Modern Aquarium May 2009

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May 2009 volume XVI number 3

Series III

ON THE COVER Our cover photo this month features Nematobrycon lacortei, also known as LaCorte’s emperor tetra. For the story on how this fish came to have this name, see Joe Ferdenzi’s “Double Royalty” story on page 9.

Photo by Marsha Radebaugh


President Vice-President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

Dan Radebaugh Mark Soberman Jack Traub Warren Feuer Edward Vukich

Members At Large

Claudia Dickinson Artie Friedman Ben Haus Leonard Ramroop

Pete D’Orio Al Grusell Emma Haus

Committee Chairs

A.C.A. Delegate Bowl Show Breeder Award Early Arrivals F.A.A.S. Delegate Members/Programs N.E.C. Delegate Technology Coordinator

Claudia Dickinson Leonard Ramroop Warren Feuer Mark Soberman Al Grusell Alexander Priest Claudia Dickinson Claudia Dickinson Warren Feuer

MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief Copy Editors Exchange Editors Photo/Layout Editor Advertising Mgr.

Dan Radebaugh Sharon Barnett Susan Priest Alexander A. Priest Stephen Sica Donna Sosna Sica Jason Kerner Mark Soberman

Vol. XVI, No. 3 May, 2009

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2009 Program Schedule Our Generous Members President’s Message The NEC 2008 Author Awards Can You Spare Some Change? by Jannette Ramirez

Fish Bytes

by Stephen Sica with Donna Sosna Sica

Double Royalty

LaCorte’s Emperor Tetra by Joseph Ferdenzi

Zoos News Update Meet the Experts Night by Claudia Dickinson

Member Networking Little Leo, the Oddball Cory by Susan Priest

Member Classifieds Cichlidically Speaking by Claudia Dickinson

Pet Alert

HR 669 from the PIJAC

Aquarium, Sweet Home! by William Amely

The Undergravel Reporter G.C.A.S. Happenings Fin Fun (Puzzle Page)

2 3 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 15 18 19 20 21 25 31 32 33 34

From the Editor


by Dan Radebaugh

his issue contains a couple of unusual items. While it is normal for us to include notices about other organizations’ conventions, auctions, and so on, we have not made a practice of including anything of extended length from outside sources. We will in all likelihood maintain that policy, but this month I received a couple of pieces that seem, considering the times we are living in, relevant enough to include. The first of these is a piece from the Wildlife Conservation Society, and details the successful battle to reverse the draconian cuts announced by Governor Patterson to the Zoos, Botanical Gardens, and Aquariums budget line. While this is really good news, we shouldn’t imagine that all is now well. The state of the economy is still pretty grim, and loss of income from other sources is still creating enormous problems for these fine and valuable organizations. The second item is from PIJAC (the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), regarding a proposed law now in committee (HR 669). I urge all of our members to read it, and to draw your own conclusions about this proposed legislation. On a more upbeat note, you’ll also see the results of the NEC 2008 article competition, where Modern Aquarium did very well. Modern Aquarium authors were awarded first-place in each of the four article categories, plus two second-place and two thirdplace awards, for a total of eight of the twelve awards presented. Congratulations to all our authors, as well as to Harry Faustmann, for his second-place entry in LIAS’s Paradise Press. Several of our NEC-recognized authors are contributors to this current issue. Jannette Ramirez gives us some tips about change, Sue Priest tells us about an eccentric catfish, the Undergravel Reporter gives us his take on HR 669, and Joe Ferdenzi introduces us to “Double Royalty,” LaCorte’s Emperor Tetra. Additionally, Claudia Dickinson introduces us to our

panel of luminaries for tonight’s “Meet the Experts” program, and also returns with her second installment of “Cichlidically Speaking.” The issue is rounded out by Steve and Donna Sica’s “Fish Bytes,” (I collected a few of those on my wrist while changing water the other day), along with Bill Amely’s “Aquarium, Sweet Home,” and we finish with the popular “Fin Fun.” Remember, if you have an article, photo, or drawing that you’d like to submit for publication in Modern Aquarium, it’s easy to do! You may fax it to me at (877) 299-0522, email it to, or just hand it to me at a meeting. However you get it to me, I’ll be delighted to receive it!

Late News! HR 669 was killed in Committee. More details will follow in next month’s issue.

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. Please fax to (877) 299-0522, or email to Copyright 2008 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 January and February. Members receive notice of meetings in the mail. For more information, contact: Dan Radebaugh (718) 458-8437. Find out more, or leave us a message, at our Internet Home Page at: http://www. or


May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Programs 2009


t is our great fortune to have another admirable cast of speakers who have so graciously accepted our invitation to join us throughout the coming season, bringing us their extensive knowledge and experiences. You certainly won’t wish to miss a moment of our prominent guests, not to mention the friends, fish, warmth, and camaraderie that accompanies each meeting. I know I can barely wait to see you here! Claudia

Meet the Experts of the GCAS


Jeff Bollbach


“A Year in the Fish Room”




Silent Auction


Members Night


Tim Nurse

Diving Lake Tanganyika


Joseph Ferdenzi


Holiday Party!

History of the GCAS

Our Generous Members Each month a blue sheet is located on our auction table where those members who donate items to the auction can indicate their donations if they wish to do so. Due to the immense generosity of those who donate, we have no shortage of items to be auctioned. A warm thank you to the following members and others who so generously contributed, making last month’s auction the bountiful success that it was: Jeff Bollbach Carlotti de Jager Harry Faustmann

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Al & Sue Priest Dan & Marsha Radebaugh Ed Vukich

May 2009


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh


bout a year ago in my “From the Editor” column I mentioned the danger to our hobby from ill-considered legislation pushed by well funded pressure groups, based on little real science. Unfortunately, right now just such legislation (HR 669) is being considered in committee at the Federal level. A similar bill didn’t make it out of committee last year, but I think we can count on its proponents returning again and again with something similar or even worse. Later on in this issue is a response to the proposed legislation from PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advertising Council). They do a pretty good job of summarizing the pitfalls of this proposed law, so I won’t attempt to duplicate their argument here, other than to make a couple of observations. First, I am troubled by the totalitarian tone of the proposed bill. I believe it runs counter to our national ideals to have any law that forbids us from doing anything that we haven’t been given specific permission to do. That’s a police-state style of law, and gives well motivated and well financed pressure groups dangerous opportunities to have an outrageous amount of control over the rest of the citizenry. We just


shouldn’t have laws like that about anything. In the same vein, when I was in junior high school we were taught that logically one cannot prove the negative. The writers of this bill seem to have missed that class. Again, with respect to our democratic traditions, we―none of us―should have to prove in advance that an action on our part cannot possibly cause any harm in any way to anyone or anything. We’d effectively be paralyzed. We’ve also had plenty of historical examples to remind us that well-intentioned, noble-sounding legislation can have unintended consequences that are disastrous. I believe that most of us here at Greater City can clearly see the dark side of this bill. For instance by my reading, it would pretty much spell the end of the CARES program. While we may need some healthy debate to clarify our views and goals with respect to the importation and maintenance of non-native species, what we don’t need is broad, poorly-considered legislation that is so much at odds with our history and so devoid of common sense. Even if we grant that the sponsors of this bill may be well-intentioned, there’s an old saying about the pavement on the road to Hell. Speaking of CARES, back when I was a child, CARE was a program that we citizens were urged to participate in, first for those left in poverty and hunger by WWII, and later for those suffering from other causes. The CARE package was emblematic of that time. Please look at the information box on page 23, and see if you can look through your unused items to put together a “CARES” package. It too is a worthy cause.

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The NEC 2008 Article Competition Breeder Articles 1. The Case of the Hanging Cichlids 2. Breeding A South American killifish 3. A Different kind of Betta

Frank Fallon Harry W. Faustmann David L. Banks, Jr.


Jannette Ramirez Pat Smith Elliot Oshins


1. A Greater City Memoir 2. A New Star in the Galaxy:

Joseph Ferdenzi Alexander A. Priest


3. Easy Home Aquarium Photography:

Tim Nurse


Alexander A. Priest Dan Radebaugh Susan Priest


Humor Articles 1. Unheard (Of) Fishy Conversations 2. Dumb Luck 3. Coming Home A Winner

Open Articles The Celestial Pearl Danio, Celestichthys margaritatus How to Get the Results You See On Line

Continuing Columns 1. The Undergravel Reporter 2. From The Editor 3. Wet Leaves

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

May 2009


Can You Spare Some Change? by Jannette Ramirez


hange. It amazes me how this simple word has everyone worldwide believing that it suddenly has so much power, when it truly always has! It has helped the U.S.A. to choose our new President, and in doing so has opened up doors for diverse opinions and creativity to help address matters of interest to us all. Change is needed for us to improve our health and well being. Changing our nutrition will help us maintain healthier weights and keep our bodies in optimal condition. By doing so, we also change our mental and spiritual outlook on life. Change produces a domino effect on everyone around us. By changing our choice of words and how we say things to people, we can influence (change) their reactions to our expressed views. Change also affects our fishes. If we neglect to do our water changes…so many things can go wrong! The pH changes, the ammonia level can change and compromise our fishes’ health (if it doesn’t kill them!), the nitrate/nitrite levels change, and can go up to dangerous levels. Other undesirable changes can result: algae blooms may occur or parasites may thrive and invade our fishes’ bodies.


