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Meeting May 2018: Mike Hellweg - Dwarf Cichlids

Mike Hellweg speaks on "Keeping and Breeding Dwarf Cichlids"

mike hellweg 150 200A hobbyist since he was a child, Mike was breeding swordtails and raising them successfully when he was 9 years old. Mollies, guppies, corys, and danios soon followed. He quickly discovered that breeding fish was fun and challenging, and that pet stores would swap fish that he raised in exchange for other fish, tanks, and equipment. Mike’s hobby quickly grew to the point where he was selling his home bred fish to shops all around town.

Now a fourth level Grand Master Breeder in his local club, the Missouri Aquarium Society, Inc., Mike has convinced nearly 200 species from more than 20 families to breed, and he has successfully raised their fry. His fishroom of 80 or so tanks, ranging in size from 10 – 75 gallons, is dedicated to working with “miniature fishes,” with adult sizes under 4” in length. Mike particularly enjoys working with small egg scatterers, dwarf cichlids, wild livebearers, killies, and wild anabantids. He is also a third level Grand Master Aquatic Horticulturist, having propagated nearly 175 species of aquatic plants, many of them from seed.

Active in the organized hobby, Mike has served on the Executive Council of the Missouri Aquarium Society since 1989, and is currently serving his 8th term as their president. He also sits on the Board of Directors of both the American Livebearer Association, and the Aquatic Gardeners Association.

Mike presents programs on various hobby topics to local school groups and hobbyist organizations around the country. He has written dozens of articles for local and national hobbyist organizations, and has been published numerous times in both Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Aquarium Fish International magazines, as well as Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine. Mike’s monthly column, ‘Adventures in Fish Breeding,’ appears on He currently owns and operates “Exotic Aquatics,” selling uncommon fish and aquatic plants, both to local hobbyists and to hobbyists around the country.

If you subscribed to or had access to copies of Aquarium Fish Magazine during 2009, you may remember that great “Breeders’ Challenge” competition between Mike and Ted Judy (our May 2010 social meeting speaker). Mike won, but had to mount a come-from-behind rally to do it.

In 2008, TFH published Mike’s book “Culturing Live Food” for aquarists, and followed it up the next year with “Raising Live Foods” for herp keepers. That expertise will be on display as Mike’s talk is titled “Live Food for Cichlids”. Word is that Mike is an experienced and entertaining speaker, so this should be fun!

Guests are always welcome at our meetings, however after your third visit we do ask that you officially join the club.

Meeting Agenda

  • Presidents commentary and business affairs - (~10 minutes)
  • Discussion & overview of upcoming events ( ~5 minutes )
  • Introduction of any new members (~2 minutes )
  • Short Break (10 minutes)
  • Speaker (~ 1 to 1.5 hours)
  • BAP Auction (~15 minutes)
  • Members Auction (Did you know you can auction your fish off any meeting for a fee of $2 per bag to the club, max three bags)
  • Dry goods raffle (2 minutes)
  • After meeting networking and questions (unlimited)
  • Food / Dinner after meeting at Portillo's (30 minutes)

Meetings generally are at 6PM on the second Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noticed, so please check our Events Calendar.

Each meeting is attended by 25-50 people typically. The meeting starts with a welcome from our President and some business affairs may be discussed. We usually ask if there are guests present, raise your hand and tell us what kind of fish you keep!

Following business, there is a short break when you can meet other attendees, take a look at the fish that are available for sales, buy raffle tickets for aquarium goods and see the fish in our Bowl Show.

After the break, a speaker or other program is presented. We bring in speakers from all over the US and other countries. These speakers are usually an expert in cichlids or an aquarium-related topic. The talk usually lasts about an hour.

Following the talk, we announce the raffle winner and begin the auction of fish.

If you like fish or cichlids, you should come to the next meeting.

Doubletree Hotel Downers Grove
2111 Butterfield Rd.
Downers Grove, Illinois, 60515
1-630-971-2000   |  Map and Directions

Event Properties

Event Date 05-06-2018 6:00 pm
Event End Date 05-06-2018 9:00 pm
DoubleTree Hotel Downers Grove
2111 Butterfield Road
DoubleTree Hotel Downers Grove