Modern Aquarium October 2011

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October 2011 volume XVIII number 8

Series III ON THE COVER Nanoaquariums have been all the rage lately, and our cover photo this month features a do-ityourself nanoaquarium populated with a small schoool of glowlight tetras (Hemigrammus erythrosine). See Steve Sica's story on page 13 for details on how he assembled and populated this small, attractive aquarium. Photo by Stephen Sica GREATER CITY AQUARIUM SOCIETY Board Members

President Vice-President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

Dan Radebaugh Edward Vukich Jules Birnbaum Mario Bengcion Tommy Chang

Vol. XVIII, No. 8 October, 2011

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2011 Program Schedule President’s Message Our Guest Speaker: Rit Forcier by Claudia Dickinson

September Caption Contest Winner Cartoon Caption Contest Our Generous Sponsors & Advertisers

Members At Large

Claudia Dickinson Al Grusell Emma Haus Leonard Ramroop

Pete D’Orio Ben Haus Jason Kerner

Committee Chairs

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

Claudia Dickinson Leonard Ramroop Warren Feuer Mark Soberman Al Grusell Alexander A. Priest Marsha Radebaugh Claudia Dickinson Claudia Dickinson Warren Feuer

MODERN AQUARIUM Editor in Chief Copy Editors Exchange Editors Advertising Mgr.

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

Diver Dan by Edward Vukich

Leaf Spawning Using Almond Leaves for Blackwater Species by Alexander A. Priest

Our Generous Members My Nanoaquarium by Stephen Sica

Pictures from our Last Meeting by Susan Priest

MA Classics Hobby Builder: A Family Affair by Dan Carson

The Fish With Two Names by Susan Priest

G.C.A.S. Happenings The Undergravel Reporter Naturally Artificial

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) Searching for Ornaments

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 16 19 24 28 29 30

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh


rom time to time in this column I’ve mentioned how uncanny it is that some issues seem to have a “theme,” without any particular effort or planning on my part. Well, this issue isn’t one of those. This month we run the gamut of aquarium topics, starting with the aquarium! Our cover photo is Steve Sica’s nanoaquarium―see his accompanying story on page 13. As popular as these nanoaquariums have become in recent years, I’m not sure that I’d really want to have one. Nothing wrong with the concept, it’s just that I’m afraid that every time I looked at it and thought about its name, I’d be reminded of Mork & Mindy. Once you have an aquarium, one of your first decisions is how to decorate it. Choices abound: many younger aquarists opt for a whimsical approach―perhaps some colorful gravel, a castle, a clamshell that opens by means of an air pump, maybe even a diver. As we grow older and more experienced, we find different ways of having fun decorating our tanks. The “biotope” approach is popular, as are various other “natural” approaches. That young, whimsical style though, never really goes away; it’s hiding in the bushes, or perhaps under the authentic substrate, waiting for a chance to reappear. This month Ed Vukich comes clean. See “Diver Dan” on page nine. Ever alert, the Undergravel Reporter picks up on this “natural vs. fun” schizm in his “Naturally Artificial,” and our “Fin Fun” puzzle is revealingly entitled “Searching for Ornaments.” Of course, once you have the aquarium and have decorated it, you’ll probably want to put fish in it. Most people give their pets names, and fish are no exception, but you may not know the boys from the girls, so what do you do? Well, Sue Priest tells us about one approach in her article, “The Fish With Two Names,” on page 24. As you become more experienced at keeping your fish alive, you may decide you’d like them to have something like normal lives, and reproduce. So you learn about how the fishes you have go about spawning and raising a family. That means you look for articles like Al Priest’s “Leaf Spawning,” on page ten. No, leaves don’t spawn, but this article tells you about an “organic” way to prepare the


water conditions in your aquarium to entice some fish species (perhaps yours?) to spawn. So in one issue, we’ve covered many of the basics for beginning (and even more advanced) fishkeepers. There’s also a profile of an important figure in the history of our hobby. This goes back a ways, and was first published in the May, 1969 issue of Modern Aquarium. The subject is Greater City’s longtime friend Rosario LaCorte, already a stalwart in our hobby even then. See “MA Classics,” on page 19. On page 5 Claudia Dickinson introduces this evening’s speaker, Rit Forcier, and on page 16 Sue Priest treats us to pictures of ourselves taken at our meeting last month. And, let us not forget our cartoon caption contest. We had an excellent response last month, and the winner is… Ha! See for yourself on page 6. Then on the following page see the cartoon for this month. Are you up to the challenge? * * * Remember, as always, we need articles! Modern Aquarium is produced by and for the members of Greater City Aquarium Society. Our members are our authors, and with ten issues per year, we always, always need more articles. I know several of you are keeping and/or breeding fish that I would like to know more about, and I’m certain other members would be interested as well. Share your experience with us. Write about it! If you’re a little unsure about the state of your writing technique, don’t worry – that’s why there are editors. If you have an article, photo, or drawing that you’d like to submit for inclusion 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!

