To begin the New Year, RAS founding member Neil Frank will present his experiences on a recent collecting field trip to South America, more specifically, Uruguay. His talk will explore the unique flora and fauna of this untouched country plus highlight some of the logistics in getting there and back, plus what to expect once you get there. We hope you can join us!
As is tradition, the December meeting celebrates the season, our good fortune, our members, and their accomplishments. We will have our annual holiday dinner in the NCSU Vet School cafeteria (a short walk down from the South Theater) one half hour earlier @ 7pm. The club will provide the main meal, drinks, and all paper products; we kindly ask anyone attending to bring a side dish (salads,veggies, desserts, etc.) to share. We will also have our board elections and hope you can join us!
In November, NCSU CVM Professor Gregory Lewbart will present a program on recent technological advances in veterinary care and medicine for our favorite pet. The ideas/techniques presented will astound you. Dr. Lewbart is also RAS’s staff sponsor to the Vet School.
This month's program will be on aquatic plants and their varied use, benefit, and selection to the home aquarist. Founding RAS member and aquatic plant expert Neil Frank will discuss all this and more, including the introduction of the Society's new Horticultural Awards Program (or HAP), which will be run in a manner similar to our existing Breeders Award Program.
In September, RAS Treasurer and BAP Chairman Larry Jinks will present an informative talk on how to breed all sorts of fish popular in the hobby. As a master breeder with hundreds of species under his aqua belt, Larry has the knowledge and experience to address almost any problem or concern encountered by the modern aquarist. His dossier speaks for itself. We hope to see you there!
In August, Dan Porter, biology teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School, will speak to us on what’s happening to the world’s coral reefs. Dan received his Masters Degree in Biology from NCSU and has been involved in marine science education, restoration, and research projects for the past 25 years. He began the “Save the Sound” project in Connecticut in 1988, and has since operated a costal restoration business, run a Raleigh/Wake commission on storm water, and researched trout development for Trout’s Unlimited. His talk will focus on the root causes for degradation, anthropogenic impacts, bleaching, and artificial restoration of this fragile ecosystem. We hope to see you there!
The president of the Raleigh Aquarium Society, Frank Montillo, passed away on Monday, June 6, 2016. As his grandson, I spent time working with him on his many fishtanks. After his family, Frank’s fishtanks were his pride and joy. About 50 years ago, my grandfather’s wife, Charlotte, suggested that he purchase a fishtank for their apartment. Little did she know that this suggestion would turn into a lifelong hobby and that he would eventually end up with 58 tanks. Whenever I went to my grandparent’s house, I could always expect to find my grandfather (or Nonno and my brother and I would call him) in his fishroom in the basement. He was constantly doing water changes and checking his fishtanks for new fry or eggs in the breeding mops. In the last few years, I have come to realize hat he didn’t view this as work; he loved to work on his fishtanks and saw it as a fun activity rather than a chore. My best memories of my grandfather are the nights when i would go over to his house or my grandparents would come over for dinner and we would have long conversations about what was going on in my life with academics or sports and what he had going on in his life with his many hobbies. The Raleigh Aquarium Society meant a lot to my grandfather and every time I visited, he always had a new story to tell me. He even managed to get my brother and I involved n the hobby by giving us each our first fishtanks and instructing us on how to breed livebearers. Because he was a man who touched and inspired so many of our lives he will b greatly missed, but it is easier to find consolation In my great memories of him than to grieve sorrowfully over the loss of a great friend.
Joey Taffe, RAS member
In July, longtime RAS member and former webmaster Walter Wu will tell us all about his favorite fish, the discus! You may have noticed that our RAS logo prominently displays 4 discuses on the emblem, and that’s because Walter designed it. Walter will tell us some of the many fascinating aspects of this popular Asian species, including details about selection, care, and breeding. We hope to see you there!
RAS will have its annual summer picnic/collecting trip/stream cleanup on Saturday June 25 starting at 11:00am. The eating venue will be different this year, as we will dine at Shelly Lake Park (also called Sertoma Park) on Shelly Lake, located near the intersection of West Millbrook and Leadmine Roads in Raleigh. The advantage of this change is that the park is free and that it borders on our section of Leadmine Creek. As always, RAS will supply the main meal, drinks, and paper products, and all we ask from attendees is to bring a side dish (salad, dessert, etc.) to share. Cost is free to members and $5 for non-members. So that we can plan food, please email us if you’re interested in attending. We’re always looking for places to go (aquariums, pet shops, conferences, restaurants), things to do (collecting trips, ark projects, community volunteering, movies), or people to meet (parties, socials, meetups). If you have any suggestions, contact Gerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In June, RAS welcomes JRAS president, Lee Shadbolt, to Raleigh. Lee is a lifetime aquarist who began by counting fish and cleaning tanks and filters for his father who was an angelfish breeder. Starting at age 12, he worked 7 years for his family’s tropical fish wholesale store and now currently maintains a small fishroom with discus & angels. He is also a member of PVAS and CCA. Lee’s presentation will be on angelfish, their history in the hobby, a background on breeding, and an overview of their genetics. The breeding discussion will be informative for those already keeping angels, while the genetics discussion will be applicable for other species.
In May, Derek Hoeven, manager of operations at the Atlantic Nursery in northwest Raleigh, will speak to us on all things ponds. Building, stocking, maintaining, winterizing - you name it; Derek will take us through it. For those considering starting a backyard pond this season, this is a must see. We hope you can join us!
