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Live Interview with Cichlid World Columnist Ted Judy

by TFH Magazine on March 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

By Gary MacDonald

On Saturday, March 12th, 2011, Ted Judy participated in the first Online Interview we’ve had in a few years. Needless to say, Ted has given some stellar information and been a great Interviewee. Once again, thanks a lot Ted, you were great! We enjoyed your questions to us at the end of the Interview. We had 24 people attend the event which gave everyone an opportunity to ask Ted questions.
The following is a transcript of the event. Enjoy…

Crazygar: Before we begin the interview this evening, I would like to thank Ted Judy for taking time out of his busy schedule to be with us this evening. There were a few moments of utter confusion but we managed to get this organized. Before I begin the interrogation.. err.. interview, I would like to remind everyone about a few ground rules before proceeding:

Crazygar: 1) While the interview is in progress, I would like to ask everyone from refraining from popping in with a question. Please write down your question, as we are having a small open forum at the end of the session.

Crazygar: 2) When the Open Forum begins, I will post questions on a first come first served basis. Remember, we only have a limited amount of time, so there can only be a limited amount of questions. If not all questions get answered, I am sure Ted will answer them via the PM system in time. Remember, like the rest of us, he has a life outside as well.

Crazygar: Now that the rules and welcomes are down, let’s begin…

Crazygar: Ted, firstly, we are all impressed with your efforts in the Breeder’s Challenge that ran last year. I was so sure you were going to win. Did you and Mike have any side bets that we were not aware of?

Crazygar: You need to send the response Ted. Haha.

Crazygar: ROFL.

freshfish: we having technical difficulties?

Pasionis: taking the 5th?

tjudy: Just a second folks. We are indeed having a technical moment.

Crazygar: Ok, I will send out the first response while Ted goes to find the questions…

Crazygar: No. I think that the competition itself was challenging enough. Before we started, Mike and I talked about what we thought it would take to win. We both thought that the winner would breed about 60 species. Once we both surpassed that number, I think that we were both just overwhelmed with what we are accomplishing to do anything more than just keep up the momentum

tjudy: No. I think that the competition itself was challenging enough. Before we started, Mike and I talked about what we thought it would take to win. We both thought that the winner would breed about 60 species. Once we both surpassed that number, I think that we were both just overwhelmed with what we are accomplishing to do anything more than just keep up the momentum

tjudy: LOL

Crazygar: ROFL

Crazygar: Ok, folks, I swear, it’s been a long time. Sorry Ted.

Crazygar: Ok, now that we are in sync…

tjudy: OK… sorry about that everyone.

Crazygar: Ted, you are very active in the hobby. How did this all start and can you point to the defining moment in your life which brought you to this level today?

tjudy: I started pretty young, but my hobby as a pre-teen was limited to what I could catch in the local streams. Aquariums were just receptacles for tadpoles, minnows, crayfish and snakes. To my mother’s chagrin. I started keeping tropical fish in middle school, and breeding purposefully in high school. I started working in stores in college. The club influence started when I was living in Louisville in the very early 1990’s. The turning point for me was getting out of retail. Until then I did not keep fish purely as a hobby. There was always a profit motive. Once that was no longer a part of the equation I started to enjoy keeping fish a lot more.

Crazygar: During your year-long list of fish successes, was there any species of fish that you so wanted to include into the challenge but never had the time?

tjudy: There were some that I did not have time enough. Pangio myersi, the giant kuhli loach, were laying eggs that was not able to get to hatch. I have since managed to get a few. I also have a few cichlids I purchased during the contest that I ran out of time on.

Crazygar: With all the fish that both yourself and Mike have bred, what have you done with the excessive amounts? I sure a year’s worth of Breeding would over run even the largest of homes and fishrooms.

tjudy: The secret was not to try to raise too many. The contest required five fry 30 days old. My local clubs are five fry to 45 days old. I would spawn pairs instead of groups (for tetras and barbs) to get smaller numbers of eggs, and with cichlids I would only pull 15 fry from the parents to raise. My local clubs got some of the fry as BAP submissions. I also donated a lot of fish to the clubs I presented talks to. Everything else I did not intend to keep went to club auctions or were given away to friends.

Crazygar: Who approached Mike and yourself about this challenge? What was your first reaction to it? Or was this an effort between Mike and yourself for TFH to chronicle?

tjudy: The whole contest was my idea. I came up with it after Mike visited my home and we ranted on and on about the sorry state of fish breeding in the hobby. I thought that a contest between Mike and I would be a good way to promote breeding. I approached David B about the idea, and he liked it; so it ended up in TFH. Had TFH not published the series it would have ended up on my blog, but TFH’s involvement is what made the project such a success.