October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Programs 2011


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! Enjoy! Claudia October 5

Rit Forcier Collecting in Florida

November 2

Ted Judy Going Gabon!

December 7

Holiday Party!


Winter Break


Winter Break











Articles submitted for consideration in Modern Aquarium (ISSN 2150-0940) must be received no later than the 10th day of the month prior to the month of publication. Please fax to (877) 299-0522, or email to gcas@earthlink. net. Copyright 2011 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: or Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


President’s Message by Dan Radebaugh


here are a few notable items to share this month. A delegation from Greater City, led by former President Joe Ferdenzi, and including former Board members Mark Soberman and Warren Feuer, presented Frank Policastro, retiring Treasurer of the North Jersey Aquarium Society, an honorary membership in Greater City. In Joe’s words, “Frank is unique, with over 30 years of service as treasurer to our sister aquarium societies and the NEC.” Our annual Holiday Awards Banquet is nearly upon us―December 7th. For those of you who are new to Greater City, the banquet is our final meeting of the year, and this year will again take place at the Palace Diner (on Main Street by the LIE ramp). Our usual meeting time of 7:30 still applies. As I write this, I don’t yet know the price per person, but I’ll make that announcement during tonight’s meeting. We’ll have a sign-up sheet available at the table where you pick up your Modern Aquarium. Speaking of sign-up sheets, it’s time for us to start accepting membership renewals for 2012. Membership is still just $20 per year. As you pick up your magazines from Marsha, you can give her your dues, and she’ll update your membership. We welcome Rit Forcier as our Speaker this evening, and I’m sure all our members join me in thanking Mark Soberman for his marvelous talk last month on Corydoras. Finally, for the runners among us, a couple of days ago I received a note from the the WCS, which you will find immediately below. I’ve also printed copies of an accompanying flyer, which you will find on the back table. Please walk, don’t run, to pick one up.

Dan The note reads: Dear Community Partner, In 10 days the WCS New York Aquarium will be hosting the first ever 5K run for the Wild along Coney Island’s historic Boardwalk. The event will help support the Wildlife conservation Society’s mission to save wildlife in wild places around the world. Our signature species are turtle this year. WCS has programs which help protect the existing turtle populations from threats such as climate change and habitat destruction. No other vertebrate group – neither birds, nor mammals, amphibians, or sharks – are more endangered. Half of all turtle and tortoise species are threatened with extinction. The Run is a unique event because it appeals to not only runners but families and people of all ages who care about saving wildlife. In addition to the Run there will be a family fun run/walk that morning for all of us nonrunners like myself. We will also have costumed characters, face painting and a special sea lion show in the Aquatheater. In addition all participants will receive a free commemorative t-shirt and complimentary admission to the New York Aquarium for the day where visitors can see our own Loggerhead Sea Turtles in the Shark exhibit. Our neighbor Luna Park will also be offering 2 free rides for every registrant. Please share the attached flyer to all of your constituents, friends and neighbors. It’s not too late to register!!!

Nicole Robinson-Etienne

Nicole Robinson-Etienne Assistant Director, City and State Affairs New York Aquarium, Wildlife Conservation Society Surf Avenue at West 8th Street Brooklyn, NY 11224 Tel: 718-265-4740 Fax: 718-265-3482 4

October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The G.C.A.S. Proudly extends a most Warm Welcome to

Our Guest Speaker Rit Forcier Speaking On Collecting in Florida by Claudia Dickinson


eceiving a 10-gallon tank for his tenth birthday brought Rit Forcier surprise and great joy. He was happy over his gift, but also knew inside that owning an aquarium was really a personal dream of his father’s. Father and son went about setting up the tank, choosing the first occupants, and enjoying this quality time spent together. By the time Rit had reached his thirteenth birthday, that one little 10-gallon aquarium had turned into eight, multiplying almost as fast as the inhabitants, as all of the tanks were filled with guppies! Rit had developed a great passion for his fish and was most proficient with his hobby, as he went about taking these guppies down to the local aquarium shop and trading them in for more fish. His aquatic plant skills were as well-mastered at a young age as was his fish expertise, making his water sprite also in high demand, which actually brought in more than did his fish. There was a slight lull in the fish career for Rit as girls became more the focus, which seemed to continue into college when he was known to do water changes for a woman’s tank in order to use her...washer and dryer??? Well, that is what he says, and he did have a tank of his own in college as well! In 1985 Rit discovered a local club, and since that time one of his great passions has been the American Livebearer’s Association, where he has been a member for 12 years, was elected to the Board Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

