Modern Aquarium

Page 1



Series III

Vol. V, No. 9

November, 1998

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Editor's Babblenest


President's Message


Five Days in The Life of Corydoras adolfoi . . . 4

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The Amusing Aquarium


How To Prepare For New Fish: Setting Up For Altolamprologus calvus . 6 | Secretary

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The New GCAS Author Award Program

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Fish on a Farm in Queens?


NEC Delegate Report


Last Month's Speaker


The 1998 Norwalk Show


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This Month's Speaker


Wet Leaves (Book Column)


Visit My Website; Buy My T-Shirt


G.C.A.S. Happenings


Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

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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

realistically expect The Calquarium to continue its successful run only if we get continued member participation, and soon, since the October issue is still desperately short of articles. . . . And if we are going to kick some New York behind we will always need more artwork.


A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace. - Ovid reater City first entered the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS) publication awards with our 1994 issues. Since then, Greater City's Modern Aquarium and the Calgary Aquarium Society's Calquarium have been the top award winners. From 1994 to 1997, Calgary took three first places in the Best Editor/Publication class for publications published more than six times a year, and second place once. Greater City took second place three times, and first place once. Excluding this, and Honorable Mention, during this period Greater city also took 13 first, 16 second, and 11 third place FAAS awards to Calgary's 14 first, 10 second, and 10 third place awards. (Obviously, first or second in the Best Publication category does not tell the whole tale.) So, it was with great interest that I read the following in the September Editor's column in Calquarium, which was received too late for me to discuss last month:


Over the last few years the CAS has developed a friendly rivalry with the Greater City Aquarium Society of New York. Our respective publications regularly vie for "top spot" in the FAAS publication awards. Yes, we currently hold the title, but the GCAS publication. Modern Aquarium, took it from us in 1996. The GCAS seems to have a bigger budget than we do and they consistently beat us out in reproduction quality, but we have our strength in our original content. Since our original content comes from the CAS membership, we can

I understand what the Editor of the Calquarium is trying to do — stir up the membership to get them to write. I tried the same thing last month, using a different approach. (But, I see we fooled them into believing Modern Aquarium has a "big budget" — don't I wish!) This issue has a description of our new Author's Award Program (AAP), to start next year. I'm hoping this program will encourage more members to write. But, if this is not enough incentive, then consider the "challenge" presented to us by Calgary. I intend to take First Place in Best Publication back from Canada to the U.S.A., with Modern Aquarium. We also "have our strength in our original content," and have innovations planned for 1999 that should "fry some Canadian bacon" if combined with that original content. But, unless we get those articles from many more authors than are writing now, all we'll get from this "bacon fry" is some smoke and sizzle, while the real meat goes North! I will accept neatly handwritten or typewritten articles, or articles on disk or by e-mail (to If you are sending articles on disk or e-mail, please let me know in a cover note the program you used to create the article. Files should be saved in ASCII (also called DOS Text) or (preferably) WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS format (since that format is compatible with virtually every word processing program for Mac or PC released in the last eight years). I can accept 5!/4M or 3!/2" high or double density disks, formatted for MS-DOS/Windows, Macintosh, or Amiga. Modern Aquarium has "fully justified" columns (sentences line up along the right margin). To "justify" a line, desktop publishing and word processing programs will compress the spaces between words and sentences. To avoid having one sentence look like it runs into another, I put two spaces between sentences. If you don't, don't worry, I'll put the space in. In fact, don't let concerns over your style, grammar, spelling, punctuation, or that articles may be judged, stop you. Our Editorial Staff makes sure every article is correct, visually interesting, and a credit to the author and Modern Aquarium. So far, we've had no complaints.

President's Message by VINCENT SILEO

here are many different qualities required for any organization to be successful, and Greater City is no exception. One of the most fundamental qualities is good communication. How can anything be accomplished if the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? Fortunately, Greater City's Board of Governors, and a number of active members, know the importance of this and stay in contact with one another on a regular basis. Even though I am writing this in September (for our November issue), the wheels have already begun spinning to make certain that the October meeting comes off without a hitch. Now this may not sound like a big deal until you consider that I won't be at the October meeting, our new Vice President, Tom Bohme may not be able to be there, our new Treasurer, Rosie Sileo won't be there, and the previous Vice President and Treasurer (Ben and Emma Haus respectively) won't be there either! There is no reason why you can't stay in communication as well. If you have a question or issue which is of particular concern, please don't hesitate to pick up the phone and give me a ring. You don't have to wait until the regular meeting to approach me. In fact, I have very little time at the regular meetings to discuss anything because I'm too busy trying to keep the meeting moving and make sure I don't leave anything out. In addition to having my undivided (or at least LESS divided) attention by calling me at home, it will also give me more time to take action if necessary. At the very least I will know as soon as possible that a question or issue exists. It may also give me the opportunity to answer the question more thoroughly, or resolve the issue before it is beyond my control. Now to be honest, I'm not the best communicator. I need to run the question or issue over a few times before I'm sure that I understand what is being said and can respond with a comprehensive and well thought out response. And more times than I would like, I come home after a full day of work and I don't want to "deal" with anything for a while. I'm


