About DwarfCichlid.com

Large male Apistogramma cacatuoides "Orange"

Hi, I’m Bob Wiltshire, the creator of DwarfCichlid.com. I don’t know what possessed me to start the site back in 2003 but I did and developed it enough that by 2008 it was a pretty popular site. Unfortunately, life interfered and for many years the site was neglected but remained popular. It’s April 2023 as I write this and the site has been completely revised to what you are reading today. I hope you enjoy, or at least get something useful from your visit.

The purpose of this site is to share with you some of my experiences in keeping and breeding dwarf cichlids. As near as I remember, I got my first Apistos in 1970. Over the next couple of years, I kept individual specimens of three or four species but never a pair. After dropping out of the hobby for a few years, I started keeping dwarf cichlids again in about 1980 and I’ve kept them continuously since then. From the late 1980s until the early 2000s I focused on breeding and selling. I usually kept 10 – 15 breeding species and did almost all of my sales wholesale to a few specialty suppliers. At my peak, I was selling up to 1,000 adult fish each year. For those of you who are wondering, this earned me almost enough money to pay for the cost of producing the fish!

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By the mid-2000s I reduced my breeding efforts and stopped selling to stores and put most of my hobby efforts into my fish photography and building DwarfCichlid.com. In the fall of 2008, I quit updating the site but continued to keep a half dozen or so species at all times.

Over the years I’ve lost track of exactly how many species or forms of dwarf cichlids I’ve kept but I think it’s probably about a hundred. While I’ve specialized in Apistogrammas, I’ve kept and bred many different West African dwarfs. I’ve had some great successes and some miserable failures and I’ve tried to learn through it all. On this site, I hope to share some of my ideas, methods, and techniques for keeping and breeding dwarf cichlids. What you are getting is my opinion and I’m the first to tell you that there are many experienced hobbyists who might disagree. I’m telling you what works for me but I’m not saying that what works for me will work for you. There is no single “best” way to keep dwarfs so do the best you can.

About Me

I’m now retired having spent my professional career working on fishery and conservation issues. For 16 years I conducted wild trout studies for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks studying the Yellowstone River and surrounding waters. From 1995 – 2008 I was with an international fly fishing organization where I served in various conservation, education, and management roles. In 2008 I founded the Invasive Species Action Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the human-caused spread of invasive species, and served as Executive Director until my retirement.

Besides my fish hobby, I’m an avid hiker both in the mountains of Montana (where I live) and in the desert canyons of the Southwest. Since I can’t seem to help myself, I’ve created websites focused on both of these areas. MontanaHikes.com features trails, attractions, and campgrounds across Montana but mostly focuses on the areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park. AnasaziHikes.com features hikes to Ancestral Puebloan ruins in SE Utah with a primary focus on the Bears Ears National Monument area.

History of the DwarfCichlid.com Website

I first started DwarfCichlid.com in 2003 as a way to share pictures and information about dwarf cichlids. In those days, there was not a lot of good information on the web and I thought I’d try to share some of what was happening in my fish room. I didn’t know a thing about websites and taught myself to put together DwarfCichlid.com. I spent far more time learning to create the site than I did writing about fish but I enjoyed every minute of it.

For about 5 years I was able to devote regular time to the site and it grew to be a recognized resource. The site dominated the Google rankings in almost every category, traffic was constantly growing, and by 2010 the site received more than 350,000 page views per year. Unfortunately, family and work obligations along with fishkeeping and growing the website were too much, and in late 2008 I essentially quit updating the site. The site actually continued to gain popularity after I quit updating but after a few years, traffic began to slide. Also, the site was built on old technology and as phones became popular for browsing the site was left behind as it was not adaptive to screen size.

I began to revise the site in January of 2022 and it took 16 months to finish. Virtually every page on the site was rewritten to include additional information and, in many cases, new photos. I dropped several pages from the site as they didn’t meet my standard. Most of the species articles have been reproduced here but most of the information in the Essential Articles is completely new.

Since I experienced changing technology on the Internet significantly impacting my old site, I want to use a platform that will likely be compatible with the future of the Internet. WordPress powers over half the websites in the world so that’s what I’m using. The site is built on the free version of the Astra theme and I’ve tried to keep things clean. Let me know if you ever find issues with the site.

Archived Articles

There are a few pages from the old site that I don’t intend to ever update but they still receive web traffic so I’ve copied them from the old site to a new page compatible with the new technology. I’ve done nothing to edit them, I just copied and pasted. They are probably full of broken links and other problems which I’ll never edit. However, there is some useful content if you are interested.