Re: NANFA-- swimming in troubled waters

Christopher Scharpf (
Wed, 13 Sep 2000 23:51:44 -0400

re: Goldstein's book, Dave Neely has written:

>He then turns around and excludes some taxa for being "uninteresting"
>(lampreys, mooneyes, smelts, trouts/chars, eels, temperate basses, mullets,
>herrings, snooks, surfperches, and mojarras" Come on, like a mimic shiner is
>more interesting than an american eel? What's Bob been smoking?

I was a bit flabbergasted by the omission of lampreys and eels...and the
inclusion of paddlefish and sturgeons. Lampreys and eels are easy to keep in the
aquarium (I recently sold 2 articles on them to TFH magazine). While sturgeons
and paddlefish, IMO, are not fishes for the home aquarium because of their size.

Actually, Goldstein's gripe about eels is that they always escape. True, but
there are ways around it. shameless plug --> See my TFH article when it comes
out. :-)

>His statement about not releasing captive fishes back into the wild is weak.
>It needs to be run along the top of every page. In bold. All caps.

This is a problem with every native-fish-in-aquarium book, including Schleser's
and Quinn's.

>Multiple endangered taxa are presented in the body of the text without any
>mention of their status (oh, except for that incomplete table in the front).

I'm not defending Goldstein, but his original ms. was much longer and contained
much more information. The editors and TAMU Press chopped and compressed in
order to get it to a manageable size. I know from experience that when that
happens, errors and oversights abound.

>on Oregonichthys crameri, an endangered species...
>"provide a 5- to 10- gallon aquarium with a sand bottom, sponge filter,
>abundant Vesicularia or Nitella..."
>So are we to assume that the author has already done this? Ahhh, he just
>pulled it out of his nether regions with a LOT of the other breeding
>information presented in here...

Wasn't the spawning of this fish in the aquarium documented by Markle et al in
Copeia? I believe Goldstein was simply recommending conditions that would be
optimal should an aquarist -- including professional aquarists -- ever be
allowed to touch this fish. However, the way the material is presented makes it
sound tried-and-true definitive.

Another example of this is his account of the aquarium spawning of shovelnose
sturgeon, which has never been spawned in aquaria. (Hatcheries, yes, but
aquaria, no.) I asked Goldstein about this and he said that they are his
SUGGESTIONS for a possible aquarium spawning. But the way it is written (or
mangled by his editors), one gets the impression that Scaphirhynchus have been
bred in the manner he prescribes.

>He elevates several taxa by mentioning them in the book, but does not
>provide diagnoses or descriptions(ie., Notropis micropteryx). This is a
>major no-no in the scientific community.

Dave, is this name still available after Goldstein's slip? And didn't this
happen before, in Sigler & Sigler's FISHES OF THE GREAT BASIN book, in which
salmonid names provisionally used by Behnke suddenly found their way into print?

>It is often contradictory, incomplete, or incorrect.

Dave, I'd be interested in learning what some of the other errors are.
Dr. Golstein has agreed to print errata and addenda in a future American
Currents. But he needs careful readers to point some of these mistakes out to


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