ACA News, Volume 3, #4

ACA News



Volume 3, #4 April 2017 


Editor: Alan R. De Angelo

[email protected]


Greetings and April showers!

“Lake Malawi is dying!”

What an ominous subtitle. But that is exactly what the October 2016 Cichlid News article: ‘Update on the Stuart M. Grant Cichlid Conservation Fund’ by Ad Konings stated. The lake level is down, utaka are greatly diminished and the plankton blooms are unchecked, the water is murky and visiblity is decreased. Low water, overfishing, fertilizer run-off, an unbalanced ecosystem at its finest. Add to that the possibility of oil drilling in or near the lake and we are going to possibly experience a very sad event. (If you are not subscribing to Cichlid News, you are missing out on a lot of great information. Go to to subscribe.)

What can the ACA do to help? Well, maybe we could topple the current regime in power and change their environmental practices but I don’t think that would fall into any of our By-Law categories or our mission statement. However, I am the ACA Chair, hmmm, maybe it’s time for a new Prop!

So, what can we do? One thing is to make sure the genetic diversification found in the lake is not lost forever through extinction. To help with this, please take a look first at the following inclusion by our ACA CARES Liason, Tom Koba and then a note by the indefatigable Claudia Dickinson about the CARES program.



my name is Tom Koba, in February I was appointed by the BOT as the ACA CARES Liaison. I’ve been a long-time cichlid keeper and breeder for more than four decades.

CARES and You!

Earlier this year, the new CARES website, located at was launched. As we slowly but surely involve ourselves more intimately in the program, there are a few things that I want to make as clear as possible about the American Cichlid Association (ACA), its relationship with the program, and how you, the ACA membership, can fully participate.

CARES Website

To start, I suggest navigating and exploring the new CARES website to get an idea of the scope of resources available, the latest species list, as well as some success stories and information available in the article/news releases on the site. There is also some basic information on CARES in general, if you are not familiar with the program or its background and intents. An item worthy of special note is the “CARES Exchange” newsletter (found under “A WARM WELCOME” menu), which provides a list of fish available to the CARES list, and lots of other information on resources and events.

There is also a summary of the CARES program along with brief instructions on how to register a species on the ACA site under the “Conservation” menu as “CARES“.

CARES Liaison

As CARES Liaison, I would like to encourage participation by all ACA members, and provide any help you may need with selecting, obtaining, and registering fish. My initial efforts on behalf of the ACA will be to expand the general awareness and knowledge of the program, as well as expanding ACA member participation in the program. Future steps will expand into additional CARES targeted conservation and educational programs.

Participation Goal and Picking “Your” Species

My “home” club, NECA (New England Cichlid Association), is a CARES affiliate organization, and we have a process underway to involve as many of our members as possible in this worthwhile endeavor with a goal of 100% participation of all members with at least one species. Initial participation was slower than expected, however momentum is building. The goal for the ACA, as an official CARES affiliate organization focusing on cichlids, is to get as broad a selection of cichlid species incorporated in our efforts as possible. As such, I’m asking each ACA member, who is not already participating with registered fish in the CARES program, to select at least one species that will be their own maintenance project.

I will work with CARES to maintain a database of every species we, in the ACA, are choosing for our first species, as well as all additional or previously registered species (see further details below regarding past registrations). If the species you select is not easily obtained, I will help to locate and obtain it for you through a fairly extensive network of contacts, if it is truly available. You are also encouraged to use the CARES Exchange newsletter as a resource in this area.

CARES Species Registration

When you have identified and obtained the species you plan to maintain, you will need to register them with CARES. The instructions are on the site and on the ACA page noted above, however here is a summary of how to do so:
Go the website
click on the rather small envelope link on the lower right corner of the home page, and then
fill out the form you find there.

There is also a registration link under the MEMBERS menu as “SPECIES IDENTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION”.

You will need to provide your name, your email address (this is important in order to ensure you receive confirmations, etc), your CARES affiliate organization name, the species you are keeping, where you got it, the date, and whether or not you have a breeding group. And, of course, you need to send a photo of the species. A male is most likely to be the best choice, and although it doesn’t have to be professional, it should show a side view of the fish, allowing the CARES specialist to identify the fish, making sure it is what you believe it to be. If you can’t get a decent photo, taking a short video clip or cutting some stills from a video are other options.

Claudia Dickinson is more than happy to help you in this area as needed. She welcomes video clips when it is easier for the hobbyist; they can be sent via a Facebook message to Claudia Dickinson or emailed to [email protected]. Once the submission is complete, everything happens “automatically”, and you will receive confirmations of the submission and its final determination for acceptance.

Once your registration is accepted by CARES, we will add it to the ACA participation database.

Past CARES Registrations

Several years ago, there was quite an extensive database of CARES species registered with the ACA. In order to “refresh” this data, I am requesting that all current ACA members who have registered a CARES species with the ACA in the past, contact me to update and confirm the status of those species such that we can “grandfather” them into the database. We would like to know whether or not you are still keeping those species, as well as any other updates you can provide. This is an important opportunity to update status, and CARES will greatly appreciate your communication.