of Directors in September of 2002, served as Chairman of the Board for a number of years, and currently remains on the BOD. Rit is also actively involved in many area aquarium societies. He joined the Aqua-Land Aquatic Society in Bristol, Connecticut in 1982, where he served as President in 1986, and was awarded an honorary Lifetime Membership in 1999 for his sincere dedication and generous support. Also he has been a longtime member of the Exotic Fish Society of Hartford, where he has served as President. (The Aqua-Land Aquatic Society and the Exotic Fish Society of Hartford merged in 2009 to become the Greater Hartford Aquarium Society.) Rit was also made an Honorary Member of the Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society in February of 2004. Highly sought after for his talents as an auctioneer, Rit’s speaking engagement calendar is also always full. He has spoken across the northeast, as well as at three events in Scotland. An accomplished breeder, he earned the designation of Breeder in the Breeder Award Program of the NEC in 1990, and

October 2011


Master Breeder in 1999. Rit’s showing abilities are as exceptional, with a Best of Show at Aqua-Land in 1999. In recent years he has traveled to Mexico to observe and experience fish in their natural habitats. Rit’s lovely wife, Paula, is very supportive of his hobby and will feed the fish while he is away, and is even known to provide them with live baby brine shrimp. His fishroom is located in the basement, and when the couple was building their home, the joke was that Paula was building a 4-bedroom house around Rit’s fishroom! These days, their grandson, Joshua, adores working by Grandpa’s side, assisting with water changes and caring for the fish, while the pet cat of the house trails along to help, too!

Livebearers have inhabited all but two of the 42 tanks in Rit’s fishroom. Here Goodeids take center stage, as most are conservation priority. Rit keeps fifteen species that are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and three that have the unfortunate distinction of being extinct in the wild. The couple will soon be moving from their current home to warmer climates, but I am sure that a new fishroom will be first on the agenda as soon as they settle in. It is a great pleasure and honor to have Rit join us tonight, bringing us his experiences with Collecting in Florida!

September's Caption Winner:

Cartoon by Elliott Oshins

Brad Dickinson

You can tell it's off-season for football when the Goodyear Blimp is covering surfcasting in Montauk!


October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

The Modern Aquarium Cartoon Caption Contest October, 2011

Modern Aquarium has featured cartoons before. This time though, you, the members of Greater City get to choose the caption! Just think of a good caption, then mail, email, or phone the Editor with your caption (phone: 347-866-1107, fax: 877-299-0522, email: gcas@ Your caption needs to reach the Editor by the third Wednesday of this month. We'll also hand out copies of this page at the meeting, which you can turn in to Marsha before leaving. Winning captions will earn ten points in our Author Awards program, qualifying you for participation in our special "Authors Only" raffle at our Holiday Party and Banquet. Put on your thinking caps!

Cartoon by Elliott Oshins

Your Caption:

Your Name:

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


GCAS Thanks You! Our Generous Sponsors and Advertisers The Greater City Aquarium Society extends our heartfelt thanks to the following manufacturers for their generous donations. Thanks also to our advertisers, whose contributions to our success as a Society are deeply appreciated. Please patronize our supporters. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Technology Inc Ecological Laboratories HBH Pet Products Koller-Craft Kordon, LLC Marineland Microbe Lift Ocean Nutrition America Omega Sea Red Sea


Rena Rolf C. Hagen San Francisco Bay Brand Seachem Zoo Med Laboratories Inc. Cameo Pet Shop Coral Aquarium Nassau Discus World Class Aquarium Zoo Rama Aquarium

October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Diver Dan by Edward Vukich


aving grown up in an era with television shows such as Sea Hunt, Flipper, and Diver Dan, I was always fascinated with diving. I suppose this is one reason I look forward to reading the articles in Modern Aquarium where Donna and Steve Sica share some of their real-life underwater diving adventures. Since returning to the hobby I have had the pleasure of visiting many fishrooms and observing many tank set-ups. For the most part, whether it be Joe Ferdenzi, Mark Soberman, or Jeff Bollbach, they maintain and set up their tanks in a very natural-looking manner. Live plants, real rocks, and natural gravel are the norm as they attempt to replicate their vision of how their fish might live in the wild. You will not find any artificial plants or anything fake in their tanks, and most certainly not a plastic diver with bubbles coming out of his head. These are some renowned aquarists, and I have followed their lead, maintaining my tanks and fish with natural and realistic décor. Recently however, I attended a swap meet sponsored by the North Jersey Aquarium Society, and while browsing among the various venders, I saw it: a collection of brand new air ornaments which included a nice plastic diver with a bright gold helmet. You know the type, the same diving outfit that Cuba Gooding Jr. wore in the movie Men of Honor. My Diver Dan was nicely packaged, and included a free plant (a free plastic plant, I might add). This diver ornament reminded me of one that I had in my fish tank as a kid, so I just had to have it. As things turned out, this was my most cherished purchase of the day.

