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Welcome to eFAMA






January 2007
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Because test kits are like... 20 years ago Because test kits are like... 20 years ago


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PINPOINT Nitrate Monitor is a precise digital instrument for
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4 J ANUARY 2007 fama
nniversaries are rife with
meaning. Some, such as the
recent five-year anniversary of
9-11, are sad. Others, such as wedding
anniversaries, are joyous.
Which brings us to Freshw at er And
M arine Aquarium magazine. Founded
in 1978 by Don Dewey, FAMA
through the years developed a legion
of loyalists who appreciated the
homespun wisdom and frankness of
Deweys editorials, the often folksy
style of many of
the early colum-
nists and writers
and the landmark
articles that helped
to spur some mini-
revolutions in the
aquarium hobby.
I know if Don
was still around, he
would personally
thank every reader,
columnist (Gene
Lucas, Bettas and
More, has been
with FAMA for all
of its 30 years) and
feature writer who
has been part of the
FAMA family dur-
ing the past 30
years. And to anyone new to FAMA,
thanks for becoming part of the next
generation that promises to take
FAMA to new heights.
In recognition of FAMAs 30 years,
we hope you will enjoy this special
30th anniversary keepsake edition of
FAMA. Besides the splashy anniver-
sary cover adorned with historic mini-
covers, Timeline columnist Lovel
Tippit has put together a special fea-
ture (FAMAs First 30 Years) high-
lighting the magazines early history
as well as its impact through the years.
As part of the 30-year celebration,
were even going to bring Don himself
back. Right here, in each 2007 issue,
well present some of Don Deweys
musings gleaned from FAMA editori-
als from yesteryear.
Now, take it away Don.
Clay Jackson
Deweys Cor ner
T he ow ner of t he [fish] st ore point ed
out t hat aquarium publicat ions had t ra-
dit ionally dev ot ed t heir pages t o t axono-
my and pret t y pict ures of fish,as w ell as
det ailed account s of
t he edi t ors lat est
fish collect ing expe-
dit ion.
Ot her publi ca-
t ions w ere geared
st rict ly t ow ards t he
adv anced aquarist
and cont ained sci-
en t i fi c t reat i ses
beyond t he grasp of
t he av erage hobby-
ist .
W hat w as
needed, he felt , w as
a publicat ion t hat
emphasi z ed all
aspect s of freshw a-
t er an d mari n e
aquari ology, w i t h
an emphasis of t he
how - t osof t he hobby.
Why dont you giv e it a t ry? he
Aft er t alking t o ot her ow ners of t rop-
ical fish st ores, members of t he indust ry,
breeders and dist ribut ors, import ers and
export ers, w e found t hat t heir opinions
agreed w it h t hat of Bobs (t he fish st ore
ow n er w ho suggest ed publi shi n g an
aquarium magaz ine). And Freshw at er
and M arine Aquarium magaz ine w as
T his is a magaz ine w rit t en by hobby-
ist s, for hobbyist s.
D on D ew ey
January, 1978
editors note
Don Dewey, 1 9 3 3 -2 0 0 0
Managing Editor
Clay Jackson
Associate Editor
Ethan Mizer
Group Editor
Russ Case
Art Director
Michael Capozzi
Group Publisher
William Rauch
Advertising Director
Craig Horowitz
Territory Sales Manager, Great Lakes/ East
Scott Berkowitz
Advertising Manager
Barbara Richardson
Senior Production Coordinator
Carole Holley
Circulation Manager
Suzanne Stowe
Fulfillment Specialist
Pat Henderson
Marketing Specialist
Lindsey Stansbury
Prepress Team
Karen Bartz, Steve Thompson,
Annie Skiles, Craig Manrique, Paul Rosales
Imaging Team
Gina Cioli, Pamela Hunnicutt
For advertising info, please see page 8
(ISSN 0160-4317) is published monthly by BowTie Magazines,
a division of BowTie, Inc., 3 Burroughs, Irvine, CA 92618-2804.
Corporate headquarters is located at 2401 Beverly Blvd., Los
Angeles, CA 90057-0900. Periodicals Postage Paid at Irvine,
CA 9 2 61 9 -9 9 9 8 and at additional mailing offices.
POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to FRESH-
IA 50037-0233. 2006 BowTie, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is
strictly prohibited.
For subscription inquiries or change of address:
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fax: (51 5 ) 4 3 3 -1 01 3
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Subscription rate is $25.00 for 12 issues, $4 9 for 24 issues.
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Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
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Printed in the U.S.A.
Vol u me 30 #1
J a n u a r y 2007
Thanks For 3 0
Great Years!
This first-ever issue of Freshwater
And Marine Aquarium magazine
made its debut in January, 1978.
001x005editorialC.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:36 AM Page 4
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is available now at your local pet ret ailer, bookstores
and online at www.shopanimalnet
Gui de t o Sal t wat er &
Freshwat er Fi shkeepi ng
f or Al l Level s
Gui de t o Pet Bi rd Care
& Sel ect i on
Fel i ne Lover Shoppi ng
Gui de
Smal l Mammal Gui de Purebred Ki t t en
Sel ect i on & Care Gui de
Purebred Puppy
Sel ect i on & Care Gui de
Gui de t o Ferret Care f or
Begi nner s
Begi nner s Hor se-Buyi ng
Gui de
Ki t t en Adopt on & Care
Gui de
Koi Pond and Wat er
Garden Resource
Experi enced Sal t wat er
Ent husi ast s Gui de
Gui de t o Bui l di ng and
Mai nt ai ni ng a Wat er
Puppy Adopt i on & Care
Gui de
Rabbi t Sel ect i on & Care
Gui de
Rept i l e and Amphi bi an
Care Gui de
1- 8 0 0 - PET BOOK
T H E 2 0 0 7 U S A A N N U A L S S E R I E S
Th e m a g a z i n e s f o r p e t l o ve r s a n d h o b b y i s t s
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36 FAMAs First 30 Years
Help us celebrate this rare event!
By Lov el Tippit
44 The Tide Is In
A tide pool at home may be as easy as varying the
water flow.
By Adam Blundell, M.S.
50 Stony Corals
Explore the family Fungiidae.
By Bob Goemans
62 Upside Down Catfish
Flip out for these interesting cats.
By Dr. Dav id Sands
6 J ANUARY 2007 fama
At left: The first FAMA
cover, January 1978
Thirtieth Anniversary Cover
Design By Pete Brower
Thank you for all your hard
work, Pete!
volume 30 #1 january 2007
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Editorial 4
FAMA Managing Edit or
Freshwater Forum 8
Jeffrey C. How e
The Planted Tank 14
Robert Hudson
Aquatic Maestro 18
Paul Speice
Horse Forum 22
Carol Coz z i- Schmarr
& Pete Giw ojna
Bettas and More 28
Leo Buss, Ph.D.
Conservation Corner 74
Joshua Wiegert
& Robert Rice
The Dipnetter 80
Vince Brach
Reef Notes 84
Julian Sprung
Sand Mail 90
Bob Goemans
Popular Freshwater Tropicals 98
Iggy Tav ares, Ph.D.
The Fishy Quiz 108
Allen Brelig
Discus In Depth 110
Tony Silv a
Timeline 122
Lov el
& Joy T ippit
The Fishy Quiz Answers 135
Allen Brelig
Pet Shop Directory ....................133
Readers Exchange ....................134
Advertisers Index ......................136
Columns Contributors
D epartments fama J ANUARY 2007 7
Vince Brach, Ph.D., has been an aquat-
ic naturalist and aquarist since the early
1950s. He earned his BS in biology at the
University of Southern California and his Ph.D.
at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. He currently
teaches high school biology and chemistry in Tyler, Texas.
Allen Brelig has written for FAMA as
well as several other magazines for almost
20 years. He has written and produced over
100 video programs related to the pet industry that have
been translated into several languages. Allen has a degree
in biological sciences from Iowa State University.
Leo Buss, Ph.D., is a professor of
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale
University and Curator of Invertebrates at
the Peabody Museum. His research interests include
evolutionary theory, colonial organization and basal ani-
mal phylogeny. He is an active betta breeder.
Carol Cozzi-Schmarr is a marine biol-
ogist with over 15 years experience man-
aging commercial shrimp hatcheries in
Ecuador and Costa Rica. Along with her husband Craig,
she started Ocean Rider in 1998, the first seahorse farm
in the United States and one of the first in the world.
Bob Goemans has been a fixture in
the fishkeeping hobby for more than 50
years. He is a well-known marine aquar-
ium authority and a regular contributor to FAMA. In
addition to his ongoing aquarium research and writing
endeavors, Bob heads aquarium and environmental
consulting businesses.
Robert Hudson has been a hobbyist
for more than 10 years and has operated
the Aqua Botanic (
website since 1999. He has written numerous articles
about aquarium plants for magazines and club newslet-
ters, always striving to educate people about the hobby.
Jeffrey C. Howe has maintained
research and recreation aquariums for
more than 30 years. As a professional
marine biologist he has worked at the Waikiki
Aquarium, Smithsonian Institution and Auburn
University. He is currently employed by the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Gene Lucas, Ph.D., a retired biology
professor from Drake University, devel-
oped the symbolic system and nomencla-
ture most betta breeders use today. His breeding exper-
iments provided information necessary to support a sex
determination theory in domestic Betta splendens.
Robert Rice has been a freelance writer
and stock trader for 17 years. A 20-year
husband and father of four, he has collect-
ed, fished and hung out in three continents,
eight countries and numerous mud holes. He is the pres-
ident of the Native Fish Conservancy.
Tony Silva has kept and bred discus
for more than 30 years. His interest in
discus has taken him to Brazil, Peru and
Colombia, where he has observed discus in their native
habitat. He has met with aquarists from Australia to
Zimbabwe to exchange information and ideas.
Paul Speice has been a hobbyist for
55 years. Hes hosted the TV programs
Guppies to Groupers and Aquatic
Maestro both for PBS. He designed the 4-H Aquatic
Science Program and serves as a judge at 4-Hs annu-
al competition. Paul is a well-known hobbyist lecturer.
Julian Sprung has been a marine
aquarist for 30 years. He has a BS in zool-
ogy from the University of Florida. He is the
author of The Reef Aquarium and has coauthored other
books. He is vice president of the aquarium industry
manufacturing company Two Little Fishies, Inc.
Iggy Tavares started keeping fish
more than 40 years ago when he caught
some wild guppies in an African stream.
Although interested in all aspects of fishkeeping, his
passion is breeding cichlids. He also enjoys writing
about his numerous experiences and is an enthusias-
tic fish photographer.
Lovel Tippit began in the hobby more
than 30 years ago. Lovel and his wife Joy
once owned a pet shop and fish hatchery.
Their love of aquarium history developed
from collecting antiquated aquarium
books and magazines.
Joshua Wiegert keeps a number of
aquaria dedicated to native fishes,
including goodeids, killies and any fish
hes not familiar with. A former college math instructor,
he is pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology. He is inter-
ested in preserving native fish species in conjunction
with the Native Fish Conservancy.
Would you like to be a future contributor to
FAMA magazine? If you have a lot of experience
with freshwater or saltwater fish and are interested
in submitting articles for consideration, then send a
query letter to You can
also view our writers' and photographers' guide-
lines on our website at
(under the Magazine menu).
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8 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Fish Togetherness
I love Siamese fighting fish. I also
love fancy guppies, angelfish, red-
tailed black sharks, clown loaches,
brittlenose catfish, cockatoo dwarf
cichlids and cardinal tetras. Could I
have one male betta, three cardinal
tetras, two guppies, one loach and a
catfish (not necessarily a brittle, as
they get rather large) all in one tank?
I am being given a 10- gallon tank,
but I will have to buy everything else.
I think I will use an outside filter
(canister type, maybe) and lots of
plants. Am I dreaming or can this
actually be done? How often should I
perform water changes? How much
water should be changed at one time?
Should I feed them Tubifex or not?
I went to a local pet store that has
beautiful tanks and spoke with the
young man who cares for them. He
told me I over- read. He also
informed me he never does water-
changes on his personal tanks at
home. D oes he actually know what
hes talking about? Every book Ive
read has stressed the importance of
water changes. The only variance is
the length of time between them. I
would appreciate any help or advice
you can give. I love your column.
Carol Kulik
Regardless of whether you choose
books, magazines or the Internet, you
will find conflicting ideas. Regarding
the fishes that you are interested in
keeping, I would recommend at least a
30-gallon tank. Your tank of fishes
wont represent a natural biome,
because youve listed fishes found in
the Amazon Basin, Asia, Thailand,
other parts of South America,
Malaysia and Central America.
The cardinal tetra, bristlenose cat-
fish, angelfish and the cockatoo dwarf
cichlid prefer slightly acidic, soft
water. The red-tailed black shark and
guppies prefer slightly alkaline water,
whereas the betta and clown loach are
tolerant of varied water conditions.
Fishy Aquarium Combos
Consider several factors before lumping
different fish species together.
freshwater forum By Jeffrey C. Howe
Vol u me 30 #1
J a n u a r y 2007
manuscripts and photographs are welcome on an
exclusive basis but must be accompanied by a
self-addressed, stamped envelope. Reasonable
care in handling manuscripts and photographs will
be taken, but FAMA cannot be responsible for
material submitted.
ADVERTI SI NG: Send advertising materials to:
Freshwater And Marine Aquarium, Attention:
Production Coordinator, P.O. Box 6 0 5 0 ,
Mission Viejo, CA 9 2 6 9 0 . The publisher
reserves the right to refuse any advertising copy.
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(A Division of BowTie, Inc.)
Chairman of the Board: Norman Ridker; Senior
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President, Advertising: Jeff Scharf; President,
Global Distribution Services, LLC: Chuck
Kruder; Controller: Craig Wisda; Circulation
Director: Dolores Bonafede; Manufacturing
Director: Rich Gomez; Production Manager:
Joe Urbano; Editorial Directors: Melissa
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Regional Manager, Asia Pacific:
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Male bettas have the ability to get along swimmingly with many different kinds
of fishes in small community tanks ... except other male bettas.
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10 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Although the preferred water condi-
tions differ slightly, they would all do
fine in relatively neutral water.
Keep in mind that the catfish has
the potential to grow to 5
2 inches.
Some angelfish can become quite
large. The red- tailed black shark can
grow to 4
2 inches and the clown
loach to 6 inches. Consequently, pro-
vide them with adequate space. Also,
be aware that if your guppies spawn,
the angelfish, red- tailed black shark,
and/ or the cockatoo dwarf cichlid may
enjoy the fry as a wonderful source of
live food. If you keep your tank well
stocked with live plants, this will aid
in concealing the fry from predators.
As far as water changes go, I would
suggest a 15 percent weekly water
change. Your choice in using a canis-
ter filter is great. There is a wonderful
variety of live foods one can feed their
fishes, including brine shrimp,
D aphnia, D rosophila (wingless fruit
flies), mosquito larvae, bloodworms
and earthworms, and frozen and com-
mercially prepared foods.
Carols response:
I just wanted you to know that I set
up the 10- gallon tank. I started with
15 lbs. of medium and fine size grav-
el, some smooth stones from an old
indoor fountain, three plants, a piece
of driftwood and two pieces of deco-
rative rock (and a filter, heater, air-
stone and thermometer). I let it
cook and bought three zebra danios
as starter fish.
The young man at the fish store
gave me some advice. He said not to
put any additional fish or plants in for
about 2 weeks, not to worry about the
levels of anything for at least that
long, dont do any water changes for
six weeks and to add some liquid bac-
teria every seven days for two weeks
and dechlorinator each time I add
water (due to evaporation). He also
suggested that I feed them only dried
flaked food initially, one flake per
fish, twice a day. D oes that sound
right to you?
How do I know when it s safe to
add a couple more fish? (Im thinking
platies , swordtails or guppies). What
do I look for in my chemical levels?
Right now everything is fine, except
the nitrite level which is at the low
end of the stress level. My water has
evaporated a little, but I could go
another few days before adding more,
or should I add some now to help the
nitrite level? I cant seem to find any
solid advice in the books I have.
I told you earlier that I wanted to
have a betta fighting fish in my tank,
as they are my favorite fish. The
young man at the fish store said that a
10- gallon tank was too big for a betta,
and that it would be stressed by all
that room and eventually get sick. He
suggested, if I really wanted a betta, to
get a small (1- to 2- gallon) tank and
keep the betta separate. What do you
think about this?
I dont agree with some of the
freshwater forum
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For product inquiries:
A division of EuroUSAGroup, Inc.
Visit: Email:
USA Call today: 1-800-978-3480
USA Fax: 1-800-608-9511 International Fax: +1-815-717-7800
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advice you received from your local
fish store. There is nothing wrong
with using several zebra danios as
starter fishes, especially in a small
tank. Once these fish have been
added, you want to monitor the pH,
ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.
When starting up a new tank with
several starter fishes, you will
observe a spike in the ammonia level
due to an inadequate colony of nitrify-
ing bacteria. Given time, the colony
will become established based on the
fish bioload and the ammonia level
will decrease.
For the nitrogen cycle to work cor-
rectly, N it rosommas bacteria must oxi-
dize ammonia to nitrite, which
N it robact er bacteria will then oxidize
to nitrate. By monitoring these levels,
you will know when the cycle has
become established and whether or
not it is working efficiently.
The easiest method of reducing the
build up of nitrates (the end product)
in a closed system is to perform regu-
lar weekly water changes (about 15
percent). Because plants can use
nitrates as a nutrient, some aquarists
set up an algae turf filter in series with
a wet/dry filter.
This way the excess nitrates feed
the algae, but the algae is isolated
from the display tank. Of course, if
you set up a live plant display tank,
these higher plant forms will also use
the nitrate as an energy source. Once
the nitrate is used by the plants, free
nitrogen gas is liberated.
Another method for reducing
nitrates is to produce some area in the
tank void of oxygen. This can be a
plenum (check out Bob Goemans
Sand Mail column) or a space
underneath a rock, for example.
Either way, what you are creating is an
anoxic area where denitrification
(reducing bacteria that convert nitrate
to nitrogen gas) will take place.
Once your initial ammonia spike
has dropped, both the ammonia and
nitrite levels measure zero, and nitrate
is less than 20 ppm, you can slowly
add more fishes. If you add too many
fishes at one time, there is the poten-
tial of creating more bioload than the
established nitrifying bacteria can
handle and you will produce another
ammonia spike, etc. The idea is to add
a few fish at a time while monitoring
the chemistry for any changes. Lastly,
remember it may take anywhere from
four to eight weeks for a new tank to
cycle, so be patient.
Oh, by the way, a single male or
several female bettas will do just fine
in a 10-gallon community tank.
12 J ANUARY 2007 fama
freshwater forum
Please send your questions and
comments to me c/o FAMA, P.O.
Box 6050, Mission Viejo, CA
92690-6050 (include a SASE for a
reply); or you can e-mail me at
Ask Jeff How(e)
008X013freshwater0701CEMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:33 AM Page 12 008X013freshwater0701CEMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:33 AM Page 13
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14 J ANUARY 2007 fama
he first time I felt a true sense
of awe while looking at a
freshwater planted aquarium
was when I stumbled into a neighbor-
hood pet store more than 15 years
ago. I found a 300-gallon display tank
planted with incredible detail. A large
log ran three quarters of the length of
the tank with plush cushions of moss
and layers of ferns. A blanket of grass
stretched out across the bottom and
between dense groups of tall stalks of
drooping leaves that swayed in the
current like weeping willow trees on a
warm, breezy day.
Glowing like fireflies, a group of
more than 50 neon tetras darted back
and forth in unison. Looking at the
aquarium was hypnotic. As it drew me
closer with each glance, I found some-
thing different: more fish of all sizes
and colors, and different textures and
patterns of leaves, roots, wood and
stems. I had never seen anything like
it before and had no idea such a living,
fluid re-creation of nature was possi-
ble in an aquarium.
I was truly inspired and hooked. I
began by having my own aquariums
and getting involved with other peo-
ple with similar interests on the
Internet. Eventually, I went into busi-
ness bringing exotic plants to the hob-
byist and educating wherever possible.
My goal in writing this column
each month is to share that sense of
awe and inspiration, and if I am lucky,
to inspire other people to seek out the
quiet contentment and refuge I and
others have found in this hobby.
Different Strokes
There are many ways of appreciat-
ing aquarium gardening. Some people
take it as a very serious art form, using
the aquarium as their canvas and the
plants, rocks and wood as the paint.
These artists pay close attention to
fine detail to create a specific scene or
to evoke certain emotions. This has
become evident in recent years from
various plant photo aquascaping con-
tests found on the Internet.
Another area of interest is using
plants to create natural biotopes. A
biotope is a re-creation of an authen-
tic ecosystem from a specific region.
Although creating a work of art or a
biotope is fascinating, others simply
appreciate the plants and become col-
lectors or absorb themselves in the
science of growing plants.
Two Plants For Your Tank
A collector may attempt to possess
as many plants as possible, concen-
trate on a specific genus or plants
from a specific region of the world, or
gather the odd, unusual or flamboyant
colors. I would like to talk about two
plants I think are worthy collectibles.
One has been known to hobbyists for
several years, and the other may be
unfamiliar and deserves a closer look.
R ot ala macrandra is a stunning
plant that some call king of the reds.
It is characterized by dark-red clusters
of leaves that remind me of rose
petals. This beauty is part of the
Lythraceae family and is found in the
fast-moving marsh waters of southern
India. It has often been considered a
difficult plant to grow in the aquari-
um, but as long as specific conditions
are maintained, it can do very well.
Soft to medium-hard, acidic water; 25
to 35 ppm of carbon dioxide; intense
lighting; balanced nutrient supply and
good water movement are key factors.
It also has been reported that the sub-
strate should be free of lime.
T rust me, t he ment al and v isual
rew ard of finally seeing t his plant grow -
ing beaut ifully more t han makes up for
all t hose frust rat ed moment s you had
w hen you first st art ed hav ing t his plant
in your t ank. I must of t ried and failed at
least fiv e t imes before I finally got t he
hang of just w hat makes t his plant come
aliv e, bot h figurat iv ely and lit erally. I t
w as w ell w ort h it . D ont giv e up!
Paul Higashikaw a
I hav e had t rouble in t he past grow -
The New Planted Tank
A new columnist offers fresh insight into aquatic plantkeeping.
the planted tank By Robert Hudson
Rotala macrandra has earned the moniker king of the reds.
014x017PlantedTank0701CEM.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:24 AM Page 14
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16 J ANUARY 2007 fama
ing t his plant . I t is one of my fav orit es.
N ow t hat I hav e bet t er light ing, I am
doing just fine grow ing it .
James L efev ers
Because of the high lighting
requirements, R . macrandra will not
hold up for extended periods of time
in retail display aquariums, which
usually have low, subdued lighting.
Store owners who are ignorant of the
general requirements of aquatic plants
or unwilling to invest in equipment
needed to keep plants healthy are
often reluctant to buy plants that
begin to degrade after a week if theyre
not sold. This is the conundrum that
has made R . macrandra and other such
plants difficult to find in retail stores,
even though the plant is readily avail-
able. The hobbyist can either turn to
an Internet supplier or request a local
store to special order the plant, which
most stores are able to do.
Cyperus helferi is a graceful-look-
ing, grasslike plant found in the rivers
and marshes of India, Myanmar,
Thailand, Cambodia and western
Malaysia. The dense, long and thin
leaves grow from a rhizome, which
may be divided for propagation.
Lighting appears to be the greatest
factor in helping this plant thrive.
Suited for both soft and hard water,
the plant needs other factors, such as a
nitrogen-rich substrate, moderate to
bright lighting and moderate CO
levels to yield the best results.
Its appearance is somewhat like a
plant called Acorus, which is not a true
submersed aquatic plant and does not
live long underwater. Unlike Acorus,
Cyperus thrives underwater.
For the best visual impact, the
plant should be placed in an open area
where it can be seen from top to bot-
tom. Arranged among rocks and
wood with low carpeting plants in
front of it, a serene and natural-look-
ing scene is created.
Cyperus helferi is only available in
the United States from importers who
bring the plant in from Asian plant
farms. The hobbyist may find the
plant from Internet sellers or retail
stores that deal with importers. In
Europe, the plant is more readily
available through the Tropica compa-
ny of Denmark and Dennerle of
Germany. Businesses like mine, Aqua
Botanic, bring this plant to American
hobbyists to enjoy. It is a plant worthy
of collecting and experiencing.
Calling Aquatic Plant Fans
One of the attractions of Internet
forums is the ability to interact with
others and share comments and pic-
tures. Id like to try and incorporate
that aspect into this column. I invite
readers to e-mail me about their
favorite plant or collection of plants.
Show me what you have, and Ill share
some of the pictures and comments in
future columns. E-mail pictures (300
dpi jpegs or tiffs) and comments to
R obert @aquabot Include a full
name and mailing address.
the planted tank
014x017PlantedTank0701CEM.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:25 AM Page 16
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18 J ANUARY 2007 fama
s this is the 30th year of
FAMAs publication, I got my
25-pound box of old columns
out for review. The first column, writ-
ten in 1978, dealt with stress and
avoidance of same as well as problems
of prolonged use of the adrenal
glands. Sound familiar? The second
amazed me. The title was Out of
sight, out of mind. It seems that
some things never change. I started
wondering what might have changed
since that first column. By the way,
the next column was a crossword puz-
zle published in May, 1979.
Puzzling Developments
One significant change in the last
30 years is the appearance of Ray
Lucas, aka Kingfish. He is my oldest
son. I weaned him on a healthy dose
of the Aquat ic M aest ro TV series. He
is one of the most valuable assets that
aquarium societies and the fish busi-
ness as a whole has. He brings the
message to the people!
That is what we did with the
Guppies t o Groupers series. Show em
beautiful aquariums and sell them on
ease of success a novel idea. When
we did the Aquat ic M aest ro series we
desperately needed a front man, so
the stage was set for old big mouth
here to walk in and smite the crowd
with select adjectives. Ray is a great
talker, and he is also a great doer.
Other changes abound. The evolu-
tion of scientifically improved outside
filters and canister filters has advanced
the hobby in that these devices
remove the fish waste (particulate)
and convert the fish waste (chemical).
Some would suggest that these negate
the need for the under gravel (UG)
filter. During a seminar in Houston, a
pet shop owner proudly announced
that they didnt have one UG filter in
their shop.
I told her, So what. You dont need
an UG filter in an aquarium. But you
do need aerobic bacteria. Properly
maintained, the UG filter is an eco-
nomical tool for that purpose.
Powerheads provide an alternative to
air pumps in the filters operation. You
choose. Just circulate the water
through the gravel, and keep it clean.
There is more interest in live plants
now. Better lighting is available for
planted tanks as well as for marine
aquariums. The growth in inverte-
brate aquaria is significant. Success in
the latter is a given with the metering
of water quality parameters and asso-
ciated dosing via pumps, if you can
afford it. Great varieties of African
cichlids were suddenly available, pro-
viding a new segment to the hobby. A
boom in fish books arrived. There are
specialized publications for every
imaginable type of fish.
Growing Interest
Change means growth in most
instances. One area that bothers me is
that there is little growth in the hobby
right now. This is especially troubling
to me, because Ive spent a lifetime
trying to grow interest.
The Kingfish and I spent days at
the Buffalo County Fair talking fish. I
have talked to 10 people in a cold
church basement in Ashtabula and
200 people at the Buell Planetarium
in Pittsburgh, and recently I talked to
the seventh-graders at Saint James
School. With the help of Kingfish, we
Thirty Years of Changes
Whats different and whats the same now that FAMA is 30?
aquatic maestro By Paul Speice
If you have room for a poster-sized version of this photo, you have room for a
real planted tank. Why wait? Set up a tank today.
018x021AquaticMaestro0701EMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:39 AM Page 18
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Ft. Pierce, FL
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20 J ANUARY 2007 fama
