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modern Series III

Vol. VI, No. 9

November, 1999

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Editor's Babblenest


Spawning Mops


Melanochromis johanni .



<Modest» Goal Reached

North East Council Report

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The Antiquarium


1999 Reader's Survey - Part II



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Surfing the Pubs (Exchange)


Aquarist's Sketchpad


With Fingers Crossed


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G.C.A.S. Happenings


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F«n Fun (Puzzle Page)


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 1999 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


his is another call for help. I've done this before, as has Warren Feuer, the Modern Aquarium Editor before me. We make repeated pleas for volunteers to do small jobs, and for members to write new articles. Virtually all of those pleas go unanswered or, even worse for my purposes of planning an issue, I receive "promises" of help and/or articles that never materialize. Yet, in spite of all that, the members see a new issue of Modern Aquarium every month, and probably think that we were just "crying wolf and that we really did not need the help or articles we asked for. I'm writing this before the rest of Modern Aquarium is finished for this month. At this point, I can honestly say that I'm not 100% certain that there will even be an issue this month â&#x20AC;&#x201D; so sparse has been member contributions. This has got to change, and change soon. When I took over as Editor, I said that I would try to let the members know of changes and developments in Modern Aquarium. Well, I want everyone to know now that, starting next year (maybe even sooner), our award winning "Surfing The Pubs" column will be replaced as the "exchange" column by a page or two of selected reprints from other publications and notations made to articles originally printed in Modern Aquarium that I discover were reprinted in the publications of other societies. Yes, you read that right, we will have a regular reprint column. While some (including several members on the Board of Governors of Greater City) have suggested this as a means to fill pages left blank by the lack of submissions of original articles from our own members, I have resisted it until now. My reasons for resisting this were not based on the quality of writing in


other societies (although I honestly feel that only a few society publications have editing standards in the same league as Modern Aquarium). Rather, I felt that the official publication of the Greater City Aquarium Society should reflect the interests and accomplishments of the members of Greater City. While it's nice to read that Joe Blow in the Lower Podunk Fish Club bred Betta splendens, and here's an article on how he did it; I always felt that an article from a Greater City member on the same subject was preferable. First, as Editor of Modern Aquarium, I know that every article from one of our members is read by at least three, often four or five different people, who review it for accuracy, grammar, spelling, etc., before it's printed. There's only so much I can legitimately do to fix mistakes on a reprint. Second, if you have a question about the reprint article, are you going to attend a Lower Podunk Fish Club meeting or make a long distance call to Lower Podunk to ask Joe Blow about his article? I know I have asked members to give me some more information after reading articles they wrote. Whether you have done so in the past, I always liked knowing that this was a readily available option. Third, if Joe Blow's article did not describe in exacting detail what his water chemistry was, how will you ever know whether our local water is not significantly different in one or more respects â&#x20AC;&#x201D; possibly different enough that duplication of Joe Blow's results would be nearly impossible without adding an unknown quantity of water conditioners to our local water? Finally, while winning the approval and meeting the needs of our members should be enough, it's really nice to achieve recognition from your peers. Modern Aquarium has, in a relatively short period of five years, won a considerable number of awards in direct head to head competition with publications of other aquarium societies. Reprint articles are not eligible for awards. Every reprint means one less original article that could have won an award. There will be more changes in Modern Aquarium, and I'll let you know about them in the months to come. While I prefer to report on changes that I believe enhance and improve our publication, I cannot honestly say that this, in my opinion, is one of them. I've babbled enough this month, now I have to try to scrape together an issue.

November 1999

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)


pawning mops are useful devices when breeding fish that, in nature, lay adhesive eggs in plants. Unlike plants, however, spawning mops are easily transferred from aquarium to aquarium, can be stored in waterless containers, and, when made properly, will last a life-time. This article will tell you how to make them.


