Modern Aquarium

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October 2020 volume XXVII number 8

Series III Vol. XXVII, No. 8 October, 2020 ON THE COVER Most of our members will probably recognize this month’s cover photo as coming from our reef tank maven, Joe Gurrado. Featured organisms include zoanthids (bottom center), dead center Palythoa, green left of center Clavlaria viridis, top right pink color Montipora, and back left fuscia color more zoanthids. What a riot of color and beauty!

In This Issue From the Editor G.C.A.S. 2020 Program Schedule President’s Message

Photo by Joseph F. Gurrado

Our Generous Sponsors and Advertisers


Corydorus zygatus

Board Members

The Black Band Catfish by Joseph Graffagnino

President Vice-President Treasurer Assistant Treasurer Corresponding Secretary

Horst Gerber Edward Vukich Jules Birnbaum Ron Wiesenfeld


Walter Gallo Victor Hritz Leonard Ramroop

Joseph F. Gurrado Joseph Graffagnino Al Grusell Marsha Radebaugh Joseph F. Gurrado Gilberto Soriano Jason Kerner

Blame It On Wanda! MA Classics (Network) by Warren Feuer

Beer, Guppies, and Social Distancing by Horst Gerber

No BS — Brine Shrimp! by Jules Birnbaum


Exchange Article by Al DiSpigna

G.C.A.S. Member Discounts G.C.A.S. Classifieds G.C.A.S. Happenings

Dan Radebaugh

The Undergravel Reporter

Copy Editors:

Alexander A. Priest Donna Sosna Sica Advertising Manager

Fishy Friendsʼ Photos by Joseph Ferdenzi

Committee Chairs

Bowl Show Breeder Award Early Arrivals Membership N.E.C. Delegate Programs Social Media Technical Coordinator

by Stephen Sica

Ken Lazara: A Personal Remembrance

Members At Large

Pete D’Orio Al Grusell Jason Kerner

A Puffer And A Porcupine

Susan Priest Thomas Warns

Meeting The Neighbors

Fin Fun (Puzzle Page) Trick Or Treat

Robert Kolsky

2 3 4 5 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

From the Editor by Dan Radebaugh


ne of the interesting parts of putting these issues together is being occasionally surprised by how it all works out. For instance, this issue contains as many stories as most have this year, but is noticeably “smaller” in total number of pages (and weight, if we were printing it). This was not part of a master plan. It’s simply a result of the fact that most of the articles this month are one to two pages long, rather than say, three to four pages. It’s just one of the (to me) entertaining parts of putting these issues together. Joe Graffagnino, who has done a lot of writing for us this year, starts us off with a breeding report on Corydoras zygatus, the “black band cory.” Many of us here (myself included) are Corydoras fans, and always look forward to more information on these popular little fish. Steve Sica this month seeks to answer the question, “When is a pufferfish a porcupinefish?” I won’t ruin the answer, other than to issue the spoiler alert, “It isn’t!” Never fear! Steve explains all, with photos! Following our Fishy Friends’ Photos page, Joe Ferdenzi shares some bad news but good memories of Ken Lazara, who recently passed away. In a bit of a surprise we have an article from Warren Feuer, called “Blame It On Wanda!” Why do I call it a surprise? I know that you’ve all noticed that we sometimes reprise articles from earlier issues of Modern Aquarium. Well this one is from way earlier—before we had resurrected the Modern Aquarium title, and were publishing a newsletter called Network. This article also plays nicely into the “theme” articles you’ve seen lately in Modern Aquarium about fishkeeping in the movies. I think you’ll enjoy it, but I must say that it makes me feel old. Warren’s article (and of course the movie, which I’m certain I saw at the time) pre-dates my ever having heard of either Modern Aquarium or Network. Maybe I should have a drink. Or two. As it turns out, our next article, appropriately enough by Horst Gerber, and entitled “Beer, Guppies, and Social Distancing,” is very much related to taking that drink (or two). How Horst brings these intriguing elements together I’ll let you discover for yourselves, but it has to do with the cancellation of this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich. Take my word—they did the right thing! Social Distancing? Hah!


