Modern Aquarium August 2007

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Series III ON THE COVER The fish on our cover is an Altolamprologus species, not unlike the Altolamprologus calvus described in the article “Success at Last” by Warren Feuer in this issue. 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. 6 August, 2007

FEATURES Editor’s Babblenest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Success at Last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 InterfishNet (Internet column) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Three Cs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 A Convict in Your Tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Interview With a Gold(fish) Digger . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 This Month’s Scheduled Speaker: Harry Faustmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Looking Through The Lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Fishkeepers Anonymous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Unknown Aquarist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Amusing Aquarium (cartoon) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Aquarium Water: A Hallucinogenic? . . . . . . . . . . . 19 G.C.A.S. Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

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 f you think this issue of Modern Aquarium is somewhat smaller than usual, you would be correct. Computers have become so much a part of our lives that we usually take them for granted — that is, until they misfunction. Naturally, they DO misfunction, and invariably do so at the worst possible time (read that as just before a major deadline). The fact that you are reading this issue now means that I was able to somehow either solve the problem(s) I had last month, or I was able find a “work-around” (even if only as a temporary solution). So, if you find more “typos” than usual in this issue (even though the issue is smaller than usual), I accept the blame. Most of our sharp-eyed proofreaders did not see proofing from this issue. There just wasn’t time for me to get it to them. This made me think of other things we take for granted, until there is a malfunction. Most of my tanks are filtered by box and/or sponge filters. These filters rely on pressurized air from an external pump. Today I went in to look at some fish, and one of the pumps was sounding like an unbalanced load of laundry on spin cycle (if you don’t know what that means, ask your significant other, who probably does). This means I have to take the pump off-line immediately and put in a replacement (I keep several in reserve). Then, I have to disassemble the pump and replace parts (usually only the rubber diaphragm)— simple, but very time-consuming. W e almost never think about how well something is working, until it’s not.



Is Modern Aquarium one of those things you just take for granted? Unless you are a member of several other aquarium societies (and local organizations), you may not appreciate this magazine, until the time when it is no longer available. Think about it. For the several people who responded to my request for photos recently, I want to say, “Thank you.” The problems with most of the photos I received were: focus, lighting, or poses. W hile the tail end of a fish may be of some interest (and, in some cases, can be what distinguishes certain similar species from each other), if you look at any of the commercial aquarium hobby magazines or almost any aquarium atlas, you will invariably see a side profile of a fish, with both head and tail in focus. That is also the look we generally strive for in our magazine. Since I do most of the photographs for our magazine, I also know just how difficult it is to get “that look.” A clear and well-focused shot of a pair of fish embracing under a bubblenest, or a clear and well-focused shot of the front of a fish whose body is mostly in a cave, and whose buccal pouch is distended as a result of holding fry, while not side profile shots, are also acceptable. But, note that in both of these instances I added the words: “clear and well-focused.” Also, if the photo is too dark, we can’t use it. If the glass in front of a fish you are try to photograph is spotted (a few spots we can live with), has noticeable scratches, and/or is heavily covered with algae, then be assured that it is probably not a “cover quality” photo. Also, many photos look perfectly good when viewed in the screen of a digital camera, or printed in a 3" x 5" (or smaller) size, but when cropped (to remove most everything other than the fish we want to display, and printed at the size of our covers (approximately 6" x 4"), then “hidden” defects become all too noticeable. But, please don’t let this discourage you, keep taking those photos. Maybe Greater City can even have photo contests (similar to our Bowl Show), with ribbons for the winner. I don’t know of any aquarium society that does something like this on a regular basis (although some societies that hold shows have a photography class).

August 2007

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

WEEKEND CONVENTION NOVEMBER 9 - 10 - 11 BEST WESTERN HOTEL 1830 ROUTE 25 RIVERHEAD, NY 11901-3113 PHONE: 631-369-2200 The Brooklyn Aquarium Society, Greater City Aquarium Society, Long Island Aquarium Society, and Nassau County Aquarium Society, have planned a 3-day Convention and Seminar that will feature guest speakers, a Saturday evening banquet, and a giant auction on Sunday. Hotel special event room rates are $129 per night.

Featured Freshwater & Marine Guest Speakers: Jack W attley (discus) Joe Yaiullo (marine) Todd Gardner (marine) Tullio DelAquillo (marine) Rosario LaCorte (freshwater)

M o Devlin (cichlids) Chuck Davis (freshwater) Anton Lamboj (cichlids) Brian W aldbaum (plants) plus others to be finalized

Featured Vendors: Ray “Kingfish”Lucas, and Ed Champigny; others to be confirmed.

