Modern Aquarium September 2007

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AQUARIUM ON THE COVER The Ornate Gourami, Malpulutta kretseri, is a peaceful and graceful fish that is also endangered in the wild. Learn more about this small gourami in the article “The Ornate Gourami of Sri Lanka” 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

Series III

Vol. XIV, No. 7 September, 2007

FEATURES Editor’s Babblenest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 President’s Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Ornate Gourami of Sri Lanka. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Success at First Breeding the Kribensis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Welcome to this Month’s Scheduled Speaker: Steven Giacobello. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Fishkeepers Anonymous.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Our Generous Members. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Seahorse Chronicles: Breeding Seahorses - Part 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Keeping Fish Healthy Without The Use Of Medicine.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Wet Leaves (Book Review Column). . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 As Some of Us Know ...... and Some of Us Don’t. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 How To Culture White Worms.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Amusing Aquarium (cartoon). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 The Latest (and the Greatest)?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 G.C.A.S. Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Fin Fun (Puzzle Page). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

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 came late to last month’s meeting, or weren’t there at all, then you probably did not hear the announcement that I intend to leave the job of Editor of Modern Aquarium at the end of this year. In five more years, Greater City will celebrate its 90th anniversary. In 15 more years, it will celebrate its 100th anniversary! I might get to see the first, it’s doubtful whether or not I will see the second (or, if I do, whether I’ll be able to know and understand the world around me by then!). It’s time for me to move on and out, and for someone else to pick up. For over 14 years, I have been involved in some way with Modern Aquarium. It’s about time for someone else to take over. In the movie “Star Trek: Generations” the character of Captain Kirk says, “You know, if Spock were here, he’d say that I was an irrational, illogical human being by taking on a mission like that. Sounds like fun!” That pretty much sums up the kind of person needed for this job — someone willing to take a risk, and enjoy the ride. It isn’t easy — the best things usually aren’t. It IS very satisfying and rewarding in a way that cannot be described adequately, only experienced. The person (or persons — frankly, I would not have been able to remain Editor for this long without the help and support of my wife, Susan) will have as much help and support as is necessary. Modern Aquarium has never been a one-person project. This magazine did not spring up fully formed and thought-out with its first issue. Months before the first issue was printed, many meetings were held during which the format of the magazine was argued, debated, and decided upon.



To a large extent, what was decided 14 years ago is the same format we are still using today (including: 8.5"x11" pages, a color front cover, generally a two column article layout, a dropcap at the start of an article, 10 point Times New Roman font for the text of articles, etc.). As technology improved, we were able to make some improvements along the way. For example, the color photos on the cover were originally printed on a color photocopier, cut to size, then hand-pasted using spray-on glue. Once color laser printers were available at relatively affordable prices, we were able to print covers ourselves, without the need for hand-pasted photos. This is just to say that a new Editor will not have to “reinvent the wheel,” but will be able to draw upon and use existing formats. Of course, a new Editor might have a slightly different vision and “style,” and could make some changes along the way (I did when I took over as Editor). That’s to be expected. A new Editor will have the full support of our existing Editorial Staff, myself and my wife included. I would be willing to stay on and help a new Editor and, if the new Editor needed it, I would even provide and configure a computer for that person’s use. As current technology allows an Editor to create an issue of Modern Aquarium without ever having to print a page, and to send the issue electronically to our copy shop, a color laser printer (or, in fact any special printer) would not be required. I’d be happy to discuss details of printing and picking up copies with anyone interested in the job as Editor. If needed, I will continue to act as go-between with our printer and get the completed issues to our meetings (provided the new Editor gets the issue to our printer in time, of course!). I’d also like to hand off our website to a new webmaster, but that’s not nearly as much of a priority. After having written all of this, I want to remind you that there are still (after today) three more issues of Modern Aquarium that will definitely be produced with me as Editor. So, anyone who has an article that he or she has always wanted to write, now is the time to do it.


I’m happy to report that Dan Radebaugh has volunteered to learn the Editor’s job. I will be working with Dan for the next few months. If he decides to accept the position, he will need your help and support.

September 2007

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

President’s Message by JOSEPH FERDENZI n this month’s “Editor’s Babblenest,” Al Priest writes of his intention to pass the baton, so to speak, to another Editor. I will have more to say about Al and the outstanding service he has performed at a later time. For now, I just want to note that Al’s “baton” represents a major task. However, it can also represent a point of pride and accomplishment for whoever grabs that baton. Modern Aquarium represents a storied name in the annals of aquarium club publications. I have high hopes that it will be continued at the level which Al (and others before him) have set. So, in the months to come, we will see if anyone rises to the challenge of continuing Modern Aquarium. If not, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, a Series IV will be given birth by yet another group of dedicated aquarists.


* * * On the topic of dedicated hobbyists, I wish to thank Ed Vukich and Harry Faustmann for the recent presentations they gave at Greater City. In July, Ed gave us a PowerPoint tour of his fishroom. It was informative, funny, and made us all green with envy! Harry’s talk in August was on

one of my favorite groups of fish, killifish — and who better to talk about them than Harry? Harry is a long-time killifish enthusiast who has garnered more than his fair share of awards, including a very prestigious Best Of Show at the annual convention of the American Killifish Association. Anyone who has ever attended one of these conventions, as I have, knows how competitive those annual shows are, with upwards of 400 entries. W hile the talks were wonderful in themselves, they represent something else which is noteworthy. Ed and Harry are members of our society, and very active ones at that. They represent the wealth of knowledge that our members bring to the table. Each of us not only benefits from the informative presentations given at each monthly meeting, but just speaking among ourselves brings us a wealth of knowledge. Ed and Harry simply represent all that our members bring to our meetings. So, I thank them profusely for all that they have done, and remind you that they, and others, are always glad to answer your questions and give you the best advice possible in pursuit of your aquatic goals. * * * Lastly, I wish to remind you that the upcoming AFISH Convention is less than two months away. I hope you have made plans to attend. Last month, we distributed the first of our registration brochures. I trust that they were easy to understand and use. But, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Dear fellow hobbyists and friends, By now, you all must be aware of the tragic death of Joey Graffagnino, the heroic firefighter son of Joe Graffagnino, president of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society. Joey was killed on Saturday, August 18, at 5:30 PM at the old Deutsch Bank site next to the W orld Trade Center here in New York. He was fighting the fire and became trapped on the 14th floor in a stairwell and ran out of oxygen before his fellow firefighters could get to him and two other brave firefighters. Joey and another fireman from his house died of cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen. Joey left behind his wife Linda and two young children, 4 year old Mia, and 9 month old Joe Jr. The directors of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society have created a fund for the future education of his children. W e would be grateful for any donations you could make to the Joey Graffagnino Children's Fund. All donors, individuals or societies, will be gratefully acknowledged in the BAS Bulletin. Checks should be made to: Brooklyn Aquarium Society and sent to: The Joey Graffagnino Children's Fund Brooklyn Aquarium Society P.O. Box 290610 Brooklyn, New York 11229-0011 Thank you so much for your generosity in this time of sorrow. John Todaro, BAS Board M ember & Editor of Publications Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY)

