A cichlid Thanksgiving!

Every year I try and make it a point to give thanks to folks who have contributed to making The Cichlid Stage the best cichlid blog on the Web. All of the people listed below played a part this year – directly or indirectly – and I send you my heartfelt thanks. There are probably some that I am forgetting. I’m sorry for that, but you know I’m thankful for you.

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In memoriam – Don ‘Z-man’ Zilliox

Don Zilliox.

Just before the awards ceremony at the OCA Extravaganza this past weekend, two members from the Tropical Fish Club of Erie County (TFCEC) made a short presentation.  They presented a $100 check to the Jim Smith Fund in memory of long time TFCEC member, Don Zilliox, who passed away last month.

The cichlid keeping community has lost a great treasure, and I am very saddened. Though I never had the privilege of meeting Don in person, I know he was an outstanding fish keeper and a great guy. How do I know? Keep reading.

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OCA 25th Extravaganza, day 2

Day two (Saturday) of the Extravaganza was outstanding….well, at least for me.

The day began with several talks – Hans George Evers, Oliver Lucanus (his 2nd talk of the event), and Ad Konings, I didn’t attend Evers’ talk but I did Lucanus’ and Konings’. Both are excellent speakers and their presentations were very informative. Below are the talk titles:

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OCA 25th Extravaganza

The previous post mentioned seeing Sam Scalz and Mo Devlin. Not long after I ran into those guys, I went by Jodi and Brantley Berry’s booth in the vendor room. The Berry’s are the proprietor’s of Pleco Caves. If you need some ceramic caves, you have to go to their website and see what they offer. I have posted more than once about their business, and they have made custom caves and tubes for me. They also have a Facebook page. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

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Free blog t-shirt at OCA Extravaganza

Cichlid Stage t-shirt. Photo by author.

We’re just a few days away from the start of the 25th OCA Extravaganza. As I posted earlier this month, the first three attendees of the Extravaganza who introduce themselves to me and tell me they read the blog will receive a free Cichlid Stage t-shirt, just like the one in the photo above.

Don’t miss out on a free t-shirt! You can’t buy them, so this is your best chance to get one until at least the upcoming ACA Convention in Sacramento July 2020.

Additional evidence of chemical cues in cichlids

Chemical structure of uric acid. Image from https://chemspider.com/.

Back in October of 2018, I posted about how water changes can upset hierarchical dynamics of cichlids. That post was about a recent scholarly journal article focusing on angelfish. The premise was that the removal of tank water and the introduction of fresh water during a water change dilutes the chemicals that angelfish expel and depend on for social status reconciliation.

A couple of days ago, while looking for some additional information on chemical cues, I found a very interesting article published in 2015 titled “Chemical communication in cichlids: a mini-review“. This article covers chemical communication in cichlids within multiple contexts (e.g., reproduction, social hierarchies, recognition). I would encourage you to read it when you get an opportunity.

Sand substrate for cichlids

Mystic White sand in a bucket. Photo by author.

If you’re looking for a good all purpose sand for your cichlids, I recommend Mystic White II. This is a pool filter sand that you can pick up at your local pool supply store. You can also purchase it at Walmart and several online stores. My pool supply store sells this for WAY less than I can get it online or even at Walmart. Nonetheless, what makes this sand so good?

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Best of the Best Award

I have to give a big shout out to all of the readers of The Cichlid Stage. I found out today that the site made the 2019 Top 100 Aquarium Blogs.

Compiled by the site Contented Fish, the Top 100 is actually more inclusive than just blogs (i.e., it includes magazine sites, online retail sites). It also encompasses both fresh and salt water sites.

Here’s what they had to say about The Cichlid Stage:

This site posts some fascinating articles featuring fellow fish lovers interviewed. Worth a read.

To say I was surprised about this recognition is an understatement. However, without you the reader, this site isn’t much more than a private notebook for myself. So thank you all who take a minute or two out of your day to visit, even if it’s just one time. I really appreciate it.

My tank vacuum and water change process

The complete set-up for my tank cleaning process. Photo by the author.

I have posted a few times about how I do water changes. All of my cichlid tanks, except my quarantine and hospital tanks, contain sand substrates. As a result, I use a system I created using Python water changers that easily minimizes loss of source water, cichlid fry, and sand. My process utilizes two Python brand water changing hoses and a few other components.

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