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

August 2007


Success At Last!! Breeding Altolamprologus calvus by W ARREN FEUER t only seems like I have been trying to breed Altolamprologus calvus forever. The truth is, it has been about 9 years! In March of 1998 I set up a 20 gallon Long tank to raise seven young calvus that I purchased from Cameo Pet Shop, while still living in Queens, New York. My experiences are described in the article “How to Prepare for New Fish, Setting Up For Altolamprologus Calvus,” which appeared in Modern Aquarium in the November, 1998 issue. If you don’t have that issue, and are interested in reading it, you might see if our Editor, Al Priest can re-print it for you. If you are real, real nice to him, Al might accommodate you! (Here’s a hint: write an article of your own for Modern Aquarium, and you will find yourself on Al’s good side!) To catch you up on that attempt, I am sorry to report that one by one, the fish disappeared from the tank, carcasses un-found, until, by the time I moved to my current residence in Long Island, there were only four in the tank. Sadly, I lost one of the two males shortly after the move and found myself with a trio that was totally uninterested in anything but eating. They did not interact with each other at all. I tried several different spawning strategies; having read that in nature the female will lay her eggs in a spot that is too small for the male to reach. The male will then fertilize the eggs by releasing his sperm (or milt) which is fanned towards the eggs. The female guards the developing eggs and resultant fry while the male guards the vicinity. Some of my research cautioned to remove the male from the aquarium as he might eat his own fry (A. calvus is predatory by nature, with small shrimp and baby fish their preferred food sources). At any rate, I never had to deal with that issue as no spawning occurred. Eventually, I removed one female in the hope that the remaining pair might spawn. After 7 years, I threw in the towel and gave the fish away. I then proceeded to use the established tank to keep several different shell dwellers, breeding each one successfully in the tank. Well, at least I knew the tank was not the problem. Sometime in early 2006, I was presented with the opportunity to purchase a trio of wild caught A. calvus “Inkfin” (a color variant with white spots dotting its basically black body). They were said to be full grown, and I was advised that it would be easier to breed these fish than to start again with younger, smaller fish (calvus are notoriously slow growers, as are all the members of the Altolamprologus genus.) Having experienced 7 years of waiting for young fish to pair off, I decided to buy the trio. As soon as I saw the fish, I knew



that I had made the right decision. The fish were magnificent specimens and arrived in great condition, each one bagged separately. I slowly acclimated them to the tank that would be their home, the previously discussed 20 Long, and watched over the next few days as they explored their new residence. The tank was decorated with a cave formed by three rocks angled together, and also contained one large conch shell when the fish were put in the tank. I had experienced great success in utilizing that type of shell to breed both Lepidiolamprologus meeli and Altolamprologus compressiceps sp. “Sumbu Dwarf.” In both cases, the female went into the interior of the shell, while the male, too large to fit all the way in, stayed near the opening of the shell. I figured to go with what worked in the past. Indeed, it seemed like my strategy would work right off the bat, as one of the females took up residence in the shell almost right away. However, it was a false alarm, and she soon left the shell. Because they were wild caught fish, I figured that they would likely not eat any flake, pellet or other prepared foods, and I was right. Any of those food types introduced into the tank were totally ignored. However, I was well prepared for this. I tried feeding flake and pellet for a day or two, but did not want to cut off my nose to spite my face and force wild caught fish to acclimate to life in a home aquarium and eat strange food at once. I began feeding frozen and freeze dried foods. The trio took to them right away, greedily eating anything of that type that hit the water. In a very short time, they had acclimated themselves to the point where they would come to the top of the tank when I approached, and take food practically out of my fingers. About six months passed, and the trio had become one of my favorite residents. The male, the largest of the three, is a beautiful fish. His black body is dotted with white spangles, especially along the rear three quarters. And, while they appeared to co-exist well (no fighting or wounds were observed), they pretty much stayed to themselves, spread out in the tank. One day I came home from work to find one of the females dead. With cichlids, this is often an indication that the other two had paired off. I began to watch a little more closely for signs of spawning, and hoped to see the female start spending time in the shell. This did not happen, so I decided to add another spawning cave, one that was long and thin and would allow the female to enter and lay eggs, but keep the male out. That seemed to do the trick. Shortly after adding the new

August 2007

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

cave, the pair began digging around the new the breeding cave almost all the time. I suspected breeding structure. They also stayed very close to that the pair was either getting ready to, or had each other and I noticed that they often brushed already, spawned. In fact, the pair had spawned against each other, and mouthed each other’s flanks. again. Lining the walls of both sides of the breeding This is where patience as a fish keeper comes into cave once again were eggs. This time, I wanted to play. Although I was excited about the prospect of raise the fry by themselves. After waiting several these fish breeding, I knew that it could take several days to make sure the eggs were viable, I removed weeks before they spawned, and that the first the breeding cave, which contained the female attempt at spawning might not be a success. calvus and the developing fry, to a well cycled 5 ½ One Saturday morning several weeks later, gallon tank that I filled half way with water from the as I was performing my weekly water changes and 20 Long. Once again, I was able to observe the tank maintenance, I noticed that the female calvus various development stages from egg to fry. When was situated inside of the breeding cave. I shone a the fry swam out of the cave, I removed both the flashlight into the cave, and, lo and behold, there cave and the female and placed them both back in were about 20 or 30 eggs and one very nervous the 20 Long. When I first removed the female and female. The male stayed in the background, but the cave, I was a little concerned that the male might hovered nearby. The fish had spawned!!! What attack the babies remaining in the tank with him, but followed over the next several days was an he left them alone. Once I returned the female to opportunity to observe the the tank, I was likewise eggs as they went through concerned that she might attack each step on the way to her original spawn. Once becoming fry. I was able to a ga in m y fears prove d observe close up as the eggs unfounded, as she totally turned from white to amber ignored them, and went about and eventually became baby her business as if she had never fish. I watched as eyes been out of the tank. appeared inside the eggs. As It is now May, 2007 the eggs began to change in as I write this. In the months preparation for hatching, they since the calvus first began went from round objects to breeding, they have spawned 3 wriggling shapeless blobs that more times. Each time the became golden fry that clung cycle of life is the same, and on to the sides and top of the once the fry leave the cave, spawning “cave.” All the they are on their own. while, the female nervously Interestingly enough, the older attempted to shield them from fry do not seem to bother their my flashlight with her body. An Altolam prologus calvus in front of the smaller siblings at all. Like the Because she had laid eggs on "long and thin" spawning cave described A. compressiceps that share both sides of the cave and the in this article. their genus, Altolamprologus eggs were fertile, I was able to Photo by Alison Feuer calvus fry grow very slowly. It o bserve so m e o f th em will be interesting to observe unobstructed as they developed. Somewhere along the behavior and habits of the oldest fry as new the line, I removed the conch shell. There was no spawns join the tank. I have a feeling that as the fry longer any reason to keep it in the tank. reach juvenile and young adult stage they will Once they were out of the breeding cave, become predatory of their smaller siblings. Based the fry could not have been easier to care for. I was upon the behavior of other Lake Tanganyika concerned at first that the male might kill the fry, cichlids, I believe that once a certain concentration but, with each passing day, that concern dissipated. of young fish fill the tank, the adults will stop For the most part, once the fry come out of the cave, spawning. the parents ignored them. I feed all my African If you have not kept many Lake cichlid fry the same things; Cyclopeeze, powdered Tanganyika cichlids, you might really enjoy trying fry food, liquid fry food, and frozen baby brine Altolamprologus calvus. In addition to the “Inkfin” shrimp for the first month or so of their lives. Then color variant that I am keeping, there is also a very I start to feed them on fry-specific pellets (such as attractive white calvus as well as the standard black Fry Bites, an HBH product) and finely crushed flake calvus. If I am not mistaken, I think I have also food. An occasional treat of frozen baby brine seen yellow calvus, which (like the popular shrimp or daphnia (once the fry are big enough) is Neolamprologus brichardi “Daffodil”), features also included in the mix. yellow highlights along its fins. Choose any one of When the fry were about one month old, I these, you won’t go wrong! noticed that the female calvus was once again inside