Crazygar: Many of us here keep more than one Aquarium. While they are mainly show tanks, we each put a considerable amount of time into their upkeep. Breeding fish on this scale must have required a massive amount of time. How much time did you spend daily on this challenge?

tjudy: When you keep a lot of tanks you learn pretty quick how to service them efficiently. Breeding and fry tanks are not as hard to keep up as show tanks… which are intended to look good. A bare tank with a sponge filter and a mop does not need more than 5 minutes a week to do a water change. During the contest I spent about an hour each day, minimum, in the fish room. I would also spend a couple 3-4 hour sessions ‘down in the hole’ (as my wife would say) a couple times a week. But it is a joy to do it… I have a fish room so I can hang out in it.

Crazygar: What was the one species of fish that presented a particular challenge during this competition?

tjudy: Ok… I have to know what a ‘compeudderion’ is… LOL

tjudy: I would say Pangio myersi, again, but I never had any illusions that it would be easy to breed. For some reason I had a hard time with gouramies. I worked with at least a dozen species/varieties, but was only successful with a few.

Crazygar: Ok, the word filter that I tweaked is, well, too efficient. Bear with us folks! ROFL

aclockworkorange: :D

freshfish: ROFL at our word filter

Crazygar: What was your favourite fish during this whole competition and why?

tjudy: That is a tough one. It is hard to pick a single species. Some of the fish I bred I am still breeding, most I am not. I think I enjoyed the cory catfish the most, because I had not bred many of them before the contest

freshfish: [substitute "contest" for that "other" word]

Hurriken: Pangio myersi
Image

Crazygar: If you were to do this all again, what would you have done differently to help improve your last set of results?

tjudy: Tank you Hurriken

tjudy: I would have to find a better source of new species. Towards the end of the contest I was having a hard time finding breeding stock of fish that I had not already spawned for the contest. I could have doubled my rate if I doubled my spawning rack… more 2.5 and 10-gallon tanks. But without new species to spawn the expanded space would be moot

tjudy: LOL… the filter is substituting the word ‘udder’ into those words…ROFL

Crazygar: During all your and Mike’s efforts, can you slate the one technological improvement say in the last 10 years that has helped accomplish this task?

tjudy: The only ‘new’ technology I have adopted recently is the foam matten filter. A solid wall of porous foam at one end of the tank. This is a HUGE biological filter. It is not really a new idea though… it is a big sponge filter. Live foods are not new technology either. R/O water? Maybe that is one of the big differences. But I often wonder why hobbyists were breeding fish 50 years ago that we have a hard time doing now… and they did it without R/O machines. So I do not think that R/O water is the key factor to breeding success.

Crazygar: Your efforts were exhausting to us readers. I can only imagine how frustrating and stressful things must have got sometime. What do you do to relax?

Crazygar: Hold on folks, I believe Ted is experiencing some Technical Difficulties…

tjudy: I find keeping fish very relaxing. Outside of fish keeping, I pretty much dedicate my time to family stuff. We are very much into soccer. All of us play (even me still) and my boys are developing into pretty good players. I enjoy coaching them, plus we ref as a family too.

Crazygar: You’ve written many articles on your website (

http://tedsfishroom.com/

) to help other’s start up their own Fish Rooms. In your opinion, what are the three most important things to consider when starting one up?

tjudy: Temperature/humidity control… poor planning on these factors will cost you in money, as well as causing damage to your home. Electricity… if you are an electrician, hire one. Electricity is expensive and dangerous. A well-wired room saves money and prevents accidents. Time management… if you do not have 6+ hours a week to dedicate to a fish room, do not build a big one.

tjudy: If you are NOT an electriction… is what is should read

tjudy: 152

Crazygar: Ted, you are a part of many different Clubs, Forums and Associations. Can you tell us your favorite one and why?

freshfish: [please hold off on comments/questions till after the interview is over]

tjudy: Actually, I am active in only a very few. We have two local clubs: the Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists, which I help to found about two years ago, and the Milwaukee Aquarium Society. Nationally, I am a member of the ACA. I have to draw the line somewhere, and I drew it at paying for club memberships. I would love to be able to afford to be a member of all the national clubs. I worked it out once… if I joined all that I am interested in my annual dues would be about $400. I cannot afford that. Forums… my favourite forum is

http://www.apistogramma.com

. I own it (now) and have been active on it since 2002. I used to be active on many forums, but I set a time one day and figured out that my daily forum involvement was costing me 4-5 hours a day. Too much… so I stopped.

Crazygar: On your recent trip to Gabon in Africa, did you find anything interesting?

tjudy: Lot’s! We found freshwater pipefish hundreds of kilometres from the ocean in water with very low conductivity and pH 5.0…. with babies! So much for the idea that freshwater pipes need salt water to breed. Gabon is killifish-central. We collected several species. We also found five species of Parananochromis cichlids. The only disappointment was not locating Chromidotilapia mrac

Crazygar: Those Pipefish sound interesting…How much preparation and planning did this collecting trip take? What things did you plan to experience in preparation for the trip and what unexpected surprises popped up?

tjudy: This was my second trip, but I still took too much luggage. Logistically, we could have done better. We had a large group and only one vehicle. That was the biggest challenge. When we go back we will have at least two cars

Crazygar: How many different locations have you collected in and what was the scariest moment you encountered during these trips?

tjudy: Locations? Many per trip. I have been to Cameroon and Gabon. The scariest moment was when our overloaded 12 passenger van (with 11 people and all our luggage) went off the road at 1:00 in the morning after 16 hours of travel… with one driver.

