From the Editor
September is a contemplative month, a month of endings and beginnings. In Western thought it marks the end of summer, but therefore the beginning of the winding down of the year, with autumn having a blazing start but dwindling into cold and darkness. Days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice in June, and after the autumnal equinox
in September nights are increasingly longer than days. For most Americans, this month also features
an important new beginning: the start of school from the elementary through university levels.
The Jewish New Year occurs at this time of year, as do the Ethiopian and Coptic (Egyptian) New
Year celebrations. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine was first published in September (1952), so we
celebrate our birthday and begin a new volume this month as well.
We humans tend to react to new beginnings with thoughts of return and renewal but also of
retrospective, of progression but also of decline, and of the repetition of cycles. We hobbyists see
September as the ending of the pond season and a return to the warmth, color, and life of our
fishrooms while outside it starts getting cold, drab, and barren. We at TFH see each September as
a time to reaffirm our commitment to our readers,
and to our directive to provide something for every
aquarist, whatever his or her particular interests. We work on that in every issue, but
it could almost be considered a theme of this one, with the diversity and contrast this
month’s lineup presents.
Each month we feature both our hands-on “Planted Tank” column by Rhonda
Wilson and an installment of Mr. Takashi Amano’s high-tech “Nature Aquarium”
article series. With this double-viewpoint approach we cover the full gamut of
aquascaping topics, but don’t think either columnist is stuck with a single focus—Ms.
Wilson sometimes gets quite technical while Mr. Amano often returns to basics. In
fact, in this issue he talks about the basics in choosing, setting up, and maintaining
a driftwood-based layout (p. 60), while Rhonda explains how to propagate your own
aquarium plants (p. 40). Veteran aquarist Radek Bednarczuk shares his expertise about
keeping and breeding two Nannostomus species pencilfish, hardly a typical beginner’s
fish (p. 66), followed by Neale Monks’s explanation of why many typical beginner’s
species should actually be avoided, with suggestions of alternatives that should work
better in a community setup (p. 72). Loach specialist Michael Ophir’s tale of finally
finding a long-sought species is sure to strike a familiar chord with many hobbyists (p.
78), but predator fan Seth Gibson explains why many hobbyist longings for monster
catfish should remain unfulfilled, suggesting what may be the perfect alternative—an
oxymoronic moderately sized monster catfish (p. 84).
Then a pair of features looks at two very different aspects of reef conservation
for marine aquarists. First is an excerpt from Matt Wittenrich’s Complete Illustrated
Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes (TFH/Microcosm Professional Series, 2007), an enormously helpful book for anyone drawn
to the challenge of breeding marines to obviate or at least lessen the need for wild-caught specimens (p. 88). Next Jeremy Gosnell
describes how marine fish move from reef to your aquarium, with many suggestions for how the process can be improved to increase
livability of the fish and sustainability of the harvest (p. 94). Complementing these articles is “The Reefer” (p. 50), with this month’s
topic being the ecological disaster facing the world’s coral reefs.
In the same way that Mr. Gibson’s article provides an alternative for dreams of killer catfish, Mike Maddox writes about one of the
most commonly coveted marine predators: the moray eel. With hundreds of species, it’s no wonder that there are several that actually
can make good aquarium specimens, even if they aren’t the bloodthirsty behemoths of Hollywood legend (p. 102). Wrapping things
up is Iggy Tavares’s report of his recent visit to the renovated—even reinvented—Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco (p. 108).
Add in all our columns and departments, and it’s another whole-hobby issue of the World’s Aquarium Magazine since 1952, a fitting
start to our 58th year—yet another year of service to our readers and to the aquarium hobby. Thanks for all your support!
Robert C. Boruchowitz
Welcome to IMAC West!
Here’s a shout-out to the International Marine Aquarium
Conference West (IMAC West),
which is proudly taking up the
reins from Dennis Gallagher, who
for so many years produced the
Chicago IMAC conventions. We are
excited to be part of the show and
happy to provide complimentary
copies of this month’s magazine to
the IMAC West attendees. Have a
Tropical Fish Hobbyist