put a 55 in their hallway, and 25 kids
and one old buzzard set it up.
I tell you this every kid there
wants an aquarium. At least, that s
what their thank-you letters said.
Someone said, If you build it, they
will come. Well, I say, If you show-
and-tell them, they are hooked.
If there is a place in your home for
a fine picture or a live plant, then there
is a place for an aquarium. Why, then,
dont we see any growth in aquarium-
keeping? Are there so many bad expe-
riences that most people simply give
up and put their aquarium in the
garage? If so, who do we point the fin-
ger of blame toward? Are the answers
not available anymore? But you and I
should rejoice. For the most part,
change is good.
So, on FAMAs 30th anniversary
Im going to give you a test just to see
if youve been paying attention.
Til next time.
aquatic maestro
Tetra Types
1) Broadway lights
2) Army leaders
3) Citrus
4) Avian mutation in the dorsal
5) Nose down, small headed
6) Papal resident
7) Aortas ruptured
8) Right from the mint
9) Tough night after effect
10) Automotive inspection
11) Deep belly
12) Theres no Is in tetra
13) American Beauty
14) It will have you for dinner
15) Red nipper
Cichlid types
16) Heavenly resident
17) The locks on its side
18) Pugilistic heavyweight
19) African river
20) Actors hope
21) Ovine male
22) Pulcher beautiful
23) Coastal city
24) Olympic event
25) Hersheys fish
26) Not severe at all
27) Earth eater
28) Black and red squares?
29) Burning throat
30) Any Rift Lake one
Food types
31) Collective name of green water
32) What is Art emia salina?
33) What is Carassius aurat us?
34) Monster angler fish on some
restaurant menus
35) What is ascorbic acid?
36) What is aufw uchs?
37) Food for the marine fry
38) What is E nchyt raeus?
39) Sewage worm
40) African cichlid raised for
41) What is the caudal peduncle?
42) What do fish use for buoyancy
other than air?
43) What are salt spots?
44) What is peculiar about
Synodont is nigriv ent ris?
45) What common fish have spines
beneath their eyes?
46) What is peculiar about
47) What do catfish and tetras
have that other fish lack?
48) How does Toxot es hunt?
49) What do Anabas and
Clarius do that s unusual?
50) What behavior does the word
crepuscular reference?
Test Your I.Q.
(ichthyological quotient)
The following may challenge
you, possibly entertain you and sure-
ly vex you at times. These questions
ask for associations and identifica-
tions. Some are easy, while others
require more thought. Check the
column next month for the answers.
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22 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Copesetic Copepods
I have a lot of copepods in my
tank. Will my adult Hi ppocampus
erect us eat them or is the food too
There are hundreds of different
kinds of copepods ranging in size
from 10 microns to more than 300
microns. I assume the copepod species
in your tank is an average size of 100
microns or smaller. All species of sea-
horse from the tiniest to the largest
will graze on the copepods, no
matter the size.
If the copepods are small, the sea-
horse may find it hard to make a com-
plete meal out of them, but it certain-
ly will enjoy eating them. Even
though the copepod is generally ben-
eficial from a nutritional standpoint,
you will still need to supplement the
diet of the seahorse with other foods
such as frozen M ysis.
Briny Question
I know that M ysis shrimp are the
best, but is it still possible to feed my
seahorses brine shrimp? I would gut
load them with Cyclop- eeze or
Vibrance II.
As long as you enrich the adult
brine shrimp and disinfect them in
freshwater before you offer them to
your ponies, your seahorses will eat
brine shrimp, it s all right to supple-
ment your seahorses diet liberally
with the Artemia.
Brine shrimp are no doubt the
most widely used live foods for sea-
horses. They are convenient, always
available, easy to hatch and raise, and
adults can be bought by the pint or
quart at many fish stores.
Commercially raised brine shrimp
have one big drawback. By the time
they are purchased and released in the
aquarium, they usually havent eaten
for days and are nutritionally barren.
So, it is vital that they be fortified
before being fed to your seahorses.
Brine shrimp are filter feeders and
take in whatever manageable particles
are suspended in their water. This can
be yeast cells; unicellular algae;
rotifers; micronized rice bran, whey,
wheat flour, or egg yolk; dried
Spirulina algae; water-soluble vitamin
and mineral formulations designed for
marine fish; or whatever else the
aquarist adds to the culture water.
I recommend using one of the con-
centrated food additives or enrich-
ment products that have recently been
developed specifically for maricultur-
ists. The best additives such as
Vibrance I are rich in lipids, especial-
ly highly unsaturated fatty acids
(HUFA) and vitamins such as stabi-
lized vitamin C and cyanocobalmin
(B-12). Adding such enrichment
products to a 6-ounce portion of brine
shrimp and allowing the shrimp at
least 12 hours to ingest it can fortify
store-bought adult Artemia.
It s a great idea to enrich the brine
shrimp with Vibrance, but make sure
you use the lipid-rich Vibrance I
rather than the low-fat formula
(Vibrance II) for the Artemia. Adult
brine shrimp are a good source of pro-
tein, but they have very little fat con-
tent. The lipid-rich formulation in
Vibrance I (the original Vibrance) is
thus ideal for enriching brine shrimp,
transforming them from nutritionally
barren, empty calories into a high-fat
powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients
that s loaded with color-enhancing
carotenoids. Enriching brine shrimp
with Vibrance is also an excellent way
to get your seahorses to ingest beta-
glucan, which will boost their immune
systems and help keep them healthy.
Liquid vitamin formulations can
also be added, and the ability to enrich
Live Feeding the Right Way
A diet made up exclusively of copepods or brine shrimp
may leave your seahorse with that sinking feeling.
horse forum By Carol Cozzi-Schmarr and Pete Giwojna
This beautiful yellow Sunfire is hunting for copepods and amphipods amidst
the polyps of a toadstool coral. Occasional treats of live foods help diversify
the diet of seahorses as well as provide them with behavioral enrichment.
022x027horse0701CEj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:42 AM Page 22
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their lipid and vitamin content this
way allows us to treat brine shrimp as
animated vitamin pills for seahorses.
All seahorsekeepers should regard
enriched brine shrimp as bio-encap-
sulated food for their charges and take
advantage of every opportunity to for-
tify the Art emia.
If supplementing your seahorses
diet with adult brine shrimp regularly,
there are a few precautions you must
observe. Most importantly, disinfect
any live food beforehand to ensure you
wont be introducing any pathogens or
parasites into the tank.
There is always the chance that you
can introduce disease into your aquar-
ium along with the live food. Live
Art emia (brine shrimp) are known dis-
ease vectors for a long laundry list of
fish pathogens and should be treated
with caution in that regard, especially
if obtained from your local fish store.
Aquarists who rely on live foods for
their seahorses must take precautions
to eliminate this potential danger.
There are a couple of simple meas-
ures that can minimize such risks.
Decapsulating Art emia cysts removes
all of the known parasites and
pathogens, effectively sterilizing brine
shrimp eggs. Routinely, large public
aquariums disinfect live foods by
administering a 10-minute freshwater
bath and then rinsing them thorough-
ly through a 100-micron strainer.
Home hobbyists can do the same by
using a brine shrimp net for a strainer.
Brine shrimp the chief offender
as a disease vector tolerate this dis-
infection process extremely well. In
addition, adult brine shrimp are now
available from high-health facilities,
which greatly minimizes the risk of
disease contamination. If possible, you
should take full advantage of these
safe vendors when purchasing brine
shrimp and other live foods.
Adult brine shrimp are not suitable
as the staple, everyday diet for your
seahorses. It s fine to provide your
seahorses with live adult brine shrimp
as an occasional treat, or to use it as a
supplement to frozen M ysis several
times a week. You can even feed it to
your seahorses daily, giving them one
meal a day of live brine shrimp, pro-
vided you also offer them a second
feeding of M ysis. Seahorses that are
fed a strict diet of adult brine shrimp
will eventually develop a debilitating
condition known as soft plate disease.
Soft Plate Disease
Seahorses and pipefish that receive
a diet deficient in calcium are prone to
soft plate syndrome, which is a pro-
gressive disease characterized by
decalcification of the bony plates that
fuse together to form the exoskeleton.
In the old days, seahorses fed a diet
consisting solely of A rt emi a often
developed this condition. We now
know that brine shrimp contains
inadequate levels of calcium and an
imbalanced ratio of calcium to phos-
phorus, making it unsuitable as a sta-
ple diet even when enriched.
Seahorses afflicted with soft plate
syndrome experience shortened lifes-
pans, decalcification of their exoskele-
ton and poor survival rate amongst
their fry. Pregnant males face the
greatest risk of soft plate. Seahorse
fry are known to incorporate calcium
provided by their father into their
skeletons during their embryonic
development, so when a gravid male is
deficient in calcium, its rapidly grow-
ing offspring typically suffer high
mortalities due to a condition akin to
rickets in human children.
This debilitating condition is easi-
ly prevented by providing seahorses
with adequate levels of bioavailable
calcium either in their diet or in the
aquarium water itself (fish can obtain
minerals directly from the water). I
have never heard of a case of soft plate
in a seahorse kept in a reef tank that
received Kalkwasser (calcium hydrox-
ide) via an automatic doser or regular
supplementation of bioavailable calci-
um. Nor have I seen this condition in
seahorses that received a stable diet of
enriched frozen M ysis relict a.
Dont hesitate to supplement your
seahorsesdiet freely with liberal feed-
ings of adult brine shrimp, as long as
you enrich them with Vibrance I, dis-
infect them and dont rely solely on it
for their staple diet.
24 J ANUARY 2007 fama
horse forum
022x027horse0701CEj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:43 AM Page 24
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28 J ANUARY 2007 fama
or me, the start of the new aca-
demic year means not only the
return to teaching, but also that
the time has arrived for the annual
science fair column.
Because many schools launch their
science fair assignments in the fall
term, it seems wise to get an early
start. In suggesting science fair proj-
ects, Ill spell out in detail an idea and
frame how the idea might be put to a
test. The job of taking these pieces,
performing the relevant procedures,
making the necessary observations,
interpreting the findings and compos-
ing it all in a fashion required by your
science teacher is left up to you.
Can Bettas See UV?
You, me and most other mammals are
debilitated in our sensory capacities
relative to that enjoyed by some fish
and birds. They literally can see things
we cannot, and for that reason alone
many objects must appear differently
to them than they do to us.
To understand this capacity, recall
that light may be treated as a wave.
Light, as any wave, can be character-
ized by its wavelength, that is the dis-
tance between the peak of one wave to
the peak of the next. A light s wave-
length determines its color.
Humans can perceive only a nar-
row window of wavelengths. The visi-
ble spectrum, so named precisely
because it is what we can see, com-
prises those wavelengths between 400
(violet) and 700 (red) nanometers
(nm) in length. A nanometer is tiny: 1
nm is equal to 0.00000003937 inch.
The electromagnetic spectrum,
however, is hardly limited to waves of
400 to 700 nm in length. The regions
of the spectrum immediately adjacent
to the visible spectrum are called the
ultraviolet (UV) and the infrared. We
cant see either of these, because we
lack molecules in the cone cells of our
eyes to detect them.
Many birds and fish do have the
capacity to detect ultraviolet light.
Indeed, many are even more out-
landishly pigmented and plumaged
than we can imagine, as they have
regions of their bodies that reflect
ultraviolet light. These patterns of
ultraviolet reflectance are clearly of
biological significance, in that altering
the coloration by, for example, paint-
ing a birds feathers to obscure the
UV-reflecting elements disrupts social
The question I pose is: Can bettas
perceive ultraviolet light? Now, in
attempting to answer any question
regarding the sensory capacities of
animals, it is essential to figure out
some way in which the animal can
report to you by its behavior what it is
seeing. In the case of bettas, this is
fairly simple. Male bettas that have
been socially isolated for a day or two
will reliably flare when they are
exposed to another betta or even the
image of another betta.
So, one could test the claim that
bettas can see in the ultraviolet por-
tion of the spectrum by obtaining
some ultraviolet reflecting ink or paint
and simply drawing a picture of a
betta on the card using the ink. For
this purpose you will need a source of
ultraviolet light, which presents no
difficulty in that so-called black
lights are readily available. In pursu-
ing this experiment, you will need an
ink or paint that when exposed to UV
light reflects in the UV portion of the
spectrum. Thus, day-glow paints,
which reflect in the visible spectrum
when exposed to UV light, will not be
informative in the least.
Now you will want to make some
simple experimental comparisons.
Show the test animals an image of a
UV-reflecting betta and compare their
behavior with that observed when
they are presented with a UV-reflect-
ing dot of the same size. To compare
their behavior, you might want to
observe them with a stopwatch in
hand and count the number of sec-
onds they spend with gill covers erect
or with fins flaring. One might also
want to compare the response of the
test animal to a UV-reflecting image
to an identical one that reflects in the
visible portion of the spectrum.
Variations on this design are possi-
bly germane. If betta can perceive
Two New Science Fair Projects
Experiment with UV reflectance and gigantism in bettas.
bettas and more By Leo Buss, Ph.D.
Can you determine if bettas see into the UV portion of the electromagnetic
spectrum? Try an experiment to find out.
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30 J ANUARY 2007 fama
ultraviolet, then they probably have
UV-reflecting elements in specific
spatial locations on the fins and the
body. You might experiment with dif-
ferent UV-reflecting patterns, say
along the fin rays alone, or on the
gills, and so on, to see whether the test
animals respond more vigorously to
some than to others.
Different Ways to Get Big
Dwarfism and gigantism are
repeated patterns in evolution and
genes are known that generate both
these effects in humans and a number
of other species. Indeed, on islands,
where selection pressures often differ
from the mainland, it is common that
dwarfism and gigantism are repeated
trends. The giant birds that once
inhabited New Zealand, the dwarf
elephants of the Channel Islands, and
the still controversial recent discovery
of a dwarf human population in
Indonesia come to mind as examples.
How does dwarfism or gigantism
come to be? We can look at molecular
factors, where one identifies relevant
biochemicals (hormones, growth fac-
tors, etc.); genetic factors, where one
identifies genes for the relevant bio-
chemicals or their precursors; ecologi-
cal factors, where one identifies how
the environment does or does not sus-
tain a given size; and developmental
factors, where one asks how the size
increase or decrease is manifested in
The latter method of inquiry is by
far the simplest way to gain insight
into the problem. If one rears an ani-
mal from birth and measures its size
as it ages, one can plot size versus age
to get a growth trajectory. They grow
rapidly in size when young and, while
continuing to grow throughout life,
grow more slowly as they age.
With a normal fishs growth trajec-
tory in hand, it is simple to ask how
dwarfism or gigantism is realized.
Simply rear the dwarf or giant, make
the same measurements and compare
the two growth trajectories.
Consider the case of gigantism. If
one fish is a giant and the other nor-
mal, there are two obvious ways in
which the giant might reach a larger
size. It may be that the giant grows at
the same rate as does the normal fish
when young, but simply grows at this
rate for a longer period of time. It will
then be larger when the growth rate
eventually levels off with maturity.
An equally plausible biological
route to gigantism is one that claims
that the giant and the normal fish
mature at the same point, but that the
giant has an accelerated early rate of
growth. More complex scenarios are
also plausible.
In recent years a strain of giant
betta has been developed in Thailand.
These bettas can be up to 3 inches in
body length or more. The project I
propose is to determine the manner in
which this giant betta achieves its
great size. One needs only a group of
fry from normal bettas and from a pair
bettas and more
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32 J ANUARY 2007 fama
of full-bred giant bettas. Rearing five
fry of each and measuring the individ-
ual growth trajectories should be suf-
ficient to determine how gigantism in
bettas is realized.
Obtaining Test Subjects
While the first project can be easi-
ly undertaken with pet store bettas,
the second requires the student to
obtain some very particular animals.
While it is possible that Bet t a spp. of
the right sort might be available at
your local fish store, it is rather more
likely that they are not. Where will
you get the animals?
Without question, the best source
of both information and animals is the
International Betta Congress (IBC).
Joining the IBC is (absurdly) cheap,
and immediately provides the new
member with a massive quantity of
written information and ready access
to Betta fish spanning the range of
colors and forms. In particular, the
IBC sponsors a program known as
Betta Pals, which links new mem-
bers up with experienced breeders in
their neighborhood and attempts to
provide new members with above-
average breeding stock. Visit the IBC
website at w w w .ibcbet t
Alternatively, one can obtain stock
from online markets, specifically
aquabid (w w w . aquabi d. com). Take
care, however, in obtaining fish this
way. The labeling of fish on this site is
unregulated. Here again, advice from
an IBC mentor would be helpful.
My hope is that students will latch
onto these ideas, or any of scores of
others that they might imagine, to get
themselves an aquarium and, perhaps,
build a lifelong passion. If your project
has won a prize at your schools sci-
ence fair, then there is potentially a
further reward awaiting you.
Annual IBC Science Fair
The IBC sponsors an annual
Science Fair Prize for middle school
and high school science students who
have used Bet t a spp. as their research
subjects and placed in their school sci-
ence fair. To be considered for this
award, the student and teacher need
to provide certain materials to the
IBC Research and Grants committee.
Check the IBC website for specifics.
The winner will receive an engraved
plaque from the IBC, a cash prize and
an invitation to publish their research
in IBCs Flare! magazine.
Students need not despair if their
school doesnt sponsor a science fair.
The IBC prize is likewise available to
such students, although the rules dif-
fer somewhat from those that apply to
winners of school prizes.
Moreover, citywide, regional and
statewide science fairs always provide
mechanisms for a student to enter
competition if the student s own
school does not provide a venue.
Simply ask your science teacher and
he or she will provide the relevant
information and, quite likely, offer
useful advice and encouragement.
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To place an order, check availability or shipping costs,
or request for a FREE full color catalog call:
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Were taking a break from our regular Q&A
format this month to share some of our favorite
new aquarium products. Were frequently asked
what products we use and like and these are a
few new items that made it to our wish lists.
For larger aquariums, Living Color has released
the Clear Choice Wet/Dry filters. This filter has
extra space in the sump for your equipment, more
filter media, or just to increase the water volume
and stability of your system. A removeable filter pad
and prefilter media chamber and baffled degassing
chamber let the filter do its job more effectively to
keep your aquarium extra clean and healthy.
Our staff marine biologists with public aquarium
backgrounds love Blue Lagoons gel food. Available
in medicated formulas for bacterial and parasitic
diseases and in a nutritious non-medicated formula,
these foods use the gel consistency popular in public
institutions to make sure proper nutrition goes
directly into your fish. The medicated formulas are
even safe for reef tanks since the medication stays in
the food. Even grazers like butterflyfish will accept
this food since they can pick at the food like they do
in the ocean. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has also
released new formulas of their popular medications.
This medication comes in premeasured packets to
keep the ingredients active and make dosing the
medication even easier and more accurate than ever.
All necessities aside, we love some of the new
toys available for our aquariums. Hydors Ario
Color lights combine beautiful in-tank lighting
with a ring of aeration for dramatic effects. The
lights illuminate the bubbles to add a new
dimension to the aquarium. Consider this the
ultimate nightlight for aquarium lovers! To add
another new dimension to your aquarium, try Tom
Aquariums Aqua Arch. This arch installs in the top
of your aquarium and lets your fish swim up and
over the tank. Its like one of those brightly colored
hamster tunnels for your fish!
Look to us for exciting new items
and aquarium advancements. As
always, our marine biologist team is
here to answer your aquarium
questions, new and old!
Eileen Daub
Marine Biologist
That Fish Place is dedicated to the promotion of
responsible aquarium keeping. Our team of on-staff marine
biologists and trained professionals are here to help you
succeed with your aquarium.
ASK THE EXPERTS: The best free advice is only a phone call
or email away, call 1-888-842-8738 from 6-9pm M-F, or email
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36 J ANUARY 2007 fama
In January 1978, Jimmy Carter was president; Elvis
Presley had just died a few months earlier, and NASA was
working hard to build the Space Shuttle program. It seems
like yesterday for many of us, even though it predates
Python Water Changers,and the mass collection and sale
of live rock. It was an exciting time in the hobby. It seemed
like every day there was a new African cichlid or killifish
discovery to be made at the local fish shop.
Dr. William T. Innes and his magazine T he Aquarium
were gone after an amazing 40-year reign. This made
T ropical Fish H obbyist (TFH) the only American hobby
magazine. Yet, TFH relied heavily on European authors.
FAMAs Birth
Then came Don Dewey and his new magazine,
Freshw at er And M arine Aquarium magazine, that would
forever be known simply as FAMA. FAMA was different
from any other hobby magazine out there, because Don
Deweys vision was different from any that came before.
FAMA was the tropical fish magazine written by hobby-
ists for hobbyists.
In May 1932, William T. Innes wrote of his own maga-
zine and in his very first editorial penned: I want this
effort to be something more than a business arrangement
between subscriber and publisher. To be really successful
the partnership must go further than that. No one in the
history of the aquarium literature publishing business made
the connection between publisher and subscriber better
than Don Dewey. Not Roth, Innes or Axelrod. From the
very beginning it was clear that this was the peoples mag-
azine, and hobbyists responded.
Before the advent of the computer, and ultimately the
Internet, the hobby was not as connected as it is today.
Clubs were often located in the big cities, making it hard
on the rural enthusiast to stay in the hobby loop. But
1979, June FAMA takes
a stand agai nst the use of
cyanide in collecting marine
aquarium fish. Dons editorial,
Where Have All the Flowers
Gone?, sparked threats and
FAMAs environmental crusade.
1978, January FAMA
debuts. Founder Don Dewey
writes: This is a magazine writ-
ten by hobbyists, for hobbyists
... FAMA is your publication. It
will be whatever you want it to
be whatever you make it.
1983, July FAMA pub-
lishes Steve Robinsons article,
Collecting Tropical Marines: A
Journey to the Phi l i ppi nes,
detailing cyanide use in the
ornamental fish exporter trade,
sparking anger and debate.
1 9 8 2 , January Don
responds to complaints about
discount mail-order advertising
in FAMA, a problem that came
to a head later in 1988, when
several retailers attempted to
boycott the magazine.
1 9 8 4 , December
Making his FAMA debut, Julian
Sprung introduced his living
reef tank in an editorial letter,
featuring a living reef environ-
ment, a concept that was
uncommon in the United States.
FAMA Founder,
Don Dewey
FAMAs First
3 0 Years
Help u s celebrat e t h is
rare even t .
By Lovel Tippit
JAN. 1982
JAN. 1978 DEC. 1983
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38 J ANUARY 2007 fama
FAMA went everywhere, and it served hobbyists well.
Other hobby magazines such as the ACAs T he
Bunt barsche Bullet in were allowed a voice in the editorial
section. Don was unafraid of letting other publications
speak their mind in his magazine.
Conservation issues were often addressed. Speaking of
Don Dewey, Susan Steele, who became acting editor of the
magazine after Dons death, said, He was definitely a con-
servationist! I picked up on that and tried to follow in his
footsteps. The magazines dedication to conservation
could always be seen, especially in Dons decades-long cru-
sade against the use of cyanide in fish collection. Don did-
nt let hobbyists off the hook, either. He demanded people
get involved if they really cared about the fish they kept
and about the hobby in general. FAMAs dedication to
conservation is still present today.
Another department that gave hobbyists a chance to
participate with the magazine was For What It s Worth.
FAMA understood the sheer joy that hobbyists get out of
masterminding little gadgets to make aquariumkeeping
easier. For What It s Worth created a feeling of commu-
nity and helped to establish FAMAs reputation as a publi-
cation primarily for hobbyists.
Aquarium Society Support
Many might not have realized how far FAMA went to
support the little club publications that were printed
around the country. The magazine would actually reprint
valuable articles and give a donation to the club that orig-
inally published the article.
Some very big names in the hobby were part of this pro-
gram. Lee Finley, a noted hobby author, said, The first
article that I had published in FAMA was titled Some
Synodont is Species of the Congo Basinand this had origi-
nally appeared in T he Barnacle Chronicle, the publication
of the Elm City Aquarium Society. The article appeared
in the sixth or so issue of FAMA. Don did send payment
$25, as I remember but it was made out to the club,
not me. Not a problem, as I was tickled to see the article
appear in a slick publication. As it turned out, I ended up
contacting Don with the offer to do a second part for the
article. He accepted my offer and paid me more than $25,
and so began a long friendship and working relationship
with one of the, to my mind, true gentlemen of the hobby.
I personally owe a lot to Don and will always consider him
a prime mentor in my writing career.
Good Lookin
In appearance, FAMA was different from anything that
preceded it. Before 1980, TFH used a 5- by 8-inch format,
as did T he Aquarium magazine before it ceased publication,
but not FAMA. From the very first issue the magazine,
FAMA used the much larger and sleeker 8- by 11-inch
format that quickly became the market standard.
Yet, not everyone would love FAMAs success and way
of doing things. Early on, Don took a personal interest in
preventing marine fish collecting with cyanide in the
Philippines. As a result, he reported that he had received
many death threats for his stance on the issue. This never
stopped him, however. He continued to pursue the issue
for several years, and the gradual decline in this practice
serves as a testament to his tenacity.
In the late 1980s, some small retailers took issue with
the big lot pet chains that advertised in the magazine. In
fact, a North Carolina fish store began to send a petition
around to other stores encouraging them to boycott
FAMA, saying that they were not going to give shelf space
to a magazine that allowed mail-order suppliers to adver-
tise because the small store could not compete.
In November 1988, the great gentleman Don Dewey
had enough and made a reply, explaining that by federal
law, FAMA was prohibited from discriminating against an
advertiser based on that advertisers price structure. While
this explanation never satisfied all retailers, Don stuck by
it, never attempting to appease anyone. He informed read-
ers that if a favorite retailer didnt carry FAMA, readers
should write in and FAMA would point out the closest
retailer that did.
1986, March Proving
once again that he was very far
ahead of his time, Don wrote
about CompuServs pilot online
messageboard, The Aquarium
and Tropi cal Fi sh Forum,
dubbed fishnet.
1986, January George
Smi ts arti cl e, Mari ne
Aquari ums: Is i t ti me for a
change?, published in seven
parts, gave American aquarists
thei r fi rst l ook at European
minireef aquariums.
1987, April A. Colin
Fl oods arti cl e, Ti ni - Reef,
describes keeping a very small
marine tank, similar to nano
reefs popular today. However,
he defined a tini-reef as a sys-
tem of 55 gallons or less.
1987, February Don
anticipates the need to establish
captive-breeding populations of
mari ne aquari um fi sh. He
advocated breeding as well as
close observation of wild fish
populations to ensure survival.
2000, February Don
Dewey passes away, dealing a
heavy blow to hobbyists every-
where. However, FAMA
Dons legacy continues on,
hoping to make him proud,
wherever he may be.
ted to Trop


