In this particular occasion I want to use this space to remember one of the most influential contemporary aquarists, Frank Warzel, from Frankfurt, Germany, who died young at the age of 44 after complications following a heart surgery, on 2005. Although Frank worked as a motorcycle mechanic, one of his hobbies, he was one of those persons with an uncontrollable passion for nature and fish, passion that is just seen in a handful of people, and which takes them to fulfill their dreams in ways most people find difficult to understand, but from which many benefit somehow. At the very least, as a source of inspiration.
But for telling you about Frank, I could find not better words than those written on his Cichlid Room Companion author profile by one of our Cichlid Room Companion fellows, Thomas Andersen from Denmark. The profile can be also found in Frank’s author page, with links to his references, which were compiled also by Thomas. Many of his pictures and a few articles are also linked, which Frank gracefully allowed me to use in the Cichlid Room Companion. Text follows:
“ Frank Warzel was born 21th of December 1960 in Koblenz, Germany, and passed away much too early after complications following a heat surgery on 27th of April 2005, only 44 years old. Frank was well known and respected internationally, as one of the most knowledgeable experts on pike cichlids of the genera Crenicichla and Teleocichla, not only by fellow aquarists, but also by the scientific community.
Frank’s enormous knowledge was not only limited to theoretical issues like taxonomy, systematics or zoo-geography, but also in the everyday keeping of this difficult, and sometimes very aggressive, group of fishes. He made very thoroughly studies of the behavior of species he kept, and successfully spawned many of the them, including several of the notoriously challenging Crenicichla lugubris-group species.
His first article was published in 1989, and the following years he published over one hundred writings. In the English speaking world, he was probably best known for his highly interesting articles in the Cichlids Yearbooks, but the majority of his writings were published in German, his native language.
The photos that accompanied Frank’s articles was always of very high quality, often capturing interesting behavioral situations. He was a talented artist too, making beautiful and detailed drawings of fishes, that was used to illustrate both his own writings, but also scientific publications, e.g. in Alex Ploeg’s very important contributions to the systematics of pike cichlids.
Besides Frank’s passion for pike cichlids, he also had a great interest in South American dwarf cichlids of the genera Apistogramma and Dicrossus, on which he published numerous writings. Dicrossus warzeli was recently described based on specimens discovered and collected by Frank, and named in his honor, by Römer et al. 2010. Frank himself described Apistogramma arua from the Rio Arapiuns, Brazil (together with Uwe Römer). Also the West African rheophilic species of the genera Gobiocichla and Teleogramma was among his interests.
No more words will be written by Frank’s hand, but his incredible knowledge on - and not least great passion for - his beloved cichlids will live on in his numerous writings. “
I was fortunate enough to meet Frank personally in a couple of occasions, and had the chance to talk to him and enjoy his friendship and knowledge first hand. I have been one more person influenced by his passion.
See you next month!