Frank Warzel was born 21th of December 1960 in Koblenz, Germany, and passed away much too early after complications following a heat surgery on 27th of April 2005, only 44 years old. Frank was well known and respected internationally, as one of the most knowledgeable experts on pike cichlids of the genera Crenicichla and Teleocichla, not only by fellow aquarists, but also by the scientific community.
Frank’s enormous knowledge was not only limited to theoretical issues like taxonomy, systematics or zoogeography, but also in the everyday keeping of this difficult, and sometimes very aggressive, group of fishes. He made very thoroughly studies of the behavior of species he kept, and successfully spawned many of the them, including several of the notoriously challenging Crenicichla lugubris-group species.
His first article was published in 1989, and the following years he published over one hundred writings. In the English speaking world, he was probably best known for his highly interesting articles in the Cichlids Yearbooks, but the majority of his writings were published in German, his native language.
The photos that accompanied Frank’s articles was always of very high quality, often capturing interesting behavioral situations. He was a talented artist too, making beautiful and detailed drawings of fishes, that was used to illustrate both his own writings, but also scientific publications, e.g. in Alex Ploeg’s very important contributions to the systematics of pike cichlids.
Besides Frank’s passion for pike cichlids, he also had a great interest in South American dwarf cichlids of the genera Apistogramma and Dicrossus, on which he published numerous writings. Dicrossus warzeli was recently described based on specimens discovered and collected by Frank, and named in his honor, by Römer et al. 2010. Frank himself described Apistogramma arua from the Rio Arapiuns, Brazil (together with Uwe Römer). Also the West African reophile species of the genera Gobiocichla and Teleogramma was among his interests.
No more words will be written by Frank’s hand, but his incredible knowledge on - and not least great passion for - his beloved cichlids will live on in his numerous writings.