Modern Aquarium

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Series III

Vol. V, No. 8

October, 1998

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Treasurer , . . \ i:Vi-|:i|;:V;:| , Secretary- , V ,;.,•;•; ; '..Secretary | | | :,, H | Mary. Ann' Bugeta: :; •;fi||:: "0 ' Q rip'; 1 1 1 \ \


Editor's Babblenest


President's Message .


Friday The 13th


The Amusing Aquarium


Wild Angelfish: The Original Classic Scalare Breeding Angelfish



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Putting The Shine on Sparkle


How To Get The Most Out Of A Box Filter


Wet Leaves (Book Review)


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F, A. A,3.-.Delegate: :-; M'emfeers^rQg:^^^:;!^ H.E.C, Delegate../,;;'-;;;,:

Read This, Before It Expires . . . .




NEC and FAAS Delegate Reports . . . . . . . . 21 G.C.A.S. Happenings Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

23 0



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 Seckty meets every month, except during July and August. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the, month and begin at 8:00 P.M. Meethfgs archefd at tfie Qeeens Botanical Gardens. For more information, contact Vincent Sileo (718) 846-69$t You can also leave us a message at our Internet Home Page at: http: //ourworld. CompuServe. com/homepages/greatercity


n my last "Babblenest," I mentioned that I'd be back, asking for original member articles. Now, I'm going to explain why. Each article in Modern Aquarium is read by at least four people, often more than once. Yes, this is time consuming, and yes mistakes still happen (we are human after all). We do this because the Editorial Staff is committed to the best magazine we can produce. I see all the exchange issues sent to Greater City. None comes close to matching Modern Aquarium for attention to detail. (For example, I cringe every time I see "it's" used as the possessive form of the word "it." "It's" is only correct as a contraction for "it is." It's incorrect to write: "The filter has it's media changed with every other water change." You will not see this error in an original article in Modern Aquarium.) Our Photo Editor, Jason Kerner, spends hours on each cover photo, (cropping, color correcting, sizing it as needed, etc.). Jason and I divide the inside illustrations between us. (One article last month used three scanned photos. The originals were of such poor quality that both Jason and I had several days of "clean up" work to make them acceptable for Modern Aquarium.) Ask yourself, would YOU spend all this time and effort (not to mention hand cutting and pasting each cover photo) just to provide reprints from other societies, nearly all of which fall short of our own current standards? I know I'm not going to be loved by other editors when they read this, but this is my Editorial, not theirs. Since January of this year, there were 43 original member written articles in Modern Aquarium, excluding editorials, President's Messages, Undergravel Reporter, Fin Fun Puzzle pages, Happenings pages, Index of articles and


lists of award winners. That averages over five original articles an issue for the eight issues so far in 1998 (this issue being number eight). So why am I asking for more articles? The answer may surprise you. Of those 43 articles, my wife, Susan, and I wrote almost half (10 for me, 9 for Susan) and Joe Ferdenzi wrote over a fourth (12). And, if we exclude anyone who is either on the GCAS Board of Governors, or on the Modern Aquarium Editorial Staff, the number of articles contributed by the rank and file GCAS membership this year so far is a big fat ZERO. Yes, we have no articles this year from anyone not currently holding a position on either the Editorial Staff or Board of Governors! Let's look at this another way. When was the last time you read an article in Modern Aquarium by a GCAS member writing about a: Blind Cave Fish, Buenos Aires Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Clown Loach, Flag Tetra, Glowlight Tetra, Goldfish, Hatchfish, Head and Tail Light Tetra, Headstander, Jack Dempsey, Knife Fish, Kuhli Loach, Leaf Fish, Lemon Tetra, Leopard Danio, Molly, Oscar, Peters Elephant Nose, Panda Cory, Platy, Pristella, Redtailed Black Shark, Rosy Barb, Serpae Tetra, Swordtail, Tiger Barb, Tricolored Shark, Weather Loach, Zebra Danio, any marine fish or coral, or any Rainbowfish? In two months, Modern Aquarium Series III will have its fifth anniversary. In all that time, we have not had any GCAS member write an article (other than some book reviews) on any of the fish listed above. We're not talking rare, exotic, expensive fish here. Most of these are staples of the hobby. It is inconceivable that no GCAS member ever had any of these fish, or cannot write even a one page article about one of them. Getting back to last month's Babblenest, I wrote that Modern Aquarium is highly respected, has won many awards, and has brought recognition to Greater City — all of this is still true. I also wrote that reprints, no matter how well written, don't reflect the interests and accomplishments of our members. Well, having nearly three quarters of our articles written by just three people (one individual and a husband and wife team), with no articles from anyone outside the Board of Governors or Editorial Staff, does not reflect the interests and accomplishments of our members, either. Think about it. To finish on some lighter notes: Our Board has approved an Author Award Program for 1999. I'll have details on this next month. I also hope you enjoy this special Angelfish theme issue!

President's Message by VINCENT SILEO

WORDS OF WISDOM There is a bagel shop where I frequently buy my breakfast on my way to work. At the register is a 31 x 2' message board that has words of wisdom that are updated each week. This week's message was: "If you keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same thing." At first this made sense to me. If you aren't ambitious enough to try something new, how can you expect things to get better? This applies to Greater City as well. We are constantly striving to go one better. Two major accomplishments that immediately come to mind are our Bi-Annual Show and our magazine, Modern Aquarium. BI-ANNUAL SHOW The Bi-Annual Fish Show is the only fish show in the New York City area. It started as a small event at the Queens Botanical Gardens and grew to be the 75th Anniversary Show at the La Guardia Marriot over a year ago. The 75th Anniversary and the "changing of the guard" threw our bi-annual schedule off, but we continued to build on our previous success. This year we have decided to start a new event, the Fish Frolic, to be held on those years in which there is no fish show. This way, you can count on having a major GCAS event every Spring. A major GCAS event each Spring will allow you to show off your efforts of the previous aquarium society season, to share your knowledge with others, and perhaps gain a new friend or member who had no idea that the Greater City Aquarium Society even existed. MODERN AQUARIUM The immediate predecessor to Modern Aquarium was "Network," a modest newsletter started by Terry Lombardi, entirely written and produced by Joe Ferdenzi for several years, and then intermittently by a few others. Meager beginnings and great aspirations led to the magazine you are reading now. But it wouldn't have been accomplished if Joe had been content doing the same thing. Instead, Joe brought together all of the people needed to make this dream a reality. It could have ended there, with Modern Aquarium containing the same format