I went to Oktoberfest way back in 1970. I’m pretty sure I’m correct about the date, as the terrorist capture and subsequent explosion of those four passenger jets in the desert took place while I was in Munich for the festival. Flying out of the Munich airport a few days later was very ‘interesting!’ Super tight security courtesy of the German Army, and lots of inebriated tourists being very indignant about how thoroughly they were frisked going through security. After going through that security check, we were taken by bus to the aircraft. Our luggage was by the plane, and we had to personally identify each piece as ours before either it or we were allowed aboard! Back to fish! Jules Birnbaum gives us a “No BS” easy-to-follow account of how he uses brine shrimp in his tanks. It’s clear, simple, and understandably presented! If you’ve been on the verge of regularly using brine shrimp to feed your fish, this is an easy, excellent guide! Our exchange article this month, Al DiSpigna’s “Angelfish,” is reprinted from the September NEC Bulletin. The article won Third Place in the 2020 NEC Articles Competition—Breeding Class. It originally appeared in the May-June issue of the Brooklyn Aquarium Society’s publication Aquatica. The Undergravel Reporter this month tells us about “Meeting the Neighbors,” a story of how zookeepers in Yokohama enrich their captive penguins’ lives by having them visit with their neighbors the seals. Since we’re in October, you can probably guess why the Fin Fun puzzle is entitled “Trick or Treat!”

October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

GCAS Programs



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 accompany each meeting. March 4

Joseph Ferdenzi Aquascaping

April 1

Meeting Cancelled Covid-19

May 6

Lawrence Kent Holy Grail Cichlids, Friends, and Other Fish: Two West African Stories

June 3

Pam Chin Swimming With Cichlids - Zambia

July 2

Lawrence Flint Reef Aquarium Systems in Schools

August 5

Stephen Chester The Aquarium Hobby in the UK

September 2

Joshua Wiegert Loricariids for the Planted Aquarium

October 1

Larry Johnson Swimming With Cichlids - Lake Malawi

November 4


December 2


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 email submissions to, or fax to (347) 379-4984. Copyright 2020 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 that two copies of the publication are sent to the Exchange Editor of this magazine. For online-only publications, copies may be sent via email to Any other reproduction or commercial use of the material in this publication is prohibited without prior express written permission. The Greater City Aquarium Society meets every month except January and February. Members receive notice of meetings in the mail or by email. For more information, contact: Dan Radebaugh at (718) 458-8437, email gcas@, or fax to (347) 379-4984. For more information about our club or to see previous issues of Modern Aquarium, you can also go to our Internet Home Page at,, or Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2020


President’s Message by Horst Gerber think you are all aware of how difficult this year has been for our club and others. In addition to being unable to hold meetings, publishing our magazine, Modern Aquarium, has been challenging as well. So far though, we’ve gotten it done, and distributed it each month, so at least we have one source of continuity and information. Since we haven’t been able to gather together, there has been no good way to get printed copies to our members each month. Never fear, we’ve been able to adapt! Modern Aquarium is being distributed electronically. Same great content—germ free! When we planned 2020 nobody in their wildest dreams had anticipated this mess! Not even Al or Vinnie! We were planning future stories, the latest on gadgets and breeding techniques, and so forth. Most of our Speakers were committed. In short, our well-oiled machine was running smoothly. And then a giant monkey wrench was thrown into the gears, and here we are at the end of the summer, not expecting any more real meetings until next year! It’s hard to write funny stories when you have little or no contact with your usual fishy friends. No zoos, no botanical gardens, no New York Aquarium. Could this be the new normal? At least these latter three are coming tentatively back to life! And I didn’t say I’d shoot myself even once, since I like to keep my promises. Same with our monthly speakers. For the first couple of (non) meetings, it seemed weird to think about having a guest speaker by looking at our computers or phones rather than going to a meeting, but it really has pretty much worked out. Most importantly, it has worked out and kept us safe from the Covid-19 plague. Don’t forget, a lot of us here are not in a good age bracket to take unnecessary risks with this virus. Jules Birnbaum and a couple of others have even been able to work out a way to auction some fish, to help our financial situation as we weather this storm. One item on the plus side of all the difficulties we’ve been facing is that I’ve become better acquainted with Dan Radebaugh, our Editor of Modern Aquarium. I’ve spoken with him more times this year than I have in the past decade! Often this has been to run by him some of my morbid jokes about the virus, including those that have appeared in these President’s Messages. His good advice won the day, and we didn’t print a lot of those, especially as they would have ended up on the Internet. Hopefully next year I won’t have to watch my words so closely. This year I think we’ve done a good job of holding the club together. I hope and trust that we can return to a more normal reality, we can greet one another at our meetings, and really appreciate all of the good things that belonging to this club provides!


See you soon!?



October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals

NorthFin Premium Fish Food

Aquarium Technology Inc.

Ocean Nutrition America



Brine Shrimp Direct

Omega Sea

Carib Sea


Cobalt Aquatics

Pet Resources


Pisces Pro

Ecological Laboratories

Red Sea

Florida Aquatic Nurseries


Fritz Aquatics

Rolf C. Hagen

HBH Pet Products

San Francisco Bay Brand

Hydor USA




Jungle Labs

Spectrum Brands

Kent Marine



Zoo Med Laboratories Inc.

