ACA News, Volume 10, #2

ACA News

ACA News

Volume 10, #2, February 2024

Editor: Alan De Angelo

Contact: [email protected]


Happy Leap Year!


This month gives us an additional day to enjoy our finny charges. And while we can revel in the joy of the approaching time change springing us forward and longer days, we should also be aware of the giant rabbits that starred in the movie "Night of the Lepus." Being a big fan of cheesy sci-fi, I remember the movie well.

What do giant bunnies have to do with cichlids? Absolutely nothing. I wish that I could work that angle in but, nope, just a fun remembrance. Unless you have kept a colony of Neolamprologus brichardi going and consider the newly mature males that ultimately "leap" out of the smallest hole in the cover to avoid the dominant male’s wrath as being bunny like. Yeh, I know, that’s a long stretch.


CONVENTION – July 25-28, 2024

Convention news is trickling in. The friendly folks of Greater Cincinnati Aquarium Society are hosting the ACA Convention for the FIFTH time! Don’t miss out on all the activities you’ve come to expect at an ACA Convention.

The hotel is the newly remodelled Marriott Delta Hotel, right off I-75. (It’s the same hotel we were at for the 2009 convention. The hotel link is up and running. Registration should be open shortly. Keep an eye on the convention website for this.

Confirmed speakers so far are Lawrence Kent (Banquet Speaker), Jeremy Basch, and Paul Loiselle. Three great speakers already with more to come.

Lawrence Kent will also be giving a talk to the KICK Kids in their room. Remember parents, the inaugural KICKS meeting was attended by only girls. I know that there a lot of boys that are into cichlids too. Get them involved. They may be shy at first but they will enjoy themselves.

The usual activities will be planned: Sunday all-species auction, rare fish auction, silent auction, display tanks, Cichlid and Catfish* show, banquet, hospitality room, vendor/manufacturer room, rental tank room.

*Catfish Show? Yes, while the convention is an ACA-only event, the good folks of the GCAS realize that many cichlid keepers also love catfish. With this in mind, the show will also include cats. I think it makes purr-fect sense. (Sorry, I had to.)

Still no word on the extra-curricular tours, etc. but I’m sure they’ll be fun ones. I just texted with Jan Benes the Show Chair and our ACA BOT Chair and she says the link/website will be running very soon. So, check in at soon.



First the good news. Is the fish hobby dying? Some have said that fewer and fewer young people are in the hobby. After hearing this, I thought I’d do my due diligence and ask that question to someone who has her finger on the pulse of the aquarium hobby in America, Sandy Moore, the President of Segrest Farms in FL. If anyone would know, I thought she would.

In our discussion, it seems that Covid brought new life into the fish hobby. It literally exploded as people found ways to keep their interest at home since travel was so restricted. The difference today is that when I grew up, the focus was on being breeders of fish. (Personally, I have bred over 300 cichlids species and a whole slew of other types of fishes, such as livebearers, barbs, labyrinths, tetras, killies, etc.) Sandy states that "why they keep fish now, continues to evolve."

So, I did a little more digging and found out the following from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association. The demographics of fishkeepers is as follows:

0-30 years old 73%
31-40 years old 17%
41 + years old 10%

In 2021 12% of US households had tanks. In 2022, 17% of all US households had tanks. Furthermore, in 2021 8% had outdoor ponds. That grew to 12% in 2022.

A few more tidbits found at are:

14.7 million US homes have at least one tank
$63.7 million is spent on importation of aquarium fish
$2.59 billion was spent in the US aquarium industry
700 million people keep fish worldwide
The global fish community is a $13.7 billion dollar industry.

And the hobby continues to grow. Not too shabby.

Now the bad and ugly news. Some people want to take this all away from you. In a recent article, written by the ACA’s own Art Parola, it seems that the same people who closed down the collection of Hawaiian fishes have their sights on the hobby in general. Don’t think it can’t happen. Unfortunately, it can. Please read the article and write your elected representatives. Get them to do at least something right and stop this insanity.

This is a great reason why everyone in the hobby should join a club or organization. This is why you should receive one of the aquarium periodicals like Amazonas and Cichlid News or TFH even. And read the ACA News!

The problem is that out of the 14,700,000 US households keeping fish only a few people will know about this bill. Make it go viral on social media, tell the masses about what they could lose in the near future. Also, think about Species Maintenance because if we can no longer import fishes legally, we are going to have to hire the cartel to smuggle them in for us. And that may not be pretty.

It’s one thing to have an opinion or belief about a topic, it’s another to exert your will forcibly on others. This must be stopped. Read Art Parola’s message below and act to stop this craziness:

There are several bills currently in Congress that have the potential to have vast negative impacts on the aquarium hobby. While neither are expected to pass this year, these bills tend to be reintroduced each year with the expectation at some point it can be snuck into a larger bill or opposition will become complacent to the threat.