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

August 2007


Cruising Killifish Sites ur speaker this month is scheduled to present a program on the topic of killifish. According to one website 1, killifish inhabit “almost every biotope in freshwater. More than 500 species are represented in this group. Several species also inhabit brackish water, and a few actually live in pure salt water. Killifish are well-known for their adaptability, and many species inhabit bodies of water that dry up during the dry season. Some species spend part of the year living under a layer of ice, while the Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon species) has, on occasion, been found in water with a temperature of 116.6°F (47°C).” So, this installment of our Internet column will focus on websites of particular interest to keepers of “killies.” (Note, another website 2 states that there are in excess of 700 species of killifish.)


W hen researching a fish on the Internet, I like to visit any national and/or international organizations set up by hobbyists specializing in the genera of the fish I am interested in. So, the first website I will mention is the official website of the American Killifish Association at: Quite possibly the most useful piece of information on this website is a list of (and links to the websites of) AKA affiliated killie clubs. There is also a “Ready Reference Guide to Names” and, since killifish are notorious for requiring live foods, there is an on-line “Live Foods Manual.” Of course, the American Killifish Association is not the only major killifish group, and both the Canadian Killifish Association and the British Killifish Association have websites: Ignore the Canadian group’s website ( Most links on this website either do nothing, or provide no useful information. I visited the website at the end of July 2007, and it had apparently not been updated since 2006. (I base on the references to dates of events mentioned that corresponded to the 2006, not the 2007 calendar.) On the other hand, if you want to find a website with a wealth of helpful information, most certainly check out (the 6

website of the British Killifish Association). The BKA’s website has an extensive “gallery” of photos, an extensive “Species Database,” and a collection of articles. And all this is in the “public” area, available to anyone visiting the website. (There is also a members-only area.) Killi.NET ( is a very useful Internet resource for anyone interested in killifish. It describes itself as: “an internet resource for the person interested in killifish, small neo-tropical and tropical fish found in most parts of the world. Here you will find information about killies, where to get them, pictures of nearly all of them; access to online fora {ed note, “fora” is the Latin plural of “forum”}such as mailing lists and web based bulletin boards. Killi.NET also provides network infrastructure and hosting (DNS, web pages, mail, mail-lists and more) for individuals and organizations in the killifish community.” This website is copyrighted by Richard J. Sexton. At, a website by a Julian Haffegee, there are currently “337 pictures of 157 different species.” This website has “General Information” on: “Food and Feeding,” and “Breeding and Maintenance.” It has “Species Information” on: “African annuals, African non-annuals, South American annuals, South American non-annuals, and a list of all species.” It provides information on the “Main Genera” of “ A u s tro le b ia s, A p h y o s e m io n , E p i p l a t y s , Fundulopanchax, Nothobranchius, Rivulus, and Simpsonichthys.” It includes links to other websites, a “fish and egg list,” killifish merchandise available (and aquarium stuff for sale) in both the United States and the UK (this is a UK website), and “Killifish Books.” This is clearly one of the best personal websites (that is, one not a commercial website or one maintained by an organization) on killifish that I have found.