i a s t s S i n c
FEB. 1986 MAR. 1987
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Many old-timers will remember
this debate, and it did hurt circulation
for a time. But with Don Dewey at the
helm, FAMA pushed through.
Marine Midwifery
FAMAs very first issue ran with a
seahorse on the cover. This was fitting,
because FAMA would become the
how-to magazine of marine aquari-
umkeeping. It is hard to believe how
far that end of aquariumkeeping has
come in the last 30 years, and FAMA
had a big hand in its development.
In the late 1970s on into the early
1980s, the average saltwater aquarium
in America was a white, sterile-look-
ing display, which consisted of dead,
bleached, hard corals and a few hardy
animals. The lighting spectrum was
not commonly understood at the time.
Although canister filters were defi-
nitely available, undergravel filters that
used air instead of powerheads pow-
ered most aquariums. Wet-dry filtra-
tion, protein skimming and ozonation
were all developed by this time, but
the average hobbyist didnt understand
the need to employ them.
Mark Clark had this to say,
FAMA represented a new beginning
for many marine hobbyists. It was a
vital source for practical monthly
news. Much of the information avail-
able from other commercial maga-
zines was at best of poor quality and
freshwater oriented. Pet stores offered
only opinions and advice to sell their
products. FAMA strived to capture
your attention by providing quality
unbiased information and an educa-
tional experience for the marine hob-
byist. Don Dewey understood the
need for the marine hobbyist to be
able to keep fish alive and healthy.
In 1986, FAMA first published
George Smit s article, Marine
Aquariums: Is it time for a change?It
exposed American aquarists to
European minireef systems (i.e., sys-
tems designed to hold an entire living
reef environment in captivity, not to be
confused with the term nanoreef,
which usually refers to reef tanks of
less than 30 gallons). Minireef systems
were mostly unknown in the United
States at that time, and Smit s article
sent shock waves through the hobby.
Many of us waited with baited
breath for every new installment of
FAMA that year. Smit s article, origi-
nally scheduled for three parts, even-
tually ran in seven parts through 1986,
and Don consistently referred to it as
the most popular article FAMA had
run up to that time.
I remember knowing even at a rel-
atively young age that I was witness-
ing the birth of a new era. The pictures
were like nothing I had ever seen
before. Instead of white bleached salt-
water displays, George Smit s minireef
aquarium was so alive and colorful!
He spoke of using a combination of
blue spectrum lighting in conjunction
with state-of-the-art filtration sys-
40 J ANUARY 2007 fama
The new FAMA team, from left: Associate Editor Ethan Mizer, Group Editor
Russ Case, Art Director Michael Capozzi and Managing Editor Clay Jackson.
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tems. I read and reread the words try-
ing to understand. The reef aquarium
was born! Later, the importance of
protein skimming became better
understood in the pages of FAMA. I
believe that this was FAMAs most
historically significant contribution.
The Hobbys Don
It is impossible to separate Don
Dewy from FAMA. I asked more
than 30 people who had contact with
the magazine for their thoughts of the
publications historic significance, and
without exception their comments
came back to Don Dewey. I asked
Susan Steele what she thought was
most historically significant about
FAMA. She replied, Only one thing:
Don Dewey. He was my hero.
Bob Fenner said, Other than the
bard of fishes (William T. Innes),
Don Dewey was the pet-fish maga-
zine editor par excellence. He always
had the aquarist s interests foremost
in mind. A willing instigator of new
and controversial topics and discus-
sion, he and FAMA came out in a
time when there was a dearth of use-
ful or practical information from
other hobbyist publications. I will tes-
tify that Don Dewey was a gentleman
and a scholar in our field.
FAMA has been fortunate in
regards to the fantastic and noted writ-
ers it has featured over the years. Many
are still sharing their wealth of experi-
ence, such as Gene Lucas (author of
FAMAs only remaining original col-
umn Bettas and More), Paul Speice,
Julian Sprung and Bob Goemans, just
to name a few.
It is no secret that FAMA fell on
hard times after the death of Don
Dewey, but FAMA has navigated
through yet another storm. Our new
editorial staff is second to none. Clay
Jackson and Ethan Mizer have
remained loyal to the magazines spir-
it, and I think Don would be proud!
We here at Freshwater And M arine
Aquarium magazine would also like to
take this opportunity to thank you,
our loyal readers, for 30 years of
FAMA. Thanks for the memories and
the innovations, but most of all, thank
you for allowing us to share this fan-
tastic hobby together!
42 J ANUARY 2007 fama
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44 J ANUARY 2007 fama
ide pools are fascinating habitats they combine
the reckless thrashing of waves and the serenity of
stillness mixed into one. They are a favorite place to
visit for tourists. Their easy access and abundance of life
draw millions of visitors to the worlds coasts each year. In
the aquarium hobby we often find this interest in coastal
life spill over into the love of animal husbandry.
Tide pools are shallow pockets of water found along
shorelines. They are caused by fluctuations in tides.
Sometimes the tide is up, and sometimes it s down. This
cycle causes a fluctuation where the land meets the sea.
Controlled Chaos
Setting up a tide pool tank can be lots of fun, but there
are unique challenges as well. There are some interesting
animals that you can keep in these systems. If I had to
describe tide pool aquariums in one word, it would be
chaos. These tanks replicate tide pool habitats by using
heavy water motion, offset by no water motion, rocky sub-
strate, shallow water and an abundance of unusual marine
life. While it may seem like you cannot get too much water
flow for a tide pool tank, this is a misconception.
One of the greatest challenges animals in tide pools face
is being able to hold onand not get washed away. For this
reason, a surge device or timed wave device is favorable to
a constant strong flow. Try setting up an aquarium that uti-
lizes cyclical flow and not constant flow. A visit to a pet
store or an Internet search can provide examples of dump
buckets, surge systems and, of course, devices to change the
direction of water flow.
Common Setups
While Ive seen several tide pool tanks in home aquaria
and public aquaria, they all tend to follow two design
methods. The first method is to use a very shallow aquari-
um. An aquarium of 50 gallons is suitable for such a habi-
tat. Most people use a standard-sized aquarium, but only
fill the aquarium part way. The second method is to use a
plastic trough. These troughs can be durable agricultural
containers or common plastic liners. There are pros and
cons to both methods. Glass or acrylic tanks allow for side
viewing, while plastic containers can often offer a larger
surface area and tank volume.
After you have chosen which type of general setup
works best for your application, you still have many unique
challenges to address. As with most systems, electricity and
viewing area are the two first steps. How are you going to
create water movement? How are you going to see into the
aquarium? What types of lights will you use? How will you
filter the aquarium? Here are some ideas and tips to get you
A t ide pool at
h ome migh t be
as eas y as
var yin g t h e
wat er flow.
The Tide Is In
Seastars along with other echinoderms like urchins make great aquari-
um inhabitants. It is important to know which type of seastar you have
and the proper environment for that animal. This blue seastar (Linckia
laevigata) is often found in tide pools. They are available in the hobby.
Text and Photos by Adam Blundell, M.S.
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46 J ANUARY 2007 fama
started in the right direction.
Substrate. This is important in all
types of aquaria. For tide pool tanks
there is one unusual challenge,
though: that of increased water
motion. The fast-moving water often
stirs up sandbeds and churns the sed-
iment. Thus, large-sized substrate is
best. Plan to use rubble rock and have
your aquarium substrate made of
rocks about the size of marbles.
Rock. This is also important but
variable in tide pool aquariums. Live
rock is generally best, because it pro-
motes macroalgae growth and also the
development of microcrustaceans. If
you plan to have some of the rockwork
exposed to the air, then you should
probably be using dry terrestrial rock
in those areas. Having live rock con-
stantly exposed to air is a surefire way
to create a stinky mess.
Algae. These plants provide the
basis for life in a tide pool. The
intense sunlight and high levels of
nutrients in tide pools often favor
algal growth. Algae provides a habitat
for the rest of the life in the aquarium.
It also acts as a natural filtration
method and removes organics and
nutrients from the water.
Lighting. Good lighting is not as
important for tide pool aquaria as it is
for reef aquaria. In fact, comparatively
it isnt important at all. This is one of
the selling points for many hobbyists,
because the cost involved with light-
ing is sometimes hundreds to thou-
sands of dollars for reef tanks and usu-
ally tens of dollars for tide tanks.
Sunlight is best, and it is primarily
used in large tide pool tanks. Small
residential tide tanks often use cheap
shop lights and common fluorescent
bulbs. Try using bulbs intended for
growing plants, as the real reason to
have lights here is to grow algae.
Water flow. This is very important
in tide pool aquariums. The amount
of flow is fun to play with, but the real
key is the type of flow. Most tide pool
aquariums feature some type of water
cycle. The water comes rushing in,
then it stops, then it may go back in
the other direction. Commercial
products can help you accomplish
this, or you can even build your own
type of surge device. The key idea here
is to change the direction of the flow,
or start and stop the flow all together.
Tide Pool Critters
A great myriad of organisms are
found in tide pools. Generally, I rec-
ommend not taking animals from tide
pools, because you never know what
the restrictions are. However, for peo-
ple living near a coastline, collecting
Stony corals can be found living in tide pools. These corals serve as a house
for many types of reef fishes.
044x049tidepool0701CEMJ.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:50 AM Page 46
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animals is better than buying stressed
animals with a lot of transit. Collect
only those animals that are well suit-
ed for captivity and legal to collect.
Fishes. A wide range of small gob-
ies are found in tide pools. But dont
let this fool you, as many other fishes
are also found in tide pools, including
eels and cardinalfishes.
Algae. These plants dominate tide
pools. Lush growth of macroalgae
provide a very diverse habitat with
many invertebrates living in the algae.
To many aquarists, the patches of
algae found in tide pools are more
beautiful than the corals covering the
reefs. The algae is not only aesthetic
but is crucial on many levels to the
health of the system.
Arthropods. Mollusks and echin-
oderms are great reasons for keeping a
tide pool system. These animals sepa-
rate the common reef aquarium from
the truly intriguing tide pool system.
Urchins and brittle stars can be seen
moving over the rockwork. Hundreds
of species of crabs and shrimp are
available. Nearly all of them are well
suited to live on the algae-covered
rocks of tide pool systems. They live
by foraging around in the algae and
crevices looking for minute food par-
ticles. These creatures are often used
as clean-up crews in reef aquaria,
but they themselves can be displayed
as the focus of an aquarium.
Final Thoughts
A tide pool system can be a great
display. These tanks are the talk of the
town and great conversation pieces.
By owning one you can help con-
tribute to the education of others.
And the marine life found and dis-
played in them is inspiring.
Adam Blundell has a
BS in marine biology and
an M S i n t he n at ural
resource and healt h fields. He
w orks i n mari n e ecology an d i n
pat hology for t he Univ ersit y of Utah.
He serv es as t he direct or of t he Aquat ic
and T errest rial R esearch T eam and is
a past president of t he Wasat ch M arine
Aquarium Societ y. He can be found at
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50 J ANUARY 2007 fama
hen some aquarists think of stony corals, they
generally place them in the category of reef-
building corals (i.e., hermatypic corals).
However, where those in the family Fungiidae are con-
cerned, most are actually ahermatypic corals, which are
non-reef-building, free-living stony corals. Additionally,
they are mostly solitary animals. They have one mouth, not
numerous mouths. If they did, they would technically be
placed in the colonial category.
There are 13 genera in this family. However, there are
some unsettled points of view surrounding some genera
and species. Alf Nilsen notes that a specimen called Fungia
simplex (Veron, 1986; Hoeksema, 1989) is an exception
when it comes to the solitary corals found in the Fungia
genus, as it always has multiple mouths. Theres thought
that the genus Ct enact is is a subgenus of Fungia (Veron,
1986), which should include a questionable genus,
H erpet oglossa, which then should include Fungia simplex.
Another interesting aspect is that most juveniles in this
family are attached to rocks or coral and become detached,
or free-living, as they grow larger. Those in the genera
L it hophyllon and Podabacia remain fixed, however, and are
colonial species. Those in the genus Cant harellus also
remain fixed, but are a solitary species.
Also, the related family Fungiacyathidae contains some
azooxanthellate/hermatypic corals that come from non-
reef areas and from very deep water, with one species,
Fungiacyat hus marenz elleri, coming from a depth of more
than 23,000 feet (6,000 m)! But let s not anguish over these
aspects and details, as most of the species in many of these
genera are far from being common in the trade. Therefore,
let s concentrate on what is important and should be
known about the species we often keep in our aquariums.
Important Species
The species we often see in the hobby hail from the
Western and Central Pacific Ocean, Indo-West Pacific
regions and the Red Sea. Some are among the largest of the
solitary corals in the world. Most live in fairly shallow
waters (less than 30 feet), where they are generally found
on soft substrates on reef slopes, reef and lagoon flats and
interconnected sandy reef areas that are protected from very
strong wave action.
The members of this family generally form saucer-
shaped specimens, although some do form elongated spec-
imens. They have a slightly raised central area or dome,
presenting convex topsides with a slightly concave bottom
area. The domed top serves a good purpose, as it allows for
sediments of various types to be easily shed when there is
polyp extension and/or when cilia move the coverings
Explore t h e family
Fu n giidae.
Text and Photos by Bob Goemans
The plate coral Heliofungia actiniformis is a free
living, solitary coral that should be fed during
the day while its tentacles are extended.
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52 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Your herbivores may eat lettuce, but does it keep them
really healthy? To see what real food can do for them you
need to get real seaweed harvested from the sea. Two
Little Fishies, Inc. has done the work for you, and we call
our seaweeds Julian Sprungs SeaVeggies.
SeaVeggies are dried real seaweeds, the ideal food for
herbivores. No llers or additives, just pure naturally
tasty seaweeds with vitamins, trace elements, protein,
and pigments put there by mother nature. For all the
reasons why natural seaweeds are the best food to feed
your herbivorous sh, you should give them SeaVeggies
every day. Julian Sprungs SeaVeggies come chopped
into bite-sized akes, in ve varieties. Now that Two
Little Fishies brings you so many real choices for your
herbivores, you have no reason not to please them.
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050x061PlateCorals0701EMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 9:47 AM Page 52
downward toward their outer edges.
These corals also have a heavy
mucus coating that serves two purpos-
es: 1) It can easily reject deposited sed-
iments by sloughing off the mucus,
and 2) because its mucus contains
powerful nematocysts, it can capture
food and/or sting offending corals.
Nevertheless, it s almost entirely unaf-
fected by the stings from other corals,
including those within its own family.
Tentacles are normally retracted dur-
ing the day, and extended at night to
feed on the increased plankton content
during these timeframes.
As for reproduction, there are both
separate male and female specimens in
some genera, and only hermaphrodite
species in other genera. Sexual repro-
duction happens when eggs and sperm
are released into the water. Asexual
reproduction occurs when daughter
(anthocauli) colonies form from pieces
of skeleton and tissue from the parent.
There are recorded instances of asexu-
al reproduction in aquariums (Alf
Nilsen, 1989); however, they remain
quite rare.
In aquaria, they should be placed
on a sandy substrate in areas receiving
bright light and moderate water
movement. Even though they are pho-
tosynthetic, they should be fed at least
once per week with meaty foodstuffs
(e.g., fortified brine shrimp, M ysis,
products containing Cyclop-eeze and
other marine diced and graded meaty
foods. Keep in mind that some species
have short tentacle extension during
the day, with further extension occur-
ring in evening hours. Feeding should
be at timeframes when tentacles are
the most prominent.
Bare in mind, these corals are pho-
totaxic (move toward light) and can
move (even up a slight grade) up to 12
inches (30 cm) per day. Should they
touch another coral other than one in
their own family, they may generate
mucus that could cause severe damage
to the species with which they are in
contact. And please, do not place these
corals on ledges or rocks where they
may fall and be injured.
Four Favorites
There are four favorites that are
almost always available in the trade.
These include:
Fungia scutaria (Lamarck, 1801),
which is commonly called plate coral,
mushroom coral, disc coral or simply
fungia. It hails from eastern Africa to
the Central Pacific Ocean and the Red
Sea. This is a solitary and usually
saucer-shaped, photosynthetic, single-
polyp coral with a slightly raised cen-
tral dome and a single central mouth.
As it inhabits fairly shallow soft sand
and coral rubble zones, it should be fama J ANUARY 2007 53
Fungia scutaria normally reach about 5 inches while kept by hobbyists, but
they can reach at least twice that size in the wild.
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cared for as mentioned above.
The most common color is green;
however, other colors or combination
of colors are occasionally available,
sometimes with varying degrees of
purple or red. Ive never seen speci-
mens larger than 5 inches in the trade;
however, they can attain at least twice
that size in the wild.
Cycloseri s cf. hexagonali s (Milne
Edwards and Haime, 1848), or
Cycloseris cf. tenuis (Dana, 1846). This
corals common names include plate
coral, mushroom coral, disc coral and
fungia. It comes from the Western and
Central Pacific Ocean, Indo-West
Pacific region and the Red Sea. This
photosynthetic stony coral is similar in
appearance to Fun gi a spp., which
grows somewhat larger. This close rel-
ative is also a solitary, saucer-shaped,
photosynthetic stony coral, yet with
only a slightly raised central dome and
a somewhat flat, smooth back.
Each disc represents a single polyp
having a central mouth, and in the
wild, this coral inhabits more sandy
areas, such as soft sandy substrates on
interconnected reef areas. These
smaller family members are about 2
inches (5 cm) and have colors that are
usually white, tan, light green or a yel-
lowish-orange. They also should be
placed on a sandy substrate in areas
receiving bright light and moderate
water movement and are cared for as
explained above.
Note that the use of cf. an
abbreviation of the Latin word con-
ferre, meaning to compare when
used in the name of a species suggests
the name is tentative, and is being
used to compare the species to an
already known, correctly described
species. Thus, two suggested species
names are noted here: C. hex agonalis is
a species only occurring in the
Western Pacific, whereas C. t enuis is
more widespread. Some authors have
the shown species identified as possi-
bly being C. hex agonalis.
However, I doubt this because its
color in the wild (i.e., tan or beige)
does not match the color of C. t enuis in
the wild, which is normally tan or yel-
lowish-orange. More scientific study is
needed to resolve this issue, but until
that time arrives, educated guesswork
will have to suffice.
H eli ofungi a act i ni formi s (Quoy
and Gaimard, 1833) hails from the
Red Sea, the Indo-Pacific Ocean,
Philippines and Micronesia to New
Caledonia. Its common names include
plate coral, disc coral and mushroom
coral. It s another free-living, solitary,
photosynthetic stony coral found in
the same areas as the Fungia species.
Cycloseris cf. hexagonalis should be placed on a sandy substrate that is
illuminated with bright light.
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However, its long anemonelike tenta-
cles are extended during the day and
retracted at night. Therefore, feeding
should take place during daylight
hours when the tentacles are fully
extended. Their care is the same.
These corals come in various colors,
such as pink, blue, green or brown.
Herpolitha limax (Houttuyn, 1772)
hails from the Red Sea, Indo-Pacific
Ocean and eastern Africa, and they are
also found in similar areas as Fungia
corals. However, they are considered
colonial corals, as they often have a
series of mouths running along the
length of their central area. Similar in
body height to Fungia coral, they are
more elongated, hence their names
tongue or slipper coral. They are
sometimes found in Y or V shapes,
which is caused by regeneration of a
damaged area. They are normally
57 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Phylum: Cnidaria
C. doederleini
C. jebbi
C. noumeae
Genus Ctenactis
C. albitentaculata
C. crassa
C. echinata
Genus Cycloseris
C. colini
C. costulata
C. curvata
C. erosa
C. hexagonalis
C. patelliformis
C. renuis
C. sinensis
C. somervillei
Genus Diaseris
D. distorta
D. fragilis
Genus Fungia
F. concinna
F. corona
F. danai
F. fralinae
F. fungites
F. granulose
F. horrida
F. klunzingeri
F. moluccensis
F. paumotensis
F. puishani
F. repanda
F. scabra
F. scruposa
F. scutaria
F. seychellensis
F. spinifer
F. taiwanensis
H. clavator
H. meierae
H. pileus
H. actiniformis
H. limax
H. weberi
L. lobata
L. mokai
L. undulatum
P. crustacea
P. lankaensis
P. motuporensis
P. sinai
P. novaehiberniae
P. talpina
S. africana
S. dentate
S. robusta
Genus Zoopilus
Z. echinatus
Herpolitha limax is considered a colonial coral and is normally tongue shaped.
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58 J ANUARY 2007 fama
more tongue shaped.
These usually brown-colored, pho-
tosynthetic corals can get quite large,
with specimens in the wild attaining
lengths of 3 feet. They do well in
closed systems under low light and
gentle water movement, and they
need the same care as previously dis-
cussed for Fungia corals.
Even though all of the corals are
quite hardy and disease resistant, their
long-term survival in a captive system
will not be possible unless there is
sufficient open substrate areas for
these animals to traverse.
Of course, attention must be paid
to each corals specific nutritional
requirements. Furthermore, do not
remove a specimen with inflated flesh
from the water, as the weight of the
water in the flesh may damage or tear
the flesh. Gently shake the specimen
under the water first and allow the
flesh to retract before removing it.
Their water quality requirements
include calcium at 380 to 430 ppm,
alkalinity 3.5 meq/l, pH 8.1 to 8.2,
specific gravity 1.025, and a tempera-
ture of 74 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Automatic Fish
Borneman, E. H. 2001. Aquarium Corals
- Select ion, Husbandry, and N at ural Hist ory.
T.F.H. Neptune City, New Jersey.
Fossa, S. and A. Nilsen. 1998. T he
M odern Coral R eef Aquarium, Volume 2.
Birgit Schmettkamp Velag, Bornheim,
Goemans, Bob. 2005. Animal Library.
ht t p:/ / w w w .salt
Hargreaves, V.B. 2002. T he Complete
Book of t he M arine Aquarium. Salamander
Books Ltd., London.
Veron, J.E.N. 1986. Corals of World, Vol.
II. Australian Institute of Marine Science,
Wells, John W. 1966. E v olut i onary
dev elopment i n t he scleract i ni an fami ly
Fungi i dae. T he Cni dari a and T hei r
E v olut i on. Symposia of the Zoologic
Society of London 16: 223-46.
Yamashiro, Hideyuki, and Moritaka
Nishihira. 1995. Phototaxis in Fungiidae
corals (Scleractinia). M arine Biology 124:
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62 J ANUARY 2007 fama
here have always been swings in the popularity of
aquarium fishes. Most swings deal with the avail-
ability, rarity and media literature related to the
group of fishes or to a particular fish. Some fishes remain
popular. Leading the way for decades, South American
Corydoras are the most popular aquarium catfishes today.
This is mainly because these catfishes are small, hardy,
species-diverse (great for collecting), available in aquarium
shops and compatible with other community fishes.
Thirty years ago, another species group rapidly began to
rival Corydoras for popularity. These African catfishes were
given the common name upside down, because many
species displayed a predisposition to swim belly up while
active. In the early aquarium books, these catfishes tanta-
lized the enthusiast, because they represented wonderful
variation in color and size, and at the time, were rarely
imported. Any fish that combines rarity value with an
attractive color pattern will always attract enthusiasts and
drive them to distraction.
True and False Upside Down Catfishes
Many species of upside down catfishes, or Synodont is
from the family Mochokidae, have been exported from
west and central African countries. Not all of them swim
inverted, but the catch-all name has stuck. Thirty years ago,
several species from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC), formerly Zaire, came to the United Kingdom and
triggered great excitement from catfish enthusiasts such as
myself. Few photographs of various Synodont is spp. existed
Text and Photos by Dr. Dav id Sands
The author purchased a Synodontis angelicus specimen in 1977 for a record price in the United Kingdom at the time.
Flip ou t for t h es e
in t eres t in g cat s .
Data sheet: Synodontis eupterus, the featherfin catfish,
Africa, Niger River system.
Habitat: Large rivers.
Max. total length: 6 to 8 inches (150 to 200 mm).
Natural diet: Invertebrates, small fishes and crustaceans.
Breeding: Adult males are smaller than females.
Maintenance care: pH 6.5 to 7.5; hardness: soft to hard;
aquascape: a sand and pebble substrate, bogwood,
branches; and a diet of unshelled shrimp, small chopped
earthworms, food sticks, granules and flake.
Juvenile, commercially farm-bred featherfin catfish are
very similar in appearance to Synodontis nigrita. The latter
species lacks the distinctive dorsal fin extensions, though
juvenile Synodontis eupterus do not display them either.
Young specimens can be distinguished by the presence of
a high, long-based and adipose fin. A peaceful species
ideally suited to most medium- to large-sized, robust com-
munity fish systems, where it will become a true scav-
enger of food other fishes have missed.
Positives: Adults display a fantastic dorsal fin and inex-
pensive juveniles show an attractive coloration of spots.
Large adults are reasonably peaceful when maintained in
spacious, uncrowded aquarium conditions. Active during
daylight hours.
Pitfalls: Adult featherfin catfishes can be boisterous or
even aggressive toward small fishes and are therefore
unsuited to small fish aquarium communities.
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in books, and several distinctive
species stood out for their beauty
and rarity.
The upside down catfish has
always been popular with fishkeep-
ers and enthusiasts. Known scien-
tifically as Synodont is nigriv ent ris,
this catfish is one of several true
inverting species. As an adult, it
remains attractively small at a cou-
ple of inches (about 5 cm) and can
be considered among the dwarf
varieties of the genus.
The upside down catfish, in
keeping with other true inverting
Synodont is, has evolved to exploit a
readily available food source found
at the waters surface. An abun-
dance of fly larvae and crustaceans
float on the water surface of tropi-
cal lakes and slow- moving rivers,
especially if there is drifting plant
cover. Swimming in huge shoals,
t hese delight ful cat fishes have
developed a modified swim bladder
and underbelly (ventral) pigment to
aid their foraging needs and offer
some camouflage from predators.
There are forms exported from
Nigeria, but the two species groups
may just look alike and might not
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The featherfin catfish (Synodontis eupterus) is a look-alike of the true upside
down catfish (S. nigriventris) , but as it reaches its adult size, it can be distin-
guished by its larger size and elongated fins.
Data sheet: Synodontis nigriventris,
the upside down catfish, Democratic
Republic of the Congo basin, Niger
River system.
Habitat: Pools and rivers.
Max. total length: 2 to 3 inches (50
to 75 mm).
Natural diet: Invertebrates, small
fishes and crustaceans.
Breeding: Adult males are smaller
than females. Said to have been
spawned in captivity, but published
accounts offer little detail.
Maintenance care: pH 6.5 to 7.5;
hardness: soft to hard water; aquas-
cape: floating wood, bark or plants,
wood, branches; and a diet of fine
shrimp, frozen mosquito larvae and
flake food.
The upside down catfish is a peace-
ful species ideally suited for small to
medium community fish systems.
Positives: Dwarf size, peaceful in
shoals and a surface species.
Pitfalls: Requires surface cover,
such as plants or floating bark.
062x073UpsideDown0701ECj.qxd 10/3/06 12:38 PM Page 64
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represent the same species.
The upside down catfish has two
look-alike cousins: Syn odon t is n igrit a
and Syn odon t i s eupt erus. Both have
similar spotted patterns as juveniles,
but can easily be distinguished as
adults because of their greater size
(nearly 9 inches) and, in the latter case,
distinctive elongated fins.
Angelica, Pyjama and
Clown Catfish
The most exciting DRC species,
Syn odon t is an gelicus is a real beauty,
especially for catfish enthusiasts. The
juveniles of this larger species (4 to 6
inches) display a midnight background
color that is superbly marked by a con-
stellation of white stars. Sadly, this
lovely star pattern is not as distinct in
adults, but that failing is true of many
fish species.
Browsing photographs in a book, I
saw my first specimen in 1977, and the
catfish immediately brought out the
best of my compulsive and obsessive
behavior. I promptly issued a check for
200. At the time, this was a record
price for a tropical fish in the UK.
On the way home I experienced a
multitude of fluctuating emotions
ranging from genuine fear of the cat-
fish dying before it reached my aquar-
ium to self-doubt. How could I have
overdrawn my bank account for such a
pet? I kept the angelica catfish for a
year and then sold it to a fellow enthu-
siast. With the proceeds, I bought my
first Canon camera. In a roundabout
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66 J ANUARY 2007 fama