Microbe Lift

Your Fish

Monster Aquarium, Inc.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2020


Tonight’s Speaker: Larry Johnson on “Swimming With Cichlids - Lake Malawi” arry was first introduced to Lake Malawi cichlids in the early 70s and has been keeping and breeding them since then. The fishroom has got bigger over the years, and was consumed by these beautiful fish. “Tropical Fish are a full time job for me.” He presently runs almost 100 various sized aquariums at home, and has been importing cichlids from Lake Malawi since 2006 from Stuart M. Grant. Stuart was a dear friend, who passed away in October 2007. You can see many beautiful underwater pictures that have been taken over the years on his website here. In January 2003 Cichlid News magazine published Larry’s article and pictures on the genus Mylochromis. Larry also discovered the interesting feeding behaviour in Sciaenochromis fryeri and photographed for the first time the new species, Lethrinops sp.“mbenji roundhead” and Otopharynx speciosus at Nkhomo Reef. Larry also contributes time as a moderator on several forums and is a contributing photographic author to The Cichlid Companion Room and Buntbarsche Bulletin for the ACA. Larry spent two months in Malawi (2009 ) installing anti-netting devices around the Maleri Islands and conducting a cichlid survey in conjunction with the Stuart M. Grant Conservation Fund.

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October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Corydoras zygatus The Black Band Catfish by Joseph Graffagnino

ate one morning I was browsing in a fish store when I came across a tank full of corydoras that was listed as Cory rabauti. This was an interesting fish that I hadn’t seen before, so I purchased 10 of them and brought them home. I placed one group of five in a 50-gallon tank with a large sponge filter, and the other five in a 10-gallon tank with no heater or gravel and a small corner filter. I took a picture of them and went to my library of tropical fish books to verify that this was the correct fish as per its label. The photo I took and the picture in Ian Fuller’s Cory book were different. I started to research Ian’s book, and eventually I came across the Corydoras zygatus. Not being an expert, I needed to verify the species, and who better to do this than the author himself? I emailed Ian, and within a day or so he confirmed that I indeed had C. zygatus. I contacted the store I purchased them from and suggested that they change the name to the correct species. These fish were adults when I got them, and a few of the females were plump. They were wild fish, so I had no idea when or how they would spawn. I waited several months until the fish had settled into their habitat, then started doing 90% water changes with cooler water, and fed them live blackworms. With this regimen they spawned two days later, but only the fish in the 50-gallon aquarium. Those in the 10-gallon did not spawn. Did the size of the aquarium make the difference in breeding them? These C. zygatus laid their eggs on the glass, at the top of the waterline near the air stone that operated the sponge filter. The pH was 7.5 and the water temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Over 100 eggs were in the tank. Four days later the eggs hatched.


Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Once the yolk sac disappeared I fed the babies frozen rotifers, and alternated this thrice-daily feeding with tiny fish food powder. After a couple of weeks I was able to give them live and frozen baby brine shrimp. After a few weeks I moved the babies into several grow-out tanks of 10 and 15-gallons, and within a few months I was sharing these uncommon cory babies with multiple clubs in the area so that other hobbyists could enjoy them.

References: My notes Fuller, I. A., & Evers, H. (2011). Identifying Corydoradinae catfish. Kidderminster: Ian Fuller Enterprises.

October 2020


A Puffer and A Porcupine Story and Photos by Stephen Sica

A pair of pufferfish showing completely different coloration patterns to blend into the seascape.

hen is a pufferfish a porcupinefish? Scientifically speaking it is not, but many of these similar species look alike and even share common names. Did you know that the porcupinefish is also commonly referred to as the “spotted spiny puffer?” The Reef Fish Identification for Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas is a reference-type photo book by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach. I occasionally use it to identify young and adult fishes by their photos. It’s daunting that so many fish in the wild do not look like their own photograph that was also taken in the wild! While this book identifies fish species by distinct photographs that have been taken by the authors, it also contains observations and miscellaneous information from these two underwater photographers. In their book, they label puffers, porcupinefish and a few other unique species as “oddshaped swimmers.” What motivates me to raise this trivia? The primary reason is that I was fortunate enough to take a few nice photos of a porcupinefish while in Key Largo last autumn. I do recall that I wrote an article about puffer/porcupinefish in the March 2019 issue of Modern Aquarium. I believe that you can never have too many nice photographs, and as you probably know by now, I really like to take lots of photographs.