I can only imagine what Joe Ferdenzi would say, but I had to have my new Diver Dan―though I did pass on the nice Ferris wheel, which might have been taking things a little too far. However, Diver Dan was coming home with me. Upon arriving at home I could not wait to get my new gizmo set up. Me―a grown The Lovely Miss Minerva man―all excited about a simple plastic diver with bubbles coming out of his head. Needless to say, I set up Diver Dan, sat back in my fishroom chair, and was mesmerized by the bubbles. While I admit this is a deviation from the “natural” type setup, I am very pleased with my Diver Dan, and he has provided me with great pleasure and enjoyment. Now that I think of it, isn’t that what fishkeeping is supposed to be all about? So enjoy your hobby, and go for whatever turns you on!

Photos from DiverDan.htm Diver Dan (from the TV show). Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


Leaf Spawning Using Indian Almond Leaves for Blackwater Species by ALEXANDER A PRIEST - photos by the author o, this isn’t about spawning leaves, or leaf fish, or leafy sea dragons. It’s about using the dried leaves of the Indian almond tree, Terminalia catappa, to induce spawning. This tree is not related to Prunus dulcis, the tree that produces the almonds you eat. But ripe Indian almond seeds taste somewhat like those almonds, hence the name. Indian almond is a large tree native to tropical Asia and northern Australia. It is also found in tropical parts of the Americas.1 Indian almond leaves are rich in compounds produced by the tree to protect itself against bacteria, fungi, and similar organisms. Because of this, it has been speculated (but not yet proven) that it can decrease the risk of disease in an aquarium. In fact, compounds in Indian almond leaves have been researched for their potential health benefits for humans, including quercetin, a type of flavonoid considered to be anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties, and kaempferol, believed to decrease the risk of developing certain types of cancer.2


One thing that I can attest to from personal experience is that adding dried Indian almond leaves to tanks of fish native to blackwater environments will often trigger spawning. Fish kept in an environment that closely resembles their natural habitat tend to spawn more readily. Dried Indian almond leaves color the water brown, mimicking the natural environment of blackwater species. In the aquarium, dried Indian almond leaves lower pH, and are even believed by some to help prevent fungus on eggs.3 Many species of fish come from “blackwater” environments. “Blackwater” refers to dark brown or black colored water caused by the tannins leached from wood and leaves in the bottom of the rivers. Blackwater has different properties than regular clear water; for one thing, the pH is often much lower (as low as 3!).4 Obviously, because of their pH lowering effect, dried Indian almond leaves are not

The native waters of South Borneo, where the cherry chocolate (or cross-band) chocolate gourami come from, have a pH range from 5.0 to 6.5. This makes Sphaerichthys selatanensis ideal candidates for a tank having a substrate consisting only of Indian almond leaves.


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

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

appropriate for fish While not endemic to alkaline available in most pet (high pH) regions. But stores, dried Indian nearly all anabantoids almond leaves are are native to waters that available by mail are acidic (low pH) and order. Before use, mineral poor (or “soft”) they should be with the notable inspected, and be exception of Betta evenly brown on simplex, which is native both sides with no to the hard, alkaline light grey patches (a water of limestone sign of mold). Rinse pools. Therefore, in tap water before Indian almond leaves using. Most of the leaves you get by mail will be 8" to are appropriate for most One final note: 10" in size. Smaller or broken pieces can be put species of Ctenopoma if your Indian into box filters or filter bags. and Betta, and most almond leaves do gouramis. induce spawning, it’s nice to know that they also The dried leaves of other trees can also lower promote the growth of infusoria — a perfect first pH. I know aquarists who use dried oak leaves and food for fry. dried magnolia leaves. I have never seen any medicinal benefits attributed to those leaves, but remember, “medicinal” benefits claimed for Indian almond leaves are For those not wishing to use actual leaves, there anecdotal and not yet are products containing almond leaf extract. proven scientific facts. References: 1 2 3 4

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: Bill Amely Sharon Barnett Mario Bengcion Jules Birnbaum Rod DuCasse

Modern 18 Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Joe Graffagnino Dan Puleo Dan & Marsha Radebaugh Ed Vukich

October2011 2011 October

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


The Southern New England Killifish Association Presents

The Northeast Weekend Killifish Convention Friday October 14 to Sunday October 16, 2011 Ramada Plaza Albany 3 Watervliet Ave. Ext. Albany, NY 12206 Room rate of just $80 per night! for complete convention information including fish Speakers, expected in the auction or Fishroom Techniques e-mail Round Table, AKA Sanctioned Killifish People new Show, to killie Killifish Sale, Awards Banquet, keeping are Raffles, and More. welcome! Sunday’s Killifish auction is open to the public ! 12