The clown catfish (Synodontis decorus) is a territorial species best kept in a
large aquarium with other large catfishes or cichlids.
Data sheet: Synodontis flavitaenia-
tus, the pyjama catfish, Africa,
Democratic Republic of the Congo
river system.
Habitat: Large rivers and pools.
Max. total length: 4 to 6 inches
(100-150 mm).
Natural diet: Invertebrates, small
fishes and crustaceans.
Maintenance care: pH 6.5 to 7.5;
hardness: soft to hard; aquascape: a
sand and pebble substrate, bog-
wood, branches; and a diet of fine
shrimp, small chopped earthworms,
food sticks and flake.
The pyjama catfish displays a dis-
tinctive series of stripes. This is a
secretive species but is suited to
medium-sized community fish sys-
Positives: Beautiful body pattern
and relatively modest adult size.
Pitfalls: Extremely secretive and
rarely seen during daylight hours.
062x073UpsideDown0701ECj.qxd 10/3/06 12:39 PM Page 66
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68 J ANUARY 2007 fama
way that catfish was responsible for
thousands of my fish pictures.
Within 10 years the angelica cat-
fish had become almost commonplace
in aquaria, and I knew several aquar-
ists who maintained groups of them.
One catfish enthusiast maintained
half a dozen specimens in separate,
personal aquaria in the hope of induc-
ing captive spawning.
Synodont is flav it aeniat us is another
species from the basin river system of
the DRC. Superbly marked as a juve-
nile, its unique color pattern of yel-
low-brown, horizontal stripes means
this species is rarely mistaken for any
other. One 4-inch-long, semiadult
specimen kept by me for many years
spent most of its daylight time in an
inverted position among surface-
reaching bogwood.
Another distinctive DRC species,
Synodont is decorus, is known to aquar-
ists worldwide as the clown catfish.
Characterized by large circle patterns,
banded tails and dorsal pennants, this
is a giant species of upside down cat-
fishes. Adult specimens in captivity
lose some of their ornate markings
and can grow up to 12 inches. Public
aquarium records in the Netherlands
suggest this species could easily live 20
years in captivity.
Aquarium Care
The genus Syn odon t i s brings
together 80 to 90 species widespread
in African waters. The range of
species and diversity of color patterns
almost rivals those of the South
American Corydoras.
These African catfishes are
extremely robust by nature and,
thankfully, are not too fussy about
water conditions or feeding require-
ments. However, as scaleless fishes,
they can be vulnerable to the spread
of infections. Many enthusiasts have
recorded aquarium wipeoutsinvolv-
ing Synodont is without always under-
standing or accounting for the seem-
ingly unpredictable fatalities.
Data sheet: Synodontis angelicus,
the angel catfish, Africa, DRC river
Habitat: Large rivers and pools.
Max. total length: 4 to 6 inches
(100 to 150 mm).
Natural diet: Invertebrates, small
fishes and crustaceans.
Breeding: Adult males are smaller
than females.
Maintenance care: pH 6.5 to 7.5;
hardness: soft to hard; aquascape:
a sand and pebble substrate, bog-
wood, branches; and a diet of
unshelled shrimp, small chopped
earthworms, food sticks, granules
and flake.
The angel catfish is also commer-
cially farm-bred (hormone induced).
Young specimens are beautifully
white-spotted. A territorial species
suited to most medium-sized to
large, robust cichlid and catfish
community fish systems.
Positives: Juveniles show an
attractive coloration of white spots.
Active during daylight hours.
Pitfalls: Adult angel catfishes lose
some of the attractive patterning,
and they can be aggressive and ter-
ritorial toward their own kind and
other species.
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70 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Usually overcrowding or poor
water quality is to blame; the combi-
nation can lead to rapid water pollu-
tion and oxygen depletion. It is
because these catfishes are tough that
they withstand long periods of dete-
riorating water quality before they
succumb to bacterial infections.
The key to preventing problems is
to maintain a weekly regime of 30
percent partial water changes and to
keep substrate-feeding fishes down
to reasonable numbers. I recommend
each medium to large bottom feeder
should have a square foot of space.
Keeping several upside down cat-
fishes demands a medium- to large-
sized system with bogwood, caves or
driftwood branches for substrate and
upper-level hiding places.
Data sheet: Synodontis decorus, the clown catfish, DRC river system.
Habitat: Large rivers and pools.
Max. total length: 8 to 12 inches (200 to 300 mm).
Natural diet: Invertebrates, small fishes and crustaceans.
Breeding: Adult males are smaller than females.
Maintenance care: pH 6.5 to 7.5; hardness: soft to hard; aquascape: a sand and
pebble substrate, bogwood, branches; and a diet of unshelled shrimp, large
chopped earthworms, food sticks, some flake and large food granules.
The clown catfish displays a distinctive series of clown spots on the body and
banding in the fins. Some specimens can display a dorsal pennant. A territorial
species suited to large, robust cichlid and catfish community fish systems.
Positives: Robust species ideal for large fish communities.
Pitfalls: Uproots plants and chases off other catfishes from caves and bogwood.
Pictured is Synodontis nigriventris,
the true upside down catfish.
D r. D av id Sands is an
int ernat ionally est ablished
w rit er and phot ographer
w ho has st udied animals for
almost 30 years. H e w as aw arded a
Ph.D. in et hology (animal behav -
iour/ psychology) for research on cat fish
mimicry and color pat t ern sharing in
1994 and w as t he first Brit ish con-
t ribut ing edit or t o Freshwater And
Marine Aquarium magaz ine.
062x073UpsideDown0701ECj.qxd 10/2/06 11:24 AM Page 71
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74 J ANUARY 2007 fama
( Joshua) set up my first true
planted aquarium in high school.
Like many novice aquarists, Id
previously tried the old stick an
Amazon sword among the Plant icus
plast icus and hope for the best rou-
tine. Naturally, it hadnt worked par-
ticularly well, and I was eventually
encouraged by my local aquarium
dealer to set up a true planted tank.
The big planted tank craze hadnt
quite started in yet, and my planted
tank was simple by todays standards.
It was a 20-gallon high tank, lit with
two 60-watt household light bulbs. I
had one of those old incandescent fix-
tures and had trimmed away the
excess plastic (well, most of it, the rest
still melted). I then propped it a few
inches over the tank using coat hang-
ers. I added a few pieces of tinfoil, and
I had one heck of a reflector. I tried a
soda bottle full of water, sugar and
yeast a few times to make CO
still remember my suspicious mother
sniffing around my bedroom looking
for the source of the beerlike smell.
Karma must have laughed at my
M acGyv er aquarium the plants
and the fish thrived. I had a little shoal
of ember tetras (H yphesobrycon aman-
dae), a few species of dwarf corydoras,
Ot t ocinclus for algae control, and some
cockatoo dwarf cichlids (Apist ogram-
ma cacat uoi des) that my aquarium
dealer had to scrounge for. The plants,
though, were really something else.
I had an Amazon sword and some
Crypt ocorynes spp. that did fairly well
in this setup. The plant that did fan-
tastic, filling in the aquarium and
undoubtedly creating my love for the
planted aquarium, was the light green
hygro (H ygrophila polysperma). It grew
conservation corner By Joshua Wiegert and Robert Rice
Diary of an Invasive
Learn to recognize problem plants.
Hygrophilia spp. have the potential to cause damage to environments in the
United States, which has led to their status as a U.S. Federal Noxious Weed.

LO51 Cl1 Of A1LAH1l5


FOwk flL1k5

2007 Penn-PIax, Inc.

enn-Iax has it aII!