Fortunately, every now and then a few of them turn out pretty well! If I may refresh your recollection, puffers possess the unique ability to draw water into their mouths to greatly inflate their bodies. This is their main defense. Their teeth are fused together and cannot be used as a weapon, though they have powerful jaws capable of crushing and eating hard-shelled invertebrates. Porcupinefish have either long spines that become erect when the fish sucks in water to inflate, or shorter spines that are fixed in an erect position. As I already mentioned, it is these spines that protect the porcupinefish, not their strong teeth and jaws. If a much larger fish ingests a porcupinefish, it will spit it out. Most other fish do not even attempt to eat one. These fish can expand up to three times their normal size by drawing water into their abdomen. In addition, the flesh of a pufferfish is poisonous. Some puffers are considered a delicacy in Japan, but if improperly cleaned they can be deadly to eat. My advice is to stay away from Japanese chefs who have pufferfish on the menu. Since professional food tasters are no longer fashionable, you just never know! Most puffers and porcupinefish are found searching for food in shallow water around coral reefs. In a home saltwater aquarium puffers may

October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Approaching the top of the reef, this pufferfish swims toward the camouflage and protection of the reef. A docile fish, the puffer only inflates its body and thus its spines on rare occasions.

This pufferfish rests in a colorful coral and rock outcropping. Although a puffer is safe from most aggressive fish, a hungry large one might take its chances and try to venture a bite.

damage corals, especially delicate species, in their search for food. They will also eat crustaceans. In addition to eating all the invertebrates in a tank, their regular diet includes chopped seafood, mysis shrimp, and various frozen foods for marine fish. Puffers are semi-aggressive in close quarters, and may nip the fins of other fish. They do not fare well with members of their own family; hence they are usually kept alone. Many experts believe that a male and female in the same aquarium will usually get along, if the area is sizeable and there are numerous hiding places. These experts claim that you should never keep two males together. A question that I have is how do you differentiate a male and a female? I have yet to determine the difference in fish that I have observed in the wild. Usually my primary concern or focus is to take a clear, close photo. In Florida and the Caribbean the most prevalent species are the four to five inch long sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster rostrata, and the much larger porcupinefish, Diodon hystrix. The porcupinefish can grow to a length of three feet. This would be a huge and attractive fish to see. Most that I observe are between twelve to eighteen inches. I cannot recall seeing a fish much larger than eighteen inches. These are the two species that I photograph most, thus I assume that they are also the most

common. Very occasionally I have seen a balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus, but I could not locate a photo. I don’t think that I have seen one within the past few years. When you travel and dive only between one and perhaps three to five times a year, you are not underwater for more than thirty hours in any given year, and usually less than twenty hours. As a result, it is very difficult to see and experience a really great array of unique sights. It is unlikely that we will dive, or even travel by air this year.

I followed these pufferfish to snap a final close-up before they swam out of sight.

As a substitute, we took a drive to Seneca Lake in upstate New York in late June. For four days I searched high and low for fish without success, but I did manage to find eleven wineries! That’s Donna’s job; I just drive the car—mostly. In July we drove to Saratoga for three nights, and in August we made plans and reservations for two nights in Lewes, Delaware for an evening boat ride to (hopefully) observe the Perseid meteor shower. I know that these brief drive vacations do not involve fish, but rest assured that I’m always on the lookout. Sometimes it’s amazing how few fish you find when looking for them from above the waterline. Well, there’s always my fallback plan. I guess I’ll have to visit another pet store soon!

A pair of pufferfish showing completely different coloration patterns to blend into the seascape.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2020


Fishy Friends’ Photos B by Greater City Aquarium Society Fishy Friends

elow are photo submissions to our “Fishy Friends” Facebook group. I’ve left the subjects unnamed, but not the photographer. If you see a shot you like, and want more info, ask the photographer about it! I’m sure he or she will be delighted to tell you!

Joseph Gurrado

Peter Goldfien Ron Webb

Shrestha Suman

Gerry Domingo


October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Ken Lazara: A Personal Remembrance by Joseph Ferdenzi


lthough Ken passed away on August 27, 2020 at age 81, my memories of him will always be with me. I would like to share some of them with you. As far as I can recall, I first met Ken sometime during the Spring of 1975. At that time I had just joined the Long Island Killifish Association, which was in the throes of planning the 1975 American Killifish Association’s annual convention. In later years Ken would tell me that he too had joined LIKA around that time. Somehow the haze of those busy meetings had dimmed my recollection of having met him. As we became close friends over the ensuing decades this dim memory of having met Ken always puzzled me, because as all who knew him would attest, Ken was a very memorable personality. Our friendship began to blossom sometime in the late 1980s. At that time I was President of the Greater City Aquarium Society (founded in 1922). One of my priorities was to ensure that Greater City held its place as one of the leading clubs in the metropolitan area. To that end I supported our involvement in all kinds of aquatic endeavors. One of the most memorable of those was our sponsorship of Ken to go on a collecting trip to the Rio de Janeiro area of Brazil. This was something I wholeheartedly supported because I trusted in Ken’s abilities. We were not disappointed. Despite the fact that Ken had never made a collecting trip before, he returned with an amazing assortment of fish. Chief among them was a school of the most gorgeous Scleromystax (then Corydoras) barbatus anyone had ever seen. I clearly recall Ken telling me how he had just stumbled upon them in a clear-water stream just outside Rio, and had been able to collect them with one swing of his net. That was Ken—capable and lucky. Over the years, Ken dined frequently at our home. He loved my wife Anita’s cooking! When he dined with us he always made sure to bring us wine or other goodies, such as the marvelous dried dates from Sahadi’s (a middle-eastern grocery store) on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. As everyone who spent time with Ken knows, he was a great conversationalist. He was intelligent, insightful, and witty. I know he enjoyed those dinners as much as we did. Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