October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

My Nanoaquarium Story and Photos by Stephen Sica

n the first day of last March, Donna and I were sitting in a California Pizza restaurant on Old County Road, near the Nassau County site of the former Fortunoff’s Department Store. Thanks to a twenty percent discount promotion, we were having a tasty lunch on a Tuesday afternoon. For the record, neither of us was eating pizza, but we do like their foccacia sandwiches that come with the most delicious minestrone soup. This is the only time that I ask a restaurant server not to hold the croutons! But as usual, I seem to be diverging from the main course―I mean subject. Just across the parking area, we were gazing out the window at a Borders bookstore plastered with “closing this location” and “big discounts” signs. I suggested to Donna that we stop at the store to browse, since it was the beginning of a new month, with few diners in the restaurant and even fewer going in and out of the bookstore. It was truly a good, leisurely day to relax. It’s too bad that we didn’t wait three more days so we could march forth! I specialize in bad jokes, and I continue to digress! An hour later I was browsing the second floor, where the pets section used to be. Those shelves were empty, and the whole floor was a mess. Ultimately I found the section and discovered a small Barron’s book titled Nanoaquarium, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, by Jakob Geck and Ulrich Schliewen. It was published in 2008, with an English version translated from German in 2010. This colorful softcover book, made from high quality glossy paper, caught my eye because of the subject. I decided to purchase the book that had a list price of $8.99, and Border’s was going to give me their “giant going out of business discount”―a whopping twenty percent!


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

During that week I perused the book. I was enamored by several of the lovely photographs of small fish tanks, and decided that I had most of the equipment in my basement to construct my very own nanoaquarium. Donna pointed out the fact that we currently have an eight-gallon that had replaced a broken down six-gallon acrylic Marineland aquarium. I acknowledged her information, but I told her that those are small aquariums. I was going to set up an old five-and-one-half gallon “standard” tank as a nanoaquarium. I did not have a stand, so I cut a piece of one-half inch plywood as a tabletop and set it upon two plastic milk crates that I stacked. The tank would be about twenty inches off my basement floor―and close to my assortment of odds and ends that would be required to assemble the setup. I retrieved an old five-and-one-half gallon tank with a glass top, and added just over two inches of plain gravel as substrate. I didn’t have a small light fixture, so I searched the internet and found a company selling a 14-inch, 24-watt compact fluorescent fixture that would be a good size with plenty of light for the standard fiveand-one-half gallon tank. The fixture was unfortunately out of stock, so I decided to temporarily substitute a 30-inch twin bulb fluorescent fixture collecting dust in that aforementioned basement. I scoured my active aquariums and discovered a few young Java fern Windelov plants (Microsorum pteropus “Windelov”) variety, that I “planted” in two small clumps on each side in the front. I decided to purchase two more of these to fill out the front, but never did. I was trying to make this an inexpensive project, but nowadays is anything inexpensive? In the center rear I had a rectangular rock with what―I think―is a small Anubias nana attached to it.

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I placed a second plant next to it on the rock and another right in front of the glass. All of these small plants were “born in captivity.” They would be the centerpiece. I placed a small 25-watt submersible heater in the rear on the right side, and for filtration I used a Hydrosponge II filter that I had purchased at a GCAS silent auction. If you are familiar with this product, the wide center tube that disperses the water flow and bubbles extended too high above the filter to close the glass tank top. A five-gallon has a height of only about ten inches, so I removed the tube rather than cut it down to a lower size. The filter was too large and out of proportion for the “nano” look, so I purchased a small Azoo Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter sponge filter for aquariums up to ten gallons. I plugged everything in and set a timer for only three hours of light, from five to eight PM. The aquarium began operating, albeit devoid of fish. I wanted to replace the fixture with one more aesthetically pleasing. At last, I was able to purchase online the Odyssea 24-watt compact fluorescent fixture from the Aquatraders company. Finally, I felt that the whole aquarium was suitably proportioned. Everything was complete except for the fish.


I perused my own fish tanks, and selected three “bronze” tetras that were in my “mix and match” tank. I had purchased five or six at a GCAS monthly auction. I put the three fish in the nanoaquarium. They all immediately swam to the bottom at the back of the tank. One never left. The next day another tetra took up position front top. The third fish tried to swim in the open, but the top fish kept chasing it to back the bottom rear. After observing this behavior for a few days, I removed the three fish and put them in another tank with a school of fifteen lemon tetras (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis). At a glance, it now looks like a school of eighteen lemon tetras. Ironically, the fish that I originally wanted were a small school of glowlight tetras (Hemigrammus erythrosine), but none of my local pet stores had any in stock. A few weeks later, I was driving Donna home from a dental appointment and decided to stop at a supermarket

in the neighborhood where she grew up to try to purchase lamb butter sculpture (an old Polish Easter custom). In the market’s mall was a Petland. They were having a sale on almost fully grown glowlight tetras for ninety-nine cents each. I purchased six, and they immediately found a new home in the nanoaquarium. So far, it appears to me that all of them are having a pleasant time in their new―but small―home, eating TetraColor Tropical Granules (formerly ColorBits) and an occasional treat. I guess that I should change some water now. You know, a nanoaquarium may seem small, but it sure can be a lot of work.