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August 2007

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

The Three “Cs” by SUSAN PRIEST here has been precious little attention paid to the fact that this year the GCAS is observing 85 years of support to the fishkeeping hobby. Very few organizations can lay claim to such longevity. This milestone, and what it represents, often cross my mind. Not only do I reflect on what it means to me, but thanks to Modern Aquarium, I can take a peek into the thoughts of many of my fellow aquarists during this particular window in time, even if they aren’t specifically addressing the topic of our anniversary. As aquarists, what is important to each of us is important to all of us. More precisely than an overview of the past 85 years, I am better prepared to focus my attention on my own fishkeeping career consisting of a mere 15 years. I became a fishkeeper in September of 1991. W hether I am indulging myself in what is mostly speculation of the longer view, or trying to pinpoint as many changes and advances in the hobby as I can which I have observed in my short tenure as an aquarist, certain things keep causing ripples on the surface of my mind. There are three in particular which I believe deserve to be discussed. Each of them falls under a broader umbrella, a “C” word, with which I will draw them all together later on. The first “C” word is water. How much of the earth’s water do you think is ‘fresh?’ I won’t ask you to guess, or count on your fingers, to come up with a number. I will tell you that the percentage of water on the face of the earth which is freshwater is an astoundingly small 2 1/2%. All of the animals and insects of every variety, plants, freshwater fish, and of course, Homo sapiens, depend on what can only be described as a ‘drop in the bucket’ when compared to the volume of the salt-laden oceans and seas. How carefully are we attending to our stewardship of this most precious commodity? She will find it impossible to believe me when I say this, but it is a rare day that I don’t think of Beverly Morfitt, and of her plants. Beverly lives in Bermuda. I am going to quote her here from the article she wrote for the May 2003* issue of Modern Aquarium entitled “I Love My Man’s Hobby: It’s Great For My Plants!,” as I believe she explains it better than I can. “One of the things about living in Bermuda is that we depend on the rain for the bulk of our fresh water. Each home has its own water tank built underneath it, and rain is funneled in via our specially designed Bermuda


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

roofs. Bermudians have always been keen about not ‘wasting’ water unnecessarily.” W hen her husband, Craig, does water changes on his aquariums, she fastidiously collects every precious drop of ‘used water.’ This is what she waters her houseplants with. Every time I prevent the waste of even as little as a drinking glass full of water, I think of her. The point I’m trying to make here (with help from Beverly) is that we take our supply of freshwater for granted, and we behave as if there is a never-ending supply of it. W ell, there is not! The rate of pollution is outpacing the ever-growing demand for fresh water. The second “C” word is knowledge. Almost as valuable as water is the compilation of facts, observations, and experiences which add up to our knowledge of how to care for our fishes. This ‘body’ of knowledge is as forever changing and growing as a child, and like a child, it needs our continual attention and care. Every time one among us picks up a pen, or sits down in front of a keyboard, the results assist all of us in providing the best possible attention and care to our fishes. Unlike our supply of freshwater, our supply of knowledge is never-ending. All we have to do is use it! “Your contribution to our hobby through the information you provide in your society publication is invaluable.” This is a quote from the cover letter written by Rick Borstein, the President of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies, which he enclosed with our 2006 publication award certificates. (The complete results of the competition are printed in our July 2007 issue.) He is a person of considerable influence in the hobbyat-large, and if he considers the work of our authors to be invaluable, who are we to differ? The third “C” words are the fishes themselves. How well are they making out? There are two sides to this coin; how are they making out in our tanks, and how are they making out in their natural environments? W hich situation suits them best? Unfortunately, this is a tough call to make. I guess it depends on a lot of factors, which I won’t even begin to try to list here. W hat I would like to say is that if you intend to pick out a new species of fish to keep, then it only makes good sense to pick one from off of the C.A.R.E.S. list. There are lots of livebearers to choose from, and you already know how to keep those. There are also many surprises to be found. For example, Redtailed Black Sharks and Cherry Barbs, as well as several

August 2007


of the Betta sp., are only a few examples of fishes which are in need of responsible keepers such as yourself. Have you guessed yet that the “C” word is, of course, Conservation. The three “Cs,” conservation of water, conservation of knowledge, and conservation of fishes, are the bedrock issues of the tropical fish hobby in the first decade of the 21st century; at least, in my opinion, they should be. This was not the case 15 years ago. W hen I entered the world of fishkeeping, the word conservation was not part of an aquarist’s vocabulary. Endangered? That referred to pandas, and anything that lived in a rainforest. Extinct? W hat else might come to mind other than dinosaurs and dodo birds? Certainly there is nothing in our environment which is threatened with extinction, is there? W hen is the last time you visited the Bronx Zoo (the flagship zoo of the W ildlife Conservation Society)? Virtually every exhibit describes the conservation status of its inhabitants. If there weren’t any doubt as to an animal’s stability in the wild, there would be no need to make these designations. The elephants, the bison, and the African wild dogs, to name but a few, are all endangered. The Bronx Zoo opened in 1899. That was more than 85 years ago. In the year 2007 its focus is radically different than it was then, as it attempts to keep pace with the challenges being faced by the entire animal kingdom. The conservation efforts of Dr. Paul Loiselle are represented as part of an exhibit which describes the niche in nature occupied by some of the African cichlids. Equally so, the focus of the Greater City Aquarium Society of today is radically altered from its inception in 1922. W e can only imagine what a meeting was like back then. W hen I try to picture one in my mind, it seems to me that it might not have been so very different from what we are doing now. I know that they didn’t have Power Point presentations, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they had a Breeders Award Program. Of course, their challenges and opportunities were greatly different. They didn’t have the equipment, supplies, or commercially prepared fish foods that we are used to. They didn’t even have any plastic bags! How many different fishes were available to them? Did they know the scientific names of their fishes, or what their natural environments were like? W as there chlorine in the tap water? The list of questions is endless!


