableps

Striped Headstander

Callichthys callichthys

Ten-Spined Stickleback

Carassius carassius

Devil Catfish

Gobio gobio


Barbatula barbatula

Four-Eyed Fish

Anostomas anostomas

Common Loach

Notoptrus notoptrus

Prussian Carp

Phoxinis phoxinis


Bagarius bagarius

Asiatic Knifefish

Solution to Last Month's Puzzle: Thumb: Both Wet & Green PLANT Hygrophila polysperma


Riccia Jluitans


Salvina minima


Echinodorus amaionicus


Salvina auriculata Sagittaria graminea




Cryptocoryne parva


Microsorium pteropus


Hydrocotyle vulgaris


Echinodorus longiscapus


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