October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

1911 ~ Celebrating 100 Years of Educating Aquarists ~ 2011 YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS GREAT ANNIVERSARY AUCTION!




Freshwater Fish, Marine Fish, Aqua-cultured Corals, Aquatic Plants & Dry Goods. A New 55 Gallon Tank & Lots of Pre-owned Tanks. Rare & Hard To Find Livestock. Great Bargains & Much More... Viewing Lots 7:30pm - 8:30pm Auction Starts 8:30pm Free Admission • Free Parking • Free Refreshments • Plus Anniversary Sales Items • Raffles •


Car Directions: Belt Pkway to Ocean Pkway South (Exit 7S). Take Ocean Pkway approx. 1/2 mile. The NY Aquarium will be on your left. Subway Directions: The Q or F trains to West 8th St., NY Aquarium Station.

For more information visit us on line; BrooklynAquariumSociety.ORG Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


Pictures from our

Our guest speaker: Mark Soberman

Three Amigos: Tommy, Mario, and Dan Back from the ACA Convention

Honeymooners Rod & Youmi Griffin

Al Priest wearing his favorite shirt

Steve Berman

Ben and Emma Haus

Last month’s Door Prize Winners

Herb Walgren

Richard Waizman

Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners:

1st Place: Richard Waizman



2nd Place: Mario Bengcion October 2011 October 2011

3rd Place: Richard Waizman Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S. (NY) Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

last meeting Photos by Susan Priest

Recipients of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies 2010 Publication Awards:

Dan Radebaugh

Susan Priest

Donna and Steve Sica

Al Priest

Elliot Oshins

Joe Ferdenzi

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

Jules Birnbaum October 2011 October 2011



GuppyCon Boston 2011 Tropical Fish Show & Aquarium Convention October 14th – 15th – 16th Holiday Inn Boston-Somerville Hotel 30 Washington Street – Somerville Massachusetts


Special Events:

Large Aquarium Industry Exhibit 15th Annual World Guppy Championship IGEES Guppy Innovation Contest All Species- Tropical Fish Show – with cash Prizes up to $100. Boston Guppy Club – Show Guppy Auction Boston Aquarium Society Annual Tropical Fish Auction-Sunday October 16th Special Product Demos and Workshops from Aquarium Industry Manfacturers. In Room Sales

• • • • • • • •

• • • • •

Multimedia Presentation by Phillip Shaddock of Protecting Native Habitats & Fisheries by Scott Dowd of the New England Aquarium A Tour of the New England Aquarium A special IMAX movie presentation in the Simons IMAX Theatre at the NE Aquarium. An International Breeders Roundtable with Guppy Breeders from around the world.

The first ten people to sign up for the Special Events package will receive a special behind the scenes VIP tour of the New England Aquarium!

These events are free and open to the general public.

Hotel Information Stay at the Boston-Somerville Hotel by Holiday Inn located only 2 miles from downtown Boston. Take advantage of the many amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi, free parking, complimentary shuttle service, heated indoor pool and jacuzzi, full service on-site Restaurant, 24 hour fitness center, and room service. To Get the special GuppyCon rate call 877-904-8860 and request the GuppyCon room block. Or make reservations online by visiting Note the deadline for getting the special room rate is September, 21st !!!!!!!

Boston Guppy Club

Clubs & Organizations: Boston Aquarium International Guppy Society Education & Exhibition Society

World Guppy Association

For more information Including Sponsorship and Exhibitor Information, Auction Rules and Registration forms visit the convention website at


October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

MA Classics While looking through some older issues of Modern Aquarium I came across this profile of Rosario LaCorte by Dan Carson from the May, 1969 Show Issue. A longtime friend of Greater City, Rosario has been a major presence in our hobby for many years. Now in his 80s, Rosario contributed to Modern Aquarium last year with a postscript to Alan Mark Fletcher's "The Cardinal Tetra Story" (December, 2010). He was also the subject of Jules Birnbaum's "A Visit to a Living Legend" (July, 2010).