W ere the founding members of the GCAS concerned with the quality and quantity of the water available to them? W ere they writing down their experiences and observations, what worked for them and what didn’t, and sharing these with their peers? If they were, then they were very modern aquarists indeed, as are our authors of today who have written for this very issue of Modern Aquarium. As for their fishes, if the aquarists of 1991 weren’t thinking in terms of conservation, then the aquarists of that era must have thought of fishkeeping as a hobby. (So that’s where the name came from!) W hen I was starting out in 1991, most of the aquarium ornaments available for purchase were hollow, and were made of glazed ceramic. Our assortment of ceramic logs and bricks, as well as our castle, all of which were purchased between 12 and 15 years ago, have held up just fine, and are still being much enjoyed by fish and people alike. Nowadays, the only things I see in the stores are lumps of garishly painted resin. Resin! That sounds like something you would scrape off the bottom of your shoe, but after you did, would you throw it into your aquarium? Of course, some things will never change. Case in point: gravel! And I can easily imagine that flower pots were probably one of the first aquarium‘ornaments’ used by our founding members in 1922. So, what does all of this add up to? If we practice conservation of water, and we share our knowledge with other aquarists, and we put the most endangered fishes at the top of our shopping list, we can go a long way toward the conservation of our fishes’ environment, as well as our own. W ho knows; by setting a good example in our home arena, we may contribute to improving the outcome for those bison! I have tried to keep myself from letting this article turn into my own version of hints and tips. I trust that each of you will come up with ideas which will work best for you to help you accomplish whichever of these goals you consider to be worthy of your attention. Perhaps you will even think of a few ‘C’ words of your own. W e cannot be sure exactly what the first members of the GCAS did at their meetings in 1922, but if they were anything like us, they came together to exchange ideas, fish, and friendships. I can’t imagine a more worthwhile legacy than that!

* The May , 2003 issue of Modern Aquarium was our “Leading Ladies” issue, and was made up entirely of contributions from women.

August 2007

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

A Convict in Your Tank by BERNARD HARRIGAN h e C o n v ic t c ic h lid , A rc h o c en tru s nigrofasciatus, has been part of the hobby for over a century. It is native to Costa Rica, El Salvadore, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. It is rarely, if ever, imported due to the availability of commercially bred stock. The convict is a very undemanding fish in terms of both water chemistry and feeding. I haven’t found a commercially prepared food that it didn’t like, or a live food that it didn’t relish. W ater hardness and pH are no problem as long as you don’t go to extremes. Don’t let your water quality go. Just because a fish can tolerate less than pristine conditions doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. The only demand that they make is territorial. They can be a bit pugnacious and intolerant of their own kind. The name “Convict Cichlid” comes from the fish itself; a bluish-grey body with black stripes which is reminiscent of an old prison uniform. They are sexually dimorphic. The male is larger, between four to five inches, with longer dorsal and ventral fins, and a more pronounced forehead. The female is smaller, about three inches long, and more colorful, with yellowish-orange around the lower half of her body, and in her dorsal fin.


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

Convict females are not shy. They are the ones who initiate breeding. She starts to entice the male by gyrating her body as she faces him. She will then swim circles around him, as if inviting him to dance. W hen the male joins her, both of their bodies will quiver as they swim. Convicts are cave spawners, and natural excavators. This can be a problem if you have rocks that are sitting on top of the gravel instead of resting firmly on the bottom of the tank. They will dig the gravel around rocks and caves one mouthful at a time (that’s fun to watch!) until they are happy with the nest. That digging can cause a landslide, possibly damaging both the tank and the fish (that’s not fun to watch). Once the breeding site is to their liking, the female will lay her eggs on the wall of the cave. The male will follow close behind to fertilize them. W hen they are done, she will stay in the cave fanning the eggs. The only time she will come out is to eat. The male will take up guard duty outside. His job is to fend off any potential egg robbers. The fry hatch out within three to four days, depending on the water’s temperature. Once the yolk sac is absorbed, a fog of fry pour out of the cave, with momma close behind. They’re

August 2007


looking for food. Finely powdered flakes work well as a first food, as does any number of fry foods sold on the market. The fry grow quickly, and need to be separated once you notice some size discrepancy among them. As they grow, they will be as intolerant of each other as their parents are.

Convict cichlids are attractive, easy to keep, easy to breed, and the best part is that you can keep these convicts without using bars or razor wire!

Interview with a Gold(fish) Digger by JANNETTE RAM IREZ J.R. “For the record, how long have you been a gold(fish) digger?” GD “I would say it’s about 3 years now.” J.R. “On what basis do you choose your subjects?” GD “I would honestly say that my decision is based on who displays the most gold, and on how attractive they are.” J.R. “How many do you have in your collection now? Do you keep track on the quantity?” GD “It’s hard to keep count… but I would take a guess that the number is about 24 right now.” J.R. “W ould you ever consider different fish that were not gold?” GD “Of course! I already have 2 Clown Loaches, 3 platys, 2 corys and a pleco.” J.R. (clearing throat) “Are these other fishes in the same tank as your 24 goldfish?” GD “Yes. W hy?” J.R. “I cannot believe that all of these fishes would not be stressed living under such conditions.” GD “Seeing is believing, and you’re welcome to see my fish any time to observe how content and healthy they are. The care and maintenance they require is not for everyone, but I do provide it regularly and with much love.” J.R. “W here do you get your gold(fish) subjects from?” GD “I will not reveal my sources, and if you don’t mind… I would like to finish doing my water change.” J.R. “All right, I will not take any more of your time, and I thank you for sharing all that you have with our club.” A hidden camera has revealed that on numerous occasions when my oscars were being treated to some live goldfish to eat, not all the goldfish made it to my oscars’ bellies! The back of a woman was seen netting out specific goldfish and quickly transporting them to an undisclosed location. This woman was identified as my own mother!


