ACA News Volume 1, #1

Editor: Alan R.De Angelo
Greetings and Salutations!

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first edition of the ACA NEWS.

I was talking to Rusty Wessel at several fish meetings and the ACA Convention in Louisville and we agreed that one of the big problems with the ACA right now is the lack of communication between the club and its members. Yes, I know, it has been abysmal but with BB off track and the web site going through a total makeover, the only connection was through FB and while FB is a good way to connect, it is not a perk of being a member of the ACA. So, it was my idea to write and deliver a monthly newsletter to the membership. I hope that it begins to fill the void that we have all felt.

With that said, let me tell you what is in store for you in the coming months. BB is going to get back on track as an e-version of its old self. Now, this has not been set in stone. Personally, I like the feel of a hard copy in my hands as I read a book or periodical but as with all things, progress brings change. The change is coming but it is not here yet.

The Cichlid Room Companion is coming your way. That’s right, the wonderfully informative web site create by Juan Miguel Artigas Azas is going to be part of your ACA membership. If you have paid for your membership and have not gotten anything in return, you will be getting one year of The Cichlid Room Companion (CRC) as a benefit for free to make up for services promised but not delivered.

Ahhhhh, you should be feeling better already.

The web site is getting done and the finishing touches are being put in place. I do not know about you, but I would never want to have taken on the monumental task of redoing the web site like Sean Danekind has done. He does it in his free time and is a volunteer at the position. So, before anyone gripes or grumbles, Sean is getting no other reward from the ACA except our thanks and gratitude. If you wish to donate any time or effort to Sean, please contact him at the ACA web site or at [email protected].

The ACA Face Book page is a meeting place for ACA members but remember, that it is an open forum and is not a club specific site. The Forum has had its problems but is alive and well at the ACA web site and its use is encouraged. Please stop by.

Remember, everything that the ACA has to offer is done by dedicated people that volunteer their time and effort for the love of the hobby and the success of the organization. Please, if you have any talents, volunteer to help out.

Email addresses: If you know of any ACA members that did not receive this, it is because we do not have a current email address for them.


I would like to welcome all ACA members to our newsletter. I would like to thank Alan De Angelo for stepping up and seeing a need for the ACA leadership to officially have a mechanism to address the members. Normal communications historically have been carried out through our website ( or our publication the Buntbarsche Bulletin, (BB). Unfortunately production issues’ with BB and over lapping technical problems with the website had made these communications almost nonexistent.

Our website had been mired in technical problems for a long time. Sean Danekind took on this monumental problem well over a year ago. As he tried to change formats, update programs and make numerous attempts to transfer data he found numerous obstacles. He finally made a major breakthrough in the last couple of months. Sean is now in full control of the website and is actively working on the site to make it better. Please check it out. We thank Sean for all of his hard work.

BB needs to be brought up to date, moved into the modern era and go paperless. Many local aquarium societies have already gone this route and have seen the numerous benefits of an all-electronic publication. The ACA is currently seeking a team or individual with the technical expertise to take the ACA to this next level. There is already a team of technical cichlid experts to assist in editing articles. If you or somebody you know is interested in helping the ACA and want to become the Electronic BB editor then we would love to hear from you. Claudia Dickinson continues on as the BB editor as we transition to the electronic BB and she will continue to do an outstanding job with the BB as materials become available.

One of the major problems we have had is not being able to conduct normal ACA business in a timely fashion. Unfortunately our election process has greatly suffered and we need to get caught up. The Call for Nominations to the BOT is now officially open. We need eight current ACA members that would like to help run the ACA over the next calendar year. If you are interested in running for the ACA, I need a resume of 120 words or less describing your qualifications and how you plan to improve the ACA. Send these to me at [email protected]. Once we have eight qualified candidates the Call for Nominations will be closed.

Despite our problems we have made some major accomplishments this year:

The Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers did an outstanding job hosting the 2014 ACA Convention and great time was had by all. This year the New England Cichlid Association will be hosting the convention in Springfield Massachusetts. Check out their website at and make your plans to attend now.