The Yarn Spawning mops are generally made from knitting yarn. Use yarn made of artificial fibers (e.g., 100% Orion®). Do not use organic yarn, such as wool, because it will eventually decompose from prolonged exposure to water. I have mops made from artificial yarn that are over 15 years old, and they still show no substantial signs of disintegration. The thickness of the yarn is not critical as long as extremes are avoided. The color of the yarn is a matter of personal preference. I have seen mops in use that were every color of the rainbow. A factor to keep in mind is that the lighter the color, the harder it is for adult fish to see the eggs and, hence, devour them. However, that color factor also makes it harder for you to spot the eggs if you are picking them (as is standard in killiflsh rearing, for example). I prefer dark green shades — they look, if you'll forgive the apparent contradiction, more "natural" than other colors. I also find it easier to spot the eggs — I compensate for the fact that it is easier for the cannibalistic adults too by using sufficient strands of yarn so that the mop is full or "bushy" (see discussion on mop construction that follows), which helps to hide the eggs from roaming eyes. Lately though, I must confess, I have also taken a liking to the look of bright lime-green yarn — in fact, many aquatic plants share this shade of green. You may have read or heard that you should boil the mops in water before using them. This supposedly leaches out color dye that would otherwise pollute the aquarium. I have never boiled a mop. Perhaps it was once necessary, but the current artificial yarns and dyes do not seen to require this old precaution. The Construction — The Finer Method The finer method results in a mop with very good symmetry and a tight construction that precludes strands from coming loose. They take a little more time to make, but they are worth the extra effort — remember, these mops will last you a life-time. The first step is to get a narrow, wooden board (a "2x4" is ideal) about 12 to 16 inches in Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

length. Then hammer a couple of 4 inch nails about one half inch into the board at opposite ends (see illustration no. 1). Tie a piece of yarn between the two nails so that you have what looks like a miniature old-fashioned clothes line. YflRN NAIL


* «

Illustration 1 Next, get a book that is the same height as the length you wish to make the mop. Usually the length of the mop will correspond to the height of the aquarium (if it is to be a floating mop — to be described later), or to the length of the aquarium (if it is to be a sinking mop). Wind the yarn around the book at least 50 complete revolutions (see illustration no. 2, below) — anything much less will result in a thin mop which will not hide or contain the eggs as well as a bushy mop — anything much more is unnecessary.



Illustration 2 When you're finished, cut the strand connected to your spool (skein) of yarn. You should now have two cut strands dangling from the bottom of the book. Take your scissor and cut through the strands wound around the bottom of the book (see illustration no. 3, on the next page). Once this is done, you should have approximately equal lengths of all your strands of yarn.

November 1999

This will produce a sinking mop. If you leave excess yarn after tying your center knot, and you tie the excess through or around a flotation device, you will produce a floating mop (see example in illustration no. 7, below). KNOT



One Innovation After seeing mops that became virtually useless because the strands frazzled over time, I decided to take an extra step in my mop construction. That step consists of tying the end of each strand of yarn into a knot (see illustration no. 9, below). This prevents the ends from developing the "frizzies," which would, otherwise, eventually work their way up the entire strand. Once this happens, the mop becomes a tangled mess from which it is very difficult to extract eggs. Granted, this is a somewhat time-consuming step, but, hey, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Illustration 7 If you prefer not to see the flotation device, you can place your strands over the device, and then use a piece of yarn to tie the strands tightly at a point just below the device (see illustration no. 8, below). Illustration 9


I hope this little mop making primer is helpful to all of you future fish breeders. Many fish â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including goldfish, minnows, killifish, rainbowfish, and others â&#x20AC;&#x201D; readily breed in spawning mops, so go make some.


All illustrations in this article were based on original sketches by the author. They were created by Alexander Priest, using an Amiga 4000 computer and DeluxePaint 4. Illustration 8 The disadvantage of the quick method is that the strands can become loosened over time, resulting in a loss of strands or an asymmetrical mop. Personally, I don't think they look as good. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

November 1999

Melanochromis johanni by JEFF GEORGE

escription: One of the smaller members of the mbuna group (rock-dwelling c i c h l i d s o f Lake M a l a w i ) , Melanochromis johanni is a fascinating species in which the male and female display very different—but equally beautiful—color patterns. Female johanni, as well as juveniles of either sex, are a uniform golden orange in coloration. Mature males, on the other hand, are more typical of the genus Melanochromis, with a velvety black body featuring two electric blue stripes from gills to the base of the tail. The edges of the male's dorsal, anal, caudal, and ventral fins are also edged in electric blue, and he has a blue "bridle" pattern across the face and forehead.


