It was in 1984 when I first read an article by Wayne Leibel which came to me in the January issue of Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine to which I was a subscriber. At that time, I used to read my subscribed magazines from cover to cover. The article in question was “Heckel's Thread-Finned Acara Acarichthys heckelii (Mueller and Troschel 1848)” and appeared in the January 1984 issue of FAMA. I was really fascinated by Wayne’s writing style and by the fantastic information provided, which should have certainly taken a lot of experience and research hours to materialize in that wonderful article. Interestingly enough, the article does not end in a Hollywood fashion, magazine selling happy ending text. Neither it is a short quick 'breeding success guidelines', as it seems to be today a requirement for writing success and wide audience penetration. On the contrary, the article is long and detailed and expresses the failure to achieve reproduction of such a wonderful and emblematic fish. Nevertheless, I got really hooked on the fish and overall on Wayne’s deep writing style. Since then I have always been an insatiable reader of anything Wayne has written over the years. And I have never been disappointed.
Then came his first series of articles on South American cichlids in T.F.H magazine; “Wayne’s New World”, a wonderful collection of articles on South and Central American cichlids edited by Mary Sweeney. Beyond the wealth of information provided were thought provoking writings every time. Wayne’s articles were the only reason I didn’t quit my then almost twenty years subscription to that magazine. A second column by Wayne on South American cichlids, “Goin’ south”, began distributing in the January 1992 issue of Aquarium Fish Magazine and lasted for almost forty essays. Both columns are gems of information and can defer many hard-line aficionados to African cichlids (and I am certain they did) into taking a new direction to South America in their interests.
I always thought it is sad that such wonderful information, published in a magazine is lost as time passes and old issues pass from home offices, to kitchen tables, to bathrooms and finally end up in the paper recycling industry. Just a few people would find it practical to preserve such information treasures, and even worse, being able to find what they want when they needed it is not easy. That was one of my goals seventeen years ago when I started the Cichlid Room Companion as a source of information about cichlids, and has always been gratifying. These days my initial aim has experienced a new surge after Wayne has accepted my proposal to reprint his articles on the “Goin’ South” series in the Cichlid Room Companion, in Wayne’ own Wayne's New World column, where they will be accessible and easy to consult for bytes and time to come. This is really very exciting! In the past few days I have already published the first two parts of the “Goin’South’ series and just re-reading them has been one of the very nicest experiences. I have even questioned myself if I should not quit a living room I barely use and add a set-up of tanks devoted to South American cichlids.
The articles in the series by themselves would make a great book on South American cichlids. Better yet, the promise of revision and updating along with new articles to add to his now online column is there! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
P.D. In the end, Wayne did end up successfully spawning Acarichthys heckelii, one of the first to do so. Since in the wild they spawn in deep burrows they hollow out in the bottom, he substituted huge inverted flower pots which they took as spawning site.
© Copyright 2013 Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, all rights reserved
Artigas Azas, Juan Miguel. (December 18, 2013). "Wayne's New World". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from: https://www.cichlidae.com/section.php?id=273.