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modern

AQUARIUM

SEPTEMBER 1998

volume V number 7

Greater City Aquarium Society - New York


modern

AQUARIUM The "Red-Tailed Goodeid" (Xenotocs etseni} on:: our cover is a tesser known • iivebearer whose existence in:the wild is seriously threatened, Learn more aboutit in an article by Jeff George, beginning on page 6 of this month's; issue. ;

Series

Vol. V, No. 7

September, 1998

FEATURES Editor's Babblenest .

2

Op Ed: The Coffee Complaint

3

President's Message

5

The Red-Tailed Goodeid .

6

A Hobbyist's Passion

9

Photo by Jeff George f:i GREATER CFfY AQUARIU M SOCIETY • ',-.• Board Mern bars •'•<.';President . . •,.•• . . . . . .. Vincent Sileo Vice-President , , , » , . . + Tom Bohme Treasurer .. . . . . ... ... . Rosie Sileo Cones/Secretary Greg Wuest Recording Secretary . . . ; Pat Piccione l|f|i;| || Members At tarc<e ' : | | | | i l l l Mary AnnBugeia . Joe Bugeia Pete D'Orio Carlotti DeJager Ciaudta Qrckinson : Jeff George Sen Haus "Emma Haus Committee Chairs/Delegates : : .. Carlotti DeJager ISreeder AWard ••• :' Greg Wuest Arrivals: . , •.'•:-. Leonard sRamropfs |;A.A,S< Peiegate v •, (Alexander Priest : JJ brary/B . G . Lias on • . Ben/pmma Haus M embers/Programs Claudia Dtckinsorj Ctaudta Dickinsorv MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief V . , .. Alexander Priest Technical Editor . ; , . . .Warren Feuer sf?hoto/t.ayout Editor :...••:.. Jason :Kerner Bernard Harrtgan Pfoduction {Director ; Advertising Mgr. , , ; Mark Soberman ? ::E!ditDriai Assistant . . . Pat Piccicihe Josefih Ferdenzi ^Executive sEditor••; .: > •

Goldfish in a Bowl?

10

Federation of American Aquarium Societies 1997 Publication Awards Results . . .

12

The Amusing Aquarium

13

Surfing The Pubs

15

Wet Leaves (Book Review)

17

Read A Cookie, Write an Article

19

G.C.A.S. Happenings

21

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

22

Printing By Postal Press

Articles submitted for consideration in MODERN AQUARIUM must be received no later than the 10th day of the month, three months prior to the month of publication. Copyright 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


by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

n our last issue, Warren Feuer announced he is leaving as Editor of Modern Aquarium. He will remain as Technical Editor and contributor. Greater City owes a great debt to Warren. His dedication and behind the scenes efforts on behalf of this publication were more than anyone outside of the Editorial Staff will ever know. 1 won't be the only or last person to thank him for the fine work he has done to give Greater City a truly world class publication. The "Fish Cup" from the Editor's page has been "retired," like the uniform number of a winning baseball player. It will always be associated with Warren Feuer, waiting for him whenever he wants to use it again. I offer my "Editor's Babblenest" as its replacement. As your new Editor, I can promise there will be no "backsliding" from the high standards set by Warren, that you've come to expect from Modern Aquarium. But, there will be changes. What changes can you expect? For one, this page will be more issue oriented. Space will be given to anyone wanting to write a rebuttal or to express an opinion (no slurs, personal attacks, profanities, or libel allowed). An example of such an "Op Ed" article is in this very issue. Expect to see more "theme" issues, and (as was commonplace in Series II of Modern Aquarium'), occasional seasonal graphics. Several new columns are planned and under development for 1999 and beyond. More on those later. To reward, recognize, and encourage contributions to this magazine, I will be proposing to our Board of Governors an Author Award Program (loosely based on our BAP), to start next year. And, though it's a small thing, articles will now say "BY" in front of the author's name (the origin of the term "by-line").

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Expect more reporting on actions by our Board of Governors, and advance information on planned changes in Modern Aquarium. Expect more coverage of FAAS and NEC activities. Expect a questionnaire soon, asking members what they like (and, yes, dislike) about Modem Aquarium and asking for suggestions for changes and improvements. This magazine (and it IS a "magazine," not a "newsletter") belongs to our members and it should meet, and even exceed, our member's expectations and needs. In our April 1998 issue, Joe Ferdenzi described the death of an historic aquarium society. The picture of tired old men, isolated, admitting no new blood or ideas, who allowed a once great society to atrophy and die, chilled me to the bone. If we are not careful, this could happen to Modern Aquarium. So, expect to see new people join our Editorial Board as writers, transcribers/typists, proofreaders, and to take over layout and desktop publishing work. I'll write on this another time, but if you're at all interested in joining us, don't wait â&#x20AC;&#x201D; contact me A.S.A.P. I once heard a former GCAS Board of Governors member say the "real" purpose of an aquarium society was to breed fish. Sorry, but I don't agree. As Joe Ferdenzi wrote this June, "It has been said by some knowledgeable aquarists that hobbyists don't breed fish, the fish breed themselves." I would add that fish would do so even if all aquarium societies suddenly ceased to exist. It's good when a member breeds a fish and donates fry to the auction. But, an article on the care and breeding of that fish helps everyone receiving those fry to achieve similar success. I think aquarium societies are for sharing information and to help members improve their fishkeeping skills. Programs, speakers, and slide shows do this. Articles in a society's publication do it better â&#x20AC;&#x201D; by always being available, even to those who missed a meeting. So, another thing that won't change are periodic requests from the Editor for original articles from our members. This is your publication. It is highly respected. It has won many awards and brought recognition to Greater City. (See the 1997 FAAS awards in this issue.) It should reflect the interests, activities, and expertise of our members. We can run reprints from other publications. But reprints, no matter how well written, don't reflect the interests and accomplishments of our members. You'll also hear more about this from me later. I'll be back, asking for articles, help, and feedback. But, right now, I only ask for your good wishes.


