Modern Aquarium May 2007

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Series III ON THE COVER The White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Tanichthys albonubes, is an active, small, attractive, easy-to-care-for, and easily bred fish that is ideal for the beginning hobbyist. It will also enhance the look of even the most advanced aquarist’s fishroom. Read more about this fish in “Tan's Fish From The White Clouds” by Bernard Harrigan. Photo by Alexander Priest GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members President . . . . . . . . . . . Joseph Ferdenzi Vice-President . . . . . . . Mark Soberman Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Traub Corres. Secretary . . . . . Warren Feuer & Sharon Barnett Recording Secretary . . . . Edward Vukich Members At Large Pete D'Orio Jason Kerner Carlotti De Jager Ben Haus Leonard Ramroop Emma Haus Artie Friedman Committee Chairs Breeder Award . . . . . Warren Feuer and Mark Soberman Early Arrivals . . . . . . . . . . . . . Al Grusell F.A.A.S. Delegate . . . . . Alexander Priest Members/Programs . Claudia Dickinson N.E.C. Delegate . . . . Claudia Dickinson MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief . . . . . Alexander A. Priest Associate Editors . . . . Susan Priest and Claudia Dickinson Copy Editors . . . . . . . . . . Sharon Barnett Dan Radebaugh Exchange Editors . . . Stephen Sica and Donna Sosna Sica Photo/Layout Editor . . . . . Jason Kerner Advertising Mgr. . . . . . . Mark Soberman Executive Editor . . . . . . Joseph Ferdenzi

Vol. XIV, No. 3 May, 2007

FEATURES Editor’s Babblenest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Spotlight on Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Tan’s Fish From The White Clouds . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Amusing Aquarium (cartoon) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Ich (White Spot Disease) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Our Scheduled Speaker (Mike Hellweg) . . . . . . . . . . 9 Amazing Fryday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Mermaid Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 FAASinations (FAAS Report) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 NEC Article Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Fish Health Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Seahorse Chronicles: Understanding Seahorse Diseases and Treatments - Part 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 News of the Weird Wild . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 G.C.A.S. Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

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 2007 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 January and February. Members receive notice of meetings in the mail. For more information, contact: Joe Ferdenzi (516)484-0944. Find out more, or leave us a message, at our Internet Home Page at: or

The Editor’s Babblenest

by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST n my last column, I indicated that our Internet column, “Interfish Net,” will alternate this year with reports on the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies and/or the Federation of American Aquarium Societies. In this issue, there are reports on both FAAS and the NEC, with the NEC report consisting of winners in the NEC’s 2005 and 2006 article competitions. As usual, Greater City authors did very well. Please join me in congratulating them (and, please, also consider joining them in writing for this magazine). Sometimes I start out with the intention of doing a “theme” issue of Modern Aquarium, and sometimes a theme just seems to emerge by itself. I had no intention of doing an issue on fish health this month, but it just so happened that an article by Claudia Dickinson on fish health, and an article by Dan Radebaugh on ich were received at the same time as the third installment of Bernard Harrrigan’s seahorse health and disease segment of his ongoing (and award winning— see the NEC awards on page 13) “Seahorse Chronicles” column. W hether you’re talking about freshwater or marine fish, the experts all agree that prevention is better (and in the long run less work) than effecting a cure. So, yes, quarantine new acquisitions. (Since I happen to hate snails in my tanks, I even quarantine plants to be sure they are snail-free before I put the plants into my tanks.) Yes, do regular water changes and maintenance. And yes, also do periodic chemical testing of your tank water, especially for sensitive fish, or those demanding unique water chemistry that greatly differs from your local tap water (and please remember that two tanks right next to each other can have different water chemistry, even though they are receiving similar care and attention).



But, please add to this “To-Do” list one more very important “preventive” measure: observation. Take the time every day to really look at each of your tanks (and if you don’t have that much time, then just maybe you have too many tanks). Fish die from natural causes and old age, and that’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. But failing to notice a dead fish until after it has putrefied and poisoned the entire aquarium is your fault. Filters can clog, airline tubing can kink or slip off filters, rockwork can loosen or fall and sometimes trap fish, airpumps will lose efficiency over time, heaters can fail or get stuck on high, tanks can develop leaks, etc. These also are not necessarily anyone’s fault. But, failing to notice them happening in your tanks until several days later is your fault, and will have an adverse impact on your fishes’ health. Once upon a time, I had an “April Fools” article in Modern Aquarium, on the subject of our Breeder’s Award Program. That was the first (and last) time I had such an article, as I found out GCAS breeders are very serious about their BAP points. I’ve since limited April Fools jokes to our Fin Fun puzzle page. In addition to Noelachromis ferandriadenzii, did you notice anything else last month? Five extra chances in our year-end Authors Award Raffle (this year featuring, as a prize, a book by our very own Claudia Dickinson!) to the FIRST person who finds and reports to me what else was amiss on last month’s Fin Fun page. And, speaking about our Breeders Award Program, every March 2007 issue of Modern Aquarium has, as an insert, a copy of our revised BAP rules. Our lead article this month on W hite Cloud Mountain Minnows mentions how easy these fish are to breed. W ell, if you want real easy BAP points, let me relate my recent experience. I make caves from coconut shells for my mouthbrooding anabantoids. After I cut and smooth out openings, I boil the shells for a half hour in saltwater, then an hour in freshwater, then I put them in a tank of freshwater (without fish) for two or three weeks. Sometimes, I fasten Java Moss, Java Fern, or some other plant to the shell. I did this recently to a shell on which I attached some Java Fern. A few days later, I saw spots before my eyes. Since I recently had my eyes checked, I got a magnifying glass and discovered tiny fish swimming in a tank in which I put no fish, only a coconut shell and a plant. It turns out the plant came from a tank in which there were some W hite Clouds. Voila, instant BAP points!

May 2007

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

President’s Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI


ast month, I was perusing the Table of Contents page of Modern Aquarium, as I always do, when my eyes focused on a number. It’s a very peculiar number if for no other reason than it’s in Roman numerals. XIV is written after the volume designation. Can it really be? Can this, the third series of Modern Aquarium, already be in its fourteenth year? What is even more amazing is that it retains its terrific content and look after all these years. Modern Aquarium long ago became the standard to emulate in the aquarium hobby. And today, its status as the premier monthly hobby publication remains unrivaled. A lot of its success can be traced to the high standards we set at the very beginning, back in 1994. Warren Feuer, the first Editor, brought polished writing and intelligent editing to those early issues. And, in a flash of serendipity, one of our active members at the time, Stef Zander, had been a professional magazine artist. He largely gave Modern Aquarium the look it has, so classic and timeless, that it has gone virtually unchanged. That team passed the baton to Alexander Priest and Jason Kerner, who have kept us out in front as a quality publication. How long can we keep Modern Aquarium going? As long as there are members willing to contribute, and, one day, take the baton from Al and Jason. I’m not sure I can even begin to tell you how impressed I am with the membership at Greater City, but, I’ll try. To begin with, our membership is the most diverse of any aquarium club I’ve ever experienced. It truly reflects the mosaic that makes up this great metropolitan area. Then there is the genuine camaraderie. Seeing all of you, mostly all with smiles on your faces, lifts my spirits just when I need a boost — just when I think I can’t possibly get through another marathon meeting with a clock to beat, all of you seem to make it fly and be fun. And, as if that weren’t enough, you are all great hobbyists, and have other talents which you use for the betterment of Greater City. Now, I’m not much for patting myself on the back, but I may have to in order to make a point. Back when I became President of Greater