September 2007



September 2007

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

The Ornate Gourami of Sri Lanka Malpulutta kretseri by ALEXANDER A. PRIEST Paradisefish,” and “De Kretser’s Fish” (De Kretser he Ornate Gourami, Malpulutta kretseri, is a peaceful and graceful fish that is also being a Sri Lankan lawyer who first discovered the endangered in the wild. It is a relatively fish in 1937). W ell-known aquarist Mike Hellweg small fish (under 2½ inches, with females slightly has reported that these fish are called “Blue Pin smaller than males), and fairly easy to keep in the Tails” in Sri Lanka. However, I have never seen home aquarium. W hile just about every report I any such reference to them, other than in Mike’s have read indicates that they are very sensitive to account.1 water conditions, I have had mine for quite a few If you have seen Day’s Spike Tailed years, and have found them hardier and less Gourami, Pseudosphromenus dayi, then you have sensitive than many other small gourami species. a pretty good idea of the general body shape of Malpulutta kretseri is found in the wild Malpulutta kretseri. M. kretseri have a slender only in Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia body with elongated dorsal and caudal fin rays located about 18½ miles off the southern coast of (with males having longer extensions) and with the India. By some accounts, M. kretseri is almost caudal fin narrowing to a graceful point. Unless extinct (in fact, you can catch a there were reports glimpse of a male in Scientific name: Malpulutta kretseri in the past that it his mating colors, Common names: Ornate Gourami, Spotted this is not a n was extinct). They Gourami, Ceylon Gourami, Ornate otherwise colorful are currently Paradisefish, and De Kretser’s Fish fish. (I’ve even protected by the Native habitat: Sri Lanka seen it written that government of Sri Size: under 2½", with females smaller than males this is the most Lanka, which Conservation status: On the IUCN's Red List and b eautiful p lain prohibits the export the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program brown fish you’ll of wild-caught fish. Sexual dimorphism: M ales larger with longer fin ever see!) (However, there are extensions, and more blue coloration Generally, the body breeding programs Feeding: small live foods is beige with brown which produce fish W ater parameters: s p o t s a n d for occasional dH of 20 or below occasional traces of export.) pH between 5 and 7 blue, especially in The IUCN temperature from 75E to 82EF the caudal fin. A (International Temperament: Peaceful, very shy dark horizontal line U n i o n f o r Tank requirements: Low light, dark substrate, runs through the C o nse rv a tio n o f caves or other hiding places eye. Nature and Natural Because it Resources) Red List is a small, peaceful status of M. kretseri fish native to relatively shallow and slow-moving is “LR/cd,” signifying that the species is the focus waters, several pairs can be housed in a tank of 15 of a conservation program, which, if the program to 20 gallons. They require soft (dH of 20 or were to cease, would result in the fish qualifying below), slightly acidic (pH between 5 and 7) water for one of the Red List’s “threatened” categories at a temperature of from 75E to 82EF. W hile peat within five years or less. Needless to say, this fish filtration is recommended, I simply add blackwater is also on the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program’s extract at every water change. “Species-at-Risk List.” They prefer a low-light tank with dark Malpulutta kretseri has several common substrate and multiple hiding places. My tank of names, with “Ornate Gourami” and “Spotted M. kretseri has a dense (almost an inch thick) layer Gourami” being the most frequently used. It has of Salvinia minima, a free floating aquatic fern that also been called the “Ceylon Gourami” (Sri Lanka helps to keep the tank fairly dark, even when the was known as Ceylon before 1972), the “Ornate


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

September 2007


aquarium light is on overhead. W hile I have seen them eat micropellets, this is rare; small live food is the best choice for them, especially if you want to encourage breeding. This is a subsurface bubblenesting fish. This means that the male will build a small bubblenest in a cave or under a log or rock. This is also a very shy fish that hides almost all of the time. Add these factors to the fact that the water in my tank of M alpulutta kretseri tank is “tea-colored” (from the blackwater extract), that there are numerous small caves and pieces of driftwood resting on a dark substrate, and that the tank light barely penetrates into the tank due to the thick layer of Salvinia, it is not surprising that I have never been able to witness a courtship. (Since small fish generally are not long-lived, and since I’ve had M. kretseri for quite a few years, and since there are various sizes of M. kretseri in my tank, I assume the fish have been breeding in private.) I have read that females ready to mate will turn dark and show a light horizontal band starting from the mouth. The female will swim head down before the male, shake her body for a while, and swim away again. This can go on for a few days, before actual mating occurs. The eggs sink, and are picked up and deposited in the nest by both parents. Once the eggs are in the nest, the male will chase the female (and any other fish) away, and guard the eggs until they hatch. The eggs hatch in about two days, and the fry are free-swimming after another four days. Once the fry are free-swimming, they receive no further parental care. This is typical bubblenesting gourami behavior.


Like the Pseudosphromenus dayi I compared them to earlier, Malpulutta kretseri are extreme jumpers. A thick mat of floating plants above, and caves below (into which they can dive when frightened) will somewhat reduce the risk of them jumping out. But, every opening in the tank, no matter how small, needs to be covered. You should not leave the tank unattended while it is uncovered, or that has its lid open. I even have plastic food wrap at the point where my airline enters the tank. These are very rare fish, and extremely peaceful. It should go without saying that Malpulutta kretseri should be housed in their own tank, with no other species of fish as tankmates. W hile this is not a fish you’re likely to find in your local fish store, they are occasionally available through the International Anabantoid Association ( and on AquaBid ( Because of their rarity, don’t be surprised if they are fairly costly. W hy should you devote an entire tank to a relatively short-lived fish that costs a lot to get and that hides so you rarely see it? W ell, when you DO see them, they are quite beautiful to behold. Also, this is an endangered species. Having breeding colonies in home aquariums helps ensure that future generations of aquarists can see and appreciate this fish. 1

Hellweg, Mike. “The Blue Pin Tail Gourami,” Modern Aquarium, September 2005.