and features every month. When you have a winning combination, why change? Fortunately, the editorial board did not think this way. They have continually worked to improve our publication. Some of the changes you may have noticed are the binding, which allows for more flexibility in the layout, changes in the types of columns in the magazine, and additional art work. One of the unfortunate changes are the writers. There was a greater variety of writers when Modern Aquarium started, but once the novelty of a new magazine wore off, many of the writers disappeared as well. Now we have a publication with the same few writers month after month. Doing the same thing month after month will, I believe, decrease the magazine's popularity in the process, not because the articles being produced aren't good, but because the ideas and writing styles are more limited. BAD OR WORSE? So the words of wisdom hold some obvious truth, but as I thought about it and applied it to actual events in my life, I gradually realized that it was wrong. Terribly wrong. The world is constantly changing and what was good enough yesterday is not good enough today. Just ask anyone who recently purchased a personal computer only to find that it can't run the software produced today, or the unemployed person who was just let go by a company which was down-sizing. You can't expect to do the same thing you did yesterday and reap the same benefits today. An example facing Greater City is our speaker's program. Meeting on Wednesdays puts us at a disadvantage when trying to find speakers. First, it is the middle of the week, so anyone coming in from out of town would have to lose a day's work. Secondly, even if they were willing and able to take the time off, the cost of air fare during the week is three to four times what it is with a Saturday night stay-over. We simply cannot afford to bring in speakers from out of town. For years we have taken advantage of the sizable pool of speakers in our regional area, but there aren't many new faces on the speaker's circuit. We try to come up with new speakers, like Patrick Donston and tonight's speaker, Charlie Murphy, whenever possible, but it isn't easy. If we don't continually come up with new speakers not only are we less likely to attract new members, we run the chance of losing our members to Societies which can afford to bring in new speakers from out of town.


We need to see input from a variety of sources to come up with new ideas for speakers, make the magazine interesting, and keep the Spring events fresh and fun. I've heard complaints that the magazine is out of touch with the membership, but I haven't seen anyone offer to bridge that gap. For example, perhaps someone should start a regular column that would keep the membership informed of other member's accomplishments and experiences. I've heard that the Society doesn't do enough for its members, but I haven't seen

anyone try to remedy this problem or advise the Board of what is expected. I've heard some members complain that they've seen the same speakers too many times, but I haven't heard anyone suggest a solution to this problem either. Now YOU can keep doing the same thing YOU have been doing, but unless YOU start doing something different like writing an article or two, participating in society events, or suggesting some solutions, please don't expect things to change for the better on their own. In fact, expect them to get worse. Ji

OCTOEEE Octolbex*

12th ANNUAL GIANT AUCTION Brooklyn Aquarium Society Starting at 8:00 PM — Aquarium For Wildlife Conservation - Education Hall Surf Ave. and West 8 St Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. For information call BAS Hotline: (718) 837-4455


LIAS 3rd ANNUAL GIANT AUCTION Long Island Aquarium Society Babylon Town Hall Annex 281 Phelp'sLane Babylon NY For information call Vinny: (516)938-4066

Octolbex* 23 -

TROPICAL FISH WEEKEND EXTRAVAGANZA '98 North Jersey Aquarium Society Howard Johnson Saddlebrook New Jersey Hotel * Giant Fish Auction * Weekend Workshops with noted speakers * All-Species Fish and Art/Photos Show * Giant Dry Goods Auction * Vendor and Manufacturer Room * Banquet with famous guest speaker * Goodie Bags, Giveaways, Door Prizes, Raffles, and Contests For information call: (732) 541-1392 (pre-recorded message) NJAS, P.O. Box 591, Nutley, NJ 07110

Saturday the 14th I used a pair of tweezers to remove one white egg. The pH in this tank was 7.2, and the temperature of the water was 78째F. I considered raising it to 80 or 82 degrees, but oxygen levels being a consideration at this time, I decided not to do it. (The higher the temperature of the water, the less dissolved oxygen it can hold.) Angels are one of the few fish that are taller than they are long, and they do best in a tall aquarium. They need plenty of room to spread their "wings." (The word Pterophyllum means winged leaf.) While supplying the needed height, make sure you give extra attention to surface area and water quality. I would guess the age of these fish to be one year. They were about the size of a quarter when we got them, and we have kept them for eight months. What I now know to be the male of the pair has had his ventral fins lopped off. On an angelfish, these are the long, thread-like fins on the underside of its body which add so much to its charm. As graceful and friendly as angelfish can be, they are cichlids, and whenever you keep two or more of them together there will be nipped, ripped, or as in this case, missing fins.

If you have an angelfish that you think you might like to enter in a show, give it its own tank. WARNING: if you do this, be prepared for your fish to take on a new place in your life and your heart. You will quickly find that you have given it a name, are feeding it more often than the others, and are making frequent detours to have a little conversation with it, or just to see it wag its tail as you approach. Sunday the 15th Virtually all of the eggs have turned white. Our luck has run out, and it's time for a "clean slate." Will we have better luck next time? Your guess is as good as mine. There is always Mother's Day!

Reference Freshwater Angelfishes. Drs. Herbert R. Axelrod and Warren E. Burgess, T.F.H. Publications 1979

Illustration by the author

%v --------^ 'Not knowing the pure joy of swimming in open water; Moby was very happy being a big fish in a little pond."

Wild Angelfish:

The Original Classic Scalare by JOSEPH FERDENZI ou do not often see wild Angelfish these days, but they are worth looking for. Feral Angelfish differ from domestic strains in both overall appearance and behavior. These differences alone make them interesting aquarium subjects. I find it enthralling to observe fish recently come from their wild jungle habitat — they are more exotic, and they appear and behave closer to the way nature intended. Of course, I admire all the work that has been done with domestic strains — they are also beautiful and worthy of our attention. Nevertheless, a wild Angelfish is a truly majestic creature. The majesty of this fish is evident from the impact it has had on our hobby from the date of its introduction up to the present. The fish was fish described by Lichtenstein in 1823. Its scientific name, Pterophyllum scalare, is derived from the Greek word for wing (pteron) and leaf (phyllon), which figuratively describes the appearance of the fish (a winged leaf), and the Latin word for a ladder or stairway (scala), which describes its dorsal fin, whose rays rise in height like a stairway. It was eventually introduced to the aquarium hobby around 1911 — and what a stir it caused. No one had ever seen such a fish! Large, elegant — it was quite a sight. Even today, there is still not another freshwater fish that matches its overall appearance. Needless to say, it was a highly sought after and very expensive fish in those early days. The earliest American breeder is believed to have been a Mr. William Paullin of Philadelphia. One of his first advertisements offered fry (with a dime-sized body) at a cost of $7.50 per fish (a large size was $12.50). In 1918, that was quite a sum of money. In his 1935 book, Tropical Fishes and Home Aquaria, Alfred Morgan wrote that the Angelfish "was once the most costly of tropicals and brought $30 to $50 per pair of choice specimens — truly a real aristocrat of the aquarium. Now, a pair may be purchased for 500." Obviously, breeders had made considerable progress. Nowadays, Angelfish are bred in the thousands by private breeders and fish farms all over the world. They are affordable to those of even modest means. No fish has become more emblematic of the tropical fish hobby than the Angelfish. It has undoubtedly appeared on more products and in


more advertising than any other freshwater tropical (that term excludes Goldfish). An Angelfish in neon lights was featured on the sign that hung over the back entrance of the venerable Aquarium Stock Company in Manhattan. Our Society chose it as its emblem fish, as did, decades later, the American Cichlid Association. Yes, an Angelfish is a member of the cichlid family (although it looks most unlike the vast majority of cichlids). Indeed, Dr. Paul Loiselle has opined in his book The Cichlid Aquarium (1994 ed.) that it "is without a doubt the most widely kept of all cichlids."