Crazygar: Wow…I see you are trying to recreate a Gabon-Style biotope at home. Do you have any tanks are just display only and how many? Can you list gallonage and type?

tjudy: To me, a display tank is where you keep fish that you are growing up to spawn or are not currently spawning. I have 110-gallon tank with Paretroplus keineri and some other small cichlids, some barbs and a couple large west African spiny eels. I also have a 40-breeder with a pair of Hemichromis cf. lifili (sp. Moanda) and a bunch of tetras. Is it really a display tank? It is on the bottom of a rack, but it is planted and I leave it alone…

Crazygar: Can you describe a Gabon-Style biotope?

tjudy: Black water, low pH and low conductivity. True aquatic plants are very rare. We only saw a couple crinum here and there. Some habitats were rocky, others were muddy. All had sunken wood. Slow water had lots of sunken leaves, which is important habitat for small fish. Tetras and barbs were present in large numbers. Shrimp are everywhere! Many types of Macrobrachium sp. and something like an Asian Caradinia species. If there were cichlids present there were usually very few killifish, and vice versa.

Crazygar: I see you are involved with the ACA. What things have you learned and gained from this Association to one of the most impressive Clubs in the World?

tjudy: I have learned that the ACA is run by regular people. We have jobs, a hobby and families to manage. Running an organization like the ACA takes some time, but it is really not much of a burden. What I get out it is a great group of friends. Some of my best friends in the world I met through helping out with the ACA. I an also a part of something that supports the hobby and science in a very tangible way. That is very important to me.

Crazygar: Were any of the Cichlids bred during this competition donated to the ACA?

tjudy: A lot of them ended up in some of the display tanks at the 2010 convention and then donated for auction. I had a community of Lake Malawi cichlids that had all bred for me, so I moved them out and restocked with fish purchased at the convention

Crazygar: You are involved with the Species Preservation Program (C.A.R.E.S.

http://www.carespreservation.com/

) that Claudia Dickinson started up. In your own words, what is the biggest personal reward participating in this has brought you?

tjudy: I am not all that active in CARES. There is only so much time in a week. I do keep a few CARES species, however, and I champion the conservation cause whenever I can. My motivation for keeping CARES species is selfish… I like the fish and want to be able to have access to them. So I dedicate some space to the long term maintenance of a few species, and hopefully other people are keeping other species. Someday we can trade!

Crazygar: Now that the Breeder’s Challenge is over and you have started writing for the Cichlid World column, what would you like people to know about it?

tjudy: When I started with the Cichlid World column (thank you TFH!), I looked around the fish room and realized that I had fewer cichlids than I thought I did. When I remodelled the fish room last Summer I added some larger tanks and obtained some new colonies of cichlids to work with. I took on the project thinking that I would tell the story of my ‘rediscovery’ of cichlids. For example, until last summer it had been nearly 15 years since I had kept a cichlid from Lake Tanganyika, and 25 years since having Oscars. I have tangs and Oscars now, and am enjoying them a lot.

Crazygar: Ted, you have some announcements you’d like to make before finishing this interview, the floor is yours to do so,

tjudy: [color=red]I want to plug a few events happening this year and encourage people to attend. Mike Hellweg and I will be presenting our team-talk on the Breeder’s Challenge at three shows this year: The North East Council Convention (March 25-27), the Minnesota Aquarium Society show (April 9-10) and at the Circle City Aquarium Society Fall workshop (Indianapolis, Sept. 24-25). Mike and I have decided that we will do talks about the contest only when we can be together, which means the presentation will be rare. Thank you to these clubs for making it possible for Mike and I to be at the same event. The ACA’s annual convention is being hosted by the Capital Cichlid Association in Washington D. C. the week of July 21-24. This event is the life blood of the ACA, and every year thousands of dollars are raised at the convention that support the ACA’s conservation projects. Plus it is an absolute blast with great speakers, a huge show, tons of vendors and lots and lots of fish to buy. Don’t miss it!
The Federation of Texas

tjudy: The Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies is holding the first ever CARES convention in conjunction with their annual show. It is being hosted by the Hill Country Cichlid Association in San Antonio the weekend of November 4-6. The speaker line up is STELLAR… including some experts in the field of freshwater ichthyology and conservation who rarely give presentations at aquarium society events. This is an important event, especially in these times when people in our government want to label our hobby as a danger to our environment. We need to show that we truly care about conservation issues. Attending the FOTAS show in November will help send that message.

tjudy: No.. that last paste was too long.