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

City in 1984, we had no magazine or fish shows. We had no nationally recognized members. It seemed that everyone was content to have a nice little meeting once a month. I was not. Plus, I had this belief that leaders should lead, or they should step aside. So, I tried to be a leader. The results seem evident — we have membership participation levels that rival those of our heydays in the ’30s and ’60s; we are the only New York City/Long Island club to have had fish shows in the last decade; we have an award winning magazine; we have several nationally known members; our monthly meetings are the envy of the aquarium world because they are exciting and well run. So, now, I have decided to lead Greater City on to another important project. That project is the upcoming Aquarium Federation of Independent Societies and Hobbyists (AFISH) Convention. I grant you that this is a very ambitious undertaking. But, in my opinion, our future growth and relevancy depends on trying to bring a regional convention to this greater New York area. If it fails, I will shoulder the blame. If it succeeds, it will be a credit to you, as members of Greater City. I am well aware that it is not always possible to attend such an event for any number of reasons. But, for those who can, consider this: everyone’s participation is important. Don’t just leave it up to “the other guy.” Make plans to attend this event. Come for the same reasons you attend our monthly meetings — the camaraderie, the speakers, the vendors, the auction — all of those reasons that make our meetings worthwhile and fun will be concentrated at this gala convention. Remember, I alone cannot make it a success. Only all of you can do so. *



In next month’s President’s Message, I will explain how this convention idea was generated, the factors that went into my thinking, how the location was arrived at, why it is structured the way that it is, what its features are, and what the long-term goal is. For now, I just want to leave you with a thought. Whatever my faults, they do not include my having any interest in this project other than the betterment of Greater City and of the hobby, especially in our home state. I serve Greater City, but Greater City must serve the hobby — that is my simple philosophy. The flip side of that philosophy is also straightforward: just as I am a leader in Greater City, so must Greater City be a leader in our hobby.

May 2007



Alternanthera species:

Temple of the Red Temples

The purpose of this ongoing series is to expose you to the vast array of plants available in the hobby, their origin, characteristics and structure, growing requirements, common names and synonyms, availability, and cost. I will try to sprinkle in any personal experience I have had with these plants and will also try to answer any of your questions—so feel free to email me. This month we will look at some of the plants of the genus Alternanthera—some of these are better known as the “Red Temples.” Origin and Structure: Plants of the genus Alternanthera can be found in the US, South America, Asia, and Africa. There are 170 known species, but only a few are true aquatics. While they come in both red and green varieties, I will concentrate only on the red ones. Of these, there are two species available in the hobby—sessilis and reineckii. My focus will be with Alternanthera reineckii, as Alternanthera sessilis is on the USDA noxious list and is unavailable in the US. Alternanthera reineckii is a good choice for the aquarium because of its availability, adaptability to the aquarium, and beauty. It is available in 3 variants: Rosaefolia, Cardinalis, and Lilacina. Alternanthera reineckii var. Rosaefolia is from Brazil. It is the plant most often referred to as Red Temple. It has thin lance-shaped leaves that are green on top and light pink underneath. Alternanthera reineckii var. Cardinalis comes from the US, and has undulating leaves that are larger than rosaefolia as well as thicker stems. Its leaves are a deeper red underneath, with olive green on top. Alternanthera reineckii var. Lilacina is from South America, has thinner stems, has leaves that are bigger than the others and that are olive green with pinkish purple undersides. They make stunning additions to a planted aquarium, giving a nice contrast of red and pink among groups of green plants. Growing Requirements: The literature states that all three plants have the same growing requirements: pH 5.8-7, soft to medium hard water,


high light, with a recommendation for CO2 injection. My experience is quite different. While a bit demanding, Alternanthera reineckii var. Rosaefolia and Cardinalis grow quite well in a soft acid tank with about 3 WPG (watts per gallon), no CO2, and an occasional dosing of fertilizers. They will produce large root systems and keep their color, even when crowded a bit. I have found Alternanthera reineckii var. Lilacina, on the other hand, very difficult to grow. It quickly loses its color, and the stems begin to deteriorate in the above conditions. The only people I know who have had good luck with this plant used extremely high light (4 WPG and higher), CO2 injection, micronutrient dosing, and substrate fertilization (your basic hi-tech tank). Common Names and Synonyms: All of these can be called Red Temple, though it is most often used for Alternanthera reineckii var. Rosaefolia. Alternanthera reineckii var. Cardinalis is sometimes called Cardinal Water Hedge. I have not seen Alternanthera reineckii var. Lilacina called by anything other than its Latin name. Availability and Cost: I have seen Alternanthera reineckii var. Rosaefolia occasionally in local fish stores labeled as Red Temple. I have never seen the others in stores, and I think they are only available online. Expect to pay $7-9 per bunch. I hope this article has helped you to appreciate this gem of a plant and has inspired you to try to cultivate it. Lots of Luck!!!!

May 2007

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

Tan’s Fish From The White Clouds by BERNARD HARRIGAN


f you were to ask me which fish would I recommend to someone setting up their first fish tank, at the top of my list would be the White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Tanichthys albonubes. They’re everything a tyro-tank keeper (ed. note: “beginner”) could want, and more. First, a ten gallon starter setup suits White Clouds nicely. Second, they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. Third, they’re a peaceful fish. Fourth, they breed easily, opening up another aspect of the hobby for the beginner without frustration. Fifth, once the minnows are settled in, they are very active and display nicely. White Clouds were originally discovered in the streams of the White Cloud Mountains in Canton, China. The way the story goes, there was a Chinese Boy Scout leader by the name of Tan Kan Fei. While on a field trip with his troop, he collected these fish from one of the streams. He turned the fish over to a director of fish biology, Lin Shu Yen. Shu Yen scientifically described these minnows, and named them Tanichthys albonubes, which roughly translates to, “Tan’s fish from the White Clouds.” At a mere one and one half inches long, they’re small enough to be kept in a ten gallon tank, even as a school. Being a shoaling fish by

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

nature, they’re most contented swimming in schools, showing their colors more vividly as opposed to being washed out and staying hidden. There are several color variations, all with basically the same pattern. The belly is a pale white or a cream color. Moving up and back: a greyish, or olive, or a rich brown midway up the fish changes to a copper, or maroon, or steel-blue to a black pencil-thin line, followed by a thicker white or cream line above that. Topping that off is a greyish or olive, or a rich brown, up to the dorsal fin. There’s a black spot at the caudal peduncle. The fins and tail are yellow and sometimes red with clear edges. The females are paler and more Rubenesque than the males. These fish can withstand a wide range of water chemistry and temperatures, but prefer cooler water. I’ve kept mine without a heater. That’s a plus, since most ten gallon setups don’t include a heater. They can tolerate 80F, but not as the norm, and would be much happier in the 60 65F range. Try to keep their tank in a cooler area of the house. That means away from radiators and direct sunlight, and not in the kitchen. Darker gravel and feathery plants will make the minnows feel right at home. Cabomba, Hornwort, Java Moss, and Water Sprite have all