eropnvnum 1918 HATCHING

Same Si2e as the Cut

$7.50 Each

Larger Size $12.50 Each

WILLIAM L. PAULLIN 425 Wolf Street

Philadelphia, Pa

An early advertisement from Mr. Paullin In the beginning, the fish went by various "common" names, such as "Half-moon" or simply, "the scalare." Eventually, someone started calling them Angelfish because of their superficial resemblance to certain species of earlier described marine Angelfish (take a look at, for example, a picture of a Queen Angelfish from the Caribbean — hence, to a marine aquarist, an "Angelfish" is quite a different fish). This common name has now become of almost universal usage, although some still like to refer to it as a "scalare" to distinguish, it frook doss.

relatives such as Pterophyllum altum (an even larger, but rarer, species of Angelfish from South America). My current encounter with wild Angelfish began about a year or so ago, when I visited a small, local importer/wholesaler with fellow GCAS member Mark Soberman. Mark had become friendly with the owner, who had invited us to go browsing there. As we inched our way along the narrow aisles of this modest establishment, we spied a tank full of large Angelfish with the original Angelfish coloration (silver body, black vertical bars — sometimes referred to as "silver" to distinguish this from all the current man-made varieties of colors and patterns). The wholesaler explained that the fish had recently arrived from South America. They were in very good shape and inexpensive. I simply could not resist buying six of them. Wild Angelfish look different from their domesticated brethren. For one thing, their heads are less rounded, and as a consequence, have a more pronounced slope and snout. For another, their fins seem longer in proportion to their bodies. My fish have bodies that are approximately three inches in circumference, but, from the tip of their dorsal fin to the tip of their anal fin, they stand 10 to 12 inches in length. Their ventral fins are much longer than an aquarium bred fish, and are quite a striking feature. Their body, especially the upper half, is sprinkled with little markings that look like freckles. They also display a set of vivid red eyes, which is characteristic of wild Angels. As soon as I arrived home, I placed them in an empty 20 gallon high aquarium for a period of quarantine (there were a few small snails in the tank). The fish, quite unsurprisingly, were rather skittish, however, they ate everything offered to them, and continued to look healthy even after several months had passed. At that point, seeing that no diseases had attacked them, I moved them to a 125 gallon aquarium that was well planted and housed a group of assorted Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia genus) and a large school of Rummy-nose Tetras (Hemmigramus bleheri). In this larger planted aquarium, their behavior became more natural. Although they were still skittish when startled by their keeper suddenly appearing in view, they would often venture out into the open areas, undoubtedly reassured by the presence of all those Rainbowfish and Tetras swimming about. When the Angels swim slowly, they seem to glide or sail though the water. The effect is most pleasing to the eye, and effects an air of tranquility. Many times, and especially if startled, they hide among the stand of large Vallisneria plants which are 8

partially beneath the floating Water Sprite. On these occasions when they are hiding, the casual observers of my aquarium have often had to look very carefully before discerning all six of them. This camouflage technique of Angelfish is deceptively simple. Their large silver body is "broken up" — to the eye at least — by the vertical dark bars on their body. The effect of this visual trick is enhanced by placing themselves among vertical elements in the aquarium, be they plants, twigs, or other such objects. They also intuitively choose spots where the light is less intense. In the riverine waters of their natural range that are either murkier or dappled by bright sunlight, and with predators less focused than humans, they undoubtedly use this camouflage technique very effectively. Aquarium bred Angelfish can often be trained to accept food from their keeper's hand or come right up the glass and "eyeball" their keeper without much effort. Even a year later, my wild Angels will do neither. They continue to shy away when I approach the tank — wary lest I be some hungry water bird looking for a quick meal. They also act out territorial disputes between themselves. They flare their fins at each other (they look simply exquisite in this posture), and "attack" with their open mouths (sometimes doing a kind of "lip lock"). I have not seen any injuries. Apparently, the number of fish provides a lack of focus for the dominant fish, so no one individual is constantly harassed. In any event, the "loser" in these mock battles retreats and then that seems to be the end of it. The fish eat everything, and hold their own in the feeding competition with the faster and aggressive Rainbowfish and Tetras. They have also shown themselves to very disease resistant. Of course, in a well planted and filtered, large aquarium, they are likely to do well. Regular partial water changes are performed. The pH is kept on the acid side of the scale (approximately 6.8). However, I'm sure they would do well in a wide range of pH (from 6.4 to 7.8) as long as the water quality is maintained at a high level (i.e., no pollutants such as ammonia that results from overcrowding, overfeeding, and a lack of regular partial water changes). I really enjoy the sight of my majestic Angelfish gracefully swimming in their verdant underwater world. I sit back and appreciate that a little piece of the exotic Amazon is right there in front of me. Winged leaves are floating through liquid skies.

Breeding by Jason Photo by Joe Ferdenzi

s most of the people in the club know, I am not an avid, hardcore fish keeper like some other members. I've been a a member for years, and still don't know a Frontosa from a Firemouth. But, while some can "Name That Fish" in 2 tries or less, the greatest thing about fishkeeping is that if you practice the basics, the fish know what needs to be done! I've been fortunate enough to have successfully bred my Silver Angelfish, and raised the fry to maturity. This was a wonderful, exhilarating experience for me because I had never bred anything except livebearers. Many have asked me how to go about breeding and raising Angelfish, and while I'm no expert, here are my methods. As it goes without saying, you require a male and female that have paired off and are chasing their tank mates away from a certain area of the tank. This occurs when they are beginning courtship behavior. I personally do not like to have the pair choose their own place for laying the eggs because this can cause damage to the eggs...(for example: a heater or a siphon tube). I went to Home Depot and purchased a scrap piece of 3" round PVC pipe, cut to 12" in length, and placed it in the corner of the tank on a 45 degree angle. I like PVC for 2 reasons, it can be easily removed from the tank and it is not porous so diseases cannot be absorbed into it and passed on to the eggs. As soon as the female lays the eggs and the male has fertilized them, I immediately remove the PVC with the eggs still on the pipe,


into a 2-1/2 gallon tank filled with the same water as they were laid, and heated to 80 degrees. Make sure you do not expose the eggs to the air while you are removing them from the main tank. Place a bowl into the tank, then lift the bowl and the eggs out together. I then add Methelyne Blue to the 2-1/2 gallon tank at one half the recommended dosage and a sponge filter to keep the water circulating around the eggs. After about 2 days, you should be able to see brown dots inside the egg casings. On the 4th day, little tails will start to protrude from the casings and you can see tiny eyes. From the 8th to the 10th days, the emerging fry look like tiny tadpoles wiggling around trying to unglue themselves from the PVC. Now it is time to start hatching live baby brine shrimp to feed the fry, or try 'Nemos' or other whiteworm cultures. After the fry are free swimming and have filled their swim bladders with their first gulp of air, their yolk sacs can only provide them with nourishment for two or three days. After that, they must feed on their own. Once you start feeding them, change 5% of the water everyday with water from the parents' tank. After a week or two, transfer the fry to a 10 gallon tank to start the "grow out" process. You may wish to wean them onto Tetra Tabi-Min which break up into very tiny pieces easily accepted by the fry. Well, there you have it. No fancy equipment, no Latin mumbo-jumbo, just a quick lesson in what fish already know and how you can participate in the process. Good luck!