Maintenance: Like most mbuna, M. johanni should be kept in a large aquarium heavily landscaped with rocks, flowerpots, or PVC pipe to form numerous caves and barriers. Though the fish will tolerate water closer to neutral, it is h a p p i e s t in an environment that is hard and alkaline. Baking soda and kosher salt can be added to approximate these conditions, or use one of the many commercially available cichlid buffers or salt mixtures. Water quality is just as important as water chemistry when keeping rift lake cichlids—a combination of strong mechanical and biological filtration and regular, large water changes are essential to maintain this otherwise hardy fish successfully. Adult Melanochromis johanni are best maintained as a colony, with several females for each male. If only a pair is available, they should be kept as part of a mixed community of Lake Malawi cichlids. Mbuna should never be kept as isolated pairs in small tanks, as one fish—usually the female—will almost certainly be killed by its would-be mate.


Feeding: Most of the mbuna are very eager and flexible eaters, presenting little challenge to keep

them fat and happy. M. johanni is no exception, greedily eating most any live or prepared food offered. As an aw/wwc/zs-feeder, vegetable matter should make up a substantial portion of the johanni diet. I use a high-quality spirulina flake as the staple diet for my mbuna, supplemented with cichlid pellets, earthworm flakes, and frozen brine shrimp. Johanni will also eat plankton in the wild, so live baby brine shrimp are appreciated as an occasional treat. Foods very rich in animal protein, such as beef heart, should be avoided for these largely vegetarian fishes, as they can cause an intestinal infection popularly called "Malawi bloat," a usually-fatal disease much more easily avoided than treated. Breeding: Johanni are sexually mature at 2 to 2.5 inches, which they can reach in six to ten ^ months, depending on temperature, water quality, and the availability of suitable food. At this point, spawning is almost unavoidable, provided both sexes are present. A maternal mouthbrooder, M. johanni spawns in the typical mbuna fashion, with the act taking place within a cave. The female takes sole responsibility for the brood, carrying from 10 to 30 eggs in her mouth for about three weeks. She can be left in the breeding colony for at least half of this period, then removed to release her brood in a five-gallon tank. She can be returned to the breeding colony immediately upon releasing her brood—recuperative time in another tank is usually not necessary. When released, the fry are fully-formed fish, just over 1/4" in length and bright orange in color. They readily accept newly-hatched brine shrimp, and quickly learn to recognize crushed spirulina flakes as food. The fry grow quickly, and can be safely introduced into the breeding colony when they reach a length of an inch and a half.

November 1999

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Tankmates: Melanochromis johanni is one of the smaller, less aggressive, mbuna species, and is best kept with Malawi cichlids of similar size and temperament. Among the mbuna, the various species of the genera Labidochromis, Cynotilapia, and lodotropheus are the best companions for M. johanni; the peacock cichlids of the genus Auloncara also mix well with these smaller mbuna. The bigger mbuna—such as Labeotropheus, most Pseudotropheus, and the large Melanochromis—will intimidate M. johanni, which often do not show well or breed in their company. Few non-Malawi fish are suitable for mixing in a mbuna community. Some of the smaller Tanganyikan cichlids, like Neolamprologus brichardi and the various Julidochromis species may last for a while, but they will never thrive in the company of the more active Malawians. Among catfish, the mid-size Synodontis species and hardier loricariids (pieces) do well with mbuna, but other species should be avoided.