May 2007


worked well for me. Just make sure you don’t overplant the tank. White Clouds need a good amount of open area for swimming, and courtship too. In a setup like that, they breed with ease. They’re egg scatterers. Males strut about flaring out their fins, persistently prancing to attract a female. Together they head to the seclusion of the plants, where the male embraces the female. She releases a number of small eggs in clusters. It can be as many as 300, or as few as a dozen. Some clusters of eggs stick to the plants, and others fall to the substrate. The eggs hatch in a day or two, depending on the temperature of the water. There is no parental care. The fry will hide in the plants, feeding on the microfauna and microflora found among the leaves. You could feed them infusoria or powdered flakes as their first foods. You know those mini-tub ponds, the ones some people put out in the yard from spring until early fall — the type of water gardening Ted Coletti sometimes writes about? Well, White Clouds are perfect for those tub ponds. Put a half a dozen minnows into one in April, and by late

September, you’ll be netting out hundreds of minnows. Don’t think that these minnows are a beginner fish with nothing to offer the advanced aquarist. A few variations have been coaxed from the White Clouds. The most stunning I’ve seen so far is a long-finned variety with a chocolate body and a rich red and bright yellow in the fins. I said “so far,” because if a well-seasoned breeder seriously looked at the potential of these fish, many more varieties could be produced. Just think of what a wild betta looks like as opposed to a show betta. If bettas were relegated to novices, we wouldn’t have the intense blues and reds, the black betta, the cellophane betta, split tails, double tails, and the butterfly betta, just to name a few. The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a fish that can be appreciated on many levels by many levels of aquarists. They’re undemanding, peaceful, very active, easily bred, don’t need a large tank, and their genetic potential has yet to be discovered. Is it any wonder why I would recommend this fish to a newbie, to an advanced hobbyist, and to you?


On Mothers’ Day, I try extra hard not to eat my own fry. 6

May 2007

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

Ich (White Spot Disease) by DAN RADEBAUGH


ch (pronounced “ ck”) is a disease that all of us who keep fish will probably have to deal with more than once. It is a parasitic infestation of the large ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, an organism that is seemingly ubiquitous in freshwater around the globe. So-called saltwater “ich” is caused by a different organism, Cryptocaryon irritans, and is not addressed in this article. If recognized early, ich is usually an easily curable disease. On the other hand, if not noticed and treated promptly it can easily wipe out an aquarium. The most common symptom is the signature “white spots” looking like grains of salt on the fish’s body and fins. Behavior such as “flashing” (the fish rubbing their skin on gravel or decorations) can be another tip-off. However, as I learned to my regret, sometimes the white spots do not appear until the fish are too weak to recover. There are other signs, such as ragged fins, lethargic behavior, gasping for breath, but these can be symptomatic of other conditions as well. There is plenty of available information about ich. Almost all good fishkeeping books explain the life cycle of the protozoan – and this knowledge is key to effective treatment and prevention. There are three stages to this parasite’s life cycle. The characteristic white spots are produced when the parasite has burrowed under the fish’s mucous coating. They then tunnel between the epidermis and the dermis, feeding on skin cells and body fluids. The irritation stimulates the skin above them to thicken, forming a protective (to the parasite) covering – the “white spots.” At this stage, encysted under the fish’s skin and mucous, it is pretty much impervious to treatment. The mature parasite detaches itself from its host, swims to and attaches to an object (for instance a piece of gravel), encapsulates itself, and reproduces by cell division. Up to a thousand “swarmer” cells can be produced within 8 to 24 hours, depending on water temperature. These swarmers, or thermonts, then swim about looking for a host, which they must find within about 48 hours, or they will die. Once they find a host, they burrow under the fish’s mucous coating, and start the cycle again. If the host fish dies, all the parasites abandon the skin over the next few hours, encapsulate, and begin dividing. Naturally, in a small, closed system like an aquarium, this rapid population explosion can be devastating.

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

Traditionally, it has been believed that after surviving an infection, the fish have a certain kind of “immunity” to further infection. The parasites form a latent stage at protected areas like gills and fin bases, and don’t appear to notice their hosts. Subsequent stress, or introduction of new fish (or even water from other aquaria) can trigger these latent parasites to reactivate, attacking the new fish and the old fish alike. I should point out here that this “latent phase” idea has its detractors, some of whom are well respected, who refer to it as “rubbish.” I take no stand on it one way or the other. Prevention There are well-known common-sense preventative measures against ich infections, as well as other infectious diseases and parasitic infestations. Most of us know them, but don’t always practice them:

May 2007



Don’t buy sick fish! Sounds easy, right? If you’re looking at a fish to buy, look not only at the one you have in mind, but at the other fish in the tank with it. Do they look well cared for? Healthy? Or are there ill-looking or dead fish in the tank with them? How about the fish in the other tanks? Many stores have a central filtration system, so if there’s a problem in one tank, it’s likely to exist in all of them. Likewise, the store employees probably use the same nets for all their tanks, so the possibility of transferring parasites from one tank to another is very real. Of course it’s possible you know the fish is infected, but decide to buy it anyway. Not a crime. I bought a young Uaru a couple of years ago who had a bad case of ich. I wanted the fish though, and figured I could get rid of the ich. This leads to rule... Quarantine your fish! Parasites like ich are a problem that should be dealt with before introducing them to the rest of your fishy family! Ich is bad enough, but there are other diseases out there that are much harder (or impossible) to cure. Fourteen to 21 days should be enough. Do it! Over the long term you’ll love yourself for it! I don’t recommend prophylactic treatment while in 7


quarantine. Most medications have their drawbacks, so if you see nothing, don’t treat it. If you don’t have a quarantine tank, add a new fish by emptying it from its bag into a net, and then from the net into your tank. Don’t add the travel bag water to your tank! Better still, set up a quarantine tank! Quarantine plants as well. They sometimes carry hitchhikers! Treatment

Effective treatment of ich is currently possible only while the organism is free-swimming. There are a number of modalities, including physical intervention, heat, salt, and chemicals. Each has its drawbacks, but non-treatment is a non-option. Some treatments are not recommended for certain fish species, so do some research on the fish you’re keeping before treatment of any disease becomes necessary. Physical Intervention: An example of this would be the Transfer Method. This modality interrupts the parasite’s life cycle. It requires five containers. The fish are transferred to a new container every 12 hours. After 23 days the fish should be ich-free, as the swarmer cells will have died before the fish cycle back to the previous container. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require any “medication.” The disadvantage, in addition to the inconvenience to the fishkeeper, is that this frequent handling can severely stress the fish. I haven’t tried this myself, and likely will not. Heat: One of the old maxims of dealing with this parasite is to raise the water temperature to just over 80 F. This does not kill the parasite, but speeds up its life cycle so as to decrease the amount of time medications need to stay in the water. However, heat alone is often used to destroy this microbe. To do this, SLOWLY (no more than a degree or two an hour) raise the water temperature to 86 F. Maintain this temperature for ten days, or until at least three days after all the white spots have disappeared. Then, just as slowly, reduce the tank temperature to normal. This method can be combined with the progressive salt treatment, but not with other medications. When using the heat treatment, as well as all medication based treatments, be sure to provide increased surface agitation, as warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen. Most of the available medications also tend to reduce dissolved oxygen content.