Op Ed Opinion:

by JEFF GEORGE e ran out of coffee cups halfway through the June meeting. We also ran out of milk. I wouldn't have noticed this myself, but it was pointed out to me. In angry tones, by more than one club member. So I got mad too. Not at the club or the officers, for running out of these "crucial" supplies, but at the members who thought it would be more fun to complain about the shortage of coffee cups than to do something about it. Why did we run out of these items? Because we don't have a Hospitality Chairman. Why don't we have a Hospitality Chairman? Because when Mary Ann and Joe Bugeia, who served the club faithfully in this position for many years, retired from the post, no one else stepped up to take the responsibility. Our patient President, Vinny Sileo, asked for volunteers at several consecutive meetings. No one raised his hand. So how does the coffee and cake get to the meetings these days? Various officers, board members, and Modern Aquarium staffers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all of whom have already made substantial commitments of their time and energy to the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; bring different elements of the refreshment array until we can find a permanent Hospitality Chairman. Occasionally, when responsibility is shared among already-over-committed people, something falls through the cracks. In June, it was coffee cups and milk. Not surprisingly, none of the complainers I heard was an officer, board member, or other volunteer for the club, all of whom were too busy running the meeting to notice the coffee table. The coffee critics were just dues-paying members, who think their $15 gives them the right to gripe about something as trivial as coffee cups. Let's think for a minute about what you get for your fifteen bucks. Every month, you get a copy of Modern Aquarium, the best society magazine published anywhere in the country. That magazine costs more to produce than your dues divided over 10 months. You also get 9 monthly meetings a year, featuring expert speakers, raffles, door prizes, bowl shows with monthly and annual awards, excellent auctions featuring top-quality, and often rare, livestock and plants at bargain prices, a breeder's award program with excellent prizes.

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Since you got more than your dues in the form of the magazine, then these fabulous meetings are free to club members, even though it costs GCAS a hundred dollars or more to hold each one. And you get to attend the annual holiday party, eat a fine dinner which the club helps pay for, and have a chance to win even more beautiful awards and prizes. What you don't get for $15 is the right to gripe about a trivial oversight by the small handful of people who generously give their time, money, and creativity to make this amazing array of year-round entertainment available to you. The Greater City Aquarium Society has roughly ninety paid memberships, many of which actually represent couples or families. That means well over a hundred people enjoy the benefits of GCAS membership. Yet the work of running the club is performed by about a dozen people. About five or six more put in long hours to produce Modern Aquarium. That's about it. There are about fifteen or twenty volunteers who work hard to make this one of the best, most exciting, most active aquarium societies in the world. That leaves over eighty people who attend the meetings, read the magazine, drink the coffee, listen to the speakers, win the awards, and generally enjoy being a member of the Greater City Aquarium Society. And that's OK. Yes, the club could use more volunteers to help ease the burden on the handful of people who do all the work. But the hobby is many things to many people, and we all have different amounts of time and energy available to share. Having a large membership and well-attended meetings makes it possible for us to have good auctions and interesting speakers, and to receive donations from manufacturers for our raffle prizes. It also makes the meetings more fun to attend, as you meet and mingle with hobbyists with a variety of perspectives and experience levels. What isn't OK is for the people who don't have the time, energy or interest to help operate the club to complain about the honest efforts of the people who have accepted the responsibility of doing so. No one who was b****ing about the coffee situation in June was willing to fix the problem by being the Hospitality Chairman, or even by saying, "Hey, we're out of cups, and I'm not doing much right now. Why don't I run across the street and buy some at the quickie mart?" It would have taken five minutes for someone who was free to fix the problem to do so. But the people who brought the coffee are busy during meetings, handling a dozen other key


pieces of business to keep the meeting functioning. It was the people who had the time on their hands to notice and complain about the shortage of coffee supplies who were the most available to fix the problem. But not one of them saw fit to do so. I have gone on and on about what is obviously a very minor incident, because it is typical of what so often happens in an allvolunteer organization. The general membership doesn't see the many, many hours of effort by a handful of people which make the club possibleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they just notice that some little thing has been overlooked or gone slightly wrong. When something like that does come up, don't be rude, insensitive or ungrateful by complaining to other members or even to the board. Instead, see if the situation is one that

you can fix yourself, and if not, discreetly and politely point it out to someone who can. And if you're not sure how to fix the problem, don't ruin the event for everyone else by complaining about it. And if you don't have the time to do anything else to support the club, there is one important contribution you can make. At random times, and for no apparent reason, walk up to the people who kill themselves to make the club possible, shake their hands, and say, "Thanks. I really appreciate all the work you do to make the club fun and keep it running." This may be the most helpful thing any of us can do for Greater City.

North Jersey Aquarium Society's

to Howard Johnson Saddlebrook New Jersey Hotel * Weekend Workshops with noted speakers * Giant Fish Auction * Giant Dry Goods Auction * All-Species Fish and Art/Photos Show * Banquet with famous guest speaker * Vendor and Manufacturer Room * Goodie Bags, Giveaways, Door Prizes, Raffles, Contests (732) 541-1392 (pre-recorded message) North Jersey Aquarium Society P.O. Box 591 Nutley, NJ07110 e-mail: ajaprea@pica.army.mil


President's Message by VINCENT SILEO eptember: a new season for many aquarium societies in the U.S., and for Greater City as well. I know that many of you are as reluctant as I am to part with Summer, whose mild temperatures have beckoned us outdoors. You may not be eager to participate in colder weather activities just yet. But that colder weather isn't as far off as you may think. Don't be caught saying things like: "There's always next year" or "I would have joined in the fun if I had known earlier." Now is the time to start participating. They say the early bird catches the worm; well, he walks off with most of the rewards, and has fun doing it too! Don't wait to be asked. I'm asking you to join in right now. Bring some fish to the next bowl show, set up a tank for breeding, have a part in making the next Greater City event a success, and add your own personal touch. I was on the Board of Governors for a few years before I was foolish enough to try and fill Joe Ferdenzi's shoes. But that didn't stop me from making the same foolish mistakes year after year â&#x20AC;&#x201D; letting events sneak up on me and letting competitions sneak away from me until it was to late to participate well in either one. Don't let that happen to you. Take advantage of the opportunities the Society has to offer as soon as you can and you will find that it wasn't as difficult as you thought, and that it's a lot of fun! Stop making excuses. "I'd try to breed fish, but it's too much work." What work? You're just setting the scene; the fish do all the work! "I'd try my hand at the bowl show, but my fish can't compare." Wrong again, fish are judged against their perfect type, not each other. The fish which is closest to perfect for its species wins â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not the biggest or most colorful. "I have no idea when the next event will take place and I can't put my life on hold waiting for them to be announced." And you don't have to! The first event, not counting our regular meetings, will be the 16th Annual Queens County Fair, Saturday and Sunday September 19 and 20. Every year since I've been a member we have set up a table at this truly spectacular event. It is just like a Country Fair, complete with produce, livestock and handicraft competitions, amusement rides, vendors of all types of goods, live music, and dances. In addition, there have been battle reenactments, martial arts competitions and vintage automobile shows. We set up the table and a fish tank or two on Friday night. Then we take turns at our table