September 2007

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

SUCCESS AT FIRST Breeding the Kribensis (Pelvicachromis pulcher) by W ARREN FEUER ecently, I wrote an article chronicling my attempts (and ultimate success) with breeding Altolamprologus calvus. This time I would like to tell you, my readers, about a different experience, one that led to breeding almost immediately with a single pair of fish. I will be honest with you right away; I cheated. W ell, not exactly cheated, more like took advantage of my knowledge to load the deck towards success. But, let me take you all back a few years first. In fact, let me take you back at least 10 years. At that time, I was living in a two bedroom apartment in Forest Hills, Queens. I was keeping a mere 10 fish tanks at the time, and, of course, wishing that I had room for more. One of the tanks, a 30 gallon Long, was the home of o ne Syno d o n tis angelicus, an African catfish that was (and, in fact, still is) one of my prize fish. Don’t let anyone tell you fish don’t live very long; with proper care they are very long lived. W here were we? Oh yes, the 30 gallon tank. I decided that I would make that tank a W est African riverine “biotope aquarium,” with both flora and fauna from that region only. W ith that in mind, I stocked the tank with several Anubias plants, two different schools of African tetras; Spilopterus arnoldlicthys and Phenacogrammus interruptus (the Congo Tetra). W hen it came to choosing a cichlid for the tank, one came to mind immediately, Pelvicachrom is pulcher, the Kribensis. You will have to forgive me for not going into the whole history of how the fish got its popular name. Fortunately for me, our own Bernie Harrigan has written an excellent profile of the fish in the June, 2007 issue of Modern Aquarium. Read Bernie’s article and you will know all you need to about the Krib.


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

I was able to keep this tank going for quite a while with the above residents. The Kribs never spawned in the tank, even though I know there were members of both sexes present. I am pretty sure that, due to the tank setup, they just never found anywhere to spawn. However, based upon the tank’s residents, it is probably a good thing they did not spawn. Over time, however, some fish died, others got moved to different locations, and, now the S. angelicus resides in the tank by itself, some 14 years after I bought it! In the ensuing years, I tried twice to keep and breed the albino form of the Krib. In both instances, they died relatively soon after purchase. I just had no luck with them. Some folks avoid albino fish, but not me. I find them to be quite attractive, and over the years I have had several d iffere nt albino species. For a w h i l e , I experienced great success keeping and breeding A u lo n a ca ra jacobfreibergi sp. “albino eureka.” Sorry, I am digressing again. M y point is, I just had no luck with the albino kribs. Flash forward now to an early spring day in March 2007. Joe Ferdenzi and I were enjoying a rare day of no family responsibilities, or, more likely, few enough that we were able to get out for a little while to do a quick fish store run. W e chose a place about 30 minutes from my house that I had been to, but not Joe. Located on the south shore of Long Island in Babylon Village, A Lot of Fish is a place I like to visit. It has a nice selection of fish, some the type you see in every store, and some unique. All seemed reasonably priced, for the most part. Remember, something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. If you happen to see a fish somewhere that you may have been searching for, what it costs may not matter to you. You might just have to buy it! Anyway, that’s my

September 2007


two cents about prices and pet shops. You must bear in mind that pet shops are businesses, and must make a living. Price is not always what you pay for something, but, also service and support. Boy, I sure am good at getting off track this time, aren’t I? Sorry about that. Back to the fish trip. W hen we last visited this article, Joe and I were “fishcapading” at A Lot of Fish, walking through the aisles, checking out the stock, and commenting here and there on different fish. I had been looking for keyhole cichlids for my son’s 20 gallon Long tank for the better part of six months at that point, and could find them nowhere. He was getting tired of having an empty tank in his room, and I wanted something to put in the tank. As we were cruising the aisles, I noticed what seemed to be a mature pair of Kribs in one of the tanks. Both fish appeared healthy and injury free, and the female had a nice round, purple belly. That was a clear sign that she was ready to breed. I knew I had found new residents for my son’s tank. The price for the pair was a bit under $20, very reasonable for two prime specimens in a pet shop. They were soon on their way to my house. W hen bringing new fish into your house, it is always a great idea to have a tank for them! In this case, I would be using my son Eric’s 20 gallon Long tank, which was empty and awaiting new tenants. W e had been searching for keyhole cichlids, C. maronii, for a while, Eric having decided that was the fish he wanted to keep. Of course, they were nowhere to be found. A longtime standard in the hobby, they had been relegated to a lower level of popularity, and there had been little interest in them. Then, an article in one of the popular hobby magazines named them as an easy to keep fish, and suddenly, no one had them. One local store was said to be expecting a delivery of them, but, each week passed and they never showed up. So, into the tank went the Krib pair. No sooner did we acclimate the pair and release them into the tank, than they were off digging in the gravel looking for somewhere to spawn. To make their spawning easier, I added a clay “cave” to the tank for privacy and spawning ease. That was on a Sunday. By the following W ednesday, the female was nowhere to be seen, the entrance to the “cave” was half blocked with piled-up gravel, and


the male was constantly hovering close by. It did not take a careful observer to note that the pair had most likely spawned. A week passed, and all was the same in the tank. The female stayed in the cave, rarely coming out, and if she did, for example to grab a quick morsel of supplied fish food, the male quickly swam into the “cave,” each twisting their body to get around the gravel at the opening. Once the female returned to the cave, the male quickly came out and resumed guard duty. Several days later I came home from work and noticed a swirling cloud of what looked like detritus on the bottom of the tank, with both parents hovering above it. I won’t keep you in suspense; it was Krib fry, about 100 or more of them. Fellow GCAS Board member Lenny Ramroop says that Kribs are the best parents he had ever seen among fish, and he is absolutely right! They were constantly guarding the fry, hovering near them, and keeping any enemies, imagined or real, at bay. Since the fish were alone in the tank, and I did not want to disturb them, they were completely safe. Eric and I fed the new fry about twice a day, alternating between frozen baby brine shrimp and Cyclopeeze at first, and then adding different fry foods including well-crushed flake food. They are about the easiest fry I have ever raised, including those from mouthbrooders. It appears that we suffered very little loss of fry, and there appears to be no aggression among the fry or parents. I brought the parents, as well as some of the fry, to the July 2007 GCAS meeting to be auctioned. I hated to give them up but, with Eric going off to college in September, I really did not want another tank to have to take care of, and I did not want the parents to spawn again. They may not be the flashiest fish, but if you want to experience the joy of watching cichlids breed AND raise their fry, you cannot beat the Kribensis, Pelvicachromis pulcher. In the coming months, you may get a chance to bid on some of the fry as I bring them in for auction. Check them out, you won’t be sorry!