Salt: Raise tank temp to 80-82 F (see above). The progressive salt treatment is an old standby for this parasite: Day 1: 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water Day 2: 1 additional teaspoon of salt per gallon of water Day 3: 1 additional teaspoon of salt per gallon of water Continue this until you reach a cumulative total of about six teaspoons per gallon. Bear in mind that some species are more sensitive to salt than others. For instance discus and tetras can only tolerate 3–4 teaspoons per gallon, while mollies can live comfortably in full marine conditions. Know your fish! Maintain the salt level for about 10 days, or until 3 days after the last white spots are gone. Gradually reduce the salt content to normal by partial water changes over several days, giving the fish time to adjust. You don’t need an expensive, exotic salt. The latest research that I know anything about concludes that “salt is salt.” Plain old sodium chloride (table salt) is just fine. Iodized or non-iodized is a non-issue. You’d have to add so much salt that your fish would be long pickled before harmful amounts of iodine could build up; ditto for anti-packing chemicals. Commercial Medications: There are several effective, chemical medications available. These can include formulations containing copper, potassium permanganate, formalin, Malachite Green (used to be called Victoria Green), acriflavine, and methylene blue. There are also some “alternative” medications available. I personally have had the best results with meds that combine Malachite Green and formalin. The thing to bear in mind with all these commercial products is that, whatever you use, you must READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY, and then follow them! Some of these chemicals are carcinogens, and require careful handling. Others can be toxic to certain kinds of fish. Still others can permanently stain your sealant, tubing, or other items in your tank. Be careful out there! A final word: No matter which of these methods you use, you may happen upon a strain of the microbe that is resistant to it, so you may be forced to try an alternative. As a general rule, don’t use two different treatments at the same time – for ich or any other disease – unless you have a really strong biochemistry background and are sure you know what you’re doing.

May 2007

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

The GCAS Proudly Extends a Most Warm Welcome to


“The Joy of Goldfish” by CLAUDIA DICKINSON


hobbyist since he was a child, Mike was breeding swordtails and successfully raising them when he was 9 years old. Mollies, guppies, corys, and danios soon followed. He quickly discovered that breeding fish was fun and challenging, and that pet stores would swap fish that he raised in exchange for other fish, tanks, and equipment. Mike’s hobby quickly grew to the point where he was selling fish that he raised to shops all around town. Now a fourth level Grand Master Breeder in his local club, the Missouri Aquarium Society, Inc., Mike has convinced nearly 200 species from more than 20 families to breed, and he has successfully raised their fry. His fishroom of 80 or so tanks, ranging in size from 10 – 75 gallons, is dedicated to working with “miniature fishes,” with adult sizes under 4" in length. Mike particularly enjoys working with small egg scatterers, dwarf cichlids, wild livebearers, killies, and wild anabantids. He is also a third level Grand Master Aquatic Horticulturist, having propagated nearly 175 species of aquatic plants, many of them by seed. Active in the organized hobby, Mike has served on the Executive Council of the Missouri Aquarium Society since 1989, and is currently serving his 8th term as their President. He also sits on the Board of Directors of both the American Livebearer Association, and the Aquatic Gardeners Association. Mike presents programs on various hobby topics to local school groups and hobbyist organizations around the country. He has written dozens of articles for local and national hobbyist organizations, and has been published numerous times in both Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Aquarium Fish International magazines, as well as Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine. Mike’s monthly column, ‘Adventures in Fish Breeding,’ appears on He currently owns and operates “Exotic Aquatics,” selling uncommon fish and aquatic plants, both to local hobbyists and to hobbyists around the country. One of the most genuine, kind, and knowledgeable hobbyists that you will have the good fortune to meet, it is a wonderful honor and treat to have Mike join us tonight to share“The Joy of Goldfish.”

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

May 2007


Amazing Fryday by DESIREE MARTIN


9-year old child’s dream of growing up to be a mermaid after reading “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen (I tested having a 12th grade reading level at that time) began to materialize some 31 years later when I met a GCAS member known to us all as Gypsy Mermaid a.k.a. Sharon Barnett. Sharon, as we all know, is a beautiful and friendly person, so it was inevitable that she became the first friend I met at my new job! To my early surprise and delight, not only was she an exceptional human being in every sense of the word, but more importantly, she had already realized my dream. She was, in fact, a mermaid!!! Sharon soon began sharing fish tales with me, and after a short while I confided to her my secret of always wanting to be a mermaid when I grew up. Well, after 7 years of knowing Sharon, I have jumped into the water and am finally realizing my dream. My first amazing Fryday occurred 2 days after attending my first silent auction at the Greater City Aquarium Society held at the Queens Botanical Garden. That Wednesday evening, after walking the floors of the auction room bidding, I arrived home and unpacked the goodies which I had successfully bid upon. My arms were full of my Water Sprite plant, enough fish flakes to last me forever, water conditioner, as well as a new pump to begin another aquarium soon. I planted the Water Sprite, conditioned the aquarium’s water, then jumped into a watery shower to soothe my human feet. I allowed the water to transform the achy feet to soothing painless fins, dried off, and went to bed. I soon drifted into a sea-filled sleep, having the usual mermaid dreams enhanced by impending motherhood due to two very pregnant Endler’s Livebearers (gifts, of course, from Sharon).

The next day, Thursday, lunchtime was spent at the pet store looking for more aquarium plants since, like any mermaid, greenery under the sea is very important to me in my quest to keep my fish family happy. Frustrated from the lack of variety, or even a simple plant to satisfy my mermaid yearnings, I returned to work and called Sharon, who always has a sympathetic ear for my mermaid cries. Sharon promised that the next day, Friday, she would bring me some more of my beloved duckweed (my fish love the duckweed as much as I do, and eat it like candy) and a sword plant. On Friday, true to her word, Sharon bestowed upon me the duckweed, a vibrant sword plant, a few more Endler’s, and some snails. I immediately canceled my evening appointment, and rushed home after work. I planted the sword plant, and introduced the new fish, snails, and duckweed into my aquarium. The tank was now magnificent! Imagine my pride, when less than an hour later I spotted a teeny tiny Endler’s fry swimming at the top of the aquarium among the duckweed! I was beside myself with mermaid joy! I sat on a footstool and witnessed the males chasing the pregnant fish and was equally gladdened when I witnessed one of the females giving birth. She swished herself violently once, and a fry flew out. A little later, I watched her rest on a leaf of the Water Sprite plant and drop another fry. I sat on that stool for what seemed like forever waiting for more fry. Exhausted, I went off to bed and woke around 3 am. I rushed to the aquarium and was surprised to see that one mother Endler was now as slim as a runway model. I sat on my stool and searched. I found seven tiny babies. And that is how Friday became Fryday!

Norwalk Aquarium Society - 41st Annual Tropical Fish Show With an International Betta Congress sanctioned Betta Show!

September 29 and 30, 2007

(Auction: Sunday September 30)

At: the Earthplace Nature Discovery - Westport Ct.

For more information and forms go to the link on the website: http://www/ 10

May 2007

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

by “The Gypsy Mermaid” (A.K.A. SHARON BARNETT)


Multiple Multi Tales

few years ago, I acquired a group of F0 (wild-caught ) N e o l a m p r o l ogus multifasciatus—there were five of them. I purchased some “muffin” shells, and some turbo shells and added them to the multis’ 29 gallon tank, greedily anticipating clouds of shellie fry. The fish never exhibited any spawning behavior, and rarely went anywhere near the shells, preferring the upper reaches of the water column. I soon reconciled myself to the fact that I was not going to get any fry from them. These multis proved to be extremely hardy. I made an ill-advised, ill-timed purchase of Cyathopharynx furcifer—a glorious Tanganyikan cichlid which is supremely unsuited to my somewhat less than meticulous fishkeeping habits. My tanks are generally well maintained, but could seldom be described as pristine...C. furcifer requires pristine water conditions. To make matters worse, this was a period in my life when I was almost as likely to be in the hospital as in my house. The C. furcifer juveniles were temporarily placed in the shell dwellers’ 29 gallon tank. As

you may have guessed, I became ill and had to be hospitalized, leaving my dad to care for my fish. My dad is an indifferent aquarist at best (he never does water changes, just tops off). In attempting to shake some flake food from the can into the tank, he inadvertently shook in what looked like half the can. When I returned home and was heading down to the basement to check on my finned charges, my dad casually said, “I may have overfed some of the fish.” A chill of foreboding ran down my spine as I continued to my fishroom. I was met with the horrible sight of my precious furcifer floating belly-up in a tank full of excess flake food, and miraculously, the shellies were still alive! Having survived this episode, the multis moved to several different setups, but never showed any interest in breeding. Earlier in the year, I purchased a young trio of multis and added them to the group, and you guessed it—fry! Apparently, the original group was all males! No wonder I got them so cheaply.

