Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Juan Miguel Artigas Azas is a naturalist in San Luis Potosí, Mexico (the very center of it). He has loved fish since he can remember. His main interest are Central American Cichlids and Mexican fishes, but he is also very interested in any other type of fish.  Juan Miguel is the creator and editor of the Cichlid Room Companion. His love for computers and nature, together with the revolutionary development of Internet was too much for him to let the opportunity to create this page pass along. He has found that the maintenance of a real good home page is a life time enterprise, and he is ready to cope to that.
Juan Miguel enjoys travelling to the natural habitats of the fish he loves, where he obtains underwater pictures of them. He likes to observe them, trying to understand their natural history and relationships. He has managed to obtain a great knowledge on the biology and geographical distribution of the fishes in Mexico. This gives to his conferences an originality and special interest.

Juan Miguel has written many articles on Mexican and Central American Freshwater fish, mainly on cichlids, for several club and aquarium publications. He has also been honored with the invitation as lecturer in fish oriented conventions in several countries, including Mexico, United States, Belgium, Canada, England, Netherlands, Norway, France, Italy Sweden and Germany. Juan Miguel is part of the American Cichlid Association – Marineland speakers program.  Juan Miguel has been awarded the Guy Jordan Retrospective Award 2008 by the American Cichlid Association. The maximum honor this association gives to people who has done extensive contributions to the International Cichlid Hobby.


        Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter, has been a board member of the Grand Valley Aquarium Club in Grand Rapids Michigan for many years, and has recently been elected Vice President. Chris has won awards, such as Breeder of the year, Aquarist of the year, Master Breeder, Old World Cichlid Specialist, and Master. Chris became serious about the world of fish when he gave up drugs, and alcohol almost 11 years ago. Chris has learned a lot in the last ten years and has focused a great deal of time in the hobby on the cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, particularly the Shell Dwellers. Chris has kept, and bred many of these species, and is honored to have the chance to share what he has learned with us.


               Dominic Cergnul

Dominic has been keeping fish for about 20 years.  He is one of the youngest people to ever hold an officer position on Michigan Cichlid Association’s board of directors.  While Dominic enjoys keeping and breeding all fish,  he has a special love for the Cichlids of the African Rift Lakes.  Dominic divides his time between his occupation of “slanging used hoopties” & being the MCA vice president’s designated driver.


                  Pam Chin

Pam loves cichlids! She has been a tropical fish enthusiast for many years and cichlids are her passion. Along with her husband Gary, they currently maintain over 100 aquariums in their fish house filled with cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi and Central America.

Pam is an Honorary Life Member of the Pacific Coast Cichlid Association (PCCA) and past editor of the PCCA’s award winning publication; Cichlidae Communique. She has been a long time member of the American Cichlid Association in the past she has served as Secretary and Chairman for the Board of Trustees and was recently named an ACA fellow, it is the highest honor the American Cichlid Association gives to members for their support of this national organization.

Pam is an avid writer her cichlid articles and “Ask Pam” column have been published in the Buntbarsche Bulletin, Cichlid News and aquarium societies from Australia to Sweden. She has received numerous writing awards from the ACA and FAAS, including “Best Continuing Column” and “Author of the Year.”

Pam is a founding member of “Babes In The Cichlid Hobby” where they try to make a difference in cichlid keeping, by raising money (Near $110,000.00 to date) for cichlid research and cichlid conservation.

Pam loves to travel with cichlid friends to fish events across North America. These friendships have led to expeditions and opportunities to visit fascinating places like Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, South America & Mexico to observe cichlids in their natural habitats.


                           Dale Ernst

Dale Ernst has been keeping & breeding fish since a child.  Now at 44 years old,  his love for fish has blossomed into owning one of Metro Detroit’s most premier fish shops,  Fantastic Fins, with his hatchery located next door.  While Dale enjoys keeping and breeding all fish,  he has a special love for Plecos,  especially the spawning & distribution of Brazilian Hypancistrus sps.endemic to the Xingu River.  Always willing to help out fellow hobbyists,  he has been a member of all Detroit’s local fish clubs & readily available at his store & hatchery.


                        Larry Johnson

Larry was first introduced to Lake Malawi cichlids in the early 70’s and has been keeping and breeding them since then. The fish room has got bigger over the years and was consumed by these beautiful fish. “Tropical Fish are a full time job for me”. He presently runs almost 100 various size aquariums at home, and has been importing Cichlids from Lake Malawi since 2006 from Sutart M Grant. Stuart was a dear friend of mine who passed away in October 2007. You can see many beautiful underwater pictures that have been taken over the years on his website here.

In January 2003 Cichlid News Magazine published Larry’s article and pictures on the genus Mylochromis. Larry also discovered the interesting feeding behaviour in Sciaenaochromis fryeri and photographing for the first time a new species of Lethrinops sp.”mbenji roundhead” and Otopharynx speciosus at Nkhomo Reef.  Larry also contributes time as a moderator on several forums and is a contributing photographic author to The Cichlid Companion Room and Buntbarsche Bulletin for the ACA.

Larry recently spent two months in Malawi (2009 ) installing Anti-Netting Devices around the Maleris Islands and conducting a Cichlid Survey in conjunction with the Stuart M Grant Conservation Fund. Here is the latest update of the Stuart M Grant Conservation Fund in action! (2014 Ps.saulosi release at Taiwanee Reef).

Book photo credits
-Malawi Cichlids in the natural habitat (4th Edition) 2007, 3.
-Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat (5th Edition) April 2016, 20.

During September 2013 Larry assisted Ad Konings (thru the ‘Stuart M Grant Conservation Fund), along with others, in placing Ps.saulosi back on Taiwanee Reef. These fish are being produced by Stuart M Grant Ltd which operates the largest Cichlid Export facility on Lake Malawi. During September 2014 Larry supervised the placement of Ps.saulosi back to Taiwanee Reef again, along with other Cichlid Enthusiasts, who were willing participants. The plan for 2014, 2015 and 2016 was much the same, with participants from the current Safari joining in again! This year was the 4th transplant of Chindongo saulosi (formerly Psuedotropheus) to the reef!

In his spare time you can find Larry at local fish clubs (Hamilton & District Aquarium Society) and others doing the “fish thing” (speaking or attending).

In October 2016 he will traveled to Lake Malawi for the 16th time.


Ted Judy

Ted Judy is an addicted aquarist with over 30 years of fish keeping and breeding experience. He is a generalist who enjoys all types of fish from anabantids to tetras, but always finds plenty of room in his fish room for fish from West Africa (especially the dwarf cichlids). Ted’s club affiliations are the American Cichlid Association, the Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists, and the Milwaukee Aquarium Society. Ted is a former high school science teacher who now dabbles as a fish importer, retailer and wholesale distributor. He is a prolific speaker, proficient writer, and wants to be a better photographer. See more of Ted’s hobby by visiting his video blog at www.tedsfishroom.com.


                           Jeff Michels

Jeff Michels has been keeping and breeding fish for over 30 years, and is the youngest member to reach the level of Ultimate Breeder in his home club, the Milwaukee Aquarium Society. Jeff enjoys keeping and breeding all fish, but he has a special affinity for dwarf cichlids from West Africa and South America. Jeff divides his free time between his basement fish room and his chickens in the barn.  You can keep up with Jeff’s aquarium ventures on his AquaticClarity.com website and FaceBook page.


                           Rick Preuss

Rick Preuss, co-owner of Preuss Pets in Old Town Lansing, Michigan has a passion for sharing with the community the collective understanding of proper pet keeping. In a town known for politics, Rick surprised himself when he was voted Lansing City Pulse’s Advocate/Activist of the year two years in a row.  With over 50 years of experience in aquariums, Rick prides himself in coming up with effective ways of communicating the complexities of  aquarium keeping to individuals who come into his store from all walks of life.  Preuss Pets is a 23,000 square foot full- line pet store and has been open for over 35 years.

In 1990, as the world discovered the ecological plight of LakeVictoria, Rick created the Lake Victoria Society with the intention grouping others to help save threatened cichlid species from Lake Victoria.  This morphed into project ELF (endangered lake fish), a school based platform using the breeding of Victorian cichlids as an opportunity to get kids excited about their magnificent planet and it’s perils. School teachers developed curriculum in all disciplines including students having pen pals their age from the African lake villages.

In 1996, Rick began the Reef Club at Williamston Elementary School with the intention of getting kids geeked about science through the maintenance and study of a reef tank.  Rick has also been a speaker at MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America) about the importance of exciting future generations about the fish keeping hobby.  For the last eight years Rick has recorded a weekly radio show featuring pets of all kinds, focusing on the bond between humans and their pets.  Topics have included aquariums as a therapy treatment, project Piaba, proper care and keeping of aquatic life and more.  One additional  highlight, he is an annual guest speaker at  Michigan State University Zoo and Aquarium Science class where he talks about careers involving  animals and likes to include one of his favorite phrases – that “people” are his favorite animal.  He looks forward to the opportunity to tell you why.