One curious fact that I learned about Ken was that his Italian ancestry was divided between Sicilian and Piacentino. Anyone who knows anything about Italy will tell you that that is an extremely rare combination. Sicily is in the southernmost part of Italy, and Piacenza is way to the north, about a two hour drive from the Swiss border. Well, as the most extreme coincidence would have it, I was born in Piacenza and Anita is 100% Sicilian. Therefore the Italian ancestry of our three children is exactly the same as Ken’s! We often joked that Ken could have been our fourth child! We often shared stories of our families, and especially his acerbic Aunt Angelina. Ken was born in America, but since his parents were Italian, another frequent topic of amusement was why he had been named Kenneth—it is decidedly not an Italian name! He didn’t know the answer, and mused that it should have been something like Rocco or Salvatore. When Ken was working on his final revision of the Killifish Master Index, I was one of a score of people who helped him with various tasks. Often I would visit him at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, where he was a professor of physics. From these experiences, I witnessed first-hand his devotion to this enormous project. This was a labor of love, with no financial reward. The same can be said of the many other projects he undertook, including describing new species of killifish. At heart, Ken was always a teacher. It was from him that I received my first lesson in how to use Google as a research tool. He was the friend who taught me how to bid on Ebay—we both shared an interest in vintage artifacts of the aquarium hobby. In fact, my fishroom is dotted with beautiful gifts from Ken that were once part of his own collection. I could go on and on, but at some point I must stop before this sense of grief overwhelms me. I was at his last birthday party, when he turned 81. Surrounded by numerous friends, Ken was clearly overjoyed. His smiling face will be forever etched in my mind.

October 2020


Blame It On Wanda! by Warren Feuer

This article originally appeared in the December 1991 issue of GCAS’ old newsletter Network.


guess you could say that it all began with Wanda— or more correctly A Fish Named Wanda. It’s because of that film and the fish tank in it that I started down the road to becoming a tropical fish keeper. After seeing that movie I decided that I wanted a fish tank for my next birthday. Being rash and impulsive (like most people?), I gave no thought to researching my options. Instead, I was attracted to acrylic 6 gallon hex tank at Sharper Image, and decided that it would be easy to take care of, as well as being a bargain at $100. Okay, so I didn’t know much then. Well, I was about to find out. As anyone who enjoys fishkeeping will tell you, one can never have enough tanks—either in number or in size—and it soon became apparent to me that I needed a bigger tank. My wife, the rational and sane one in our marriage (there’s always a party pooper) convinced me to wait a while and see if I would stick with the hobby. Mind you, we’re talking about a time period of two weeks at this point. Of course you know what happened next—overcrowding, cloudy water, and dead fish. However, the tank started leaking, so we returned it, opting for a 20 gallon glass hex tank. This tank I populated with tiger barbs, small tinfoil barbs and silver dollars. One day on a visit to a pet store I spotted some lovely marble angels. I really wanted to buy one, and the salesperson helping me told me that none of my fish would bother the angelfish. Want to bet on that? One abused and dead angelfish later I decided that I wanted to start another tank and populate it with more peaceful fish. So along came tank number 2—a thirty gallon long. This tank contains angelfish, rasboras, cardinal tetras, black phantom tetras, etc. Meanwhile the residents of the 20 hex tank continued to grow, and my angelfish were becoming rather unsociable. So it was time for another 30 gallon tank, into which I transferred the residents of the 20 hex. In turn, I moved the angelfish from the community into the 20 hex. It was about at this time that I purchased a Python water changer. This made maintenance almost pleasurable. If you don’t have one, and keep more than one or two tanks, I recommend considering one. A year passed and all was going well. I had been getting more and more experienced with fishkeeping, habituating every fish store I could find and asking lots of question. In February of 1991 I found out about Greater City, attended the March meeting, and joined.