Similar species: The "Johanni complex" includes three other popular species—the Electric Blue Johanni (Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos), the Black and White Johanni (Melanochromis perileucos), and the Chisumulu Johanni, Melanochromis interruptus—none of which have yet been scientifically described. "Maingano" males closely resemble true M. johanni males, but females are colored like their mates, rather than being orange. In the Black and White Johanni, the dominant males again resemble the true M. johanni, but the females are white with black stripes. The females of the Chisumulu Johanni are indistinguishable from the true M. johanni, but the blue markings on the males are arranged as two rows of dots along the sides, instead of two complete stripes. Never should two species of the Johanni complex be housed together, as they readily cross-breed. Hybrid fry should not be distributed, but instead humanely destroyed (a big Haplochromis or Cichlasoma is just the thing for this task!).

A (Modest) Goal Reached by WARREN FEUER ecently, I notified Greg Wuest, cochair (along with Carlotti DeJager) of the Greater City Breeders Award Program that I had successfully bred two fish to add to my total Breeders Award points. By my reckoning, this brought my total to over 100 points, a modest goal I had set for myself after my first successful spawning in 1993. Now to some of you, this may be no big deal, and I know that several of our members have amassed 2!/2 to 3 times as many points in one season, but to me reaching 100 points, and the recognition that total merits, is a big deal. Let me tell you why. First of all, let me start with my fish-keeping situation. Many of our members


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

have dedicated fish keeping rooms and many tanks available to breed and grow out fry. On the other hand, I live in an apartment. In it, I have been able to cram in 9 tanks, m any of t h e m "community" tanks with several different species of fish in each one. A community tank makes breeding fish almost impossible. Over the years, as I have become more selective in my fish keeping I have begun to keep species only tanks, and this has enabled me to breed fish with greater success and frequency. I am not obsessed with breeding fish. If I keep a species and it breeds, I am happy. If they live in the tank and thrive, but do not spawn, that is fine with me. I consider breeding

November 1999

a happy co-incidence of successful fish keeping, not a must. So I sometimes keep fish for a while that are not spawning, instead of getting rid of them for another fish that might spawn more readily or quickly. Because of my limited space availability, I have gravitated towards breeding African cichlids, first starting with Lake Malawi mbuna, and lately, Lake Tanganyika residents. I find that I can keep and spawn fish in the same tank without much fry predation. This is important because I don't have much spare room for grow out or isolation tanks to keep fry in. Some of my greatest success has been with the dwarf shell dwellers from Lake Tanganyika, which I find I can keep and breed in 10 gallon tanks and have a relatively large degree of success. In fact, it was only recently, with Neolamprologus meleagris, that I had to remove the parents from the tank to raise the fry. I found that once the parents had spawned, they would kill the previous generation of fry if any were in the tank. You can't blame them, they are just protecting their young, but just the same, you can't ignore their behavior and do nothing about it. Of the fish I've bred, I think I'm most proud of my colony of Neolamprologus sp. "daffodil" that I have watched grow from five fish to well over 20. There are about 4 or 5 generations of fish in the tank from fully mature adults to "teenagers" all swimming about in relative harmony and within a defined hierarchy where the dominant fish spawn and the others help raise the young. For a while there were other fish in the tank with the "daffodils" and it always amazed me how the younger fish would help protect the fry against any potential predators. Eventually, I got rid of everything in the tank but the "daffodils," and let them spawn in peace. Right now there are two Eretmodus cyanostictus living in the tank with the "daffodils" (hopefully only a temporary situation, although I don't know where I can possibly put the Eretmodus), and I think their presence has curtailed the spawning activity for now. That's all right because there are plenty of "daffodils" in the tank. In fact, if you want any, let me know. And now back to the shell dwelling cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Having space limitations, being able to keep and breed a colony of fish in a 10 gallon tank is definitely a plus. For the most part these fish are relatively tolerant of each other and don't go out of their way to eat fry. There are some exceptions to this rule, as I have found out while keeping N. meleagris, which is beautiful, but rather aggressive. I guess