Crazygar: ROFL

Crazygar: 1040 character limit my friend.

Crazygar: Should have remembered that as well.. getting forgetful in my age.

Crazygar: As we close on the end of the Interview, I would like to thank Ted Judy for taking the time to answer these questions that have been burning in our minds since the closure of the contest and joining the Writing Staff at TFH. I have one final question, and it’s totally random, are you ready?

tjudy: sure

Crazygar: Ok, when doing up your pants, do you button then zip or zip then button?

tjudy: button fly….

freshfish: [i knew it was going to be something like that]

Crazygar: ROFL

Crazygar: Thanks Freshy

Crazygar: Though I often forget the Zip part…

tjudy: … that or a kilt

Crazygar: ….oh Ted has been talking to Freshfish…

freshfish: LOL

Crazygar: On behalf of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, the people whom have shown up for this event this evening, we’d like to thank you for your dedication and furtherance of this hobby. Your efforts and dedication to the hobby are truly inspiring Ted.

tjudy: Thank you, and you are welcome

Crazygar: At this point, we’ll have an open Forum where you can ask Ted some questions in turn, please respect the question being asked by not typing until your turn. A transcript of this chat will be up shortly within the TFH Forum and TFH Magazine Website shortly. Thanks and Ted, I turn the floor to you for some questions. Remember, at 7pm (TFH Standard Time), the interview session concludes…Bettababy, you are first up…

2rivers: Ill be addin more leaves and branches to my killi tanks. thanx Ted

Chris_Walker: cool….ted…can I ask you one?

tjudy: Bettababy asked a question about angels earlier… coupd you post it agian please BettaBaby?

bettababy: i just have my original questions about spawning angelfish that i asked earlier

tjudy: You are next Chris

bettababy: yes, let me scroll back

bettababy: i have 2 pairs of spawning angelfish, still have not “gotten it right” over the past yr they’ve been spawning… have had free swimmers twice but the parent fish continue to eat the fry, any suggestions? also, any idea of cause of premature hatching of angelfish eggs?

tjudy: Preamature hatching… what is it you are seeing that indicates that the fry are premature?

bettababy: hatching within 24 hrs of eggs being laid, fry not moving around much

bettababy: and of course parents eating them right away

aclockworkorange: I would also like to ask a question… is there some sort of system for “getting in line?”

Crazygar: Chris is next then yourself.

Chris_Walker: cool

tjudy: Maybe the temperature is too high. When I was raising a lot of angels I would keep the temps in the 73-75 range. As far as the parents eating the fry goes… they may be inexperienced, or there is somethign wrong with the fry

tjudy: Bad genetics maybe.

bettababy: temp ranges from 74 – 76

tjudy: I would try artificially rasing fry once to see if they do ok. If they do, then the problem is the parents.

bettababy: ok, tyvm

Crazygar: Thanks Bettababy, Chris…

bettababy: i am waiting for the new wigglers to go free swimming before taking them

tjudy: You can remove them while they are eggs and place them over a bubbler. THey will hatch just fine if they are healthy

Chris_Walker: Ted….if you do not mind me asking. What is the tank count in your fish room and would it be imposing on asking how much your monthly electric bill in…I am in western NY and have a 45 tank fish room…most are 55g and 125g tanks with a few 75g and 90g…do you have heaters in all of your tanks?

Chris_Walker: bill is..correction

Chris_Walker:

http://www.cichlids.com/browse/user/chr … alker.html

here are photos of my fish (proud of them)

Chris_Walker: but the electric cost is killing me

tjudy: I have 62 aquariums in my fish room, and a few more around the house. My electrical bill is manageable, but I do not know what portion belongs to the fish room. I set it up when we bought the house, so I have no baseline.

Hurriken: Do you do anything to try saving money in this area?

Crazygar: Ok next question goes to Aclockworkorange then ILuvMyGoldBarb… Thanks Chris.

Chris_Walker: I just saw your article on your page regarding electric management….I have not read it yet but …thanks for answering

Chris_Walker: and i will check it out…hope ti learn something from your exp..

aclockworkorange: Ted, I know you are very well known for your large collection of fish and tanks… but if for some reason you could only keep one or two tanks on a hobbyist level, what would size would they be and what would you stock them with?

Crazygar: Nice one…

tjudy: I heat the room rather than the tanks, and reduce evaporation as much as possible. I also leave teh lights off a lot. It was pointed out to me a couple days ago by a very good and meticulous aquarist that the cost of energy is about $1 per watt per year if the item is running 100% of the time. So a 100 watt linear piston pump costs about $100/year to run.

Chris_Walker: awesome info…thanks!

tjudy: One or two tanks… hmm… Both would be large, at least 135 gallons. One would be a SA community planted tank, and the other a semi-aggressive West Africa tank with cichlids, catfish and tatras.

aclockworkorange: Any particular species?