sure that many of you can relate to this. However; every time I feel like that and someone gets me on the phone, those feeling quickly melt away and a new energy takes over as we work together to find an answer. As I stated above, I need to run the question or issue over a few times before I'm sure that I understand what is being said and can respond with a comprehensive and well thought out response. So don't be put off if we don't come to a satisfactory answer with the first phone call. Many times we must sit back and look at the issue from all of the different angles before we can find the best answer. Another form of communication which I like better than answering machines is e-mail. I know that when I'm leaving a message on an answering machine, or voice mail system, I sometimes feel rushed to get all of my thoughts out. Rather than taking a chance of communicating incorrectly or incompletely, take a few minutes (if you have e-mail capabilities) to write out exactly what the issue is. Many times you will find the answer in the question. And even if you don't, at least you will know for certain that the issue was communicated exactly how you wanted it to be. Of course e-mail isn't a perfect form of communication either. The problem with e-mail is that it takes more time than a phone call. You may send your e-mail today but if I don't get a chance to read my mail for a day or two, you won't have an answer as quickly as you may like. So it is a good idea to follow up with a phone call to make sure that the message was received and understood. While it may be a little slower, regular mail may achieve the same results. The bottom line is that you are communicating as effectively and as quickly as possible. This can only benefit the Society, allowing it to progress at a quicker pace and not restricting it with only once a month communication. So the next time you have an idea or question, don't hesitate to communicate with me or one of the other members. I can be reached most evenings before 10 PM at (718)656-7818, send e-mail to, and snail mail to 92-22 92nd St. Woodhaven, NY 11421. Other members addresses and telephone numbers can be found on our membership list. If you don't have one, pick it up at the Membership Table at the next meeting.

Five Days in the Life of

Corydoras adolfor. A Method to Their Breeding in Captivity by JOSEPH FERDENZI

he Corydoras adolfoi is a striking little catfish from South America. The color scheme is indeed attractive. Its body is an overall beige, with a dark stripe along the ridge of its back, extending under the dorsal fin, and another one running across its snout and through each eye, and, most significantly, two gold oval patches, one on each side of its head, above the eye. The females of the species reach two inches in length and the males are slightly smaller. They are very peaceful and they like to school. My school consists of 12 specimens which I obtained from a breeder in Germany. There are four females in the group. They are all kept in a 15 gallon aquarium, and their behavior is in marked contrast to the only other occupants of this tank; a group of eight Corydoras schwartzi. While the larger schwartzi generally sit still at one end of the aquarium (comically, they are often lined up in a neat row like a cavalry preparing to charge, and always facing the glass), the adolfoi cavort in the flow of the waterfall-style power filter at the opposite end. The adolfoi are rarely motionless. The schwartzi, for their part, seem unconcerned by their active neighbors, and share a peaceful co-existence. I have had the schwartzi for many years, but they have never spawned, despite numerous amateurish attempts on my part to induce them. The adolfoi, however, are another matter. Within two years of acquiring them, they have spawned a number of times. Thanks to the observations of catfish enthusiast Mark Soberman and the suggestions of Steve Miller from Cameo Pet Shop, I have developed a pretty good idea of how to encourage adolfoi to breed. Here it is.


Day One You unplug any heater you have in the tank. You do a partial water change; four out of approximately 12 gallons in my case (remember, do not keep the tank filled to the brim; leave the water line approximately two inches to three inches below the top plastic strip of the tank; you'll see why later). The new water should be as cold as you can get it out of the tap. This one-third water change reduced the temperature in my tank from 74째 F to 70째 F. After this, give the fish a heavy feeding of tubificid worms. Day Two Repeat the cold water change and the feeding of tubificid worms.

Day Three Plug in your aquarium heater and adjust it so that it raises the temperature to the 80째 - 82째 F. range. I used a 75 watt heater. Monitor the temperature. When the water reaches the desired temperature, make sure the heater goes off. No feeding today. Day Four Look for frenzied spawning activity (you might see it start on Day Three). One or more males will be chasing a female, and gently "nudging" her in the ventral region. (In my tank, the schwartzi look on with nary a change in behavior.) The adolfoi males chase every adolfoi female. If you see it once, you will never mistake it for anything but the prelude to breeding. At some point, the females begin laying eggs. They lay these eggs one at a time on the glass near or above the water line. By keeping the water line low, you will see the eggs easier. Some eggs may get laid on other objects, but they are the exception. The eggs are round and

transparent, but not totally clear, and are relatively easy to see attached to the glass. It also helps that they are fairly large eggs for such a small fish, with a diameter that is about 1/16th of an inch. Day Five Most of the eggs that are going to be laid have been laid by now, and it's time to remove them to a hatching tank. The eggs are very sticky, and I recommend you remove them with a new, single-edge razor. Removing them this way is facilitated by the fact that they are stuck to the glass. The razor slides smoothly under them, and they attach themselves to the razor. Then I gently "wipe" the razor on a bunch of Java Moss that I hold in my other hand, thereby transferring the sticky eggs to an object that can be placed inside the hatching tank. (This great suggestion for using Java Moss as a kind of repository for the eggs was given to me by world-famous aquarist Rosario LaCorte.) After all the eggs have been transferred (look closely at your tank, especially the corners where eggs can sometimes be "camouflaged" by the silicone), place the Java Moss in your hatching and rearing aquarium (I use a ten gallon aquarium, filled about half way, with a box filter).