Time passed and life went on. Into our life came our wonderful son Eric, and my wife and I got to enjoy the pleasures of tropical fish through his experiences. It was no surprise to me that one of his first words was ‘pleco.’ One day I announced to my wife that I thought it might be a good time to think about selling the tinfoil barbs, which were by then about nine inches long each. “They’re part of the family,” she said, “How about getting a larger tank?” How could I refuse? This presented both an opportunity and a quandary. I had never tried to manage a tank larger than 30 gallons, and I had many doubts, as well as questions. What size tank should I get? What if it proved too much to handle? Would the floors of my apartment be strong enough to hold the weight of a larger tank (at least 55 gallons), loaded with water, gravel, decorations, et al? What kind of filtration system would I need? After some research I decided to purchase a 75 gallon tank. Staying with what I was used to, I opted to use a Whisper 5 power filter along with an undergravel filter with four powerheads. The biggest problem I had in the process was keeping Eric from joining the fish in their holding tank on the floor while I cycled the new tank. Using the gravel from the existing tank as a base, I was able to cycle the new tank easily, as the bacteria in the old gravel quickly becamed established in the new tank. I let the tank run for two weeks without fish in it, then put my two tinfoil barbs in it by themselves for a week, and eventually transferred all the fish into their new home. I get a kick out of watching people’s reactions when they first walk into my apartment and see a 75 gallon tank for the first time. As you might guess, most of them don’t have fish tanks, or perhaps have only small ones. If you have the room, the time and the available funds (larger tanks do cost more, between the initial purchase of the tank and related equipment and the additional maintenance costs of larger tanks), I say GO FOR IT!!! If you have any doubts or questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I for one always enjoy talking about fish!

October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Beer, Guppies, and Social Distancing by Horst Gerber


ince I am sophisticated (Hah!) and there is not much to report in the fish world or our meetings, most of my writings these days have revolved around Corona beer, or rather the Coronavirus and beer. It’s getting to be time for Oktoberfest in Germany. I didn’t even know if they are having it. That’s the kind of German you are dealing with. The German American Paper New Yorker Staats-Zeitung (nicknamed “The Staats”) reported no cancellation, but our Editor Dan (who’s been there) tells me he’s learned online that it has officially been canceled. A sad thing for very many people. It’s a huge festival that normally runs from mid-September through most of October. Lots of special Oktoberfest beer, served in liter steins at the beer tents on the Wiesn (a hill overlooking Munich). Some of those tents hold thousands of people every night. Waitresses impressively carrying eight or 10 of those steins to their thirsty customers, pretzels the size of steering wheels, whatever other food you think will fit (and stay) in your stomach, and lots of fun things to do for drunk people. A huge loss of revenue for Munich, and for Bavaria in general!

Back to the beginning and away from you know what. Lately I have been reading more than usual. Yes, I read! Discovery and Scientific American – reliable magazines. One article on guppies* caught Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

my attention. It was about social distancing in animals, in this case guppies. That’s probably the only one that would interest all you fish nuts. Well, maybe that and staying away from girls. That 6-foot distance order is really not for me. I am an old married man, and I am not allowed to look. Get you mind out of the gutter and back to the guppies! Social distancing is very much a part of the natural world, practiced by mammals, fishes, insects and birds. Distancing has been observed in several species of birds, with the degree of distancing seeming to depend on both the apparent symptoms of infected birds and the immune system strength of the uninfected birds. Sickness can be detected in lobsters through different chemical signals present in their urine, but mostly by behavioral cues. Similarly, a study at the University of Pittsburgh* showed that healthy male guppies whose tanks were placed next to (other) guppies infected by a contagious and debilitating worm called Gyrodactylus turnbulli have been shown to avoid close proximity with guppies in the infected tank, even though some of the guppies in the non-infected tank did not show such avoidance. The avoiding guppies were later determined to be highly susceptible to worm infections. I don’t know how they detected anything through the glass of their tanks, but clearly they did, and distanced themselves, apparently from the sight cues from the infected fish. So as unnatural as it may feel, we would seem to be wise to follow nature’s lead. The moral is, on social distancing consider emulating your guppies!

