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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.

Club Facts

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.