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Postscript After a few days, the eggs will begin to hatch. A few may go bad (probably due to inadequate fertilization). The fry are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp. Believe it or not, another excellent fry food is Terra's TabiMin — it essentially consists of finely ground flake food that is pressed into tablet form (about the size of a standard aspirin tablet), and when this tablet falls to the bottom, it slowly dissolves, releasing food for the catfish fry to eat. (I learned this "trick" from an old-time Greater City aquarist, Henry Kranz, who passed away in 1991. Corydoras catfish are very "cute." Raising them is very enjoyable. Adolfoi, in particular, make excellent community tank residents, and are highly prized by aquarists I know. When you see them offered for sale (I bring mine to the local club auction), grab them — you'll never regret it. Then you too can start the "five day" process. Additional Reading Axelrod, Dr. Herbert R. "Finding Corydoras adolfoir Tropical Fish Hobbyist, May 1982. Yamamoto, Mike "A Tale of Two Corys." Aquarium Fish Magazine, September 1997.

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If the pilgrim's musket fired underwater, the turkey fish might have become the Thanksgiving Day tradition."

How To Prepare For New Fish Setting Up For Altolamprologus calvus by WARREN FEUER

his is how it usually starts. I see a picture, read an article, or notice a fish that I don't know all that much about. If the fish is a catfish or a cichlid, I tend to pay special attention. I'm sure I'm not alone. Many of the people I meet and talk to about fish seem to find those two types of fish the ones they are most interested in as well. Where was I? Oh, yeah. A new fish. Once I see something about this fish I start researching to see how available the fish is, how expensive, and how possible it would be to keep this fish. Sometimes, my research reveals that the fish is unobtainable, or so expensive as to be out of reach. Sometimes the fish is just not a good aquarium occupant. Most of the time, however, the fish is one that falls into the target range of possibility. Bear in mind that most of these new fish I see are either shown in hobbyist magazines, or in a tank somewhere. Once I've determined that the fish meets the criteria, I have to decide if I have space to keep the fish. As you know from reading anything I've written in the past, I live in an apartment in New York City, and space is at a premium. Sometimes I can add the fish to an existing tank (after proper quarantine procedures, of course). Sometimes, I have to pass on the fish because there is just nowhere to keep it. Sometimes, I want the fish so much that I will empty a tank of its occupants in order to create space for the new ones. Creating space seems especially necessary when it comes to cichlids. I have found that they do best when kept in a species tank, with no other fish. Cichlids seem to breed more readily, and with greater success, when they are by themselves. My experience with breeding cichlids has been solely with African Rift Lake cichlids, so I can't say this is true for all cichlids. I do know, however, that some, if not most of the Central and South American cichlids can be hell on their tank-mates come breeding time. On the other hand, I know of several people who have kept large community tanks (100 gallons plus) where several different species of African cichlids have spawned. The largest tank that I have set up for Africans is a 30 gallon, so species tanks are in order for me.


With all the above in mind, you can understand why, once I got the calvus bug I had to have an empty tank for them. Altolamprologus calvus is a Lake Tanganyika cichlid, growing to about 5 inches. Clearly related to Lamprologus compressiceps, it shares the flattened (compressed) body and unique head shape. If you have the issue, take a look at the cover of the June 1995 issue of Modern Aquarium for an excellent picture of a trio of calvus. I first saw calvus several years ago in the fish room of someone who specializes in keeping/breeding/selling African cichlids. These were fully grown calvus. They had just come in and were in bad shape, so none were for sale, and there were no fry available. I try to stay away from adult fish. Rather than choosing a "mated pair," which are usually frighteningly expensive, and some times not a pair, I would rather get five or six young fish and let them choose among themselves. So I went home with no calvus. As time passed I often thought about the calvus, but never came across an opportunity to get them. It seemed that they were destined to be another fish on my "some day" list. One of my tanks, initially intended to be a species tank for Neolamprologus sp. "daffodil" had, in fact, become a Lake Tanganyika cichlid community tank. At first the "daffodils" spawned, with a few fry surviving; but, after a few spawnings, they stopped. As time passed I began to consider removing the inhabitants of the tank and trying something else. Because the tank had been set up for Tanganyikans, I decided another cichlid from that lake would go in the tank. It didn't take me too long to decide that the fish I wanted was Altolamprologus calvus. I checked around and found that they were available. The few people I knew who had kept them reported that they were good, if somewhat challenging, aquarium occupants. I was ready to go beyond the "beginner's" Tanganyika cichlids. Additionally, since the fry available were commercially bred, they would be more used to aquarium life than wild caught fish, and less expensive. I had found my fish. I had a plan. I would get rid of the "daffodils" and their fellow tank occupants by selling/trading them for the calvus.