fl5H fOO0
lI yeuJ like re knew mere nbeur eur innevnrive line eI reJucrs,
leek Ier us nr:
Hw fOk 2007!
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76 J ANUARY 2007 fama
incredibly well in the tank I can
remember it pearling. I learned how
to trim plants, how to lay the hygro
flat and let it spread, and how to make
cuttings to fill empty spaces. Hygro
was the perfect aquarium plant. It was
cheap, easy to get, easier to grow,
beautiful, fast-growing and carefree.
The Planted Menace
Then, five years ago, hygro van-
ished from aquarium stores. It took
with it all of its color morphs, includ-
ing the stunning tropica sunset vari-
ety. Even the fake hygros vanished,
such as the giant hygro. Any plant
that had hygro in its name was gone
(with the exception of Wisteria, H .
difformis, undoubtedly owing to the
fact that most people dont realize its
close relation).
The plant had been federally
banned. It was listed as a U.S. Federal
Noxious Weed, and it became illegal
to transport the plant over state
boundaries. Despite common miscon-
ceptions, no laws exist about keeping
the plant if you have some, youre
free to do with it as you please, provid-
ed you dont move it out of state. As a
result, growers in the South could no
longer ship hygro species. Essentially,
the plant was banished from the retail
aquarium trade.
Why? The plant was detected
along some canals in Florida in the
early 1970s and later in Texas. It was
found in Virginia, until a cold winter
wiped it out in the 70s. Many other
aquarium plants and animals have
been found in the wild in much more
extensive numbers, yet they continue
to be sold. One need only look at the
damages caused by the various species
of exotic livebearers throughout the
Southwest and the Southeast to argue
that more damaging organisms are
allowed free reign in the wild.
Indeed, certain aquatic plants that
are known to cause massive amounts
of environmental damage are sold
without reservation. Purple looses-
trife, which weve written about in this
column previously, is often sold to
hobbyists and can be found at local
greenhouses. Water lettuce and water
hyacinth both cause immense prob-
lems, not only ecologically but also for
navigation, yet theyre available at any
local aquarium store.
Why Ban a Plant?
This, it turns out, is exactly the rea-
son why hygro was listed and these
other plants werent. Hygro repro-
duces rapidly and can survive in cer-
tain areas in the wild. In a worst-case
scenario, escaped plants could rapidly
propagate and begin to cause prob-
lems. In at least one Florida canal, the
plant reproduced to such an extent as
to be labeled a nuisance weed, dis-
rupting the ecology of the canal and
overtaking it.
Once in the wild, the same charac-
teristics that make it a great aquarium
plant could enable it to become the
next Eurasian milfoil, or the next
H ydrilla. With few natural predators,
it would find our waterways a perfect
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conservation corner
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home away from home. It can form
dense stands, outcompeting native
vegetation. Reproducing by fragmen-
tation, it spreads rapidly. Soon, a nat-
ural, diverse and productive weed bed
could become a monoculture of noth-
ing but H ygrophila, producing no food
organisms for the fishery, ruining
swimming and recreation, and gener-
ally becoming a pest of itself.
Escape Artists
Plants such as H ydrilla or milfoil,
however, are already in the wild and
are national pests. Listing them as
noxious weeds makes about as much
sense as buying insurance the day after
your car is stolen. The Noxious Weed
List is designed to list plants that have
a strong potential to escape into the
wild and become disruptive. It is a
proactive, preventative approach to an
environmental problem.
This is environmental legislation
working in the right direction and one
that deserves our support. However, at
the same time, we would hate to see
other aquatic plants added to the
Noxious Weed List and watch the list
of available plants slowly dwindle in
the process.
Hygro is not alone among familiar
plants to have escaped into the wild.
Several Crypt ocoryn e spp. have
appeared in Texas. Glossost igma spp.
has appeared in several places
throughout the United States, and
even familiar plants like Cabom ba
spp., hornwort and anacharis have
shown up in many places (though
there is often a question as to whether
or not these are native).
No one wants to see any of these
plants added to the Noxious Weed
List, and we, as responsible aquarists,
should take steps to prevent their
escape into the wild. While use of the
term escape is typical, it does con-
jure up an amusing image of a plant
climbing over a wall, covered in
barbed wire, while searchlights scan
from guard towers. Next month, well
discuss how plants really escape into
the wild, how to prevent such escapes
and how to control our escapees.
78 J ANUARY 2007 fama
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80 J ANUARY 2007 fama
he various movements, dig-
gings and whims of mankind
around the globe have pro-
duced what some writers have termed
a homogenization of faunas in some
locales. South Florida, in particular,
has become a bewildering mess in
terms of its freshwater fishes and
invertebrates, the native faunas of cer-
tain rivers and bayous having been
augmented by the deliberate intro-
duction of exotic cichlids and catfish-
es from Central and South America,
Asia and Africa.
While only one cichlid, the Rio
Grande cichlid (Cichlasoma cyanogut -
t at um), is native to North America
(and only to the Lower Rio Grande
drainage in Texas and northeastern
Mexico), a few sweeps of the dipnet
along the weedy banks of many canals
and creeks in southeastern Florida
will often produce juveniles of two or
three exotic species. Close to 20 dif-
ferent exotic cichlids now breed in
United States waters. Understandably,
these aggressive fishes tend to com-
pete with natives (or eat them) and are
viewed with varying degrees of con-
cern by fisheries biologists.
Dipping the San Marcos
The strange mix of exotic fishes in
the warmer waters of the United States
is bad enough, but to our shame some
of these introductions can be traced
directly to the aquarium trade. A grad-
uate student at University of Texas at
San Marcos told me that in the areas
where she collects there are patches of
different-colored gravel because of
aquarium dumpings. Many species
known to be harmful have been quar-
antined by various states and cannot be
possessed without a permit, but they
may still be accidentallycollected and
observed as long as they are not kept.
This June, I sampled some of
Texas fish stew along the banks of
the San Marcos River in the town of
San Marcos. Unlike the tepid, murky,
greenish watercourses of East Texas
where I live, the waters of the lime-
stone country around San Marcos are
remarkably clear and cool. I could see
huge schools of sunfish, largemouth
bass (M icropt erus salmoides) and other
fishes from the surface. Collecting
from shore is a snap in the towns
beautiful parks.
Space Invaders
Working my net in and around the
weedy margins, I quickly netted a
juvenile loricariid catfish. These
Plecost omuscats (actually a species of
H ypost omus) are not thought to pose
any serious competition problems for
natives and are not yet on the Texas
Parks and Wildlife forbidden list. In
the aquarium, plecos tend to perch
quietly on the sides with their sucker-
mouths during the day and become
active at dusk. They are happiest when
given a diet rich in algae. While cute
when young, plecos can become huge.
Juvenile Rio Grande cichlids
turned up regularly in the slower,
weed-choked parts of the river, where
large males in their black-bottom
breeding colors actively defended
breeding territories from other cich-
lids and from native bluegill sunfish
(L epomis macrochirus). In the aquari-
Fish Stew (Part 1): The Fishes
An eclectic mix of exotic and native fishes swim in
Texas San Marcos River.
the dipnetter Text and Photos by Vince Brach
Aquarium releases have enabled many nonnative fishes, such as this juvenile
loricariid catfish, to become established in warmer U.S. waters like those
found in Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley.
A beautiful native found in the San
Marcos River is the sailfin molly
(Poecilia latipinna). The male (the
lower of the two pictured) wears its
full breeding regalia.
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um, these little fellows seem bashful,
but they are as often hiding from one
another as from you, and will merci-
lessly thin out their own ranks until
only one fish remains. Mine tolerated
larger fish but made short work of
feeder guppies and mosquitofish.
Some Cool Natives
Not all of the desirable catches
along the San Marcos River are exot-
ic. Sailfin mollies (Poecilia lat ipinna)
are abundant there and are complete-
ly adapted to freshwater. Large males
flashed iridescent blue and dull gold
in the clear shallows. They make
handsome additions to the freshwater
community tank. Males will give
females an inordinate amount of
attention and can actually kill them if
too few are kept together. The fertili-
ty of the females is astonishing. And I
soon had more molly fry to care for
than room to keep them! Sailfin mol-
lies do well on Spirulina-fortified fish
flakes, but I give mine algae scrapings
from aquarium walls as a treat, too.
An interesting capture and one
that I hastily returned to the river
was the endangered fountain darter
(E t heost oma font icola). They are actu-
ally common in the San Marcos over
sand/gravel substrates in moderate
current. These darters seem to require
habitat where small seepages bubble
up through the sand. I observed a
group around artificial springsat the
National Wildlife Service aquarium.
In my next Dipnetter, Ill talk
about exotic snails, including the dan-
gers of imported species, two of which
now commonly occur in the San
Marcos River.
82 J ANUARY 2007 fama
the dipnetter
Competition from nonnatives is cer-
tainly a factor in the demise of foun-
tain darters.
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84 J ANUARY 2007 fama
his month I will start with a
discussion of the usage of the
alga Chaet omorpha in our
refugium filters. I will follow the dis-
cussion with a question from a reader.
Readers who want to send me ques-
tions for the Reef Notes column can
do so at julian@t w olit t
Algae filters and the use of algae in
refugia have been gaining in popular-
ity in the saltwater aquarium hobby
over the past several years, having
come into fashion on and off again
over the past 15 years. Their history in
aquarium filtration spans the life of
the hobby, and popular aquarium lit-
erature discussing the use of algal fil-
tration dates back more than 40 years
(Delbeek and Sprung, 2005).
The modern application of algae
for filtration and the maintenance of
oxygen and pH began with Adeys
algal turf filtration (Adey and
Loveland, 1991), which uses algal
turfs cultivated on screens illuminated
on a schedule opposite of the aquari-
um. Algal filtration evolved in the
popular hobby with the commercial-
ization of the Ecosystem Aquarium
Method (Paletta and Hildreth, 1997;
Delbeek and Sprung, 2005), which
employs Caulerpa and mud in a
refugium illuminated 24 hours a day.
Algal Filtration
In the late 1980s, Doug Allen of
the National Aquarium in Baltimore
showed me an algal filter he used to
filter a reef aquarium, using a single
species of alga in the genus
Chaet omorpha. This spaghetti alga is
extremely easy to grow and harvest,
making it an ideal choice for use in
refugium filters. It has recently seen a
surge in popularity in the aquarium
trade as a species to be used in
Ecosystem method filters.
It and some other species of
Chaet omorpha are now regularly culti-
vated and traded. In addition, red sea-
weeds like H alymenia, Bot ryocladia,
Gracillaria and others are beautiful to
look at and are also well suited to cul-
tivation in refugiums.
There are approximately 53 species
of Chaet omorpha, and several of them
can be used in refugia. The closely
aligned genus R hi z oclon i um has
species that are quite similar (I see no
compelling reason to separate them,
aside from tradition), and these can
also be used. See w w w
for more information about identify-
ing features.
See if you can decide whether you
have C. linum or C. indica. If you look
on Algae Base at the locality records
for C. linum, you will note that it basi-
cally can be found all over the world,
in cold or warm water. That is a very
good thing, because it means that it
should be easy for aquarists to obtain.
While I did see some use of
Chaet omorpha in Europe in recent
years, it didnt seem as popular there as
it is here. Hobbyists across the United
States have been including the alga C.
linum in their refugia, with or without
substrata such as mud or sand, where-
as they once used mostly a few species
of Caulerpa.
Chaet omorpha quickly grows into a
solid block that fills all refugium
space, and it generally outcompetes
most other algae by virtue of its rapid
growth. In bright illumination it often
has diatoms growing on the filaments,
so it is not truly a monoculture,
though it does give that impression!
Maintaining it requires little effort.
As with any other alga, the occasional
addition of an iron and manganese
supplement helps to promote growth.
Lighting can be provided by one or
more fluorescent lights. The more
light you give it, the faster it will grow,
but it will grow pretty fast even with
relatively low light levels.
I have maintained it for extended
periods in the dark, which is intrigu-
ing, as most seaweeds do not live long
without light (though many microal-
gae can). Chaet omorpha linum often
occurs in the wild among and under-
neath other algae, so it has clearly
adapted to low light conditions and
must have developed a special metab-
Refugium Filters and Anemone Eaters
Managing aquariums can be easier with the help of a few species.
reef notes By Julian Sprung
Berghia nudibranchs are quite attractive and will eat Aiptasia anemones, but
they may not be the best choice if your goal is to control the Aiptasia.
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olism to do so.
One caveat about moving this
plant: It does not like to be transport-
ed out of water. While many aquatic
plants and algae can be shipped damp,
C. linum becomes limp after a few
minutes of exposure to air. If left sub-
merged it will maintain its rigid con-
sistency. A large clump shipped damp
will not completely die, but large sec-
tions will decompose while a few
pieces survive and regrow into a tan-
gled mass.
The use of Chaet omorpha for filtra-
tion via nutrient export is easy to
accomplish. Simply pull or cut out
sections of the mat growing in your
refugium and it will fill in the voided
space within a week or so.
Pruning once a week is about the
right amount, but there is no risk in
leaving it unpruned, as it will achieve
a maximum mass and then stop grow-
ing entirely. At the maximum growth
rate the filaments are straight and
light green. When it slows down they
become highly curled and dark green.
Aiptasia Eater
I read an article recently on
Berghi a nudibranchs and have
become somewhat enamored. I would
love to get a bunch of these guys
going. They apparently eat only
Aiptasia. Getting Aiptasia is no prob-
lem, but I have no idea how to pur-
posefully culture them. I think I need
a small tank, lots of filter- feeder food
and occasionally mashed Ai pt asi a.
D oes that sound reasonable?
Secondly, while getting a starter
culture of Aiptasia is easy, I cannot
find Berghi a anywhere. It s like a
group of authors got together and
came up with this fictional Aiptasia
eater. Sitting around somewhere, a
bunch of them must have said, Man,
people are always having trouble with
Aiptasia. If only there was a miracle
cure. A few pints later and Berghia
came into existence. Where can I get
I want to put in my mangrove
growth tank (getting mangroves that
dont look like bean pods with a few
leafs on top is another quest of mine),
but I cant find the blasted things. D o
you have any ideas?
Joshua Wiegert
Beav er, Ohio
Berghia probably eat other small
anemones, such as small Bart holomea
(aka curly cue anemone), but general-
ly if you plan to culture Berghia, your
86 J ANUARY 2007 fama
reef notes
This Berghia nudibranch is feasting
upon an Aiptasia in the aquarium.
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best bet is to culture Aiptasia. The
only additions I would make to your
Aipt asia culture system are strong
lighting (to promote zooxanthellae
and anemone growth), a larger tank
(because you wont believe how many
Aiptasia you will need!) and strong
currents, which seem to promote
rapid growth of the Aiptasia.
I dont know where you get the idea
that you need to mash the anemones.
The Berghia approach and eat the
anemones without any need for you to
clobber them first.
I wouldnt call Berghia a miracle
cure. They eat Aipt asia, but using
them to control an Aiptasia problem is
like using caterpillars to control the
weeds in your yard. It s not going to be
very effective. I like the story about
aquarium authors coming up with
Berghia. That s a good one! How did
you know we do that? Where do you
think protein skimming came from?
Actually, I consider the shrimp
L ysmata w urdemanni a much better
control for Aipt asia. However, the
miracle can only be seen when they
are used in mob quantities. This is
something to arrange with an aquari-
um society, because keeping one of
these shrimp per gallon is not feasible
long-term and purchasing them is
quite costly. Oh, I forgot to mention
that these shrimp can be bred in cap-
tivity. Maybe that is a better project
for you than Berghia.
If you must have Berghi a, try
Inland Aquatics (w w w .inlandaquat - They usually have Berghia.
With respect to the mangroves, I
suggest patience. It takes only a cou-
ple of years for a propagule to become
something more than a bean with a
few leaves. Start now and youll have
trees soon enough!
88 J ANUARY 2007 fama
reef notes
Adey, W.H. and K. Loveland. 1991.
D ynamic Aquaria, Building L iv ing E cosystems.
Academic Press, San Diego, Calif. 643 pp.
Delbeek, J.C. and J. Sprung. 2005. T he
R eef Aquari um, v ol. 3. Sci ence Art and
Technology. Ricordea Publishing. 680 pp.
Paletta, M. and R. Hildreth. 1997. The
EcoSystem filtration system. Seascope 14.
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90 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Starting Out Nano
I just finished reading your book
Liv e Sand Secret s, rev ised 2nd Edit ion.
Im really excited about trying a
plenum system on a 24- gallon nano
cube tank. The tanks dimensions are
roughly 20 by 20 by 18 inches high.
Ive tried to follow your articles over
the years and recently read your rec-
ommendation to someone else who
had a 12- gallon tank to just use 1 inch
of live sand on the bottom of the tank.
I dont know if anyone else has
tried this with a 24- gallon tank
before. Wouldnt it give you much
better stability in a smaller tank
regarding fluctuations of pH, calcium
levels, etc., especially when imple-
mented with aragonite sand? It might
solve some of the problems associated
with nano reef setups. The only prob-
lem I could see is the height of the
plenum, egg crate and sand, which
would equal about 6 inches. Or do
you think Im wasting my time on a
tank this small? I hope not.
Also, I cant seem to find live arag-
onite sand in your recommended size
of 2 to 4 mm. I went to the CaribSea
website, and they recommend their
special grade reef sand size 1 to 2 mm
for plenum systems. Wouldnt this
size be too small?
You also mentioned a company
that makes ready- to- use plenum
grids. D o they have a website I could
visit? Ive also been e- mailing the
manufacturers of the Wave2K wave-
maker about making a custom wave
maker for my aquarium that would fit
on the back wall between the overflow
skimmer and the return. D o you
think this would create too much tur-
bidity with the aragonite sand?
What should I use as a cleanup
crew for this size aquarium that wont
disturb the sand too much? I keep
reading about quantities of hermit
crabs, snails, etc., that seem overstat-
ed, not to mention the extra bioload
these animals add to the system.
Lastly, Ive tried looking through
some of your past articles and was
wondering whether you preferred
metal halide or compact fluorescent
lighting with your systems. And do
you feel that it makes a difference or
not with regard to the plenum?
I guess reading your book just
opened up more questions for me.
Ive had reef tanks before but never
had the chance to try this. Ive always
thought that you were on the right
path and that there had to be a better
way to manage a reef tank.
St ev e LeRoy
El Cerrit o, Calif.
That was a good letter. The reason
I recommended a shallow bed in that
Starting Right in the Reef
Understand sandbed plenums and reef tank stocking for success.
sand mail By Bob Goemans
It may be easy to get cleaner shrimp to breed in captivity, but raising them to maturity is a whole other business. With
the correct conditions, hobbyists may yet be able to succeed in raising these useful and beautiful shrimp.
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12- gallon nano tank was simply that a
bed of about 5 inches would distract
from its appearance. Usually, the goal
with nano tanks is to display a small
environment with appropriately sized
creatures. A 5- inch deep sandbed in a
small tank would shift attention to the
bed instead of its creatures.
Nevertheless, if your goal is to
focus on the value of the bed process-
es, then go for it. In fact, it would be a
good learning tool, and I know of one
plenum system that is now about 12
years old and still doing wonderfully
without any signs of unwanted algae.
As for a plenum system maintain-
ing alkalinity/ calcium levels, that all
depends upon the systems bioload. If
the draw is more than what dissolu-
tion of calcareous materials can pro-
vide, then I would recommend the use
of any of the fine two- part liquid cal-
cium/ buffer additives on the market
for these small systems.
In fact, I would go that road from
day one using the recommendations
on their labels to be sure the impor-
sand mail
Brittle stars like this Ophiarachna incrassta are popular both for their beauty
and their cleanup abilities, but dont overuse cleaner animals, as they tend to
agitate the sand bed.
92 J ANUARY 2007 fama
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Lizards & Snakes: Alive! is organized by the American Museumof Natural History, New York (, in collaboration with the
Fernbank Museumof Natural History, Atlanta, and the San Diego Natural History Museum, with appreciation to Clyde Peelings Reptiland.
Open daily Central Park West at 79th Street, New York City 212-769-5100

Now through Januar y 7, 2007

over 60
live lizards
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tant pH, alkalinity and calcium
parameters stay within the proper
ranges, as nano tank water quality is
more difficult to maintain because of
the small water quantity.
Regarding your tank, quarter-inch
supports and quarter-inch egg crate
would suffice, with a 3- to 4-inch bed
on top of the grid. One inch less of
sand, as with a 3-inch bed, would
equate to a loss of about 30 percent of
its anoxic area, but it would still pro-
vide enough efficiency if the tank is
properly maintained. And as for the
proper-sized sand grains, Ive been
recommending that crushed coral be
used, as that generally falls into parti-
cles in the the 2- to 5-mm range.
CaribSea provides a live product
that I have employed in many of my
past systems.
As for aragonite not being available
in this grain size, that s true, or at least
I dont know where it may be avail-
able. However, years of personal
research has shown that beds consist-
ing of particles larger than what was
originally used in testing plenums
i.e., 1 to 2 mm provided improved
porewater sites and diffusion, which
in turn improved bed longevity and
processes, especially in beds that were
somewhat mismanaged.
As for the solubility difference
between crushed coral and that of
aragonite particles, the difference can
be easily made up with the use of the
two-part solutions. Also, the company
that produces custom-made plenum
grids has gone out of business.
The Wave2K wavemaker test unit,
which was sent to me and set up at a
local shop on a 125-gallon system,
proved so successful that the owner
took it home to put it on his 600-gal-
lon aquarium! I would suggest the
unit set on a couple pieces of rock so
as to elevate it a little distance from
the bed to compensate for its lower
wave action cycle. Alternatively, the
unit could be built with a deflector
that causes the outward bottom flow
cycle to be deflected slightly upward.
Keep in mind, if they do build a
unit for your system, do not place high
reaching obstacles, such as high piles
of rock or corals that would block the
wave action across the aquarium, as
you would be defeating part of the
cycling process. Carefully plan your
environment so as not to cancel out
the back and forth wave motions.
I agree that clean-up crews are
often overused. In a fairly new setup
of your size, I recommend about six
Ast raea snails, a few hermits (blue
and/or red legs) and one small brittle
star. If your bioload greatly increases,
then add more snails and hermits.
When it comes to lighting, my
choice of metal halide or fluorescent
fixtures depend on what animals are in
the system. But where youre con-
cerned, youll have a very shallow
environment and fluorescents should
be able to fulfill your needs. Keep in
mind that fluorescent fixtures run a lot
cooler than MHs.
Furthermore, the intensity of the
lighting will not affect the microbial
processes in the bed. I would suggest
blocking light penetration into the
lower plenum area from around the
outer sides of the aquarium, as it may
initiate some algae growth because of
the nutrients cycling in this area.
Wooden furring strips or black elec-
tric tape will work. For more info, visit
my website: w w w .salt
Raising Cleaner Shrimp?
I have two tanks, one of them a
hospital tank and the other a reef
tank. I started this reef tank (about
150 gallons) with some live rock and
cleaner shrimp and what I think is a
dusky wrasse.
I want some corals, but my tank is
not ready yet. I have seen about 20
baby cleaner shrimp, and I try to get
them fast and put them in my small
tank, but I have no idea about what
they eat and what they need to grow
up with good health.
Please give me some info to help
let the babies grow and live. How can
I know if they need their mother?
And how can I know if other mothers
have eggs?
Thanks for your questions. Even
94 J ANUARY 2007 fama
sand mail
090x097SandMail0701EMj.qxd 10/2/06 11:52 AM Page 94
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though the photos you sent to me are
quite blurry, I think you are correct
about the fish being a dusky wrasse
(H alichoeres marginat us).
As for the baby cleaner shrimp
(L ysmat a amboinensis), they are her-
maphroditic spawners (that means
they possess both male and female sex
organs), therefore all adult members
of the group produce eggs and are fer-
tilized by another member of the
group. Any two of these shrimp are
sufficient to propagate the species. It
is not uncommon for them to breed
in captivity, and Ive had several such
happenings in my tanks.
I have also had them spawn in
some of my small nano tanks where
there were no predators, and I was
still unable to raise them to adult-
hood, even though the tank was fed
with the newest and best phytoplank-
ton and zooplankton products. Even
the important water quality require-
ments for molting shrimp, such as
calcium, alkalinity and magnesium,
were always correct. They seemed to
simply vanish after becoming about a
centimeter in length.
In fact, I do not know of anyone
who has successfully raised cleaner
shrimp. But this doesnt mean you
cant try.
A quarantine/hospital tank filled
with live rock and fed with phyto-
plankton and zooplankton products
and where calcium, alkalinity and
magnesium (especially magnesium,
because if it is not correct, they wont
complete the molting process, which
they do almost monthly) are correct,
you could at least have a good chance
of being successful. Good luck! And
let me know if youre successful.
96 J ANUARY 2007 fama
sand mail
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98 J ANUARY 2007 fama
ack in the mid-1970s, after
seeing some photographs and
reading about cichlid behavior,
I was keen to keep some dwarf cich-
lids. However, dwarf South American
cichlids were hard to obtain in the
United Kingdom at that time. In
those days, the fishkeeping hobby was
much more popular in the UK than
today, with many regional fishkeeping
clubs and also several large shows
every year.
Love at First Sight
I attended a huge show at Bellevue,
Manchester, where among the large
number of trade stands, I came across
one that had a good selection of
extremely healthy looking dwarf cich-
lids already bagged up for sale.
A beautiful pair of young adult
Apist ogramma agassiz ii caught my eye,
and at the end of the day, I came away
with the pair costing me around $10,
or more than $40 on todays market.
The pair was set up on their own in a
20-inch aquarium filled with mature
tap water and maintained at about 75
degrees Fahrenheit. The A. agassiz ii
were fed primarily on freeze-dried
t ubifex but also some live t ubifex and
flake food. These A. agassiz ii must
have been in excellent condition
because within two weeks they had
spawned. Not only that, but the eggs
actually hatched and I had the pleas-
ure for the first time ever of seeing a
female cichlid caring for her fry.
The Agassizs dwarf cichlid
(Steindachner, 1875) shows marked
sexual dimorphism, as the male and
female fish are very different from
each other. The male can reach some
2 inches in total length (TL); the
female barely grows to 2 inches TL.
The male fish is a colorful, elongat-
ed fish that has a spade-shaped caudal
fin. A dark lateral band runs from the
snout right into the caudal fin where it
forms a triangular marking. Red, blue
and yellow color morphs of Agassizs
dwarf cichlids have been identified in
the wild, and these colors have been
further exaggerated by selective
breeding. Wild-caught Alenquer A.
agassiz ii males tend to have a lot of
Agassizs Dwarf Cichlids
Named after famed naturalist Louis Agassiz, these lively little
cichlids are a fitting tribute.
popular freshwater tropicals Text and Photos by Iggy Tavares, Ph.D.
The use of dither fish is recommended for a pair or trio of Agassizs dwarf cichlids (Apistogramma agassizii). Having a
shoal of small tetras in the same tank, for example, will have a calming influence on this pair of dwarf cichlids.
098x109popular0701CEMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 11:49 AM Page 98
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100 J ANUARY 2007 fama
metallic blue on their body, while the
belly is a deep yellow color. Mature
males also tend to develop a submar-
ginal white V-shaped border on their
caudal fin.
The smaller female tends to be yel-
lowish brown in color with a dark lat-
eral band, a brighter yellow belly and a
rounded tail. Female A. agassiz ii are
quite attractive, because all their fins
contain a lot of orange. Both male and
female have a little black bar running
from just below the eye through the
gill covers.
Agassizs dwarf cichlids have a
wide distribution in South America,
being found in the waters of the
Amazon in Brazil, Peru, Colombia
and Bolivia. Because of this large dis-
tribution, various color morphs are
found among the isolated popula-
tions, usually designated by the name
of the site of capture, such as
Alenquer,Santarm and Tef.
The preferred habitat of Agassizs
cichlid consist of leaf-littered shallow
parts of blackwater lakes and slow-
moving creeks where the water is soft
and acid (pH 4 to 6; dH 0 to 4). Here,
the dwarf cichlids can sometimes live
in a fairly crowded environment with
each breeding female fish trying to
stake out a small territory. In such
conditions, it is surprising that any of
the fry survive, but the leaf litter does
provide a lot of cover.
The main diet of Agassizs dwarf
cichlid in the wild consists of small
crustaceans, insect larvae and any tiny
worms that live among the leaf litter.
I would expect that dwarf cichlid fry
would also form part of their diet.
Aquarium Setup
Agassizs dwarf cichlid can be
housed in a small-species tank or as
part of a larger community tank. A
species tank can be as small as 18
inches long, while a community tank
needs to be at least 36 inches long.
Either tank should be furnished with
pieces of bogwood placed on a bed of
fine gravel that forms the rooting
material for the aquarium plants.
Dried oak leaves or beech leaves can
be added to the aquarium bottom to
Back off! This
is the message
that this female
agassizii is trying
to convey through
this classic threat
popular freshwater tropicals
098x109popular0701CEMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 11:49 AM Page 100
reflect the natural habitat of these
cichlids. The choice of plants are left
to the discretion of the hobbyist.
To get the most out of the fish, the
water parameters in the tank should
reflect the wild-habitat conditions if
possible, with pH between 5 and 7,
hardness between 2 and 8 dH and a
temperature between 75 and 80
degrees Fahrenheit. The water tem-
perature can be maintained with an
appropriately sized heater thermostat.
In London, where I now live, tap
water is rather hard and on the alka-
line side and not really suitable for
keeping South American species.
One way around this is to collect rain
water for use in the aquarium.
Another alternative is to use reverse
osmosis (RO) water mixed in with
some tap water. Many fish outlets
actually sell RO water by the gallon,
for those who are not prepared to buy
an RO unit.
A small tank can be adequately fil-
tered with any of the small propeller-
driven internal filters that are avail-
able on the market today. A good
alternative though, is an air-driven
sponge filter. For the larger tank, fil-
tration is best provided by an external
canister unit.
The small tank could house a pair
or trio of Agassizs dwarf cichlids and
a half dozen small tetras. Having the
shoal of tetras that act as dither fish in
the tank has a calming influence on
the dwarf cichlids, making them
bolder and much more likely to be out
in the open. The bigger aquarium
offers a much larger scope in regard to
the number of fish that can be
housed. Apart from two shoals of dif-
ferent tetras, one could also have three
or four pygmy suckermouth catfish
(O t oci n clus sp.) and even another
small cichlid species.
When choosing a second dwarf
cichlid for this aquarium, it is ideal to
consider one with different spawning
habits. Agassizs dwarf cichlids are
cave spawners; Ramirezs cichlids and
Bolivian rams are open spawners and
should occupy a different niche of the fama J ANUARY 2007 101
This female Agassizs dwarf cichlid has deposited its eggs out in the open,
which goes against the prototypical behavior of these cave spawners.
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098x109popular0701CEMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 11:50 AM Page 102
aquarium. For the cave spawners,
small overturned planting pots or half
a coconut shell make ideal caves,
while the open spawners will use a
piece of slate or even a large, flat peb-
ble placed under some plants.
Acquiring Some
Only tank-bred Agassizs dwarf
cichlids are available in London.
Many color-rich variants have been
developed by German, Dutch and
Czech breeders and are often avail-
able in London today at prices start-
ing at $15. The most popular is the
double red form, although the blue
forms also sell well. When buying
Agassizs dwarf cichlids, it is impor-
tant to ensure they are healthy and
active. Check to see what they are
being fed, and if possible ask to see
them eating.
Agassizs dwarf cichlids should
settle down quickly in the aquarium,
especially if they are tank bred. The
male can sometimes turn out to be a
bit of a bully toward the female, but in
a well-planted tank with bogwood,
the female can easily slip out of
harms way. Other fish in the tank will
also help divert the males attention.
Fortunately, there is a whole selec-
tion of food that can be bought to feed
Agassizs dwarf cichlids. This includes
frozen foods, such as bloodworm and
brine shrimp and even some special
formulas of flake food. Cultured
white worm, as well as daphnia and
mosquito larvae from a water butt in
the garden, are eaten with relish.
One should keep clear of live fama J ANUARY 2007 103
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This female has recently laid eggs
(the pink dots) and is guarding them.
popular freshwater
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104 J ANUARY 2007 fama
t ubifex worms, which tend to harbor
large amounts of bacteria, as Agassizs
dwarf cichlids are very susceptible to
bacterial infections. These infections
can lead to bloat, are difficult to treat
and lead to premature death. Also, be
careful with the amount of food given,
as uneaten foods cause water condi-
tions to deteriorate rapidly.
Spawning Behavior
If a mature, healthy male and
female pair of dwarf cichlids are in an
aquarium, they will usually spawn at
some time, provided they are getting a
good diet that contains some live or
frozen foods. For spawning to occur,
Agassizs dwarf cichlids also need to
have a cave where the female can lay
her eggs. For the eggs to develop and
hatch, the water needs to be clean, soft
and acid. If the water conditions are
poor or if the water is hard and alka-
line, the eggs will not hatch and will
soon be attacked by fungus.
Cichlid behavior is very interesting
to watch. Initially, the male agassiz ii
may be aggressive toward the female,
occasionally chasing her into the
cover of plants and bogwood. As the
days go by and the female cichlid fills
out with eggs as she gorges herself on
live food, her coloration lightens. The
females demeanor also changes, and
she no longer flees the male. She now
occasionally starts to seek out the
male, accompanying him for short
periods. Sometimes she may take up a
45-degree stance and treat the male to
a tail-beating display. At this point,
the male may get more aggressive
toward the other cichlids in the tank,
but little damage is usually done.
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Agassizs dwarf cichlids are very sus-
ceptible to bacterial infections.
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Wishing FAMA
a Happy 30th Anniversary! fama J ANUARY 2007 105
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106 JANUARY 2007 fama
Once Agassizs dwarf cichlids have
spawned, the event is often signalled
by color and behavioral changes in
the female. The female should now be
bright yellowish brown in color and
become very bossy, not allowing the
male agassizii or other fish to come
too close to the spawning cave. In a
small tank, the male agassizii might
sometimes have to be removed to
another tank for his own safety.
The female will spend a lot of time
inside the cave, probably fanning the
deep crimson eggs, which are laid on
the roof of the cave. A spawning can
consist of as many as a 100 eggs, but
usually fewer are laid. The eggs
should hatch within three days, but
the wrigglers are usually kept inside
the cave for an additional four days.
Once they are free swimming, the
female leads the shoal of fry out to
feed. Initially, the fry will begin feed-
ing on the small, natural organisms
found in the aquarium, but they are
able to take microworms as a first
food. In a few days, the fry are big
enough to take newly hatched brine
shrimp and need several feedings a
day for maximum growth. Agassizs
cichlid fry are not particularly fast
growing, but on a good diet contain-
ing plenty of live food, they should
reach half an inch in two months.
Having said that Agassizs dwarf
cichlids are cave spawners, there are
individual fish that break this rule. In
a species tank, one pair of Agassizs
dwarf cichlids first spawned on a flat
pebble with a piece of bogwood over-
hanging slightly that offered some
protection. The eggs were laid close
together on the pebble compared to
being more spread out when laid on
the cave roof. Further spawnings by
this pair were always in a cave.
In the community aquarium, a lot
of the fry are lost through predation as
quick swimming tetras will pick on
the fry in spite of their mothers con-
stant vigilance. In a well-planted tank
a few of the fry will survive. If the
intention is to raise a lot of fry to
adulthood, then a species tank is
called for. The parents can be removed
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4) Allen Brelig uses sponge filters because: A) Hes a cheapskate. B) Has no
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108 J ANUARY 2007 fama
to another aquarium when the fry are
four weeks old or when they show
intent to spawn again.
Apistogramma agassiz ii is well suited
to life in an aquarium. If the water con-
ditions are right and adequate live or
frozen foods are supplied to the adults,
then Agassizs dwarf cichlids should
spawn. It is such a joyous sight to watch
the female lead her fry around the
aquarium, keeping them in check with
head-shaking movements and some-
times retrieving a wandering fry in her
mouth to deposit back in the shoal.
popular freshwater tropicals
When the time to spawn arrives, male Apistogramma agassizii become
aggressive toward potential mates and may even chase females into cover.
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110 J ANUARY 2007 fama
very month, I get countless
phone calls and e-mails asking
me for information on discus.
During the past three months, I kept
tabs on all of the calls. Basically, the
questions could be broken down into
four categories. These questions and
my answers form the basis of this
months column.
Temperature Range
What is the correct temperature
for keeping discus? When I was first
asked this question 20 years ago, I
could understand why there was con-
fusion. Various authors reported vari-
ous optimum temperatures; the
range went from 76 to 88 degrees
Fahrenheit. In the interim, I thought
the discus experts had sufficiently
answered this question, and there
would be no reason to question the
currently accepted range of 82 to 86
degrees Fahrenheit.
Recently, however, I received a
copy of a book that again gave the low
end of the range as 78 degrees. This
temperature is too low to be consid-
ered suitable, even in the short term;
discus kept at cool temperatures can
exhibit retarded growth, do not feed
well and may be particularly suscepti-
ble to disease.
When I collected wild discus, those
specimens from areas where the tree
growth blocked the warming rays of
the sun and thus had to live in cooler
water never looked to me as robust as
those from warmer water. I know I
reported in the past of a case of
pigeonblood discus kept at a low tem-
perature, but these fish were reared at
that temperature, grew slowly and
became accustomed to it. They are the
exception and not the norm. Most
discus would probably not thrive if
kept in similar conditions.
For the record, keep temperatures
in the 82-to-86-degree range for dis-
cus. I recommend maintaining young
at the higher end of this range.
Warmer temperatures will increase
their metabolic rate. By eating more,
they will grow faster, provided you
prevent the extra feedings from pol-
luting the water.
Polluted water can bring about ill-
ness that, in turn, will stunt growth.
Once discus fry have reached adult-
hood, the temperature should be kept
toward the cooler end of the range.
This lower temperature will decrease
their metabolic rate and consequently
Four Simple Truths
The proper temperature, water quality, pH and nutrition
will lead to healthy discus in your aquarium.
discus in depth By Tony Silva
Adult discus often do not require as much food as their keepers provide. As a rule of thumb, feed your discus only
what it can consume in five minutes.
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prolong their life expectancy. Pairs
will breed readily at this lower tem-
perature range.
Water Quality
Is absolutely clean, high-quality
water necessary for discus to thrive?
The answer is yes and no, depending
on the individuals perception. Water
filtered through peat moss or with
added West Indian almond leaves
(called katapa by many aquarists) can
acquire a brownish tint, appearing
dirty to some. This perception may
not be correct. On the other hand, one
may have apparentlycleanwater that
is rich in harmful bacteria and ammo-
nia. The definition of absolutely clean
water must be understood.
Aquariums must attain a balance to
be healthy; overfeeding and inade-
quate filtration can result in harmful
bacterial and ammonia spikes. Ideal
tanks for discus are established, have a
balanced nitrifying bacteria popula-
tion (they convert toxic nitrites into
relatively harmless nitrate), have ade-
quate filtration and excess food from
overfeeding is not present.
Maintaining this balance takes
some understanding of the concept of
biological filtration. Knowing how
much food the fish require to thrive
and knowing how to use good filtra-
tion combined with water changes is
critical. You may not learn this balance
by reading an article or a book, but
both can go a long way toward help-
ing one understand these processes.
You can learn about biological filtra-
tion and all the factors that can affect
water quality best through hands-on
experience. Allow me to explain.
Most aquarists overfeed. They do
not understand that adult fish do not
need to eat large portions several
times daily. Adult discus have evolved
to go through long periods of time
during a year without food. Discus
collected during the dry season in
their native habitat look emaciated
and may not have eaten for weeks at a
time. Many young must perish as a
result of long spells without food.
In the aquarium, young, which
have insatiable appetites, should be
fed small portions several times daily.
The adults will thrive with a single
daily feeding. My recommendation is
to provide food that the fish will con-
sume in five minutes. After that time,
if food is on the tank bottom, reduce
the amount offered. This regimen will
prevent food from spoiling and con-
tributing to harmful bacteria and
ammonia blooms.
112 J ANUARY 2007 fama
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discus in depth
Discus can produce a lot of waste. Consider using two filters and frequent
water changes to keep their tank water in excellent condition.
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Closely monitor the filter. The fil-
tering medium should be replaced as
necessary or rinsed in tank water, not
tap water, as the chlorine and chlo-
ramines will kill beneficial bacteria.
Bear in mind that completely replac-
ing all filtering media can result in a
collapse of the biological filter.
Therefore, I recommend two filters
for tanks containing heavy loads. Each
can go through cleaning or have the
filter medium replaced on alternate
weeks. This will ensure one filter
remains active while the other catch-
es up. With sponge filters, I rinse one
every other week if kept in a tank
containing fry. With adults, I just
swish the sponge filter around in a
bucket of tank water because I have
only one in the adult tanks. The gen-
tle swishing ensures large particles are
removed without disrupting the nitri-
fying bacteria colony.
Water changes are also an impor-
tant component of discus manage-
ment. Water changes remove harmful
compounds, and the benefits are easy
to see. If you set up two identical
tanks with fry from the same parents,
and give one tank a single weekly
water change and the other daily
water changes, the fry in the tank
receiving daily water changes will
grow much faster.
My recommendation is to make
daily water changes of up to 50 per-
cent on tanks containing fry. Adults
should receive a similar water change
once weekly. Obviously, if you can
make greater and more frequent water
discus in depth
Discus do best in a narrow tempera-
ture range, between 82 and 86
degrees Fahrenheit.
114 J ANUARY 2007 fama
110x121Discusindepth0701EMj.qxd 10/3/06 12:34 PM Page 114 fama J ANUARY 2007 115
Discus Hans USA
Importer of Stendker - German Discus
Wholesale Only
Phone Hans: 443-992-6972
Fax: 410-256-7150
Located in Baltimore, Maryland
Purchase any fresh- or
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the 2
one at 1/2 Price
We also sell: Emperor Aquatic UV
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filters at discount prices
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marine fish and invertebrates
Large selection of African
Cichlids and Discus