I think we are all familiar with these fishkeepers’ nightmares. It won’t matter how pretty our tanks look because of our choice of aquariums, decorations, plants, rocks, caves, or colorful gravel. If we don’t do our water changes or keep track of when the filters need media changes, our fish are bound to suffer the consequences and your happy smiles will be changed in short order. Our fish deserve more from us than just stares and food. Change any bad habits in your fish keeping hobby this year, and take notice of your thriving fishes and plants. Some of you have already initiated change by participating in the C.A.R.E.S. program. Change has already taken place in the fishkeeping world, and I am glad that the rest of the world is finally catching on. Together we can all make a difference, for the fish world and for the whole world. Change will benefit us all, if we all do our part. That’s what I’m talking about!

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

An occasional column for society exchanges, guest appearances, articles, and items of general interest. We try not to bite off more than we can swallow. If you wish to offer comments, suggestions, or any information that you would like to see in this column, the authors encourage you to contact us through the Editor (, or at a monthly meeting.


by Stephen Sica with Donna Sosna Sica

ow that Spring has arrived, most of us reflect on sunshine, warmer days and nights, flowers, and more time outdoors. Donna usually has a vacation planned by now, and depending on when this is published we’re probably home already. It’s one of the few occasions that she asks for my input―even though I tell her to decide. We’ve been saving up those frequent flyer miles with dedication, so I know it’s time to go someplace. But right now it’s time again to catch up on a few clubs’ publications. As a plant-ignorant person, I once purchased a water lily just because the price was right. I floated it in one of my tanks until it turned to goo. Then I fished out the goo. But Izzy Zwerin says in last November’s NJAS’s The Reporter, that the Nymphea stellata water lily is one of his favorite plants because it does not get too large. As Izzy says, “It has the typical water lily shape, but stays small and manageable. My specimen is a bright pink to orange color.” Izzy uses a twin T-5 fluorescent fixture for lighting. But as a bonus, he claims that the plant can do well with less light. Where did I go wrong? In the same issue, it states that global seafood consumption has tripled in the past fifty years. The swordfish that reproduce in the Pacific Ocean may have only one group of breeding fish…Bluefin tuna are so rare that one sells for over a hundred thousand dollars…Tiger shrimp are on the brink due to various diseases…Orange roughy are down eighty-five percent…and the Japanese still harvest an annual quota of whales under the guise of “research” and not commercial purposes. Maybe they’re still trying to determine if whales are animal, vegetable, or mineral. In this same issue is a Chuck Davis’ article, “When Selecting Large Plecos, No Small Matter.” Chuck recommends that you check the teeth if you intend the fish for a community tank. Some plecos have abnormally large teeth, which bodes unfavorably Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

for other plecos and fish. He suggests a minimum of five gallons per inch, and recommends heavy filtering and siphoning. Chuck once had a royal pleco that did not eat his plants, but perched upon a large anubias until it was crushed. In the earlier, September issue, Chuck writes about “Finding Rare Plecos.” Chuck states that where he lives in Florida, “we just fish a few 16-inchers right out of the canal.” He continues that “they are mostly the common species.” I’ll take them! Anyway, while internet purchases may be a good source, there are always potential problems when purchasing rare fish that are difficult to identify properly, especially if it arrives in poor health or dead, or you are just plain cheated―not to mention trying (or not) to ship in cold weather. Chuck likes to search the retail shops, because then he knows what he’s getting for his money. He recommends that we do the same. I tend to agree, especially if you save it for a day when there’s nothing to do, or when you don’t feel like doing chores. Also in the same September 2008 issue of The Reporter, is Richard J. Rego’s “The Red Lionfish,” that I eagerly read to update my knowledge and information about these invaders. In September 2006 the first lionfish, a juvenile, was captured by a scuba diver off Rhode Island. In the summer of the same year, hundreds were reported off Long Island. I know that there are some, but I sure hope hundreds is an exaggeration. Dr. Paul V. Loiselle wrote a fairly definitive article, “Rasbora vulcanus Tan 1999, the Volcano Rasbora from Sumatra.” Sixty-nine species of Rasbora (small to medium-sized minnows) are currently recognized, and thirty-four have been exported to Europe or North America. Dr. Loiselle presents a newcomer, Rasbora vulcanus from western Sumatra, that he believes will join the ranks of other colorful and popular species. This fish is metallic gold on the shoulder and flanks that becomes orange-red on the body and fins. The

May 2009


iris of its eye is gold with a reddish tinge. Its average length is two inches. Small streams are home to this fish, so an outside power filter will provide sufficient current. It will eat flake food and anything else small enough. Dr. Loiselle recommends frozen CyclopEze to enhance coloration. They are very community oriented and display jumping tendencies. Loiselle‘s group of three females and four males readily bred, but no fry resulted; the fish share their tank with barbs and other rasboras. A fellow fishkeeper had several that bred by themselves. He believes that exports are captive-bred, because of the good availability and low

What’s a little grunt doing with a Southern stingray? I told Donna to either make it talk or make it sushi!

price. Did you ever notice…fishkeepers with the most expensive filtration and water purification systems drink from the tap―or at best from a plastic bottle? Their tanks get their own room, while the children have to share. In my case my older brother and I shared one bedroom and two ten-gallon tanks. Did you ever notice that a fishkeeping spouse promises to purchase a tank for the non-fishkeeping spouse? I always either ask my wife for permission, or for her to purchase it for me as a special occasion gift. That way she doesn’t have to shop. In October 2008, The Central New York Aquarium Society, that sends out its publication, The Reflector, received via e-mail, reprinted Charley Sabatino’s “The Pennyworts: Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Hydrocotyle verticillata and Hydrocotyle sibthorpoides.” This article originally appeared in the April 2007 Modern Aquarium. Last summer, I read in I’A O Hawai’i (Fishes of Hawai’i) that a club catfish cleanup of the local Manoa Stream removed approximately two hundred and sixtyseven pounds of plecos, dozens of Corydoras aeneus, and two smallmouth bass. These fish were the result of releasing, either intentionally or unintentionally, fish into the stream. My reaction is that this is a remarkable number of plecos. What happened to all of those fish? How large was that stream? Do other streams empty into it? Can I get there by car? I read that Hemianthus callitrichoides, or HC as Efren Leonida’s article of the same name calls it in 8

GPASI’s Finformation, is a small-leafed stem plant effectively used as a carpeting foreground plant in large aquariums, or as the “ultimate plant for nano tank layouts.” Moderate light is sufficient, and carbon supplementation helps. But HC is uncommon in shops. Read an old joke (or fact of life) about the 2007 AFISH convention in The Reporter. This is my condensed version: Three NJAS members were driving to Riverhead. The first says that he had to purchase expensive jewelry for his wife in order for her to let him go. The second says that he had to send his wife and her sister to a pricey spa for her to let him go. The third brags that it cost him nothing. He told his wife that it was going to be chilly, so they should stay in bed and make love all day. She replied, “Wear a warm coat, because it’s much colder on Long Island.” I’ve heard that twelve square inches of surface area per inch of fish is a good guide for stocking a freshwater tank. If I follow this guide, should I trim my fish lengthwise, crossways, or just trim the tail? Why do pet shops chase fish with one net, while a caring fishkeeper uses one net to coax a fish into a second one, thus eliminating stress on both parties? Should we feed our fish lots of food once a day, or every other day, or a small amount several times a day? I often feel sorry for my fish, and feed them often, but only a little at a time. On some workdays when I arrive home late, I often don’t feed them for two or three days―by the time I arrive home, I’m too tired to do anything but turn on the television and fall asleep. Speaking of sleep, it’s time for me to get some, so to quote a legendary newsman, “Good night and good luck.”

Donna says that this Goliath grouper is too big to handle, with teeth to match, so she won’t be getting any fish news out of that mouth. Will a cleaner wrasse make it talk?

