It was back in May, 6 1996 that after a search in many internet sites who could potentially host a cichlid related internet home page, John Benn, then editor of the American Cichlid Association Trading Post, offered me free hosting and support for a cichlid page in the then rented servers of Petsforum in Chicago. This was the start of the Cichlid Room Companion. Before this, in 1994, the information that triggered the site was hosted in a text-based chat room internet utility, called Fishroom, where people would gather in virtual rooms to discuss different aquarium-related topics. I was then in charge of the Cichlid Room in Fishroom. Text-based utilities were limitative to effectively distribute information and the general access to the new WWW was something wonderful for my plans.
I’ve been working for fifteen years on this site. Looking in retrospective, I am very satisfied with what the Cichlid Room Companion has achieved in these years. The problems to obtain good cichlid information before it were really big, especially for those without access to university libraries; and even for those that had access to them. This was true for people in many countries. Information was scattered in difficult-to-find magazine issues or scientific papers, and a real useful cichlid catalog was simply not available. The best of the books could just cover a fraction of the huge amount of information available, and that information was static, in the very dynamic world of cichlid information. The CRC offers the latest information in what I believe is an elegant and easy to use utility, so it can be quickly located and accessed. What good is information of you can’t find it, or trust it, when you need it?
Of course, the page is a reality not just because of me, but because of the many knowledgeable people that have contributed to it over the years. Without them, the page would simply not exist. The highest asset of the Cichlid Room Companion is without doubt the participation of many of the world top cichlid specialists, a big thank to all of them. It would be too long to mention them all here.
For me, working in the CRC has been an enterprise full of joy and fulfillment, and above all, learning. This site combines many of my dearest interests and every hour I devoted to work on it has provided me a happy hour. The site has also helped me passing through very difficult times in my life in a much smoother way. And, on the whole, it has given me the opportunity to make many new friends.
After 15 years, even being the largest cichlid information resource in the world, I still believe the site has not yet matured. I am full of projects for the site. It is just the scarcity of resources that limits me to make them a reality sooner, but I will continue working on them for as long as I can. Expect many improvements soon. It is my policy that the Cichlid Room Companion should take advantage of the latest technologies and offer the best utilities to fulfill its goal.
I guess in the end it is me who has to thank the Cichlid Room Companion for all it has brought into my life. Happy birthday Cichlid Room Companion!