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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:21 am
by Aquamojo
Education on the hybrid issue is difficult in that many in the club are not familiar with the specific topic. So educating anyone else requires education for ourselves. That's another catch 22. You can't teach unless you know and you can't know unless you learn. Our focus on the breeding of pure bred species is an education in the other direction. Our goal is to focus on the pure bred cichlids and be open to discussion on all of the other aspects of the hobby. There was a recent post by one of our members regarding interesting albeit difficult read...titled "Disruptive sexual selection on male nuptial coloration in an experimental hybrids" Here's the link to the publication by the Royal Society: ... l.pdf+html And the follow up publication: ... l.pdf+html The fact of the matter is that this endeavor requires participation from the members on the forum as well as direction from the ACA. Please feel free to educate, WIllem. There was a time that a post like that would have received scrutiny and ended up with a flame war. The fact that it's there and has been viewed without problems is a step in the right direction.

Our identity problem....I think this is something that will evolve into something more positive as we continue to make small changes in how we reach out to our members and build our on line presence. Again, nothing happens unless members get involved. I personally want to see our club turn it's focus more toward the hobbyist...not to the exclusion of our conservation/grants for cichlid research...but in line with giving something back to the people who support the clubs. We are working diligently to become more "user friendly". With that, old habits die hard. I recently had one member of our BOT ask that I remove one of the "hybrid" discus and angelfish from a business card I designed. Since I photograph fish I have access to, it was technically impossible. The pictures in question were all entries in last years convention. And even if I did have that option, I wouldn't have changed the photo...nor do I believe the remainder of the board would have supported that request. Not everyone believes in what exactly forward motion should be...and remain focused on the past.

Here's the card in question. The plan is to ask on line vendors to include these in their cichlid shipments. We will also use them to hand out at local clubs. The proposition to print is up for vote this month. Personally I have already ordered a thousand for myself. Forward motion...get it done.


The only way I know to address any of the issues you brought up is to just do something. You've seen where the conversations have gone. Lots of opinions and gnashing of teeth.

While we are on the topic let me tell you where I think we fall short as a group. If you look at the card above you can see the three words. Of the three, I think we have the knowledge and support the conservation through our efforts. The fellowship however is often linked to our interaction with other members of the it thorough the BB or at the convention. As a group we need to branch out and get active in other fish communities. Years back this might have been done the old fashion way with shoe leather and local clubs. And while interaction within fish clubs is certainly a good start, the internet is the global meeting place. I have often said that one of our yet untapped benefits for our members was access to some of the advanced hobbyists within the club. Unfortunately this requires active participation. No one can be forced to get more active and involved in either the ACA or other forums. You have to WANT to do it. This is fellowship. Reaching out and educating. This should be our identity. The people in the club with the time and experience reaching out to people OUTSIDE the club. Limiting what you say to the ever shrinking membership is a mistake IMHO.

I can only use myself as an example. As you know I am a member of many fish forums, both domestically and internationally. I make it a point to not only post my photos but also answer questions and get involved in discussions. It's one of the main reasons I activley pursued becoming Chairman of our club. At this point I would safe it's a safe bet that most of the folks on the forums that I frequent KNOW that I am involved in the club. I certainly make every effort to let them know...and field questions (good and bad) on the club as well as those about the cichlid fishes. More of this by more of us would go a long way in spreading the word of the American Cichlid Association.

Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:34 am
(that I remove one of the "hybrid" discus and angelfish from a business card I designed)
The Angel fish & the Discus in the picture are not Hybrids but they are line bred for a distinct color etc.. If they were hybrid they would be crossed between two different types of fishes.

At least that is my opinion.
me Dave

Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:00 pm
by LewC
Dave, I think that was part of his point. Note the quotations marks around the word hybrid.

Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:39 pm
by Willem Heijns

I very much appreciate your reply to my concerns. It makes me feel like now a new spirit is coming into the ACA. If only you could stay president for more than two years. The club needs more time than one term on the BOT to change. I might be inclined to help you with that.

As for education: you are quite right. I might add that the first thing to decide is which lesson are we trying to learn. Technically we can spread the word on what hybrids are and line breeding is. But I believe the real lesson is a moral one: do we want to preserve "pure" species in the hobby or don't we? Or doesn't it matter? I think the ACA does need to take a stand on this or else different "teachers" will go out and teach different lessons.

The identity problem is more or less the same. The cichlid hobby wasn't started with conservation in mind. Tank strains, hybrids and (the hype of) wild caught cichlids have always been around. And getting your money's worth (in services rendered) does not necessarily imply paying your dues to go to some conservation fund of cichlid student. Either these two objectives (conservation and hobby) will have to be reconciled or the ACA will run the risk of falling apart. The least the ACA can do here is setting priorities for these two goals.

Anyway, lots of success and a prosperous future for the ACA. I think I'll renew in 2012.

Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:30 pm
by Aquamojo
Thanks Willem. I appreciate that.

The message on hybrids...I think it easier to explain how to build the bridge than it is to make someone feel good about building it. The message is always on the pure species of fish. That hasn't changed. What's changed is the insane focus on driving that message to the exclusion of everything simply enjoying the hobby. As a group of volunteers we are still individuals with differing opinions on the topic. "Buy in" is an option.

I'll just say...give it time and watch what happens. Like I said early on, I will gladly dine on crow if I'm wrong. But I'm not going down without really trying to make a difference.

Thanks again. I always appreciate your input and conversation.