September 2007

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

The GCAS Proudly Extends a Most Warm Welcome to


Speaking On

“Fish Photography”

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

September 2007




his person is a relatively new member of different pet stores, and hand pick them. Then, I GCAS. Being true to the spirit of got into koi. Fishkeepers Anonymous, they haven’t given us very much to go on. Is this person old or Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. young; male or female? Maybe you are sitting next to them right now. I’m always itching to give you My education came from friends who readers a clue at this point. I think I can safely get owned fish, plus what I taught myself, as well. I away with saying this — you have seen at least one also did a lot of reading; that was a plus. picture of this person in the pages of Modern Aquarium. (Sorry! I Is there someone you can hear you groaning think of as a mentor? Suggested Questions from here.) Now that T Please introduce yourself. I have scratched my Yes. His T Tell us about your favorite aquarium. itch at your expense, name is Gino. I knew T W hat was your very first fish? let me introduce our: him since he was a T Tell us about your education as a fishkeeper. yo ung kid . He T Is there someone you think of as a mentor? introduced many kinds Tell us about him or her. of fish to me. I A n o n y m o u s T Describe your “Fantasy Fish Tank.” F i s h k e e p e r , remember seeing his T If you were a fish, which one would you be? September 2007: first tank. He had T W ho is your “Hobby Hero?” mollies of every color. T W hat fish which you have never kept would P lease introduce In the plants that you like to acquire? yourself. floated on top, there T Describe your biggest fishkeeping “blooper!” were lots of baby fish. T Describe your most memorable fishkeeping My hobby That’s when I wanted experience. started when my dad to get more into the T W hat advice would you give to a set up a 29 gallon hobby. beginning fishkeeper? tank. It housed T W hat are your fishkeeping goals? community fishes. As Describe your fantasy - OR write a narrative story my hobby grew, so fish tank.


did my interest in joining a group. That’s when I went to my first meeting, and then I joined the GCAS in 2007.

It would be well planted, of course, with tons of driftwood. I would have gold or cardinal tetras, or both of them.

Tell us about your favorite aquarium.

If you were a fish, which one would you be?

It has to be my 30 gallon aquarium. I added live plants to it, and driftwood. It houses koi, and other community fishes as well.

I would be half-moon, of course!





W ho is your hobby hero? W hat was your favorite first fish? It would have to be goldfish. I was always fascinated with the different kinds, colors, and body shapes. I had fun watching them grow, and swim together. I would search for them at 10

W ow, you really got me stuck on this one. I wouldn’t know where to start. W hat fish which you have never kept would you like to acquire?

September 2007

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

A flowerhorn. A really nice one. I like all the different strains, from the original one to the new ones. Describe your most memorable blooper. Mixing species that don’t get along, like Bettas with guppies (fancy), and koi goldfish with round-bodied ones. W hat advice would you give to a beginning fishkeeper? Do not mix fish which are not compatible. Test your water when you think something is not right. Always try to use aged water, or conditioner — it works well. Trust me, read magazines. They give you another’s experience. Also, check the websites. There are great photos of fishes. W hat are your fiskeeping goals? To pass my knowledge on to others, to share my experiences, and to learn more. These are my goals for the future!

omewhere in the middle of the various oaths you take when you are a Girl Scout is a promise to tell the truth. I am sorely tempted to claim success at stumping Joe Ferdenzi. I also find myself pondering the question “am I still a Girl Scout?” In spite of all that, I feel compelled to admit that yes, Joe did, indeed, deduce the identity of our August autobiographer. As a fishkeeper since the age of five, and a member of the GCAS for sixteen years, I think it


Leonard Ramroop is fair to describe him as a veteran hobbyist. Taking his experience one step further, by having developed his own strain of guppy, would most assuredly raise his stature to that of the mentor or hobby hero of other aquarists. He has filled many shoes here at the GCAS. In the past he has taken charge of “Early Arrivals” responsibilities. Currently he is a member of the Board, and is also our Bowl Show Chairman. He rarely misses a meeting. He wasn’t quite sure that he wanted to be an anonymous fishkeeper (he has a quiet and retiring demeanor). I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say that we are very glad he did. I can picture in my mind the tank with the 200 Red Cobra Guppies, his most memorable shopping trip, and the discus tank of his dreams. Thank you, Leonard, for sharing all that and more.

Our Generous Members very month we have a sheet on our auction table where members who donate items to the auction can indicate their donations (and yes, a “50%-50%” split is also donation). Although we have no shortage of items to be auctioned, only a few of those donating complete this sign-in sheet. W e’d like to give everyone who donates credit, so if you donate to the auction, please put your name down. For our August auction, the following generous members agreed to be identified as having donated items:


Jeff Bollbach Harry Faustmann Joe Graffagnino Jakleen M urk Anton Vukich Ed Vukich

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

September 2007


The Seahorse Chronicles BREEDING SEAHORSES - PART 2: COURTSHIP by BERNARD HARRIGAN n the first part of this series on breeding we covered how to set up a tank for breeding seahorses. W e went over tank size, filtration, water movement, lighting, furnishings, and stocking the tank. In Part 2 we will cover how to pair up a male and female seahorse, their courtship and its consummation, along with some snags you might run into.


If you don’t have a bonded pair of seahorses, there are a few tricks by which to get them interested in one another. The obvious way of putting several seahorses together in a tank and letting them pair off on their own can work, but it’s very unnatural for them. Seahorses are basically solitary fish. They don’t swim in schools, or even live in herds in the wild. They’re not social animals per se, and don’t have the social skills to interact well when placed in a group in the small confines of an aquarium. W hen in such a setting, females can seem to be calculating and treacherous towards egg-laden females. There are numerous accounts of how one female tricked another female into thinking she was going to breed, only to expel her eggs and have them land on the gravel below. On the other hand, one male will try to cut in on another’s action, shoving the other out of the way at a very key moment. Other times, these normally peaceful males will grapple with each other in a sort of Greco-Roman wrestling style, with the stronger male pinning the weaker male down to the bottom of the tank. Males are also known to take shots at a rival using the same technique he’d use on snapping up a shrimp. This can be a forceful blow that stuns the opponent, or worse yet, knocks his eye out. Yeah, I’m talking about some serious fighting here. I’m not saying a melée will always break out when you put four or more seahorses together. It varies, depending on the species as well as the temperament of the individual seahorse. Dwarf seahorses, Hippocampus zosterae, will breed even under crowded conditions. But, even in the case of the dwarf seahorse, you should always strive to house them in the best possible and most natural environment. Just because dwarf seahorses will stay peaceful and breed without much incident, doesn’t mean that is how they should be kept. It’s the exception and not the rule. Let’s take a look at what seahorse life is like out in the ocean. It will help you understand just how these creatures pair up. Seahorses are ambush hunters who wait until their food comes to them. Since they all compete for this limited resource (small crustaceans) it wouldn’t make sense 12