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

October 2011



October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011



October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


by Susan Priest his is the story of a fish that started out with the right fish for Marie. In addition to the flake no name at all. Later on, as it neared the end food she already had, I gave her some small of its earthly life, it found itself with TWO! pelleted food for carnivores, and turned the red I guess I had better take you back a couple of years betta over to her care. to the beginning of this fish tale. A couple of days later I went to visit them. “I One day my neighbor Marie was helping out changed the water yesterday, and again today. at a kids’ birthday party. As fate would have it, How often am I supposed to do it?” I told her that there was one small and lonely goldfish left after once or twice a week was good. She showed me all of the kids had gone home. Marie, who had how much food she was giving it once each day. never kept a fish before, adopted it. Not long after It was a suitably small amount, and I that my phone started to ring. “Susan, can you complimented her on her restraint. I asked her help me with something?” “have you given the fish a name yet?” She said She had the fish in one of those VERY small that she was still thinking about it. bowls which someone, somehow, deemed suitable One day Marie had a visitor who was 100% for a betta. This was clearly a “feeder goldfish,” sure that the fish was a male. I assured her that it and was just as clearly on the “short list.” was not, and pointed out the tiny white “egg spot” I gave her a half-gallon capacity flat-sided in the area of the vent as proof. Marie still bowl, with a lid made from plastic needlepoint couldn’t completely discount her friend’s opinion mesh, a small Java fern, and some flake food. I on the subject, and this of course further taught her how to dechlorinate the water, and never complicated the process of choosing a name for the to clean the inside of fish. Weeks and the bowl with soap months went by. or detergent. I also At this point I gave her a plastic would like you to cup to hold the fish imagine the care you in when she was would be giving your changing the water. fish if you only had Now she was on her one. Would you be own. scrubbing out the bowl Two days later with a toothbrush? she called with the Would you be “bad news.” She felt carrying it from room responsible. I tried to room with you? The fish with two names. my best to assure her Would you play Photo by Al Priest that it was not her different types of fault. Anyway, she found that she had enjoyed the music for it to find out if it preferred jazz or company of the little fish, and thought that she country/western? Would you be buying it toys? would like anther one. Hmmm! When you only have one fish to care for, anything Her inexperience had me ruling out one goes! choice after another. What fish would be suitable Even though Marie had never kept a fish in a small bowl with no filtration? Maybe a before, she took excellent care of this one for over paradise fish? No, that would get too big. A cory two years. Ultimately, the call came with a request would be fun for her to watch, but they need for advice. “Should I flush it, or put it out with my friends and family. Gouramis come in many trash.” I suggested to her that it would make different sizes and colors; that is a possibility excellent fertilizer at the base of her fig tree. worth investigating. Then, as I glanced around my So, the question came up again one last time. kitchen, the obvious choice was right in front of “Marie, did you ever give that fish a name?” She me: a betta! Betta splendens, to be precise. replied that since she was never really sure if it I had three or four to choose from. My eyes was a male or a female, that she eventually gave it kept drifting to a frisky red Cambodian female. two names, one of each. Her fish was named (The term Cambodian in this context refers to a Reuben as well as Lauren. Sometimes she would two-tone fish with a pale colored body and darker call it by one name, and sometimes the other. colored fins.) Even though she was one of my Don’t you just love that! favorites (aren’t they all?), I decided that this was



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

September 2011 October 2011

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

Once again, life has come full circle. I bought a charming young black female betta at our September auction. I offered it to Marie, but she said no, that she would wait for something more colorful.

So, if you notice me bidding on a red, blue, or yellow betta at one of our auctions, you can be sure that it will be going to a good home, and might even get more than one name.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday October 21 – 23, 2011 Lyndhurst Elks, 231 Park Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Come spend the weekend with New Jersey’s largest Tropical Fish Club. The event includes a Vendor Expo on Friday and Saturday, as well as a fish show Saturday also, and a giant tropical fish, plant and dry good auction on Sunday. There will be multiple vendors Friday & Saturday, silent auctions, food and drinks available all three days. Friday Expo Hours 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM $5.00 Entry Fee Sat. Expo & Show 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM $5.00 Entry Fee Sunday Mega Auction 8:00 AM to ??? $5.00 Bidder Card (Viewing Free) FRIDAY EARLY BIRD SPECIAL – ALL THREE DAYS - $7.00 Children under 12 FREE! Discounted Entry For Students!

Friday & Saturday VENDOR EXPO $30.00 per 8-foot table for both days $15.00 for additional table(s) Table set-up starts Friday at 12:00 & Saturday at 10:00Am NO CLUB SPLIT – KEEP 100% OF SALES VISIT THE RENOWNED EXPERT TABLE AND GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED CORRECTLY

Auction Partial Rules Pre-Registration by October 15th and receive a 60/40 (seller/NJAS) split Register by 12:00 on Sunday, 10/23 and receive a 50/50 split Registrations after 12:00 on 10/23 receive a reduced split Registration of fish for auction starts 9:00am Auction viewing starts at 10:30 AM Auction starts at 12:00 PM

For SHOW RULES, full details on EXPO and auction or more information, visit us on the web at or at For human interface, call Bobby Larsen at (201) 406-0857, email him at 18

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

September 2011 October 2011

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


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October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

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Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2011