Hurriken: place me in line Gary

SeattleJD: I would like to ask a question as well, if Ted has time

tjudy: SA tank would have apistos and corydoras for sure. Probably lots of various tetras. WA woudl have Pelvicachromis of some sort, a peaceful red jewel and as many different tetras as I can find.

tjudy: We have at least an hour.

Crazygar: Thanks Aclockworkorange. Next is ILuvMyGoldBarb and then Hurriken!

Crazygar: ROFL

ILuvMyGoldBarb: Ted, with your great success in spawning FW species, have you ever considered trying your hand at spawning some marine species such as the Dwarf Angels?

tjudy: Back in the late 80′s I was breeding three clownfish and yellow-headed jawfish. I would like to get back into marine tanks, but I know if I do I will go crazy with all the options. Especially with corals. Someday….

ILuvMyGoldBarb: It would be great for the hobby. With the number of species being captive bred now it sure would help. do you currently keep any marine tanks?

tjudy: Not at the moment, but they are in the plans for the near future. Probably August

ILuvMyGoldBarb: Very nice.

ILuvMyGoldBarb: Thanks for your time

Crazygar: Thanks ILuvMyGoldBarb (your name is hard to type…) now we have Hurriken!

Hurriken: one sec

freshfish: one

Hurriken: Cyprochromis Leptosoma: I do quite well breeding them but from time to time I end up killing of some. It is always right after a water change and I can’t figure out why. I will change the water ten times and the eleventh they will die. I have gone to smaller water changes and try to match water temp. But I’m still nervous when I clean the tanks. Any advice here?

tjudy: Do you add salts after a water change?

tjudy: Are you filling from the tap?

Hurriken: Never use salt

Hurriken: always tap and I add Prime

Hurriken: It always seems to be the yellow tails too

freshfish: [out of several different species mixed in the tank, right Ken?]

tjudy: Ok… water chemistry is a tricky thing. Whenever two waters of different chemistry are mixed there is a period of time when some of the chemical reactions that are occurring produce temporary toxins. Cyps are, in my experience, very sensitive to minute changes. Tap water changes too… water companies do wierd unexpected things. What I do is run all my tap through prefilters….

Hurriken: It is a community but the Cyps seem much more sensitive

tjudy: I use filter canisters designed for filtering tap water for drinking that I buy at a Home Depot or equivalent…

tjudy: I put four inline from the tap…

tjudy: The first two have sediment filters… 5 micron and then 1 micron…

Chris_Walker: hmm..less stress observed?

tjudy: The next two have carbon filters….. 10 micron and then 5 micron…

tjudy: I do not use dechlorinator and do slow water changes.

freshfish: how often do you have to change the carbon?

tjudy: I have some cyps and paracyps and have not had a problem. But I have in the past, which is why I went to the prefiltered tap water system

tjudy: I change the carbon every other month.

Hurriken: OK can I ask one more?

Crazygar: Dure

tjudy: I just use the cartidges I can buy at Home Depot

Crazygar: Sure

Hurriken: I will look into that.

ScottFish: one

Hurriken: I fell in love with Cyps when I saw how they breed. Are there any species that “caught you off guard” with their breeding habits?

tjudy: WARNING… if you use this system the water in the canisters will get funky between uses. Always run the tap into a sink for a few minutes first.

Hurriken: noted

ILuvMyGoldBarb: can I get another one in?

Crazygar: Hold on please, Ted is not done answering this question. After you may have your turn

aclockworkorange: Well since we’re all asking to get more questions in…

tjudy: I have had a few species that I could not find anything about that I had to figure out how to breed… but most species there is info out there. As far as Tanganyikans go, I once kept Gnathochromis for years without any breeding…. until I gave them a cave!

SeattleJD: i’m still in line too, right, Crazygar?

tjudy: next…

Hurriken: It’s funny how that happens! It took me 5 years until my A. Comps spawned.

Crazygar: GB…

Hurriken: Thanks Ted

ILuvMyGoldBarb: While I mostly have salt in my veins, I do still have a bit of the FW bug. Is there anything that would be a good breeding project in a 2.5gal Natural planted tank?

tjudy: Betta coccina or B. rutilans would be cool. The spawn in floating caves. I use film canisters on their side. Really choke the tank with plants and use R/O water.

Crazygar: Thanks, and now Aclockworkorange…

ILuvMyGoldBarb: thanks.

ScottFish: (Seattle JD is next Gary)

tjudy: Another cool fish, if you can locate some, are the Danionella species. Smallest vertebraes in the world, and will self populate a planted tank.