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116 J ANUARY 2007 fama
changes, please do so. You will see
benefits, such as faster growth, better
color and overall improved health.
I have maintained groups of discus
in tanks without any aeration or filtra-
tion by making massive water changes
twice daily. The fish grew well and
behaved normally. The problem is
most aquarists become burdened by
daily water changes. The frequency
and volume of water changes decreas-
es as the burden grows. As a result, the
fish begin to decline.
Using a hose attached directly to
the faucet or employing an automatic
water-changing system can overcome
this problem. With the latter, one can
use aged water. With the former there
is the inflow of chlorine and chlo-
ramines, which can prove deadly.
Resolve this problem by adding chlo-
rine and chloramines remover at the
inflow. I have done this with fry only
two weeks old without any problems.
Correct pH
Do discus really need soft, acidic
water? Many aquarists will disagree
with me, but I have not found water
discus will not thrive in. In fact, I cur-
rently maintain discus in water intend-
ed for African cichlids it is literally
liquid rock. They are doing very well:
growth is excellent, color is spectacular
and they are endlessly active, which is
typical behavior for juveniles.
However, breeding discus in this
water has proved problematic because
the eggs wont adhere to the spawning
substrate, and if they do, the eggs will
not hatch. That the fish even spawn is
indicative of their adaptability.
Hard water is rich in minerals,
which young discus require. Fish
raised in such water grow large and
strong. After the fish reach adulthood,
they can be kept in water that is not as
hard or alkaline so they can breed suc-
cessfully. This can be achieved using
an RO/DI system and/or filtering the
water through peat moss.
You can learn the tap-to-RO/DI-
water ratio through testing. Add the
peat moss to a plastic garbage can
filled with water. By aerating the
bucket, the peat will release its tannins
discus in depth
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350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700
Wavelength in Nanometers


BEST 10000K 14000K 20000K
Full spectrum Metal Halide light most closely imitates natural sunlight.
Best light for corals, enemones, invertebrates and plants.
A must for acropora, stony corals, etc.
Proper UV output promoting coral growth and vitamin production in fish.
Very high color rendering index.
Order Today: 1-800-447-9797 OR 310-217-0036 / FAX: 310-217-8821
Hamilton Technology Corporation
14902 South Figueroa St., Gardena, CA 90248
350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700
Wavelength in Nanometers


350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700
Wavelength in Nanometers


HAMILTON 5000/5500K and 6500K - First generation aquarium Metal Halide
Bulbs. Good choice for freshwater and plant tanks. Gives a warmer white, full spectrum
appearance to the tank.

