Speaker Spotlight:  Bob Fenner

Bob Fenner, with over 50 years of experience within the aquatic industries, has written about both the aquatics industry and the diving hobby. As an avid fish enthusiast, Fenner has nurtured his fascination through penning numerous books, including: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Common Sense Handbook for Successful Saltwater HobbyistsFishwatcher’s Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World, and Natural Marine Aquarium Reef Invertebrates.

Bob Fenner’s educational session at the Aquatic Experience is “Coral Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction.” During this session, you can learn valuable insights into avoiding trouble in putting together “coral” assortments and introducing them appropriately to new and established captive reef systems.  Many envision the reefs of the world to be some aquatic equivalent of “Bambi crossing a meadow” with some sort of miraculous “balance” amongst the life that occurs there.  This is a dangerous precept for aquarists; these areas are veritable battle zones with life competing for space, food and mates. Corals themselves overgrowing, shading,  poisoning, stinging and eating their neighbors are issues that need to be addressed in placing stinging-celled life.

Fish Health Management Course at Aquatic Experience

The Aquatic Experience – Chicago is excited to announce that our 2017 event will feature a one-day Fish Health Management Course!  Join us Friday, November 3rd from 8am – 5:15pm to learn from expert speakers Gregory Lewbart, Timothy Miller-Morgan, George Blasiola, and Patrick Donston as they discuss the following topics:

  • The Aquatic Environment: Biological, Chemical and Physical Factors and their Interactions in Nature and in Closed Systems
  • Anatomy and Physiology of Fishes
  • Maintenance Protocols, Water Testing and Challenges in Closed Aquatic Systems
  • Aquatic Nutrition Principles and Practices
  • Principal Diseases of Freshwater and Marine Fish
  • Chemotherapeutic Approaches for the control of Fish Diseases

To learn more about this one day course, visit http://aquaticexperience.org/friday-fish-health-management-course/.

Kid’s Aquarium Contest

Have you thought about enrolling your kids in the Aquatic Experience Chicago’s Kid’s Aquarium Contest?

If you haven’t, you should! The Kid’s Aquarium Contest, sponsored by Tetra and Marineland, is a great way for your kids to use their creativity to learn about the aquatic environment as well as the responsibilities and rewards of pet care.

The contest, open to children from the ages 5 to16, is an ideal opportunity that allows kids to let their imagination soar as they design their own underwater environment! Each contestant will design an aquarium that reflects the child’s personality, hobbies and dreams…his or her imagination is the limit! The contestant will provide the decorations and fish, but will receive a ten gallon freshwater aquarium kit, complete with a filter, lighting, heater, thermometer, and net, to keep!

Registrants will conceptualize their aquariums at home, but when they get to the Aquatic Experience Chicago, they will receive their aquarium. Pet experts will then teach the registrants how to prepare their personalized habitat and how to care for the fish.

The creations will be on display throughout the event.  Judges will award a first, second and third place winner for each age group (Group I  –  ages 5- 8, Group II  –  ages 9-12, and Group III  –  ages 13- 16) and also for the Natural, Creative and Themed Categories.  One aquarium within the Natural, Creative and Themed categories will be awarded the Sponsor Sweepstakes Award.  All children will be honored with a participation ribbon and the rewards of responsible pet ownership.

The Kid’s Aquarium Contest was specifically designed to be a fun, creative experience for kids in which they can learn about the aquatic environment, stimulate their minds, and warm their hearts to the rewards of pet care.


The Contest is now full.

George Blasiola to Discuss “How Optimal Nutrition Can Minimize Disease Outbreaks”

gbprpicGeorge Blasiola: “How Optimal Nutrition Can Minimize Disease Outbreaks”

The aquatic world is not beyond the reach of disease—and neither is your aquarium. This is the caution that fish biology specialist George Blasiola will bring to his audience during his talk, “How Optimal Nutrition Can Minimize Disease Outbreaks,” at this year’s Aquatic Experience. Blasiola knows that fish diseases can greatly impact aquatic ecosystems, and he believes that their prevention rests primarily on a single aspect of aquarium keeping: nutrition.

Blasiola is an expert on fish health. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fish biology and has since filled a number of roles, including aquatic biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, CA; manager of the AquaVet Division of Kordon in Hayward, CA; Director of Research and Development at the Wardley Corporation in Secaucus, NJ; and Vice President of AquaDine, Inc. From 1975 to 1985, Blasiola served as the Chief Koi Consultant to the City of San Jose, CA, as he aided in the re-design of the extensive pond systems of the city’s Japanese Friendship Gardens and developed a comprehensive fish health husbandry program for its Koi collection. Presently, he is the owner of and consultant for Aqua-Sphere Research.

His research on the identification and control of diseases that affect pond and marine fish and the role that nutrition plays in the prevention of their development has led Blasiola to publish over 100 articles on fish health, pond management, parasitology, and fish biology in scientific journals and popular magazines across the United States and Europe. Furthermore, Blasiola is the author of Barron’s New Saltwater Aquarium Handbook and Koi: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual and co-author of the book Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management. He has additionally shared the fruits of his research in his many lectures, which have taken him around the globe.

In “How Optimal Nutrition Can Minimize Disease Outbreaks,” Blasiola will discuss the immunizing power that a nutritious daily diet can lend to fish and provide the results of the latest research about fish nutrition. He plans to demonstrate the ways in which the right diet can aid fish in their natural healing processes, allowing them to withstand disease challenges, maintain healthy immune systems, and repair tissues damaged by parasites. He will additionally highlight the importance of water quality to the health of fish. The true measure of an aquarist’s success, Blasiola believes, is the health and longevity of his or her created ecosystem. Learn how to protect your aquarium from disease by attending Blasiola’s session at Aquatic Experience!

Oliver Knott: “Plant Demo” and “Takashi Amano: His Life and Work”

The practice of setting up an aquarium is more than just a preliminary task on an aquarist’s “to-do” list: it’s an art.aquascaping Chicago This is the view of aquarium artist Oliver Knott, who will be giving both a live demo on aquarium design and a presentation about the work of his favorite aquarium artist, Takashi Amano, at this year’s Aquatic Experience.

Knott became interested in aquaria at the age of 16, when he got a job at a small pet store that sold parrots, rabbits, fish, and snakes. He spent several years in retail before launching his own company, Aquascaper, which specializes in the creation of aquarium tanks for private customers, small businesses, and pet stores. Knott believes that his knowledge of aquarium design was cultivated by his close experiences with aquatic-industry companies.

During Knott’s demonstration on aquarium plant design and installation, his focus will be on the use of natural-looking aquarium backgrounds, which have recently been growing in popularity among aquarists. Knott believes that these backgrounds make for happier, more comfortable fish. Additionally, he will walk his audience through the process of installing filter systems into their tanks. He hopes that his demonstration will show attendees that, with the right products and design tricks, aquarists of all levels can effectively enhance their aquaria.

Knott’s presentation on Takashi Amano will be a tribute to the life and work of the recently deceased aquarium artist and founder of aquarium-design companies Nature Aquariums and Aquascaping. Amano’s photography, plant layout designs, and created ecosystems will be showcased. Knott, who spent two weeks working for Amano in Japan and considers the artist to be his “shining example,” will demonstrate what he learned from Amano and explain the importance of Amano’s art to the aquarist’s hobby. He encourages anyone interested in aquatic plants to attend.

Knott is excited to exhibit his skills, share some of his tips and tricks of aquarium design with other aquarists, and interact with attendees via Q&A. Attend Knott’s sessions to get a look into his creative processes and sources of inspiration.