Coming soon! - Mark your calendars! The biggest fish event in the New York Area!

November 9-11, 2007 Best Western Hotel Riverhead, NY [Suffolk County]

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

May 2007


FAASinations—News From: The Federation of American Aquarium Societies by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST he Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS), to which Greater City belongs, has announced that the FAAS website ( has recently been updated to include its first all-digital program available for use by FAAS member societies. The program is titled “The Road to Master Breeder” and is in Adobe .PDF format with high quality images and embedded audio. After downloading it, a society can use it as a presentation at a meeting. To use it requires a computer, the Adobe Reader software (available free from, and a good pair of computer speakers. Because this is only available to FAAS member societies, those who download this presentation will be asked to log in with their FAAS Directory username and password. Societies that use this presentation at a meeting are requested to give a donation of $30 to FAAS. To encourage more digital presentations to be available, FAAS will pay $100 to $150 for your PowerPoint or other digital program. After receiving your program FAAS converts it to PDF, records the speaker (live, or over the phone) giving the talk, and then adds that audio to the PDF. FAAS announced that it just received a new shipment of FAAS Medallions. The new FAAS Medallions are gold medals imprinted with the blue and white FAAS logo. The medallions also include a blue and white ribbon. Historically, member societies use this medallion as part of recognition awards. (Greater City has used this medallion on our Aquarist of the Year award plaque.) FAAS will be sending one FAAS Medallion to each member society by the end of May. In an e-mail to FAAS member societies, FAAS President, Rick Borstein, announced that FAAS membership currently stands at 43 societies, and that he would like it to reach 100 in the next few months. He estimates that there are between 200 to 250 aquarium and pond societies across



the United States. As previously announced in this column, membership in FAAS is currently free. A ny qualified socie ty c a n lo g o n at and sign up immediately. By enlarging its membership base, FAAS hopes to build better leverage with aquarium manufacturers and government bodies, for the general betterment of the hobby and individual societies. Therefore, Rick has issued a call for help in recruiting new FAAS members. Among other things, Rick asks current FAAS member societies to post information about FAAS on their website or other message board, and to include a FAAS report in their club newsletter. Greater City has done both. For our members reading this, who are also members of neighboring societies, if those “other” societies are not currently FAAS members, please tell the President to go to and check out the free membership currently being offered. In addition to the already mentioned opportunity to download meeting presentations (a great thing to have “just in case” a scheduled speaker suddenly becomes unavailable), and the FAAS Medallion, FAAS will be having articles on society-related topics available for download from their website. If you are interested in a greater level of participation, you can nominate yourself to run for a position on the FAAS Board. You can find a complete list of the current FAAS Board Members at: If you are interested in running for office (all the board members listed plan to continue in their current roles for another year), or would just like to find out how to participate more, contact: Roger Halleen Elections Committee 309-699-7394

May 2007

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

News from the NEC

Article Awards for 2005 and 2006


t the recent NEC Convention weekend, the awards for both the 2005 and 2006 Article Contest were announced. Below are the results, and congratulations to all the winners! (Awards for articles by Greater City members appearing in Modern Aquarium are in bold type.)

Articles Competition Winners: 2005 BEST CONTINUOUS COLUMN: 1) The Undergravel Reporter, GCAS 2) Aquarian Minds Want to Know, GCAS (Authors: Claudia Dickinson, Jannette Ramirez) 3) The View From the Other Side of the Tank, Long Island (Author: Margaret Peterson) MOST HUMOROUS ARTICLE: 1) Twelve Days, Modern Aquarium (Dec. 2005), GCAS (Author: Bernard Harrigan) 2) A Fish Tank, Modern Aquarium (May 2005), GCAS (Author: Ed Vukich) 3) If It Can Go Wrong, It Will (Mar. 2005), New Hampshire (Author: Don Van Pelt) BEST BREEDER ARTICLE:

1) The DeFINitive Corydoras Breeding Article (Mar. 2005), GCAS (Author: Bernard Harrigan) 2) Betta Than Ever (May 2005), North Jersey (Author: Larry Jinks) 3) An Endangered Licorice (Dec. 2005), GCAS (Author: Alexander Priest) OPEN CLASS: 1) The Odyssey of the Spotted Goodeids (Jan 2005), GCAS (Author: Susan Priest) 2) Estimative Index of Dosing (3 issues), Long Island (Author: Tom Barr) 3) A Review of Labyrinth Fishes (2 parts), North Jersey (Author: Chuck Davis)

Articles Competition Winners: 2006 BEST CONTINUOUS COLUMN: 1) The Seahorse Chronicles, GCAS (Author: Bernard Harrigan) 2) Fishkeepers Anonymous, GCAS (Author: Susan Priest) 3) Tips, Tricks, Gadgets and Gizmos, Long Island (Author: Evelyn Eagan) MOST HUMOROUS ARTICLE: 1) Guppies Are Serious Business, New Hampshire, Oct. 2006 (Author: Chuck Smith) 2) Name That Fish, GCAS (Nov. 2006), Undergravel Reporter BEST BREEDER ARTICLE: 1) Saving Private Konia (Feb. 2006), North Jersey (Author: Kevin Carroll) 2) The Littlest Shelldwellers (March 2006), GCAS (Author: Bernard Harrigan) 3) Spawning Behavior Observations (July 2006), North Jersey (Author: Chuck Davis) OPEN CLASS:

1) Four Rules for Successful & Enjoyable Aquariums (Sept. 2006), GCAS (Author: Joseph Ferdenzi)

2) Corydoras Primer (August 2006), North Jersey (Author: Chuck Davis) 3) Ichthyology and the Hobbyist (Jan. 2006), Aqualand (Author: Christopher Boulanger) YOUTH ARTICLE: 1) My New Interest (June 2006), New Hampshire (Author: Toni Theriault)

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

May 2007


Fish Health Management

at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine by CLAUDIA DICKINSON with photographs by the author


r. Mark Mitchell’s article in the October 2006 issue of the American Cichlid Association’s Buntbarsche Bulletin on ‘Managing Disease in a Fish Collection’ emphasized the importance of proper diagnosis of an ill fish prior to treatment. Before heading down to the local aquarium shop to ‘cure’ the ailment by pulling down all of the bottles of medications, each one sounding better than the next, choosing to mix a little of this and a little of that, until a virtual cocktail of remedies is concocted, which is more likely to kill the fish than to cure it, not to mention the harmful effects incurred on the environment, a precise knowledge of just what illness you are treating is optimal for successful recovery. (Of course, in most cases you will in fact find that a water change, the greatest healer, is all that is required.) Inspired by Dr. Mitchell, I decided that now was the time to give ante-mortem and postmortem testing a try. Once the prescribed equipment had been collected, there I stood, scalpel in one hand, fish in the other. Okay — how was I to begin? No sooner had the October BB gone to press than I was on my way to find out first-hand at the North Carolina University College of Veterinary Medicine! The Fish Health Management Course, offered annually, is nothing short of fabulous, with intense 12-hour sessions, packed with lectures given by the top veterinarians in the US, accompanied by hands-on lab experience. A small team of us worked together, along with two undergraduate students, and the assistance of any one of a number of doctors. We observed an