GIANT FISH AUCTION • Killifish • Marine Fish Reef Invertebrates •Koi • African Cichlids •Show Bettas • Catfish • Live Plants Hard & Soft Corals • Livebearers • Exotic Goldfish Show Guppies Many Hard to Find And Rare Fish & Dry Goods!


FRIDAY OCTOBER 0, 199S VIEWING OF FISH STARTS AT 8:00 PM AUCTION STARTS AT 8:30 PM At the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation Education Hall Surf Avenue & West 8th Street


(716) 837-4455 G I L L Write: BROOKLYN AQUARIUM SOCIETY, P.O. BOX 290610, BKLYN NY, 11229-0011 Directions: Take Belt Parkway to Ocean Parkway South (exit 75). Take Ocean Parkway approx. 1/2 mile. The Aquarium wlH be on your left


(How To Prepare A Fish For A Show) by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

his article is about how my wife, Susan, and I set out to condition a gold pearlscale Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) for Greater City's Diamond Jubilee Show last year. Since Greater City will have a show in the year 2000, it will also describe the way we are now conditioning another Angelfish (also a gold pearlscale) for our next show (and you should start thinking about your entries for our Millennium Show — it's not that far away). In the broadest sense, this article is also a "How To" on conditioning nearly any fish for show or display, as many of the techniques described here are equally applicable to other fish. (In fact, many of these techniques have been used by us to condition Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens, for other GCAS shows.) Over a year before our Diamond Jubilee Show, we were "just looking" at the fish in a store that happened to be in the vicinity of where we were shopping. Of course, we had no room for more fish at home and could not possibly think of buying any. Then, I saw this tank of baby Angelfish. They were like perfect little gold coins. While it is a dangerous admission to make as a Greater City member (and even more so as Editor of Modern Aquarium), I am not particularly fond of most Cichlids. The very few that I find attractive, repulse me by their aggressive behavior or their downright unfriendliness. On the other hand, I love Angelfish and these Angels were breathtaking. So, I called Susan over "just to have a look." As I hoped, one look and Sue fell in love with these fish, also. But, we still did not need more fish in the house. Then we remembered that the following year (1997) Greater City would have its 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Show. This is, of course, something that deserves extra effort to make it a success. And, given that the Angelfish IS the logo fish of Greater City, we decided to make the "sacrifice" to condition one of these fish for our show. We bought five of these fish and placed them in a spare 10 gallon tank we used for Betta breedings.


Isolate Now when I said that Angelfish were, for me, an exception to my general aversion to Cichlids, I cannot deny that they are, in fact Cichlids and will set up a "pecking order." This usually means nipped fins and lost scales — not the sort of things that win fish shows. After careful observation, we decided on THE one fish from our group to be isolated from all the rest. Carefully Select a "Grow Out" Tank This fish was given its own 10 gallon hex tank with outside power filter, gravel, and live plants. (Unlike some aquarists, we have no aversion to plastic plants, but live plants are less likely to scrape delicate scales and contribute, albeit slightly, to improving water quality. So, live plants are the preferred choice in this case.) While a 10 gallon hex is not very large, we are talking about a fish about the size of a quarter at this time. Angelfish are taller than they are long. This makes them one of the few fish for which a tall hex tank is appropriate. Just remember, the surface area of a tank is more important in determining how many fish a tank can hold than its gallon size. Further, we never intended for this tank to hold more than one fish. (When we condition Bettas for a show, we use one gallon flat sided so-called "Goldfish" bowls.) Up to now, we selected the best of the group and isolated it in a tank considerably larger than would otherwise be needed just to keep it alive and healthy. These are only first steps, but important ones. There is nothing we, or anyone, can do to improve a fish's genetic makeup. But, few aquarium specimens will develop to their maximum genetic potential without special care. I will now describe such care. It is not easy to give this level of care to every fish, which is why selecting a few choice specimens is important. Tank Maintenance It has been postulated that fish secrete a growth inhibiting hormone so that, when it builds up to a certain level, the fish stop reproducing and their growth rate is retarded. This would serve as a natural population control in nature.


In the home aquarium, water changes will lower the concentration of any growth (and reproductive) inhibiting hormone. Infrequent water changes (regardless of your filtration) results in a build-up of that hormone. This, in turn, means a fish whose rate of growth (and eventual adult size) is less than what it could have been under better conditions. In addition, infrequent water changes result in generally poor water quality, which means a greater likelihood of poor appetite, lower resistance to disease and parasitic infections, missing scales, poor color, listlessness, etc. So, we did weekly water changes (some times twice a week), removing at least 20 to 30 percent of the water each time. Feedings Frequent water changes also handled the increased waste output of a fish fed at least three times a day (once with live adult brine shrimp and once with spirulina, and alternating with Angelfish flake food and other flake and pellet foods). Yes, feed your "Show Fish" several times a day with a varied diet that (except for a few species that are totally herbivorous) consists of some live food. Spirulina is noted for color enhancement. While some aquarists grow their own black, white or tubifex worms, we do not. Our prior experience is that pet store stocks of such live foods can be highly variable and can carry parasites and disease. So, we limit our live food to brine shrimp which, for us at least, have a very good "track record" of safety. Frequent feedings have other advantages. For Angelfish at least, too much food (especially live food) at one time results in part of the fish's intestinal tract apparently being pushed outside of its body. While we have never seen any lasting ill effects from this (nor have we seen this documented elsewhere), it is disconcerting to see. Smaller but more frequent feedings get the same food into the fish, without this unsightly result. Frequent smaller feedings means that, for the same amount of food spread out over more feedings, less food remains uneaten to decompose and foul the water and more food is actually consumed by the fish. Finally, the more times your fish sees a person and associates this with food, the more "people friendly" the fish will be. In a very short time our Angelfish (which you probably already guessed by the title of this article, we named Sparkle) was wagging its caudal (tail) fin like an excited puppy and swimming up to the front of the tank every time a person approached. Imagine how good that looks to a judge at a show!


