Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
    sp. "Putumayo"
    sp. "Steel Blue"

West African 

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Buying Dwarf Cichlids

    The fascinating and beautiful dwarf cichlids you see on this site, other sites and in books and magazines are rarely found at the local fish store. Very few pet stores stock them on a regular basis and those that do often have few choices. Fortunately, there are options today that allow you to find many different species of dwarfs. You might not always find the fish you are looking for but you can often find something.

    Here are three different ways to find fish to purchase:

     Pet Stores - The best way to find dwarfs is to see if a local independent fish shop will special order for you. More than ever, tropical fish wholesalers list dwarfs when they become available. Build a relationship with the shop and give them a firm commitment and they will usually ask until they find you some fish. The fish they fins will be either wild or captive raised. If they are wild it is highly likely that the identification is suspect unless they are one of the very common species.

    If you have a shop order wild fish for you be prepared to receive something that is not quite what you were expecting. Sometimes this is great as you get a rare or newly discovered species, while other times you wish you had received the fish you were expecting. In either case I always recommend that you buy the fish that you ordered. It is not the fault of the shop that the exporter used the wrong name and, besides which, it is really a good idea to make friends with a shop and this helps.

    There are shops that intentionally stock dwarf cichlids and you should always be on the look out for these shops. Except for the few shops that really strive to stock these fish over the years I have found everything from well stocked selections of captive bred fish, to a few tanks with assorted South American imports, to shops with one or two pair of large adult breeders. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to buy whenever you find something. If you live near a shop that stocks dwarfs be sure to encourage them with your business.

    Over the years I have found some shops that  intentionally stock dwarfs on a regular basis. When I travel I try to find out if there is a recommended shop and visit if I can. When I find dwarf cichlids for sale I try to buy some if I can. It is vital to us all that we support the independent shops that work so hard to provide us with a wide variety of fish. Follow this link for a guide to the excellent retail shops that sell dwarf cichlids.

     Internet Fish Suppliers - The wide reach of the Internet makes finding dwarf cichlids much easier than ever before. Private breeders, breeding groups, custom importers, retail pet stores and many other sources can be found if you search the web. In this section you will find links to established sources for finding dwarf cichlids.

    Hobbyists breeding a single species, breeders with extensive species lists, retail stores with mail order operations and full fledged Internet businesses are all selling fish on the net and each offers its own advantages. There are many reputable sources for dwarf cichlids on the Web but there is always the possibility for abuse. I recommend that any time you pursue a fish transaction you make sure that you have a very clear understanding of what you expect to get for your money and what recourse you have if there is a problem.

     Please understand that it is almost impossible to run a profitable business selling dwarf cichlids. Over the years there have been a lot of people try. Any source I recommend is an endorsement based on my experience up until the time I write this. There are always new folks offering fish on the Internet and there is no way that I attempt to track them all. All of that said,here is a link to sources for fish that I can recommend

    Buy From Me

Note: Since mid-2009 I have offered few fish for sale. If I have anything at all for sale it will be listed at the link below. I am leaving the following info in place only as background -m most of it no longer applies. Check the Buy From Me link to see if I am currently offering any fish.

      Since 1985 I have been selling dwarf cichlids to pet stores, other re-sellers and individual hobbyists. I love breeding these guys and in the course of doing so I produce a lot of surplus fish. I enjoy making a small profit on my hobby by selling these fish but I always remember that it is my hobby and not my business. Therefore, I treat all of my sales in the fashion that best suits me and not the customer. If I was breeding fish as a business I would need to always put the customer first and that would quickly ruin a lifelong passion.

      For the past 15 years I have sold my fish almost exclusively on a wholesale basis. I have a real job that demands I take a day off work every time I ship and selling wholesale allows me to empty a lot of tank space in a single day. I am offering my fish to individual buyers on the basis that you take the fish when I ship them and it will correspond to a day that I am already planning to ship. This means that I will only ship fish 2-3 times in a year. I normally ship in March or April and again in October. I add additional shipping dates based on circumstances.

      There are a couple of other difficulties you will face if you want to buy fish from me. One thing is I won't give you my phone number. If there is a valid reason we need to talk I will work it out but for routine communications I will only use Email. This allows me to communicate on my own time schedule. You also need to know that buying fish from me is expensive. I have a $100 minimum order plus box charges and shipping. I live a long way away from anywhere and shipping can be very expensive. I have had single boxes cost $80.00 for next day delivery when they were stuffed full and crossing the country.

       If I haven't scared you off yet click this link to find my current stock list, shipping information and more.

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