Heijns, Willem

Willem Heijns Willem is a retired bankmanager and has been keeping cichlids well over half his lifetime. He started out with the firemouth (Thorichthys meeki) and subsequently has been hooked up with Central American cichlids ever since. Having had small tanks at first he moved on to build his “Cichlidarium” containing two 600 gallon aquariums and some smaller ones. After some major calamities (two 600g tanks exploded almost in his face) the Cichlidarium was finally closed down in March 2011. Willem has been a member of the Dutch cichlid association (NVC) for over 35 years and has served as their President for well over 12 years. In the late 80’s he started collecting cichlids in México and other countries in Central America. Most of these trips he made together with Ad Konings and some with Juan Miguel Artigas and Don Danko. On the first trips he focussed on collecting cichlids but on later ones Willem tried his hand at shooting video both above and below water. This has resulted in bringing (new) cichlids into the Dutch hobby and a number of films, a compilation of which is available on the DVD “México, a journey into the world of cichlids”. His last four trips were made to Nicaragua. He visited most of the crater lakes in this beautiful country searching for cichlids, concentrating on Laguna Xiloá where he put his diver’s license to good use being able to get video footage from depths of 20 meters or more. This footage was edited to produce the DVD “Nicaragua, cichlids from the crater” which is also available to the public. No longer keeping cichlids, Willem is now concentrating on writing and giving presentations around the globe. He has published a number of articles about cichlids in magazines worldwide and has also co-authored a book on these wonderful fishes. His main area of interest is the evolution and systematics of Neotropical cichlids informally known as “heroine cichlids”. Programs: