Have you ever wondered what it takes to be labeled an expert at something? People with terminal academic degrees (e.g., PhD) are typically viewed as experts on their particular subject. On the other hand, people with little to no education who have years of experience working in or on something are also considered experts. What about cichlid keepers?
If you wanted to be considered an authority on a particular species or genera, what would the criteria be? Back in 2017, I posed that question to Greg Steeves, a well known cichlid keeper from Texas. I specifically asked him what criteria he thought would be required to be labeled a “Master Cichlid Keeper.” His response was interesting.
I think if you have a degree in biology and your study specimens are cichlids, then you are most likely an expert. This is true especially if you have published about them. However, I also think that someone with years of experience breeding and raising species may also be considered an authority or expert. There seems to be no consensus on what is required to be an authority, expert, or master of cichlids…at least that I’ve been able to determine.
There are many “armchair” experts out there. Just join a cichlid Facebook group. You’ll encounter one in seconds.
There should exist some minimal level of achievement or common denominator from which we can establish expert or master status in the cichlid hobby. It is clearly a subjective topic, and one that I think could generate a lot of discussion.
What do you think? Comment below or send me a message with your suggested criteria.