Volume 9, #9-12, September-December 2023
Editor: Alan De Angelo
Contact: [email protected]
Greetings and long-awaited Christmas Salutations.
After nine-and-a-half years of writing the ACA News, I took a much-needed hiatus. After the announcement of the Convention in Cincinnati, OH in 2024, not much was happening anyway. I received no input from the Board or from any of the ACA committee chairs to convey either. The ACA was on cruise control, a great time for me to relax, not try to create content, and take a break. But, the ACA News is back and this issue will be chock full of information.
Now, after the Christmas and New Year holidays, is the time to begin thinking of vacation planning and attending the ACA convention. Be sure to check your schedule and mark your calendar off to enjoy a few days of cichlid revelry. July 25-28th, 2024 is shaping up to be a grand old time. More information will be coming about this event. As things develop, I will get the news out to you.
BB in Print
When BB went digital, a lot of members still wanted to get a hard copy of the magazine. I know that I prefer it myself. Printing costs were getting too much for the ACA so one of our most esteemed benefactors, Gary Bagnal of Zoo Med products, stepped up and got the job done. These back issues in print can be obtained by ordering them at the ACA Store. Go to cichlid.org and scroll over to Store and drop down to BB Back Issues. You can get all these great issues, full of top-notch information, in print to add to your collection. BB in print also makes a great stocking stuffer. Get those elves busy ordering the back issues online.
While on the topic of Zoo Med, they make a great variety on aquatic foods. I have two cans of "Can O’ Cyclops" sitting on my desk in front of me. They also have Can O’ Shrimp and Can O’ Blood Worms. They are great products. Check out the full line of Zoo Med foods and other products at their web site zoomed.com.
And then there were four …
The Babes in the Cichlid Hobby have recruited a fourth member to their fundraising crew. Heather Burke is "a young, gifted hobbyist from Michigan" who is joining their ranks. It is refreshing to see younger people getting involved in the organized hobby. As you know the Babes are exquisite fund raisers for the ACA with their silent auction and infamous late-night in-person auctions. If you haven’t attended a Babes Auction, you are missing out on a lot of fun. The 2024 auction should be great!
Don’t forget that the Babes fundraise on your donations of live fish, fishy apparel, books and other dry goods. Please bring your donations to the auction. It all goes to great causes like ACA educational programs, cichlid research and cichlid conservation projects.
Young members of the fish hobby are often overlooked so the ACA started a new program this year, reaching out to youthful hobbyists. Sorry Richard Stratton, the young at heart are not included. Or are they? The following blurbs have come across my desk recently from Jan Benes, ACA Chair.
Kids in Cichlid Keeping
You may remember reading in the post-convention BB that this year we introduced the ACA Youth Board, Kids in Cichlid Keeping. Grace Benes presented the idea at last year’s Convention and recruited Phoebe Hudson as the second founding member. With Andy Hudson as advisor, the two girls put together the great activities for the kids with monthly Zoom meetings. The kids are already planning things for next year and they have a lot of fun ideas they are working on.
KICK is a great way for your kids to have fun at the Convention in a safe space. There are games, art projects, and a kids-only auction, just to mention a few of the activities. KICK will also be doing much of the organizing of the Kids Tank Decorating Contest.
If you would like information on how to get your kids involved, please email me at [email protected].
Our kids are the future of our hobby!
Photo by Chris Biggs
Maybe these will be future Babes. Jan also sent us this for inclusion in the ACA News:
Some history …
As I was going through some of Wayne Leibel’s papers for the ACA Archives, I came across The American Cichlid Association Handbook, A Membership Reference Guide (revised December 1986).
So, maybe ancient history. Anyway, it is an interesting booklet that includes the by-laws, a history of the ACA, and information on membership, publications, and other benefits of the ACA, such as slide programs. As a side note, I recently had a discussion with one of the grandkids on what slides are. I Actually got out the slide projector to show her.
One of the membership benefits listed was the Cichlid Index: “This serial publication provides concise scientific and maintenance information about individual species of cichlids. The correct taxonomic identification, natural habitat, temperature/water/dietary requirements, spawning behavior, and other valuable information are supplied along with a color photograph of each fish to enable the member to become more knowledgeable concerning that species. Written by fellow members who have had prior, direct experience with the fish, and edited for scientific accuracy, two entries of the INDEX are included as a supplement to selected BB issues (not available in back issues of BB [but they are included in the USB collection and downloads – BB Ed]). Volumes II through the current Volume are available through the Sales Committee. Anyone is welcome to write and/or illustrate an INDEX entry. This can be done by contacting the Special Publications Committee. Also be aware that the INDEX is not a continuous publication. Its appearance depends upon the availability of funds. There may be occasional BBs in which INDEX does not appear.”
Since the handbook was from 1986, I went back to some of my old issues and found Cichlid Index entries. I had just thought they were part of an article and had never given them much thought. The amount of work that went into those, considering that they were pre-internet, is amazing. I downloaded the February 1987 issue of BB to see if the Index entries were in the downloadable version and there they were, if you want to check them out. ACA members can request back issues in PDF format by going to our website at cichlid.org if you are interested in checking them out.