Final Preparations After almost a year of this care, Sparkle was considerably larger than any of the four other former tankmates. Sparkle's fins had no tears, nips, or irregular edges. The fish had no missing scales (and the scales really did "sparkle"). But, there still remained a few things we could do to tip the balance in our fish's favor. The first was the selection of our display tank. In a GCAS show, Bettas and male Guppies are displayed in small flat-sided drum bowls. While 2!/2 gallon containers are available for entrants to use for other fish, entrants are also free to bring their own tanks (provided they are free from gravel, plants, or ornamentation). Taking advantage of this, we found a clear plastic four gallon flatsided drum bowl, for which we fashioned a tight fitting lid of plastic mesh (to allow air circulation but prevent the fish from jumping out). Because of the height of this bowl, it allowed Sparkle to display to full advantage. Always carefully read the show rules to see how you can make them work for you (such as using your own display containers, etc.). We stopped feeding Sparkle the day before the show. Because of this, the "Show Bowl" would be less likely to have unsightly (and unhealthy) detritus on the bottom. It also meant that a fish which associates people with food would be even more eager to display for the crowd and judges that approached its bowl. We used a small plastic bucket to scoop Sparkle from its tank into a five gallon bucket half full of well aged water. No net was used in the transfer (the fish could get caught in the net, causing torn fins or missing scales). To our five gallon bucket we added two gallons of water from Sparkle's tank. The water in the container now closely approximated the water quality Sparkle was used to after a weekly water change. At the show, we put water from the bucket into the show bowl and moved Sparkle (again, without using a net) from the bucket into the show bowl. Bringing all of our own water meant that Sparkle remained in relatively familiar surroundings, resulting in less stress. It's Show Time Because of our preparations, Sparkle was clearly not stressed. After the Show, we took Sparkle home to a well deserved rest and meal. Oh yes, by the way, Sparkle won First Place in the New World Cichlid class and the trophy for our "People's Choice" award. We can't wait till Year 2000 (and neither can "Dazzle," our latest hopeful)!

How to get the most out of a

Box Filter by JEFF GEORGE he common box filter, also known as a corner filter or inside filter, was one of the very first pieces of equipment designed for aquarium use. Even today, box filters are readily available, often included in inexpensive "10-gallon Starter Kit" aquariums. Purchased separately, a simple box filter can be had for a couple of bucks, and even the most elaborate variations retail for less than $10. Yet despite its long history of effective service, the inside box has become one of the least-respected filters in the hobby. Flashier designs, with built-in pumps and motors, spinning paddlewheels, and locking, multi-chambered canisters, have relegated the faithful box filter to the bottom shelf in fish stores and hobbyist's equipment cabinets. Even when a box filter is put into service, its function and maintenance are often misunderstood by the hobbyist, and the tank ultimately fails. This misunderstanding usually conies from bad information given to beginning hobbyists by $5-an-hour clerks in chain stores, who often have little more knowledge than the neophyte fishkeeper they are supposed to be guiding. This is unfortunate, because when properly used, the box filter Is one of the most cost-efficient, reliable, and effective filtration systems available to the hobbyist. If you visit the fish room of a serious amateur breeder, you're almost certain to find row upon row of tanks, all running on simple box filters. If expert hobbyists like Rosario LaCorte and Joe Ferdenzi have confidence in box filters, you can bet they will work for you and me.


What is a box filter? At its simplest, a box filter is just that, a plastic chamber to hold filter media, a small air

tube to carry air from a pump to the bottom of the chamber, and a larger lift tube, which carries air bubbles and water out of the filter. A slotted or perforated plate, to which the tubes are usually attached, rests a quarter-inch above the bottom of the media chamber, holding the media off the bottom of the box. Water enters the filter at FROM RIR the top of the media chamber, PUMP and flows downward through the media to the open space below the slotted plate. From there, it is drawn up the lift tube with the rising bubbles. This flow, caused by the air bubbles in the lift tube, keeps water moving through the filter media constantly, where the media purifies it in a variety of ways. More modern box filters have added features which slightly complicate the design, but don't change the way the filter works. Some filters have a tube or channel running from down the front or corners. These channels cause water to be drawn in at the bottom of the filter, rather than at the top. Even with these channels, though, the water flows downward through the media, passing through the top layer first. Many newer box filters also incorporate an airstone in a large-diameter lift to increase the flow of water through the filter—which it does, though that may not necessarily be a good thing, as we'll see! Filter media for box filters Like most aquarium filters, box filters can purify water by one or more of the following methods—mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, and biological filtration. Which of these functions the box filter performs depends upon the media (filtering material) it contains. Mechanical media. The simplest and most obvious type of filtration is mechanical, in which large pieces of sediment are physically caught or trapped within a straining medium as


water is drawn through. Synthetic filter floss is commonly used as a mechanical filter medium in box filters, though coarse open-cell foam could be cut to fit inside the chamber instead. Remember, even when detritus is caught in the filter floss, it is still in the tank. Left in the filter, it will pollute the water just as quickly as if it were drifting freely about the tank. Chemical media. The other type of filtration commonly associated with the box filter is chemical filtration, in which pollutant molecules are removed from the water when they chemically bond with special filter media. This process is called adsorption. Activated carbon is the most familiar chemical, and adsorbs complex organic chemicals which can discolor aquarium water. Use only high-quality activated carbon offered by reputable aquarium supply sources - inexpensive carbons and "charcoal" are effective for only a few hours or days. Coconut carbon, designed for air filters, was briefly popular with aquarists, but recent research shows that it is relatively ineffective in water. Even the best-quality aquarium-grade carbons become exhausted in about a month, and should be replaced at that time. In recent years, a number of synthetic resins have become available, marketed as supplements to or replacements for carbon. Some are targeted at contaminants that are unaffected by carbon, such as copper and phosphate, and can be quite effective if you have a problem with these compounds. The carbon substitutes are relatively new, and aquarists have reported varying degrees of success with them. If you try one, monitor your results closely, and share your experiences with the club. Biological media. Biological filtration is the breakdown of ammonia—a highly toxic chemical excreted by living organisms such as aquarium fish—first into the also-dangerous nitrites, and ultimately to relatively benign nitrates. This two-step process is carried out by "nitrifying" bacteria which colonize all surfaces inside the aquarium. A biological filter offers a large surface area for bacterial colonization, and provides a continuous flow of oxygen-rich water across this surface, so that the bacteria may do their work, nitrifying bacteria require from three to six weeks to become established sufficiently to effectively control the ammonia within a tank. Biological filtration is perhaps the most important of the three filtration types, and it is as a biological filter that the box filter shines. Anything you put in a box filter will be colonized by nitrifying bacteria, which thrive under the constant, relatively low-rate flow through the box. Hobbyists who have poor results with box filters