Photos from * Scientific American, August 2020

October 2020


NO BS — BRINE SHRIMP! Story and Photo by Jules Birnbaum


n this article I am not going to go into the history of brine shrimp as a live food for tropical fish, but you can Google it to read an interesting story. If you want to breed tropical fish, brine shrimp, along with other small live foods, are a must. What I will relate to you is the “Jules B.” brine shrimp method. There are many ways to purchase, store and hatch brine shrimp. Some of my fellow aquarists say a book could be written on the subject. First, order from a reliable source. Eggs cost close to $50 for a 16 oz. can, which is the size of a coffee can. My reliable source is Brine Shrimp Direct in Salt Lake City. They sell an 80% and a 90% hatch rate. I’ve used both with very good hatch rates. I have also ordered from other sources such as JEHMCO. When you receive the can of eggs but are not going to use it right away, store it in the freezer. Move it to the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it, then take the amount you are going to use for a couple of weeks out of the refrigerator. Avoid moisture, which can damage the eggs. The container I use for hatching the eggs is a one gallon plastic jar that I picked up at a hardware store. I tried a cone-shaped container sold by Brine Shrimp Direct. The cone shape is so the eggs don’t settle to the bottom. It was expensive ($53) and did not hold up for daily use, I use sink water—it is not necessary to use aged water, because by the time eggs hatch the chlorine has dissipated. Also sink water has less bacteria. However, if you store aged water, use it. For best results kosher salt or marine salt should be used to condition the water in the jar—4 tablespoons for a one gallon jar. I use one full tablespoon of eggs per gallon of the salt water. pH should be 8 or more, but my Long Island water works well without treating it. If needed, Epsom salt can be added to increase the pH. The water temperature should be about 80 to 82 degrees F. An air hose is necessary to keep the cysts in suspension, and provide enough aeration for the eggs


to hatch. Strong aeration works better and does not damage the eggs. Light is important to trigger the hatching. I recommend a small light, kept on 24 hours a day, which will also help with temperature control. I presently don’t use any special light, and still get a great hatch rate. If you follow the above instructions incubation time is 18 to 24 hours. Harvesting is daily. I shut off the air and place a light near the bottom of my jar. After 5 minutes I use a turkey baster to remove the shrimp nauplii that settle at the bottom of the jar. The shrimp are attracted by the light. The egg shells will float at the top. The hatched eggs can be removed with a turkey baster to a small brine shrimp net and then deposited in a small plastic container filled with aquarium water. The container I use is from a Chinese take-out soup container. Finally, I use the turkey baster to feed each of my thirty tanks. Naturally the larger fish are not that interested in such small live food but the shy smaller fish go crazy for brine shrimp nauplii. Most tropical fish love food that moves. I thoroughly clean the one gallon jar daily with hot sink water (no soap) and then prepare a new batch of eggs. A can of eggs lasts about two months. It’s a little expensive, (about $300 a year) but it works for me, and my fish are kept happy. I do skip a day or two a month when I’m a little busy doing other things. I think it’s a good idea to skip feeding your fish a few days a month anyhow. It helps the filters catch up, and also helps the fishes’ digestive system. This is just my opinion and not scientific advice. I hope this “Jules B. Method” is of some help in keeping your fish happy. Until we meet again be well. This is no “BS!”

October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Reprinted from May-June 2019 issue of Brooklyn Aquarium Society’s Aquatica, this article won Third Place in the NEC 2020 Articles Competition, Breeding Class.

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2020



October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

25 water replaced. Make sure that the frys’ bellies are full at each feeding and remember that fry can weaken and die if they miss even one feeding! Besides brine shrimp the fry were also fed live micro-worms occasionally. A micro-worm culture was always kept going in case one of the brine shrimp jars would fail to hatch. About a half an hour after each feeding, I perform a water change. Water changes are best done with 6 foot air line tubing attached to 24 inch ridged tubing (used for under gravel filter tubes). This is used to siphon out the dead, uneaten brine shrimp and debris from the bottom of the aquarium into a pail. You want to be extra careful not to suck up any fry, but if you do, you can use a brine shrimp net to fish them out of the pail and carefully put them back. Replacement water came from the parent tank, again making sure all the parameters such as pH, temperature, etc. are the same. After a month and a half, I transferred the fry into a 10-gallon tank, still taking care that the temperature was the same, and that water changes were meticulously done with water from the parent tank, which was changed 50% once a week. At 6 weeks, the fry started to look like the parents with their dorsal and anal fins elongating. At this time, I started feeding the fry ground flake food sparingly, making sure that most of it was eaten. At two months, I put approximately one half of the fry into a 40-gallon breeder tank and the other half in another 40-gallon breeder tank. At three months, they were outgrowing the 40-gallon breeder tanks, so I transferred each

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

batch of fish into the ir o w n 150-gallon aquariums. I began varying their diet, which now included live black worms, frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, white fly larvae, flake and pellet foods. When feeding the flakes and dry food I would soak them in vitamins and then feed it to the fish. I found it interesting when I fed them flake food, all the little hungry mouths would chomp on the surface like hundreds of hungry piranhas. Out of this particular spawn, I managed to raise 750 fry to adulthood, the same large size as their parents. It only took about 14 to 16 months for the fry to reach adulthood. Very few were stunted, very few had missing ventral fins, and the losses were in their first month of life. It was amazing that I had very few losses. If you remember, about 100 fry were left with the parents whom they eventually ate! I recommend breeding fish to every hobbyist, because it’s such a rewarding experience for young or old. I did want to share with you this one last observation. The parent angelfish didn’t eat the fry I had left with them until two weeks later, and I noticed that these fry where twice as large as the ones that I was raising.