GCAS Happenings


Last Month’s Bowl Show Winners: 1 Richard Waizman

Tan Betta

2 Mario Bengcion

Daru Delta Tail Betta

3 Richard Waizman

Male Split-tail Betta

Unofficial 2011 Bowl Show totals to date: Mario Bengcion 17

Richard Waizman 15

Joe Magnoli 9 Harry Faustmann 5

William Amely 8

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: November 2, 2011 Speaker: Ted Judy Topic: Going Gabon Meets: 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 (718) 458-8437 Email: Website:

Meets: 2nd Tuesday 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: October 11, 2011 Speaker: Christine Williams Topic: When Aquariums Attack! 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, July, and August) at 7:30-10:00pm. Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. Contact: Donald Curtin (718) 631-0538

Brooklyn Aquarium Society


Next Meeting: October 14, 2011 Speaker: None Event: Fall GIANT Auction Meets: 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:

Next Meeting: October 20, 2011 Speaker: Larry Jinks Topic: TBD Meets this month at: Quality Inn, 10 Polito Avenue Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Email: Website:

Long Island Aquarium Society

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: October 15, 2011 Speaker: Al DiSpigna Topic: Livebearers Meets: 3rd Fridays (except July and August) 8:00pm. Room 120 in Endeavor Hall on theState University at Stony Brook Campus, Stony Brook, NY Email: Margaret Peterson - Website:

Next Meeting: October 20, 2011 Speaker: TBA 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 Email: Website:


October 2011

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Naturally Artificial 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. or those purists who absolutely require that every one of their aquariums be “natural,” the very idea of ceramic bricks, plastic plants, and (ohmygosh) statues in their tanks is an abomination. Not so for the fish themselves, as they quite readily adapt to almost any ornaments in their tanks. Similarly, fish in the wild are quite accepting of artificial aquascaping.


As another example of just how accepting fish are of artificial aquascaping, it was reported that “marine life began colonizing immediately” the Vandenberg (a decommissioned 1944 war ship) sunk in 2009 to become the largest artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.2 (Hey, Mr./Ms. purist, make sure that you also check out that sunken ship next to the subway car!) In the West Indies, located within the National Marine Park in an area a few miles north of Grenada’s capital, St. Georges, the “Moliniere Bay underwater museum” created by Jason deCaires Taylor contains sixty-five pieces of underwater art spread over an area of eight hundred square meters. Taylor worked with materials such as steel as well as cement with a reduced pH, which encourages coral to form, and then bolted the sculptures to the ocean substrate. True to his expectations, the sculpture park in Grenada now flourishes with corals, sponges and schools of fish. In addition to peacock flounder, fire worms and banded coral shrimp, Taylor has noted traces of brain coral on some of the statues.3

Before and after photos of “The Un-still Life” a piece of artwork by Jason deCaires Taylor at a depth of 8 meters below the water’s surface in Grenada. Photos from Old New York City subway cars have become a widely sought-after material for creating artificial reefs. A Delaware natural resources official described subway cars as “luxury condominiums for fish.”1 I wonder: what would those (unnamed, but you know who they are) “purists” say about a subway car in one of your tanks?

Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo: LA Times

Since then, Jason deCaires Taylor has completed an underwater sculpture museum of 400 life-size sculptures forming a monumental artificial reef in Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico. So, put that bubbling clam or treasure chest in your tank if you want — it’s art!

1 3 Weird%20News#s359618&title=Vicissitudes 2

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

October 2011 October 2011



Fin Fun This issue of Modern Aquarium has an article about a classic aquarium ornament. If you look at the on-line auction sites, such as eBay, you’d be surprised at how much interest there is in vintage ornaments. See if you can find some classic ornaments in the word search puzzle below. Answer next month.

p p a z u h q n k b b i v r q

m v o s h e l l w p r h q r e

c a s t l e x p e g i x g t o

k c e r w p i h s s c r a h c

k k y q m s c i k a k r e i o

r i d a n c k e f e i t k t f

y i l a h e l u p p r e v i d

m c x e d e p d l k t t b g y

m y s x t o e t q l s x x a p

e t z o e e g w u d g z u w i

r j n z g v x a b n j o b e p

m w n b d a b o p o e i l e a

a t y c i c b m m o e a x e a

i x b q r b f x n y j h v d k

d c b v b o j i i a w d r k m

Words in the puzzle: brick bridge castle cave

chest clam diver log

mermaid neptune pagoda pirate

shell shipwreck skeleton skull

Answers to last month’s puzzle: Common Name

Scientific Name

Blacktop corydoras


Corydoras acutus

Pink corydoras


Corydoras axelrodi

Blackstripe corydoras


Corydoras bondi

Gray corydoras


Corydoras griseus

Bluespotted corydoras


Corydoras melanistius

Black band catfish


Corydoras zygatus

Pinkthroat corydoras


Corydoras spilurus

Green gold catfish


Corydoras melanotaenia

Emerald catfish


Corydoras semiscutatus




October 2011 October 2011

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

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