CARES Awards & Recognition

The ACA has one major meeting each year, the ACA Annual Convention, and it includes awards specifically with respect to CARES (there is a CARES Best of Show, for example). We consider this to be an important part of our purpose and look forward to as many participants as possible.

Closing Notes

If you have any questions at all, please contact me and I will either answer your questions or put you in contact with someone who can.

I look forward to you helping us with expanded and renewed efforts in this rewarding area.

Tom Koba,
[email protected]


A warm welcome to Tom Koba as our new ACA CARES Liaison!

Starting out with his first aquarium in 1970 at the age of 10, Tom’s fishroom now runs 30 tanks with a broad range of inhabitants. One of his great passions is maintaining conservation priority fish and he currently houses nine colonies of CARES species. Serving as Treasurer and Import Coordinator for the New England Cichlid Association and Treasurer for the Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies, Tom’s years of experience and his talents, ideas, and enthusiasm are a great asset to the hobby. We are so glad to have Tom as ACA CARES Liaison and look forward to all he has to bring to this important role!

Yesterday and Today

In 2006 upon the Board of Trustees approval, the ACA became the largest national organization to implement CARES, rolling the program out at the annual convention hosted by the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association. With immense enthusiasm and support from the membership, it wasn’t long before we had a total of 265 registered fish. Under Tom’s excellent guidance, we look forward to your CARES species registrations surpassing this number, and to you and the ACA being a united part of ensuring a positive future for conservation priority fish.

Register your CARES Fish Online

Now you can easily register your fish in CARES online directly through the CARES website. Be sure to include that you are a member of the ACA!

Grandfathered Species Registrations

If you had fish registered in the initial ACA database, please be sure to contact Tom and let him know if you are still keeping those fish so that we can grandfather your registrations into the new system.

Maintain a Fish, Make a Difference!

CARES is all about the fish and it is about hobbyists coming together in a collective effort. These fish have given so much to us, now it is our turn to give them a chance of survival rather than sitting back and allowing them to become extinct. Please join in the CARES endeavor through the ACA by selecting a species from the CARES Priority List and maintaining it in your tanks.

Thank you so much for all that you are doing! Together, we are making a difference!

Claudia Dickinson



Registered CARES priority fish Alcolapia latilabris in the aquarium of
ACA CARES Liaison Tom Koba.


Photo: Tom Koba



The ACA is continuing its financial support of the project to help preserve the cichlids of Madagascar. This is another way that we help in the world of cichlid conservation.


So, what in the heck is going on with FaceBook? When FB first appeared on the scene, the Internet was like the Wild, Wild West. I am sure that the BOT, at that time, had no idea what to make of it. After the original site was established, a prior BOT should have set some guidelines but probably felt relieved that at least someone was doing something. These guidelines and some structure, should have been set in place years ago.

No one person should “own” any entity that bears the American Cichlid Association’s name. The ACA should “own” it. The short version of what occurred is that the American Cichlid Association FB Group and Page were not under ACA control and were being run by individuals who stated, basically, that the sites were theirs, not the ACA’s. They were not giving them up. So much for altruism.

Just like you would not be able to tell the Ford Motor Company that you were using their name to run a Ford FB site, neither should another person, non-member or member, be able to do so without the ACA having control over it. The current BOT voted in favor of exercising our right to not have another person use our name, without ACA oversight, and there was only one (1) No vote.

The ACA BOT will now vote the Administrators, of the ACA site, in and/or out of that position, whatever the need be. This will ensure that the American Cichlid Association and the BOT has control over, and “ownership” of, any social media site that is using our name. What occurred was rather unfortunate, but now the ACA has control over its own FB site. It is a bit of a set-back as far as the numbers of site members go, but things are already taking off after only a few short days. Please go to the American Cichlid Association FB Group site, sign-up, and SHARE with your friends.

Please note that no one cares if you frequent the other FB sites but be certain that there is only one “official” American Cichlid Association FB Group.

We will be solidifying this stance with an addition to the By-Laws in the near future.


Tim Hovanec, Chuck Rambo and Rusty Wessel have formed a group to promote the ACA to various manufacturers and get the ACA more recognition in the aquarium business world. All three are long-time members of the ACA who have been integral parts of our association. I am looking forward to working with them in the near future as they revamp several ways we do business.


Keep sending in those awesome entries. It is amazing to me that we have so many outstanding photographers in our midst. I look forward to seeing your photos every month.

That’s all for now. April showers should bring not only May flowers but hopefully some warmer weather. Take care and I’ll be back next month.




Be sure to register for the ACA Convention in Novi, MI and get that room reserved sooner, rather than later. See you there.


The website is up and fully functional. You can now register for the convention and reserve your room online …










Just like commercial magazines, BB is now paying for original articles. If you are an author and want to know the details, please contact the Editor at [email protected].

Rates are comparable to other magazines, so please consider submitting your articles and photographs for publication in the Buntbarsche Bulletin.

NB: ACA does not assume copyright of images. In the unlikely event (images are not added to the database except with permission) of re-use in other projects, supplementary payment is guaranteed.





Goto: > Community > Photo contest.


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