The patient is anaesthetized and ready for operating. 14

operation, performed anesthesia on a live fish and, as it lay sedated on the operating table, did a gill biopsy, fin biopsy, and skin scrape. I even drew blood with success! After bringing the patient to recovery (fortunately, it came around admirably!), we analyzed numerous slides under the microscope, using specimens from these tests, as well as from the necropsies we had done on post-mortem cases, discovering many forms of infamous microscopic life, such as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and Spironucleus. Absolutely fascinating! The plethora of information was invaluable, abounding with fresh ideas and practices, each backed by sound reason, that brought a new perspective to aquarium husbandry. Stress, both physical and mental, is the major cause for many, if not most, illnesses in fishes. Just as in humans, stress will result in a breakdown in the immune system, allowing the opportunity for bacteria and pathogens to take hold and advance, followed by an overall deterioration of the organism. Numerous factors bring stress, such as netting, aggressive tankmates, overfeeding, poor water quality, inappropriate water temperature, lack of seclusion, insecurity, excessive outside activity, and lack of sleep, to name a few. Most stressors, once identified, can be removed, leading to healthier fish living longer lives. The natural antibodies contained in the mucous secretions of the skin of fishes ward off both parasites and bacterial infection. An experiment using a fluorescein wash highlighted

The operating table.

May 2007

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

the areas where mucous abrasion occurred, as well as the recovery rates in incidences ranging from a pin prick, that would not otherwise be seen by the naked eye, to a major infliction caused by netting. With even a minor blemish to the mucous membrane, such as the pin prick, the results were alarming. In each case, the immune system decreased, opening the door to infection. Acute stress from a net abrasion, or other object, takes a great deal longer for recovery of the antibodies. Significant environmental stress, such as poor water quality, compounds the matter, placing undue strain on the skin’s natural immune defense system, and can lead to bacterial infection. After observing the effects that a net has on the skin of a fish, after even the briefest and most gentle encounter, the occasion to net must be given a second thought. Each time we net our fish, not only are they set back by mental stress, but physical stress, not necessarily noticeable to us, will be placed on their bodies. Food for thought when bringing a new fish home, moving a fish into another tank, or taking a fish to a show! We have been taught that proper aquarium management includes slow acclimation of new fishes to their tank water. Well, it was hands down complete consensus across the board by this team of experts — slow acclimation is one of the worst things that we can do for our new fishes! “Move the fish out of the traveling water and into the fresh water as expeditiously as possible,” was the advice given. The stress placed on the fish sitting in ammonia-laden water, slowly being diluted by water of another pH, hardness, etc., will set the fish back by weeks, during which time existing pathogens can and will take hold. The main concern is a temperature change, which can be avoided by preadjustment in the quarantine tank. Far fewer incidences of post transport illness will occur when fishes are transferred immediately into fresh water. I must say that these knowledgeable authorities have me thinking twice. One evening was spent at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences after it was closed to the public for the night, where the staff graciously welcomed us with a delicious home cooked meal, followed by free reign of the building. Wandering through the impressive exhibits on our own, or accompanying knowledgeable staff members, the experience was purely magical. Noted for its perfectly recreated array of breathtaking biotopes, the museum

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

abounds with immaculately attended live animals, both aquatic and terrestrial. There we stood in the middle of an extraordinary butterfly exhibit, listening to the curator enthusiastically describe the details of his creation, and the importation of such beautiful creatures that most of us would otherwise never have an opportunity to observe. Colorful brilliance and subtle beauty filled the air, the trees, and the plants that surrounded us ~ all in the company of a lovely sloth! Down the hall, the nose and eyes of a snapping turtle, poking just above the water’s surface, brought a smile to my face. Oft I had wondered in nature just what the rest of the body was doing, and so I was compelled to bound around to the other side of the exhibit, and crouch on the floor to view the outstretched hind toes, just barely touching the substrate. A bit perturbed, the turtle decided that he had quite enough of my intrusion, and off he went! Roaming through the marbled rooms, my eyes were wide as I felt pure joy and wonderment amongst towering wooden shelves, neatly lined with jar after jar of aquatic specimens that had been preserved over a hundred years ago. Poring over the biographies and records of each collector, my mind was lost in dreams of what it was like to be the first person, traversing unknown territories, jotting notes in a journal on pages that would become softened and worn with sun, rain, and time...until they came to rest here, for all the world to see. Our group of sixty or so students was diverse in age and occupation, made up of undergraduate veterinary students, practicing veterinarians, managers and owners of large fish farms, and hobbyists. For those studying veterinary medicine, or with a veterinary degree, the course awards 20 hours of Continuing Veterinary Education credit. The team of instructors was unrivaled, led by the renowned Dr. Greg Lewbart, and included the celebrated Warwick Arden, George Blasiola, Dr. Jack Gratzek, Dr. Wade Lehmann, Dr. Jay Levine, Dr. Ed Noga, Dr. Michael Stoskopf, and Dr. Cliff Swanson, and was coordinated with the efficiency and enthusiasm of Samantha Hartford. I cannot recommend this course more highly for any serious aquarist, and plan to attend again this Fall. I would love to have you join me! For more information, p le ase visit: I am also happy to help you get your plans underway!

May 2007


Blood is drawn at the base of the spine, taking care to go in under the scale.

A successful recovery!

Preparing for ante-mortem testing.

The author observes necropsy specimens under the microscope.

The extraordinary ability of camouflage is demonstrated in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences butterfly exhibit.


May 2007

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



n the first part of this series, I talked about a situation I found myself in when one of my seahorses fell ill. The trials and tribulations that I went through helped me write this series, and hopefully will save you from some of the pitfalls and dead ends that I ran into. I tried to make the Directory of Symptoms easy to use, easy to understand, and to help you easily diagnose which disease your seahorse has. The second part explains each disease Category, its Causative Agent, why you should Quarantine, its particular Symptoms, the steps that should be taken in Treatment, and General Comments to give you a better understanding of what’s going on. This is the third and last part. I will cover the last two categories in the same manner as I did in Part 2, plus a wrap-up dealing with disease prevention. For my money, the best way to cure a disease is to stop it from happening in the first place.