May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Double Royalty: LaCorte’s Emperor Tetra


by Joseph Ferdenzi

mperor tetras are among the most beautiful of characins, and certainly one of the easiest to breed. They are also small, peaceful fish that will vigorously compete for standard aquarium foods, which in turn makes them ideal candidates for a community aquarium. There are various kinds of emperor tetras of the genus Nematobrycon, largely differentiated by color variation. One thing they all have in common, however, is a very distinctive tri-lobed tail. In fact, I am only aware of one other common freshwater aquarium fish that shares this feature – the blue gularis (Fundulopanchax sjoestedti), a killifish from Africa. Emperor tetras on the other hand, are from South America. By far the most common emperor tetra is Nematobrycon palmeri, a fish seen with regularity in all well-stocked aquarium stores. It is not an expensive fish, and should be purchased in groups of five or more. The sexes are difficult to distinguish, so buying them in groups of five or more not only ensures that this schooling fish will be more comfortable in your aquarium, but also enhances the likelihood of having representatives of both sexes. If you wish to breed emperor tetras, I recommend that you set them up in a tank of their own. The tank should be at least 15 gallons. The water should be soft and slightly acidic (pH somewhere around 6.5). The most important thing is that the tank should have plenty of plant cover in which the tetras can deposit their eggs. The best plant to use for this purpose is Java moss. Although adult emperors are not overly aggressive about eating their own fry, the Java moss serves as both protective cover and a place where the fry can find food. The breeding setup does not require gravel, but I advise you use it, as it provides an additional repository for the eggs, and cover for the fry. Newly hatched fry will eat commercially prepared dry food, microworms, and baby brine shrimp. At the earliest moment you can, you should transfer the juveniles to their own grow-out tank, so they will not be outcompeted for food by the adults. It has been my experience that juveniles will prey on newly emerging fry more readily than the adults, so it is best to remove the juveniles in order to maximize the survival of the next generation. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The beauty of breeding emperor tetras is that it is relatively simple. Unlike many other tetras, the adults do not have to be removed from their home tank to a special breeding setup to await the short burst of egg dispersal. Well-fed emperors will continuously spawn in the tank you have established for them. Nematobrycon palmeri and lacortei spawn in identical fashion. The primary difference between them is simply appearance. Adult palmeri have blue eyes, while adult lacortei have red eyes. The story behind the discovery of LaCorte’s emperor tetra is quite interesting, and begins with a man by the name of Rosario LaCorte. Rosario has been an aquarist and fish breeder since the 1940s. In the decades that followed, he became nationally renowned for his prowess at breeding freshwater aquarium fish of every kind, some of which had never been spawned before, and he became especially well known for his expertise with characins (tetras). Sometime during the early 1970s, Rosario noticed something different about a group of emperor tetras with which he was working. Ever the astute observer, Rosario was convinced that these differences were worth investigating, so he sent some of the fish to a professional ichthyologist and friend by the name of Dr. Stanley Weitzman, who worked at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Sure enough, it was determined that LaCorte’s emperor tetra was a different species, and in 1971 it was appropriately named in his honor. While regular emperor tetras are often found in pet shops, one can almost never find LaCorte’s emperor tetra. Fortunately for me, I have known Rosario LaCorte for many years, and count him as a friend. So when I asked him for some fish, he graciously and generously responded with a group of prime young adults. Naturally I had prepared a tank for them, and within a matter of months I began to see fry. Now, in addition to the original group, I have a tank of

May 2009


juveniles. I hope to make LaCorte’s emperor tetra a permanent part of my fish collection. To me, LaCorte’s emperor tetra has double royalty attached to its name. Not only is it an “emperor,” but it is named after a person who is the closest thing to royalty in the American aquarium hobby, Rosario LaCorte. As I am fond of saying, if there were an American aquarium hobby Hall of Fame, Rosario would be a first-ballot inductee ― no doubt about it. And now I think you understand why LaCorte’s emperor tetra is a fish that I cherish. Photos by Marsha Radebaugh


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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

an Radebaugh

om: ent: o: ubject:

Marsha radebaugh [] tuesday, april 07, 2009 1:03 PM emailing: Zoos, aquariums Pull through.htm

Zoos News Update

From the Wildlife Conservation Society, here is an update on the status of the New York State budget cuts we reported in the March issue of Modern Aquarium. Amid all the gloom of recent months, it’s nice to have some positive news to report, though as more recent headlines regarding the Bronx Zoo illustrate, no one is safe yet in the current economic climate.

Zoos, Aquariums Pull Through NEW YORK – April 3, 2009 – The following statement was released by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, John Calvelli: We applaud the New York State Legislature and Governor Paterson for having the vision during these economically difficult days to invest in zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums through the Environmental Protection Fund, which included the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums budget line.

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

With this one decision, which ensures $9 million in FY 2010 for 76 ZBGA organizations, the state has made a commitment to investing in conservation, the environment, education, and economic development. We want to thank all New Yorkers who sent more than 83,000 messages to Albany asking that the ZBGA budget not be eliminated. Since November, New Yorkers have rallied to ensure that the 76 living museums in New York State funded by the ZBGA budget line would be treated fairly and seen as a very worthwhile investment for our state. Petitions were sent to Albany, some from schoolchildren, in the form of letters, e-mails, and drawings. Many of the petitions were sparked by two special appeals from a Bronx Zoo porcupine, named Wednesday, featured in homemade, viral videos that highlighted the devastating impact of disproportionately cutting the ZBGA budget line. The videos, which were placed on You Tube, generated thousands of views and a great deal of media attention. The Wildlife Conservation Society alone, which runs the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo, pumps more than $400 million into the New York State economy. More than four million guests visit WCS facilities each year, buying from local merchants in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and across New York. In addition, WCS is vital to the science education of millions of people each year— including two million students who attend its classroom programs and another 2,000 teachers who receive professional training. 1

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The role of government support is crucial during this period of economic uncertainty. We need the assistance of our city and state government partners now more than ever to continue serving millions of New Yorkers while remaining an engine of economic activity. WCS thanks the following government leaders for helping protect the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, and the state’s 74 other living museums that are funded by the ZBGA budget line: Senator Antoine Thompson, Chairman of Environmental Conservation Committee Senator Jose Serrano, Chairman of Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation Assembly Member Robert Sweeney, Chairman of Environmental Conservation Committee Assembly Member Steven Englebright, Chairman of Environmental Conservation Committee Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith Assembly Member Aurelia Greene Assembly Member Joseph Lentol Assembly and Senate Bronx Delegation Assembly and Senate Brooklyn Delegation WCS thanks the following community groups for helping protect the ZBGA funding: ABRUD (American Brotherhood for the Russian Disabled) Association of Merchants & Business Professionals of Westchester Square Astella Development Corp. Belmont Business Improvement District (BID) Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City Brighton Neighborhood Association Bronx Chamber of Commerce Bronx Community Boards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12 Bronx River Alliance Bronx River Art Center Bronx YMCA: Howard & Minerva Munch Center Brooklyn Aquarium Society Brooklyn Community Boards 7, 8, 9, 13, & 15


Castle Hill Merchants Association, Inc. Community Mayors Coney Island Cyclone Rollercoaster Coney Island Development Corp. Coney Island History Project Coney Island Polar Bear Club Coney Island USA Cool Culture Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush Council on the Environment New York City Danbury Area Aquarium Society DaNu Spot Advertising, Inc. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park Dr. Joseph Rachlin, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehman College Family Support Systems Unlimited, Inc. Fordham Road Business Improvement District Fordham University Friends of Brook Park Friends of the Woods Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Greater City Aquarium Society Green Drinks Groundswell Mural Project Heart of Brooklyn 2

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Hudson Valley Blood Services: A Division of the New York Blood Center Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation Hutchinson Metro Center Interwest United Insurance Brokerage, Inc. Jackson Avenue Block Association Kingston Block & Masonry Supply Kips Bay Boys and Girls Literacy Inc. Living and Learning by the Arts Manhattan Beach Community Group Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center, Inc. Monroe College Mount Hope Municipal Art Society of New York New York City Audubon New York League of Conservation Voters New York Restoration Project New York State Institute on Disability North East Council of Aquarium Societies North Jersey Aquarium Society Northeast Bronx Senior Citizens Center Nos Quedamos / We Stay P.S. 205 (Bronx) P.S. 3 (Brooklyn) Parkside Senior Center Pelham Bay Merchants Association, Inc. Pen & Rose Children’s Book Writers’ Group Phipps Community Development Corp. Point CDC Preston High School RAIN Boston Road Senior Center River Watch Inc. Riverdale Community Center Riverdale Senior Services Rocking the Boat Shulamith School South Brooklyn Youth Consortium Sports Foundation, Inc. Sustainable South Bronx The Gerritsen Beach School The Heart Gallery, NYC The Nature Conservancy Urban Neighborhood Services Van Cortlandt Jewish Center We The People Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. Yeshiva of Flatbush Elementary School

For Media Contact Information, Please Click Here.

Our Mission | Around the Globe | WCS in New York | High-Tech Tools | Education | Search | Contact Us © 2008 Wildlife Conservation Society. Click here for terms of use.

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May 2009



May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)


GCAS May 6th 2009 by Claudia Dickinson


Joe Ferdenzi

Expert Panelists

Harry Faustmann, Joseph Graffagnino and Ed Vukich

Expert Advisor Mark Soberman

Technical Production Brad Dickinson

When you are setting up a new tank, feeding your fish, and doing water changes; or when your fish are breeding, you are doing your best to hatch the eggs successfully, and raise the fry to adulthood, what is the foremost question that enters your mind that you wished you had the answer for?