October 2020

AL 17

GCAS Member Discounts at Local Fish Shops

10% Discount on everything.

20% Discount on fish. 15% on all else.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on fish.

10% Discount on everything.


10% Discount on everything except ʽon saleʼ items.

October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

10% Discount on everything.

15% Discount on everything in store, or online at: Use coupon code gcas15.

GCAS Classifieds FOR SALE: African cichlids -- all sizes, as well as tanks and accessories. Call Derek (917) 854-4405 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

October 2020


GCAS Happenings


September’s Bowl Show Winners: No meeting or bowl show in September

Official 2020 Bowl Show totals: Harry Faustmann


William Amely


John Buzzetti


Meeting times and locations of many of the aquarium societies in the Metropolitan New York City area. COVID-19 could cause cancellations! Check before you go! Greater City Aquarium Society Next Meeting: 2021 Speaker: TBA Event: Meets: The first Wednesday of each month (except January & February) at 7:30pm: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main Street - Flushing, NY Contact: Horst Gerber (718) 885-3071 Email: Website:

Meets: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 8:00 pm at Alley Pond Environmental Ctr.: 228-06 Northern Blvd. Contact: Gene Baudier (631) 345-6399

Nassau County Aquarium Society

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

Next Meeting: TBA Event: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 2nd Tuesday of the month (except July and August) at 7:30 PM. Molloy College, at 1000 Hempstead Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY, in the Hagan Center for Nursing building, in the lower level, classroom #H006. See website for directions. Contact: Harry W. Faustmann, (516) 804-4752. Website:

Brooklyn Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: September 11, 2020 Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA 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:

Long Island Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: TBA Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 3rd Friday of each month (except July and August) at 8:00 PM. LIAS Meetings are held at SUNY Stony Brook's Maritime Science area. Room 120 in Endeavor Hall on the State University at Stony Brook Campus, Stony Brook, NY 11790 Email: Website:


Next Meeting: TBA Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 12:30 PM - 3rd Saturday of the month, Clark Public Library in Union County, just off the Parkway at exit 135 Contact: NJAS Hotline at (732) 332-1392 Email: Website:

Norwalk Aquarium Society

Next Meeting: TBA Speaker: TBA Topic: TBA Meets: 8:00 P.M. - 3rd Thursday of each month except for July & December at: Earthplace - the Nature Discovery Center - Westport, CT Contact: Sal Silvestri Call our toll free number (866) 219-4NAS Email: Website:

East Coast Guppy Association


October 2020

Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S (NY)

Meeting the Neighbors

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.

A series by the Undergravel Reporter

"They're both really cute, so we decided to let them see each other, film it and share it on social media," he said. Museums, zoos, and aquariums remain closed as a nationwide state of emergency is in place in Japan. Penguins at the aquarium stroll for up to 20 minutes regularly -- a routine in place even before the pandemic -- as they need more exercise, Goto said. And they need to experience some variety from time to time so that they "do not get bored," he added. "We want to increase the quality of life for these penguins." Sea Paradise has also introduced an otter to a beluga, two of their most popular animals. Aquarium keeper Nagomi Sato said she posts their videos, "hoping they will offer healing and relieve stress" for those stuck inside due to the virus. So, what about the seals? What are they getting out of this? Their Internet film debut!

A Japanese aquarium has come up with a wild idea to entertain the public during its temporary closure due to the coronavirus outbreak -- introducing sea animals to each other and sharing the results online. A group of eight penguins at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise near Tokyo regularly waddle around inside the aquarium and now they have a new stop -- a tank of seals they had never met before. "They're not actively trying to get to know each other, but I'm sure they're interested in each other," according to aquarium spokesman Naoya Goto. Reference:

Seals and penguins in lockdown meet-up (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro NOGI) Modern Aquarium - Greater City(NY) A.S. (NY) Modern Aquarium - Greater City A.S

October October2020 2020



Fin Fun It’s official. The Powers have spoken. Halloween may still be celebrated in this, the year of the Great Pandemic. In honor of that, see if you can match the “spooky” common names of some fish with their scientific names. COMMON NAME



Anoplogaster cornuta


Hyphessobrycon sweglesi


Chilomycterus antillarum


Canthigaster amboinensis Kryptopterus minor


Lepomis gibbosus


Leporacanthicus galaxias


Hyphessobrycon eques


Aphyocharax alburnus Genicanthus personatus


Solution to our last puzzle:


October 2020


October 2020

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


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