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The Best Cichlid Club in the Whole Entire World.

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Posted 01-14-2011 at 11:41 AM by SubMariner
Updated 01-14-2011 at 12:08 PM by SubMariner

I never really knew how important being a member to the Capital Cichlid Association would be until I began to get involved with the club.

In 2006, I decided to get back into Cichlids after so many years of watching spider webs take over my fish tanks. It was quite understandable with the transition of marriage and then complexities of work and family, but I felt it was time to keep some fish. I was tired of looking at my empty tanks and staring at my fish tank screen saver on my computer.

Nevertheless, I somehow decided that I would start up my fish room again, this time with African Cichlids. What sparked my curiosity with the species was because one of my business colleagues, who happens to be of the opposite sex was into African Cichlids.

Nonetheless, I was fascinated by them. Years ago, I had attempted to keep some Mbuna, but apparently I did not take care of them as I should have and so they died. You see, I was always into New World Cichlids since I was a little boy so they to me were easy to keep. I literally had a blue thumb when it came to them.

Now, I only had 3 tanks at the time, but hey, that was a lot for me back then. Who would of thought that years later 35 tanks were not enough. So I cycled my tanks, which were a 30g, 20L, and a 20high and proceeded to the local fish store. Back then "Totally Fish" was one of the hottest stores around and they stocked plenty of Africans. That day I purchased a variety of Mbuna and went home happy as can be.

The next day I had discovered that a new fish store was having its grand opening over the weekend. The name of the store was called "Scales" and I couldn't wait for the weekend to arrive, but when it did, I ran right over to the store to check it out and it was awesome.

The store was gigantic and had a large selection of tanks every where. There was an amazing array of African Cichlids that I had never seen before. That day I befriended a man who would be very influential in my life when it came to African Cichlids. His name was Mr. Bob Polatto and he was a breeder who introduced me to the species "Aulonocara."

To this day, I never forget how nice Bob was to me and how he reached out and took the time to explain everything about the famous "Peacock." His charisma and knowledge was very instrumental to me and basically got me hooked on African Cichlids. Of course the other 2 owners Andrew and Jim were very friendly to me as well. They later became my old friends.

Anyways, Bob Polatto at the time was providing Scales with most of the rare African Cichlids. I think his vision at the time was to showcase an array of cichlids that no other store had. And let me tell you, Bob had the most beautiful selection of Peacocks that I have ever seen to this date. I practically bought everything I could get my hands on.

And that's when it all started. I can guarantee you that I was in Scales almost every other day. And when you practically live in a store you become like family or they think you're a freakin crack head. LOL!

Now here is where the journey gets interesting. It was a Friday afternoon and I had decided to visit Scales again. I wanted to see if Bob had restocked the store with some new Peacocks, when I ran into Jim and he handed me a flyer to a Catfish Convention. I did not know there were fish conventions at the time, but he made it quite clear that I should attend this weekend because it would change my life.

It's funny how life is because Jim was right. I was so blown away by the Convention, it was like Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory , but for fish. This is where I actually met our past president Pat Kelly and our new president Francine Bethea. You see, the wonderful thing about the Catfish Convention and the hotel was that people could sell fish out of there rooms. And I so happened to walk into a hotel room full of tanks which were owned by Pat Kelly. And guess who was lounging around in the hotel room with Pat? It was Francine and Tracy Kelley.

Without a doubt, when I walked into the room my eyes were fixated on Pats Red Ruby Peacocks he was selling. There color looked incredible and the price was **** good. All I was thinking was how many I could buy and which tank I would put them in. Here is when Pat introduces himself and invites me to visit the Capital Cichlid associations Saturday meeting. I was kind of surprised to here that there were other fish fanatics like myself who gathered for the purpose collecting fish. I have to admit I was kind of curious and I promised Pat I would be at the next meeting in January.

Before I left the convention that day, I had the chance to witness my first fish auction. There is where I purchased a bag full of Petricolas and meet a very interesting individual named Ali who told me that I should join the CCA. He was right...