for them to be densely packed into one area. A single seahorse can have a territory of over 300 square feet. The male has a smaller territory that is encompassed inside the female (his partner’s) territory. These territories are spread out into a colony. An unpaired seahorse, or one that has lost its mate, will roam around the colony looking for a spouse. If it runs into a mated pair, the solo seahorse will be rejected and sent on its unmerry way. If two seahorses meet at the borders of one another’s territories, they shy away from each other, avoiding interaction. For a solitary seahorse, it isn’t easy to find a mate. W hen they do find one, they have two main concerns. First, both males and females are looking for a robust partner. The male wants a female who could produce a large brood for him to pass his genes along to. The female is looking for a male she is sure will be able to fertilize and nurture the utmost amount of eggs she can produce. The bottom line is, neither of them wants a mate that’s significantly smaller than they are. Second, although different species of seahorses can interbreed, this is not the norm. Intentional hybridization often results in a greater number of deformities, less viable offspring, and a greater chance of sterility among the fry. Since all species of seahorse are endangered, this should be avoided. It’s avoided in nature in a number of ways, including the mating dance. This dance is crucial in making sure that both partners are perfectly positioned to transfer the eggs. Since each species’ dance varies, this makes it exceedingly difficult for seahorses of two different species to line everything up. This dance typically occurs over a three-day period, during the first hours of daylight. Either the male or the female will change their coloration slightly, or radiate to attract their partner. If the other seahorse doesn’t come over and respond accordingly, breeding will not take place. Other behaviors that mark this spectacular dance are quivering or vibrating their bodies, Maypole dancing, and synchronized swimming. Males will literally bend over backwards to show

September 2007

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

the female that he has an empty pouch. The entrance to the pouch will open quite wide, and expand with water so she can easily see inside. The female’s eggs will fill with water and expand, giving her a noticeably swollen appearance. Usually by the third day they will start the “copulatory rise.” The pair will be facing one another, tails intertwined, as they swim straight up. This can go on for over eight hours before they are positioned just right. The female needs to be above the male’s open brood pouch at just the right angle before the orange eggs can be handed off. They

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

become fertilized outside the pouch. Once inside, the eggs will attach themselves to the wall of the pouch, as a sort of pseudo-placenta, getting their nourishment from the male. The male will find himself a peaceful spot, and rock the eggs into place. The duration of the pregnancy can vary, depending on conditions and species. When the father is ready to give birth he will have muscular contractions to discharge the fry. These babies are tiny miniature versions of the adults. They don’t receive any additional care from their parents.

September 2007


In order to raise these fry, a nursery and food cultures need to be set up. This needs to be done before the male goes into labor, usually within the first or second week after he has become pregnant.

W e will go into raising the fry in our next and last installment of this series on breeding. Until then, take the very best care of your fish. You chose to keep them; they didn’t choose to be with you.

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


September 2007

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

Keeping Fish Healthy, Without the Use of Medicine by PATRICK DONSTON hrough many years of service and giving advice to fellow Aquarists, I’ve been asked many times, “W hat can I put in my tank to prevent disease?” Medications such as formaldehyde, methylene blue, malachite green, and quinine hydro-chloride are commonly used to cure some bacterial and parasitic infections. The problem is, if used on a frequent basis, parasites and pathogenic bacterial strains can develop an immunity to them. My theory on medicating fish is a preventative one:


“The best medication to heal a fish, is the fish itself.” W hat I’m really saying is the immune system is a powerful machine to fight and prevent disease. A strong immune system is extremely important to fishes health and every Aquarist must take the proper steps in providing these elements for success. The scope of this paper will briefly explain the most important elements needed to maintain a strong fish. First and foremost are the water conditions. Aquariums must be kept with the utmost care in order to achieve a high standard of water quality. Toxicity problems such as ammonia (NH4+), nitrite (NO 2), or low pH can be devastating to fishes’ health. These conditions will burn fishes eyes, scales, and slime coat. Remember, the capacity of the host to resist disease depends on the maintenance of an intact physical barrier between the internal tissues and the environment. This is known as “natural resistance.” If the slime coat or eyes are damaged through toxicity problems, parasites and bacteria find their way in the host much easier. Low pH levels (acidic water) not only cause external damage, but also cause physiological stress. A sub-par pH will change the pH level of the blood inside the fish. Rapid operculum pumping tells us O 2 consumption is desperate and energy exhaustion may occur. The presence of natural resistors (or anti-bodies) in the blood, tissues, and mucus can diminish under physiological exhaustion. Fish, as with all animals, need natural resistors to fight off diseases. Under physiological stress, anti-body production is decreased leaving them susceptible to pathogens. pH, ammonia, and nitrate can be easily tested in aquarium water. If any of these parameters are not in balance, one must trouble-shoot and find where the problem lies. I can describe from countless observations, fish will not be cured of any infection, no matter what medicine is administered, if ammonia or nitrite is present in water. That is why it is important to take the proper steps, ensuring wastes are eliminated.

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

Below, I’ve listed several guidelines to follow: 1) adequate biological filtration 2) monthly partial water changes 3) vacuum gravel bed (~ once a month) 4) maintain filter media (~ once a month) These general practices may vary in accordance to 1) tank size, 2) number of fish, and 3) type of specimens housed. One should consult a lo c a l a q ua rium sho p o r b o o k fo r recommendations toward these guidelines in relation to the type of fish they may be keeping. W hat if we have sick or dead fish and the above water parameters are in check? Can the water conditions still be a problem? As a matter of fact, there are many situations where it occurs. Ammonia and nitrate are not present but dissolved organics are high, thus water conditions can still be a factor in fishes health. Although nitrogen based wastes can be tested, organic waste, bacteria, and viruses cannot. Lack of filtration or maintenance of the aquarium results in what I call “dirty-water syndrome.” Tank water becomes saturated with organic waste known as dissolved organic carbon or DOC. (Figure 1). Bacteria and viruses feed on this matter enabling them to propagate into large numbers. If the pathogen numbers are high in the tank-water, anti-bodies of the fish cannot fight as well, thus infections occur. Look at it this way; if we swim in crowded pools where filtration and chlorine levels are low, there are potential problems with sores on our skin. These occur from bacteria and viruses which are high in numbers of poorly maintained swimming pools. I don’t think we would swim in a pool, knowing there is a high bacterial-viral count. Dirty-water syndrome can be eliminated by following the guidelines I’ve stated in the previous section. Again I emphasize, if the DOC is high in water, pathogens reproduce in great proportions, thus anti-bodies are out numbered and can’t fight disease no matter what treatment is used.

