Who is the GCCA?
The 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.
What we do
GCCA offers activities and programs to support our core mission of supporting and encouraging the cichlid hobby.
|Activity||How does this support our mission|
Breeding in Captivity
|BAP Program||Breeding in Captivity
Our Breeders Award Program rewards participants who earn points and plaques for succesfully breeding and distributing species.
|CARES BAP Program||Breeding in Captivity with a focus on long-term maintenance
GCCA participates in a international conservaton program called CARES (Conservation, Awareness, Recognition and Responsibility, Encouragement and Education, and Support and Sharing). This program offers points and rewards encouraging participants to commit to the long term care of species which may be threated in the wild.
GCCA publishes over 200 in-depth species profiles.
|Classifieds/Auction System||Breeding in Captivity
GCCA offers a freely available Classified Ad system allowing hobbyist to publish fish available for sale. This encourages the distribution of species and their maintenance.
|Website||Education and Community
GCCA's mobile-friendly website allows hobbyists the world over to obtain valuable information about cichlids. GCCA also maintains a forum allowing novices to ask questions and receive guidance.
|Social Media||Education and Community
GCCA maintains a strong, monitored presence on Facebook and Instagram. GCCA disseminations articles and other information and promotes hobby events and community.
GCCA holds an annual picnic, a holiday awards banquet and other activities such as fishroom tours, wholesaler tours and more.
GCCA contributes annually to the American Cichlid Association to support the Guy Jordan Research Fund and Paul V. Loiselle Conservation Fund.
|Hobby-related Event Support||Community
GCCA participates in local and national fish conventions such as Aquashella, Aquatic Experience and the national convention of the American Cichlid Association.
GCCA offers assistance to smaller hobby organization which may not have the resource on their own to attract a following. For example, area clubs such as the Chicago Livebearer Society, Chicago Aquatic Plant Society and Greenwater Aquarium Society raise funds and promote their respective clubs GCCA Swap Meets. In addition, our Classifieds supports the exchange of fish across a wide geographic area.
|Rare Fish Auction||Breeding in Captivity
GCCA hosts two rare fish auctions per year. We purchase rare and hard to find fish and offer a curated auction experience to encourage participants to keep new species.
Breeding in Captivity, Education, Community
In addition, several clubs which participate pass on information to members and one holds it meeting after the event.
In 1974, Ken Schultz, Jan Alm, Carlo Leon and Carl Lundquist met to form the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (GCCA). After much discussion, a name for the organization was agreed upon, and Carlo was designated President, Jan, Vice-President and Ken, Treasurer.
Postcards and posters were printed announcing the formation of a Chicago area Cichlid group, and over 500 responses were received from interested hobbyists. As most respondents were from the north side and northwest suburban area, it was decided to hold the meetings in that area.
Jerry Lindquist, another hobbyist, had parents who were managing the International Motor Inn on North Mannheim Road. The club was able to use the Inn for meetings. In January 1975, the first meeting of the GCCA was held, with a large turn out of prospective members. The soon-to-be leading Cichlid group in the Great Lakes area was launched.
In 1989, club member Ed Higgins (representing the Montgomery Ward Foundation) presented a $150,000 grant to help fund the Shedd Aquarium's new Oceanarium expansion.
The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association has met at six different locations since the club’s conception.
Master breeder Milo Manden served as GCCA president for 12 years, from 1987-1998. This is the perfect example of someone who is truly dedicated to the hobby.
The GCCA is a member of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies.
Former club president Bob Matthews and his wife, club photographer extraordinaire Laura Matthews, have collected wild fish in Brazil. Many other members have collected fish around the world.
In 2006, GCCA hosted the American Cichlid Association convention. Over 600 cichlid keepers from around the world joined us.