By the time I returned from vacation, the tank was crystal clear. The cycling process had been completed. I was now ready for the fish. And, as luck would have it, the fish were ready for me. I had asked Steve Gruebel, the owner of Cameo Pet Shop, if he could get the calvus for me. Although Steve does not usually stock these fish, he went out of his way to find them for me, even ordering other fish to make up a large enough order to get the calvus. As I and others in this magazine have written many times, it is important to support your local independent fish store because they are most likely to go out of their way to assist their regular customers. When looking for a reputable store, an excellent starting point would be any of the advertisers (and, therefore, GCAS supporters) in Modern Aquarium. Of these, I have enjoyed a long and favorable relationship with the two Steves of Cameo (Steve Gruebel and his "partner in crime" Steve Miller). True to form, Steve came up with excellent fish for me. Although young and small (about one inch long each), the calvus looked fantastic; no runty or half starved fish that are sometimes encountered in pet shops where people don't care. I had originally intended to buy five, but they looked so good, I took seven. Steve even let me pick my own fish out! These were double bagged and soon on their way to their new home. Once home, I began the process to acclimate the fish to their new environs. There are several different approaches to this. Some recommend floating the bag in the tank until the temperature in both the bag and the tank are the same, and then releasing the fish into the tank. Another approach also involves floating the bag, but includes adding water from the tank to the bag, and then releasing the fish. Some recommend against introducing water from the bag into the tank, instead suggesting you net the fish out of the bag and into the tank. I have taken all of the advice given and come up with my own approach. I place the contents of the bag (fish and water) into a bucket. Then, gradually, I add water from the tank into the bucket for about one half hour. If the fish are wild caught, or I suspect the water conditions are much different between my tank and what the fish are used to, I will take even longer to acclimate the fish. Since these were young fish, and I was not sure how fragile they might be, I took my time in acclimating them. Finally, I was ready to put the fish in the tank. Using a net, I scooped the fish out of the holding bucket and gently

deposited them in the water. Of course, they all made for shelter right away. For the most of the first day, they hid. I kept the lights off in the tank and fought my impulse to check on them every second. The next morning I took a quick survey of the tank. All seven of the calvus were alive and moving about. The introduction had been a success! Later that day, I turned on the tank lights. At first they were startled, but the fish soon adjusted and continued their exploration of their new home. Although young, I could already see some posing and maneuvering among the fish for dominance. They are, after all, cichlids. That night I began feeding them. I spoiled them with some live brine shrimp, which they gobbled up. In addition, they wolfed down the flake food I gave them. As I write this it has been almost two months since I brought the calvus home. In that time, they have shown increased bravado and movement about the tank, although they still hide when there is sudden movement near the tank. They don't seem to have grown, and I've been told that they are slow growing, so I'm being patient. I don't see as much aggression as I first thought I would see based upon their initial behavior. But, I suspect that, as they grow and mature, the eventual pair forming that I hope for will produce some aggression. My eventual goal is to have a pair successfully spawn. For now, however, I am satisfied just watching them as they grow. In future articles, I hope to report on their progress, and detail their breeding activities, should any occur. jL

Ir Don't wait until April to think about what you want to bring to the Silent Auction. If you're like most of us, you'll wait until the last minute, and then it will be too late. Get it together now. Ben Haus has volunteered to store these items for you and we will make sure that they make it to the Silent Auction. SO/SO The Super 50/50 is back! Our goal is to sell 100 tickets at $5.00 each. The lucky winner gets half the money collected. The drawing will be at the June ("Fish Wits") meeting. Please see Vince Sileo if you are interested in purchasing tickets, or wish to take five or ten to sell to your family and friends. If we reach our goal of 100 tickets sold, the prize will be $250.00 cash.

Announcing A New Greater City Program:

The Author Award Program by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST

his article is to introduce the Greater City Author Award Program ("AAP"), which has received Board of Governors approval to begin in January, 1999. The Author Award Program is based on our (very popular) Breeders Award Program (BAP), with some important differences. More information on the GCAS AAP will be available at future GCAS meetings. This is not a "contest" or competition for "best" article. Greater City participates in the Publications Awards contests of both the Northeast Council (NEC) of Aquarium Societies and the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS). We will let those organizations do all the "judging" and, as you will see, use the results of those award programs as part of this program. If, after reading this article, you still have questions, ask me at any meeting, or write your questions down and give them to any Modern Aquarium Staff member, or send me e-mail on our internet website. We will also consider suggestions for improvements.


Purpose The GCAS AAP is based on the following premises: 1)

Practical information on the proper care and/or breeding of tropical fish and care and/or propagation of aquatic plants is vitally important to both the membership of the Greater City Aquarium Society, and to the aquarium hobby in general.


The publication of the Greater City Aquarium Society, Modern Aquarium, should excel in quality and project a positive image of the Society.


All contributions to our Society's publication are important and deserving of recognition.


More members should be encouraged to make contributions to our publication.

Overview The GCAS AAP provides points, evidenced by a certificate, awarded for certain contributions to Modern Aquarium. Persons acquiring a certain number of points will receive additional recognition for having reached a designated "Accomplishment Level." Those Accomplishment Levels are: Author, Correspondent, Writer, Essayist, Journalist, Columnist, Reporter, and Laureate. The person awarded the most AAP points in a calendar year (excluding Modern Aquarium staff members), will receive a certificate designating that person as "Author Of The Year" for that calendar year.


