General Article: Miscellaneous

ACA 2000: Review

by Brad Harrison

Cut to the chase... I just wanna see the PICS!

If you're reading this there can only be two reasons. One you didn't make the show and are trying to find out how it went. Or two you made the show and want to see what my personal take was on the event. With this being my first American Cichlid Association convention. I thought it would be best to tailor this article more towards all those who haven't yet attended a convention, but plan to next time around.

Well all I can tell you is it was a blast. I have never been around that many fish-heads in all my life. The entire hotel was sold out for the show. It was nice to see that there are actually other cichlid nuts like me out there.

This year's speaker list was impressive to say the least. Don Danko, Dr. Paul Loiselle, Pam Chin, Kurt Zadnick, Steve Rybicki, Rusty Wessel, Bing Seto, Jeff Cardwell, Steve Lunblad, Jeff Rapps, Dr. Wayne Liebel, Fishrooms own Juan Miguel Artigas-Azas, and the guy I want to be when I grow up, Ad Konings. If you've never attended one of these lectures I highly recommend you check it out. It's a really good way to learn about different aspects of the hobby. You can also ask the pros for advice or ask questions.

Just down the hall from the lecture hall was the vendor room. There were lots of representatives from several different aquarium related products to be found. It was really nice to check out all the filtration systems, fish foods, etc. All the big names were on hand to show their wares. As well as people selling holey rock, shells, and artwork. Need that certain sized shell for your Tanganyikan shell dwelling cichlid? Or how about that fish food you've heard so much about and can't find in the local stores? Or how about an egg tumbler? This was the place to find it.

Exiting the vendor room (hopefully still possessing the money you planned on buying fish with) and across the hall were the tank rental rooms. Here you can find a multitude of ten-gallon tanks that have been rented by attendees from all over the country and beyond. To house the fish they intend to sell. This is a good place to nab some pre-auction deals. The selection was quite good. It was like being in a well-stocked aquarium shop only cheaper and the people who were netting the fish out to be purchased actually knew what they were. There was everything from Discus to Apistos to the real cichlids (Africans). There was even some Albino plecos and Corys.

After perusing the tank rental rooms. It was time to check out the fish intended for competition. This came to be my favorite attraction. I spent a great deal of time geeking on some of the most beautiful Cichlids I had ever seen. Being carefully displayed by their caretakers in hopes of winning the best of class or even the coveted best of show honors were truly finest stock I have seen anywhere. Although the Malawis Tanganyikans and New World Cichlids were well represented. I was a little disappointed by the lack of sufficient Victorian species representatives. The Malawi species being shown were excellent however. In fact to me the Aulonocaras were in a word 'stunning'. Here is where I went a little camera crazy as you can see by clicking the link to all the pictures available below. Please note however the taking of flash photos should only be done after the fish have been judged and awarded.

I'm afraid I didn't attend the awards banquet. So little information is available. I now wish I would have made the banquet since fellow Fishroomer 'Rhad' was awarded the longest distance traveled to attend. Accompanied by 'LisaB'. We also missed the artwork auction that was held after the banquet. We were to busy checking out all the postings for fish being sold by convention goers on the board in the main hall. Every floor in the hotel had several rooms full of temporary tank setups brimming with every imaginable type of fish ready to be bagged and sold outright.

On the last day of the convention is the auction of all auctions. There were more bags of fish for auction than I could possibly count. Every Cichlid imaginable was being sold off. As a matter of fact during the later hours of the auction some of the stock was being sold at absolutely dirt-cheap prices. The affair went on from early morning until around eleven at night. Have you, been looking for that breeding group of Cichlasoma Nowayicanafforditii? Always wanted that special extremely rare Hap.Cantfinditanywhere? It was to be found there. And it probably went pretty cheap.

Next years American Cichlid Association convention will be held in New Jersey. Hosted by the New Jersey Aquarium Society. One of the lecturers will be the guru of Victorian Cichlids Ole Seehausen. I can't wait! Maybe I can get him to autograph my copy of his book Victorian Rock Cichlids. (highly recommended reading) Also scheduled to speak. Oliver Lucanus, Wayne Liebel, Paul Loiselle, Pam Chin, Dick Au, Chuck Davis, Benny Rosler, and Mike Sheridan. I would highly recommend making hotel reservations six months in advance.

Ok, here are the pictures of the show fish I promised. Fish Photos

Special thanks to the Great Lakes Cichlid Society for hosting this years ACA convention.

Article and images Copyright ©2000 by Brad Harrison and may not be used without his explicit permission.

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