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

May 2009



he night that we look forward to is finally here! The opportunity to ask those questions that are foremost in your minds as you work with your fish and are not quite certain where to turn for the answers. Our expert panelists, Harry Faustmann, Joseph Graffagnino, and Ed Vukich, along with our moderator extraordinaire, Joe Ferdenzi, and expert advisor, Mark Soberman, are here to answer those questions and share their knowledge gained through years of experience, along with the trials and errors that inevitably accompany that. Mystification will be turned into comprehension, and you are certain to return to your fish and fishrooms with innovative solutions and novel practices. We are proud and honored to welcome our panelists tonight, and also to have Brad Dickinson’s inimitable overhead projector skills! 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. Winning top honors across the country since 1977, Harry’s awards include Best of Show at Nassau Harry Faustmann County Aquarium Society and Best of Show at the American Killifish Association annual show. 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 American Killifish Association, Long Island Killifish Association, Metropolitan Area Killifish Association, Nassau County Aquarium Society, Greater City Aquarium Society, Long Island Aquarium Society, and Long Island Herp Society. Harry is well known for his skill and knowledge in the art of culturing live foods, and for passing along notes to fellow hobbyists detailing how best to maintain them. Having had numerous outstanding spawns in his fishroom, one of the most exceptional was Nothobranchius korthausae sp. ‘red,’ which resulted in over a thousand fry after eight weeks of dry incubation, and another outstanding accomplishment was the breeding of Simpsonichthys reticulates sp. ‘Xingu.’ Generously filling our GCAS auction table with his wonderful and kind donations of fish, plants, and live foods (that even include those detailed instructions!), Harry’s greatest joys are the challenges of breeding fishes, and socializing with other fishkeepers. We are most proud to have the great fortune of welcoming Harry as one of our expert panelists tonight! The long hours spent tending to his business were eased by Pete Graffagnino’s four 10-gallon tanks, which lined the wall of the Graffagnino Meat Market. These 16

aquariums, housing black mollies and guppies, prevalent fish of the early 1950s, also served as a great attraction to customers, as well as catching the fascination of his young son. Joseph Graffagnino certainly took after his father—to Joseph Graffagnino this day he is just as passionate about his fish (aquatic that is!) as he is his meat and potatoes! When Joseph’s own son was two years old and constantly under his wife’s feet, Joe recalled how his father’s fish had captured his attention, and so he purchased a 20-gallon tank and stand, much to his son’s (and his wife’s) delight! The aquarium housed a wide assortment of fish, including livebearers, killifish, tetras, and barbs. Naturally, soon it was time for an additional 10-gallon tank to place underneath for all of the babies! The acquisition of that first 20-gallon tank was thirty years ago, and Joseph’s great love of the hobby has grown and flourished over the ensuing decades. Whatever the species of fish, Joseph’s accomplishments have been great as he has attained the rank of Grand Master Breeder in the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, the status of Master Breeder in our own Greater City Aquarium Society, and was Breeder of the Year in the Brooklyn Aquarium Society for the years 2000 and 2003. Currently serving as President of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, Joseph is also Chairperson of the club’s Breeder Award Program. He is a member of the American Cichlid Association, the Greater City Aquarium Society, and the North Jersey Aquarium Society. An author of numerous articles on fish as well as plants, Joseph has had his writing and photographs published in Tropical Fish Hobbyist, the ACA’s Buntbarsche Bulletin, the BAS’s Aquatica, as well as in society publications, which include our own Modern Aquarium. His entries in fish shows across the tri-state area continue to do exceptionally well, consistently winning top honors. Maintaining a small seasonal pond, Joseph is also interested in plant propagation. His knowledge of plants and their individual needs and maintenance is further evidence of his consummate understanding of the “complete aquarium.” Joseph’s basement fishroom is currently focused on African cichlids, Central American cichlids, African catfish, South American catfish, and pigmy driftwood catfish in the Tatia family. He also has an 11-foot-long Colombian female redtail boa named “Butch” (well... they thought she was a he when they first acquired her!). Butch has been a family pet since Joseph purchased her as a gift for his son’s confirmation twenty-five years ago. Upon deciding to breed her, the Graffagninos borrowed a male from a pet shop. The couple got along famously, and after a 6-month gestation period produced 34 baby boas!

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

There is little doubt that Joseph’s grandchildren will have the great delight of surprise aquariums from Grandpa in their futures—and so the Graffagnino aquatic tradition will carry on! We all know Joseph here at the GCAS as that most special man who is always ready with a warm smile, welcome words of wisdom, and the kind offer of a helping hand! What great fortune to have him on our panel of experts tonight! Having a father who, as a young boy, raised mollies and other fish in bathtubs in the backyard of his Brooklyn home in the 1930s, it was natural for Edward Vukich, at the age of twelve, to follow in his Dad’s footsteps with his first Edward Vukich 20-gallon tank. Ed’s tank, which was in the family den, housed various fish over the years, such as silver dollars, angelfish, and pink convicts. Ed looks back with nostalgia at the aquarium equipment of the time, such as an outside bubble-up filter, and battery-operated siphon with a netted bag (that spewed the mulm back into the tank!). Years later, Ed’s brother, Anton, another renowned GCAS member dear to our hearts, offered to purchase a tank for Ed to encourage him to return to the hobby. Originally, it was to be a 55-gallon

tank, but as a 75-gallon tank has the same dimensions, naturally the brothers went for that! Ed soon had his new tank outfitted and his rejuvenated passion took off as he filled this tank with clown loaches, Corydoras spp., angelfish, and a red tailed black shark, which he still has to this day. Currently, Ed maintains many tanks in his basement. The inhabitants are as varied as his interests, and include Corydoras spp., Ancistrus spp., livebearers, guppies, Tanganyikan shell dwellers, West African cichlids, and Apistogramma spp. All of the stands are made by hand, and as Ed is just completing another stand, it looks as if his collection is growing larger. Excelling at inducing his fish to breed, we all know and are most grateful for the bounteous harvest that comes from Ed’s fishroom. His tremendous generosity goes a long way in making the monthly GCAS auction table overflow with fabulous finds! Along with any task that comes his way, Ed serves in the role of GCAS Recording Secretary. We are most proud and fortunate to have Ed on our panel of experts tonight! It is with great pride and warmth that we welcome Harry, Joseph, and Ed, as well as Joe, Mark, and Brad, and we thank them for such a very special evening!

Joe Ferdenzi Brad Dickinson

Mark Soberman

Using the marker provided, please write your question(s) down on the piece of transparency on your seat. Please write your name after the question. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may choose to leave your name off. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

May 2009


Member Networking In view of the current economic situation, and considering that many of our members may have been affected by the ongoing mass layoffs, this is intended to serve as an outreach and networking vehicle. It is intended for our members only and is completely voluntary. If you wish to participate and are either seeking employment or able to provide referrals for employment please provide that information below. At a later date, we will develop a system for connecting the appropriate seeker with possible employment sources either in Modern Aquarium or by direct handouts. Your input for this system would be greatly appreciated. Forms can be found on the back table, or you can copy this page. Any group membership is an opportunity for networking, and if Greater City can help, we should.

MEMBER NAME:___________________________________________ CONTACT INFO: (please provide whatever contact info you are comfortable sharing) _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ AREA OF INTEREST/EXPERTISE/INDUSTRY:

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May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)



ou wouldn’t know it to look at him. He Speaking of odd, I think it is time to get back doesn’t appear to be the least bit odd. He to the story of Little Leo. When Little Leo arrived is a cute, frisky little guy whose true nature at our house we put him in what we considered at only becomes apparent upon close observation that time to be the quarantine tank (a five gallon over an extended period of time. I’m surprised that aquarium with a couple of small caves and a few I haven’t given him a name before now, as he has floating plants), along with five or six of his quite distinguished himself among his peers, so for relatives. All was going along swimmingly for a the purposes of this while, but soon we article I will call started to observe him “Little Leo.” subtle changes in Little Leo the tank. By started out in life as changes, I mean a most Corydoras reduction in the catfish do, as part head count. One by of an extended one we would find a family. For him floater, or a sinker, this meant that he or even a missing was among a group fish. This was all of Corydoras happening over adolfoi (Adolfo’s several months, but catfish). He hadn’t eventually there was progressed very far only one adolfoi left into his young life in the tank. before things Well, these Corydoras adolfoi Drawing by Bernard Harrigan started to become, things happen, don’t well, ODD! they? Isn’t that why Before I tell they call it you more about the odd ways of Little Leo, I think “quarantine?” Before long I discovered an injured it would help you if you start out with an female Betta pulchra , and I put her into the tank understanding of how most corys live their lives. with Little Leo. They got along fine, and her In nature, all species of Corydoras live in shoals injuries healed. To keep this from becoming the of varying sizes. I have often read that many Epic of Little Leo, I’ll just say that when she different species have been known to school recovered, she was removed. together. Adolfo’s catfish is frequently found Next came a small school of Corydoras swimming alongside and/or among the Corydoras pygmaeus. Well, there was nothing slow and imitator, or imitator catfish, which is distinguished subtle about the demise of these fish. In a matter from the adolfoi by its slightly longer snout. of weeks there was one fish left in the tank. As Little Leo’s extended family lives in the clear Corydoras adolfoi are visibly different from waters of the Rio Negro in Brazil. The water there Corydoras pigmaeus, it was clear to see that once is soft and neutral (pH of around 7.0). The corys again Little Leo was the sole survivor. will choose areas with thick plant growth which I won’t bore you with the details of yet offer an abundance of hiding places. They occupy another similar episode. There was also a pair of themselves by searching for food such as insect Colisa sota (honey dwarf gouramis) in there for a larvae, aquatic worms, and small invertebrates, and while, and they moved out unscathed. Your guess crustaceans. is as good as anyone’s as to what was happening in An interesting and unusual feature of the this tank. Could it be murder, cannibalism, anatomy and physiology of corys is intestinal eviction, or aliens on the prowl? (Has anyone respiration. They will dart to the surface for a gulp discovered any corys on Mars?) of air, which will then pass through an accessory All of this came to a head a few weeks ago respiratory organ in their intestines. If you notice when I had a pair of Betta macrostoma who needed your corys dashing up to the surface of their tank, a new home. Their tank was so badly infested with they aren’t trying to jump out. They only want to hair algae that I just couldn’t get ahead of it, and I grab a breath of fresh air. There is nothing odd needed to move them out so the tank could be about that; it’s just their way! thoroughly cleaned. I knew they wouldn’t get

