Gary Mendez was born in Buffalo, New York, raised in Richmond, Virginia, and earned a biology degree from the University of Richmond. Since then, he has had a successful career representing manufacturers of surgical equipment. He currently lives in Hudson. He has 5 children and 4 grandchildren.
As a child, his fascination with fish was sparked by the tropical fish displayed in
aquariums at Woolworth’s and other department stores; at age 9, he began keeping Black Mollies. As he matured, his interest expanded to include other livebearers and cichlids from all over their geographical range. He also keeps and breeds catfish and rainbows. His current basement fish-room contains over 200 tanks.
Gary enjoys collecting native fish, and he has set up tanks for and talked fishkeeping with students at various Northeastern Ohio, Virginia, and D.C. schools. Other activities include tournament tennis, playing guitar, and raising orchids. He is a member of the Greater Cleveland Orchid Society and Midwest Cactus and Succulent Society.
Gary is currently the President and Webmaster for the Ohio Cichlid Association. He is also a member of the Akron, Medina, Youngstown and NEOFish clubs, as well as the American Cichlid Association. The ACA recognized him in 2011 with their “Spawn of the Year” award. He has spawned over 200 species of tropical fish.