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answering people's questions about tropical fish and the Society. Perhaps we can get some future aquarist started with their first Betta (Siamese Fighter). Every year the same people participate because it is such an enjoyable event. And every year we see one or two new faces, but we'd love to see more of you. You don't need to be "Aquarist of the Year," or even know all of the information in our beginners pamphlet, to answer most questions. Many of the people asking questions have no idea what aquariums are all about and are genuinely interested in your thoughts and opinions. So let me know if you want to participate and take a turn with some fellow members at this year's fair. The next "Big Event" is the Holiday Party at the Palace Diner. Everyone who has attended in the past has enjoyed it, and with the ideas and participation of some of our newer members, this year's party is expected to be better than ever, so don't miss out! Start putting money aside now, and mark the date on next year's calendar. Make a note on December 31 of this year's calendar too, so you won't miss it! The Holiday Party takes the place of the January meeting. Think of it as the last big bash of the Holiday Season. The cost is only $15 a plate. Only $10 for members and their immediate family. The Society picks up the other $5. For that you get a full meal, complete with salad bar, your choice of three or more entrees, and dessert. Finally, we have our Spring Event on May 22, 1999. Sounds like a long way off, but just close your eyes and pretend that it's up to you to make it happen and be a success. Maybe you have a clear idea of what must be done, or maybe you don't even know where to start. Either way I think you will agree that you shouldn't wait until the last minute to start putting it together. Those of you who have organized an office meeting, a PTA Luncheon, or even a children's party, know very well that you can't be prepared for everything and can never start planning too early. Fortunately, the initial planning of the 1999 Fish Frolic is well underway; but it is going to take all of us to make it a success. Whether you are donating fish and plants to the auction, manning an information table, or even designing an event within the event, every little bit helps to make it a complete success. So the weather may still be pleasant, enticing you to live for today and not think about the future, but the Summer's fine points are fleeting. It won't be much longer before it has lost its grip on you and your energies have been turned to other pleasures. Jump right in, the water's fine!


Xenotoca eiseni:

The Red-Tailed Goodeid by JEFF GEORGE ike most fishkeepers, livebearers were among the first aquarium fish I kept, and certainly the first I bred. I quickly grew dissatisfied with the quality of the domestic strains available, though, and having no idea where to find wild strains and species, or better quality domestic lines, my attention wandered. For two decades, I focused on African cichlids, many of whom are maternal mouthbroodersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;hardly any different from livebearers from the fishkeeper's standpoint! When I moved to New York, however, and became active in the societies here, I was exposed to a number of fish I had seen only in books before. Of course, many killifish were available, but occasionally, I would see a rare livebearer in a society auction. My interest in these fish was reawakened. In December, 1997, a fish I had never seen in person showed up in the auction of the East Coast Guppy Association. Basil Holubis, of the Norwalk Aquarium Society, had donated a bag of young Xenotoca eiseni, the Red-Tailed Goodeid. This was a chance I couldn't pass up, and bid like a madman until 1 won the bag. I was back in the livebearer business!

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Meet the Red-Tailed Goodeid I had come across Goodeids in the hobby literature, and knew a little about them before I bought the Red-Tails. For example, 1 knew that Goodeids were livebearers, but a separate family from the Poeciliids (guppies, swordtails, etc.) so familiar in the hobby. Like Poeciliids, they are also related to the killifish, and are usually small fish which feed primarily on insects and vegetation. I also knew that all the Goodeids are native to Mexico, most being found in the area around Guadalajara. When 1 got my new Red-Tails home, I set them up in a 5-gallon tank with a simple box filter. Basil had told me that they were desert fish, and preferred hard, alkaline water. Thus, I used the same water I prepare for my African cichlidsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;pH 7.8 to 8.2, general hardness and alkalinity between 150 and 200ppm, and a tablespoon of kosher salt per 5 gallons of water. Because there is no light immediately over this tank, I don't grow plants in it; instead, I offered a few broken flowerpots for cover. The fish

were obviously comfortable in this environment, bravely swimming in the open water and eagerly devouring any food offered. As soon as my five new fish were settled in, I began to research them. Basil had already assured me that they were among the easiest of the Goodeids to keep and breed, and my reading supported that statement. I soon learned that the male Red-Tailed Goodeid can be expected to reach 2 inches in length, while the female will eventually approach 3 inches. They are apparently found in a variety of habitats in the wild, ranging from clear streams to muddy rivers, and are thus tolerant of a wide variety of water conditions and chemistries. Though they are said to prefer a temperature around 77° F, their home waters vary around this mark by ten or fifteen degrees in either direction without harm to the fish. My own Red-Tails were kept at room temperature in my fishroom, which ran in the low 70s through the winter, yet they ate well, grew and spawned at these temperatures. Adult Xenotoca eiseni are stocky, deepbodied fish, with older specimens taking on a distinctly hump-backed appearance. The dorsal and anal fins are small, clear, and set well back on the body. The females are plainly colored, being essentially gray-brown with a whitish belly and prominent gravid spot. The male Red-Tails are more vividly colored, with their most striking feature being their bright orange-red tail fin. The red extends over the base of the fin onto the caudal peduncle, while the remainder of the peduncle is steel blue. The males also feature a sort of saddle-shaped mark, beginning behind the eye and extending almost to the leading edge of the dorsal fin. In my fish, this area is also steel blue, though I have read that in some strains, the saddle can be golden. At its lower extreme, just behind the gill plate, the saddle features irregular blue-black marks. My new charges When they first arrived in my fishroom, my five Xenotoca eiseni were just under an inch in length, and all were still showing the plain, juvenile-female color pattern. Upon close examination, however, I was able to identify them as four males and one female, based on the shape of the anal fin. In Goodeids, the anal fin