Category III — Internal Parasites

Flatworm, Fluke, Roundworm, Tapeworm, Protozoan Disease, etc. Causative Agents: Cestodes, nematodes, protozoans, and digenetic trematodes. Quarantine: Yes — these diseases are contagious and treatment works best in a hospital tank. Symptoms: Internal parasites, by their very nature, are covert. With some, there might be weight loss, and others may cause swelling. Sometimes the fish swim wildly or abnormally, or they might just be listless. Three other possible symptoms are: bulging of the eyes, loss of appetite, and the only sure clue that your seahorse is swimming around with an internal parasite is seeing a worm exiting the anal cavity. Besides that, the only way to really tell if your fish has internal parasites, and which one they have, is to perform an autopsy. To perform an autopsy, cut a dead fish open and look inside. Check for worms, especially around and inside the digestive tract. You might have to do a smear and examine it under a microscope. You’ll of course need a microscope, but also a good reference book on marine fish diseases, one with plenty of clear pictures. This will not only help you in identifying the parasite, but also guide you to the infected organ. Slice open the organ and smear a light coating from its insides onto a glass slide. Check it under the microscope with the book by your side. Treatment: Freshwater dip is my first line of assault. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

It is very effective against some internal parasites. Fill a container (a small, clean pail) with freshwater matching the temperature and pH of the tank that the seahorse came from. I’ll add malachite green to the water, following the manufacturer’s directions. This gives the dip an added punch against parasites. Place the infected seahorse in the dip for 5 to 10 minutes. Monitor the seahorse closely, and remove it if it goes into distress. After the dip, place the seahorse in a hospital tank. The hospital tank should have freshly made seawater, with methlyene blue added. Methlyene blue not only helps stop secondary infection, but also combats the toxic effects of ammonia and nitrite buildup. Add a hitching post to the tank. Observe the seahorse closely for signs of improvement — if none are observed, go to the next step, antiparasitic drugs. Two of the best medications that I’ve found so far to treat internal parasites are Praziquantel and Niclosamide. There are several on the market under different trade names. Check the label for a list of active ingredients. Sometimes manufacturers will use one of these medications in combination with Metronidazole, another good parasitic medication. In order to work, the fish must ingest the medication with food. The way to do that is to either gut load live shrimp (e.g., adult brine shrimp), soaking frozen shrimp, or injecting frozen shrimp with the medication. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations for best results. Comments: Internal parasites are the hardest illnesses to diagnose. It isn’t until after a seahorse has died that you can really be sure it was infected with internal parasites, and that’s only if you perform an

May 2007


autopsy. Lack of a correct diagnosis leads to a delay in treatment, which in turn leads to a high mortality rate. The parasites often go undetected, grow fast, and multiply while the host fish starves to death. Luckily, internal parasites are rarely seen in tank-bred seahorses.

Category IV — Putrescent Diseases:

Snot Rot, Flesh Eating Disease, Tail Rot, White Tail Disease. Causative Agents: Either a bacteria (probably a Cosita species), or a fungus (most likely of the Saprolengic family). Quarantine: Yes — this infection is contagious and treatment works best in a hospital tank. Symptoms: They vary, depending on whether the disease is caused by a bacterial infection or a fungus. With a bacterial infection, the seahorse’s skin will peel and start to turn white. With a fungus infection, tiny cauliflower-like growths develop, and the infected skin area will get a pinkish tint. There also might be some degree of swelling in the infected area for both types of infections. Other symptoms vary, depending on where the infection is located. They include lockjaw, cl oudy eyes, ra pid breathing, and varying degrees of loss of the tail’s prehensile ability. It starts at the tip, and as the disease progresses the tail will arch backwards, taking a “U” shape instead of its normal “J” shape. In advanced stages, lesions become bloody. Eventually, this hideous disease could devour the seahorse down to the bone. Treatment: The first step is identifying the pathogen. If going by the color of the infected area isn’t 18

enough (white for bacterial, pink for fungus), then you need to do a smear from the infected area, put it on a slide, and examine it under a microscope. Be sure to have a good reference book on marine fish diseases with plenty of clear pictures. If you’re dealing with a fungus, use a good antifungal medication. As of this writing, the best I’ve found are ones that contain Nifurpirinol or Phenoxyethanol. You can use it to treat the water in the hospital tank, or with some you can soak frozen shrimp with it and feed it to the infected fish. This way, you are treating the fish and not the tank. Follow the manufacturer’s directions fully either way you use it. If you’re dealing with a bacterial infection, a full spectrum antibiotic is needed. That’s one that works on both gram-negative and gram-positive diseases. You are to look for a medication that has a combination of any of these ingr ed ient s: Nitrofurazane, Furazoidone, Triple Sulfa, and Neomycin. Follow the manufacturer’s directions fully. A better (but trickier) treatment is using a topical solution. Care must be taken not to get any of the solution into the fish’s eyes, gills, or dripped back into the tank water. If at all possible, it should be trickled on, and not rubbed in. Rubbing the solution in could open up the sores further. If you have to varnish the solution on, do so with a soft hair artist’s brush that has been cleaned in alcohol. Some topical solutions are Neomycin, Betadine®, Melaleuca, and formalin. There are even some commercial topical solutions made just for fish. Bio-Bandage, Wound Control, and Melafix are just three of them. Use the topical solution daily, and keep the seahorse in a hospital tank that’s been treated with a full spectrum antibiotic. Continue this treatment for 2-3 weeks, depending on the extent of the disease. Follow the manufacturer’s directions

May 2007

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

fully for both medications, especially the antibiotic. You want to maintain it at the recommended strength, even after doing a water change (change 50% of the water every third day). Comments: A seahorse’s health is easily restored if this disease is caught early and given proper treatment. But even with proper treatment, the affected fish will probably be left with scars. Some

of them can be quite grotesque. Without treatment, this disease can be fatal. There has been research into a vaccine to prevent some forms of Putrescent Disease, but as of this writing, one hasn’t been developed yet. Until then, early intervention is your best hope. If you continue to have outbreaks in the same tank, then the whole aquarium needs to be sterilized in order to eradicate the disease.

The best and easiest way to treat disease, both for you as well as your fish, is through prevention. Quarantine new additions to your aquarium. I’m not just talking about fish. I’m talking invertebrates, and live rock, too. Any of them can bring unwanted hitchhikers into your aquarium. It’s easier to be rid of them before they get into the aquarium than it is afterwards. A 2-4 week layover in a quarantine tank will, without having to use any chemicals, rid your new acquisition of parasites that could attack your fish. Observe your quarantine tank with the light on, and when the lights go out. If you’ve just gotten some new live rock, you might see creatures that you never knew it had. Crabs, seastars, and bristleworms can all be aggressive towards your seahorses. Keep your water parameters stable. Check salinity, nitrate, phosphate, calcium, pH, and total alkalinity levels. Make sure your tank’s temperature doesn’t get too hot. Lots of seahorse species come from non-tropical areas. A quick spike in temperature is the most likely precursor to the Putrescent Diseases, as well as others. Do you vary their diet? Adult brine shrimp is not a good mainstay for most seahorses to survive on. Are your seahorses getting enough HUFAs (Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids), calcium, or food in general? Because of a seahorse’s rudimentary digestive system, they need to eat several times a day. All these things and more cause stress for your fish. Stress weakens your seahorse, allowing disease to take hold. Whatever causes stress, eliminate it, and you will have eliminated 99% of the chances of your seahorse coming down with a disease. Remember, you are their caregiver, their caretaker, and their guardian. Their life and happiness is in your hands.

