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This is EXACTLY why my 6 year old son got the approval for a 15g tank to start him off with. I do agree fully that having a friendly relationship with people can take things a long way. I still drive from elgin to kildeer to see a manager at petsmart who years ago helped me get back into the hobby after a 17 year break. Now I am a signature away from being a lonely fish keeper but I enjoy every minute of this hobby from the leaks to the fry and everything in between. Yes I do have those technological toys here but they are MINE, I had to wait till I had made enough money and was OUT of school(high school) before I could by a gaming system, ill be darned if my kids wont be raised the same way. I get much more enjoyment from my fish then I do my war games.
This is just a shame and hate facing this reality. Not to get overly philosophical, but LFS make decisions based on demand and I hate to say it, but few meet the demands of a typical member of a cichlid club. So indirectly, or ultimately, we help perpetuate their demise. What do we (cichlid club membership) want? Stock that is healthy, of quality, at a reasonable price, and varied in species selection, from common, to occasional, to rare. But why can't we get that?
We (cichlid club membership) are just a slice of the buying public, and the general buyer's demand is narrowing what LFS can and will supply. The number of hobbyists are on the decline as the next generation has more hobby/entertainment options available to them, moving fishkeeping further down "the list" such that fewer are exposed to it. And since our President has taken over (not a slam, just a timing reference), the economy has forced decisions on both current and potential hobbyists, further wounding this hobby, and the role LFS's can play, enough so that I believe the damage is permanent. I appreciate now more than I ever have in the past the importance of developing, cultivating relationships with all participants - from fellow club members, to other cichlid clubs, LFS owners, Big/Box managers, Internet sellers, and potential fishkeepers.
The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association — GCCA — is a not-for-profit, educational organization, chartered in the state of Illinois, dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of information relating to the biology of the fishes in the family Cichlidae, with particular emphasis on maintenance and breeding in captivity. We are simply cichlid hobbyists who love cichlids.