I was spoiled by my experience with N. brevis, which is a timid and mostly peaceful fish that will tolerate the presence of fry in their tank. Once I had a large spawn, I decided to remove the parents and raise the fry alone, something I had never done before. It has been a wonderful experience. I have been able to watch the fry grow without worrying about any danger to them from adult fish. I now have about 18 fry rapidly approaching the "saleable size". I plan to bring some to Greater City's auction, and donate the rest to one of the magazine's advertisers to sell. Then I'll decide what fish to keep next in the soon to be empty tank (a true rarity in my house). One of the fish that I am keeping in the hope of getting a successful spawn is Altolamprologus calvus. I purchased 7 very young fry about one and a half years ago, hoping to grow them out and get at least one pair out of the group. So far, they are all getting along well (at least, I see no signs of aggression), but I have not seen any signs of pairing off as yet either. I have been told that calvus is a "two year" fish, so I guess I have another six months to wait before any sort of spawning activity starts. As I have said before, if they spawn, great, if not, I am still enjoying keeping this fish. It is my belief that one should always have goals to aspire towards. Having reached the goal of getting one hundred breeder points, what is next for me? The next notable level is 300 points, and I don't really see that happening until I am able to set up a separate fish room. Until then, I plan to continue learning and improving my fish keeping skills, and enjoying the fish I keep. And really, isn't that what it is all about?

Some corrections on last month's article: Trinidad, Land of the Guppy: The corrrect spelling of the Amerindians is Arawak, not Arawacks. Columbus discovered Trinidad in 1498, not 1492.

November 1999

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

News From:

The Northeast Council Of Aquarium Societies by CLAUDIA DICKINSON I t's Showtime! Fall is here! With a big thank you to our fellow enthusiastic and energized NEC aquarium societies, there are plenty of shows to attend. A query from our star performer Tom Miglio as to NEC show point values made me aware that now is the time to take a closer look at the NEC show point rewards system. The Northeast Council holds an exhibitor competition for which show points are tallied from January 1st through the end of December. Your membership in the GCAS automatically makes you a member of the NEC. All of your show points for the year, in any GCAS or sister society show, are eligible and entitled to be included in the competition. The Point Values are as follows: 5 Points for the first entry in a sister society show. 2 Points for each additional entry in a sister society show. 2 Points for the first entry in his/her own society show. 1 Point for each additional entry in his/her own society show. 50 Points for Best of Show at any sister society show. 40 Points for Reserve of Show at any sister society show. 25 Points for First Place at any sister society show. 20 Points for Second Place at any sister society show. 15 Points for Third Place at any sister society show. 100 Point Bonus for showing at every member society show. The GCAS, as your home society, will receive 1 Point for each entry that you show. This would mean that, through your efforts, the GCAS would have more chances to win the NEC award presented to the society with the most entries in NEC shows! The time, energy, and patience that so many of you put into showing your fish is admirable. Having fun is what it's all about, and ribbons or not, your efforts make the GCAS honoured and proud to have you as a member! Coming Events! Now that we are all set to show, following is a list of the upcoming events to be hosted by sister NEC societies: November 7th: Boston Aquarium Society Auction. November 21st: Aqua-land Aquarium Society Auction. December 5th: NEC General Meeting ~ Special Guest Star ~ Chuck Davis! You are welcome and encouraged to join in this great fim-filled afternoon! February 13th: Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society Auction. March 17-19: NEC 25th Annual Convention. April 30th: Monadnock Region Aquarium Society Auction. May 5-9: Greater City Aquarium Society Show & Auction. Have Fun!!! NEC 25th Annual Convention! Big plans are underway for the grandest celebration ever! Our incredible convention team has an unbelievable speaker line-up that includes Wayne Leibel, Lee Finley, Ginny Eckstein, Stuart Grant, Ad Konings, Claus Christensen, Mike Schadle and more to come! I'm so excited, I can barely wait! Until Next Month .

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

November 1999

THE ANTIQIIARIUM Am advertisement rrom

Ine Aquarium Magazine.