Well, it was January 2007 now and I was ready to attend my very first CCA meeting. It was a brisk Saturday morning, but I wasn't going to miss this for the world. When I arrived, one of the first people that I met was man by the name of "Frank Cowherd." It was he and "Bob Bock"who were nice enough to come up to me and introduce themselves. They asked me what kind of fish I had and how many tanks I owned, but all I can remember was talking there heads off about my obsession with the amazing Peacocks.

I remember walking into the meeting place and was surprised to see food and drinks set up on tables. There were a handful of people walking in with boxes of fish and everyone was so friendly. That's when I saw Pat and Francine and they came over to me and shook my hand I guess happy to see me. I was just thrilled to be there and didn't know what to do with myself.

Anyways, I do happen to recall the speaker that day. It was our very own Michael Barber speaking on this travels to Peru and it was fantastic. His presentation was witty and very informative and I was entertained. I was thinking, for $20 dollars this membership was a no brain'er. I mean, it was worth every penny to join and be a part of a fellowship of friends with the same interest as me...Cichlids.

That day, I left extremely happy and fulfilled knowing that I was a part of an organization that let me be open about my obsession. I loved fish and so did they. I didn't feel crazy or abnormal because of my addiction of collecting African Cichlid., I felt like I was home. I finally met some normal people who understood why I was in love with the Auloncara species. It wasn't only because of there beautiful colors or there unique behaviors or because of their fascinating mating rituals.

It was because of the complexities of recreating their environment and managing there aggression as well as the constant adjusting of their water quality that would emulate the waters of the Great Lake Malawi. I for a lack of a better word was "Hooked."


And to this day, I have made a ton a friends from being a part of the Capital Cichlid Association. I now have over 40 tanks and I am also the Membership chair and Vice President of the club now. I also have been to 2 American Cichlid Association Conventions and several CatFish Conventions as well as our very own AquaFest Convention. I even got a chance to enter some of my Peacocks into several fish shows. Plus, I was even featured in one of our BioTope magazines that we use to publish. My very own Red Empress Cichlid that won the "Peoples Choice Award" at the Catfish Convention, was on the front cover. Wow, so much has happened for me at the CCA and am so proud of that.

To top it off, I still have some of Bob Polattos African Cichlids with me and Pat Kelly's Peacocks at my home.

All in all, that is why I emphasis joining our club because of how immeasurable it is to be a part of something so special. There is access to our forum 24 hours a day and our meeting is only once a month. Trust me, I still feel the excitement of going to every meeting looking forward to seeing all my Cichlid friends. It's now a part of my life and it is what it is...a gathering of Cichlidholics.

Furthermore, the CCA is a place where families get together, children play and friends break bread and even get together afterwards for private gatherings. For example, there is nothing like kicking back and grabbing a few beers with friends while staring at a bunch of tanks talking fish. Priceless...

That is why I call the CCA, "The Best Cichlid Club in the Whole Entire World!"

So remember, "Membership has its Privileges!" Join us and be a part of the team and don't forget to renew your membership too.


Sincerely,


Richard Mendez
Vice President & Membership Chair.
Volunteer/Hobbyist/ Cichlidholic
http://www.capitalcichlids.org/forum...ead.php?t=8774
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  1. New Comment
    Lively's Avatar
    One of the things I love most about "our" club is that it is a "family affair". It's not that the members just tolerate the kids, it's that everyone makes a point to include the kids. Perhaps it is in part because we all know that these are the future fish keepers, but I'd like to think it's more than just that.
    Posted 02-20-2011 at 11:12 AM by Lively Lively is offline
  2. New Comment
    SubMariner's Avatar
    You're absolutely right Lady Lively.
    Posted 02-27-2011 at 12:46 PM by SubMariner SubMariner is offline
  3. New Comment
    SubMariner's Avatar
    www.ccadoesaca.com

    Finally, the ACA will be hosted by us the CCA! YES!!!!
    !
    Posted 07-10-2011 at 11:29 PM by SubMariner SubMariner is offline
 


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