Author Archives: Frank Schäfer

About Frank Schäfer

Since 1980 he has been a member of the Verein für Aquarien- und Terrarienkunde Hottonia e.V. (Hottonia Aquarium and Terrarium Society), where since 1982 he has also repeatedly been a member of the committee (Garden Curator, Editor of the society's journal, First Secretary); since 1982 a member of the Internationalen Gemeinschaft für Labyrinthfische (IGL, International Labyrinthfish Society) and since 1992 the European Anabantoid Club (EAC) as well. His first articles, on the maintenance and breeding of Puntius vittatus, Macropodus opercularis, Trionyx ferox, and Polypterus senegalus, appeared in the Hottonia-Post in 1981; his first major fish-collecting trip to the Tropics was in 1983, to Sumatra, resulting in numerous articles in the Hottonia-Post, the magazines Der Makropode and Das Aquarium; from then on regular publications in numerous aquarium magazines, both national and international. In addition for many years he has given several illustrated presentations annually at national and international conferences. He studied biology in Darmstadt from 1984-1989, leading to a Diploma in Biology with examination papers in zoology, botany, ecology, and psychology. His thesis (under Professor. Ragnar Kinzelbach) was on the topic of the host specificity of the glochidia of Anodonta anatina. He has made numerous fishing, collecting, and research trips to other European countries, Turkey, Zambia, and above all India; the focus of his research has been the freshwater ichthyofauna of the Ganges with the goal of a complete revision of the work of Francis Hamilton (1822): An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches. Edinburgh & London. He published the original scientific description of Oreichthys crenuchoides and, together with Ulrich Schliewen, that of Polypterus mokelembembe. He has made research visits to and worked for short periods in the zoological collections of London, Paris, Brussels, Tervuren, Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich. From 1996 to the present he has been editor at Aqualog and scientist responsible for fish identification at Aquarium Glaser, Rodgau. During this period he has been author or co-author of more than 20 books and more than 400 major articles, not just at Aqualog but at practically all German-language publishers in the field, as well as occasionally in international publications. Since 2009 he has been responsible for the website and Newsletter at Aquarium Glaser, with 3-5 posts per week. He remains passionate about keeping animals and plants, right across the board: aquarium (fresh water and marine), terrarium, pond keeping, and small birds. Frank Schäfer is married and has two daughters, born in 1989 and 1991.

Schools of armoured catfishes – do they really exist?

The armoured catfish of the genera Corydoras, Scleromystax, Brochis and Aspidoras are often referred to in the aquaristic literature as “swarm fish”, combined with the recommendation to always maintain at least 4-6 specimens together. In the aquarium, however, armoured catfish swim in a swarm only once in a while, are they really schooling fish?

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The smallest fishes in the world

The smallest fishes in the world are the dwarf cyprinids of the genus Paedocypris. There are three scientifically described species of these dwarfs: two from  Borneo and one from Sumatra and an offshore island. They are Paedocypris carbunculus (Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo), P. micromegethes (Sarawak, Borneo), and P. progenetica (Sumatra and Bintan). Following their discovery during the 1990s it was thought that they might even be the smallest vertebrates of all, but that honor currently belongs to the fro

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A mysterious new marine angelfish

The marine angelfishes are without doubt among the most beautiful of all marine fishes. Six species occur on the western coast of the Atlantic. The discovery there of a new species must rank as a sensation, as the area has been very well explored ichthyologically.

The six species that occur there are the Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi), the Rock Beauty (Holacanthus tricolor), the Gray Angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus), the French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru), the Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis), and the Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris). You should know that the last two species can be told apart only by their differing coloration.

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Why did fishes venture onto land? Part 2

Last time we looked at the “living fossils”, ancient fishes that breathe using lungs and have stout scales and limb-like fins or fins on stalks. None of the species in existence today displays any serious inclination to venture onto land, and hence they don’t answer the question of why at some time in the past fishes made their way ashore. Perhaps there are modern fish species that can provide an answer?

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Parauchenoglanis – how to identify bycatches (or not)

The majority of the roughly 33,400 fish species currently known to science have never yet been maintained in the aquarium. Little more is known of them than that they exist. And even that often isn’t certain, as in the course of the centuries – as is well known, our modern zoology started in 1758 with the 10th edition of Carl von Linné’s book Systema naturae (= The System of Nature) and Linné still believed in the original creation by God and the immutability of species – our view as to what actually constitutes a species has undergone frequent and fundamental changes.

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The Sun King and the reptiles

When did humans begin to keep reptiles? Of course we don’t know exactly, but crocodiles and snakes played a major role in the religion of Ancient Egypt. Crocodiles had temples of their own and so did snakes. It is probable that every type of animal maintenance was originally for religious reasons. The keeping of animals in the Stone Age, during the so-called Neolithic revolution, was undoubtedly originally influenced by religion. Otherwise why were cattle domesticated, but not bison?

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