November 1999

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Both HAS and Greater City are members of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS). And, just as Greater City is a member of a regional association, the Northeast Council of Aquarium the exchange column Societies (NEC), so also HAS is a member of FOTAS (the Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies) which, like the NEC, also holds an annual convention with speakers, banquet, auction, etc. In addition to a Breeders Award by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST Program (BAP), the HAS also has an Horticultural Awards Program (HAP). The rules his month's editorial indicates that applying to their BAP and HAP are in their Modern Aquarium will soon have a new membership handbook. (Greater City's exchange column, based on more membership handbook mentions our BAP, but traditional lines and including reprints from other the details of it are in a separate booklet.) publications. That does not, however, mean that This issue of Modern Aquarium contains "Surfing the Pubs" will stop â&#x20AC;&#x201D; only that it will the second report on our Reader Survey. The no longer serve as an exchange column. It will Houston Aquarium Society distibuted a survey continue to be a column in which I review the within The Fish Fancier also, but it was geared happenings and activities of other societies, as to getting the opinion of members regarding reflected in their publications. society activities. The Fish Fancier is the publication of The HAS also gives out awards for the Houston Aquarium Society. It comes out "Writer of the Year" and for "Reserve Article of every other month in a 5Vi lf x8" booklet format. the Year." While Greater City has only one This is an extremely well put-together class of membership, publication. It t he Houston features color covers Aquarium Society (both photographs has four: Individual and cartoons), as Houston Aquarium Society ($10), Family ($15), well as some inside Junior ($7), and color artwork. I'm guessing (based on the fact Corresponding ($7). that I have two copies of the same month and the Among the things the Houston color covers are a bit different in shading and Aquarium Society is involved with is setting up smoothness) that at least the cover pages are and maintaining aquariums for schools and senior divided among several members with color citizen centers. This is an area of activity printers. Greater City might wish to explore. Not only The publication's layout and overall does this present the society in a very positive effect is very smooth and professional. I'm also light to the public, but it also provides impressed with the quality of the editing. Many opportunities for education on the hobby and for of the most common errors found in other recruiting new members. amateur publications have not found their way This is clearly an active society with into this one. It's also nice to note that this is outreach programs to the larger community, with one of the few publications I know of that many activities for its members. Its publication regularly provides "author's copies" when they is visually attractive and very interesting. In reprint an article. fact, when Modern Aquarium's reprint column Here's what I discovered about the starts, I expect that several of the articles chosen Houston Aquarium Society (HAS) from this will be from The Fish Fancier. publication. Like Greater City, HAS has As with all exchange publications, issues monthly door prizes (but their door prize is of The Fish Fancier are available for review or limited to members only), and an annual holiday loan to any GCAS member upon advance party (which, unlike Greater City, is apparently request. unrelated to their Awards banquet). They also hold an annual picnic at which they apparently judge and award prizes for desserts (nice work for a judge, if you can get it) and a "home show."


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

November 1999


In the year 2000, you'll see many "Y2K Millenium Ultimate (etc., etc.)" fish shows announced. Only one will be held by Greater City, one of the oldest (78 years young by show time) & most respected aquarium societies in the nation!

Queens, New York City - NY proudly announces its

At the Queens Farm Museum: 73-50 Little Neck Parkway Between the Grand Central Parkway and Union Turnpike HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT <AT A WORLD> CLASS SHOW LIKE OURS:

F\sh & aquatic plant competition - trophies awarded Auction of home-bred and raised fish and plants Auction of aquarium supplies/drygoods Top name speakers/workshops HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL FlfslO OMLY GREATER CITY'S SHOW:


Show held at a "working" farm museum with tours available for a real family fun day! Treasure hunt competition - compete for fun and prizes!

