Monday, July 21, 2008

Buying Nemo

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 2:50 PM

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AMERICAN CICHLID ASSOCIATION CONVENTION: We’re always grateful when the subjects of photos write the captions for us.

The American Cichlid Association’s annual convention and competition attracted hundreds of tropical fish hobbyists to the airport Hilton last weekend.

Like a dog show for fish, 350 cichlids vied for top prizes before being auctioned. The road to the top isn’t easy for cichlids, natives mainly in Central and South America, and Africa. They’re judged on body size and color, as well as how they present themselves. Fish have a tendency to hide, says Atlanta Area Aquarium Association co-founder Mark Barnett, and must be conditioned to swimming in a bare tank in a high-traffic area.

In addition to competition, the convention provided networking opportunities for cichlid connoisseurs. Cichlids, which includes angelfish, discus and tilapia, can be selectively bred and even hormone-induced turn particular colors. But there is no drug test for the show, Barnett says, not even for fishy competitors.

(Photo by Dustin Chambers)

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