Old World Cichlids
Old World Cichlids, comprised primarily of fish from Africa, are a large and very diverse group of fishes in the aquarium hobby. Aquarium enthusiasts are familiar with many of the beautifully-colored species from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika, including the peacock cichlids, red zebras, and brichardi. These same fish also hold great interest for scientists because of their fascinating reproductive biology, ecology, behavior, and evolution..
Laif DeMason, a well-known importer and breeder of African cichlids, is the owner of Old World Exotic Fish, Inc., based in Homestead, Florida. Laif has been breeding cichlids since 1969 and currently specializes in production and importation of African cichlids. Laif has authored numerous aquarium fish articles and writes a regular column for Cichlid News entitled “What’s New Around the World?”
Laif DeMason was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan and began keeping tropical fish in 1969. Within a year, he was breeding angelfish on a regular basis and selling the young to local pet stores. After graduating from the University of Michigan and the University of Miami with degrees in Zoology and Marine Biology, he founded Old World Exotic Fish, Inc. in 1979. Laif operates Old World Exotic Fish, Inc. from Homestead, Florida, where he farm raises African cichlids and receives imports from more than 15 countries. Laif has visited 12 East African countries during his 13 collecting trips there. He has also collected fish in Mexico, Belize, and Costa numerous times. Laif was instrumental in opening up new territories for cichlid export from East Africa, mainly the Victorian basin in Uganda, the Tanzanian coast of Lake Malawi, and cichlids from Madagascar. A well-known authority on African cichlids, Laif lectures on African cichlids frequently and has written articles for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, Aquarium Fish Magazine, and Cichlid News. He writes a regular column for Cichlid News entitled “What’s New Around the World?”