N2Biomes: May I please get in line too?

freshfish: smelt- we’re in the middle of a question/answer with Ted Judy- if you’d like to get in line to ask a question, we’re taking turns

aclockworkorange: I know you regularly deal with new species to the hobby… is there anything especially exciting that has become available recently you are particularly excited about? Either through your own collecting or just in general?

aclockworkorange: I said excited twice…

freshfish: [seattle hang on, we'll get your question in here soon]

tjudy: I am really excited about the Enaecampus ansorgii, freshwater pipefish, I brought back from Gabon. They have been around before, but are not commercially exported. The freshwater pipe that Mike Hellweg has bred is a different species with much smaller fry. Two of the males I collected were gravid, and released healthy fry. And they were large enough to eat brine….

aclockworkorange: So they breed like saltwater seahorses?

tjudy: I hope I will be able to spawn the adults, and get the species established in the hobby. It is really cool. THere is a video blob that shows them on

http://www.tedsfishroom.com

tjudy: Yes, pipefgish and seahroses are in the same family

aclockworkorange: Yes, I knew that, but never thought that about pipefish breeding though… I have seen one species available locally. Thanks.

Crazygar: Now that is interesting! Thanks Aclockworkorange! Good question… Next is Seattle.. hopefully he`s not sleepless…

ScottFish: (yuck)

SeattleJD: Still awake, but not sleepless. ;-) Ted, you said earlier that you were enjoying fishkeeping more now that you were not involved in the retail side. Is your current job completely unrelated to tropical fish? Or are you earning some/all of your income through tropical fish-related work (just not the retail side)?

tjudy: I am a kept man… I was a teacher for 13 years, then quit when we moved here. I keep the house. My fishroom does not really pay for itself. Thanks to TFH I can cover some of the bills by writing, and on a rare occasion I will sell some fish. Very rare. Usually I give them away to clubs that host me as a speaker. Every now and then a company will use my photos for a product label and pay me well, but I think that they are just being nice to me for helping them out with some free consulting.

N2Biomes: Ted, have you ever bred plecos, or whiptail cats, or oddballs such as gobies/gudgeons?

N2Biomes: sorry….

Crazygar: Thanks ok..

SeattleJD: Thanks, Ted. I appreciate your taking the time for this chat!

Crazygar: Thanks, and now N2Biomes…

bettababy: can i get in line again plz?

N2Biomes: Well, I was too quick on the trigger LOL

Crazygar: You are up N2Biomes…

tjudy: Some of all those, many of none. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to purchase expensive fish, so L-number plecos are rarely in my fish room. I have bred a few whiptails. Severa’ gobies/gudgeons though… they are fun to work with.

N2Biomes: I’ve been having fun with them, have some gobie and whippie spawns

tjudy: Other oddballs I like to work with are loaches, eels and ctenopoma

N2Biomes: and I’m always looking for more experienced breeders’ info

tjudy: I have bred AFrican butterflies a few times (Pantodon buccholzi)… fun fish

N2Biomes: Thanks Ted

Crazygar: Thank you N2Biomes for that question. Does anyone have any other questions

aclockworkorange: Um, I could come up with a few

tjudy: I think Bettababy asked for another question

Crazygar: Ok, Bettababy…

bettababy: yes, i did, thank u… what can u suggest for someone to outlet the spawns when someone beats them to the local market? i don’t have any local fish clubs to work with and am swamped with 500+ geophagus fry right now

bettababy: and the parents have a new spawn about to hatch this week…

tjudy: That is a tough question. One of the hardest things to do is find homes for fish, especially if the species is not something that the mainstream consumer is going to buy…

bettababy: these are geophagus iporangensis, not common to this area til recently

tjudy: THere are are few species that will always move well in any well-populated area… angels, cories, bristle-nose plecos….

tjudy: Rare fish, like you Geos, have a very specialized market, and there is just not much demand.

bettababy: i gave up on some of those when i got stuck with 300+ mollies all of a sudden

tjudy: My advice is A) learn to ship fish… that expands your market. THere are places in the USA with none of that species, and they want them.

bettababy: what would you do with them?

bettababy: i know “how” to ship, but with shipping rates so high, i am struggling to find buyers who can afford shipping costs

bettababy: is there a trick to cheap shipping?

tjudy: Be willing to take a much lower price and try to sell them to a wholesaler…

tjudy: C ) Reduce the amount you raise. Let the fry stay with the parents… forever. That will slow them down.

bettababy: not sure how to find contact info for the local wholesalers, i thought of that a month ago, lol

tjudy: Shipping is prety easy.. cheap it is not. Buyer pays shipping though

bettababy: my tanks aren’t big enough for 500+ fry to stay with the parents

bettababy: i had expected the parents to eat at least some of them… but that didn’t work out so well

tjudy: Not all of the fry will survive… that is the point. You can also keep the pair in a community and have a few fry predators in there

Crazygar: Ok, Bettababy, I wish to clear the floor to make room for other questions. Please and thank you.

bettababy: sorry, and thank u

tjudy: Large tetras, barbs and catfish are very good at eating fry

Crazygar: No problem.

aclockworkorange: So my turn again?