AND EVEN MORE TO COME! Visit the Greater City website http://ouiworld.compusepve\ E-Mail us at: north228@a(|.o Or contact Show Chairperson 89-32 118th Street-Rich Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S.(NY)

mdated information at: %)mepages/greatercity ojj serpae@aol.com Roberta D'Orio: HI, NY 11418 (718)847-2030

November 1999


With Fingers Crossed A series by "The Under gravel Reporter"

Der Aberglaube ist die Poesie des Lebens (Superstition is the poetry of life) — Goethe ext to professional ball players, fishkeepers are probably the most superstitious group around. Oh, what's that? You don't agree? You don't think you are superstitious when it comes to your fish, and you haven't seen evidence of superstition among your fish keeping acquaintances? I know of one breeder who insists that the order in which certain foods are fed to his fish makes a difference. Food "A" must be fed before food "B" so that "A" can be properly absorbed. Now, it makes absolutely no difference to this breeder that this information has apparently never been presented in the amateur or professional literature, or even in the commercial hype for these foods — he knows what he knows. For those of you who enter fish in competition at local and regional society fish shows: do you avoid selecting exactly which fish you are going to take to the show until the last minute? I know a few aquarists who do just that, fearing that if they "named" their selection too soon, something bad would happen to the fish they prematurely selected. Do you know anyone who routinely puts "just a pinch" of salt, or some other substance, into each and every tank and bowl, regardless of the pH, DH, and other water chemistry needs of any given fish? I most certainly do. "It can't hurt," is what I'm usually told when I question this practice. Usually, the amount of salt or other substance is so slight, it probably couldn't help, either — but that seems to make no difference. When I point that out, I'm usually told something like, "I haven't had a case of 'ick' in the 20 years I've been doing this, so it must be


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

working." While I could respond that "and you haven't had an elephant stampede through your living room during that period of time either, but that doesn't mean your pinch of salt keeps pachyderms away as well," I usually just walk away, leaving that person with his or her superstitions. I know a breeder who spent weeks trying to duplicate the biotope environment of some fish he intended to spawn. When I pointed out to him that the fish he was trying to spawn were, in fact, spawned by another hobbyist who lived about 20 miles from him and that his time would be better spent in trying to duplicate that other fishkeeper's tank, he looked shocked. He strongly believed that tank raised fish would be more inclined to breed in a "natural" environment that they had never known, than under conditions similar to those they had known all their lives. If that isn't superstition, I don't know what is. Do you have a favorite sweat shirt or tee shirt you wear when entering a fish show, be it a monthly bowl show or a major regional competition? Sure, you like that shirt and yes, it probably doesn't look bad on you — but are you also sure there is not even the least hint of superstition attached to it? Aside from those who maintain reef tanks, need full spectrum bulbs for a vivarium containing reptiles or amphibians, or want special lighting to bring out the color of certain fish, are you one of those people that have the superstitious belief that only certain types of lights are suitable for an aquarium? No less of a plant authority than Dorothy Reimer herself said, at a Greater City meeting, that the type of light doesn't matter and that she replaces her bulbs only when they blow out. I've been using the cheapest hardware store bulb I could find over a large bunch of live plants in a large community aquarium for quite some while. The fish and plants are both flourishing, and my wallet is all that much happier. Well, that's it for this month. Remember that it's not too soon to start thinking about the Greater City show in May 2000. Of course, if you don't tell me exactly which of your fish you intend to enter into competition, I'll understand.

November 1999


Fin Fun IVIetol The glare reflected off the body of a fish often gives it a metalic look. So, it's no wonder that several fish have common names that are metal related. See if you can pair up the scientific names of some of these fish with their common "metalic" names. Scientific name

Common name

Barbus schwanefeldi

Stone Loach

Metynnis argenteus

Copper Minnow

Noemacheilus barbatulus

Bronze Cory

Aphyosemion aureum

Rusty Cichlid

Corydoras aeneus

Tinfoil Barb

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Silver Dollar

Rohtee alfrediana

Steelhead Trout

lodotropheus sprengerae

Gold Killie

Solution to Last Month's Puzzle: Who

Eats Better



YOU, OT YoUT Fish?

Price per pound





Corn Flakes


Color Flakes


Shell Steak


Sinking Carnivore Pellets


Jar of Baby Food


Fry Bites


Large Shrimp


Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp


Catfish Filet


Algae Wafers








Tubifex Worms




Livebearer Food


Tortilla Chips




November 1999

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Profile for Dan Radebaugh

Modern Aquarium  

November 1999 volume VI number 9

Modern Aquarium  

November 1999 volume VI number 9