almost invariably overlook the importance of biological filtration, and the box filter's role in that process. Filter floss in a box filter will function as a biological filter if it is left in place long enough for the bacteria to become established. It is better, however, to provide a more permanent home for the nitrifying bacteria. This may take the form of a layer of gravel or a specially-cut sponge, used as the bottom layer in the media chamber. In tanks containing hard-water fish, I use dolomite or crushed coral for the biological medium in my box filters, where these carbonate-rich materials help to buffer the pH and alkalinity. For soft-water applications, I use small-grain red lava rock, from a garden center, because it is chemically inert and has a much greater surface area than regular aquarium gravel. The box filter in action For a box filter to be effective, it must be the right filter for your application. Consider first its limitations. A box filter has a relatively low flow-rate, and will not capture detritus nearly as quickly as a power or canister filter. It requires a separate air pump or blower to provide the flow of bubbles which pulls water through the media. And finally, a box filter must be placed inside the tank, where it takes up swimming space and often becomes an eyesore. On the other hand, the box filter is inexpensive and almost universally available. It has no moving parts to jam, clog, or lock up. It is lightweight and self-contained, easily moved from one tank to another. The box filter is flexible, and may be used to house almost any imaginable filter medium. And it is simple to maintain, requiring only the occasional cleaning, with no mechanical systems to service. Personally, I find the box filter well-suited for smaller breeding aquariums in my fishroom. These tanks have a bare-glass substrate, and get large weekly water changes. Under these circumstances, detritus is siphoned out with the waste water, relieving my box filters of heavy mechanical filtration duties. Thus, my box filters serve primarily as biological filters. The water changes also keep organic chemicals in check, eliminating the need for carbon or other chemical media. I use one box filter, with floss and either crushed coral or lava rock, in each five-gallon tank. In ten and fifteen-gallon tanks, I use a larger box filter, similarly packed, along with a large sponge filter. For larger tanks, I prefer outside power filters, often used in conjunction with undergravel filters or powerhead-driven sponge filters.

Setting up the box filter If the filter comes with an airstone, I Obviously, the first step in putting a box generally leave it out. The airstone increases the filter into service is to fill it with media. As I flow rate, causing the filter to take in more detritus usually count on a box filter for biological and clog sooner. When additional aeration is filtration, I fill the media chamber one-half to required, you can use that same airstone outside two-thirds full of either crushed coral or lava rock. the filter, in another part of the aquarium. The rest of the chamber is filled with synthetic Installing the box filter filter floss, packed relatively loosely. The function With the media chamber filled and the lid of the floss is not to catch all the detritus in the either attached or deliberately omitted, you are tank, but simply to keep it out of the coral or lava ready to place the filter in the tank. Attach the air below. line to the appropriate tube on the filter, and start If I am using a chemical medium, I will looking for the ideal spot for the box. generally place it in its own box filter, which will The main concern here is visibility—you be used in tandem with need to be able to see a filter packed with a Packing Tips the filter in order to biological medium. monitor its condition, Again, fill the bottom jt^s a box filter, a can but in a show tank, you half of the chamber with or even a vvetldryp don't want a plastic box the chemical medium, of rocks and fluff carefillly: Flovtfing vv and then add a layer of cluttering up your decor. floss to protect it from dbstruetion than through If the aquarium is leave an|open chanii clogging with detritus. intended to be admired If you must else the watef ^ for its beauty, an upright place a chemical ;in:tpih;e::;tani;:p^ piece of slate can be set medium—carbon, for # in front of the filter to example—in the same a single rneiJia ehaiber^^ hide it from the front. box filter as your Even if you hide the biological medium, filter from the front, confine it within a filter though, make sure you fbliovv t(ie pat^ bag. This is a fine mesh , can monitor it from the bag designed for this iedia is thinner oh one sidi that j s ^ side or back of the tank. purpose, which can be pater;;:^ In a bare-substrate purchased at any pet filter; Simiarlyl do lot ^ breeding set-up, I store. Thus contained, single layer in §e chamb^ usually put the box filter the chemical medium right up front, where I should then be placed on see it every day, and can top of the biological remove it easily for medium. A layer of cleaning. floss is then added at the With the filter fop th|rned^ top of the filter to catch in place, adjust the air to any detritus before it a "moderate" flow—not clogs the chemical and the bag too tigh^ so fast that it sucks up biological media below. everything in the tank, All box filters but not so weak that are shipped with a water barely moves slotted or perforated through the filter. Start with the air flow set very plastic lid which covers the media chamber. Its low-say, one bubble a second. Then slowly inuse is optional. If you leave the lid off, the flow crease the flow until you can no longer quite count of water into the media chamber will be diffused the bubbles as they emerge from the lift tube. over the entire area of the filter, resulting in less Maintaining a box filter suction. The filter will take in less detritus—an A properly-functioning box filter will not advantage if you aren't counting on the box filter look sparkling clean. By the time the nitrifying for mechanical filtration—and won't suck in small bacteria have become well-established, a certain fish fry. In fact, if you leave the lid off in a fry amount of detritus will have collected in the filter tank, you will often see the small fish picking over floss. As long as the floss still appears "open," or the surface of the floss, grazing on the unclogged, leave the filter be, even if it is a bit microorganisms that thrive there. brown. The other media should also be open and

ttlllP^ lip


unclogged with detritus, allowing water to flow through freely. There should be little or no detritus accumulated at the filter's intake or under the screen plate at the bottom. As long as these conditions are good, there is no need to disturb the filter. When the filter begins to clog, however, the accumulated detritus must be removed. The first area to become impacted is usually the floss. In some areas—usually at the corners or thin spots in the floss—a sludgy mass of brown waste material may have built up. Sometimes, the floss will turn from light brown to a dark brown or even gray. Over time, organic sludge may also accumulate between the grains of the gravel or carbon, underneath the screen plate, or at the intake. Any of these conditions demands immediate cleaning of the filter. Cleaning the filter Open the filter and remove the filter floss. Do this over a bucket, not over a sink, as grains of gravel or carbon are likely to be caught in the underside of the floss. Catching these in the bucket is far better for your plumbing than letting them run down the drain. Discard the filter floss. If you have a houseplant nearby, you can wring the nitrogen-rich water out of the floss into the pot for a free shot of organic fertilizer. If there is any chemical medium in the filter, it should also be discarded. Then the biological medium—gravel, crushed coral or lava rock—should be rinsed under running water to free any detritus. Turn on the faucet and set it for a steady but not raging flow of room-temperature water. Hold the media chamber, with the bio medium inside, under the flow. Gently stir to dislodge the trapped sludge until the water runs clear. Do not throw the biological medium away. The bacterial colony on that gravel is the heart of your aquarium's filtration system, and it took weeks to grow. A gentle rinsing under tap water is all that is needed to get it back in top shape, and you don't even have to remove the medium from the filter! Don't worry about chlorine or chloramine when rinsing the filter—this brief exposure poses no threat to nitrifying bacteria. Biological media should be discarded under only two circumstances. First, if the tank has suffered a severe outbreak of disease, it may be a good idea to dispose of all filter media, including the biological media, as they may be harboring pathogenic bacteria or protozoa. And if you have used an antibiotic to treat the disease, the drug may well have wiped out your nitrifying bacteria anyway! Second, it may be advisable to