September 2007


W e must have a clean tank to medicate fishes that are already infected with disease. Otherwise, the medication is useless. If the immune system is the key to a fish healing from disease, then it goes without saying, antibody production must always be a concern. Antibodies are enzymes (or proteins) produced by the immune system. Development of antibodies are directly related to the availability of the right components needed for production. These are the nutrients we feed our fish. Below I’ve listed the 4 basic nutrient groups. W e must try to meet the fish’s dietary needs of all 4 groups in order to achieve sustenance, growth, and reproduction. 16

1) Proteins (Niacin, Thiamine, or other amino-acids) 2) Lipids (L-ascorbic acid, HUFAS) 3) Carbohydrates (cellulose, keratin, biotin) 4) Vitamins (B 12, C, E, K 3, A) Of course, nutrient requirements vary from fish to fish. It is important to always feed a varied diet that ensures we are completing the nutritional needs. I can say from first-hand experience that I have healed lymphocytosis, lateral line disorder, Hexamita, and other bacterial infections by feeding dry pellets saturated with liquid vitamins. I credit this to the strengthening of the immune system.

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

Live foods are not always the best solution for nutritional requirements. Studies have shown fish produce over 10 times the waste than if they were fed dry or frozen food. A soft dry pellet with low carbohydrate and ash content optimizes protein/energy ratio resulting in lower organic phosphorus and nitrogen excretion. The idea of a clean system by minimizing fish waste and a diet consisting of high energy food is the pattern Aquaculturist follow. Carbohydrates are found almost exclusively in plants, thus a herbivorous diet should always be fed (even to carnivorous fishes). Large Cichlids or marine fish fed exclusively on live foods never look as healthy as if they were fed a varied diet of dried plant and animal matter.

In conclusion, living organisms alter the composition of the water in which they live, and the resultant changes are sometimes harmful. The aquarist’s task is to recognize these changes and attempt to control them. Most of our knowledge concerning fish dietary requirements comes from experimental nutrition studies. These studies have demonstrated the relative importance of dietary proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates for growth and energy to run the bodily machinery. If these requirements are met, the fish will do the rest.

REFERENCES Bardach, John E. 1997. Sustainable Aquaculture. W iley and Sons Inc., New York, N.Y., p251. Moyle, Peter B. and Joseph J. Cech. 1988. An Introduction to Ichthyology. 2nd. Ed. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., p559. Scheve, Larry G. 1984. Elements of Biochemstry. Allyn and Bacon Inc., Newton, Mass., p 462. Spotte, Stephen. 1992. Captive Seawater Fishes. W iley and Sons Inc., New York, N.Y., p 942.

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

September 2007


when you know what fish you want to find, the text is working against you. Perhaps the fact that this book has been translated into English from the original German is a contributing factor. On the other hand, browsers won’t be held back by this. I want to return to the topic of water types. The author describes seven different water a Series On Books For The Hobbyist types. They are Type 1: pH 4.5-6.5, dH 0-3; by SUSAN PRIEST Type 7: pH >8. dH >12, with 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt per 2.5 gallons of water, and types 2-6 his is a review of “the worst book I ever taking various steps in between. I have never seen liked.” W hat does that mean? W ell, in spite anything like this elsewhere. I have no specific of its many shortcomings, I find that I cannot objection to it per se, until I come across a fish bring myself to completely write it off. So, even profile which says “water types 2-6.” That is a though I will be bouncing around a bit as far as what span of five water types! I like and don’t like, I’ll tell you what makes it the I have just one more worst, and wrap up by telling gripe (honest!). W hat the you why I like it anyway. author calls “colored grip Tropical Freshwater Let me begin by saying marks,” I was thinking of as Aquarium Fish From A to Z that this is a small volume: four thumb prints, because my By Ulrich Schliewen inches by seven inches, and 256 thumb naturally landed on Barrons, 2005 pages. The opening section, them. There is one at the left “Fish Families,” names some margin of each profile, and groups by common name, and they are all the same color. others by Latin name, and they are in no particular They are half-moon shaped “tabs,” and each one order that I can see. Each listing has a brief has a gallon number, such as 62.5 gallons, or 87 paragraph called General, and a second called gallons. (Again, we must be dealing here with the Biology. translation from liters to gallons.) I don’t find this Starting on page 23, and continuing useful because you don’t know how many of each through page 225 (the bulk of the text), are the fish to include in this recommended gallonage. “Profiles” of 300 fish. As you turn each page, you Also, if the fish is a community fish, does it need will find three fish represented, with text on the left, 12.5 gallons out of a 50 gallon tank, the rest of and a color photo facing it on the right. Each profile which is being occupied by other fish? It is a has a common and then the Latin name, followed by worthwhile concept, but it left this reader with a family name. In some cases the family name listed more questions than answers. in the profile is not among those listed in the fish There is a small red fish-shaped icon in a families, however the author gives you a page few of the grip marks which indicates a fish with number from that section to refer to. special needs. In most cases, it means that the fish “Characteristics” basically tells you the size of the requires a very large tank. fish, and features of sexual differentiation. In spite of my griping, I still like this “Tank/water” describes the tank size (dimensions, book, and I will tell you why. First and foremost not volume) and water type (I’ll come back to this are the photos. The photos are great. They are just shortly). “Care” covers tank decor and feeding. right; really! I can’t ever remember the photos from Next comes “Habits.” I found myself repeatedly a book making me want to try keeping (or keeping misreading this word as habitats. Coincidentally (or again) a species of fish, actually a whole lot of maybe not), such comments as “schooling fish species, just by looking at the photos. native to shady, quiet flowing waters . . .” are Next is the last sentence of each profile typical, and actually fit both descriptions. Each entitled “Compatibility.” This information is p ro file c o n c lu d e s w ith a se n te n ce o n invaluable, and is not often available. Here is an “Compatibility.” example: “In a tank of Altum Angelfish, neons will My main and major gripe with this book is be eaten.” (In last month’s issue, someone tells of that the author arranges the profiles “alphabetically learning this lesson the hard way.) according to the English common name most Add to those the facts that it is portable, frequently used.” If you want to find a hatchetfish, bendable, and lightweight. Also, it has a a leaf fish, a piranha, or an archer fish, you would transparent plastic “dust cover,” and if you set a have to look up Platinum Hatchetfish, South cold drink down on it, the “watermark”wipes off! American Leaf Fish, Orinoco Piranha, and Small This book is not intended to be Scale Archer Fish, respectively. These are just a comprehensive. Pretty much everything is few examples from among the 300 names. Even



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

abbreviated, as it has to be in a volume of this size. Let me call your attention to the word Freshwater in the title. Following the fish profiles there is a short section on shrimp, crabs, crayfish, and snails which references only freshwater animals. Again, the wonderful photos made me want to keep crabs, of all things! The book closes with a (brief) overview of five different biotope tanks, a general index, and an index of Latin names.