- Second generation aquarium Metal Halide a full

spectrum bulb with heavy concentration spikes in the 420 and 460nm range with
additional concentration spikes in the 380, 550 and 580nm wavelength range. This bulb
appears to the naked eye as crisp ice white and gives an attractive clean shimmer to
the tank. Simulates natural daylight as in the ocean at depths up to 13 feet. Use alone or
add actinics for a bluer effect.
HAMILTON 14000K - Best aquarium Metal Halide bulb on the market! Our most
popular Metal Halide choice for reef tanks. A full spectrum high quality bulb spikes
primarily in the 440-460nm range with additional smaller spikes in the 550, 590 and
690nm range. This bulb appears to the naked eye as crisp ice white, clear actinic
blue. The 14000K bulb combines the
best characteristics of the 10000K and
20000K bulbs and eliminates the need
to add supplemental fluorescent or
compact fluorescent actinic blue
lighting. The 14000K bulb brings out
the fluorescent colors in fish and in
coral s produci ng an extremel y
attractive, vibrant tank appearance.
Best choice with Metal Halide only type
systems, such as the Reefsun, and
Pendant lighting systems.
HAMILTON 20000K - This bulb peaks in the 460nm range providing a deep blue
appearance. Like the 14000K bulb, the 20000K will also bring out the fluorescence in
fish and corals, giving the tank more of a black light effect. Good choice for deep marine
Life of a Bulb: Lamps have a rated life of several years,
however their beneficial aspects decline before the eye can
detect the changes. The life and health of your marine
inhabitants are directly related to good lighting. Do not wait
until your bulbs burn out before replacing them. It is important
to know when lamps should be replaced. To be assured of
optimum high spectral output, many aquarists change their
lamps on a set schedule before seeing the visual signs of
lamp failure, loss of lumens or change in color spectrum.
Hamilton Technology recommended
replacement bulb schedule:
Metal Halide lamps every 14-18 months.
Standard wattage fluorescent tubes every 10-12 months.
High wattage VHO fluorescents every 4-6 months.
Compact Fluorescent tubes every 14-16 months.
Metal Halide Bulb
r. R
. H
There are many 10000K and 20000K bulbs on the market.
They are bulbs of lesser quality.
When you want the best quality, ask for Hamiltons products.
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118 J ANUARY 2007 fama
and will reduce the pH and hardness.
This water can be mixed with tap
water to attain the required results.
Again, testing is important to obtain
water with the required parameters.
Fortunately for us, water in most U.S.
cities is neither extremely hard nor
extremely alkaline, making it suitable
for raising and breeding discus.
Discus Diets
What is the best diet for discus?
Years ago, discus thrived on frozen
brine shrimp and home-prepared beef
heart. There were no commercially
made foods available, and pellets or
crumbles had not yet been invented.
Modern aquarists can walk into most
pet stores and purchase a great variety
of discus foods. This has made keep-
ing discus a much easier chore.
Discus will thrive on a pellet or
crumbles diet, but I would suggest
adding more variety. This can be
achieved by using various prepared
foods currently on the market. For
those looking to save money, they can
prepare their own beef heart mix.
Be forewarned, this can be a messy
process. Remove all the fat and gristle
from the beef heart, wash it and then
grind it into a fine mush. Add vita-
mins, vegetables and other items, and
finally a binding agent. It takes me
about four hours to prepare 10
pounds of food. My wife and son
leave the house; they find the smell of
the heart offensive. I suspect I have
gotten used to it and find it no more
offensive than any other raw meat.
Like other principally organ-,
meat- or fish-based preparations, beef
heart preparation will need to be
reviewed, given mounting evidence
that discus are not strictly carnivores
but rather are largely vegetarian.
This column may give you the
impression that discus have very strict
requirements and are difficult to
maintain. I disagree. All fish have
roughly the same requirements: a
good diet, clean water and suitable
temperature parameters. Some fish
may be more tolerant of abuse than
others. If well-kept, discus will reward
the aquarist like few other fish.
discus in depth
Accuracy Innovation Integrity Accuracy Innovation Integrity
American Marine Inc
54 Danbury Road, Suite 172
Ridgeeld CT 06877 USA
Toll-free 800.925.4689
Fax/phone 914.763.5367
American Marine Inc
54 Danbury Road, Suite 172
Ridgeeld CT 06877 USA
Toll-free 800.925.4689
Fax/phone 914.763.5367
Only Selcon Concentrate contains
Selco Omega-3 HUFA, Vitamin B12
and phosphate-free stabilized
Vitamin C (Ascorbate-2-sulfate) in
the proper concentration for the
serious marine aquarist.
So if you are establishing a
seahorse breeding program,
preventing or reversing disease,
or just maintaining an exceptional
reef, try Selcon. It is easily added
to dry food, frozen cubes or live
brine shrimp.
Accept no imitations!
Only Selcon Concentrate contains
Selco Omega-3 HUFA, Vitamin B12
and phosphate-free stabilized
Vitamin C (Ascorbate-2-sulfate) in
the proper concentration for the
serious marine aquarist.
So if you are establishing a
seahorse breeding program,
preventing or reversing disease,
or just maintaining an exceptional
reef, try Selcon. It is easily added
to dry food, frozen cubes or live
brine shrimp.
Accept no imitations!
Aquarium Plumbing Supplies
Full Line PVC Sch. 40 & Sch. 80 Pipe & Fittings
Full Line PVC Ball Valves, Check Valves
Clear PVC Sch. 40 Pipe & Fittings
Insert Fittings for Flexible Tubing
PVC Bulkhead Tank Adapters
Clear Flexible Tubing 1/4-1
(614) 885-4446 FAX (614) 885-4470
Savko Internet Home Page:
110x121Discusindepth0701EMj.qxd 10/2/06 11:49 AM Page 118
Calcium Hydroxide 4 lb $18.99
Strontium Chloride 16 oz $10.25
Calcium Chloride 800 gr $13.39
B-Ionic Conc. 2 gal $27.00
Potassium Iodine 16 oz $7.45
Magnesium 32 oz $8.50
Carbon 1 lb / 4 lb $10.95 / $25.95
Plankton 28 g $9.99
Superbuffer 1kg $10.99
SuperIodine 64oz $22.59
Strontium Molyb 64oz $24.79
Liquid Calcium 64oz $24.59
Coral Vite 64oz $37.99
Essential Elements 64oz $28.99
Tech M 16oz $7.79
Tech D 16oz $13.79
Iron 16oz $8.49
Nitrate Sponge 2qt / 4qt $8.99 / $14.29
Phosphate Sponge 1qt / 2qt $11.99 / $21.49
Rio Pump/Power Heads
600 200Gph $14.00
1400 400Gph $23.99
1700 642Gph $28.99
2100 692Gph $31.99
2500 748Gph $37.99
3100 999Gph $49.99
Wave Makers
Wave Master Pro $129.99
Sea Swirl 1/2, 3/4, 1$149/$159/$189.99
Protein Skimmers
Excalibur SV100 $119.99
Excalibur SV200 $179.99
Excalibur HO100 $119.99
Excalibur HO200 $220.99
Aero Foamer 624 $499.00
Aero Foamer 630 $549.00
Aero Foamer 648 $679.00
Aero Foamer 824 $599.00
Aero Foamer 830 $649.00
Aero Foamer 848 $749.00
Calcium Reactors
K2R up to 450 gal $329.00
Knop HD Up to 750 gal $575.00
Reg with elec Solenoid $149.00
P. H. Monitor $83.99
P. H. Controller $115.99
175W 10K German Halides $75.00
175W 12K Halides $75.00
250W 10K German Halides $104.00
Wave Master Pro w/3 Rio 600s $170.00
Free shipping on supplies over $150.00
Must be under 25 lbs and not oversized
Fluorescents minimum purchase of three
Salifert Test Kits
Nitrite 50 tests $15.99
Nitrate 50 tests $15.99
P.H. 50 tests $9.99
Oxygen 40 tests $15.99
Phosphate 60 tests $15.99
Calcium 50-100 $15.99
Alkalinity 100-200 $9.99
Iodine 40 tests $25.99
Magnesium 50 tests $16.99
Strontium 40 tests $25.49
Organics 50 tests $24.99
Silicate 60 tests $17.99
SpectraPure RO Units
SP RO 25 GPD $96.00
SP RO 60 GPD $113.00
MPRO 15 GPD $145.00
MPRO 25 GPD $145.00
MPRO 60 GPD $155.00
MPRO DI 15 GPD $219.00
MPRO DI 25 GPD $224.00
MPRO DI 60 GPD $239.00
CSP RO DI 15 GPD $279.00
CSP RO DI 25 GPD $289.00
CSP RO DI 60 GPD $299.00
New Liter Meter Doser $269.95
Kent RO Units
Bare Bones 24gpd $134.00
Full Size Clear 24gpd $170.00
Full Size Clear 50 gpd $190.00
Maxima Clear 24 gpd $210.00
Maxima Clear 50 gpd $240.00
VHO Bulbs URI w/Reflectors
24" Actinic $17.00
24" Actinic White $21.00
36" Actinic $20.00
36" Actinic White $21.00
48" Actinic $21.00
48" Actinic White $23.00
60" Actinic $26.00
60" Actinic White $27.00
72" Actinic $30.00
72" Actinic White $31.00
Metal Halide
5500K 175W $47.00 USA
6500K 175W $69.00 USA
14000K 175W $103.00 German
5500K 250W $50.00 USA
6500K 250W $60.00 Japan
6500K 400W $63.00 Japan
10000K 400W $109.00 German
Ice Cap Ballasts
430 320W $155.00
660 440W $179.00
Metal Halide & Fluorescent
Deluxe Aluminum w/all Bulbs including Fluorescents
Size MH175 Fluorescent Price VHO
2' 1 2-2' 20W ea. $380.00 $424.00
4' 2 2-4' 40W ea. $495.00 $570.00
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6' 3 2-4' 40W ea. $659.00 $730.00
RetroFit Metal Halide &
All Bulbs included
Size MH175 Fluorescent Price VHO
2' 1 2-2' 20W ea. $300.00 $330.00
4' 2 2-4' 40W ea. $399.00 $449.00
5' 2 2-4' 40W ea. $409.00 $489.00
6' 3 2-4' 40W ea. $560.00 $649.00
Metal Halide & Compacts
Deluxe Aluminum, All Bulbs included
Size MH175 Compacts Price
2' 1 2-55W $416.00
4' 2 2-55W $639.00
5' 2 4-55W $649.00
6' 3 4-55W $859.00
RetroFit Metal Halide &
All Bulbs included
Size MH175 Compacts Price
2' 1 2-55W $299.00
4' 2 2-55W $405.00
5' 2 4-55W $530.00
6' 3 4-55W $625.00
Power Compacts
24" 2-55 Retrofit, ABS $145.99, $229.99
36" 2-96 Retrofit, ABS $250.99, $334.99
36" 4-55 Retrofit, ABS $289.99, $390.99
48" 4-96 Retrofit, ABS $460.99, $495.99
48" 4-55 Retrofit, ABS $299.99, $409.99
60" 4-96 Retrofit, ABS $470.99, $589.99
72" 6-96 Retrofit, ABS $649.99, $799.99
Ice Cap VHO
Lighting Systems
24" 2 bulbs 75W ea (150 Watts) $230.00
24" 3 bulbs 75W ea (225 Watts) $255.00
24" 4 bulbs 75W ea (300 Watts) $288.00
36" 2 bulbs 95W ea (190 Watts) $230.00
36" 3 bulbs 95W ea (285 Watts) $269.00
36" 4 bulbs 95W ea (380 Watts) $320.00
48" 2 bulbs 110W ea (220 Watts) $228.00
48" 3 bulbs 110W ea (330 Watts) $278.00
48" 4 bulbs 110W ea (440 Watts) $325.00
60" 2 bulbs 140W ea (280 Watts) $245.00
60" 3 bulbs 140W ea (420 Watts) $295.00
60" 4 bulbs 140W ea (560 Watts) $465.00
72" 2 bulbs 160W ea (320 Watts) $245.00
72" 4 bulbs 160W ea (640 Watts) $485.00
Systems include Ice Cap Ballast, Mounting plate, German 3
piece End Caps, Fluorescent Lamps w/internal Reflectors and
6'Wiring Harness with Quick Disconnect. Assembly Required.
Acrylic Mounting Brackets included.
Visit Us Online @
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Other Manufacturers Available
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122 J ANUARY 2007 fama
ew hobbyists today have come
to know and enjoy the basic
pleasures of raising goldfish.
Instead, many are like I was. I bred
and raised everything from discus to
guppies, but never gave the lowly
goldfish a second look. I sold thou-
sands of them in my store and knew
how to outline their care, but that was
as far as it went.
Then, about three years ago a
friend gave me an oranda goldfish in a
large bowl as a gift. My wife prompt-
ly named it George. I smiled, trying to
feign enthusiasm, while I thought,
What am I supposed to with this?
I had a pond available that I used
in my experiments with zebra mus-
sels, so I put him in it. Soon other
goldfish followed. Today, I am born
again! I have ponds and aquariums
full of young goldfish, and I cannot
believe I had been so blind to this
amazing fish.
The art of goldfishkeeping is fun.
Cichlid fanciers will find goldfish just
as rewarding and interesting as oscars
or Jack Dempseys. Like large cichlids,
goldfish have personality, live long
and produce large spawns. However,
unlike cichlids, goldfish can be raised
in most areas of this country outside
or in cold-houses.
Popular Pets
With deep ties to the past, goldfish
have never been more popular, and
more importantly, new varieties are
constantly being developed. Many
strains were bred before the advent of
the aquarium and therefore were
designed to be viewed from above.
Two perfect examples are the oran-
da and the lionhead. Both have a
growth of tissue that develops on the
top of their heads between 6 months
and 3 years of age. This growth is
called a hood.
The lionhead lacks a dorsal fin,
whereas the oranda has a long flowing
one. In the aquarium both of these
fish appear to be deformed, but in the
pond, they are truly stunning when
seen from above. Their hoods gently
break the waters surface when they
eat and look like living flowers.
The common comet, or feeder
For the Love of Goldfish
Rediscover this ancient hobby favorite.
timeline Text and Photos by Lovel and Joy Tippit
These orandas have large dorsal fins, unlike the lionheads, which do not have dorsal fins at all.
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goldfish, is one of the most recognized
goldfish. It is also one of the easiest
goldfish to winter outside in several
of Americas cold spots. A large, well-
developed comet is truly a beautiful
animal, sporting a long, single tail half
the size the fishs body. For this rea-
son, the term comet refers to the ani-
mals body type and not its color.
Other goldfish colors can be bred
into this fish. Unlike the rest of the
goldfish strains, the comet was devel-
oped in America. Hugo Mulertt
accomplished this and stated: The
first of this type I produced by a lucky
crossing, and this occurred in the
summer of 1881 when a long-tailed
comet was illuminating the heavens. I
named it Comet,the large tail and its
elongated structure being the promi-
nent feature in its appearance. (T he
Goldfish and it s Cult ure, 1910.)
Goldfish Questions
Two questions asked this time of
year are: Will goldfish survive outside
over winter, and should goldfish in
ponds be fed during the winter?
Unfortunately, the answers arent as
straightforward as the questions.
Climate and the goldfish variety
must be considered. Comets, includ-
ing sarasa, shubunkin and any other
single-tailed goldfish, can tolerate
winters where snow falls and ponds
freeze. The pond must be deep
enough so it doesnt freeze entirely. In
Michigan that means a pond should
be 3 to 4 feet deep. In colder areas it
might need to be deeper.
Do not risk keeping scaleless gold-
fish, such as calicos and pearly scales,
124 J ANUARY 2007 fama
timeline timeline
TION (Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685) 1. Title of Publication: Freshwater
and Marine Aquarium. 2. Publication No. 0160-4317. 3. Date of filing:
9/26/06. 4. Frequency of issue: Monthly. 5. Number of issues published
annually: 12. 6. Annual subscription price: $25.00. 7. Complete mailing
address of known office of publication: 3 Burroughs, Irvine, Orange
County, CA, 92618-2804. Contact Person: Suzanne Stowe, Telephone
(949) 855-8822. 8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General
Business Office of the Publisher: BowTie, Inc. 2401 Beverly Blvd., Los
Angeles, CA90057. 9. Full Names and complete mailing address of pub-
lisher, editor, and managing editor: Publisher: Norman Ridker, BowTie,
Inc. 2401 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057. Editor: Russ Case,
BowTie, Inc., P.O. Box 6050, Mission Viejo, CA 92690-6050. Managing
Editor: Clay Jackson, BowTie, Inc., P.O. Box 6050, Mission Viejo, CA
92690-6050. 10. Owner: BowTie, Inc. 2401 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles,
CA 90057; Norman Ridker, same as above. 11. Known bondholders,
r mortgages, and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent or
more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: none. 12.
N/A. 13. Publication name: Freshwater and Marine Aquarium. 14.
Issue date for circulation data below: October 2005-September 2006. 15.
Extent and nature of circulation: A. Total number of copies: Average num-
ber of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 23,813 f . Number of
copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 22,168. B. Paid
and/or requested circulation: B1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail
Subscriptions. Average number of copies each issue during preceeding 12
months: 3,949. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest
to filing date: 4,302 r . B2. Paid In-County Subscriptions. Average number
of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 0 f . Actual number of
copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 0. B3. Sales through
f dealers and carriers, street vendors, and counter sales. Average number of
copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 3,224 f . Actual number of
copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 2,776 r . B4. Other
Classes Mailed Through the USPS. Average number of copies each issue
during preceding 12 months: 0. Actual number of copies of single issue
published nearest to filing date: 0. C. Total paid and/or requested circula-
tion: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months:
7,173. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing
date: 7,078. D. Free distribution by mail, samples, complimentary, and
other free copies: 1. Outside-County as stated on Form 3541. Average
number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 221. Actual
number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 211. 2.
In-County as Stated on Form 3541. Average number of copies each issue
during preceding 12 months: 0. Actual number of copies of single issue
published nearest to filing date: 0. 3. Other Classes Mailed through the
USPS. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months:
0. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date:
0. E. Free distribution outside the mail, carrier or other means: Average
number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 204. Actual
number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 200. F.
Total free distribution: Average number of copies each issue during pre-
ceding 12 months: 425. Actual number of copies of single issue published
nearest to filing date: 411. G. Total distribution: Average number of copies
each issue during preceding 12 months: 7,598 f . Actual number of copies of
single issue published nearest to filing date: 7,489. H. Copies not distrib-
uted: 1. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months:
16,215. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to fil-
ing date: 14,679. I. Total: Average number of copies each issue during pre-
ceding 12 months: 23,813. Actual number of copies of single issue pub-
lished nearest to filing date: 22,168. J. Percent paid and/or requested cir-
culation: Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12
months: 94.41%. Actual number of copies of single issue published near-
est to filing date: 94.51%. I certify that the statements made by me above
are correct and complete. Russ Case, Group Editor
While they may look strange from a
side view, black moors were original-
ly bred to be viewed from above.
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126 JANUARY 2007 fama
outside during winter. I have weath-
ered both orandas and ryukins out-
side, but I do not suggest it in the
dead of winter. With both species I
suffered heavy losses.
However, black moors seem to fair
well through the hard winter. All of
these rules change in states like
Florida and California, where our
ponds just get chilly. In regard to
feeding, understand that if the water
is near or at freezing, goldfish go into
something like hibernation and do
not require feeding. In some of the
southern states, mellow temperatures
can make long thaws during winter.
Feeding during these periods is fine.
For some goldfish, a cold-house or,
at the very least, an indoor winter
aquarium home is necessary. My
cold-house is a plastic greenhouse
designed with 100-watt light bulbs
under a few of the lower tanks. Even
in subzero weather the aquariums do
not freeze, and the fish do fine.
Another way to winter goldfish is
to place them in a plastic, 55-gallon
barrel that is well-filtered and sta-
tioned in a basement or garage.
Again, a light bulb can be used to
keep the water above freezing when
placed above or below the barrel in its
winter home.
Phone: (386) 345-3333
Live Foods, Live Rotifers, Live Phytoplankton, Equipment, Culture Kits,
Live Invertebrates, Live Marine Plants (CAULERPA), Ghost Shrimp,
Marine Feeder Shrimp, Seahorses, Pipefish, Dwarf Seahorses
The Lionheads Name
It is of interest that the lionhead
goldfish was termed Shishigashira
Ranchu in and around the beginning
of the 20th century.
The Japanese phrase Shishigashira
is rendered lionhead in English and
therefore was replaced out of con-
venience. The term Ranchu is still
seen at times today in connection
with the fish, and is translated literal-
ly as Holland Worm.
In early times when rare things were
taken into Japan, they were consid-
ered of Dutch or Holland origin and
named accordingly. The comparison
to a worm, however, seems to be a
mystery lost with time. fama J ANUARY 2007 127
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128 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Spawning Goldfish
Unlike tropical fish, goldfish have a
set season in which to spawn. This is
generally March and April. However,
in my greenhouse, spawning can
begin as early as mid-February and
end in late May.
During spawning season the gold-
fish spawn often. Sometimes the sexes
can be distinguished by the presence
of peculiar white bumps on the males
gill covers, whereas other males will
not develop these telltale signs. Until I
had my fish sorted out I put six at a
time together and watched carefully.
Spawning almost always takes
place in the early morning with two or
more males following the female
through the thickets as she drops eggs
for fertilization. At the same time all
others will quickly follow behind and
eat the newly laid eggs.
It didnt take long for me to realize
I needed a dense spawning medium
and a plan. I found coconut husk
works well for a spawning medium. It
is so thick the eggs can remain virtu-
ally unreachable to the hungry
onlookers. As for my plan of attack, it
is really pretty simple. I change the
fiber every morning at about 9 a.m.
and replace it with fresh material.
When the fiber is placed in a rear-
ing tank and kept at about 70 degrees,
the eggs will start to hatch in about
five to six days. The fry will line the
aquarium like little slivers of glass.
Once free-swimming they are easily
reared on brine shrimp.
By the time they are about an inch
long, it is warm enough to move them
outside to rearing ponds where they
really take off in growth. By next
spring these fry will be ready to spawn
no matter what size they are.
In conclusion, I just want to restate
that raising goldfish is fun. I raised
about 150 ornamental fishes over the
years actually a lot more, but I have
not tallied it up in a while and I
have never enjoyed anything like rais-
ing goldfish. I hope this little treatise
wets your appetite. Remember, within
historys archives there is line drawn,
and there we will meet again as
Timeline investigates.
For more information, please contact King Fish Aquatics:
tel: 914.833.7701 fax: 914.833.7702
122x129Timeline0701EMj.c.qxd 10/2/06 11:55 AM Page 128
ht t p: / / www. pr emi umaquat i cs. com
Conventional aquarium pumps generate excessively high
flow rates in the core area of the water jet, but on the out-
side of the core area the current is too low. This difference
leads to stress for the aquarium inhabitants, such as coral
polyps. TUNZE research sets new standards in current
patterns with the aim of reproducing every zone of a coral
reef in the aquarium. Our newTurbelle stream pumps pro-
duce gentle current speeds at high flow rates of up to
20,000 litres (5,283 US gal.) per hour.
T6060 Stream Pump - not controllable ........................................................$137.19
T6080 Stream Pump - not controllable ........................................................$188.06
T6000 Stream Pump - optional controller....................................................$259.96
T6100 Stream Pump - optional controller....................................................$332.94
T6200 Stream Pump - optional controller....................................................$451.44
Coming SOON! Nano Streams - due in the fall
These are economical, high quality external pumps. Many mod-
els to choose from for pressure and circulation applications.
PW-10PX 180gph External ................................................................$64.95
PW-30PX 258gph External ................................................................$91.95
PW-40PX 480gph External ..............................................................$109.95
PW-50PX 590gph External ..............................................................$134.90
PW-50PX-X 1110gph External (circulation pump) ............................$139.90
PW-100PX 790gph External ..............................................................$159.90
PW-100PX-X 1270gph External (circulation pump)............................$164.90
PW-150PS 1100gph External ............................................................$219.90
PW-200PS 1750gph External ............................................................$249.90
PW-250PS 1900gph External ............................................................$319.90
The RS Series protein skimmers are the latest addition to the peerless
line of Euro-Reef products. These skimmers are fabricated with the
highest quality cell cast sheet and tube material in combination with
custom designed and formed plastics. Identical in design and perform-
ance to the world famous CS Series, the RS Series has established a
new benchmark for quality, performance and price all in one unit.
EURO-RS080 Euro-Reef RS80 Skimmer w/pump................................$254.95
EURO-RS100 Euro-Reef RS100 Skimmer w/pump..............................$294.95
EURO-RS135 Euro-Reef RS135 Skimmer w/pump..............................$339.95
EURO-RS180 Euro-Reef RS180 Skimmer w/pump..............................$439.95
EURO-RS250 Euro-Reef RS250 Skimmer w/pump..............................$484.95
Pacific Coast chillers offer a great price, power and quality track record.
These units are made with titanium heat exchangers. Digitally controlled
for precise measurements of temperature.
PC-CL-85 CL-85 Electronic heater/chiller ......................................$189.95
PC-CL-280 Pacific Coast CL-280 1/10 HP Chiller ............................$334.95
PC-CL-300 Pacific Coast CL-3000 1/10 HP Chiller (dual temp)........399.95
PC-CL-450 Pacific Coast 1/6 HP Chiller ...........................................$439.95
PC-CL-650 Pacific Coast CL-650 1/4 HP Chiller (dual temp)..........$499.95
PC-C-050 Pacific Coast 1/2 HP Inline Chiller.................................$899.95
ht t p: / / www. pr emi umaquat i csl i ve. com
All live rock that we sell goes straight from our airport to our large live rock pools. At
this time we have 3 - 600 gallon pools with a
150 gallon common sump. We have 400watt
halide lighting over each pool. We have a cal-
cium reactor and a huge, I mean huge MTC
3000 HSAskimmer to keep ammonia and ni-
trates down during curing. Then each pool
has a minimum of 5000 gph of water flow cir-
culating, plus our main 5000gph return pump
to make all 3 pools share the common water
so we can transfer rock from pool to pool with
zero stress on the lifeforms. We believe our
live rock is the best around. Feel free to take
a few minutes and read our customer re-
views on our website, or go out to the message boards and ask around.
FIJI LIVE ROCK - Fully Cured 40 plus $3.99...............................................$4.50LB
FIJI LIVE ROCK - UN-Cured 40 plus $3.49..................................................$3.99LB
Marshall LIVE ROCK - Fully Cured 40plus $5.49 ......................................$5.99LB
Marshall LIVE ROCK - UN-Cured 40plus $4.99 .........................................$5.49LB
Kaelini/Tonga LIVE ROCK - Fully Cured 40plus $4.99..............................$5.49LB
Kaelini/Tonga LIVE ROCK - UN-Cured 40plus $3.99.................................$4.49LB
NANO Live Rock (softball size pieces) .......................................................$4.49LB
Rock Rubble - marble to baseball size pieces (great for frags) ...............$1.99LB
Rock Pool Bottom Crude/Sand/Mud...........................................................$1.49LB
Having some algae workers is a must in a reef tank. We
have a wide selection to keep your tank sparkling clean.
Margarita Snail................................................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Mexican Turbo Snail.......................................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Baha Snail Cerith............................................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Bumble Bee Snail ...........................................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Nerite Snail......................................................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Trochus Snails ..............................................................................$2.99/12+ 2.49EA
Queen Conch - tank raised ...............................................$6.00/3+ 5.00/6+ 4.50EA
Fighting Conch - tank raised ............................................$6.00/3+ 5.00/6+ 4.50EA
Baha Red Leg Hermit Crab............................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Black & White Haw. Hermit Crab ..................$2.00/12+ 1.60/ 24+ 1.20/48+ 1.00EA
Red Scarlet Reef Crab ...................................$3.00/12+ 2.50/ 24+ 2.00/48+ 1.75EA
Emerald Green Mythrix Crab ............................$6.00/3+ 5.50/6+ 5.00/12+ 4.00EA
Sally Lightfoot Crab ..........................................$8.00/3+7.50/ 6+ 7.00/12+ 6.00EA
Why choose Premium Aquatics?
P r e mi u m A q u a t i c s I n d i a n a p o l i s , I N 3 1 7 - 8 9 5 - 9 0 0 5
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130 J ANUARY 2007 fama
Use our annual reference guide to find any article in 2006. Note:
Individual monthly entries for columns are omitted if the column was not
printed that month.
freshwater forum
January Protein skimmers in freshwater setups; fish tuberculosis
February pH problems; fish water quality preferences
M arch Water quality parameters and suggestions; quarantining
April General tank issues; water treatment in Singapore
M ay Eheim canister filters; general tank issues
June Algae control methods
July Swim bladder disease
August Dealing with nitrogen in the aquarium
September Gourami, goldfish and tetra tips
O ctober Discus setups and husbandry
N ovember Choosing appropriate tankmates
D ecember Learn how to euthanize and spawn fish
the planted tank
January Aha moments: discovering aquatic plants
February Planted tank tips: Terracing, backgrounds, lighting, drama
M arch Trimming aquatic plants
April Experimenting with planted tanks: CO2, substrates
M ay Polishing glass, keeping lights bright and plants trimmed
June Aquatic plant hunting: plant sources
July Planted tank filtration
August Dealing with a planted tank on vacation
September Reasons to go with a planted tank
O ctober Large planted tanks
N ovember Small, nano planted tanks
D ecember Keeping algae at bay
aquatic maestro
January Understanding scientific names
February General aquarium issues; cichlids and electric catfish
M arch Scientific names and Latin prefixes
April Golden severums and breeding
M ay Thoughts about fish health
June Getting rid of algae, snails and worms
July Aquarium truth tellers: aquarium fish tall tales
August Deconstructing fish: treating fish as fish
September Understanding strange schooling behavior
O ctober Introducing kids to the aquarium hobby
N ovember Fish breathing adaptations
D ecember Aquarium aesthetics
horse forum
January Feeding frozen food: feeding on vacation
February Seahorse overeating
M arch Compatibility issues: seahorse feeding techniques
April Dwarf seahorse fry; husbandry and raising techniques
M ay Dealing with predators in a seahorse tank
June Seahorse tankmates: clam, crab, and grass shrimp compatibility
July Seahorse birth control
August Rearing large numbers of seahorse fry
September Dwarf seahorse husbandry