toss out the gravel if the filter loses its air supply for 24 hours or more. Nitrifying bacteria will survive for several hours if their flow of fresh water is interrupted, but after a day or so, they will have largely died off. If the filter is otherwise polluted, go ahead and start over again. Once the bio medium is rinsed clean, or the chemical medium replaced, simply top the filter off with clean filter floss and return it to the aquarium. Check the air flow and fine-tune it if necessary. In less than five minutes, you're back in business! How often do I clean the filter? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. In lightly populated tanks, I've had box filters run for several months without being cleaned, keeping ammonia and nitrites at zero the whole time. In crowded fry tanks, however, the filter may need to be cleaned every few weeks. When the floss is clogging this quickly, I usually rinse the biological medium only every second or third cleaning. Changing the floss keeps the detritus level in the filter to a minimum, and reduces the need to disturb the bacteria with too-frequent rinsing. If your filter needs cleaning more than once or twice a month, though, it may be time to look for an alternate filtration system, or at least add an additional box filter. When chemical media are concerned, you usually can't tell by looking when it's time to clean the filter. Good, aquarium-grade activated carbon lasts about a month before it loses effectiveness. Other media should be replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions. Discard the floss when changing the chemical medium. If you're running a box filter with just carbon and floss, you should run another filter—a sponge filter or a box filter with gravel—to provide consistent biological filtration. In a tank with two or more filters of any type, try not to clean both filters at once. Instead, stagger the cleanings, so that you have one mature filter with an undisturbed bacteria colony running at all times. Putting it in a box Box filters are certainly not the useless hunk of plastic that many "sophisticated" aquarists believe them to be. They are actually tremendously effective filters when used properly. The key is understanding how and why they work, and using them in tanks where they can be effective. I hope this rather exhaustive examination will help you to reconsider this simple and elegant filter.

WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST re there any card players out there? When I was growing up, my mother and my grandmother used to play a lot of Bridge. They had several boxed sets of playing cards. Each box held two decks of cards with similar designs on the backs. For some reason, when I look at these two small volumes side by side, one with a picture of a silver angelfish on the cover, and the other with a picture of a golden angelfish, they make me think of those equal but opposite decks of cards. Freshwater Angelfishes, by Drs. Axelrod and Burgess, is a book containing a series of seven articles. Each article is like a program being presented at a club meeting, complete with slides. They have a very conversational tone. We can identify much more closely with Dr. Axelrod when he tells us of his starving student days at NYU (he used his food money to buy ANOTHER aquarium). We are instructed in genetics, taught breeding techniques, and deftly guided through the complexities of nomenclature. In an article entitled: "The Heavenly Paradox," Dr. Axelrod describes a collecting trip on the Rio Negro. Here is a brief quote: "The two specimens of Pterophyllwn which were under 5cm were long-finned and dark. Certainly this is the stock from which the long-finned and black angels derived. They were not hybrids after all!! Maybe that is why no one ever stepped forward to take credit for having developed them??" In his introduction to Angelfish, Braz Walker traces the angelfish's popularity in the hobby. He points out that early in this century, people paid very high prices for "a pair" (not knowing if it was a true pair). They had very little equipment, and even less literature to assist them. "They persevered through their love of


what they were doing, and their efforts formed the early links of the great chain of knowledge which is available to us today." This book is organized into chapters, rather than articles. It covers some of the same material found in Freshwater Angelfishes, such as varieties of angelfish, nomenclature, and breeding. In addition, it has a chapter which describes general requirements for keeping angelfish, including such topics as heating the aquarium, feeding the fish, and suitable companions. It also has a chapter on diseases of angelfish. Here is an example: "Loss of appetite and eventual complete refusal to eat was at one time one of the major problems with angelfish. This malady, which was generally known as 'hunger strike' was attributed to various causes among which were boredom with diet, fright, improper pH and internal parasites. The basic problem seems to have been poor aquarium hygiene. . . regular removal of aquarium water and replacement with fresh water stimulates the growth of plants as well as the appetites of fishes. This is particularly true of angels." I always find a subtle spirituality in Mr. Walker's writing. It is as if he felt privileged to be part of the plan. At five and one half inches by eight and one quarter inches, both of these books are larger than a deck of cards, or even a standard sized paperback, but they fit neatly into your hand. They are put out by the same publisher, and some of the same photos are used in both books. Each of these books takes a different approach to the topic, but they both do an excellent job of communicating facts as well as personal observations. I never became interested in learning how to play Bridge, so I don't understand why they always needed two decks of cards, but I do know a good pair when I see it. Don't be put off by the publication dates of these two books; they are far from dated. They can proudly take their place in the great chain of knowledge.


Read This, Before It Expires A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"



hile I was in the supermarket recently, I noticed the expiration date on the soda. Then, I looked at the beer in my cart and, instead of an expiration date, it had a "creation date," in other words, it had the date the beer was brewed. (I wonder if that's anything like the vintage year on wine and, if so, whether April, 1998 was a good month for light beer?) Once I got home, I checked my breakfast cereals, bakery products, and drug cabinet. Just about everything had some sort of date on it. (O.K., I couldn't find a date on my olive oil or salt container, but you get the idea, anyway.) By now, I'm sure most of you reading this know where I'm heading. Yes, I checked my most recent purchases of fish foods. None of them had any date (manufacture or expiration) of any kind. I checked several different brands, and several different types of food (flake, pellet, stick, disk), all with the same result — nada, zip, zilch, zero. Then, I checked the container in which I store my fish medications. Since I do not routinely medicate, I know many of the bottles and packages there are probably several years old. Again, no hint as to when I bought them or how long they are (were?) good for, or even if they had expired before I even bought them. Finally, I looked at my other aquarium related supplies (water conditioners, vitamins, pH adjusters/buffers, test kits). All of them use chemicals of some sort. One would think that at least some of these would have an ideal "shelf life," or might be subject to chemical change or decomposition with age. Once again, no dates to let anyone know if one is purchasing a "fresh" product (or whether, after a certain date, the product becomes ineffective, or even worse, can change into a harmful substance).


Oh, there are codes. On one product I just bought are the numbers SL 02381 and 01 01. Is this product good until January 1, 2001? I'd like to think so; but why not say it in plain English? If I buy stale food and my fish fail to thrive, I'll assume that food is not worth buying again. Since most stores carry a limited number of brands of fish food, the store I bought it from may lose me as a regular customer and the manufacturer will certainly lose a customer if I switch brands. On the other hand, if knew that a container of food was outdated, I'd either throw it away, or use it to nourish a worm bed for growing live food, or even mix it in with the soil for my houseplants. Then, I'd go and buy a new container, probably of that same food if I know it "worked" for me and my fish in the past. Until the makers of aquarium products wake up and start dating their products, it's up to us aquarists to protect ourselves and our fish. Here are some of my suggestions: 1)

Don't buy a container of fish food that "looks" old (dirty, dusty, dented, scratched or discolored label, etc.). It may be perfectly all right, but why take the risk if you don't have to?


Examine every container of food for a date code (like the one I mentioned earlier). But, unless the product clearly states: "use before XX/XX/XX," or "expires January X, 20XX," or something similar, you can't be sure the numbers you think are an expiration date are not just a "lot" code (to tell the manufacturer which batch of food this container came from).


