Tangled up in cichlids site saved from being wound up

Fishkeeping News is pleased to report that the world famous specialist cichlid site tangledupincichlids.com has been bought, and will now continue to trade.

In a website post made in April this year, owner Jeff Rapps shocked the cichlid world by announcing not only his retirement, but also that he would be winding up the business.

Every cichlid keeper worth his or her pharangeal teeth knows of Jeff Rapps and Tangled Up In Cichlids, and have drooled over his exhaustive stock lists of Central American cichlids, which just seem completely unobtainable from anywhere else.

Central American cichlid availability is limited at the best of times, but this New Jersey based fish biologist, importer, exporter and collector, never failed to dazzle with lists of not just a few of the rarer Centrals, but lots of them, along with South Americans, Madagascans, and West African cichlids.

Crenicichla sp. 'Xingu I'
By Herbisius – http://www.piqs.de/fotos/85908.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13308609

Here’s the story from http://www.tangledupincichlids.com in April:

“April 10, 2019

Please note: My site has not been hacked and this is not a eulogy 🙂

The twenty five years strong, uniquely branded business model that I entitled Tangled Up In Cichlids is closed for business. I am retiring from my position as founder-president/owner-operator of what has truly been a dream come true for me on many levels.

I am sorry that there was no pre notification or going out of business sale. I find that to be sad and devaluing for product to which I have worked so hard to assign value.

I have never been busier than of recent. Approximately one third of my daily order fulfilment consists of new customers. The interest and growth is unprecedented and I am forever grateful to each of you for these blessings and opportunities.

I want to extend a deeply felt, genuine thanks from the bottom of my heart to every single individual whom, over the last two and half decades, have enabled and fuelled my ability to grow and succeed with this international E-commerce based small business model.

Tangled Up In Cichlids presence on the internet began in 1995, around the same time that Yahoo! was launched and years before Google was a thing.

As a trained aquatic biologist and small business owner, it has been my utmost pleasure to provide hobbyists and similar businesses the accessibility and hopefully educational components as well to generate past and continued interests in this niche market.

It is no secret that I have built a business marketing those species of fish which I have enjoyed collecting, breeding, and maintaining as a lifelong hobbyist. This premise for a business is not original. The fact that this is a profoundly vulnerable, high maintenance, labor-of-love-contrived profession is understood and I never took one single day of my customer-supported entrepreneurship for granted.

Once again, please accept my utmost gratitude for playing the ever active role of enabling my dreams to become a reality.

Jeff Rapps

Soon to be not so terribly Tangled Up In Cichlids”

Sesamehoneytart [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]


News spread rapidly over facebook, rocking the Central American cichlid community. First was shock, then sadness, followed by fear, that maybe “we” wouldn’t again have the chance of buying or even knowingly the availability of the most sought-after South and Central American cichlid species.

But after all that died down, came countless offers to buy and continue to run the business after Rapps’ retirement.

And on October the 9th, tangledupincichlids.com released the following statement:

October 09, 2019

I have great news to share with anyone who has circled back to this page. Tangled Up In Cichlids has a new president/owner-operator! He is currently busy with administrative duties, building racks, etc. in a facility also located in New Jersey.

We will make it known when the business is up and running by providing a link from my site and as well as via social media outlets. He will roll out a new and user friendly web page at an appropriate time.

As soon as he is ready to begin ordering fish, I will be consulting him in all matters and placing him in contact with my international sources. He will be fully enabled to provide a similar array of species including (but not limited to) cichlids, catfish, characins, cyprinids, etc. from the same exclusive and knowledgeable sources with whom I continue to communicate.

If you care to share this information, please feel free to do so as I don’t know how many viewers may see this update. There will be formal introductions, sharing of bio, and future contact information provided very soon.

Kindest regards, Jeff Rapps

By Гурьева Светлана – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66657982


So fingers crossed everyone’s favourite cichlid selling site will continue, and who knows, maybe availability outside of the States will increase as a result.

We’ve never known anyone else list eight Amphilophus species, and 11 Herichthys species in their store gallery, or so many wilds, adults or pairs, and who thought it had been going online for 25 years!

Thankyou so much Jeff, and here’s to another 25 years of www.tangledupincichlids.com

Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.

2 thoughts on “Tangled up in cichlids site saved from being wound up

  • November 22, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Thank goodness a great business will continue.
    Thank you Jeff for your amazing work in supplying some of the best cichlids we have ever had .

    Ian J


  • November 22, 2019 at 3:34 am

    Last time I was @ Jeff’s house his Bear dog was just a puppy…Glad someone is taking the reigns…

Comments are closed.