2007 AKA Convention

May 25th through May 27th, 2007

Ramada Milwaukee Airport Hotel & Convention Center Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The AKA convention is the national killifish event of the year, held on Memorial Day weekend. It is held in different cities each year, depending on which affiliate club successfully bids to host it. This event is attended by killifish enthusiasts from all over the US, Canada, and from other countries. It starts on Friday evening, with talks on Friday and Saturday. There is a show in which many species of killifish, ranging from the common to the very rare, are there for display and for judging. On Sunday, the big auction takes place, with hundreds of pairs of killifish, including all those in the show, for sale. If you want to see and acquire killies, this is the place to do it! But most of all, this is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with fellow killie enthusiasts. Register online at:

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

May 2007


NJAS Website: 20

May 2007

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

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

May 2007


American Cichlid Association Convention hosted by the Sacramento Aquarium Society (SAS)

Thursday, July 19 - Sunday, July 22, 2007 Registration is now available online. By ACA policy, all registrants for the convention must be a current member of either the American Cichlid Association (ACA) or the Sacramento Aquarium Society (SAS) at the time of the convention. Go to: The 2007 Convention will be at the: Hilton, Sacramento Arden West 2200 Harvard Street Sacramento, CA


May 2007

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

A series by “The Undergravel Reporter” In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society.


mong many other things, last month’s Undergravel Reporter column discussed the plight of Celestichthys margaritatus (the Celestial Pearl Danio); and wouldn’t you know it, the next issue of Aquarium Fish International that came out after that column was printed featured an article on the Celestial Pearl Danio! This has prompted me to look at some other newsworthy items that aquarists, and others interested in the animal kingdom generally, might not have seen. Remember the recent warnings about food in certain fast food restaurants? Remember how many of them were in New Jersey? Did you know that the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services issued a warning in January to residents of the city of Ringwood, NJ, stating that they should limit their intake of squirrel to no more than twice a week (children once a month). (A toxic waste dump is nearby.) [New York Daily News-AP, 1-25-07] Just so you don’t think I’m only picking on our neighboring state, I want to mention that New York State food inspectors are reportedly having trouble keeping up with the illegal importation and sale of uninspected exotic meat for New York City’s immigrant population, including bush meat and meat from endangered species. According to an Associated Press report, inspectors found, among other items openly displayed in New York City storefronts, armadillo and iguana meat, cow lungs, smoked rodent, and an “unidentified fish paste,” along with crates of turtles and a tub of bullfrogs, and occasionally endangered gorilla and chimpanzee meat. [WCBS-TV (New York)-AP, 12-1-06] Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

Our scheduled speaker this month is to speak on the topic of goldfish. Maybe he has auctioned a few, or sold a few, but I wonder if he ever put them to work 24/7 as fundraisers? Well, a resident of North Adams, Massachusetts with a webcam, a cleverly-designed aquarium, and a pair of goldfish has found a unique way to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Michael Richardson created the “WozCam,” a webcam available 24 hours a day via the Internet website. The WozCam features an aquarium made from an old Macintosh G4 Cube computer shell. The inhabitants of this aquarium are two goldfish named “Mac” and “Tosh” (get it: Mac and Tosh = Macintosh? O.K., a little obvious). Links on the webcam site allow visitors to donate to the American Cancer Society’s Northern Berkshire Relay For Life by sponsoring Richardson. Relay For Life events are designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money to help the American Cancer Society save lives, help those who have been touched by cancer, and empower individuals to fight back against this disease. This is one charitable fund raiser that, while decidedly “fishy,” is nonetheless on the level, and very worthwhile. The U.S. Navy announced in February that it is planning to use 30 trained dolphins and sea lions for port security in Puget Sound near Seattle. Dolphins’ sonar ability makes them excellent at detecting swimmers, and they are being trained to signal via a beacon when encountering one. According to an Associated Press dispatch, sea lions can carry special cuffs in their mouths, and are being trained to clamp the cuff around a swimmer’s leg. But, will the dolphin read the swimmer his or her rights before applying the cuffs? [Seattle Times, 2-13-07] And, finally, while we’re on the subject of dolphins, and the “long arm” of the law, Inner Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun, at 7-foot-9 is reputed to be the world’s tallest man. Last December, he was recruited by a commercial aquarium in Liaoning province, China, to reach into the stomachs of two dolphins in order to extract some plastic that they had swallowed, and which was making them sick. Surgical instruments had irritated the dolphins’ stomach, but Bao’s 41-inch arm did the trick. [USA Today-AP, 12-14-06]

May 2007


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(718) 849-6678

115-23 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418

! Marine Biologist On Staff ! Custom Tank Builders for the NY Aquarium ! Manufacturers of Aquarium & Filter Systems ! Custom Cabinetry & Lighting ! Largest Selection of Marine & Freshwater Livestock in NY ! New York’s Largest Custom Aquarium Showroom ! See Working Systems on Display 2015 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11234 (718)258-0653

Open Saturdays and Sundays Amex, Discover, MasterCard, Visa 2 miles off exit 11N of the Belt Parkway


May 2007

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Please welcome new member: Dan Lin-Rivera Thank you, renewing members: Michael Boscia, Steve Chen, Kin Tung Ha, Andrew Jacovina, Jerry O’Farrell, Martin Resnick Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next meeting: “Member’s Night!” A series of mini-programs by GCAS members.

Next Meeting: May 11, 2007

Date and meeting location to be announced via postcard (to paid-up members!) and our website.

7:30pm at Floyd Bennett Field Brooklyn, NY (See page 21 for more details.)

Contact: Joseph Ferdenzi (516) 484-0944 E-mail: Website:

Call: BAS Events Hotline: (718) 837-4455

Brooklyn Aquarium Society

17th Annual Spring Auction

East Coast Guppy Association

Big Apple Guppy Club

Meets: 1st Thursday of each month at Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. at 8:00 pm Contact: Gene Baudier (631) 345-6399

Meets: Last Tuesday each month (except Jan. & Feb.) at Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. at 7:30-10:00pm. Contact: Donald Curtin (718) 631-0538

Long Island Aquarium Society

Nassau County Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: May 18, 2007 Speaker: Patrick Donston Topic: “Keeping Marine Fish Disease Free”

Next meeting: May 8, 2007 Speaker: Mark Denaro Topic: “Wild Bettas and Anabantiods”

Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) at Holtsville Park and Zoo at 8:00pm. 249 Buckley Road - Holtsville, NY

Meets: 2nd Tuesday of each month at the American Legion Post 1066 - 66 Veterans Blvd. - Massapequa, NY at 8:00pm.

Website: Email: Arie Gilbert -

Contact: Mike Foran (516) 798-6766 Website:

North Jersey Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: May 10, 2007 Speaker: Ted Coletti Topic: “Vegetative Filtration”

Next Meeting: May 17, 2007 Speaker: Ed Champigny Topic: “Koi / Ponds”

Meadowlands Environmental Center - One Dekorte Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT

Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Website: or e-mail:

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

Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 E-mail: Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS Website:

May 2007


Fin Fun Can you believe it?! We have not one, but two living, breathing mermaids among us. (I suspect that there is at least one more.) Clearly, mermaids have more fun than the rest of us; they even have their own parade! What: the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. When: the first Saturday after the summer solstice (this year it will be on June 23). Where: Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. Your challenge is to follow the long and winding road to the parade, where Sharon and all her mermaid friends will be waiting for you. Mermen are also welcome! (Visit the website at - this year is their silver anniversary!)

Solution to last month’s puzzle: Species


Lamprichthys tanganicanus

Lake Tanganyika

Hyphessobrycon peruvianus


Bedotia madagascariensis


Jordanella floridae

Florida, U.S.A

Macropodus chinensis


Noelachromis ferandriadenzii

Italy (April Fool’s entry - “Joe Ferdenzi”)

Chapalichthys pardalis

Lake Chapal, Mexico

Cichlasoma boliviense


Betta balunga

The Balung River, Borneo


May 2007

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

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