Now that all is said and done, I find that I like this book a little better than I thought I did. I am revising my original description to say “the best book that I didn’t like everything about!” If you give it a try, I would be interested to know what you think. Al has asked us to think of something we have always wanted to write about. Right away I knew what it would be for me. Watch for a very unique version of W et Leaves in our December 2007 issue.

As Some of Us Know…… and Some of Us Don’t by Desiree M artin


s some of you know, I have only recently embarked upon my ventures in becoming an aquarium hobbyist, and as such, my recent revelations have been experienced by most of you a long time ago.

However, I have been encouraged by seasoned GCAS members to share my recent trials and tribulations with fellow members inasmuch as there are probably some other new hobbyists among us that may benefit from my recent “fish” lessons. Although some of these lessons now seem silly even to me, and I am somewhat embarrassed about a couple of my mishaps, some things I have learned are: 1) Fish with large mouths will often eat the smaller fish in your tank. 2)The more colorful and flamboyant looking smaller fish are usually eaten by the larger fish first, because they are more attractive. 3) You should not totally change the water in your aquarium when cleaning because you get rid of useful bacteria. 4) A turkey baster (dedicated for aquarium use only) is useful in removing waste from among the rocks in your tank. 5) Fish love live plants. 6) M embers of GCAS are useful resources in answering your questions, and never think a question you have is silly. 7) If you love your fish, they will love you in return :o) W ell, that’s all for now. W hen new situations arise, I will certainly share them with you.

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

September 2007


How to Culture White Worms by BERNARD HARRIGAN ne of my favorite live foods to feed my fish (to my knowledge, I haven’t ingested any — yet) is white worms, Enchytraeus albidus. Fish will readily accept them. They’re outstanding for conditioning breeders, and they can survive underwater for several days. Once dropped in a tank, sharks, corys, and loaches are determined to dig through the gravel to get at them. In particular, my W eather Loaches, Misgurnus angillicaudatus, relish these tasty morsels. The first culture I had was from a Greater City silent auction. I always get my money’s worth whenever I pick up something from one of these events. (Now, if I could only buy a used car at one.) Anyway, it came with a custom-made wooden box with a sliding Plexiglass lid. I think I paid five dollars for it. The box alone was worth that much. It also had instructions on the care and feeding of the white worms. Since then, through trial and tribulation, I came up with the easiest way to have a very prolific culture. I’ll go to he garden supply store and buy a bag of potting soil. I’m looking for soil that has the words “sterilized,” “leaf mold,” and “humus” on the bag. I don’t want to see the words “fertilizer” or “herbicide.” Those things are bad for worms. I’ll buy a 50 pound bag because I know I’ll end up using it. W hile I’m there, I’ll also pick up some lime. You don’t need much lime for the white worms, so unless you are going to use it for other things, get the smallest package that they’ll sell to you. In an old Styrofoam fish box that has a tight-fitting lid, I will pour enough soil to make it four or five inches deep. Then I’ll mix in two tablespoons of lime. The worms need the soil to be



slightly alkaline in order to thrive. Make sure that the lime is thoroughly mixed in. Using a watering can, sprinkle a little water on the soil. You want the soil to be moist enough so that when you squeeze it in your hand it holds its shape, including your finger grooves. If you squeeze it and water drips out, then it is too wet. Once you have that set, your worm bed is ready. Now I dig a trench in the center of the soil. I’ll put some milk-soaked bread in the trench along with my starter culture. Then I cover the box and store it in a cool to chilly location, 50E-65E F. At 75E F the worms will die. To collect the worms, I just go back to the trench and uncover a ball of worms. I drop the worm ball into water to decant the soil and food stuff from the worms. The worms will sink. If, when you are feeding the worms to your fish, some soil should happen to fall into the tank, don’t worry. Think of all the soil these fish have in their natural habitats. I make sure that I don’t harvest the worms too soon. I feed the worms in different spots in the box whenever their food is being used up. I monitor my culture to see how it’s doing. Every three months, I start a new culture. There are three points I’d like to touch on. The first is what to feed the worms. I use milk-soaked bread to start the culture. After that, I vary the diet. I’ve used table scraps, like mashed potatoes, sliced potatoes, or potato peelings; almost any vegetable or vegetable scraps. The same goes for fruit or cooked cereal like oatmeal, corn meal, and farina. Just make sure it has little to no butter, and isn’t hot. I have even used old fish food that I didn’t want to feed to my fish. I’ve heard of

September 2007

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

people using dry dog food or dry cat food, pablum, malted milk powder, wheat flour — the list is endless. The bottom line here is that the worms are not picky. I think of it as recycling and varying their diet all at the same time. I love feeding them leftover hot dog rolls. I often wonder why it is that you get more hot dog rolls per package then you get hot dogs. So, you could feed the extras to the worms. The second point has to do with temperature. During the fall, winter, and spring my culture does fine in the corner of the basement. During the summer, I run into trouble. That was until I took an empty soda bottle, filled it with water, and froze it. During those days when the temperature would soar, I would put the frozen bottle right into the box, and put the lid back on. I’d have to change the bottle about every other day, and the worms did great.

The third point is that I’ve always heard white worms are too “fatty” to feed to your fish all the time. In doing research for this article, I’ve learned that white worms contain less than 2.7% body fat, in contrast to microworms which contain 4.8%.1 Now, I’d never feed white worms exclusively to my fish, but I make it a part of a varied diet. The more varied the diet, the healthier your fish will be.


http://members.optushome. c o m. a u / c helmon/ Whitewrm.htm


It’s not global warming - the heater is broken!

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

September 2007



September 2007

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

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

September 2007


New Hampshire Aquarium Society 15th Annual Auction Sunday, October 14, 2007 Newington Town Hall Nimble Hill Rd. Newington, NH Auction will begin at 12Noon. Arrive early for viewing For more information & sheets Call Bill Janetos (603) 749-2667 or E-mail at: Call Don Van Pelt (207) 973-2030 or E-mail at Visit NHAS’s W ebpage at:

Danbury Area Aquarium Society 20th Annual Auction Sunday, October 21, 2007 at the Carmel Firehouse Route 52 & Vink Dr, Carmel, NY Vendors: Mona’s Koi (Ed Champigny), Lee Finley (Finley Aquatics), and Ken’s Fish (Ken Menard) Auction Hours: Registration: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Viewing of Goods: 11:00 AM to 11:45 PM Auction: 12:00 PM to 5 PM Contacts: Rich Litsky (845) 228-0372 Joe Masi (845) 896-4793 W EB: EMAIL:

The Tropical Fish Society of Rhode Island 34th Annual Aquarium Show and Auction September 21-23, 2007 St. Joseph’s Parish Center 1303 Mendon Road (Rte. 122) Cumberland, RI Friday, September 21, 2007 5:00 PM-9:00 PM - Show Setup Saturday, September 22 9:00 AM-11:30 AM - Show Setup & Viewing Sunday, September 23 9:00 AM - Doors Open, 9:15 AM-11:45 AM - Show Viewing 11:45 AM - Vendor Registration & Lot Viewing 12:00 - Show Award Presentation, Auction Starts. (Ends when last lot is sold) FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Allen W agonblott (401) 847-3364


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

The Latest (and The Greatest)? 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.

id you ever think about the fact that there is a whole new generation of aquarists for whom the phrase “freeze-dried” is NOT an oxymoron (that is, mutually contradictory terms used together)? Think about it, you really can’t freeze something that is totally dry. Nonetheless, we use freeze-dried food for our fish. Then, again, that same generation of new aquarists probably won’t understand it if we say that we’re going to “dial” the phone. W hen was the last time you really “dialed” a phone number? W hat about writing a letter (or even an e-mail) and adding the letters “cc” to indicate that a copy is being sent to someone other than the primary addressee? “CC” means (or used to mean) “carbon copy.” Does anyone remember carbon paper? Does anyone even have any carbon paper, or even know where and how to get some today? Do you realize that first thing this new generation of aquarists is going to think about when they hear the word “python” is not a non-venomous constricting snake, but rather a water changing and gravel cleaning product, which was “always” available (although some smart-Alec youngster may also think of the Python programming language). There is a generation of hobbyists who never knew a time when “metal halide” lights did not exist. That same generation may have never seen a ceramic tank ornament (or, for that matter, any tank ornament made in the U.S.A.). I always had the impression that Australians were, on the whole, a fairly hardy lot, and not easily spooked or intimidated. W ell, maybe Crocodile Dundee isn’t worried about meeting a freshie showing its ivories while he’s on walkabout in a billabong, but nearly four years after GloFish® (a trademarked brand of genetically modified zebra danios having bright red, green, and orange fluorescent color) were first introduced to the United States market, the Australian government is still debating whether to allow them for sale in that country. Greenpeace opposes the sale of the fish “down under.” “W e have no way of predicting what


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

havoc they will cause when they are released into the wild,” Greenpeace says on its website. Zebra danios wrecking havoc? I wonder if whoever wrote that on behalf of Greenpeace ever saw one? A recent article in Modern Aquarium mentioned using fish tank water for house plants. W ell, at Springhouse Farm in Durham, North Carolina, there is a greenhouse that does that on an extremely large scale. It houses a prototype aquaponics system — a method of farming that uses fish to feed and fertilize plants, which in turn filter the water that gets circulated back to the fish. Naturally occurring bacteria in the gravel breaks down the urine in the pond water to provide the plants with nutrition. (The solid waste from the fish is filtered out and removed.) The greenhouse has six waist-high beds of pebble-sized pea gravel that measure four by eight feet, and are only a foot deep. From these beds grow anything that could grow in dirt. In the back of the greenhouse is a 600-gallon plastic pond. In it are about 60 full-grown tilapia. Their job is to urinate — and in doing so, provide hope that a system such as this can feed some of the world’s poorest people, particularly in areas where farming is difficult and protein is a hard find. Shelia Rittgers, who tends the Durham aquaponics system, has helped install two aquaponic systems in Haiti, where farming is marginal because most of the topsoil has eroded. Her greenhouse has been operating for six years, and about two-thirds of the 90 original fish are still alive. The remaining tilapia, which started as fingerlings, are all now more than a foot long. In addition to the feed Rittgers throws in, the tilapia munch on the algae growing on the sides of the tub. Tilapia make ideal aquaponic fish, because they have a low oxygen requirement and reach maturity within six months. Rittgers’ system is rigged electronically so that a few times a day a pump lifts the water from the tub into a grid of perforated PVC pipes that waters the gravel beds. The beds flood a bit, and as the water recedes, it collects back into the pipes and is then purged all at once into the pond. It spurts forth from a showerhead-like nozzle at an angle into the water, oxygenating the pond. The tilapia line up to swim against the current and fill their gills. The systems Rittgers and others helped install in Haiti are not electrically operated, because power supplies there are unreliable. Instead, the water is pumped by hand up to the beds, and gravity simply returns the filtered water back to the pond. W hatdayaknow— low tech systems still work!

September 2007



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September 2007

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

G.C.A.S. HAPPENINGS W elcome new members: Desirée M artin, Nick Pandolfi, Ron Pandolfi

Last M onth’s Bowl Show W inners: 1) Ed Vukich 2) Bill Amely 3) Bill Amely UNOFFICIAL results this season, to date: Ed Vukich 18; Carlotti De Jager 11; Artie Friedman 6; Darwin Richmond 3; Bill Amely 4; 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; October 10, 2007 Speaker: M ark Denaro Topic: “Aquascaping 101" 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: October 12, 2007 21st Annual Tropical Fish Auction 7:30pm at Floyd Bennett Field, Bklyn. — Aviator Sports & Recreation Center See page 23 for complete details and directions. 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 Next M eeting: September 21, 2007 Speaker: Tim Nurse Topic: “Dive Trip to Lake Tanganyika” Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) at Holtsville Park and Zoo at 8:00pm. 249 Buckley Road - Holtsville, NY W ebsite: Email: Arie Gilbert -

Nassau County Aquarium Society Next M eeting: October 9, 2007 Silent Auction 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:

North Jersey Aquarium Society Next M eeting: September 20, 2007 Speaker: Spencer Jack Topic: “Collecting in Uruguay” 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)

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

September 2007


Fin Fun Vocabulary Challenge Here are some not-so-common words used by fishkeepers. Challenge yourself to choose the correct definitions. It’s not cheating if you have to look them up. DORAS:

__A talkng catfish __A livebearing catfish

__ A walking catfish __A catfish with scales


__A brown edge on a leaf __A floating plant seed

__A hole in the center of a leaf __A horizontal plant stem


__An omnivorous killifish __A herbivorous anabantoid

__ A carnivorous plant __A female fish in search of a mate

LACUSTRINE: __Living in rivers __Living in lakes

__Living in the ocean __Living in brackish water


__A virus __A parasite

__A bacteria __A plant


__A worm __A snail

__A shrimp __A soft coral


__An abbreviation for gaseous hydrogen __An abbreviation for general hardness


__W ater lilies __W ater currents

Solution to last month’s puzzle:


__An abbreviation for genetic hybrid __An abbreviation for genus Hemichromus __W ater fleas __Mermaids


September 2007

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