Finally, each person, other than a Modern Aquarium Staff Member, making a specified contribution to Modern Aquarium will receive one or more chances in a drawing for one or more prizes, such drawing to be held at or before the Annual Holiday Party. Eligibility Any member of Greater City may participate in the GCAS AAP. However, Editorial Staff members of Modern Aquarium (defined as those persons listed on the Contents page of Modern Aquarium as Staff Members) are not eligible for tickets for the AAP prize raffle or for the designation of "Author Of The Year." Points Five points will be awarded for an original article of 500 words or less. Ten points will be awarded for an original article of 501 words and over. Five additional points will be awarded for an original drawing or illustration submitted with an original article. Ten points will be awarded for an original color photograph which, in the sole opinion of the Modern Aquarium Art or Photo Director, is suitable for use as front cover. (Note, a color photograph need not be accompanied by a related article.) All photographs must be the work of the member submitting them and must not previously have been published, or submitted for publication, in any commercial or amateur publication. Five points will be awarded for an original puzzle which, in the sole opinion of the Editor, is suitable for use on the "Fin Fun" page of Modern Aquarium.

For the purposes of the GCAS AAP, an "original article," drawing, puzzle, or photograph is the sole property and creation of the author, and was never printed in any other publication. If submitted to another publication, it must first have been submitted to Modern Aquarium. Points are awarded only once for an article, drawing, puzzle, or photograph. No points are awarded for subsequent reprints, regardless of whether the original article was awarded points in the AAP previously. However, if an article previously published in Modern Aquarium is significantly revised by its author (as a result of new information or developments), and if such revision is first submitted to Modern Aquarium, it will be treated as a new article. Points are awarded at the time an article is accepted by the Editorial Staff, not when the article is printed. Acceptance of an article and the awarding of points is no guarantee an article will be published. An article deemed unacceptable by the Editorial Staff of Modern Aquarium for reasons of appropriateness of topic, suitability, or possible violations of copyright or libel laws, will be ineligible for participation in the GCAS AAP. Decisions of the Staff are final. Points credited to an author may not be carried over or credited to subsequent calendar years for the purposes of raffle prize chances or "Author Of The Year" designation, regardless of the calendar year in which an article is actually published. Bonus Points If, in the year following its publication in Modern Aquarium, an article is given any award (1st, 2nd or 3rd, but excluding Honorable Mention) by the North East Council of Aquarium Societies (the "NEC") or by the Federation of American Aquarium Societies ("FAAS"), then an additional 10 points will be awarded to the article's author, if the author is a member of GCAS in the year the NEC or FAAS award is announced. This applies only to articles (not to drawings, columns, cartoons or photos). These bonus points are to be credited to the author in the year the award was announced (not the year the award is for). This applies only to awards for specific articles. Awards for "Author of the Year," "Artist/Cartoonist of the Year," "Best Column," etc. are not counted for GCAS AAP Bonus Point purposes. Prize Drawing For every five points in a calendar year, the recipient author is given one chance in an "Authors/Contributors Only" Raffle at the end of

the year. Staff Members of Modern Aquarium, are not eligible for this drawing. (However, family members are eligible, as are family members of any GCAS member.) There is no limit to the number of chances any one person may accumulate. Author of the Year A person with the most points in a calendar year will receive a certificate as "Author Of The Year" for that year. Staff members of Modern Aquarium, but not their family members, are also excluded from this category. Accomplishment Levels For the purpose of reaching the accomplishment levels specified below, all points achieved in all years of operation of the AAP will be totaled together: Author 25 to 45 points Correspondent 50 to 95 points Writer 100 to 145 points Essayist 150 to 195 points Journalist 200 to 295 points Columnist 300 to 495 points Laureate 500 points and over Questions and Answers Q: How are articles submitted this year treated under the GCAS AAP? A: No points are awarded for articles submitted this year, because the AAP does not start until 1999. But, if any article this year wins a first, second or third place NEC and/or FAAS Publication Award next year, that NEC or FAAS award would be given while the GCAS AAP is in effect. So, ten "Bonus Points" (see above) would be awarded the author in 1999 and count towards the author's "Accomplishment Levels," and entitle the author to two chances in the "Prize Drawing" that year. (Remember, an NEC or FAAS 1st, 2nd or 3rd place award is 10 points, and every 5 points means one chance.) Q: Since the Greater City "Membership Year" starts in September and runs until the following June, why is the GCAS AAP based on a calendar year of January to December? A: Look at the cover of Modern Aquarium. The Volume number changes in January and each January the Number starts again with the number one (and ends with ten in December). As you can see, Modern Aquarium has always been on a calendar year basis, as are the publication s of most aquarium societies. In addition, both the NEC and FAAS programs are calendar year based.


Q: Modern Aquarium Staff members are excluded, but not their families, and not the members of the Board of Governors. Why? A: Modern Aquarium Staff are only excluded from "Author of the Year" and the "Prize Drawing" to avoid charges of favoritism. On the other hand, in the last five years we have had only one article by a Staff member's spouse one by a Staff member's child, and no articles from the spouse, or partner, or child of anyone else. We want to encourage more spouse/child articles, especially from "junior" aquarists. (It is also interesting to note that both the spouse and child article won awards in NEC or FAAS competition!) As for Board of Governor member participation, while the GCAS AAP was approved by the Board, the program is run totally by Modern Aquarium, without interference from the Board regarding which articles are accepted, or when. So, there is no reason to exclude Board members from the GCAS AAP. On the other hand, as I pointed out in my editorial last month, no articles have been submitted yet this year that did not come from either a Board member or a person either on the Staff of Modern Aquarium or related to a Staff member. While the intent of this program is to get more regular members writing Modern Aquarium articles (that is, more articles from members who are neither on the Board of Governors nor on the Modern Aquarium Staff), if Board members are willing to take up the slack and write, they should be given the same awards and advantages as anyone else. Q: Why are columns excluded from the GCAS AAP? A: Columns are only exempted from getting "Bonus Points" for an NEC or FAAS Publication Award. The reason is that several of our columns are open to anyone. For example, our book review column, "Wet Leaves," had more than one author in 1994 and 1997, and our "Undergravel Reporter" has admitted to more than one author. Each article written as part of a column entitles the author to points towards the various "Achievement Levels," towards "Author of the Year," and towards the "Prize Drawing." Q: Please explain the "Prize Drawing" in more detail. A: For every five points you get in 1999, you will be credited with one chance in a Prize Drawing held either in December or January (exactly which has not yet been decided). There will be one prize (although we reserve the 12