of the male forms an "andropodium," with the first few rays thickened and separated from the rest of the fin by a deep notch. I have since found it possible to sex Red-Tails with confidence as early as three or four weeks after birth, based on anal fin shape. This andropodium gives the Goodeids their less used common-name, the Splitfins. Aside from using slightly harder water, I handled my Goodeids just as I do my show guppies. They were kept in a bare-bottomed tank, fed twice daily with baby brine shrimp, and two or three more times with flake foods. I supplemented their diet at irregular intervals with frozen brine shrimp or beef heart, though I believe that they would do fine on dry food alone. 1 have read both that Xenotoca require a high percentage of vegetable matter in their diet, and that the need for vegetables has been overemphasized. In the face of this conflicting advice, I split the difference, making sure that my Red-tails get Spirulina flakes for at least one of their dry meals every day. They received a 50% water change about once a week, the new water being aged and treated with an alkaline buffer and salt to match the tank water. Such large water changes seem not to bother the fish, as they will cheerfully eat even as the fresh water is added to the tank! A month after their arrival, the males were coloring up, and the female was beginning to swell in the abdomen. At that point, all five fish were about an inch and a quarter long, with the female the largest of the group. Despite the presence of four males, the female wasn't unduly harassed or otherwise stressed. I did call Basil to beg a few more females. He generously provided me with another lot of Red-Tails at the Norwalk auction in February, this time with two males and three females. The new fish were slightly smaller than the previous batch, but mixed with the others without conflict. The blessed event By the end of February, the first female was looking quite plump. Viewed from head on, she had a distinctly pear-shaped appearance, with

her lower abdomen obviously swollen with her first brood. Though I had read that the Red-Tail Goodeid was not particularly prone to eating its own fry, I didn't want to take any chances with the first brood. I removed her to a private 2.5gallon tank, filled with water from the breeding colony tank, and filtered with a seasoned sponge filter. A couple of bushy plastic plants provided cover for the female and her anticipated brood. The fry came about a week later, on March 8. Though the female was barely an inch and a half long, her eight offspring were huge. Each was roughly a half-inch long, about a third the length of their mother. She looked quite hollow and hungry after giving birth, but I seriously doubt she posed a threat to her fry, as they were much bigger than her mouth. Even so, I returned her to the breeding colony

YFNOTOCA OSF/V/

J(,98 Illustration by Jeff George

immediately, hoping that she would get lost in the crowd and not be harassed by her fellows. Fortunately, she settled right back in, and quickly filled out once more. Perhaps her size advantage over her tankmates helped protect her as she regained her strength. For the first few days, the fry trailed a white string from their bellies. This was the remains of the trophotaenia, an umbilical cordlike structure by which the fry receive nourishment from their mother as they gestate. Within a week, how-ever, the trophotaenia had disappeared, either having dropped off or been absorbed. The eight fry were fed brine shrimp and flake foods, and grew relatively quickly. In a month, they were about 3/4 of an inch in length,


and they were approaching an inch at two months. At this point, I combined four of the fry with a mature pair from the breeding colony to make a lot for the GCAS Silent Auction. The other four fry were moved to the breeding tank, where they mixed in without problems. The same female had fattened up again within five weeks, and I began to expect another brood. She was now coming up on 2 inches long. Although I had read that broods typically came 50 or more days apart, I could make out the well-developed eyes of her fry through the thin wall of her abdomen by 42 days. I again moved her to a small "drop tank," where she gave birth to another 17 fry on the 45th day after the first drop. By their sixth week, I had passed two thirds of this batch along to other hobbyists, and added the last five to my own breeding colony. Based on the growth of my own fry, I surmise that my original five were two to three months old when they came to me. The first brood came three months later, at five to six months of age. These numbers line up with what I have read, with most sources indicating maturity forXenotoca eiseni coming at about five months. At the time of this writing, the eldest female is getting ready to drop her third brood. She is now 2.25 inches long at about 10 months of age. Her consorts are just breaking an inch and a half. The eldest female dropped her third brood on June 11. I had moved her the previous night to a 2.5-gallon "drop tank," and was surprised to find about 20 fry in the tank the next morning. I have read that it can be dangerous to move a female Goodeid that is close to delivering, as the large fry held inside her place tremendous stress on her internal organs. By netting her and removing her from water to move her to another tank, you can injure an expectant Goodeid internally, from which she seldom recovers. The Red-Tail is an unusually tough member of the family, and more forgiving of rookie mistakes like this one of mine. The female in question survived the ordeal with no signs of distress, but I would not have moved her if I had realized how close she was to delivering. In the long run The breeding colony, which now numbers almost twenty fish of various ages, is still in the original five-gallon tank. Though they are still eating and growing well—due no doubt to a faithful program of substantial water changes—they are becoming quite crowded. I plan to move them to a well-lit, planted 10 or 15-gallon aquarium very soon, and to cut back to

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a handful of mature males and females as the current juveniles mature. My gender-mix is still heavily slanted towards males, and I hope to correct this with these early broods. On June 12, 1998, the colony was moved to a 10-gaIlon tank, and seems to appreciate the extra space. Eventually, as more of the fish approach maximum size, they will need to be promoted to a 20 or 30-gallon tank. I have not yet attempted to mix other fish with the Goodeids. Their disposition has been compared to that of Tiger Barbs—not truly aggressive, but prone to becoming nippy under certain circumstances. Preferred tankmates listed in the literature are the larger, tougher Poeciliids, such as swordtails, Gambusia, and the big mollies, and other species of Goodeids. I imagine that barbs and mature danios would mix with them well enough. I have read that Xenotocas can be hard on Corydoras catfish, and have shied away from this combination, though 1 certainly have many Corys in my other tanks. There are two other species in the genus Xenotoca, X. melanosoma and X. variata. Both these fish are more slender than the Red-Tailed Goodeid, and are unlikely to be confused for that fish. Still, the Xenotoca species should not be mixed, as hybridization might occur. There is little chance of cross-breeding between the Xenotoca species and Goodeids from other genera, though, and it should be possible to house comparably-sized Goodeids with Red-Tails safely. A final word A point of interest—though Xenotoca eiseni is well established in the hobby among livebearer specialists, it has become increasingly rare in the wild. Like most of the Goodeid species, X. eiseni is seriously threatened: by pollution, by habitat destruction, and by the introduction of exotic species to its habitat. It may even be extinct in the wild at this point. When keeping these fascinating fish, we accept a responsibility to help preserve them. It is essential to the survival of these species that we strive to propagate them, and that we distribute their fry to other, similar-minded aquarists. By doing so, we elevate our hobby from an enjoyable pastime to an informal yet vital network of conservationists, working to preserve and protect rare animal species. Sadly, many beautiful and interesting fish exist today only in the tanks of amateur aquarists, having been eliminated from their native waters by man's irresponsible actions. This is one of the most important ways by which we can be of service to science and nature.


