...I didn't choose Mbuna because they were cheap or easy, but because they are beautiful...
You and thousands of other hobbyists worldwide. The noted cichlid author Paul. V. Loiselle wrote the following in his book 'The Cichlid Aquarium
' in 1985-
'It is difficult to convey to new cichlid keepers the tremendous impact of the mbuna on all aspects of the tropical fish hobby. These highly modified Malawian haplochromines were so utterly unlike any freshwater aquarium fish then known in their intense coloration and vivacious behavior that stunned hobbyists could only compare them to coral reef fishes. The mbuna conferred upon all cichlids an aura of desirability that contributed significantly to the popularity the family enjoys today. It is a measure of the group's success as ornamental fishes that species extremely rare a decade ago are now regarded as rather commonplace by cichlid enthusiasts, who take for granted their ready availability and low prices.'
Amen. I was fascinated by the Mbuna when they began to arrive in numbers in this country in the 1960's, and they became centerpieces in my fish room. Shortly thereafter, Tanganyikans began to appear in the hobby, fishes that on the whole may have been less colorful (with numerous exceptions), but were considerably more diverse and challenging. I have been keeping Tanganyikans exclusively now for 20+ years, but Mbuna still hold a special place in my heart. Yes, Mbuna are easy to keep and easy to breed, which is why they are widespread and inexpensive, but that takes nothing away from their desirability.
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