right to include second and third prizes if enough different authors are eligible). While we cannot guarantee its availability by the end of 1999, as of now we plan to raffle to eligible authors a one year's subscription to Practical Fishkeeping, a British publication. While this is not something most members already have, if the winner already subscribes to this publication, we will pay for a one year extension of his or her subscription. Q: Are certificates awarded each time points are earned? A: At present, we intend to issue one certificate per author at the end of the year, showing all points earned that year and, after 1999, showing all points earned in all years of participation. However, if this program gets enough members writing articles and earning points, we will consider giving out GCAS AAP certificates at every meeting, as points are earned, the same way BAP certificates are now awarded. Q. I'd like to get points and be eligible for a prize drawing, but I don't write very well, don't keep fish that are all that interesting to write about, and don't have ready access to a computer. A. Our Editorial Staff will help edit, suggest changes, and correct your article. The result will be a credit to both you and Modern Aquarium. We promise you will be pleasantly surprised. We never found a fish about which we could not write an interesting article! While we would appreciate electronic submissions of articles (e-mail or computer disk), it is not necessary to send articles to us this way. Neatly printed, handwritten, or (preferably) typewritten pages will be also be accepted. Q. You only want original articles, but I want to send my articles to a national magazine. A. There is no reason why you cannot enter the GCAS AAP and also submit that same thing to another publication, amateur or commercial. All you have to do is submit your work to Modern Aquarium first, and when you do, tell us it will also be submitted to another publication. If we receive the article, drawing, puzzle, or photograph before it is sent to another publication, you will still get GCAS AAP credit, regardless of when we finally print it (and even if we print it after the other publication does). This, then, is your new GCAS AAP. We tried to make it fair, simple, and fun. If you have suggestions for improvement, let me know and we will consider them.

Fish On A Farm In Queens? by VINCENT SILEO es, it's true. Every year as Summer nears its end and Autumn begins, fish appear on a farm in Queens County. The event is the Queens County Fair at the Queens County Farm Museum. We have been invited to set up an exhibit at this event every year since I've been a GCAS member (about seven years). It has become something that I really look forward to for many reasons. I may have been born and raised in Brooklyn but my background is in farming. My interest in animals lead me to John Bowne High School where I graduated from their Agriculture Program. From there, I moved on to earn an Associate's Degree in Animal Science at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. I even worked on a couple of farms before my allergies forced me to change my career. Going to the Fair is like coming home: fresh produce that ripened on a vine rather than a cardboard box, just pressed apple cider, freshly baked bread, and butter that is churned right in front of your eyes. Chickens clucking, roosters crowing, hogs snorting as they root for food, and cows chewing their cud. It all takes me back to a time when I knew no boundaries. That sense of limitless wonder is mirrored in the eyes of every child at the fair. They marveled at what many of us have taken for granted, and others have chosen to forget. There are many other attractions at the fair: live music, dancing, martial arts exhibitions, an antique car show, arts and crafts vendors, amusement rides and games, competitions for livestock, produce, baked goods, and wood


carving, to name a few — something for everyone and certainly enough to fill up a day. And don't forget the GCAS exhibit where there is a beautiful 30 gallon aquarium completely set up and on display. We also have Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens) for sale and hobbyists eager to share their knowledge. Our 30 gallon aquarium has contained Goldfish in the past, and last year there were Gold and Green Severums and Jack Dempseys. This year, I decided that we should have the fish which is displayed on the Society's emblem, the Angelfish. Fortunately I have one that is of a decent size and in good condition. Next I added a school of Neon Tetras, Serpae Tetras, Rummy Noses, and Silver Tip Tetras. A couple of large Corydoras melanistus rounded out the fish. I pirated a nice assortment of plants out of both of my remaining 30 gallon aquariums at home so potential hobbyists wouldn't assume that aquariums were only about fish! Finally, some very nice pieces of driftwood from Ben and Emma Haus completed what was now a "Tank Beautiful" worthy of any competition. As usual Mary Ann and Joe Bugeia were on hand and insisted on putting a Siamese Fighter in the aquarium so there would be no question as to whether you can keep Siamese Fighters with other fish safely. We even did this in years previous, when the aquarium contained Goldfish. Of course, we warn potential hobbyists that some Siamese Fighters may mistake the long flowing tails of some Goldfish for another Siamese Fighter and nip at them. Keeping a Siamese Fighter with a Jack Dempsey (a large Central



News From:

The Northeast Council Of Aquarium Societies by CLAUDIA DICKINSON

"Tie One On" Only 149 days to go before one of the most memorable "fishy" events of the year! The Northeast Council's Annual Convention dates are April 9th~l 1th, and the speaker line-up is rolling in fast. The ever-popular Lee Finley of Rhode Island will speak on Loricarids. The plant man himself ~ Mike Rellweg ~ will come to us from Missouri to speak on one of his favorite topics ~ plants, of course! Thomey Pattenaude will travel from Ohio to speak on Anabantoids; and all the way from Montreal will come Gary Elson to speak on apistogrammas. The dynamic Ray Lucas will treat us as MC of the banquet. Who could ask for more? There will be more to follow! All of this ~ not to mention the fish store tour, dry goods auction, Giant Fish Auction, and all around Great Fish Talk and Fun!!! So come on, join in and "Tie One On" with some great people in Farmington, Connecticut at the Hanford Marriott. Speaking of "Tie One On" ~ Have you started those sketches yet? You could represent the GCAS with your winning logo for the "Tie One On" logo contest. Winners will receive free registration for the convention, plus a free T-shirt! The logo must be an original (not used before). Two copies must be submitted by the artist in black and white (one signed, one unsigned), with a copy using four colors if possible (black outlines count as one color). Let your imagination go and try your hand! The entries will be due before December 1, so let's "Tie One On" Please see me with any questions and for contest details. Well, for the moment, that's it. I'm off to the NEC general meeting in Connecticut, where I will see Vince and Rosie, to bring you more News from the NEC! Take care for now! You know you can do a better "Tie One On" logo. So get to it! Last Month's Speaker: by CLAUDIA DICKINSON

harlie has been the owner of a wonderfully unique aquarium store named "Tropical Fish Supermarket" for over 25 years. Tropical fish supermarket is located in a very pleasant section of Brooklyn, and is easily accessible by car or by bus. Charlie always has a wide selection of African cichlids and many other species offish, as well as an extensive variety of aquatic plants. Expect a few huge fish to greet you as you walk in the door!!! A large and beautiful pond in the back is named Lucille, after Charlie's lovely wife, and is well stocked with koi and goldfish in the Spring. When you stop by Charlie's, you will receive quality assistance, with always a friendly smile! Charlie is a very knowledgeable flshkeeper, a staunch supporter of the hobby, and an all around terrific guy! Stop by and say hello! Tropical Fish Supermarket 2890 Nostrand Avenue Kings Highway & Avenue P ( Brooklyn, NY 11229 (718)338-5069



WET LEAVES A Series On Books For The Hobbyist by SUSAN PRIEST have assigned myself a rather tricky task this month; I am going to review the reviewer. Wait! Don't stop reading yet; I'm not talking about myself. I'm referring to a long-time friend of GCAS, and this month's scheduled speaker, Lee Finley. Mr. Finley is the author of "The Aquarist's Library;" a monthly column in Aquarium Fish Magazine. I will turn to his 1998 collection of articles for examples of his work.


January We start the year with an article entitled "Fish Stories," which reminds us that "for a d i f f e r e n t approach, you might try fish in fiction." Mr. Finley makes it very easy for us by offering several titles, along with a mini-review of each. February This month we learn about the new publisher of the "Tetra" or "Baensch" Atlases. They are now available in soft cover as well as hard cover, and they have been slightly revised. We also receive brief instruction on how to handle books. "Besides being educational, reading is enjoyable. When you are having such fun, use both hands." March Here we have a review of The Diversity of Fishes by Helfman, Collette, and Facey. "If you have more than a casual interest in fish, you need a book to match that interest." April Offshore Cichlids of Lake Malawi by Turner is discussed. "Many of these fish will be new to aquarists (as they are to science)." Of the 199 species covered at least 79 are newly discovered.

May I would like to single out this article, entitled "The Piranha," as my favorite, not because Piranhas are of special interest to me, but because of the way Mr. Finley carries the book review format to its widest boundaries of interest

and usefulness. The article opens with general observations and facts about a fish whose "reputation is legendary." Then we have a review of Piranhas — A Complete Pet Owner's Manual by Schelser. In closing, we are told of a newsletter devoted to Piranhas and how to subscribe, as well as given a list of other titles on the subject. This is very complete coverage of an individual fish with a book review at its core. June The topic for this month is the "Aqualog Series." All of the publications from this publisher are explained. July "Book Bits" presents pieces of information from various books which don't contain enough material to fill an entire column on their own. August A complete overview of the Sands Catfish Volumes (of which there are five) is this month's topic. Without these, "no comprehensive catfish library may be considered complete." September Every library needs a calendar. This month we are tempted by "Killifishes, 1999 Calendar" and "Aquarium Fishes of the World, 1999 Calendar," both by Brill. Ordering information is included. October In October Mr. Finley reviewed The Complete Idiot's Guide To Freshwater Aquariums by Wickham. You may get a clue as to what he thought of it from this quote, "sometimes the best advice on keeping common fish comes from well-written beginners books." November The article entitled "Special Interest" is an update on the Aqualog series, reporting on newly added special editions. At the time of this writing, I have not received my December 1998 issue of AFM. Based on the variety of timely, well presented topics relating to aquarium literature which we have been treated to so far this year, I'm sure that "The Aquarist's Library" will not disappoint us. ^ Ed Note: See the brief biography of Lee Finley by Claudia Dickinson on page 16 of this issue.





