ACA News, Volume 3, #12



Volume 3, #12 December 2017

Editor: Alan R. De Angelo

Contact: [email protected]

Season’s Greetings and Salutations!

Wow! The year is almost over and I have been super busy at work and home, leaving very little time for fun stuff like writing the ACA News. I had hoped to get this to you by Christmas but, alas, it was not meant to be.

Although I’m a bit late, let me start off with a big list of people who have been Nice to the ACA this year. Thank you to the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association for all of their help throughout the past few years, especially helping to set up the cichlid show at the Aquatic Experience. This is an incredible amount of work and the GCCA is a dedicated group that has always been there for the ACA when we come to Chicago. Thanks everyone!

The next Aquatic Experience is in the NE. Look for the ads that I’m sure are already starting to pop up.

Rather than trying to list everyone, and possibly missing someone, I would like to do a few blanket statements. Thank you to all of our sponsors, advertisers, donors and benefactors. You are all greatly appreciated. Thank you as well to the host clubs who help the ACA put on some of the best conventions in the world of cichlids, no, I’m sorry, some of the best conventions and shows in the whole aquatics hobby! To the people who take the time to show their fish in competitions, kudos to you, as well. Lastly, a special thanks to all of our dedicated BOT members, cadre, committee chairs and others who volunteer their time and effort to the organization.

Speaking of the BOT, your new BOT officers are: Jan Benes – Chair; Mike Helford – Vice-Chair; and Peter George – Secretary. We are in good hands with these folks at the helm. I will be serving another year on the BOT, my eighth, after this year as BOT Chair, which is fast coming to a close.

When I was asked to be the Chair, I had the option to skate and do very little, or get actively involved and do what I could to improve the ACA. I would like to think that my year as Chair was productive. Here are some of the things that we accomplished:

Buntbarsche Bulletin now pays for articles and photos used. This was done to attract authors, as BB was getting a little anemic and the volunteers were few and far between. I believe that BB has once again gained prominence with this new policy. If you have not thought about writing an article for BB, please do, you even get paid for your efforts. Photos that are used with articles, or on the cover, are paid for, too.

The BOT also approved increasing the number of speaker appearances in the ACA Speaker Program to 15 per year. The ACA is augmenting the funds so generously provided by Zoo Med to get this increase and Zoo Med has increased its product donations to meet the need. Thanks again to Gary of Zoo Med.

We now have a Social Media Policy that brings these forms of media under our umbrella. When FaceBook first started, it was akin to the Wild West. Now, ACA has control over the use of its name and its representatives. No one can use the American Cichlid Association’s name and call it their own, they need the BOT’s permission, the ACA maintains ownership and all forms of Social Media fall under the ACA’s control.

A new membership structure is in place with Life Membership back on the table. You can also increase your Life Membership levels, gain a tax deduction and do more for conservation, research and education. You can also easily donate to these great causes. Remember, again, that your membership dues, and any donations, are tax deductible and your dues are not just used for maintenance expenses. The majority of your dues, especially at the Life level are used for Conservation, Education and Research programs. You can even earmark your donations to specific funds like the Jordan or Loiselle Fund or for any special projects the ACA may be involved with … Several people have already taken advantage of this feature.

I have always felt that the goal of ACA was not to be a collection of basement fish breeders, but a group of aquarists and individuals concerned with following the stated purposes of the ACA:

Goals of the American Cichlid Association

⚫ To gather, organize, and disseminate knowledge of fish in the genetic family Cichlidae;

⚫ To encourage and further the study and conservation of cichlids in their natural habitats, and in the hobby;

⚫ To encourage the study and preservation of cichlids by awarding grants for research and conservation;

⚫ To further the conservation of the natural habitat of cichlids;

⚫ To provide a means for individuals to acquire and distribute cichlids;

⚫ To promote fellowship amongst the members.

This year, the ACA, along with other sponsors, clubs and individuals donated $17,000 to the reintroduction of the Pin-Stripe Damba into Lake Tseny, Madagascar. We are waiting to hear about the progress of this initiative. Also, the ACA has partially funded the documentary Wild Caught to help educate politicians, educators and the general public about the sustainability of the aquarium hobby. We do not just take, but we give back to the communities and protect the biotope and the fisheries. We raised $4000 for the project and additional funds to pay for a videographer to film Dr Paul Loiselle and Art Parola talking about ACA, conservation, research and education goals in this wonderful hobby. Incredibly, Jay Wilson raised these funds via social media in just two days. I still find that amazing!

After we learned about the drastic measures affecting the aquarium fish collection industry in Hawaii, the ACA joined PIJAC and adopted the following stance to support the industry:

Official Position Statement on Wild Collection of Fish

In light of recent controversies regarding the wild collection of aquarium fish, the American Cichlid Association (ACA) wishes to clarify the position of the organization on this subject.

The ACA is an organization comprised of aquarists, scientists, educators, and conservationists. The ACA recognizes the need for both wild collection and aquaculture of fish for the aquarium hobby and research. Wild collection of fish is integral to ensuring genetic diversity in captive populations and promoting the introduction of new species and variants for the aquarium hobby and research.

As an organization dedicated to conservation, the ACA, in line with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), recognizes the conservation and economic necessity of sustainable-use fishery resources. Fishing for aquarium species generates sustainable income for fishers and ensures incentive to conserve habitat required to sustain the fishery.