A Hobbyist's Passion Putting Your "Passion" on Paper by VINCENT SILEO riting used to come more easily for me. Lately I find that I must think longer and work harder to come up with something for an article or the President's message. Perhaps it is because I am getting older, or maybe it's because my occupation requires me to think of cargo rates and customs procedures rather than the cost of platies (which I got a steal on at the auction in March!) and the role of carbon dioxide in plant growth. Is it because I scrutinize every sentence more closely, asking myself: "Does this make any sense to anyone other than me?" or "Will this really interest the general membership or am I just filling a page?" Maybe you too have tried to write an article for Modern Aquarium only to stop half way through the effort, mocking yourself with questions like these. Does Modern Aquarium need more writers, producing more articles? Of course it does. Every aquarium publication could use a better variety of writers and a more steady supply of articles. Now I know what you're thinking... "Oh no, here we go again, they want me to write an article!" WRONG! The last thing I want to do is coerce someone into writing an article for Modern Aquaruim. It probably wouldn't be very good unless it was something you wanted to do. The best articles are those which the author really feels passionate about. Not the five and dime romance novel passion, but the passion that comes from sharing a personal experience or belief. Try to think of the articles you've enjoyed most over the years. Not just in Modern Aquarium, don't even limit it to aquarium related articles. Any article that you have really enjoyed has had the passion I'm speaking about. Even if that article was about the most dry, boring topic imaginable, if the author was passionate about what they were writing, it comes through. Not only does it come through, but it inspires others. That's the type of article we would like to have in Modern Aquarium. Of course we would like it to be aquarium related, so don't be offended if you pour your heart into an article on baseball or Beanie Baby â&#x201E;˘ collecting and we don't run it. I'm sure that there is a magazine which would absolutely love your article. Now you might be saying to yourself, "How can I be passionate about cold blooded

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fish?" Just think about the last time you were trading "fish" stories with your buddies. Maybe it was at a GCAS meeting or at a fish show or on an internet chatline. That's the type of passion I'm talking about. You didn't think about it then because it was more spontaneous to just say it. Well, now write it! Don't think about it just get down on paper as quickly as possible, go ahead, I'll wait

Ok, now look it over and see if you left anything out. Any important facts or information that you forgot in the rush to write it all out before your brain got too far ahead of your hand! Next, read it over. Does it make sense? Of course it does; it's your thoughts, but will it make sense to anyone who reads it? Don't worry too much about this, that is what the editorial board is for! Now that all of the information is there and it makes sense, add your own style to the composition. Fill out some of the details and exaggerate some of those descriptions. Have a little fun, this isn't a scientific term paper (unless that's what you want it to be!). That's all there is to it. We all have one or two "fish" stories we could share with the general membership. Perhaps my problem is that I've told most of my stories already. We need you to share your experiences with us. Even if you believe that your experience wasn't anything special or different from what other members have gone through, you'll find a loyal readership who can relate to that experience. The other side of the coin is to let those who do write for the magazine on a regular basis know what types of articles you would like to see more of. Give us some direction so we know what to write about. What questions do you have regarding aquariums and tropical fish? One question can easily develop into an article with a comprehensive answer, satisfying the needs of our membership. So, before you move onto the next article in this magazine, or put it down to do something else, just jot down a few lines about your latest fish story or about questions which are puzzling you. I'll bet that you won't be able to stop at just a few lines or questions. Before long you'll see just how easy it can be when you feel passionately about the topic.


Goldfish in a Bowl? Might As Well Make It The Toilet Bowl! by JOSEPH FERDENZI

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ne of the most enduring images of our popular culture is that of a pet Goldfish in a bowl. The idea that Goldfish can be kept in bowls is insidiously conveyed through everyday media. Let's look at two recent examples.

Illustration #1 is a portion of an advertisement for a credit card company that illustrates some of the things you can buy with their card. Notice that rather large Goldfish in the drum bowl? An accompanying index indicates that they can be purchased at a popular chain of pet shops. Of course, I am sure that this chain would not recommend that such a Goldfish live its entire life in a drum bowl. However, the casual observer might certainly get the idea that the ad depicts an acceptable home for the fish.

Illustration #2

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Illustration #1 Look at Illustration #2. It depicts a photo from a newspaper article on remodeling the interior of a house. Once again, you see a (rather large) Goldfish inside a drum bowl. The caption that accompanied the photo made this remarkable statement: "the goldfish . . . adds a dash of color to the kitchen's subdued palette." Well, isn't that just peachy keen? Bad enough that people often buy aquarium gravel solely on the basis of whether it matches a room's color scheme; now the fish's color has to be just right too! Of course, the idea that Goldfish should live in bowls is hardly new. This imagery


has, in fact, been promoted for over 100 years. Examine Illustration #3. It shows an advertising card for a well-known insurance company. The card was printed in 1886. What accident are the cats about to cause (for which, presumably, you should be insured)? They are about to knock down a bowl containing several Goldfish. Not only are there too many fish, but the bowl is filled with water to the narrowest part — which is exactly the opposite of what every aquarium treatise tells you to do; namely, fill a bowl up to the widest part in order to increase the surface area for oxygen exchange with the atmosphere. The myth that Goldfish make ideal bowl residents is pervasive. At pet fairs, fish shows, and just in talking to non-hobbyists, I have received many puzzled looks from people who are told that Goldfish shouldn't be kept in bowls. They are surprised to learn that Goldfish eat and excrete at a rate unfavorable to life in even the largest available bowls (two gallons), unless you perform partial water changes every day (something few people know or are prepared to perform). Also, most Goldfish, if allowed to reach their full potential, grow rather large. Such an animal confined to a bowl is like having a Great Dane pent up in a small cage all of its life. In a phrase — it's just not right!

Illustration #3 The only fish I recommend for bowls are Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens) — one to a bowl. Bettas are much smaller, slower moving, and can breathe atmospheric oxygen — all in contrast to Goldfish. No Goldfish breeder I have ever met keeps Goldfish in bowls. Quite to the contrary; they all keep Goldfish in the biggest tanks or ponds that they have, and at the coolest temperatures they can maintain (unless it's breeding time). So, let's get the word out. Goldfish should not be kept in bowls. Tell anyone who's interested in keeping fish that they shouldn't follow the examples depicted in the popular media. If they want something to add color to the "subdued palette" of their kitchen, tell them to buy a nice teapot.

