• A-fish-ionados

  • Aquarium enthusiasts bid for fish and equipment at a fundraising auction at the Palmer Center in Independence.

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  • Fish hobbyists from cities such as Des Moines, Iowa and Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska joined other enthusiasts from Blue Springs, Independence and Kansas City at an auction and fundraiser Saturday sponsored by the Heart of America Aquarium Society.
    HAAS Director Ron Wells said the auction – held at the Palmer Senior Center at 218A North Pleasant in Independence – was the third of the year at Palmer for the Web-based organization.
    The auction, Wells said, included a can food drive to benefit Eastern Jackson County’s Community Services League, in addition to a food court that contributed proceeds from sales to the CSL as well.
    “Our goal is to support 10 families for Thanksgiving,” Wells said, adding that a few members of HAAS who work with or volunteers at one of the CSL’s six sites in the Eastern Jackson County area suggested the two organizations partner for a day to raise funds. “This is more than about fish.”
    As for the auction, Wells said hundreds of people throughout the day brought and sold local-bred fish rarely found in local fish stores. Some of the fish included Discus (raised locally by nationally known Discus_KC), African Cichlids, Central and South American Cichlids, Corries, Plecos, Show Guppies, Livebearers and Tetras. Fish food and tanks and plants were available as well.
    “We have gotten pretty strong results,” Wells said half-way through the nearly six-hour auction. “We are really proud of the progress we are making.”
    HAAS member Walter Grunden of Independence said he was encouraged by the turnout, adding that plenty of fish food and plants had been sold and at least 500 bags of fish had been auctioned at the half-way mark.
    “Things have been going pretty well,” Grunden said.
    Chris Watts of Raymore said he was finally glad to put a face with some of the names of the members he had met online but never got a chance to meet in person. He added he spent the day mingling with new friends and trying to catch a deal with a few species of fish that may have gotten his attention.
    “It has been really good to put a name with a face,” Watts said. “This organization continues to grow. At first (being a fish hobbyist) was a really big thing on the East and West Coasts, but now the Midwest is starting to get into it. This is the result.”
    The group meets the third Saturday of each month. For more information visit www.kcfishclub.org or e-mail info@kcfishclub.org

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