Lisa & Martin Hoeber interview

Super Cichlids logo courtesy of Lisa Hoeber.

Just over two years ago, I interviewed Lisa Hoeber of Super Cichlids. At that time, Super Cichlids was an online-only retail store. Fast forward to this summer and that changed in a big way. Lisa and her co-owner husband, Martin, opened a physical store with the same name in their hometown of Dover, Delaware. Shortly before their opening, I e-mailed Lisa and Martin asking if they would be interested in doing another interview. Thankfully, they happily agreed.

If you’re in the Dover area or within a reasonable driving distance, I would encourage you to visit their store. I haven’t been myself, but I have seen numerous photos. The place looks amazing! I know Lisa and Martin, and they’re first class. If you visit, I would expect that you will experience the same unbridled friendliness that you’ve experienced interacting with them at their vendor booth during fish shows and conventions. Even if you can’t visit their physical store, certainly go to their website. They have great deals all of the time.

Continue reading this post…Lisa & Martin Hoeber interview

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.

Continue reading this post…In memoriam – Don ‘Z-man’ Zilliox

Dr. Hans Hofmann interview

Hans Hofmann

In 2016, while looking for a new interviewee for the blog, I ran across the website of a research laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin. I checked out the website, looked at a few of the lab’s publications, and it became quickly obvious to me that the lab’s director, Dr. Hans Hofmann, was someone I needed to interview.

I reached out to Dr. Hofmann, introduced myself, and asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview for the blog. He replied within a couple of days and happily agreed. We began the interview process, but work caught up with him, and we weren’t able to get it completed. So fast forward to the present, and we did a complete reboot of the original interview.

Since receiving his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Leipzig in Germany, Dr. Hofmann has received numerous fellowships and awards for his work at the University of Texas, Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In addition to running the Hofmann lab at the University of Texas, he has served as Director of UT’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and UT’s Center for Biomedical Research Support. He has given over 130 invited keynote lectures and seminars but has also given numerous public outreach presentations.

Needless to say, getting Dr. Hofmann to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions with me was a real bonus. Outstanding stuff ahead. Buckle in!

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Chris Carpenter interview

Chris Carpenter

Several years ago at one of the annual American Cichlid Association (ACA) conventions, I overheard a conversation about some shell dwelling cichlids. Being a dwarf cichlid enthusiast myself, my interest was piqued upon hearing the word “shellies.” I wasn’t eavesdropping but I clearly heard something equivalent to “You should check with Chris Carpenter. He keeps all kinds of shellies.” Like any hobbyist who constantly builds their knowledge base, I filed that name away.

In the years since that convention, I have heard Chris’ name mentioned numerous times. In an effort to ensure that my interviews on the blog cover all corners of cichlid keeping, I needed to get someone to talk about shell dwelling species. Because he is widely regarded as an expert on these fish, I looked him up and sent him a note about doing an interview. He promptly replied and happily agreed.

 

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Pam Chin interview (#2)

 Pam Chin driving the boat on Lake Tanganyika 2018

Because I keep African cichlids, especially Lake Tanganyikan species, I’ve always been intrigued by the lake itself, including the various habitats and all the lake’s cichlid species. Since I’ve never visited the lake, I have to rely on resources such as photos, videos, articles, and monographs to learn things about it. Now I can add interviews to that list of resources. Not surprisingly, there are dedicated cichlidophiles who make regular trips to the lake where they spend hours videoing, photographing, and discusing these wonderful fish.

 

A few months ago, one such group comprised of Ad Konings, Mattia Matarrese, Tautvydas Pagonis, Martin Geerts, Ankie Geerts, Brenton Pember, Dave Hale, and Pam Chin spent over two weeks on the lake. I did an interview with Pam back in 2016 but I wanted to catch up with her about this latest trip because she’s so passionate about cichlids. Anyway, during the trip, they followed the coastline south from Kipili, then along the bottom of the lake, and then headed up north, along the west coast, to the Nsumbu National Park.  Once there they continued north as far as Katete. They were told several times, not to venture any further, as the Congo Police would certainly stop them.

Continue reading this post…Pam Chin interview (#2)