Send all mail, including exchange publications, for Modern Aquarium or the Greater City Aquarium Society to: Alexander A. Priest % Greater City A.S. 1558 McDonald Street Bronx, NY 10461-2208

To contact us via e-mail, send your message or inquiries to GreaterCity@compuserve.com Or, leave us a message at our website at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity If you are sending an electronic file (including any article), please save the file as either: (1) .RTF (Rich Text Format); or (2) ASCII (or text); or (3) WordPerfect 5.1 for MS-DOS. Please use an "8 plus 3" file name (that is, no more than 8 letters or numbers without spaces, and an optional extension of no more than three letters or numbers). 11


The Federation of American Aquarium Societies Publication Award Program Results of the 1997 Competition he Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS) consists of aquarium societies in the United States, Canada, Central and South America. Its main purposes are to further the growth and activities of aquarium societies; to serve as a mechanism of communication among aquarium societies; to promote the maintenance, propagation and growth of tropical fishes and other aquatic life forms; and to represent aquarium societies before governmental bodies. FAAS has a Publication Award Program to recognize the efforts and contributions made by aquarium society publications to promote interest in the fish hobby, share information, and encourage communication. The results of the judging of the 1997 publications have been announced and all the winners are below:

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Best Editor & Publication/more than 6 issues 1) Elaine & Rany Rude • The Calquarium - Calgary A.S. 2) Warren Feuer • Modern Aquarium • Greater City A.S. 3) Mark Broadmeyer • Wet Pet Gazette - Norwalk A.S. HM: Ron Lawrence • Some Things Fishy • Tropical Fish Club of Erie Best Editor & Publication/6 or fewer issues 1) Rick Hatton • SCAS Journal • Southern Colorado A.S. 2) Dave Williamson • Tank Topics • Greater Akron A.S. 3) Pam Chin • Cichlidae Communique • Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. HM: Tim Boelema • GVAC Newsletter - Grand Valley A.S. Best Non-Changing Cover 1) The Youngstown Aquarist • Youngstown Tropical Fish Soc. 2) Paradise Press • Long Island A.S. Best Changing Cover 1) The Calquarium - Calgary A.S. 2) Modern Aquarium • Greater City A.S. 3) The Kitsap Aquarian - Kitsap A.S. HM) In Seine MENU • Champaign Area Fish Exchange Best Exchange/Review Column 1) Kevin Plazak - Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2} Natasha Kapty - Calgary A.S. 3} Rich Serva/Gina Tash - Greater Akron A.S.

Best Continuing Column by a Single Author 1} Pam Chin - Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2) Grant Gussie - Calgary A.S. 3) Joseph Ferdenzi • Greater City A.S. HM: Charley Sabatino • Greater City A.S. Best Spawning Article/Less than 500 Words 1) Rich Serva/Gina Tash - Greater Akron A.S. 2) Wayne Toven - Greater Akron A.S. 3) Curt Smith • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc.

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Best Spawning Article/501-1000 Words 1) David Locey • Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2) John Wubbolt • Central New York A.S. 3) John Wubbolt • Central New York A.S. Best Spawning Article/More than 1000 Words 1) Pam Chin • Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2) Jim E. Quarles • Sacramento A.S. 3) Mike Reiser • Calgary A.S. Best General Article/Family of Fish 1) Elaine & Randy Rude • Calgary A.S. 2) Curtis Mytroen • Calgary A.S. 3) Mike Keiser • Calgary A.S. Best Marine Article NO ENTRY Best Horticulture/Aquascapine Article 1) Birgit McKinnon • Calgary A.S. 2) Wayne Toven - Greater Akron A.S. 3) Ed Katuska • Norwalk A.S. Best Show/Judging Article 1) Claudia Dickinson • Greater City A.S. 2) Vincent Sileo • Greater City A.S. 3) llene Alvis • Kitsap A.S. Best "How To" Article 1) Cheryl Miller • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc. 2) Ed Keene - Delaware County A.S. 3) Bil Alvis • Kitsap A.S. Best Article on Society Management 1) Cheryl Miller • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc. 2) Glenn Peterson • Long Island A.S. 3} Raymond Albanese - Nassau County A.S. Best Article/Junior Member Category I • (grades K-5) 1) Steven Miller - Youngstown Tropical Fish Soc. 2) Emily Smith • Nassau County A.S.


Best Article/Junior Member Category II • (grades 6-8) 1) Warren Keene • Delaware County A.S. 2} Brad Miller • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc. 3) Kasey O'Day • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc. Category III • (grades 9-12) 1} Michael Krasilovsky • Norwalk A.S. 2) Michael Krasilovsky - Norwalk A.S. 3) Michael Krasilovsky • Norwalk A.S. Best Article/Live Foods 1) Richard C. Griffiths • Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2) Cheryl Miller • Youngstown Area Tropical Fish Soc. Best Review Article 1) Joseph Ferdenzi • Greater City A.S. 2) Maryeve Brill • Long Island A.S. 3) Grant Gussie • Calgary A.S. HM: Michele Romeo • Long Island A.S. Best Article/Traveling Aquarist 1) Jim E. Quarles • Sacramento A.S. 2) Tim Boelema • Grand Valley Aquarium Club 3) John Wubbolt • Central New York A.S. Best Collecting Article 1) Tessa Cain • Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 2) Rich ServafGina Tash - Greater Akron A.S. 3) Rich ServafGina Tash - Greater Akron A.S.

Best Article/Not in any Other Category 1) Gene Harris • Norwalk A.S. 2) Ron Coleman - Pacific Coast Cichlid Assoc. 3) Jim E. Quarles • Sacrament A.S.

Best Humorous Article 1) Tim Boelema • Grand Valley Aquarium Club 2) Glenn Peterson • Long Island A.S. 3) Karl Bruckner • Nassau County A.S.

Artist/Cartoonist of the Year 1) llene Alvis • Kitsap A.S. 2) Grant Gussie • Calgary A.S. 3) Bernard Harrigan • Greater City A.S. HM: Randy Flint • Kitsap A.S. Shere Flint • Kitsap A.S. Melanie Davis • Kitsap A.S.