O ctober Seahorse sex ratios
N ovember Homosexual seahorse behavior
D ecember Feeding seahorses live foods
bettas and more
January Two science projects
February Sex determination in bettas
M arch Naming the new metallic gene
April Betta book reviews: part 1
M ay Relationships between human and fish pigmentation cells
June Betta book reviews: part 2
July Iridophores and white coloration
August The basics of betta genetics
September Betta parental care
O ctober Betta diets
N ovember Betta mutations
D ecember Comparing hummingbirds and bettas
original descriptions
January Ct enogobiops t ongaensis
February Cobit is punct ilineat a
M arch Pseudochromis how soni
April Cirrhilabrus bat hyphilus
M ay R hinopias cea
June Gymnot horax microst ict us
July Ant hias fucinus
August H alophryne hut chinsi
September Akysis alfredi
O ctober Valenciennea parv a
N ovember Abudefduf conformis
D ecember Ct enogobiops formosa
below the surface
January Mandarinfish; freshwater filtration
February Copperbanded butterflyfish; canister vs. hang-on filters
M arch Starting in saltwater; ich
April Fu Manchu lionfish; controlling pH in freshwater
M ay Oscars as first-time fish
FAMA 200 6 Article Index
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June Water change schedules; checking salinity
July Freshwater stingrays
August Triggerfish; brown algae
September Sea dragons; red-tailed catfish
O ctober Moorish idols; rift lake cichlids
N ovember Nitrate levels; salt dosing
D ecember Parasites, infections and tankmates
conservation corner
January Aquatic invaders, part 2: plants
February White cloud mountain minnows and butterfly gooedieds
M arch Resistant bacteria in the aquarium
April Environmentally friendly pond setups: part 1
M ay Environmentally friendly pond setups: part 2
June Discover American killifishes
July North American sunfish
August Pygmy sunfish
September Corals in danger and reef conservation
O ctober Mosquitofish and environmental impacts
N ovember Merging conservation and aquariumkeeping
D ecember Small juveniles that become large adults
the dipnetter
January Freshwater crabs
M arch Stargazers
M ay Introducing the hobby to children
July Collecting aquarium species from docks
September Bryozoans: part 1
N ovember Bryozoans: part 2
reef notes
April Preserving a marine tank under adverse conditions
M ay Reef tank diagnosis: fixing problems
June Clownfish aggression; frogspawn coral
July Fish introductions: aggression, diseases and parasites
August Anemone health
September Linking tanks; cleaning silicone; mushroom coral
O ctober Cassiopea spp. jellyfish; rediscovered corallimorphs
N ovember Algae problems; comb jellies
D ecember Unknown anemone ailments
sand mail
January Complex marine aquarium filtration; bristle worms
February Dealing with a power outage
M arch Nano reef tanks
April Flame angelfish; lymphocystis; tank conditions
M ay Freshwater plenums
June Restarting in the reefkeeping hobby
July Corals and water motion intensity
August Rehabilitating a reef tank from copper poisoning
September New tanks: part 1
O ctober New tanks: part 2
N ovember Silicates and diatom algae
D ecember Mysterious fish deaths
popular freshwater tropicals
M arch Catfish husbandry
June Bristlenose plecos
July Convict cichilds
August Ameca splendens
September Neon tetras
O ctober Dwarf gouramis
N ovember Polka-dot loaches
D ecember Red hook silver dollars
discus in depth
January The appearance of new discus strains
February More new discus strains
M arch The pigeonblood: a tenacious discus
April The discus diet
M ay Discus in India: Neil Mandevias discus
June The discus habitat
July The discus plague
August Commercial discus breeding
September Discus make rapid adaptations
O ctober History of discus discoveries
N ovember Sexing discus
D ecember Vegetarian discus?
January Past hobby publications
February Charles Alexandre Lesueur and sailfin mollies
M arch Hobby favorites
April The New York Public Aquarium
M ay William T. Innes
June Innes and Axelrod
July History of danios
August Vintage aquarium products
September Endlers livebearers
O ctober Bessies guppies: T he Aquarium article reprint
N ovember Four historical changes that affected the modern hobby
D ecember Historical aquarium innovations
G eneration N ext: A hobbyist
remembers NYC Chinatown.
Send T hem to School: Keep tiger
barbs in groups to maintain peace.
Q uiet, Please: Hints for reef tank
noise pollution reduction.
T he H aunted Aquarium Castle:
Chapter 12 (fiction).
Triggerfish, part 3: Overview of four
popular R hinecant hus triggers.
Bite M e! Meet a dentist and his
pufferfish patient.
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132 J ANUARY 2007 fama
O ut of N ew Orleans: Aquarium staff works to save aquatic animals
T hose D arn D amsels: They can be feisty and rowdy, but damsels
make excellent beginner fish.
Understand to Control: Water hardness doesnt have to be a mystery.
T he H aunted Aquarium Castle: Chapter 13
D eep, D eeper, D eepest: There are many options when it comes to
PVC Plumbing 101: The first part of this series gets you started.
M arch
Life Support: A few easy steps prevent reef tank disaster.
Ya D ig?: Oscars will challenge seasons hobbyists.
Come D own: Ultra-low tank populations offer alternatives.
Bloomin Pondscum: Algae doesnt have to overtake your pond.
More T han One: There is a zoanthid for everyone.
(R)evolution? A fish of a different color strikes a debate (designer fish).
PVC Plumbing 101: Part 2 finishes up the lesson.
A N orth Carolina Jewel: The
Aquarium at Roanoke Island enchants.
Mane Attraction: The lionfish; As
regal as it is beautiful.
What s on the Menu?: Five simple
tips can make fish nutrition easy.
G reen Terror Attack: Raise and
spawn these vibrant cichlids.
M ay
Yachting With Fish: Combining the best of both worlds.
Gorgeous Guppies: Theres more to them than just flowing fins.
Understanding N utrition, Part 1: Fish health and nutrition separates
the experts from the novices.
All About Aspidoras: Dwarf armored catfish the cousins of
Corydoras cats.
Tangs: Just Add Water: These colorful fish are community boosters.
N utrition, Part 2: Get a grip on fish nutritional requirements to pro-
mote better health.
Automate Your Top Off: Use these tips to manage evaporation rates
in aquaria.
A Bit of the Bubbly: Learn how to maintain these fascinating corals.
Trickle Filters: They have revolutionized reefkeeping.
D iscovering O ctopuses: Keeping
one of these eight-tentacled wonders
challenges even advanced aquarists.
Birch Aquarium: Be sure to add this
learning venue to your list of San Diegos
must-see attractions.
To D O Run D own: Learn to control
dissolved oxygen.
Ron Barnes, I Presume? Discover an
unusual tropical fish farm.
Unbeatable D empseys: This pugna-
cious fish is a fave.
Classroom Bettas: Tips to a passing
grade in betta care.
Controlling Ammonia: Understand
nitrate cycles for tank health.
Picking Mushrooms: Examine what
makes them the most popular of all soft
Cowries and Eggshells: These mollusks are even better in a tank than
on a shelf.
Best for Breeding: The captive spawning of catfish.
Stony Corals: The genus Euphyllia unmasked.
Aquarium Widow Woes: What s a wife to do when her husband is
aquarium obsessed?
O ctober
Saltwater on the Cheap: Getting started in the reef hobby doesnt
have to break the bank.
Ogling the Mesoscope: Explore your tanks inner space with an Ogles
African Cichlid Setups: Rift lake hard water systems.
Clownfish Mastery: From husbandry to groupings.
N ovember
Bleeding H eart Platies: Experiences
in breeding variants.
Fish In a Flash: A journey from
childhood wonder to a passion for killi-
Emperor Among Angels: These big,
bold fish need a tank to match.
Light the Way: Explore the proper-
ties of light (part 1).
D ecember
Light the Way: Practical lighting choices (part 2).
T iny Coral Corrals: Most of these coral types are perfect for nano
tanks, but a few arent.
Aquatic Plant Farming: A look at two modern growers.
Reef Tank H ealth Plan: Preventing and controlling disease in our reef
FAMA Reader Survey: Come on, tell us what you think about
130x132 2006ArticleIndexC.qxd 10/2/06 11:54 AM Page 132 fama J ANUARY 2007 133
AQUATIC GALLERY Saltwater aquarium spe-
cialists. Tanks, setups, supplies and rentals.
Located at: 115 N. Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas, CA
95035; (408) 262- 3400.
THE BIG FISH, NOW OPEN! Largest one- stop
aquatic shop in the San Fernando Valley. We
carry a huge selection of fresh and saltwater fish
and invertebrates, plus all aquarium supplies
and accessories. Best prices around! Open
seven days a week, 10 A.M. - 7.00 P.M. Custom
installation/ maintenance! Visit our showroom or
20535 Plummer St., Chatsworth, CA 91311.
(888) fish- 099;
A SPLASH OF LIFE 40 W 134 Campton
Crossing Drive Unit A St. Charles, IL 60175. (630)
443- 7252 Specializing in Zero Edge aquariums,
coral and ponds.
AQUATICA (708) 633- REEF (7333). 16649
Oak Park Ave. (Unit D), Tinley Park, IL 60477. We
carry a full selection of inverts, corals, live rock
& supplies. Specializing in show size marine fish
& sharks (bonnets, etc.) for the large aquarium
enthusiast. Experienced staff on hand to answer
all your questions.
of Chicagos largest selections, over 6000 gal.
of marine fish, inverts & tropical fish. Shark
feeding in our 2000 gal. Shark Lagoon Sat. &
Sun. at 2:00 p.m. 811 W. Devon Ave. Park
Ridge, IL 60068. Near O Hare Airport. www.liv-
Excellent selection of saltwater fish, corals,
inverts and live rock. High end equipment
lighting, filters, UV. Known for variety of pumps for
small to large systems. Expert advice and service.
Educational environment. (630) 906- 7333 (REEF).
935 Oak St. North Aurora, IL 60542 (1 Mile east
of the I88 Orchard Road Exit.)
BEYOND THE REEF (847) 885- REEF (7333)
205 Golf Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60195. Your
marine aquarium specialists. Over 4,000 gallons
of fish, inverts, corals & live rock from around
the world. Various tanks & stands, dry goods,
supplies & a complete line of high tech equip.
including filters, skimmers & lighting. www.
ADVANCED AQUATICS (847) 584- 0250 879 S
Roselle Rd Schamburg, IL 60193. Largest coral
selection in Illinois including marine fish & cap-
tive bred, inverts, live rock & SPS acrylic and
glass aquariums full display on premises. Books,
chillers, chemicals, controllers, lighting, skim-
mers, pumps, RO units, filtration, UVs and more.
Open every day.
CAPTURE THE SEA (708) 444- 7614. 8010 W.
171st, Tinley Park, IL #1 Aquatic specialty store.
Saltwater and freshwater fish. Corals. Live rock
and rare & unusual species. Custom design
tanks. Expert staff.
DEEP REEF AQUATICS Large selection of
qual i t y mari ne f i sh, coral , i nvert s. Unusual
f r eshwat er f i sh, di scus and pet suppl i es.
Weekly shipments experienced staff to assist
you. Open daily. Located two blocks east of I-
355. 2009 W 63rd Street, Downers Grove, IL
60516. (630) 963- 0373. Vi si t our websi t e:
PETLAND West suburbs largest selection of
marine fish, corals, inverts, tropical fish, plants,
discus, rainbow fish, rare plecos and dwarf
cichlids. Special and custom orders welcome.
Over 6,000 gallons on display! Open 7 days a
week, 720 S. Rt. 59, Naperville, IL 60565. (630)
357- 3800.
freshwater tropical fish, saltwater marine fish,
invertebrates and live coral. Lovely Pets, 69
Parking Way, Quincy, MA 02169; (617) 786- 1898;
AQUATIC DISCOVERIES Specializing in reef
systems & supplies. Both salt/ fresh water fish.
Live corals & invertebrates- aquarium mainte-
nance. Acrylic aquariums- Aquatic Discoveries.
Hours: M- F, 10- 8, Sat, 10- 6, Sun, 11- 5. 3665 15
Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48310; (586)
264- 6261; Fax: (586) 264- 7670.
THE FISH DOCTORS Two Locations: (1) 2703
Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti, MI 48197, (734)
434- 1030; Fax: (734) 434- 3977; (2) 8689 N.
Lilley Rd., Canton, MI 48187, (734) 416- 0876;
Fax: (734) 461- 0885. The areas premi ere
aquatic specialists. Daily shipment from around
the world. Saltwater fish, corals, inverts, live
rock, freshwater fish including oddballs, cichlids,
large fish, live plants, hi- tech equipment in
stock: wet/ drys, protein skimmers, eco- systems,
kalk reactors, ozonizers, UV sterilizers. Deluxe
l i ght i ng di st ri but ors f or Hami l t on and JBJ.
Professional design, installation, consulting and
TROPI CORI UM, I NC. Mi chi gans l argest
marine reef store 50,000 gallons, home of
the 9 for $99 (+ shipping). Tank raised corals
from our farm shipped in the U.S. only. (734)
782- 2622. 9- 5 EST;
hatch packets, mail order. BBS made easy! See
website for all details
AARONS AQUARIUM LLC Brand new tropi-
cal aquarium store, featuring an abundance of
rare cichlids, salt and fresh water fish, reefs, live
rock, plants, supplies and much more for the
hobbyi st . Open seven days a week. 1024
Stuyvesant Ave. Union, NJ 07083. (908) 494- 1120;
Fax: (908) 687- 2270. Wherever you are, we will
ship to you!
COUNTRY CRITTERS Come see a real pet
shop. Over 10,000 sq. ft. of marine and fresh
water tropicals. Corals, live rock (reef special-
ists). Also, the rare and unusual. Africans, AAA
koi and plants from all continents. Equipment
pet shop directory
The cost of advertising in the
Pet Shop Directory is as follows:
6 months @$55
12 months @$100
(per 6 lines)
Closing Dates: By the 5th day of the
month, 2 months prior to issue date
(i.e., March 5th for May issue April
5th for June issue, etc.)
Mail to: FAMA Pet Shop Directory
P.O. 6050, Mission Viejo, CA 92690
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pet shop directory
134 J ANUARY 2007 fama
JUST MARINE FISH If we don t have it,
we can get it. Rare/ exotic/ saltwater. Discounted
pricing! Live arrival guaranteed. Visit our on-
line stores: or www. or
KEYSCRITTERS.COM Guarant eed l owest
prices. The premier source for Carribean inverte-
brates. 100 Astrea, 100 Cerith $99.00. free box
and shipping. Retail/ wholesale direct from the
MARINE WORLD Complete reef systems
705 Lakeshore Dr. in Hot Springs. (501) 624- 7477,
10- 5 Mon- Sat. Since 1971.
REEF INVERTS.COM Your online resource for
fascinating select zoanthids, mushroom and
ricordea yuma corals. Collector specimens and
great package deals available! Reef Inverts, LLC
(425) 746- 2720;
in equipment for every type of aquarium from
t he prof essi onal t o t he novi ce. Vi si t www.
those custom brokerage charges on your mail-
order purchases? (888) 648- 6677 now for your
free catalog.
DISCUS- DISCUS. Fifty color varieties to select
from. Shipped overnight to your door. About 2
1/ 2 inches in size. Call (425) 483- 3729 to order,
or mail SASE to: Discus, 20103- 174 Ave. NE,
Woodi nvi l l e, WA 98072. Phot os, vi si t our
species, Fast service. Information, send SASE:
L.F.S. CULTURES, P.O. Box 607, University, MS
38677; (662) 236- 4687;
1990. We also import high quality discus from
Asi a. Many si zes and st rai ns. Vi si t us at :
www.vl adi; vl adi;
(215) 354- 9372.
PET SHOP FOR SALE In business 15 years;
great profit margin. Customer base an 80 mile-
radius. Steadily growing. Owner moving out of
state. Must sell. Located in expanding market.
Cookeville, TN. Call Michaela Driver for more
information (423) 240- 3474.
readers exchange
backed with the knowledge to use it. PVC. Glass
drilled. Good prices. Good advice. 152 Rt. 112,
Patchogue, L.I., NY 11772. (631) 758- 6777.
(646) 865- 9604. Manhattans premier source for
marine fish, inverts, FW fish, plants and African
cichlids. Huge selection of aquariums, servicing
& installation. Oceanic, Tenacor, Eheim, MTC,
THE HIDDEN REEF 5000+ gal of marine fish, live
rock, inverts, tank- raised fish and over 300
corals in stock at all times. 5000+ gallons of
tropical, African cichlids, fancy goldfish, koi, dis-
cus, South and Central American cichlids & live
plants for aquariums and ponds. Equipment:
VHO, MH, power compact fixtures, skimmers,
chillers, controllers, RO Units, WD Filters & pond
supplies. We are also authorized Eheim, Ice Cap,
Hamilton Lighting, Marine Enterprise Inc., JBJ
Lighting & Kent Distributor. Low prices on salt.
9255 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19114.
(215) 689- 6668, Fax: (215) 698- 8979. Order
AQUARIUM (865) 588- 2073. The Southeasts
largest freshwater, saltwater, aquarium product
and pond store. No one compares to our combi-
nation of quality service and price. Visit us on the
web at: or stop
by 6410 Papermill Dr., Knoxville, TN 37919.
CENTERVI LLE AQUARI UM (703) 266- 2100.
Northern Virginias best- kept secret. A friendly,
family- owned aquarium store that appeals to
every hobbyist from beginner to advanced. Large
selection of freshwater, saltwater, plants and
invertebrates. Quality products from top manu-
facturers, including the latest from Current USA,
DTs Phytoplankton and New Life Spectrum.
Open seven days a week. 13830- 15 Lee Hwy.,
Centreville, VA 20120.
MARU PETS The areas only salt and fresh-
water specialty shop. Large selection: fish, inver-
tebrates, live rock, exotic coral. Aquatic wet/ dry
supplies. Experienced staff. Full service available
(540) 891- 2704; 10705 Court house Rd.,
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
CLASSI FI ED ADVERTISI NG ORDER FORM (aquarium related items only)
No business ads of any kind accepted at this rate.
Rate: 25 per wordname, address, and phone number free. Payment must accompany copy.
Ads that contain anything to sell on a commercial basis.
Rate: 50 per word. Count name, address, and phone number. Payment must accompany copy.
CLOSING DATE: 10th of second preceding month of issue date (i.e., Nov. 10th for Jan.
issue etc.) and printed as space permits on a first come basis. If payment (for business ads
only) is made for 3 months or longer, a renewal notice will be sent before ad expires.
EXAMPLE (Business ad)
FAMA CLASSIFIED ADVERTISERS: Send your Classified ad to: FAMA Readers Exchange,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
P.O. Box 6050, Mission Viejo, CA 92690: questions, please call (800) 546-7730. ex. 4136.
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Words @Hobbyist Rate $ Words @Business Rate $
Number of Months: Total Enclosed: $
AD TO READ: HEADING: ______________________________________________________________
COPY: ________________________________________________________________________________
Due to the small size of this coupon, you may use a separate piece of paper for the copy portion.
For office records only: (not included in ad)
Name ____________________________________________________________________________________________
Address __________________________________________________________________________________________
(No box numbers please)
Phone ( )________________________ ___
133x135Classifieds.c.qxd 10/2/06 11:53 AM Page 134 fama J ANUARY 2007 135 Online aquarium
auction. Buy and sell aquarium fish, invert-
ibrates, coral, aquarium supplies, and more!
and gold german rams, exotic rainbow fish, blue
crayfish and rare labyrinth fish. Guaranteed live
REEF AND TAILS!!! Sales of livestock, coral and
fish. Zoanthids- Small high color colonies and
large colonies. Macro algae. 10% off when you
mention this ad. Can t be combined with other
special offers.
ty club of fancy guppy enthusiasts meets on 2nd
Tuesday of month in Long Island, NY area. Call
Gene (631) 345- 6399 or visit us at www.
TION is the top cichlid club in the Midwest. We
have over 200 members that range in age from
8 to 80! Monthly meetings include:Top speakers,
auctions and raffles (yes at every meeting!).
Cichlid swap meets, members- only trips and
tours. Breeders award program and lending
library. For more information visit us at: www.
South Central Pennsylvania. Meetings every 3rd
Tuesday of the month except July & August. For
more information, visit us at:
modules/ content
COAST CLUB Meets 1- 5 p.m. first Sunday of
month. Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community
Church, Victoria Room. 1845 Park Ave. Costa
Mesa, CA. Speakers, auction, raffle, newsletter.
(818) 360- 7102;
Meets @7pm on the 4th Tuesday of each month.
Monthly speakers, bowl show, raffles and auc-
tions. All are welcome and its free to visit. We
are the most active club in PNW.,
GPAS, P.O. Box 6752, Portland, OR 97228- 6752.
readers exchange
1) No. Banded coral shrimp do not need divorce attorneys. How do we know that? Well,
banded coral shrimp pair off and remain together as a pair and would have no interest in
anything except the vow til death do us part. This refreshing outlook doesnt occur often but it
does in the banded coral or boxer shrimp.
2) B. Humic acid causes the yellowish color in tank water. You can eliminate the build up
of these acids easily by using activated carbon in the filtering system.
3) There are seven major salts that comprise seawater. These salts comprise more than 99
percent of the contents of seawater. They are always in the same ratio, which I think is pretty
amazing. Once you know this information you can check the contents of the branded synthetic
commercial salt mixes. You should find the same ratios or an explanation if you dont.
4) D. All of the above. Another author said know thyself. I know Im a cheapskate and
sponge filters are really ugly, but they are extremely efficient besides being cheap. Water is
sucked through the sponge, the surface area rivals or exceeds any other filter material and is
ideal for fry rearing. They are easily cleaned by gently squeezing and rinsing in a container of
aquarium water so chlorine or temperature wont kill off the established bacteria bed. Like all
good aquarists, well find a way to be cheapskates.
5) D. B and C. Common names are, of course, unreliable. However, there are recommen-
dations from an official source and in America it is the American Fisheries Society. However, the
United Nations has its list also. It is compiled at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
UN. Those lists are used to control catch limits, endangered species identification, etc.
6) All this happens at the epipelagic/mesopelagic border. What a happening place at 650
feet below the oceans surface, where the continental shelf ends and a steep decline called the
continental slope begins. No color of light can penetrate past 650 feet into the water and
without light photosynthesis doesnt happen. We might as well drill for oil.
133x135Classifieds.c.qxd 10/3/06 12:36 PM Page 135
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January 2007
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January ad index
Advanced Aquatics ......................................119
(888) 550-3311
AE Technology Inc ..........................................87
(845) 838-9044
Algone Corp ..................................................106
(877) 425-4663
American Marine Inc ............................2-3, 118
(800) 925-4689
American Museum of Natural History ..........93
(212) 769-5500
Aqua C..............................................................13
(714) 456-9979
Aqua Craft Inc ................................................20
(510) 264-1500
Aqua Logic Inc ................................................96
(858) 292-4773
Aqua Medic Inc ..............................................48
(877) 208-2633
Aqua Traders ................................................121
(800) 451-6405
Aquactinics ..........................................................
(203) 234-9286
AquaEuro ..................Cover 2, 1, 11, 25, 47, 97
(800) 447-9797
Aquarium Arts................................................116
(661) 325-0307
Aquarium Center ..........................................126
(800) 813-8172
Aquarium Life Support Systems....................10
(865) 588-0108
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc....................105
(877) 899-3474
Aquarium Products ......................................113
(800) 368-2507
Aquarium Technology ....................................66
(404) 294-4726
Aquatic Eco-Systems Inc ............................115
(877) 347-4788
Aquatic Lighting Systems ..............................54
(740) 964-1661
Aquatic Technology ........................................81
(440) 236-8330
Bayside Aquarium Supply Inc............31, 59, 88
(714) 456-9979
Beital Aquarium Sales & Service ................115
(845) 735-2300
Big Als Online ............................................72-73
(888) 824-4257
Biohome ........................................................128
(914) 833-7701
Biotope Research............................................85
(509) 684-1512
Black Jungle Terrarium Supply......................58
(413) 863-2770
Carib Fish & Inverts Inc ................................104
(954) 978-3061
Caribsea Inc......................................19, Cover 4
(888) 461-1113
Catfish Lighting ..............................................78
(773) 301-1062
CF Bowman & Co..........................................126
(732) 797-3952
Champion Lighting & Supply Co ......................
....................................................60, 61, 83, 125
(800) 673-7822
Commodity Axis........................................24, 91
(805) 383-3566
Concept Aquarium Systems ..........................88
(780) 930-4242
Coral Reef Aquarium ......................................82
(508) 336-0904
Coralvue ..........................................................94
(985) 781-9078
CPR Aquatic Inc ......................................70, 116
(800) 357-2995
Current USA Inc ..............................................37
(866) 276-8872
Custom Aquatic ............................................109
(800) 397-7238
Discus Hans USA..........................................115
(443) 992-6972
Doctors Foster & Smith..................................15
(800) 381-7179
Euro-Reef ......................................................103
(949) 770-9913
Fins & Critters Inc ........................................106
(704) 484-0600
FishVet Inc ......................................................49
(937) 291-1070
Foremost Wholesale And Promotions ..........88
Freedom Aquarium Products LLC ..............102
(866) 722-3474
Golden INA Inc ................................................16
(949) 387-4897
Hamilton Technology Corp ....69, 115, 116, 117
(800) 447-9797
Hikari Sales USA Inc ................................39, 41
(800) 621-5619
Ice Cap Inc ....................................................127
(800) 742-3227
Imagine Gold LLC ..........................................78
(888) 777-7744
International Pet Resources LLC ..................64
(908) 687-2229
Jehm Co Inc ..................................................124
(800) 521-6258 ................................................74
(203) 824-1854
JSK Merchandising Inc ..................................82
(708) 354-0457
(714) 385-0080
(800) 877-7387
Lifereef Filter Systems..................................108
(303) 978-0940
Magnavore Company LLC..............................86
(608) 270-2297
Magnavore Company LLC..............................30
(608) 270-2297
Marc Weiss Companies Inc ..........................77
(954) 894-9222
Marine Depot ..................................................53
(714) 385-0080
Marine Depot ..................................................55
(714) 385-0080
Marine Depot ..................................................57
(714) 385-0080
Marine Depot..............................................26-27
(714) 385-0080
Marine Depot ....................................32, 89, 105
(714) 385-0080
Marine Specialties International Inc ..........111
(805) 986-6976
Marine Technical Concepts Inc ..................114
(201) 444-7165
Marine Technical Concepts Inc ..................104
(201) 444-7165
Midwater Systems ..........................................92
(805) 241-7140 ........................................114
(800) 759-2839
MTI ..................................................................126
(386) 345-3333
Omega Sea Ltd............................................5, 65
(888) 204-3273
Pacific Aqua Farms ........................................49
(310) 215-3474
Pacific Coast Imports Inc ..............................45
(503) 982-6700
Penn-Plax Inc ..................................................75
(800) 228-3850
Pentair Aquatics..............................................58
(800) 628-8771
Pet Solutions ................................................107
(800) 737-3868
PFO Lighting....................................................79
(800) 577-9690
Poly-Bio-Marine Inc ........................................23
(610) 404-1400
Precision Marine Systems..............................99
(888) 825-6716
Premium Aquatics ........................................129
(317) 895-9005
Python Products Inc ......................................40
(414) 355-7000
Red Sea........................................................9, 43
(888) RED-SEA9
Reef Stuff ......................................................108
(503) 946-8228
Reefgeek Inc..................................................112
(310) 679-4955
(305) 745-2629
Rolf C Hagen USA Corp ................................C3
(800) 225-2700
ROWA ..............................................................95
(877) DEL-TEC1
RW Carelli Co ................................................128
(800) 558-6642
Saline Solutions ..............................................74
(800) 583-3474
Savko Plastic Pipe & Fittings Inc ................118
(877) 885-4445
Sea Crop ..........................................................88
(805) 986-6976
Sea Dwelling Creatures Inc............................63
(310) 676-9697
Seahorse Source ..........................................104
(772) 462-2401 ......................................114
(866) 40H-ERPS
Spectrapure Inc ............................................127
(800) 685-2783
Spectrapure Inc ..............................................12
(800) 685-2783
TAAM Inc....................................................29, 46
(805) 383-3566
(800) 526-0650
That Fish Place/ That Pet Place ................34-35
(888) THAT-PET
TOM Aquarium & Pet Products ............33, 123
(800) 770-4430
Tropic Marin ..........................................100, 101
(413) 247-5752
TRUVU Aquariums ........................................124
(800) 800-6171
Two Little Fishies Inc ......................................52
(305) 661-7742
Undersea Discovery........................................76
(510) 441-1688
Underwater World Enterprises ......................67
(310) 670-1502
Vasca Aquarium Supply Co............................42
(866) 629-8122
Virbac Animal Health ......................................71
(800) 338-3659
Vortex Innerspace Products ........................115
(850) 836-4121
Weiss Organics..............................................120
(954) 894-9222
Won Brothers Inc ............................................51
(888) 417-6969
Zoo Med Laboratories Inc..............................21
(888) 4-ZOOMED
136 J ANUARY 2007 fama
136AdIndex.c.qxd 10/2/06 2:58 PM Page 136
Aquarium lighting can be deceptive. Even to the trained eye, an
aquarium can look adequately illuminated when in fact the fish and
other aquatic life may be suffering from the lack of proper lighting. The
average fluorescent tube loses about 50% of its lighting output qual-
ity within one year? This results in a distorted spectrum, inefficient
plant and coral growth, and less intense fish colors.
Glo Fluorscent Lamps have proven to be one of the
best known and reliable lamps on the market today
and each box contains a reminder sticker that can be
applied directly to your lamp to remind you of when
its time to replace it.
August 07
LIFE-GLO 2 High-noon spectrum for aquariums, terrariums & vivariums
POWER-GLO Promotes coral, invertebrate and plant growth
AQUA-GLO Intensifies fish colors and promotes plant growth
FLORA-GLO Optimizes plant growth
MARINE-GLO Promotes marine reef life
SUN-GLO General purpose aquarium lighting
Are you still seeing the true color of your fish?
GLO is a registered trademark of Rolf C. Hagen Inc, for more
information visit or phone 1-800-724-2436
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January 2007
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