September 2008 Meeting
Frank and his family hosted the 13th meeting of the NJAGC on Saturday,
It was a dank, dreary, drizzly, and just a generally miserable Saturday September 27th, 2008, but it was also the day that Frank and his family were hosting the 13th meeting of NJAGC, and that made it a great day despite the weather.
The meeting started out on Frank’s back porch in the drizzle, but it couldn’t be helped, and no-one seemed to care. Rough estimates put this little fancy goldfish and Koi breeder with the approximate dimensions of 8’ X 30’ and ranging from 1 to 3.5 feet deep in the center.
One of the great things about this pond is not just the flora and fauna in the pond, but the landscape that frames it. What I think surprised most of us was the water changes he performs. Now he repeatedly told me that you don’t have to do this, but having his own well enables Frank to perform approximately 50% weekly water changes.
Frank explained how during the warmer summer months it helps to keep the pond temperature down, which keeps the fish happier. Also during the warm summer months the wide waterfall contributes to evaporation so it usually gets a 12” weekly top off. In addition to the fauna which were both numerous, large, and gorgeous there was plenty of hardy flowering Lilies which reside in the pond year round, as well as Potamogeton crispus and other less hardy plants which get added yearly. In addition to the stack of filter pads, maintenance on this oasis is very hands on, and is done with hip waders and a pressure washer.
Next, the club went inside to take a look at Frank’s fish rooms (yep rooms, 2 adjacent ones). This was a truly a site, part fish farm, part museum & totally functional. Frank’s fish rooms have roughly 75 tanks that range from 2.5 gallons to a couple of 135s. The fit of the tank racks into all available nook & crannies, left me wondering where he got these tank racks, but as it turns out…… the racks were all made by Frank himself.
Branching above all the tanks throughout the 2 rooms was PVC piping pumping air into all the tanks. The air was being pushed by an amazingly quiet vacuum blower motor (NOTE: not its original purpose) in the garage. Filtration on these tanks was extremely varied, ranging from simple bubbling sponge filters, to old round canister Fluval 303s, an OceanClear that I saw, and numerous Supreme Super King power filters. Upon closer inspection of the Super Kings, I didn’t see any 2 with the same motor.
I had to ask out host about it. As it turns out, Frank has been keeping these old school filters going with aftermarket motors from Granger Industrial Supply. Water changes on all these tanks are fully manual and on his numerous guppy tanks the water changes are done either nightly or every other night. For his other tanks they are about 25% a week (every other week at the most). Feeding these tanks takes about 10 minutes. Can you tell this is a man who is hands on?
OK, enough about the hardware. In addition to the happy fancy gold fish and koi doing their thing in the pond, Frank has recently been breeding albino bristlenose plecos , Jewel Fish, bronze cories, albino cories, green swordtails, pineapple swordtails, red & black swordtails and tank upon tank of fancy guppies.
Just a quick note: Frank is not only a member of NJAGC, and board member of NJAS, but he is also the current president of the South Jersey Guppy Group. The color, and patterning on his specimens was absolutely spectacular. There were some tanks of spectacular yellow fancy guppies that looked like they glowed under their standard 4’ t12 shop light.
Now NJAGC is a plant club, and this was an NJAGC meeting so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his plants. Now, one thing you won’t find in Frank’s Friendly Fish Farm is a “scaped” tank. Some other things you won’t find are bottles of liquid ferts, bags of chemical compounds, or anything that can deliver carbon in any way shape or form. What you will find plenty of healthy specimens grown totally low-tech.
Tanks very full with loads of Anubias, various Java ferns (including regular and Windelov), java moss, Crypts, and swords. It was really comforting to see all these plants being grown using nothing but some shop lights, fish waste, and in some cases root tabs. Now according to Frank, it seems that the livebearers feed the plants better. He has noticed better growth using them in the aquariums rather than egg layers.
Now earlier I said lo-tech, and shop lights, but I have to admit that there were some with T-5’s with custom made reflectors. Seems Frank bought a 4’ X 8’ Aluminum Coilzak Specular Lighting Sheet, and had the reflectors cut & bent to his specifications at a local machine shop.
After the tour, and the showing of fish, it was time to break for a bit of club business and snacks. Ok, snacks might be a bit of an understatement. As it turns out snacks = Lasagna, a 6’ hoagie, 3 different types of salads, to be followed by coffee, and brownies!
Well, I have to say that even if you don’t count the amazing spread… This was an amazing meeting for all involved!
Thanks to Frank and his entire family for hosting this NJAGC meeting!
Until our next meeting,