Author of the Year 1) Michele Romeo • Long Island A.S. 2) Ed Keene - Delaware County A.S. 3) Grant Gussie • Calgary A.S. HM: Patricia Smith • Nassau County A.S.

"Watch them! You'll see. They're mouth brooders too. 13


September 11 -13, 1998

Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island (Rl)

TROPICAL FISH SHOW AND AUCTION St. Joseph's Parish Center 1303 Mendon Road Cumberland RI Call Paul Muscatiello (508) 883-4256 or E-Mail to Paula Andrus: pandrus.net TFSRI website: http://www3.edgenet.net/envirarium/tfsri/tfsri.html September 20, 1998

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Danbury Area Aquarium Society (CT)

11th ANNUAL AUCTION Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department Rt. 6, Bethel, CT Registration: 10:30am - Noon Viewing of Goods: Noon - 1pm Auction: 1pm - 5pm DA AS website: http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/! 164/auction.html October 2 - 4, 1998

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Norwalk Aquarium Society (CT)

33rd ANNUAL TROPICAL FISH SHOW Nature Center for Environmental Activities Westport, CT For information, call: Basil (914)669-5030 Sal (203)972-0610 Ed (203)375-4479 Charlie (203)775-9087 October 9, 1998

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Mark (203)250-7968 Gene (203)882-0812 .

Brooklyn Aquarium Society (NY)

ANNUAL GIANT AUCTION Starting at 8:00 PM Aquarium For Wildlife Conservation - Education Hall Surf Ave. and West 8 St Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. Call BAS Hotline: (718) 837-4455 or E-Mail to Joe Graffagnino: JGraffagnino@compuserve.com October 18, 1998

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Long Island Aquarium Society (NY)

LIAS 3rd ANNUAL GIANT AUCTION Babylon Town Hall Annex 281 Phelp's Lane Babylon NY For information, call Vinny (516)938-4066 or E-mail to L.I.A.S.: 103441.2635@compuserve.com The information above was taken from the FISHY EVENTS section of the Greater City Aquarium website at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity North East Council (NEC) members are invited to send in information on future events for posting. E-mail to GreaterCity@compuserve.com

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you can click on a link called "Betta Software" and can download a Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 version of BellaData. (I may review this program at a later date.) You'll also find "Links" click on il for even more websiles. the exchange column Click on "Links" and from Ihe lisl lhal appears, selecl "Gillian Ferguson's Betta Page" at www.sunpool.com/Bellapage.hlm There, you'll find a button labeled "Bellapage." Click on lhal button and you'll be senl lo a page wilh many more click on buttons, such as "Foods and by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST Feeding," "Environmenl," "Color Varialions," his exchange column is an effort to "Communily Companions," "Diseases," bring to our members information from "Breeding," "Raising the Fry," "Betta Links," and various resources. While those "Books" While you could do considerable resources are usually publications of other research here, we're "surfing" right now, so societies, at least once before (December 1996) I lei's selecl Ihe "Betta Links" devoted a column to areas on the Internet where From Ihere, click on "Trev's Betta specific fish related information could be Page" which takes you to Trevor Stocki's Fish obtained. At that time, it was on Discus Page al www.physics.ubc.ca/~slocki/ourfish.htm websites. This month, it will be websites either From there, Ihere is a link labeled "Dave's Fish devoted to the Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Page" al www.slarpoinl.nel/~dave/fish.hlml splendens), or with interesting Betta information. Click on Ihe Betta on Dave's page and get more Tropical fish hobbyists have a wealth of links, the best (in my opinion) is "Linda's Betta on-line information available. Many people have Barracks" at www.aristotle.net/~vampyre/ which access to the Internet without even knowing it. has a "Links of Interesl" link lhal gives you even For example, even if you do not own a computer, more siles lo pick from. go to your local library From that list and ask about Internet rib," a BETTA Internet Websites 1 select "The access. More and more 1 "'' •' • ' ' • • • •••• :-; • • ' • ' '"« website wilh wit loads of Public Library branches ^^^^^^^^^^™ informalion on many are putting in free Internet access terminals. All different aspects of the aquarium hobby (not just you have to do is sign up to use it. Bellas). Il claims to be "the oldest living I did not describe in detail the websites aquarium web site, having been around since named in this article. You will find most have a January 1994." If you click on Ihe "Delailed great deal of information on the care, breeding, Subjecl Lisling" and Ihen on Ihe link labeled "For feeding, and diseases of Bellas. Many also have More Informalion" you'll see a link called useful information on other tropical fish. "FAQ" (which, in webspeak, means "Frequenlly Let's start at Greater Cily's websile at: Asked Queslions"). Click on lhal link, Ihen on ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/greatercity "Organizalions" and you'll find a link lo lake All siles discussed here have "http://" at the start you back lo Grealer Cily's websile. of their addresses, so I will not repeat lhal part of Bui wail, we look lhal tour of the their URL (webspeak for "address") each lime. Inlernel from jusl one link on Grealer Cily's Click on Ihe Grealer City link marked "Selecled websile. Lei's Iry anolher. Aquarium Hobby Inlernel Siles." Scroll down lo Again click on "Selecled Aquarium "More Bellas" and you'll be senl to Betta Hobby Inlernet Sites" on our websile. Selecl Barracks al www.aristotle.net/~vampyre "BETTAS On The Web" and you will go lo This page may take lime lo load. When www.geocilies.com/RainForesl/2806/BETTAS. il does, click on "Links of Inleresl." From Ihe HTM Then find "Jeffs Half-Moon Bella Page" lisl thai comes up, click on "My Bellas" lo be link al pwl.nelcom.com/~jeffegg2/betta.hlml senl lo uslink.nel/~rosebudm/betlas.html for Click on "Aquaria FAQ" once Ihere lo some nice piclures and a link called, simply: go lo www.cco.callech.edu/~aquaria/Faq Now "Betta Links." Click on lhal link and you have find and click the button marked "Books, Clubs, anolher lisl of Betta websiles lo pick from. Mailorder" lo go to a site labeled "Resources" al Lei's iry "All My Bellas" which lakes you to a www.cco.callech.edu/~aquaria/Faq/resources.hlml websile called "All Aboul Bellas" al Click on "Organizalions" to go to www.geocities.com/RainForest/5411 /From there, Aquaria Organizations and Socielies at www.cco.