Crazygar: Yes

aclockworkorange: I know you have ties with apistogramma.com and are obviously a fan of dwarf SA cichlids… I’m currently keeping some myself and am really enjoying them. What are some of your favorite species and why? (don’t necessarily have to belong to the Apistogramma genus)

aclockworkorange: (as I’m typing this I’m watching my Dicrossus maculatus male and Laetacara dorsigera male flare at each other a bit, good stuff!)

tjudy: Dwarf is a relative term… I like West African dwarves, mainly Pelvicachromis species. Currently I am keeping three species, four types total. I used to have 25 species/varieties in my fish room. From SA, I like the A. njisseni group

aclockworkorange: I am actually keeping a pair of A. nijsseni right now, female is stunning and they have great personality… very fiesty! Thanks.

tjudy: FYI… I own apistogramma.com… but I took it over just to keep it going. My wife says it is my favorite charity

aclockworkorange: Yes, I thought that was the case but didn’t know 100%… could I ask another quick question about breeding?

Crazygar: Sure

tjudy: ok with me

Crazygar: rofl

tjudy: Then I have some questions if you are all willing to humor me…

Crazygar: Sure that works, 20min mark right now.

aclockworkorange: I recently spawned my Corydoras sp. C121s and have about two dozen fry growing out in a 20 gallon tank… Any solid food I feed has a tendency to “fungus” over on the substrate. Any tips for feeding if I’m not using something like hatched brine shrimp to avoid this?

aclockworkorange: And I’m really not overfeeding, it’s just a small amount but they are still quite small… a few weeks old.

tjudy: Feed less… if the fish are eating, and food is spoiling, then there is too much food. If the fish are not eating the food, find a different food.

aclockworkorange: Yes, I suppose it’s just learning a balance, as I don’t want them to go hungry and I don’t want to overfeed… thanks for all your answers.

Crazygar: Is that it, as Ted wishes to ask us some questions. Thanks!

tjudy: If the fish are not eating it all, then there is too much food. It is a tough balance. The food has to have a enough density for the fish to find it, but little enough not to go to waste….

tjudy: Live foods help. I like microworms and grindal worms for cory babies.

tjudy: They will live a long time on the bottom…

tjudy: If that is not possible, confine the fry into a smaller space so it is easier for them to find the food. You will need to do more water changes.

aclockworkorange: Thank you for your response… please don’t spend any more time on me I’m interested to hear your questions!

tjudy: OK… Please respond with a :D if there is a general (meaning non specialized… like a killie or cichlid only) aquarium club in your area.

aclockworkorange: :D

Crazygar: :D

djtrfish: :D

ScottFish: :D

ilroost: :D

SeattleJD: :D

N2Biomes: :D

vman: :D

smelt1234: :D

Chris_Walker: :D

bettababy: seeing all those smiles makes me jealous, wish there was one closer to me, lol

FredO: :D

Crazygar: FredO and I share the same Club.

ChatBot: Online Users: AQUASAUR, AlgaeBeater, BillTee, Chris_Walker, Cpt_NAPA, Crazygar, FredO, Hurriken,ILuvMyGoldBarb, N2Biomes, Pasionis, ScottFish, SeattleJD, TFH_Blake, aclockworkorange, bettababy, djtrfish, freshfish, ilroost, smelt1234,tfh_shari, tjudy, twfish, vman

Crazygar: Next question Ted…

tjudy: Even if you are not a member of that club, I would like to know if there is one nearby you…

aclockworkorange: Greater Portland Aquarium Society for me… You should come visit! I believe our city also has the largest freshwater wholesale fish operation on the west coast with The Cichlid Exchange/The Wet Spot!

ScottFish: nothing near by me

bettababy: me either

tjudy: Anyone adding a :D ?

N2Biomes: Would you like to know our club names?

tjudy: Yes, but for what I am doing here it is not necessary… please bear with me.

tjudy: I count 11 . Of those 11, please respond with a  if you are a member of that club.

Crazygar: :D

N2Biomes: :D

djtrfish: :D

ilroost: :D

SeattleJD: :D

FredO: :D

smelt1234: :D

Chris_Walker: i know have the members but I am not one….