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

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along with Little Leo, so this time he had to move out, but where to? I put him in with a male Betta pulchra, who proved to be extremely aggressive (remember the female I had to relocate), and who put Little Leo under a great deal of stress. Now what? If you haven’t figured it out for yourselves yet, I will spill the beans, so to speak There are two things about Little Leo which make him an oddball. The first is that he is a LONER! He does not enjoy the company of other corys, and by means known only to him, he arranged to swim solo. This is indeed odd behavior for a cory. The second, which might not be quite so clear to see, is his longevity. By now he is over seven years old!! That is a very long life span for a small fish . So, I took the course of last resort. It is precisely because of his age that I didn’t want to put him into our 90 gallon community aquarium. I thought that it would be so completely different from what he had been used to that the change could, well, you know. As there didn’t seem to be a better choice, Little Leo became a stranger in a strange land. Well, I don’t know how else to put all of this into perspective except to tell you that Little Leo is absolutely thriving in his new home. I see him two or three times a day, and he is always wiggling his whole body for sheer joy. I haven’t been very good at anticipating the events in this story as it was unfolding, but I’m making a bet with myself that Little Leo will live a goodly while longer. As a postscript, I’ll just add a couple of comments. The aquarium that Little Leo is in now has a large complement of plants, and an even larger complement of hiding places, much more than he ever had before. Also, I don’t know if this counts as odd, but Little Leo never went for the live crustaceans (brine shrimp) that were regularly fed to his tank. His favorite food is mini sinking algae wafers.

On several levels I thought it would be unwise to attempt netting Little Leo out of his new home to be photographed for this article, so I called upon our resident artist, Bernie Harrigan, to draw a likeness for us. I’m sure you will agree that the result is exquisite. Thanks, Bernie. So, my oddball cory finally has a name, along with a new lease on life. References Back to Nature Guide:Catfishes, Sands, David, Fohrman Aquaristik, 1997. Catfishes and Loaches:The Bottom Dwellers, Andrews, Dr. Christopher and Loiselle, Dr. Paul V. (editors). Tetra Press. Undated.



ack issues of Modern Aquarium, series III (1994 through the present), are available on a first come, first served basis. Most issues are available. The price is fifty cents per copy. Check your collection for any missing issues, or for anything you might want extra copies of. Also, check your annual indexes to find articles written in the past which discuss your current interests. All proceeds go to the GCAS. E-mail your requests to:

Member Classifieds Computers available: Used desktops, laptops, a few Macs. Pricing varies by machine. Contact Dan Radebaugh at 718-458-8437 or 212-957-5300 ext 231.

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

Cichlidically Speaking Your Link to the American Cichlid Association

by Claudia Dickinson Photos by the author unless otherwise noted

ACA CARES There is not a continent on earth whose waters and fishes have not been affected by the devastation and destruction caused from deforestation, invasive species introduction, pollution, agrochemical runoff, overfishing, and global warming, all to the great misfortune of those fishes that remain in their natural habitats. As these tragedies to earth are occurring more rapidly than even the most paramount attempts at intervention can match, captive maintenance and breeding of species at risk, both within the country of origin and outside of the country of origin, have become the quintessential answer for both short-term and long-term preservation goals. Due to the extraordinary endeavors of participants in the ACA C.A.R.E.S. Program, the tanks that have Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

been set aside, and the time that has been dedicated to offering a refuge for conservation priority cichlids has put us well on the road to forming the basis of a reliable source of established at risk cichlid species within the aquarium hobby. Database entries reveal the enormous depth and scope of species at risk that are currently maintained. To date, the number of ACA CARES registries is 269, and the number of at risk cichlid species is 57. ACA member efforts are most impressive and to be applauded! Please take a moment to look the lists over at, see who is keeping what, which species listed as conservation priority at risk have yet to find a home in ACA member tanks, and which species need your tanks to call home! May 2009 21

ACA CARES Species at Risk

Benitochromis nigrodorsalis Lamboj 2001 On the ACA C.A.R.E.S. Conservation Priority List, Benitochromis nigrodorsalis inhabits small rivers and streams around the village of Moliwe in southern Cameroon. An excellent candidate for our home aquariums, B. nigrodorsalis stays relatively small, reaching about 12 cm (4.7 in), and is not overly aggressive. Photo credit: Dave Hansen

Iranocichla hormuzensis Coad 1982 A maternal mouthbrooder and the single known cichlid species endemic to Iran, Iranocichla hormuzensis inhabits flowing streams that break to isolated pools and appears to live on a diet of algae and diatoms. (Coad 1982) Due to its limited indigenous range and the likelihood of human disturbances creating a serious impact on the aquatic habitat, I. hormuzensis is on the ACA C.A.R.E.S. Conservation Priority List and will benefit greatly from our tank space. Photo credit: Dave Hansen

Mbipia lutea Seehausen & Bouton 1998 Feeding off the algae of the rocky slopes of the shoreline of Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Mbipia lutea is best maintained in the home aquarium with several females to a single male. Listed as endangered on both the ACA C.A.R.E.S. Conservation Priority List and the IUCN Red List, M. lutea, is well worth our attentions and our tank space. Photo credit: Dave Hansen


Mark Schmidt registers his ACA CARES species.

Lake Victoria C.A.R.E.S. Conservation Through Education Update The core of this long-term solution that will ultimately provide a stable sustainable balance between humans and the environment in Lake Victoria and the surrounding region lies in capturing the hearts and the minds of the young people through caring for fishes and aquariums. New insight and appreciation will be gained for an endemic resource whose critical relevance to their own livelihoods cannot be overstated. Dr. Graeme Patterson at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) office in New York has worked diligently with Dr. Peter Howard of the WCS in Nairobi to organize the transfer of ACA funds that were so kindly donated by wildlife conservationist and long-time ACA supporter, Dr. Dwight Smith. Work on the refurbishment of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Kisumu Research Center in Kenya is now underway and outlying schools have been receiving their first aquariums. In order to help fulfill a rather impressive “wish list” of equipment and supplies necessary to outfit the aquariums at the restored research center, Ray “Kingfish” Lucas of Kingfish Services, Joe Garglulo of ATI, and Lance Reyniers of Python Products have so kindly stepped up to the plate and most certainly brightened the days for the students and the cichlids of the Lake Victoria region! Due to their enormous generosity, much of the needed items to equip the Lake Victoria C.A.R.E.S. Project have been filled. To top it off, the Hill Country Cichlid Club has been nothing short of amazing in their fundraising and subsequent donations which have gone a long way towards shipping the equipment and supplies to Kenya. We are so happy, and enormously appreciative to have such extraordinary help with this vital conservation effort! There are no words to thank Ray Kingfish, Joe, Lance, and the HCCC enough for being a part of this historical endeavor and helping to ensure a brighter future for the cichlids and the people of the Lake Victoria region!

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Bringing ongoing environmental issues, such as algal blooms, under control in Lake Victoria lies in the sparked appreciation and insight of the next generation. Photo credit: Dr. William Ojwang

Dr. William Ojwang explains conservation plans for Lake Victorian cichlid species. Photo credit: Dr. Peter Howard Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Dr. Peter Howard presents Dr. William Ojwang with the initial portion of funds from the ACA grant to refurbish the aquarium facility. Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter Howard

The Babes In The Cichlid Hobby 9th Annual Silent Auction It’s that time of the year to go through our bookcases, jewelry boxes, photographs, collectibles, fishrooms, and fish tanks to pick out items and rare fish for the Babes In The Cichlid Hobby renowned silent auction, held at the annual ACA Convention, to benefit cichlid research and conservation. Proceeds from this celebrated event have grown a significant portion of the holdings for both the Guy D. Jordan Endowment Fund and the Paul V. Loiselle Conservation Fund, and more recently have greatly benefited the Stuart M. Grant Cichlid Conservation Fund. If you have yet to experience a Babes silent auction, you are in for a treat as each year the tables become longer and more overflowing with a boundless array of cichlid items, many for the serious collector,

May 2009


others, great finds to put right to use in your fishroom, and always those that are sure to bring a laugh! Please bid high and bid often, for it is all for a worthy cichlid cause! Your greatly appreciated fish related donations can be brought to the convention. For other arrangements and questions, please contact Pam Chin at

TFH Editor-in-Chief David Boruchowitz at a recent convention with noted aquarists Mike Hellweg and Randy Carey.

The well worn cap of a staunch cichlid and ACA enthusiast!

Stan Sung Original Painting! Many of your will recall the famous posters of regional cichlids so artistically created by renowned artist and explorer, Stan Sung. If you can imagine, the original artwork of Stan’s poster, “Tanganyikan Dreams,” donated by Dr. Paul V. Loiselle, will be auctioned off by the Babes In the Cichlid Hobby at this year’s annual ACA Convention. Lake Tanganyika fans and collectors alike be certain to get there early and get your bids in for this rare collectible!

TFH—The Official Magazine of ACA Convention 2009 Once again, Editor-in-Chief David Boruchowitz, Managing Editor Albert Connelly, Art Director Alexander Appello, and the staff of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine have outdone themselves as the official magazine of ACA Convention 2009 as the pages of the July issue brim with all things cichlid! A tri-fold program to keep convention goers informed and on schedule will also be generously provided. TFH Magazine,, continues to go above and beyond in their longtime kind and invaluable support of the ACA and our annual conventions, with generous publicity, complete coverage, complimentary magazines for all attendees, and most importantly, their true friendship. The ACA is proud and grateful to have such a dear friend and special partner in TFH! For this we say, “Thank you!” Until next time… Keep on Enjoying Your Cichlids! Claudia


May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

HR669 - April 2, 2009 Revised


The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), introduced by Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) Chair of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee would totally revamp how nonnative species are regulated under the Lacey Act. Currently, the Fish and Wildlife Service (hereafter Service) is required to demonstrate that a species is injurious [harmful] to health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources of the U.S. HR 669 substantially complicates that process by compelling the Service to produce two lists after conducting a risk assessment for each nonnative wildlife species to determine if it is likely to “cause economic or environmental harm or harm to other animal species’ health or human health.” In order to be placed on the “Approved List” it must be established that the species has not, or is not likely, to cause “harm” anywhere in the US. Species that are considered potentially harmful would be placed on an “Unapproved List.” Furthermore, HR 669 would essentially ban all species that do not appear on the Approved List, regardless of whether or not they have ever been petitioned for listing or are sufficiently well studied to enable a listing determination. Species not appearing on the “Approved List” could not be imported into the United States, nor could they be moved in interstate commerce. Trade in all such unlisted species would come to a halt – possession would be limited and all breeding would have to cease. To reiterate: Unless species are included on the Approved List import, export, transport, and breeding would be prohibited. Exceptions are limited and would not be available to pet owners across the nation.


Nonnative species in the pet trade encompass virtually every bird, reptile, amphibian, fish and a number of mammals (e.g., hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets) commonly kept as pets. It is immaterial under HR 669 that the • Vast majority of these nonnative species in the pet trade have been in the United States in large numbers for decades, some for hundreds of years, and have not proven to be an environmental problem. • Numerous species are raised in the United States for many purposes: pets, recreational fishing and hunting, food, etc. • Only a small number of species kept as pets have caused environmental problems, and this has generally been on a very localized basis (i.e. southern Florida, Hawaii). • Most states have exercised their authority to regulate problem species within their own borders through a mixture of management regimes ranging from permit systems to bans.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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The HR 669 listing criteria mandates proving a negative – that no harm has or is likely to occur within whole of the United States. The “risk assessment” process is too limited in scope and application and should instead be a broader “risk analysis” that also takes into consideration socio-economic factors and mitigation (management) measures that might be utilized by the federal and state agencies.

HR 669 would employ a 2-step process of a Preliminary and a Final Approved List and necessitate that the Service promulgate regulations not only to deal with creation of the lists but also regulating all aspects of this rather complex bill. The Service would have to complete major portions of the listing and regulation process within 24 months of passage. It is not clear how the Service will be able to conduct the required risk assessment outlined in HR 669 within these timeframes given the fact that it takes on average 4 years for the Service to find a species harmful under the current Lacey Act. The bill sets up the under-resourced Service for failure and numerous lawsuits by activist groups. Listing Process - To list or not to list? -- That is the question! The listing process is somewhat complex. To place a species on the Preliminary Approved List (which at some point in time converts to a Final Approved List) the Service must make a determination that those listed species, based on scientific and commercial information, are • Not likely to be harmful to the United State’s economy, environment or other animals’ or human health OR • May be harmful “but already are so widespread in the United States that it is clear to the Secretary that any import prohibitions or restrictions would have no practical utility for the United States.” While proponents would argue that this test would not be as rigorous as the ultimate test set forth in HR 669, PIJAC is at a loss how one proves “no potential harm” under the alleged simplified test for inclusion on the “Preliminary Approved List.” To get on the ultimate “Approved List ” (accomplished within 37 months), the Service would have to complete risk assessments, not risk analyze, using the following criteria (and possibly others to be determined later in process development). The assessors would have to make a determination based on: • Species identified to species level, and if possible information to subspecies level; • Native range of the species (which may or not be fully known); • Whether species has established, spread, or caused harm to the economy, the environment, or other animal species or human health in ecosystems in or ecosystems similar to those in the US; • Environmental conditions exist in the US that suitable for establishment of the species; • Likelihood of establishment in the US; • Likelihood of speared in the US; • Likelihood species would harm wildlife resources of the US; • Likelihood the species would harm native species that are “rare” (not defined) or listed under Endangered Species Act; • Likelihood species would harm habitats or ecosystems of the US; • Likelihood “pathogenic species or parasitic species may accompany the species proposed for importation;” and • Other factors “important to assessing the risk associated with the species”. Once a determination is made, the Service will place a species on one of 3 lists: • Approved List • Unapproved List • The “Non-list” (section 4(2)(C)) for species for which “the Secretary has insufficient scientific and commercial information to make a determination “ whether to approve or disapprove.


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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

User Fees HR 669 also calls for the establishment of a user fee system for funding assessments following the adoption of the “Preliminary Approved List.” This has been a long term desire of animal activist and environmental protectionist organizations since they know that user fees can become cost prohibitive and virtually eliminate small interest groups or business from participating in the process. It can easily paralyze access, except for the wealthy or those living off of tax exempt dollars who use the system to drive their agendas. Furthermore, fees are not made available to the Service until 36 months into the process. It is not clear how the Service would implement the first three years of work under HR 669.


According to the Defenders of Wildlife "For far too long the pet, aquarium and other industries have imported live animals to the United States without regard to their harm…" Defenders, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are part of a coalition pushing hard for passage of this bill without amendments. A HEARING has been scheduled for April 23 and the pet industry needs to be heard loud and clear prior to the hearing! The anti-trade elements are hard at work to stop activities involving non-native species. A copy of HR 669 can be found on PIJAC’s website in the “Breaking News” and the “HR669 Forum” sections of the Read the bill carefully since it could shut down major segments of the pet industry virtually overnight. For a review of how a bill becomes a law, visit: PIJAC POSITION -- PIJAC supports the underlying intent of HR 669 to establish a risk-based process in order to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive species. It has been clear for quite some time that steps are needed to enhance and improve the current listing process for species shown to be injurious under the Lacey Act. In addition to much needed appropriations to fund staff and other ancillary support aids, the Lacey Act needs to be modernized to make the process more timely, efficient and transparent. However, HR 669 falls far short of accomplishing this objective. CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMITTEE (see contact information below) by • emailing or faxing your opposition to HR 669 to their offices in Washington DC urging them to amend the bill • ALSO contact their district offices o voice your opposition o and request a meeting with the representative when they are back in the District It is also important to organize like-minded people in your district so several of you can visit with your representative at the same time. A few talking points: • The approach taken in HR 669 will adversely impact trade and other activities involving nonnative species without utilizing a scientifically valid approach – even in the limited instances in which sufficient data are available on the biology and range of species, it will be virtually impossible to prove that they could not establish and spread in some portion of the US. Thus, it will be nearly impossible to get species on the “Approved List” unless they are so widespread in the country already. • The degree of uncertainty that will result by applying the “as if” criteria will result in virtually every species ending up on the list for which there is insufficient information to make a decision DESPITE THE FACT that most of these species have been in trade, recreational use, farming, etc. for decades with only a small percentage of species being problematic, and then in localized situations. • A one size fits all species assessment process is not plausible – what may be harmful in Hawaiian waters would not be harmful in Kansas or the deserts of Arizona or Texas. • HR 669 overly simplifies the complexity of the issue; bans all species unless they can get on an Approved List; the criteria for the Approved List are not realistic; the lists are biased towards those entities that can

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)


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• • •

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afford to engage in the process – undoubtedly the Service will be paralyzed by activist animal rights and protectionist environmental organizations petitioning for species to be unapproved. The Service does not have the capacity to implement the provisions given limited staff, money, and unrealistic timeliness. The unintended consequences of a sloppy bill could actually be to facilitate the mass release of animals, and/or their mass euthanasia. HR 669 does not take into consideration the socio-economic complexity of the issue. Stakeholders dependent upon access to non-native species include diverse interests: pet industry, sports fishing, federal/state hatcheries, agriculture, biomedical research, entertainment, hunting, food aquaculture. Currently, thousands of non-natives species are both imported and exported, as well as captive raised (in some instances farmed on ranched) within the United States. While most of these species are never intended for release into natural environments, some of these species (e.g. oysters, trout, bass, deer, game birds) are managed by government and private entities throughout the US. HR 669 calls for a risk assessment when, in fact, a risk analysis process is warranted. A risk assessment only considers biological indices related to potential invasiveness, while a risk analysis considers both these, as well as socio-economic factors, including potential management options. A risk analysis can enable strategic decisions to be made, such as enabling certain species to continue in trade/transport if the risks of invasion could be sufficiently management (e.g. HR 669 treats the entire United States as if it is a single ecosystem and ignores the commonly accepted definition of invasive species that applies to a specific ecosystem, not the political boundaries of country. Setting criteria in statute removes flexibility that could be achieved through rulemaking since a “one-sizefits-all” process is not appropriate for all taxonomic groups, regions of the country, proposed usage of the species, etc. Deadlines are unrealistic. While we recognize the rationale for placing timeframes on the Service, deadlines cause lawsuits; deadlines mandate action for unfunded mandates; two years is unrealistic to conduct an assessment (even a rough screen) of literally thousands of species (1) imported, (2) raised in US for local markets as well as exports, and (3) imported as well as raised in US. The inclusion of animals owned prior to prohibition of importation (Section 2(f)) is major departure from current prohibitions under Lacey Act. HR 669 would allow possession of “an animal” if the owner could prove that it was legally owned pre-launch of assessment. There is no indication as to what it takes to prove legality. Nor is it clear that one would know when an assessment of a particular species had been launched. Assuming that more than a handful of nonnative species end up on an Approved List, enforcement of a list of approved species that have been in trade for decades will be more difficult than enforcing a smaller Unapproved List. It is well established that only a small percentage of the species in trade have been shown to be “invasive.” The ornamental aquarium industry, for example, deals with more than 2,500 species of freshwater and marine fish. A handful of species have been found to be a problem in southern Florida, but not elsewhere in the US; some found to be a problem in Hawaii are not a problem in Kansas. Promulgation of regulations implementing the HR 669 process will be complex and it is doubtful that it can be achieved within prescribed timeframe, especially if the Service is to simultaneously conduct thousands of assessments on species already in trade.