Back to the present …
Your ACA membership includes full access to Juan Miguel Artigas Azas’ CichlidRoom Companion, cichlidae.com. CRC is a continuously updated site with information on every cichlid you can imagine. What the ACA started with the Cichlid Index, CRC has brought to the computer age. Aside from great photos and accurate information about cichlids, there is also a forum, a section where you can ask Pam Chin cichlid questions, a store that sells books and magazines, and lots of other great sources of info. Another feature on CRC is the Trading area. Many of us remember the old hardcopy of the ACA Trading Post, which came out every other month and was chock full of cool cichlids for sale by ACA members. I always hear about how much this is missed. The advent of internet sales was the end of that. Even if you did not intend to buy anything, it was fun to see what others were keeping. Part of your ACA membership is full access to this modern version of the Trading Post. I encourage you to use it if you are selling fish. I use CRC frequently and am glad it is a membership benefit. Do you use CRC? What do you like about it. Do you never use CRC? Why not? I’d be interested in hearing what you think. My email is [email protected].
The American Cichlid Association FB Group has just reached 15K members. The official site currently has a Mayaheros beani, seen below, on the header in case you were wondering. But the reason for mentioning the FB site is to give thanks to two of the ACA’s unsung heroes. Ken Davis, Brett Harrington and I are the Admins of the site but it seems that by the time I see the notifications, etc of the site, Brett and Ken have already gotten the job done. They serve the ACA with no fanfare and up until now, with no recognition. Thank you for helping out with the duties of our FB site guys, your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Rusty Wessel and I discuss the ACA quite often and we toss around ways to improve it. One way is to increase our membership rolls. With more members, we can get more volunteers, get more things done and help out the cichlid hobby even more than we do now. So, Rusty asked me to put this out to our current membership, get a friend to join the ACA. Now, you can forward them to our website and have them join online, bring them to a Convention and get them to sign up there, or in the spirit of Christmas, you can buy them a gift membership online. Just go to cichlid.org and click on the "Join Today" button or go to the Store and hit the Join button. It’s quick, easy and a great way to stuff a stocking. It’s also a great way to get young people involved. I joined the ACA as a 16-year-old kid in 1971 and have been a member for 52 years.
Life Memberships are available too. You can either buy a basic Life Membership or an advanced one. Or, if you already are a Lifer, you can increase your level of membership incrementally by further donations. Donations are used for the Jordan and Loiselle Funds equally unless you state that you want your donation to go to just one of the funds.
If you cannot afford a Life Membership and still want to donate, you can do so in any amount. Just hit the Donation button on the front page of cichlid.org.
Just what do the Jordan and Loiselle Funds do? I’m glad you asked. They fund research and conservation projects worldwide. With that in mind, I am asking for a volunteer. The ACA needs someone with the time to delve into old copies of BB and coordinate with the current Fund Chairs to formulate a complete list of all the projects funded. The website has the funds listed but the Loiselle Conservation Fund which started in 2007 only has entries until 2015 with 2014 missing. The Jordan Fund has no entries listed on the website. The ACA also provided funding to the Stuart Grant Fund years ago which needs to be documented. To top it off, the ACA also partially funded the video documentary "Wild Caught" several years ago and I think that came from the General Fund. After these complete lists are compiled, they would need to be posted on the website for all to see what the ACA accomplishes in the fields or Research, Conservation and general cichlid education.
If you are interested in compiling this data, please reach out to me at [email protected].
There were 5 candidates for the 5 open positions so there was no need of holding a formal election as per the By-Laws. The five new BOT members are no strangers to the ACA and all have served before. Welcome back Chris Benes, Chris Biggs, Richard Bireley, Josh Cunningham and Stephan Tanner.
It’s never too early to consider running for next year’s BOT. Send your bio to Daryl Hutchins at [email protected].
The ACA News is a vehicle to bring you information about the organization. This includes communications from the BOT, committee chairs, past and future programs, anything ACA. This message is especially meaningful to committee chairs who should be keeping the membership informed. Make use of the ACA News to get your message out there.
The newsletter can also be used for the average member’s input. Lord knows, the BOT and committee heads don’t have all of the answers. We are always looking for not only new ideas, but volunteers to bring those new ideas to fruition. Don’t be bashful. Feel free to contact me, Alan De Angelo, at [email protected]. One task we are facing now is how to convert the FB memberships in to regular members. Many think that the ACA is the FB group and nothing else. That’s one reason why I have asked for the compilation of our Fund achievements. To let them know the great things we do. Again, feel free to contact me at the email address above.
Look for a January, 2024 issue of the AN. Until then, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year!
PRINTED copies of BB Back Issues and/or a flash drive (USB3 = fast) containing the complete collection of each and every edition of BB ever produced, including all inserts, BB Indexes, etc (and a few other publications, just for good measure) can be purchased from the website store at: