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I hope people don't think I have just a rosy picture of the "old days." I
like history and I study the history of whatever I am interested in for one
simple reason -- one learns alot that can be of help today. The level of
knowledge applied to killie breeding today is staggering in its depth, detail
and innovation. I am amazed at the information that comes over this site.
Monty Lehmann's posts on breeding plant spawning Aphyosemions are a marvel. I
cannot believe what Monty knows and all the little techniques he has that
make up his big technique. That kind of knowledge was not available 30 years
ago. It was being discovered. Its hard to breed plant spawning Aphy. in
Houston as we have 3 months of cool temperatures and no basements. Unless one
runs the air conditioner like a freezer, the fish just waste away. I gave up
on them years ago, but Monty's posts make me want to try again.
Sure, e mail is great and it is easy to get copies, but I have saved
well-composed letters for decades. They are publishable -- like Scheel's old
"Killi-Letters." I wish Ted Klotz would think about publishing his
correspondence with Roloff in JAKA -- I bet it's a great read! So easier is
not necessarily better -- its just easier.
I don't want things I say dismissed as the "old days were better"
cliche. Maybe some facts would help. Killie Notes, with a large Fish and Egg
Listings used to arrive during the first few days of every month -- 12 times
a year. Today, JAKA gets here whenever (Ithat is not a complaint, just an
observation. I think Brent does a great job.) -- as does the BNL . Why with
all the progress and new technologies does it take longer to get less today
than it did 30 years ago, if the old days were not so hot and the new days
I think the main reason is that the club's publication used to be its
heart and soul form of comunication and today, the two publications are not
really so important. The important contacts are local and electronic.
Thinking about Monty's great posts, I cannot wait to read his quest
edited issue of JAKA. I bet I learn a ton. I wonder why the best breeders in
the AKA don't all do an issue. Take the species, genus or family that they
know and do a great big article describing all their experiences and
techniques. Roger Langton's book does this and it is GREAT ! Think of the
JAKAs we would have. Its the little details that make a novice a pro and we
need these potentially well-thought-out and detailed articles. Hell, this
could be the basis of a commercial book on killies, which we need. "World of
Killies" is not nearly strong or detailed enough on breeding and raising and
keeping fish. There is a wonderful cichlid book that Ad Konings edited called
"Enyoying Your Cichlids." Each family of fish is taken up by a different
author who is an expert in their care and breeding. Others authors do water,
foods and feeding, natural habitat, etc.... It is a stunningly practical and
hobbyist oriented book. We haven't had a commercial killie book in decades --
and hardly ever from America. The AKA could organize this, get it published
and I bet members would donate all sorts of never-before-seen photos. There
could be a whole fishroom section, highlighting building one. Books never
include this and I wonder if some people even think of such a level of
involvement. Orchid books always talk about building a greenhouse.
I only mention the past as I believe the AKA -- as a NATIONAL unified
club -- served its membership as a WHOLE better then and I want to know why.
At a convention, I would love to see all the original founders who are
still with us brought together to do a big presentation on the founding ideas
and history of the AKA. I know Dick Haas would love it. I bet Bruce Turner
would. Glen Collier might. Stan Weitzman at the Smithsonian would come.
Rosario would come. Joe Ricco. Peter Tirbak. Bernie Halverson. Jim Thomerson.
And of course Al Klee. Its time to honor Klee for his contribution to the
hobby overall and the AKA in particular. I am sure there are others. What a
talk that group could give and what an inspiration for new members of the AKA
-- to feel the history and hard work that made the AKA. There would be lots
I think species maintenance might just be impossible. Some will do it,
but real species maintenance is habitat protection. Maybe the best thing we
can do is to fill our fishrooms with the species we love and devote ourselves
to them. That means many will fall away and some of those might be extinct in
the wild, but those left behind will be the ones people actually care about.
These might turn out to be rare species or very simple and easy to breed
species. I wonder if all this talk of rare and nearly extinct species doesn't
end up breeding an unhealthy attitude. People feel if they place one pair of
fish in the wrong hands that they will condemn that fish to extinction in the
hobby. I doubt that. I bet most species were lost due to disinterest,
accidents (like the original N. polli population in 1961), life itself and
new arrivals. I bet few species were lost due to so-called "unproven"
breeders being given stock. I might be wrong, but I wonder.
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