Don't buy more fish food than you expect to use in a year. Yes, you can save a bundle by buying flake foods by the bucket, but only if you use that food before it loses its nutritive value or develops mold, mildew, or organisms that produce toxic byproducts.


Don't be afraid to ask when a particular lot of food came in. The store owner or manager should be both able and willing to tell you. If he or she absolutely refuses, take that into consideration before buying anything at that store.


Finally, write the date you bought it on the container. This at least keeps you from using products that you should have known were old.


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The Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies ยง


r^r Only 180 more days left to go!!! The Northeast Council Annual Convention date is April 9-11! Set these dates aside on your calendar, and treat yourself to one of the most memorable "fishy" affairs that you could imagine!!! Held at a beautiful hotel with very special low rates just for the NEC, it's only a short enjoyable ferry ride, or a lovely, brief scenic drive away! You will be treated to the opportunity of learning from some of the most expert speakers in the nation, meet lots of incredible "fishy" people, and attend one of the largest fish auctions you may ever witness! It is always a GRANDE time!!! The NEC is YOUR organization, and this is YOUR convention! So, let's make those plans ~ and HAVE FUN!!! A^ LOGO CONTEST!!! The theme is: "Tie One On"! Participants will be encouraged to wear a tie of some "fishy" sort. (For the timid at heart, like me, please do not let this keep you from attending! You can certainly still come without a tie, but maybe you can think of something innovative to join in!) We need a nifty logo, so let's get out our sketchpads and pencils ~ even an "etch-a-sketch" will do! YOUR winning logo could be the one used on all convention T-shirts, brochures, buttons, etc.! What a great way to represent the GCAS! A^ NEC BREEDER PARTICIPATION PROGRAM!!! So many of you are breeders in the GCAS. Let's get our points into the NEC! Copies of the NEC club points and PLATEAU level status are available at the Membership Desk at our meetings. More details to follow!!! And,



The Federation of American Aquarium Societies by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

The Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS) consists of aquarium societies in the United States, Canada, Central and South America. (At least it used to; recent Handbook revisions appear at least to me to have no geographic limits.) Its main purposes are to further the growth and activities of aquarium societies; to serve as a means of communication among aquarium societies; to promote the maintenance, propagation and growth of tropical fishes and other aquatic life forms; and to represent the interests of aquarium societies before governmental bodies. When we renew in November, GCAS will have been a FAAS member for ten years. This is the first of a series of reports on FAAS activities. As does the NEC (see above), FAAS has a logo contest. The results were supposed to be announced in the July/August FAAS Report (FR), then in the September/October FR. It now appears the judges can't make a decision, so they may reopen the contest for more designs. Then, again, they may not. Since Greater City has two designs submitted in this contest, I'll keep you posted. Returning as FAAS President after a year's hiatus is Maxine Gorsline, with FR Editor Marge Anderson as Vice President (her husband, Phil, runs the FAAS BAP). I've found each of them to be conscientious, intelligent, fair, and, of prime importance, to have a sense of humor and perspective. GCAS members who want BAP spawns credited by GCAS before 9/1/98 to be sent to FAAS for FAAS BAP credit should contact Carlotti DeJager or Greg Wuest for forms and information. 21

TROPICAL FISH WEEKEND EXTRAVAGANZA '98 When: Oct 23 thru 25, 1998 Where: Howard Johnson Convention Hotel in Saddlebrook, NJ (exit 159 Garden State Pkwy - near GW Bridge and Interstate 80 - minutes from NYC!) Who: The Prodigal Son returns: Chuck Davis! Slide presentations by AFM columnists Paul Loiselle (dwarf west african cichlids), Lee Finley (catfish), Ginny Eckstein (plecos), Also Bing Seto (discus), Wayne Leibel (pike cichlids), and Mike Schadle (livebearers)! How-to workshops with Ann Broadmeyer (judging), Mark Broadmeyer (filtration), Terry Fairfield (disease), and Ted Coletti (plants and aquascaping), Ernest Borgnine (collecting stamps)! What else?: All-species fish show with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies. Giant livestock and dry good auctions. Banquet with famous guest speaker (Possibly Ernest Borgnine). Vendor and manufacturer rooms...giveaways, door prizes, raffles, and contests all weekend long for the whole family! Why?: Because we like you! Come for a day or stay the weekend with a special room rate (201-845-7800). Brochure and registration: email: snail mail: NJAS, P.O. Box 591, Nutley, NJ 07110 hotline: (732) 541-1392

Website hosted by the famous North Jersey Aquarium Society.


G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Last Month's Bowl Show Results: 1) Howard Berdach - Nothobranchius palmquisti 2) Pat Piccione - Neolamprologus leleupi 3) Tom Miglio - Colisa lalia Sept '98 — June '99 Bowl Show Standings to date: 1) Howard Berdach - 5 points 2) Pat PiCCione - 3 p O i n J § : : : : ; : : : ^ : : : : : i :::;:,;.,, 3) Tom MigliO - Jl

The following 0CAS m^nbe%rene%ed their membership last Gorcpii B$stian; ^Erank Bonnici; Arne Bristulf; Mary Ann/Joe Ipgej^ LewiS^ohen; DQ]|: Cuitiii||J|ug Curtin; Pete D'Orio; Carlotti DeJager; Qlp^iaiDickillg^ Joe ::;^arren Feuer; Frank Gannon; Jeff George; Al Gmse ,,:;:;; Kejpy Hooper; Herb Karen; Jason Kerner; Tsu^Hl^^^^iilton Kresky; x:f CliiSf||| Loweth; Tom Miglio; George M^|r||;;^ii9if| :||lierenberg; Nicky Paparell^ f ;>||!gt .Piccione; Al/Susan Priest; Steve Sago^^p^^^^pn; Bruce Weiler; Frank. i Here iariS iftieeting times and Iocatiop;OJf aijtiarium sbciptiep |i|he Metropolitan New Aquarium Society Reeling: November 4 ::;|||. . iiiley: "Catfish" and Aqu'S||| Meets-x 8:00 P.M. - 1st niSiiij;;;;at the Queens Coatact; Mr. Vincgji^:i:iiiiS(3, (7 1

il Eas

Guppy Association

•i|leets:|B:i|>i;fe:M. -%|:; Thursday of each ||;p||p|eens BotSSical Garden


AUCTION Aquarium | |p||||le>;€;0Ji^lvation (N.Y. Aquarium) Hotline ^ 837-4455

Big Apple 8:00 t the

i6ne: (718)

Long Island Aquarium

assau County Aquarium Society

of each Meets: 8:00 P.M! month at Holtsville Buckley Rd. Holtsville, NY 11801 Contact: Mr. Vinny Kreyling Telephone: (516) 938-4066

Meets: 8:00 P.M^gipd Tuesday of each ^g^g^^l^^^^^^M. Grouse Post 3211 iilPi-Wrrte 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


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