ACT NOW – Also alert your employees, friends, neighbors, competitors, and any other like-minded people and urge them to take time to respond to this unworkable approach to dealing with invasive species, which is an issue of concern to all of us. KEEP CHECKING PIJAC’S WEBSITE FOR UPDATES ON HR669 If you have questions or wish to express your views to PIJAC, please contact Marshall Meyers or Bambi Nicole Osborne by phone at 202-452-1525 or via email at or

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May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife 187 Ford House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/226-0200 (Tel.) 202/225-1542 (Fax) Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Ch)(NP-Guam) 427 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515-5301 202/225-1188 (Washington Tel. #) 202/226-0341 (Washington Fax #)

William Cassidy (R-LA) 506 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-3901 (District Tel. #) 202/225-7313 (District Fax #)

120 Father Duenas Ave., Suite 107 Hagatna, GUAM 96910 671/477-4272 (District Tel. #) 671/477-2587 (District Fax #)

5555 Hilton Avenue, Suite 100 Baton Rouge, LA 70808 225/929-7711 (District Tel. #) 225/929-7688 (District Fax #)

Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) 1502 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-2726 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-4580 (Washington Fax #)

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) 1032 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-7751 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5629 (Washington Fax #)

Prince Kuhio Federal Building 300 Ala Moana Blvd. – Room 4-104 Honolulu, HI 96850 808/541-2570 (District Tel. #) 808/533-0133 (District Fax #)

51 South University Ave., Suite 319 Provo, UT 84601 801/851-2500 (District Tel. #) 801/851-2509 (District Fax #)

Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (NP – American Samoa) 2422 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-8577 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-8757 (Washington Fax #) P.O. Box, Drawer X Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA 96799 684/633-1372 (District Tel. #) 684/633-2680 (District Fax #) Jeff Flake (R-AZ) 240 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-2635 (Washington Tel. #) 202/226-4386 (Washington Fax #) 1640 South Stapley, Suite 215 Mesa, AZ 85204 480/833-0092 (District Tel. #) 480/833-6314 (District Fax #)

Henry Brown (R-SC) 103 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-3176 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-3407 (Washington Fax #)

Donna M. Christensen (NP-Virgin Islands) 1510 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-1790 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5517 (Washington Fax #)

John Fleming (R-LA) 1023 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-2777 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-8039 (Washington Fax #)

1800 North Oak Street, Suite C Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 843/445-6459 (District Tel. #) 843/445-6418 (District Fax #)

Nisky Business Center Second Floor, Suite 207 St. Croix, VIRGIN ISLANDS 00802 340/778-4408 (District Tel. #) 340/778-8033 (District Fax #)

6425 Youree Drive, Suite 350 Shreveport, LA 71105 318/798-2254 (District Tel. #) 318/798-2063 (District Fax #)

5900 Core Avenue, Suite 401 North Charleston, SC 29406 843/747-4175 (District Tel. #) 843/747-4711 (District Fax #) Lois Capps (D-CA) 1110 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-3601 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5632 (Washington Fax #) 2675 N. Ventura Road, Suite 105 Port Hueneme, CA 93041 805/985-6807 (District Tel. #) 805/985-6875 (District Fax #) 301 E Carrillo Street, Suite A Santa Barbara, CA 93101 805/730-1710 (District Tel. #) 805/730-9153 (District Fax #)

P.O. Box 5980 Sunny Isle Shopping Center, Space 25 St. Croix, VIRGIN ISLANDS 00823 340/778-5900 (District Tel. #) 340/778-5111 (District Fax #)

Southgate Plaza Shopping Center 1606 Fifth Street Leesville, LA 71446 337/238-0778 (District Tel. #) 337/238-0566 (District Fax #)

Diana L. DeGette (D-CO) 2335 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-4431 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5657 (Washington Fax #)

Doc Hastings (R-WA) 1203 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515-4704 202/225-5816 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-3251 (Washington Fax #)

600 Grant Street, Suite 202 Denver, CO 80203 303/844-4988 (District Tel. #) 303/844-4996 (District Fax #)

2715 St. Andrews Loop, Suite D Pasco, WA 99301 509/543-9396 (District Tel. #) 509/545-1972 (District Fax #)

302 East Chestnut Street Yakima, WA 98901 509/452-3243 (District Tel. #) 509/452-3438 (District Fax #) ail.shtml

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May 2009


Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) 2107 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-3611 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-6393 (Washington Fax #)

Frank J. Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) 237 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515-3006 202/225-4671 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-9665 (Washington Fax #)

Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) 1330 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-5456 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5822 (Washington Fax #)

432 N. Saginaw Street, Suite 410 Bay City, MI 48708 989/891-0990 (District Tel. #) 989/891-0994 (District Fax #)

67/69 Church Street, Kilmer Square New Brunswick, NJ 08901 732/249-8892 (District Tel. #) 732/249-1335 (District Fax #)

33 Lowell Street Manchester, NH 03101 603/641-9536 (District Tel. #) 603/641-9561 (District Fax #)

515 N. Washington Avenue, Suite 401 Saginaw, MI 48607 989/755-8904 (District Tel. #) 989/755-8908 (District Fax #)

504 Broadway Long Branch, NJ 07740 732/571-1140 (District Tel. #) 732/870-3890 (District Fax #)

104 Washington Street Dover, NH 03820 603/743-4813 (District Tel. #) 603/743-5956 (District Fax #)

Ronald James Kind (D-WI) 1406 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-5506 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-5739 (Washington Fax #)

Pedro R. Pierluisi (NP-Puerto Rico) 1218 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-2615 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-2154 (Washington Fax #)

205 Fifth Ave. South, Suite 400 La Crosse, WI 54601 608/782-2558 (District Tel. #) 608/782-4588 (District Fax #)

250 Calle Fortaleza Old San Juan, PUERTO RICO 00901 787/723-6333 (District Tel. #) 787/723-6333 (District Fax #)

131 South Barstow Street, Suite 301 Eau Claire, WI 54701 715/831-9214 (District Tel. #) 715/831-9272 (District Fax #) Frank M. Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD) 314 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-5311 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-0254 (Washington Fax #) 102 Turpins Lane Centreville, MD 21617 443/262-9136 (District Tel. #) 443/262-9713 (District Fax #) Douglas L. Lamborn (R-CO) 437 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-4422 (Washington Tel. #) 202/226-2638 (Washington Fax #) 415 Main Street Buena Vista, CO 81211 719/520-0055 (District Tel. #) 719/520-0840 (District Fax #)

Robert J. Wittman (R-VA) 1123 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-4261 (Washington Tel. #) 3504 Plank Road, Suite 203 Fredericksburg, VA 22407 540/548-1086 (District Tel. #) 4904-B George Washington Memorial Hwy. Yorktown, VA 23692 757/874-6687 (District Tel. #) ssue_subscribe.htm

Nick Joe Rahall, II (D-WV) 2307 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-3452 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-9061 (Washington Fax #)

Donald E. Young (R-AK) 2111 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-5765 (Washington Tel. #) 202/225-0425 (Washington Fax #)

601 Federal Street, Room 1005 Bluefield, WV 24701 304/325-6222 (District Tel. #) 304/325-0552 (District Fax #)

101 12th Avenue, #10 Fairbanks, AK 99701-6275 907/456-0210 (District Tel. #) 907/456-0279 (District Fax #)

301 Prince Street Beckley, WV 25801 304/252-5000 (District Tel. #) 304/252-9803 (District Fax #) ntree=9 Gregorio Sablan (I- Mariana Islands) 423 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202/225-2646 (Washington Tel. #)

Peterson Tower Building 510 L Street, Suite 580 Anchorage, AK 99501-1954 907/271-5978 (District Tel. #) 907/271-5950 (District Fax #)

1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd., Suite 110 Colorado Springs, CO 80920 719/520-0055 (District Tel. #) 719/520-0840 (District Fax #)


May 2009

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Aquarium, Sweet Home!


