of my favorite albino fishes. I was also
always fascinated by the articles on the
various Cynotilapia species.
All was not always well with the rift lake
cichlids, however, and those from deeper
water were not only dangerous to collect,
but they also had poor survival rates. TFH’s
own Glen Axelrod (now TFH Executive
Editor and CEO of TFH Publications)
was among the first to suggest the use of
decompression techniques that had been
pioneered with marine fish to be used with
Cyphotilapia frontosa and others, resulting
in a much higher survival rate for these
highly desirable species.
Despite the attractive colors and our
fascination with these new imports from
Africa’s rift lakes, TFH did not neglect
cichlids from other areas, but rather
continued to offer articles on New World
cichlids with occasional articles about
those from Asia and other places in Africa.
The next big invasion of our tanks was
by the rainbowfish of Australia and New
Guinea, and TFH regularly featured articles
on the new species and how and where
they’d been collected. Many hobbyists
eagerly awaited their next issue of this
magazine to see if it would include yet
another beautiful rainbowfish to be sought
after, and perhaps acquired.
A recurring feature from around this
time was the series “Meet the Hobbyist,”
which featured fishkeepers from all over
the world. It was interesting to see what
people from other places were keeping and
how they were keeping them.
The readers’ fascination for connecting
with other hobbyists around the world may
have swung the pendulum a bit too far in
the late 1980s and early 1990s, when many
articles by Eastern Europeans appeared,
often discussing species that were not yet
available in the United States. While it
was great to read about these fish, U.S.
hobbyists’ inability to get them could lead
to frustration. Fortunately, that changed
later in the 1990s when fish started
being shipped to the U.S. from additional
locations, including Europe.
This may seem strange, but while fish
were regularly exported from Europe
(especially Germany) to the U.S. in the early
days of the hobby, that practice became
less and less common as the commercial
transport of fish via airplane made it
more economical to buy fish from South
America or wherever they were collected
than to buy them from Europe. Over the
last 20 years or so, however, we’ve seen a
reemergence of shipments from Europe.
These consist primarily of tank-raised fish
bred by hobbyists in Germany and the
Czech Republic. I’ve always suspected that
the interest generated in these fish by the
articles published in TFH had a lot to do
with their subsequent importation.
Are GloFish® the best thing since
automatic water changers, or strange
manmade mutants? Whatever your view,
TFH covered the phenomenon that is the
GloFish right from the start. As one who
has always been more a fan of wild forms
of fish than domestically produced strains
or hybrids, I must say that I’m probably
not the target audience for GloFish. As
someone who works in the pet industry,
though, I can say that they’re pretty
Cyphotilapia frontosa is a much sought-after cichlid species from Lake Tanganyika;
improved collection techniques helped increase survival rates of these deep-water fish.
Boeseman’s rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani ), one of the dazzling
rainbows from New Guinea that took the aquarium hobby by storm.