By far our biggest success this year was making access to the Cichlid Room Companion possible for all existing ACA members. This has been talked about and rumored for at least three years but this year the BOT got it done. Sean and Juan Miguel are in the process of working out the details and we expect to have things worked out very soon. Check the ACA website for updates and details. A subscription to Cichlid Room Companion cost $30 per calendar year. Membership to the ACA will now cost $35 for new members and renewals in 2015. This new membership will include access to Cichlid Room Companion. We think the excellent website provided by Juan Miguel in combination with the work that the ACA does towards cichlid research and conservation will provide a very complete and comprehensive body of work that should please every cichlid enthusiast throughout the world. The current agreement with CRC is for one year.

Please email me if you wish to run for the BOT or have an interest in becoming the electronic editor of BB.

Thanks for being a member. You membership is greatly appreciated.

Contact me at [email protected].

– Chuck Rambo (ACA BOT Chairman)



Did you know that the ACA is a registered charitable organization with the Amazon Smile Program?

For every Smile eligible purchase, and it is almost all purchases, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Just go to , choose the ACA as your charitable organization, and start shopping.

Once you have chosen your charitable organization, you won’t have to do it again unless you want to change your charity. Just use the Smile link every time you shop. 0.5% may not seem like a lot, but it will quickly add up. I know that Phil and I have already given the ACA a small boost via AmazonSmile!

– Jan Benes (ACA BOT Member)


Rusty Wessel is an ACA icon. He’s also an intrepid explore, collector, iguana eater, ZOO MED speaker, owner of a fishroom that makes most of us green with envy , an all-around very knowledgeable aquarist and a person that I am lucky enough to call friend. His tireless support of the cichlid hobby and the ACA can be seen in so many ways. Rusty gives talks to many aquarium clubs around the nation where he brings fishes to auction off that come from his state of the art fishroom. Many of these fish are from the wild populations of fishes that he collects himself, making them extra special to have. After his talks, auctions are held and the proceeds are donated by Rusty to the Guy D. Jordan Fund of the ACA. Special thanks to Rusty, ZOO MED and the following clubs for their generous auction proceeds.

Greater Portland Aquarium Society $200.00
Norwalk Aquarium Society $275.00
Greater Seattle Aquarium Society $220.50
Capitol Cichlid Association $125.00

Ray “KingFish” Lucas may have retired but he is keeping busy organizing the Aquarium Legends panel. I will have more info on this as time goes by but keep your eyes open for what is sure to be a fantastic experience.


Let the ACANEWS advertise your affiliate club show. Please send the announcements, ads, flyers, etc. to me at [email protected].



After much teething, it appears that our new website and forum are seeing traffic and user participation similar to what it was before the switch. So why did we do it? We are planning to host the upcoming digital BB on our website. We’ll have the ability to add embedded video in the BB articles. This was not ideal to do on the Monster Aquaria Network servers since we were using their bandwidth. We were on Monster Aquaria’s server for many years. We all owe Li and MFK a huge thank you for donating his time, server space, and bandwidth.

You may have also noticed that much of the new ACA website looks fairly decent on a smartphone or tablet. I still need to tweak the menu system and the forum template, but it’s much better than the old website.In a few days, the online store will be turned on, eventually the Digital BB, and some other cool things in the near future.

One of those cool things is a Craigslist style online trading post ad management system so member’s can post, and anyone can browse and buy. This will replace the current trading post in the forum. Look for this in late Jan – early Feb.I’m also experimenting with Facebook integration with our website where users can opt to join using their Facebook ID and password. Hopefully this will drive some memberships from our Facebook page.If anyone has any issues logging in, other problems with the website, or suggestions, please contact me at [email protected].

– Sean Danekind (ACA Webmaster & Membership Chair)


The ACA is proud to announce that we are partnering with The Cichlid Room Companion website. Now, your annual ACA membership will include access to Current members will get CRC access for free until their ACA membership expires.
Please note: Not everyone receiving this email is a valid member. In fact, this email list is almost double the official membership count from the database. I’m working thru that list, and hope to have it all sorted out by the end of January. As Chuck mentioned, new ACA memberships and renewals will cost $35 annually. Considering that CRC is normally $30 alone, we’re hoping you will see the value of this partnership, and actively use CRC’s resources along with the ACA website.
So, a huge thank-you to Juan Miguel and the ACA BOT for arranging this partnership!
Regarding ACA membership expirations…
You may have also noticed that we are a bit behind in releasing new BB issues. To mediate this problem, all current members will be extended until they receive all the BB issues due to them. We’re compiling the data to determine how many issues are due to whom, and members will be notified when their membership is about to expire. This is part of why it’s taking so long to sort thru the memberships!

