From the Editor
August means deep summer in the Northern Hemisphere, with dog
days and plenty of outdoor activities. Although many hobbyists take
some of their hobby outside with ponds and outdoor tanks, even the
most dedicated may skimp a little on the time they devote to their fish.
Nevertheless, aquarists are a committed bunch (spouses and friends often think we
should be committed!), and I’ll bet that at least a few of the articles in this month’s
lineup will divert your interest from summer activities, as each either provides an
unusual twist or covers a less-than-usual topic. (And, if your location is austral,
curl up in front of the fire and enjoy the magazine leisurely!)
Robert C. Boruchowitz
One of the things that sets Mr. Takashi Amano apart from other planted tank
enthusiasts is the long-term stability of his creations. In this month’s Nature
Aquarium article (p. 58), he discusses the proper use of driftwood in aquascaping
and how to modify an established driftwood design to get even more life from
it. Ted Judy, an extremely painstaking and accomplished breeder, explains that
breeding tetras, while not as simple as getting fry from many livebearers or cichlids,
is not all that difficult, and he provides some suggestions for species to try first (p. 64). Next, intrepid globetrotter
Heiko Bleher recounts what he calls his most difficult adventure—reaching an ultra-remote lake that was never before
collected (p. 70). Tom Lorenz then discusses the one freshwater snail that does not immediately elicit thoughts of
extermination in most planted tank enthusiasts, the trumpet snail (p. 78).
If you enjoy reading about rare or difficult species, or if you’re looking for a new challenge, Karel Zahradka’s tale of
his experiences with the samurai gourami Sphaerichthys vaillanti will be of special interest (p. 82). Then, as promised
last month when we printed Marcelo Casacuberta’s account of his return to the original home of the blue Jack
Dempsey, Cole Willey reports on the DNA sampling he had done, which provides significant evidence supporting
the claim of the fish’s non-hybrid origin (p. 86). Following that is an excerpt from frequent TFH contributor Mike
Hellweg’s popular new book, Culturing Live Foods (p. 92).
Next is a pair of articles on breeding difficult species. In the first case, we have a report of the University of
Florida’s success in developing a protocol for the commercial reproduction of the spotted green puffer (p. 98). The
second is another success story—breeding Sepia cuttlefish. Although cephalopod keeping has only recently become a
significant facet of the hobby, and although breeding these intriguing animals is fraught with difficulties, Richard Ross
explains how it can be done through several generations (p. 102). Wrapping up this month’s articles is a travelogue
with a twist—rather than describing a collecting trip to freshwater habitats, Forrest Phillips takes us along on an
observation-only snorkeling trip to Akumal, Mexico, a location where you can swim with both freshwater cichlids
and marine barracudas (p. 108).
To balance all this innovation, a couple of our columnists get back to basics this month (see “Top of the Food Chain”
[p. 44] and “The Reefer” [p. 48]), and Wayne Leibel does a literature search to find the origin of our knowledge
about contact feeding in discus fry (p. 30). As if that weren’t enough, this month we have a special focus on aquatic
gardening, including the debut of our new department, “Aquatic Plant of the Month” (p. 41), to complement our
“Fish of the Month” (p. 56) and “Marine Invertebrate of the Month” (p. 54). With an all-plants “Import Report” (p.
42), our regular “Planted Tank” column (p. 38), and our monthly article by Mr. Amano, aquatic gardeners will find
a great deal to interest them this month.
So, wherever or however you are enjoying the sultry peak of summer, take a few moments to stay current with your
favorite aspects of the aquarium hobby in our diverse lineup.
Tropical Fish Hobbyist