August 2007

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

The G.C.A.S. Proudly extends a most Warm Welcome to Our Guest Speaker HARRY FAUSTMANN Speaking on

"Killifish!" By Claudia Dickinson Renowned for his expertise with all tropical fish, Harry Faustmann’s major focus is on killifish, which he has written numerous articles about, and competed with in many shows. W inning top honors across the country since 1977, Harry’s awards include Best of Show at NCAS and Best of Show at the AKA annual show. A celebrated breeder, Harry has been active in the hobby since 1967, and has been keeping killifish since 1973. He is currently a member of the AKA, LIKA, MAKA, NCAS, LIAS, GCAS, and LI Herp Society. His interests extend to pondkeeping and collecting aquatic Harry Faustmann creatures in the wild. Harry is also known for his skill and knowledge in the art of culturing live foods. Having had numerous outstanding spawns in his fishroom, some of the most exceptional include Nothobranchius korthausae ‘red,’ which resulted in over a thousand fry after eight weeks of dry incubation, as well as Simpsonichthys reticulates ‘Xingu.’ Generously filling our GCAS auction table with his wonderful and kind donations of fish, plants, and live foods (that even include detailed instructions!), Harry’s greatest joys are the challenges of breeding fishes, and socializing with other fishkeepers. W e are most proud to have the great fortune of welcoming Harry as our guest speaker tonight, presenting his expertise with killifish!

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

August 2007


Looking through the Photos and captions July brought a special treat as Ed Vukich gave us a visual tour of his fishroom, taking us from its construction to his maintenance techniques, along with a sampling of the current residents. All of us went home with dreams of new methods of running our own fishrooms, particularly the innovative “Artie Backup System!”

Two young visitors are ready to fill the entire living room wall with fish tanks after seeing “Ed’s President Joe Ferdenzi (right) gives Fishroom!” a proud welcome to the evening’s speaker and GCAS’s very own, Ed Vukich!

Newly elected Brooklyn Aquarium Society President and GCAS member Joseph Graffagnino knows these are superb killifish, for they were bred and donated by killie expert, Harry Faustmann!

Roderick Mosley takes home an auction treasure of tangled roots, certain to thrill his cichlids! These Aphyosemion australe are most fortunate indeed to be finding a home with Frank Bonnici!

Pete D’Orio keeps the auction ru n n in g sm o o th ly with his perpetual cheerful demeanor.


Ed Vukich and Jack Traub stir the barrel for the evening’s raffle Jack Traub is delighted with his drawing. Door Prize win of the excellent book, Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, by David Boruchowitz!

August 2007

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

Lens with the GCAS by Claudia Dickinson

You know what time it is when you see the “Crystal Mattocks and Sharon Barnett GCAS Auction Beam!” It is wonderful to have Karen Ottendorfer back with the GCAS!

W ith his passion for cichlids, Dan Radebaugh has won the perfect Door Prize book — Linke and Staeck’s American Cichlids I Modern Aquarium staffers, Jason Dwarf Cichlids. Kerner and Susan Priest, take respite in contented satisfaction after another year of successful FAAS awards are achieved by the Ron Kasman goes home with a magazine and its authors. bag of Herichthys carpintis, undoubtedly from Dan Radebaugh’s famous pair!

Last month’s Bowl Show Winners: 2nd place winner, Ed Vukich

1st and 3rd place winner, Artie Friedman (right)

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

August 2007



s this is going to be the month that we finally stump Joe Ferdenzi? Joe is one of our proofreaders, and he sees virtually all of the articles before Modern Aquarium goes to the print shop. I don’t believe he has ever failed to guess the identity of the Anonymous Fishkeeper. I’m making a small bet with myself that this will be the one, even though his favorite aquarium book of all time, as well as one of his dear friends, are mentioned by our author. How about the rest of you? How well do you know the person sitting next to you? I am pleased to introduce our


Anonymous Fishkeeper/August 2007 Please introduce yourself. I started keeping tropical fish at the age of five. I collected them from a river not too far from my home. I have been a member of Greater City since 1991.


females were drab and colorless, usually grey/green, and were seldom kept. Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. My only education as a fishkeeper was gained by reading Exotic Aquarium Fishes by Dr. W illiam T. Innes. I consider this man to be the godfather of the aquarium fish hobby. Is there someone you think of as a mentor? The only mentor I had was Richard Hayes, a boyhood friend. It was because of him that my interest grew into not only keeping fishes, but also breeding them. W e traveled to all the pet shops and W oolworth's in our neighborhood looking for fish. In one of the stores we befriended a saleslady, and she would give us five fish for $1.99, no matter how much they were listed for. Describe your “Fantasy Fish Tank.” It would be a fifty gallon fully planted aquarium with a 100plus Cardinal Tetras.

Tell us about your favorite aquarium. It was a twenty gallon Long Suggested Questions with R ed Cobra T Please introduce yourself. Guppies (a strain that T Tell us about your favorite aquarium. I developed). The T W hat was your very first fish? bottom was a carpet T Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. of Java Moss and the T Is there someone you think of as a mentor? top contained over Tell us about him or her. 200 plus guppies. I T Describe your “Fantasy Fish Tank.” loved this tank so T If you were a fish, which one would you be? much that I put it on T W ho is your “Hobby Hero?” video, so I could T W hat fish which you have never kept would always look back at it. you like to acquire? T Describe your biggest fishkeeping “blooper!” W hat was your very T Describe your most memorable fishkeeping first fish? experience. The first fish T W hat advice would you give to a I kept were wild beginning fishkeeper? caught guppies. My T W hat are your fishkeeping goals? relatives and I would - OR write a narrative story collect them, and marvel at the different color patterns the males possessed. W e collected males solely because of their beauty. The


If you were a fish, which one would you be? Xiphophorus montezumae. I regard this fish as one of the most beautiful in all the hobby.