by William Amely

hen it comes to fishkeeping, we all have our preferences. When it comes to the type of aquariums we maintain, we either like small aquariums, large aquariums, planted aquariums, freshwater, saltwater, low-light, bright-light, large fish, small fish, few fish, many fish, or, well, you get the picture. One size doesn’t fit all. I myself have a 55-gallon, a 40-gallon, a 29-gallon, a ten-gallon, three five-and-a-half-gallons, and three two-and-half-gallon tanks. This list doesn’t include some two dozen plastic containers that house my male and female bettas. I keep both small and large fish. I only have one tank with plants (the ten-gallon). Only my larger tanks have substrate (gravel in the 55, and black “Tahitian Moon” sand in the 29 and 40). My largest fish, a tiger Oscar, a red-bellied pacu, and a pike cichlid (Sorry gang, I may be Latin, but I don’t like using Latin names, unless those names are José, Julio, or Pedro, as opposed to Pseudotropheus, Crenicichla, or Geophagus), who inhabit my 55-gallon tank. In my smaller tanks (2 ½, 5 ½, and 10-gallon) I keep guppies, their fry, and a pair of Betta coccina, one of the wild bubblenest-building bettas. Then there are my two community tanks – the 40 and the 29. I enjoy these tanks the most; the interaction among their inhabitants always keeps me entertained. The thing I like best about these two communities is that they all get along well. On only one occasion have I witnessed any bickering or sparring among them. I must confess, however, that I have taken certain liberties with these communities. The most glaring of these is my disregard of the rule of thumb that says, “one inch of fish per gallon of water.” I tend to take the attitude of “the more the merrier.” Just think of my community tanks as New York City under water. My 29-gallon tank is home to at least three small angelfish, two kribensis, two black tetras, one gold algae eater, three blue Rams, six Bolivian Rams, over 30 (ouch!) cory cats, six pearl danios, and a pair of Apistogrammas. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment in that tank. My favorite community is housed in the 40-gallon (hexagonal) tank. Most of the fish in this tank exceed four inches in length, with close to fifty Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

(that’s right, 50) of them sharing that space. The current inhabitants include five Distichodus affinis (oops! that Latin name snuck up on me), which are members of the Characin family, and are each over four-and-ahalf inches long. There are also four orange-fin botias (Botia modesta – well, so much for no Latin names!), which range in size from 4-and-a half to six inches long. I also have four rosy barbs (Barbus conchonius), two gold gouramies (Trichogaster trichopterus), two hoplo cats (Hoplosternum thoracatum) about six inches in length, three sailfin sharks (Osteochilius hasselti) about five inches long, a bleeding-heart tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma), five bushynose plecos (Ancistrus dolichopterus), four spotted Raphael cats (Acanthodorus spinosissimus), and a parrot cichlid/ flowerhorn hybrid about four inches long (sorry – no scientific name for this oddball). I also have a female black paradise fish (Macropodus concolor), two upside-down catfish (Synodontis nigriventris), and at least nine cory cats representing about four different species. If you think that’s a crowd, bear in mind that I also had a green terror (Aequidens rivulatus) about five inches long and a gold tinfoil barb (Barbus schwanefeldi) about eight inches long in that same tank, until I recently donated them to a fish club auction. It still amazes me that all those fish in that one tank got along well together. I must confess that I would never recommend such an overcrowded arrangement to my fellow fishkeepers. You should give your fish plenty of room to roam, and make sure that they’re compatible in temperament. Give them the best care possible, and they will pay you back with a beautiful visual mosaic to enjoy for years to come. Happy Fishkeeping, gang!

May 2009


New Species, Old Government

It also has a flat face with eyes forward (like humans), and a huge, yawning mouth.

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


ccording to Practical Fishkeeping magazine1, males of a newly discovered cyprinid from Myanmar (Burma) have tooth-like fangs. This less than an inch long fish is the only species in the 3700-plus cypriniform group known to have “fangs.” It has been named Danionella dracula for its resemblance to the famous Count of Bram Stoker’s novel.

Danionella dracula The fangs look like teeth, but they are not. Males seem to use these fangs during territorial fights, when they nudge and “bite” each other. D. dracula also stands out because of its “eternally young” physical development, meaning it matures at an earlier developmental stage, with the result that its skeleton is missing more than 40 bones compared to its zebrafish relative. For the most part, its skeleton is that of a larval fish. National Geographic reports2 that a recently discovered “psychedelic” colored fish from Indonesia is a new marine species, appropriately named Histiophryne psychedelica. It has a swirl of beige and peach stripes from its blue eyes to its tail, and a gelatinous, fist-size body covered with thick folds of skin that protect it from sharp-edged corals.

Histiophryne psychedelica Each time this fish strikes the seabed, it pushes off with its fins and expels water from tiny gill openings to jet forward. That, and an off-centered tail, cause them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic (“stoned?”) manner. National Geographic also reported on the discovery of five new pygmy seahorse species from coral reefs in the Red Sea and Indonesia3. All five new species are less than an inch tall, and are among the tiniest known vertebrates. Now, imagine these newly discovered species are also rare and endangered. Also imagine that efforts to get them into captive breeding programs were hampered because they had not yet made it onto an “approved” list of importable species. That is exactly what a proposed Federal bill, HR669 (the “Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act”), would do. If enacted, it would provide that “The Secretary of the Interior...shall promulgate regulations that establish a process for assessing the risk of all nonnative wildlife species proposed for importation into the United States, other than nonnative wildlife species that are included in the list of approved species...” [emphasis added] If you don’t want terrorists and other assorted bad guys to travel on airplanes, do you make a list of everyone allowed to fly, and stop anyone not on the list, or do you just draw up a list of the bad guys? This bill would create an “approved” list and ban anything not on that list. Considering the speed at which government agencies usually move, that means new species, such as I just described, might not get on the “approved” list until after they are already extinct.

Your tax dollars at work!

References 1 2 3


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

May2009 2009 May

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S17 (NY)

GCAS Happenings


A warm welcome back to renewing GCAS members Vincent Babino, Frank Bonnici, Carlotti de Jager, Mike Gallo, Ron Kasman, William Luckett, Donita Maynard, Dick Moore, Rod Mosley, Karen Ottendorfer, Harsha Perera, Jannette Ramirez, Leonard Ramroop, and Leigh Richardson! A special welcome to new members Jim Breheny and Jason Irizarry!

Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Mario Bengcion 2 Bob Hamje 3 Richard Waizman

Female Pastel Guppy Red & White Ryukin Female Half-moon Betta

Unofficial 2009 Bowl Show totals to date: Robert Hamje 9 Mario Bengcion 8

Richard Waizman 1

Here are meeting times and locations of some aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York area: Greater City Aquarium Society

East Coast Guppy Association

Next Meeting: June 3, 2009 Speaker: Jeff Bollbach Topic: A Year in the Fishroom Meets the first Wednesday of the month (except January & February) at 7:30pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main Street - Flushing, NY Contact: Dan Radebaugh (347) 866-1107 E-mail: Website:

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

Nassau County Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: May 12, 2009 Speaker: Richard Pierce Topic: The Fishes of Madagascar Meets: 2nd Tuesday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30 PM Molloy College - Kellenberg Hall ~1000 Hempstead Ave Rockville Centre, NY Contact: Mike Foran (516) 798-6766 Website:

Big Apple Guppy Club

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

Brooklyn Aquarium Society


Next Meeting: May 8, 2009 Speaker: None Event: Giant Spring Auction Meets the 2nd Friday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30pm: NY Aquarium - Education Hall, Brooklyn, NY Call: BAS Events Hotline: (718) 837-4455 Website:

Long Island Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: May 15, 2009 Speaker: Rich Levy Topic: Video of AFISH Convention Fishroom Challenge Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) 8:00pm. Greenhouse Meeting Room, Holtsville Ecology Center, Buckley Road, Holtsville, NY Email: Margaret Peterson - Website:

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Next Meeting: May 21, 2009 Speaker: Tony Orso Topic: West African Fish Meets: 7:30 P.M. Lyndhurst Elks Club - 251 Park Ave - Lyndhurst, NJ Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 e-mail: Website:

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: May 21, 2009 Speaker & Topic: TBD Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: John Chapkovich (203) 734-7833 Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS E-mail: Website:

May 2009


Fin Fun

AMAZE Yourself! Generally, our monthly puzzle tests your knowledge. Every now and then, it’s time to kick back and have a puzzle that’s just plain fun, with no pretense of education or testing. So, here is a self-explanatory fish maze for you to solve. Answer next month.

Answers to last month’s Puzzle: Scientific Name

Pussies Galore! Common Name


Eutropiellus buffei

Swallowtail Glass Catfish


Synodontis congicus

Congo Synodontis


Corydoras crypticus

Cryptic Cory


Hexanematichthys graeffei

Benny’s Shark Catfish


Auchenoglanis occidentalis

Giraffe-Nosed Catfish

Tatia galaxias

Milky Way Woodcat


Glyptoperichthys punctatus

Spotted Sailfin Pleco


Schilbe marmoratus

Shoulder Spot Catfish


Synodontis eupterus

Featherfin Catfish


Peckolita vittata Striped Peckolita Source: Baensch Photo Index 1-5, Baensch Hans A




May 2009 May 2009



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