Several members of our Society club are very knowledgeable in many aspects of the home aquatics hobby. In April, we will gather some of them together in one place in front of the South Theater to address any questions you may have on fish, plants, invertebrates, equipment, supplies, or anything else you may wish to discuss.
In March, RAS member and 2014 BAP “Breeder of the Year” recipient, Elvin Eaton, will discuss the many interesting aspects of cichlids, one of our favorite fish families. Elvin will cover the selection, care, and breeding of the more common types, with a dabbling on the more esoteric varieties as well. In recent years, cichlids have become very popular in our Society, showing up at all our raffles and auctions. Come learn more about these fascinating fish. Hope to see you there!
In February, RAS President Frank Montillo will discuss the Breeder’s Award Program (BAP) and what it means to the club and the hobby. He will answer any questions on how to participate and profit from the activity, plus he will discuss the potential new Grower’s Award Program (GAP) for our plant lovers and a super secret P4 group.
In January, RAS Treasurer and Master Breeder Emeritus Larry Jinks will start the New Year with an informative talk on how to breed, raise, and care for some of our most popular killifish. This presentation is based on a program originally given by Rich Pierce (a recent workshop speaker). Larry has spawned over 700 fish species, many of them show-worthy, and has a world class fish room in his house which he has shown to many of our members. He is a great source of information to anyone in the hobby who may need some extra advice on anything aquatic. We hope to see you there!
December 2015 Program (Thursday, 12/3/15 @ 7:00pm) - “Holiday Party and BAP Awards”:
As is our tradition, December is the month to celebrate the season and recognize the members of our Society who have distinguished themselves during the past year by taking on the challenges required to breed tropical fish from all over the globe. We will meet in the NCSU CVM cafeteria (down the hall from our regular meeting place - look for the signs) and RAS will provide a great meal with all the fixin’s (including drinks). All we ask of folks attending is to bring a side dish to share (salad, veggies, dessert, etc.). And don’t’ forget – this meeting starts @ 7:00pm. Hope to see you there!
In December, we look back over the year to assess what RAS has accomplished. Again, in 2015, RAS held 12 regular monthly meetings (some on Saturdays) with speakers coming from near and far to talk about specific fish, plants, public policy, and travel reports. Each month saw a second (or third) activity of some kind, whether it be a workshop, auction, field trip, stream cleanup, aquarium visit, or meal. We grew the club membership by abut 10%, and now have nearly 100 followers on FACEBOOK and nearly 200 followers on MEETUP. Capital property of the club now contains A/V equipment, computers, and aquarium metering equipment which we can loan out to our members. We were again featured on local television, and gained other positive publicity through facilities based at the NCSU Vet School. We are fortunate to have such a strong and knowledgeable membership who willingly volunteer and help grow our club. Thanks to all that made this happen. We have more in store for 2016. Stay tuned for future developments and announcement.
We want to remind our members that in January of 2016 (1/7/16 to be exact), the club will have its annual elections of the 4 board positions (President, Vic-President, Secretary and Treasurer). All existing officers have expressed their intention to run for another annual term, but this is your chance to run for office if you so desire. We, as any organization, benefits from the diversity and dynamics of new leadership which can be found all over the society. If you are considering running for any office, please send a note to the Club Secretary at our website. Also, we will be moving our elections to December starting in 2016.
In November, RAS will have its first “miniworkshop” The regular monthly meeting will be on a Saturday (November 14) followed by our big semiannual auction on Sunday (November 15).
Saturday meeting will be held at our usual location in the NCSU Veterinary School (1pm).
November 2015 Program (Saturday, 11/14/15 @ 1:00pm) – “All About Aquarium Plants”
Longtime RAS member and Workshop Chairman Chris Smith will speak to us on the selection, care, and propagation of some commonly used freshwater plants that you can keep in your quarium or pond. Come learn more about the fascinating and beautiful varieties of plants you can easily keep. Aquatic plants are the fastest growing segment of the home aquatics hobby and this has been evidenced firsthand in RAS by the recent uptick in freshwater plants that are available at our monthly and semiannual auctions. RAS will also be looking to form a “Growers Awards Program” (GAP) group in the club during 2016 if we see continued interest. The GAP will work in a manner similar to the existing BAP, and, just like the BAP, there are GAP chapters throughout the country. And don’t’ forget – this is a Saturday meeting. Hope to see you there!
As per our agreement with the City of Raleigh, RAS will have its second 2015 Adopt-A-Stream cleanup of Leadmine Creek on Saturday, October 10th @ noon. As usual, we will meet at the creek on the corner of Leadmine Road and Longwood Drive in Raleigh, 2 miles north of Crabtree Valley Mall. We had an extensive cleanup in the Spring, so this one shouldn’t take too long. The city supplies us with gloves, bags, and vests; all we supply is the labor.
In October, the State Director of the North Carolina Aquariums, David Griffin, will speak to us on the renovation project at the Roanoke Island Aquarium, one of the 3 major public North Carolina aquariums along our coast. David is a graduate of both UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU (and also FSU) where he had earned degrees in Zoology and Oceanography. This is an exciting project -come hear what it takes to manage some REALLY BIG tanks. We hope you can join us!
Bob Majors, Vice President of the Atlanta Area Aquarists Association, will visit RAS in September. Bob has been keeping fish for 50 years and has been a fixture at the AKA (killies), IBC (bettas), and the Cichlasoma Study group. He will present a program on Wild Bettas produced by the IBC, but with some extras from many years of keeping and breeding these fascinating fish. We’ll explore how to keep, feed, and breed the types of bettas you’ll never see in stores. He will also bring a few special fish for our auction. We hope you can join us!