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es, I'm all for saving the dolphins. (I'm old enough to remember the original "Flipper," and I don't really like tuna anyway.) And, I'm for saving the whales ("Free Willy," and all that); and even for saving the manatee — but, saving the coelacanth? "What," you may ask, "is a coelacanth" (pronounced "see-la-kanth")? In reviewing the book, "Livebearing Fishes" by John Dawes (Blandford Publishing, 1995) for Modern Aquarium, Susan Priest described this 400 million year old fish as "the great great grandmother" of livebearing fishes (see the November 1997 issue of Modern Aquarium). The coelacanth was believed extinct until 1938. Then, a curator of a tiny museum in South Africa found a specimen in the catch of a local fishing boat, thus proving that it was still a living species. That discovery was called the "most important zoological find of the century." The coelacanth's fleshy fins somewhat resemble arms and legs, causing speculation that this fish was the ancestor of land vertebrates, and giving them the nickname of "Old Fourlegs." (In observing this fish in its natural habitat between 1987 and 1997 Hans Fricke, using a submersible pilot, never observed the coelacanth using its paired pectoral and pelvic fins for walking.) In the book "Jurassic Fishes" (English translation by Christopher Perrius of a multipleauthored Japanese book, TFH Publications, 1994), coelacanths are only briefly mentioned, with a photo of Dr. Herbert Axelrod with the fossilized head of an extinct coelacanth, Axelroduchthys araripensis, named for him. (The coelacanth recently found alive is Latimeria chalumnae.) Obviously, this is not a fish that you read about or see mentioned often. However, a new coelacanth population has recently been found in Indonesia, some 7,000 miles from its only previously known location near Madagascar.


Remember how this fish was believed to be extinct until it showed up in a fish catch in 1938? Well, this latest find is similar. (It seems local fishermen are better at this than scientists.) University of California-Berkeley biologist Mark Erdmann was in Indonesia on his honeymoon. He decided to visit a fish market in Manada, Sulawesi, to look for manta shrimp, the animal he studies. (Wouldn't YOU be doing the same on YOUR honeymoon?) Fortunately for him (and his marriage), he took along his (apparently very tolerant) bride, who spotted a large, ugly fish going by on a hand cart. Erdmann recognized it as a coelacanth. (The locals had long called it Rajah Laut, or "King of the Sea.") Two netted specimens in September 1997 and July 1998 appear to confirm the existence of a distinct Indonesia population. (Both Madagascar and Indonesia provide a similar environment — caves about 600 feet deep along the steep sides of underwater volcanoes. The fish's white scale flecks on its cobalt blue body give it camouflage against cave surfaces covered with white sponges and oyster shells.) Well, I'm here to report that this "living fossil" has now gone "high tech," with its own Internet site ( At this site you can read a "Coelacanth Poem," and find out about the "Save The Coelacanth" campaign, called the "Coelacanth Rescue Mission" (details at You can also digitally visit a "Coelashop" with "fun Coelacanthian stuff to buy" including the "Deep Release" T-Shirt ("that could save a Coelacanth's life"), the "CK" (a coelacanth conservation keychain), and you can place an order for a video entitled "DreamCatcher: A Quest for the Ancient Coelacanth." Enough, already! While I have nothing against this fish, I've seen photos of it^and, believe me, it's not likely to win a Bowl Show ribbon. To give you an idea of its appearance, the monster in "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" is supposedly based on a coelacanth! (Yet, considering some of our past Bowl Show winners, it might have a chance!) But, is this the future of conservation: websites, contests, merchandise, slogans, and scientists roaming around local fish markets? If someone had started a website for Cherry Barbs or Ameca splendens (along with suitable merchandising efforts, poems, songs, t-shirts, etc) years ago, I wonder if those fish would still be extinct in the wild today? Is a website now required for a species' survival? Is this, now, the latest Darwin theory corollary — survival of the digitally fittest?


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G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Last Months Bowl Show Results: 1) Tom Miglio - Betta splendens 2) Howard Berdach - Aphyosemion ottogartneri 3) Tom Miglio - Betta splendens Sept '98 — June '99 Bowl Show Standings to date: 1) Howard Berdach - 8 points 2) Tom Miglio - 7 points 3) Pat Piccione - 3 points

The following GCAS penibers1 renewed their.^em^ijgljiip J.^st meeting (tft^ny thanks!): Seth KolkgrfJohn Malin(^|ski, Leon|il Ri nniir I ibaldi, %^g Wuest

JLSi Acjiaa-Land Aquatic i^ Acrg$j:;:Community Center Bristol,,m ,,. :call: |W)276-9475 (Wally/Sue Bush) :lx::::g60)5 89-7931 (Karl/Debbie e-mail: :#;

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Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rt::SfnSly^^ month at Holtsville Park and Zoo, Buckley Rd. Holtsville, NY 11801 Contact: Mr. Vinny Kreyling Telephone: (516) 938-4066

: ; M i j ! : 0 P.M. anonth a|||he Qu^i •Contact^^r. poiiai^ Curtin Telephone 631-053 W


Nassau County Aquarium Society Mm

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

North Jersey Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Meets: 8PM - 3rd Thursday of the month at the American Legion Hall, Nutley, NJ (exit 151 Garden State Pkwy., near Rt. 3) Contact: NJAS Hotline at (201) 332-4415 or e-mail:

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