Embracing challenges and responsibilities of cichlid keeping

Before I began this blog years ago, I already had some ideas about the type of content it would/should include. Much of what you read here on the The Cichlid Stage, to this day, was born from those ideas. However, posts that you don’t see much here are those in which I philosophize. Not that I don’t want to, but I wanted the blog content to be more practical.

I used to have a sister blog, titled On The Stage, in which I did take a dive into various philosophies. That blog focused on the intersection of the mass news media and science, specifically biology. Though I no longer maintain that blog, you can still visit it.

Okay, back to the current state of this blog. The closest I’ve actually come to a philosophical angle on a topic was this post on ethics from a couple of years ago. Earlier today, I asked myself the following question, “Why do you keep fish (cichlids)?” It is not the first time I’ve asked myself that question. Have I always given the same answer? Nope. Why? Because there is no single answer. There are multiple answers. I suspect you might answer that same question differently depending on the day.

My main answer today is “The challenge.” Because there are so many species of cichlids available in the hobby, finding one or more that work for you isn’t difficult. However, their ease of care isn’t all the same. Some are very difficult to keep and even harder to breed. For me, that’s the big appeal. I am constantly feeling the need to be challenged by the hobby, which inherently includes working with species I haven’t kept before.

Even though I’ve been keeping fish for two decades, I still learn new things all of the time. I especially enjoy learning about the different behaviors of species. I am constantly fascinated with the differences in species behavior, as well as the similarities. Inter-species interactions are also something that fascinate me. As you know, many species co-exist just fine with other species and even con-specifics. On the other hand, many species just don’t like to share space with any other fish, period.

I have also mentioned in past posts that I take the responsibility of keeping fish seriously. They’re living creatures, and I treat them with the respect they deserve. They aren’t “just fish” to me. To that end, having that responsibility is energetic to me, especially when coupled with any challenges presented. Do I get frustrated sometimes? Yes. Do the challenges and responsibilities create or exacerbate frustration? Yes. Does the frustration exceed the pleasure I derive from keeping cichlids? It hasn’t yet, not even close. When and if that day comes, I’ll shut it all down.

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