Chris_Walker: er half the members

Cpt_NAPA: I haven’t found an aquarium society around sw ohio short of cinncinati. It would be nice to find a club/society around Dayton ohio

tjudy: Ok… so of the 24 people in chat (including me), 11 (just less than 50%) have a club near them. Of those 11, seven (just over 50%) are members…

tjudy: So I would like to hear from the four of you who have a club near you and you are not a member. Why not? One reason is all I need. This is not a guilt trip, it is sincere market research. I talk to clubs a LOT, and we are constantly trying to figure out what attracts, or does not attract, members..

tjudy: Cpt_NAPA… how close are you to the GCAS?

aclockworkorange: Mine meets once a month at a time I cannot attend… I am a member of another active fish website (don’t know if we are “allowed to mention the name) and we have our own meetups frequently in town and help each other set up tanks and trade fish.

tjudy: aclockworkorange… that is what I think is the most common reason people are not members of clubs… the schedule of the meeting.

vman: mainly a time issue

Chris_Walker: meetings are a 25 mile drive for me….yes agree

aclockworkorange: Also, I think some of the “politics” (just from talking to other local fish keepers) of our particular club has put some people off from it… very “clique-y”

aclockworkorange: but I have not personally experienced that

Chris_Walker: the time is takes to drive 2 and from…would be as long as the meeting is

tjudy: 25 miles!!!! I drive 110 for Milwaukee A. S.

tjudy: But that is a personal choice…. and I am doing less of it with the current gas prices.

Chris_Walker: and you have more tanks!…I will get off my but

tjudy: THere is an auction tomorow and I am not going

Cpt_NAPA: back in the late 1970′s I was the president of the Stanaslaus Aquarium society that met in Modesto Calif. I am currently in Piqua Ohio and it is about 60 miles from where thw GCAS meets.

N2Biomes: If I may ask, why not start a more local club?

Hurriken: I live in Elgin, IL, The GCCA is nearby! I am so fortunate

bettababy: how to start a club in a small town without a lot of fish people?

vman: ok aclockworkorange since you said that the politics are a problem in my area too …

Crazygar: I would like to thank all whom attended this evening with the live chat with Ted Judy. I hope it’s been as informative as I have found it and I am glad you all made the effort to attend. Thanks and a good and safe evening to all. I see things are continuing, as long as Ted wishes. Thanks again for a wonderful evening. Ted, you`ve been a great test subject.

ilroost: thank you sir i learned alot

tjudy: aclockworkorange… I hear you. Clubs can get that way

bettababy: thank you ted and crazygar for putting up with me, lol… lots of great info ted!

Hurriken: Thanks Ted.

tjudy: I a ok for a while.. not dinner time yet

SeattleJD: yes, thanks again, Ted

N2Biomes: Thanks, Ted and TFH for a great evening

Hurriken: Don’t thank gar his head will swell up

tjudy: Starting a club….

aclockworkorange: Really enjoyed this afternoon! Thanks so much

bettababy: thats ok as long as it doesn’t explode

vman: Thanks Ted & TFH !

tjudy: A club can be large or small. Some of the best I have been involved with meet in people

tjudy: meet in homes once a month just to chat and socialize

bettababy: how to find local fish friends in a small town full of “strangers”?

tjudy: You are all welcome…. thank you Gary and TFH for organizing the event

tjudy: Do you have a pet shop?

bettababy: hahaha, i wouldn’t quite call it that

aclockworkorange: One of the most enjoyable and unexpected parts of this hobby has been meeting other people that are involved, either through sales and trades on craigslist or other community websites

bettababy: more a dirty little hole in the wall with 10 tanks and no fish knowledge

Crazygar: Not a problem, it was a little awkward at first, but I things progressed nicely.

aclockworkorange: stuff like that

Chris_Walker: this is great!…thanks folks for settign it up

ScottFish: Hope everyone continues to visit our Forum!

tjudy: aclockworkorange…. I used to live in a small town of 300 people. There were 25 aquariums in town, and 20 of them were mine. The other five people got teir tanks from me…

N2Biomes: you could try to start a local online fish forum

Hurriken: I love meeting fish people. My non-fish friends think I’m nuts

aclockworkorange: I moved from california to portland last summer, and met what is now my best friend up here through fishkeeping. If you aren’t involved with other local hobbyists I think you could be missing out on a very enjoyable aspect of this hobby

bettababy: hurriken my non fish friends “tolerate” me, lol

Cpt_NAPA: I got in late but thanks I went to my new LFS today and purchased staples and a new glass top to try to keep them profitable. Anyone around Piqua Ohio that is intrested in fish give me a pm.

tjudy: Portland has a LOT of aquarists!

Hurriken: Hey Ted, have you ever brought an unsuspecting non-fish person into your fish room? I’d love to see the reaction.

Crazygar: I unfortunately have to leave. But before I do, I would once again like to thank you all for showing up! I appreciate the support you`ve shown Ted tonight. Blake and Shari, thanks for the quick action to my slow reaction. Next time… Good night all.

tjudy: One of the best stores too!

N2Biomes: nite, crazygar and TYFM

tjudy: Hurriken… they come over all the time. Lots of local friends and their kids.

Hurriken: Bye Gary

tjudy: Thanks Gary

Crazygar: Your welcome, good evening.

—Transcript end. There was a lively discussion well after I left, and if requested, I can post it as well. Thanks again!

Gary

Posted in Breeder's Challenge by TFH Magazine on March 16th, 2011 at 12:38 pm.

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