Cichlids have been my hobby for over 40 years. But there was life before cichlids. I had my first fish tank (with Guppies) when I was 8 years old and I have never been without at least one tank since then. At the age of 20 and still living in Germany my interest turned to cichlids and I was permanently hooked. Looking for more fish and information, I joined the DCG (German Cichlid Association) in the mid 1970,s. I got involved with one of the regional chapters and started writing articles for their publication. The DCG was a very active group and where I learned a lot but also had much fun.
When I moved to Canada in 1982 I had to sell all my fish and equipment as I was unable to continue my hobby due to my new job. After things settled down a bit, the old “Fish Tank Disease” took over again. “I need another tank for my fry." and another, and another.......... I ended up wit 24 tanks inmy fish room and my main focus has been the cichlids of Lake Tanganyika, specifically the genus Tropheus. However, lately my focus has shifted to the Central and South American Cichlids. Especially the “Earth Eater's” have peeked my interest. I have also set tanks aside to keep some endangered Cichlids from different areas to help with the conservation effort. That is why I got involved with a group called C.A.R.E.S. whose goals are:
1. To bring AWARENESS to the critical situation of our fish in nature
2. To RECOGNIZE, ENCOURAGE, and offer SUPPORT to hobbyists who maintain species-at-risk
3. To SHARE data and experiences through notes, graphing, and manuscripts so that others may learn to maintain those identical, and similar species
4. To PRESERVE species-at-risk for future generations
To really enjoy a hobby, there has to be a social aspect to it. Being able to discuss your successes and failures with fellow hobbyists is one important part. The most important part however is to meet new people that have the same interests you have and make new friends. So I needed to look for an organization that not only promoted our hobby, but also included the missing social aspect. Since my main interest is with cichlids, I joined the “American Cichlid Association”. It is my opinion that we “old” hobbyists have an obligation to give something back to this beautiful hobby that has given us so much pleasure over such a long time.
I also find it very interesting to see and hear all the different reasons why people get hooked on cichlids. To me, they are just amazing to watch and to study. They really do have a "Personality". I try to offer my cichlids an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat. It is the only way to see their true behavior and character. I can sit in front of my tanks for hours and try to figure out the social structure in each particular tank and the weekly water changes are definitely a labor of love. But there is nothing more fun in this hobby then to sit with other cichlid "freaks", have a few beers and talk cichlids until the small hours of the morning. So, if somebody wants to come for a visit, feel free to do so.