It is the position of the ACA to support the continuation of sustainable aquarium fisheries worldwide, in addition to aquaculture.

The ACA is also considering several other future proposals to be involved in conservation, research and education efforts. I hope that we can carry the momentum gained forward into the next year and beyond.

Unfortunately, the attempt to resurrect the Trading Post failed. Apparently, there was too little interest in it. With so many on-line sources of fishes available nowadays, the TP is no longer needed.

But, other bright spots were Peter George, an ardent Lake Victorian cichlid aficionado, taking over the reins of the Lake Victoria Species Survival Group, Jay Wilson became our Publicity Chair and as I said before, did a fabulous job of fundraising for the Wild Caught project. Tom Koba became our CARES Liason and Bill Merkeley became our Social Media Liason.

Let’s not forget the ACA Photo Contest that was headed by Scott McLaughlin. Daryl Hutchins and I were tossing around ideas to increase the ACA Photo Library. Do you believe that with all these years of BB and Special Publications, no database was ever kept of these historical images? So, I suggested we create a Photo Contest and asked Scott to head it. Scott not only took on the job but he ran with it beyond anyone’s expectations. A digital library of images is being built and maintained now. (Anyone with digital copies of any image that has ever appeared in an ACA publication is urged to send them to the Digital Maintenance Minion – DMM.)

I also found that there was no database of our contracts or agreements and I got that set up via Juan Miguel. Now, everything is in a centralized location that can be accessed by the BOT and cadre. There should be no more … “I think we told TFH this or Zoo Med that.” Cadre members still need to remember to forward documents to Juan but the system is in place.

In regards to the Publicity arena, Jay has agreed to join forces with both Tim Hovanec and me on the Publicity Committee. Jay, as you know, brings his social media video skills to the table, Tim has knowledge of and access to graphic design skills for creating ads and I am not too shy about writing about what the ACA is doing. I plan on putting out press releases and written contacts to spotlight the ACA.

I’m sure that I am forgetting a few things but all in all, it was a busy year, sometimes controversial, but a lot of good things got accomplished. Tim Hovanec tells me that I have a tendency for being “a bull in a china shop”, yes, little ol’ me. I know, I don’t see it either. LOL! But, as Art parola said, “You did not hesitate to tackle some of the things that others were afraid to and needed to be dealt with.”

Lastly, I want to thank Phil Benes. Normally, the ACA Chair speaks at the awards presentations at the convention. I am a terrible public speaker and Phil graciously offered to do it in my stead. Thanks again, Phil!

Is there more to do? There sure is. While I am stepping down as Chair, I will still be on the Board next year and will strive to keep chugging along, focusing on our goals, increasing the prominence of the ACA and improving our services to our members. I will also be keeping you informed as things arise via the ACA News.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and let’s, together, make the New Year a great one for the ACA. Remember: “The best is yet to come!”

Happy New Years!


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BB submissions pay (or funds can be directed to Conservation/Research projects in your name)! Authors/photographers please contact the Editor at [email protected] for detail

You do not need to be an ACA member to submit material for publication.

NB: ACA does not assume copyright of images, neither are images submitted for publication added to a database without permission. In the event that we desire to re-use an image in other projects, permission would be sought and supplementary payment is guaranteed.


New Membership Structure:

$35 Annual ACA Membership.

Life Memberships — build your membership levels incrementally and move up in rank. All memberships above the basic Life Membership will be published annually in an ACA publication to recognize your contributions to Conservation, Research and Education.

$1000 LIFE Membership — all current Life Memberships still honored, no increase in dues. This and all higher-level memberships receive a Life Membership to the ACA.

Higher levels of donation/membership:

$1250 Patron Member;
$1500 Endowment Member;
$1750 Benefactor Member;
$2000 Conservation Member;

$2500 Legacy Member;
Chairman’s Circle(individual donations of $5000+)

You can also include the ACA in your estate plan as several members have already done. Please visit the link below.

General Donations

You can also donate smaller or larger increments, make personal or corporate donations, etc at the link below. It is only by your support that the ACA can maintain its leadership in Cichlid Conservation, Research and Education. Remember, it is tax deductible. Please find out more at the link below:

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Life Memberships/Donations



You can very easily give your friends/family an ACA Gift Membership, bringing them all the benefits attendant thereto. A lasting gift that has flow-on beneficial effects via the ACA’s research and conservation
programs, etc.
To organise an ACA Gift Membership, please:

1) Send payment(s) of $35 per gift membership to the ACA PayPal account at [email protected].

2) Send an email to ACA Treasurer, Tim Hovanec, at [email protected] with a CC to ACA Membership Coordinator, Claudia Dickinson ([email protected]), stating that you have just
sent money for a gift membership/s and the names and email addresses of the recipients.

3) Each ACA Gift Membership recipient will then receive an ACA Gift Member email with a copy to the
gift-giver, followed by email welcome letters from the ACA and CRC.





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Send your cichlid-related news/events to the AN Editor at [email protected] and we will be happy to spread the word for you. Allow six weeks lead time. Thank you.

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Check/edit your Contact Details on CRC yourself when you move or change your e-mail address. It’s so simple … try it.

Go to and click your username in the Welcome Panel
Select the Edit Tab and make changes
Click Save


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Support the ACA by shopping at AmazonSmile

Amazon Smile

Simply go to, choose the American Cichlid Association as your charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of each purchase to the ACA!
It’s easy and basically free money. Please help spread the word.