W ho is your “Hobby Hero?” M y hobby hero is a gentleman I met a few years ago named Gene Baiocco. This kind gentleman would invite me into his home, and take me down to his fishroom in the basement. He had several breeding tanks of severums and albino corys. He made all sorts of breeding contraptions and gadgets for his

August 2007

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

fish and aquariums. I still possess a brine shrimp net that he made with wire and a fine mesh cloth. Gene passed away in February of 1999. He was a generous and benevolent man that the hobby will surely miss. W hat fish which you have never kept would you like to aquire? I would like to have a tank of discus; in particular the ones from suppliers in the Far East. I think Singapore has the best. Describe your biggest fishkeeping “blooper.” My biggest mistake was when I introduced twenty neon tetras into a tank with four angelfish. The next day I had four fat angels. Describe your most memorable fishkeeping experience. It was in the mid-seventies, and a friend of mine, Miguel, along with his father, traveled to Steinway Street in Queens. This was a fish fantasy come true. There was a fish store/pet shop on every corner. W e spent over three hours going to every store. I even remember the fish I bought. They were variegated Snake Skin Guppies. W hat advice would you give to a beginning fishkeeper? Enjoy your fish and the tanks you have. If everything is going all right then leave the tank alone. The more complicated the hobby becomes, the less likely people will be interested in it. W hat are your fishkeeping goals? I would like to set up an outdoor pond for the summer months, complete with plants and a waterfall.

irst editor of Modern Aquarium, Series III, multiple-award winning author, inductee in the Joe Ferdenzi Roll of Honor, co-chairman of the GCAS Breeders Award Program (BAP), multiple-point holder in the GCAS BAP, GCAS Board member (for how long? I don’t know; you’ll have to ask him). The literary purists among you, and that includes our July autobiographer, will have noticed that the previous “rambling statement” is not actually a sentence. I just let my stream of consciousness carry me where it would when I started thinking about W arren, and what I wanted to say about him. How many of you remember the really cool program that M o Devlin gave at Greater City on “Tankbusters” in October 2006? It was kind of like home movies of his fish tanks. W ell, I remember the really cool program on “Lake Tanganyika Dwarf Cichlids” which was given


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

seven months earlier, in March 2006, and which was the first time a program at GCAS featured co m p uter-generated moving images. I also remember who presented it. Do you? W a r r e n Warren Feuer Feuer can lay claim to many “firsts,” “lasts,” and a whole lot of “inbetweens” when it comes to his support of the GCAS. I’m not sure if being in charge of writing letters to manufacturers on the club’s behalf, accepting deliveries from them, storing the stuff they send us, and then lugging it to meetings so that we have an abondanza raffle each month has a job title, but if it does, W arren can wear it proudly. Sometimes he is wise, and sometimes he is a wiseguy, but you can always count on his generosity. He has also confronted and conquered daunting challenges in his personal life. He is someone who is well worth getting to know. Thank you, W arren, for being our Anonymous Fishkeeper, and offering all of us the opportunity to get to know you better.

The Unknown Aquarist omething happened at a recent meeting that I can’t get out of my mind. Claudia was taking some photos, and she pointed to someone sitting in the rear of the room. She asked me and Al “Do you know that person’s name?” None of us did. It is what happened next that I can’t forget. Nothing! None of us spoke to this person, welcomed him, introduced ourselves, asked about his fisheeping, like I said; nothing! Shame on us!! W e went on with our own agendas. This is not at all like me. I often seek out and speak to people I haven’t seen at a meeting before, but this time I set a poor example. I can only hope that someone else in the room behaved better than I did. I can only hope that this person didn’t leave the meeting thinking how unfriendly we are. He was dressed in a manner that made me wonder (but not until after I had left) if he was a member of the Veterans of Foreign W ars, and wanted to check out the latest visitors to his post. W hether you are sitting next to someone you have seen 100 times before, and especially if it is someone you don’t recognize, please, say hello to your “neighbor.” He might just be that Unknown Aquarist.


August 2007





August 2007

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

Norwalk Aquarium Society 41st ANNUAL

TROPICAL FISH SHOW Sponsored by the Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center

Saturday, September 29, 2007 (Noon to 4:00p p.m.) Sunday, September 30, 2007 (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)

Special Feature In Conjunction with the NAS Show The Connecticut Betta Club Will Sponsor an

International Betta Congress Sanctioned Betta Show For Information & Rules for the IBC show contact Doug at: Please note that there are special rules to enter the IBC which differ from the NAS

& Auction NAS Auction (will also feature lots from the IBC show) Sunday, September 30, 2007 Auction Starts at 12:00 p.m. (noon) At the: Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center Westport, Connecticut

Our Generous Members A big Thank You to the following individuals who contributed items for last month’s auction. Please note that they are NOT the only contributors. W e would like to recognize everyone who contributes; so please sign the form on the Auction Table, and your contribution(s) will be recognized in the following month’s Modern Aquarium:

Sharon Barnett Dan Radebaugh

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

Al Grusell Ed Vukich

August 2007



August 2007

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

Aquarium Water: A Hallucinogenic?

interesting. Not only do fish and mammals distract the players, but their buoyancy makes it hard for them to stabilize themselves.” W ater currents also make the trajectory of the ball hard to predict, he added. The winner sunk the ball in just one minute and 20 seconds, while the one who came in last took five minutes.