The first bill is the introduction to the Lacey Act Amendments, which has both House (H.R. 4922) and Senate (S. 1614) versions. Links explaining the bill as introduced with the same language in years past can be found here:

Amazonas magazine – Federal legislation threatens pets zoos aquariums and biomedical research

House Bill

Senate Bill


A new bill that currently solely has a House version specifically targets the marine aquarium, but has significant potential to also affect cichlid keepers in the future as well. Titled the Saving NEMO Act, H.R. poses severe threat to the conservation, education, and socio-economic benefits of the aquarium trade and hobby. Information on this bill can be found here:

Radical activists push legislation to eliminate aquarium trade and hobby

House Bill


These bills are pushed by groups who have the base philosophy that fish don’t belong in glass boxes. This is shortsighted and fails to recognize the substantial benefits trade and hobby around the world to millions of people and tens of thousands of fish and other species.

Art Parola

Thank you, Art, for putting this together to better help us understand the issues.

This also leads me to tell you all to revisit BB 317 and read Jim Langhammer’s view on species maintenance. It may be truly needed all too soon.



Now here’s a conundrum. The ACA FB page has risen to 16,400+ members. Not too shabby. While I am an Admin for the ACA, I am also a Moderator for the North and Central American Cichlids group. That group has 17,100 members, and to shame them all, the Angelfish Enthusiasts International FB group has 132,900 members. Now, angels are cichlids, right? What’s the deal here? I don’t understand. Something is amiss. Why is the ACA, that encompasses all cichlids, have such a smaller following?

I believe that the average hobbyist has no idea that angels are actually cichlids. They are just angelfish. The lack of knowledge is astounding nowadays. What can the ACA do to educate more people? Any suggestions would be welcome. Send them to [email protected] It’ll be interesting to hear some of your views on this.

Also, if you have any suggestions on how to convert even a fraction of those 16,400 FB followers into paid memberships, I’m all ears. [email protected] is the email address to contact me. Thanks.



I don’t know about you but I like my passwords to be something that the average person would never think of. Our hobby gives us the ability to really have some confusing ones. How about Apistogrammoides^9#? Or Mpulungusunspot128?
You can have great fun with these and rest assured that no-one will easily figure them out. Just remember to write them down somewhere.



ACA offers Life Memberships and while you may at first think that they are only for always keeping up with your paid subscriptions there is another reason why Life Memberships are good for both you and the ACA. When you pay the lump sum of a Life Membership, not only do you have the security of never having your membership lapse but it also gives the ACA additional funds to get conservation and research projects accomplished with those funds. And, as a 501c3, your lump sum Life Membership payment is tax deductible. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it.

To find out more about Life Memberships and the tiered membership system, go to and look under the Store heading. It’s a great way to contribute to our hobby.

Back Issues


Back Issues in print are available at a 2 for 1 pricing now. Right now, this offer is only available to ACA members but in May, the ACA will be advertising this special deal on the internet. We are giving ACA members the first crack at the printed issues so you can fill out your collections while the issues are still in stock. Go to the ACA Store on the website to order yours today!

I’ve already taken advantage of this special deal and got my collection current. This 2-4-1 deal is only for ACA members until May. Check your collection and get completed.



When I moved two years ago, I disassembled my fishroom, gave away most of my tanks and have been sulking ever since. With only a 90-gal corner bow front tank in the office, my hobby basically came to a halt. What’s worse is that I did not have any cichlids in that tank. That needed to be rectified. What species could I get that would not tear apart a planted aquarium and not kill fish like mollies, swords and cherry barbs? I looked high and low for Keyhole cichlids as they are mild mannered and not too destructive but they were, amazingly, nowhere to be found.

Scanning through some fish sites, I saw that Dan Sharifi had Rocio spinosissima available through his Cichlids of the Americas site. That’s the ticket, I thought. This is a very mild-mannered cichlid that loves densely planted tanks and was easy on the aquascape, as well. I contacted Dan and ordered eight fish. Since I knew that there was no guarantee on sexing the fish. I would not assume four pair would be sent so I asked Dan to ship three larger fish and five smaller ones. A great way to get at least two pair. The order was in, the money was paid and I looked at the weather for the next shipping window and it was going to be a high of 9°F. Not good for shipping, that’s for sure. Dan and I then watched the weather and two weeks later, the fish were shipped. Gotta love a warm spell in January.

The fish arrived, triple bagged with solid rubber bands, heat packs, etc., very well packaged, and did well immediately. They are loving the dense thickets of plants, pile of driftwood pieces and while the Black Ruby Barbs were a bit annoying at first, everyone is getting along just fine.

Rocio spinosissima is one of those species that should fall under the topic of Species Maintenance. It was once common in the hobby. In fact, it was so common that no one kept it anymore and it was soon lost to hobby. It has resurfaced over the last few years and let’s hope that enough aquarists work with the fish to keep it going. Remember, it only takes a few problems with habitat or political unrest and civil war to lose a species forever. Consider devoting a few tanks to a species or two and keep it going.

Don’t forget to contact your Congressman/woman to oppose bills that would harm our hobby.

Take care,


BB Back Issues

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:

New email?

MOAPH The Museum of Aquarium and Pet History. It’s pretty cool …