Ad Konings, born and raised in the Netherlands, started keeping cichlids at age 14. While he wanted to be an ichthyologist, he felt his economic future would be more secure if he studied medical biology. As a young adult, he did human DNA research in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
In 1980, Ad worked Saturdays for Dirk Verduijn, the top tropical fish importer in the Netherlands. The wealth of rare African cichlids available to him at this time greatly increased his fascination with these animals, especially after taking a trip with Verduijn to Malawi to visit Stuart Grant’s collecting and exporting operation. He has traveled there many times since.
He moved to Germany in 1986, and around this time, began working with veteran ichthyologist Ethelwynn Trewavas. As his knowledge grew, he began writing books about cichlids. In 1991, he started his own publishing company, Cichlid Press. He got married in 1996 and the couple moved to sunny El Paso, Texas, taking Cichlid Press with them. The publishing company grew rapidly, and he has published books by other fish experts, besides his own. In addition, he wrote and published a book about his second passion, cacti.
Today, Ad continues to travel several times a year to study and photograph cichlids and their habitats, and remains active in cichlid research, often working with Dr. Jay Stauffer of Penn State. He shares his knowledge not only by writing books and articles, but also by maintaining a busy speaking schedule, though he has recently cut back in order to do other types of travel with his wife, Gertrud. He has around 30 talks about cichlids he can give, along with 13 about cacti. He has appeared at events in at least 24 countries.