Now, after all of that… people just need a way to renew/join the ACA. The new online store will be activated on the ACA website this weekend. Currently, when new members join, it’ll take about a day to get them added to CRC, as I have to do it manually. In the very near future, I hope to automate this process. For current members, renewals should carry over with minimal interruption at CRC (hopefully none, I haven’t tested this yet).

Finally, once the online store is up, I will be conducting a membership drive by doing something we haven’t done in a while… Personally asking former members to re-join (via email). I already have a surprising number of verbal commitments, so I’m hoping the combination of the new CRC partnership, and a little solicitation will give the ACA a much needed boost in membership.

If anyone has any membership questions or issues, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

– Sean Danekind (ACA Webmaster & Membership Chair)


Adventures in Cichlidom

Mom always had Fan-tailed Goldfish and/or Black Moors in our house, so I was exposed to the art of aquarium keeping from birth. Although by today’s standards the 2 gallon rectangular bowl with some gravel and a sprig of pine needle-like plant would be looked down upon, it was what was done in the mid to late 50’s to keep goldfish. Hardly state of the art, but mom loved her goldfish and let us help her care for them, feeding them and changing their water. She also taught us the lively skill of burial at sea in the vortex of the porcelain bowl.

At the age of 6, 53 years ago, I bought my first aquarium with money saved from birthdays and chores I did for my grandparents. It was a 15 gallon slate bottomed Metaframe tank with a stainless steel hood. It sat on a wrought iron stand under which another tank could be placed. Being the great kid that I was, my parents let me keep it in the parlor next to the TV set, an old black and white Admiral. A place of honor in the house to be sure. Along with an airpump, undergravel filter and heater, I was all set.

The first fish that bred for me were Black Mollies. She was a huge female that dropped over 50 fry. The male had a gorgeous sailfin edged in orange with orange dusting in the tail fin. Mom let me use a white enamel dish pan, which I later found out was our bath tub when we were infants, to keep them in, underneath the 15 in the parlor. I was on my way to becoming a fishguy.

Humble beginnings, I know, but like many of us, it was not just a start in the hobby but a celebration of life. This was so cool. I had baby fish that I was raising.The first cichlids that I kept were Kribs, Pelvicachromis pulcher but if they bred I didn’t know it as they were in the community tank with the Mollies and Corydoras cats and zebra danios, etc. After a while, I began to take over the basement with my tanks and the first cichlid that I successfully bred were Convicts, Amatitlania nigrofasciata . Like many of you, I spent hours watching the pair go about their housekeeping chores in a 20H that was my second tank. They were a delight to watch. And watch, I did. In fact, I learned more about cichlids and their behavior from that pair than any other cichlid that I have ever kept.

The pair in the above picture are prime examples of what a good Convict should look like. The female has a large patch of orange on the belly extending into the dorsal fin and the caudal. The dorsal and anal fin have a glowing iridescent blue-green in them. Gorgeous. The male has highlights in his unpaired fins, too. If you would like to see wild populations of A. nigrofasciata, I urge you to go to Willem Heijns FaceBook page and find the video of wild populations of Convicts. I was surprised to see the current that some of these populations live in. And, as usual, the behavior of these fish is captivating!


I recently saw a beautiful female Convict in a pet shop in Waukesha, WI. If I was going home that day, I was going to get her and search for a worthy mate. But, alas, I didn’t get her and am now sorry for it. Yeh, I know, a Convict.Too often, we forget about these common, “worthless” species and move on to bigger and better or newer species leaving the lowly Convict behind. That is a huge mistake. So, if you have a spare tank that is empty, get a pair of Convicts and enjoy the show. If you really want to see them at their best, get a 55 gallon tank or larger and get two or more pairs. Of course, the surviving fry can be given away, a few at least, but the prolific nature of the fish make them a generous source of live food for piscivores of all types.

Until next time,

– Alan


July 30 – August 2 in New England.