A series by “The Undergravel Reporter” In spite of popular demand to the contrary, this humor and information column continues. As usual, it does N O T n ecessarily rep resen t the opinions of the Editor, or of the Greater City Aquarium Society. It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within--not without. - Hercule Poirot (detective character created by Agatha Christie) here really must be som ething about aquarium water that, at least for some people, causes those “little gray cells” to go into suspended animation.


Take, for example, the “frozen aquarium” of Kessennuma. In the city of Kessennuma, Japan, an odd sort of aquarium has sparked some attention, probably due to the fact that the entire display of fish is frozen solid. Perhaps they were looking to get more visitors to the Aquarium by making it so unique, or perhaps some smart person decided that they could save a fortune in fish food. Either way, the result is a somewhat unique approach to displaying the local fish from Kessennuma waters. The Aquarium is an arrangement of 40 ice blocks displaying 450 specimens (consisting of 80 varieties) of local marine life.

Better yet, consider the world’s first “Underwater Golf Tournament.” It seems that, well in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China has staged what is believed to be the world’s first underwater golf tournament. The event at Zuohai Aquarium in Fuzhou city, Fujian province, involved five players in a 50 foot deep tank. “The rules are pretty much the same as for regular golf. W hoever gets the ball in the hole first wins the match,” an aquarium spokesman told the People’s Daily. Players were judged on how long it took them to complete the hole, rather than the number of strokes taken. “The water makes the match very

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

After pondering whether aquarium water affects those “little gray cells,” we move on to the other great philosophical questions of our day, one of which is, “Do salmon enjoy rock and roll?” A Finnish researcher plans to study fish in an aquarium while a rock group performs nearby, to see if the sound causes any ill-effects or distress. Bands, including aging rockers Uriah Heep, will perform just a couple of dozen meters away from the aquarium. "I will be looking for any abnormal behavior or activity," said researcher Mikko Erkinaro. The 500,000 liter tank is home to salmon, trout, pike, and perch, and other species common in Finland's brackish coastal waters.,23599,22119586-13762,00. html#

Regardless of how much aquarium water I may accidentally ingest (by sucking on the opposite end of a syphon tube), or how much “firewater” I may purposely guzzle, I can’t imagine volunteering to be stung by a jellyfish, with the only compensation being some sun screen. However, Norwegian researchers are calling for bold, non-hairy humans to bare their arms and be stung by jellyfish — in the name of science. To test a new sun screen aimed at protecting against jellyfish stings, the University of Oslo wants volunteers to be burned by jellyfish tentacles on both arms — one with ordinary sun block, the other with anti-jellyfish sun lotion. “You’re supposed to get burned. If you’re not, then the tests have been a waste of time,” Torgrim Andersen, spokesman for the university's biology department, said. Volunteers must be over 18, with hair-free inner arms (so they get stung easier). The compensation? Three bottles of anti-jellyfish sun screen, provided by the sponsor of the trial, the Norwegian sun cream company AC-SunCare. ational/i101011D11.DTL

August 2007


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August 2007

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS Thank you, renewing members: Steven Berman, Raymond LoPinto and Karen Ottendorfer

Last M onth’s Bowl Show W inners: 1) Artie Friedman 2) Ed Vukich 3) Artie Friedman UNOFFICIAL results this season, to date: Ed Vukich 13; Carlotti De Jager 11; Artie Friedman 6; Darwin Richmond 3; W arren Feuer 1 Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Next M eeting; September 12, 2007 Speaker and Topic to be announced (Check our website for updates) 7:30pm at The VFW Post 136-06 Horace Harding Expressway Flushing, NY 11367 Contact: Joseph Ferdenzi (516) 484-0944 E-mail: W ebsite:

Brooklyn Aquarium Society Next M eeting: September 14, 2007 Speaker: Robert Hudson Topic: “Dutch Planted Aquariums” July & August: No Summer Events Meets the 2nd Friday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30pm: NY Aquarium - Education Hall Surf Ave. at W est 8th St., Brooklyn, NY Call: BAS Events Hotline: (718) 837-4455

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 M eeting: September 21, 2007 Speaker and Topic to be announced July and August: no meetings Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) at Holtsville Park and Zoo at 8:00pm. 249 Buckley Road - Holtsville, NY

Next M eeting: September 11, 2007 Speaker: Peter W arny Topic: Long Island W etland Fishes July and August: no meetings Meets: 2nd Tuesday of each month at the American Legion Post 1066 - 66 Veterans Blvd. - Massapequa, NY at 8:00pm. Contact: Mike Foran (516) 798-6766 W ebsite:

W ebsite: Email: Arie Gilbert -

North Jersey Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society Next M eeting: September 20, 2007 Speaker and Topic: TBD

Next M eeting: September 20, 2007 Speaker: Spencer Jack Topic: “Collecting in Uruguay

Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - W estport, CT Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 E-mail: Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS W ebsite:

Meadowlands Environmental Center - One Dekorte Plaza - Lyndhurst, NJ Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 W ebsite: or e-mail:

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

August 2007


Fin Fun THE LATIN LINEUP Those of you who have been involved in this hobby for any length of time can roll these Latin words off the tip of your tongue, BUT how many of you know what they mean? Draw a connecting line between these Latin genus names and their meanings. Hint: If you need some help, the solutions can be found in everyone’s favorite book: Exotic Aquarium Fishes by W illiam T. Innes. Otocinclus

bottom fish


with one whisker


large foot


sieve ear


river or brook




half colored


earth eater


winged leaf


Solution to last month’s puzzle:

hair belly

Sidewalk Sale Days

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August 2007

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

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