24e Congress of the French Cichlid Association
October 3-5, Vichy, France
by Francesco Zezza, John G. Reclos & George J. Reclos
Bon Voyage Jean-Claude..
On November 10, Jean-Claude Nourissat passed away. The following text was written before this so we decided not to change it. Perhaps we don't really want to believe that Jean-Claude is not amongst us anymore. Any of you who would like to pay tribute to this Gentlemen, you can do it here - in any language, French in particular. All messages will be displayed here. For the older to remember and the younger to learn.
On Friday, October 3rd, four people living in Athens and Rome woke up very early in the morning. This is not strange of course. What is strange is that all of them had baggage so they probably had a plane to catch. If you took a closer look in their luggage you would notice that they had some things in common. Fish bags, rubber bands and tickets for a town in France. Clermont-Ferrand was the name of the town and a close look at any map of France will tell you that it is the closest international airport to Vichy where the 24th Congress of the French cichlid association was taking place. It was Francesco from Rome, John, George and Tolis from Athens. All of them related to MCH of course and all of them involved with cichlids. Tolis even decided to give his own perception of this "experience" which can be found here. You can also read about this event in Greek.
Arriving in Milan we joined Francesco who came in from Rome and we all traveled together to Clermont-Ferrand where we met Patrick de Rham and his wife Anne. Tolis and Johnny got a taxi to Vichy and Francesco and I followed in Patrick’s car. Vichy – especially the Youth Centre in which the Congress was to take place – was a revelation to us all. Ample space, huge meeting rooms, theaters, rivers, lots of green and finally first class rooms (thanks to Patrick we must add) for those who were to stay in the center. Others, who were quite late to make their reservations (like Tolis) had to stay in nearby hotels (where "nearby" means approximately 30 minutes walk time). Following a meal at McDonalds, we got to the "Bourse" place (tank exhibition room where the auction was to take place on Sunday). After visiting the Belgian and the Italian cichlid shows, seeing more than 200 tanks (224 liters each) was a nice surprise. The tanks were still empty (with a few exceptions) but the anticipation was there.
This is the Youth Centre where the congress took place in Vichy. Impressive, isn't it? Photo G.Reclos/MCH
A view of the exhibition hall. Many people, many tanks and of course too many fishes. Photo T.Ketselidis
A very nice surprise was to meet Jean-Claude Nourissat, the President of AFC, there who was taking care of his cichlids at that moment. His load included cichlids from his collection trips to Nicaragua and Madagascar and we must add that a great portion of them was already reserved in advance. Not that the rest were not first class fish of course.
Jean-Claude Nourissat just arrived in the exhibition hall and is taking care of his fishes. Photo G.Reclos/MCH
Those two photos just show the parents of the Cichlasoma citrinellum which Jean-Claude Nourissat brought in the exhibition. We don't know the lucky hobbyists who became their new owners, but this kind of fishes will make any hobbyist drool. Photo J.Reclos/MCH
Taking as many photos as possible was one of our missions there. In this picture, John is taking close ups of Jean-Claude Nourissat's photos front of his tanks. Photo F.Zezza /MCH
He had brought in some F1 C.citrinellum fry (from his particularly colorful wild caught pairs from his trip to Nicaragua) and some F1 Madagascan cichlids (you guessed it – fry from his wild caught pairs from his trip to Madagascar). Among them Paretroplus maculatus, Paretroplus petiti sp. dambabe, Paratilapia polleni "large spot", Paretroplus nourissati (two of them, naturally reserved in advance - but at least we saw them), Paretroplus damii (my beloved red faced beauties) - I am sorry if I forgot something here..
A photo of a Paretroplus maculatus - the fish is still stressed. Photo by J.Reclos/MCH
Telling you about first class fishes in this event is pointless. All of them were of the highest standards, the variety left very little to be wished for and the prices would shock pet shop owners.. and hobbyists alike. Just to name a few.. A 30 cm Cyphotilapia frontosa at 20 € or a full grown C. citrinellum for 10 €, while the most expensive fish was marked at 40 €. Of course, you have to keep in mind that the purpose of this event is to distribute those fishes to as many hobbyists as possible and not to make money. In this respect, the role of this auction is far more important serving a lot of tasks. Talking to the people who raised and spawned them also ensures that the new owner will - at least - avoid some pitfalls while keeping them in his tanks. Apart from the lectures, a great deal of useful information was exchanged before and during the auction.
A 30+ cm male Cyphotilapia frontosa. A marvelous fish. At a miraculous price. Photo J.Reclos/MCH
A huge male Cichlasoma citrinellum. Photo J.Reclos/MCH
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