Dave Schumacher interview

Dave Schumacher

About a year ago, I was looking for some cichlids that were proving to be difficult to find. I began thinking to myself “Who might have these fish?” I remembered hearing about a guy in Texas who often has some of the more difficult to find species, so I went to his site – Dave’s Rare Aquarium Fish. The owner, Dave Schumacher, didn’t have what I was looking for, but I thought “Why not ask him to do an interview?” I did, and he agreed.

As a kid, Dave was always into reptiles and amphibians. He got his first job in high school at a fish store in Houston that focused on cichlids but the store owner was wanting to carry reptiles. The owner didn’t know how to care for them and didn’t want to handle them. It was at that store that he became fascinated with cichlids.

After high school, he moved to San Marcos for college at Texas State University, and while there, got a job at Armke’s Rare Aquarium Fish. He worked there for a couple years, then bought the business in 2006. Not long after, he moved everything a short drive south to San Antonio. Currently, his shop houses more than 200 cichlid species.

Dave’s been an active member of the Hill Country Cichlid Club, alongside Greg Steeves (who I interviewed back in 2017), where he’s been on the board and even served as secretary of the American Cichlid Association. He travels a few times each year speaking to clubs about Mbuna, Lamprologines, building his shop, and basic cichlid genetics/nomenclature.

Let’s get this started!

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Shell alternative

Lamprologus ornatipinnis “Zambia” and PVC elbows. Photo by Ryan Garland. 

If you keep shell dwellers and you’re having trouble getting shells or getting your shellies to use them, an alternative is PVC. Use small elbows with caps. One advantage to using PVC elbows as a shell substitute is that it is more difficult for the occupant to get “lodged” in the elbow and not get out. Another advantage is that you can remove the cap on the end of the elbow to extract the PVC, the fish, or fish’s eggs separately if you need to for some reason.

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Trade those fry!

Supplies acquired on trade from LFS. Photo by author.

If you’ve had luck breeding cichlids and you’re having trouble getting rid of the fry, trade them at your local fish store (LFS). If you have a community fish store that you like, see if they will take your fry and give you a store credit. Not everyone in the hobby has an LFS, which I distinguish from the U.S. big box stores like PetSmart, Petco, etc.

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Another new eartheater!

Adult male Gymnogeophagus jaryi. Photo from journal PLOS ONE.

If you’re a fan of the eartheater cichlids from South America, then you’ll be happy to know a new species was recently described. Gymnogeophagus jaryi is found in the southern tributaries of the Middle Paraná basin of Argentina (on the border with Paraguay). The standard lengths (SL) for the male holotype and female paratype are 113.1 mm (4.5″) and 73.3 mm (2.9″), respectively.

This is a beautiful little fish with a nice nuchal hump and light blue coloration on the adult males. You can find a more thorough description, including multiple photos, in the PLOS One journal article where it was described. A shout out to Amazonas Magazine, which has a nice, short write up about the fish.

Give a shout out!

If you read my blog and you like it enough to return, how about giving me a shout on your favorite social media? If you’re a member of any cichlid Facebook groups, please let those group members know about the blog. The only thing in it for me is knowing that folks are interested enough to visit. So the more visitors I get, the more I feel like I’m doing something that’s of interest to someone other than myself.

If you found a particular post that you like, please let your friends know. Heck, let me know too! I love to hear from readers, so shoot me a note. If you didn’t like something, let me know that too. I do try to post content that I think is useful or interesting to others. When I hear from you about something that you liked, that at least tells me something about the type of blog content being consumed.

In any case, thanks for reading!

Newbies beware!

Ok, so you’re new to cichlids, maybe even new to fish keeping. You’ve joined a few Facebook groups to get some help. You ask some questions, answers flood in, and now your head is spinning. Why? Because you’re getting a dozen different answers. Worse than that, your post in the Facebook group has devolved into a virtual shouting match, pretty much eliminating further help there.

Continue reading this post…Newbies beware!

Sand – supply, demand, and sustainability

Back in 2017, I posted about the potential for a sand shortage in the future. In that post, I pointed to an article that discussed some of the uses of sand, which are probably way more than you realize.

Fast forward to today, and this article about the possibility of a sand shortage came out in Science, which is the official publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The article cites a United Nations (UN) report that highlights the political aspects of sand, specifically that sand is a resource and thus a commodity. As such, there are sustainability issues.

The article is a very interesting read, especially when it claims that sand is second only to water in human usage (by volume).