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WET LEAVES

examples of poor quality Goldfish; some with explanations as to why they are poor, and some without. The best photos are in the section called Popular Goldfish. Each variety is described in detail and accompanied by photos. For example, we are told that the Ranchu has a A Series On Books For The Hobbyist short round body, no dorsal fin, generous "head growth" and a double tail fin. By head growth by SUSAN PRIEST they mean what I would describe as a collection modest budget, and an even more of lumps resembling a cauliflower. modest amount of shelf space, have Approximately half of the book focuses yielded Al and I over some seven years on breeding. Space does not allow me to a modest library dedicated to books about summarize 68 pages, but I will touch on a few freshwater tropical fishes. Most of the points. Goldfish spawns have a high percentage accumulated volumes fall into three categories: of defective fry; the more characteristics 1) general fishkeeping topics covering a wide (telescope eye, pompons, doubletail, etc.), the overview of the hobby, 2) books on our specific higher the percentage of deformed fry. Goldfish favorite fishes and 3) books about fish which we are spawned in either pairs, trios (two males and have not been drawn to and have never kept, but one female), or "flocks" (again, males which represent major areas of the hobby. The outnumbering females by two to one). Sexing is subject of this month's difficult, and several Wet Leaves falls into The Official Guide to Goldfish methods are suggested the third category. The Goldfish Society of America as useful but not T.F.H. Publications 1991 T h i s book foolproof. In choosing makes a good first the tank size, "use the rule of thirty and double impression. Based on the title, I thought that we it." The most important thing to remember could represent the entire topic of Goldfish with when raising fry is "don't overcrowd." this one modestly-sized volume. I got set It is recommended that the hobbyist not straight on page two where the introduction states mix varieties of Goldfish together in the same that "This book was written with the beginning aquarium, but that they should be grouped goldfish hobbyist in mind and is far from "according to their handicaps." The word complete." (O.K., I should have known better!) handicapped perfectly sums up for me my The broad headings of General Care, reaction to the sight of a fish with impaired Breeding and Popular Goldfish are segmented vision which cannot swim properly. In my into specific smaller headings. Emphasis is opinion, many of the traits which have been placed on high oxygenation of the water, which selectively bred into these "fancy" fish can only is best achieved by providing a large surface be described as disabilities. area. The recommendation to supply "30 square Several important pieces of information inches of surface area per inch of goldfish body" were missing from this book. Omitted was the is repeated a few times. However, there are fact that all goldfish, regardless of common several photos of small (one or two gallon) tanks name, bear the scientific name Cyprinus auratus. which are taller than they are wide. Beginners I would like to have seen an address for The could be confused by these mixed messages. Goldfish Society of America so that people with Readers are reminded that Goldfish are questions could get in contact with them. (From temperate-water fishes and should have a water the GCAS website, that address is 9107 West temperature range of 60째-70째F. We are also 154 St., Prior Lake, MN 55372 and the dues are instructed not to use ornaments with sharp edges, $22 a year, or $25 for first class mailings.) The or anything with holes which could trap waste beginner would have been better served by a materials. (That's good advice for all greater emphasis on basics. Clearly, the aquariums!) Would you beginners know what it spawning of fancy Goldfish is something to be means to "add fish slowly?" I'm sure they are undertaken by an advanced hobbyist. trying to say that no more than one or two small In closing, I would like to remind our fish should be introduced to an aquarium at once, members that Wet Leaves is a forum open to all followed by a waiting period of a few weeks of you. If someone has a book about Goldfish, before introducing any more. or any other fish topic, which they would like to There are extensive color photos. At recommend (or warn us about), then this is the the beginning of the book there are quite a few place to do it.

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Read A Cookie, Write an Article A series by "The Under gravel 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 Aquariurrt; Society;:; ;

hile I have seen many articles to encourage people to write for their society's publication, I think I found a different approach. Recently, at the end of a meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant, I received my usual fortune cookies and suddenly realized (possibly with the aid of several glasses of rice wine consumed earlier), that through the years many of the fortunes I found in those cookies held wisdom for the novice writer. Here are some of those fortunes, with my comments on how they apply to writing articles:

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

This fortune reminds us that every project has to start somewhere. The hardest part of writing an article is just getting started. Sometimes, I find it easier to start in the middle, with what I know I want to say. Once I have that down on paper, I work on the beginning (introducing it) and the end (a conclusion and bringing it all together). But, until you put something down on paper to start, you'll never get that article finished. Share your happiness with others today and Please all, and you will please none

These two fortunes point out that the best articles are those that reflect your personal interests. When you write about what interests you, you are more likely to write an article that is interesting. Do not worry whether everyone, or even most of the people who will read the article, share the same interest as you. An article written by someone who really enjoys the subject of the article will be enjoyable to read, even by those who might not otherwise share your interests.

Words should be weighed, not counted and What orators lack in depth they make up in length

These fortunes remind us it is the quality, not the quantity of words that counts. It is actually harder to write a good short article than a good long one. To write a short article, you must communicate effectively and efficiently. Just because your article is not over a thousand words does not mean it is not as good as an article twice as long. In writing, size, by itself, really does NOT matter. Eschew Obfuscation and Help stamp out and abolish redundancy

The first fortune is a humorous way to say: "avoid confusing and obscure language." The second fortune is a humorous way of reminding us to "keep it simple" ("stamp out" and "abolish" mean the same thing, so using both together is "redundant"). As another example, a sentence such as: "This is about the care and maintenance of fancy guppies" is redundant, since "care" and "maintenance" mean essentially the same thing in that context. He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet

A good idea for an article is just the start. As the above fortune points out, most articles need to have some fact. That may mean interviewing an expert (and don't forget that there are experts in your own society) or consulting magazines or reference books. Remember to give credit to any and all sources you use. Common sense is very uncommon

Just because you know something very well does not mean everyone else does. We often make the mistake of thinking that an article on a certain fish or plant would be of no interest to anyone else, because "everyone else knows all about it." That is usually not true. Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded

This is to remind us that articles in our publication are eligible for awards in both the FAAS and NEC publication award competitions. This is a GENUINE Fortune! fooled by cheap imitations

Don't be

Keep in mind that humor and personal experiences, if used sparingly and tastefully, can often enhance and enliven an article.

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Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

SEPTEMBER 1998 volume V number 7

Modern Aquarium  

SEPTEMBER 1998 volume V number 7

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