George 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!
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. 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.
If it takes a trained eye to identify the signs of disease in humans, it certainly takes one to identify the signs of disease in fish. At this year’s Aquatic Experience, fish biologist George Blasiola will be sharing some basic knowledge about how to diagnose and treat fish disease during his talk “Effective Marine Fish Disease Identification and Control” at Aquatic Experience at the Schaumburg Convention Center, November 5, 2016, from 2-3pm.
Blasiola’s career has been devoted to the study and care of fish. Having obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fish biology, Blasiola wasted no time in making a name for himself in his industry. He has served as an 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 for the Wardley Corporation in Secaucus, NJ; and Vice President of AquaDine, Inc., among other roles. From 1975 to 1985, he was the Chief Koi Consultant to the City of San Jose, CA, responsible for contributing to the re-design of the extensive pond systems of the city’s Japanese Friendship Gardens and the development of a comprehensive fish health husbandry program for its Koi collection. Blasiola is presently the owner of and consultant for Aqua-Sphere Research.
Furthermore, Blasiola is a prolific writer and speaker. He has showcased his research on the identification and control of pond and marine fish diseases and the role of nutrition in the prevention of their development in the 100+ articles that he has published on fish health, pond management, parasitology, and fish biology in various American and European scientific journals and magazines. Additionally, he has been a contributing editor to Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine, a contributor to Pet Age Magazine, and a review board member for The Journal of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. He is the author of Barron’s New Marine Aquarium Handbook and Koi: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual and a co-contributor to the book Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management. Yet, Blasiola’s contributions to the discussion on fish biology are not limited to print: he also travels the world to speak about the various topics of his expertise.
In his talk “Effective Marine Fish Disease Identification and Control,” Blasiola will draw on his experiences in fish care to advise aquarists of all varieties on how to best prevent, identify, and control common fish diseases that they may encounter. All of Blasiola’s methods prioritize the health and safety of fish. Learn how to best care for your aquarium by attending Blasiola’s session!
What is brightly colored and clear as glass? As long as a dollar bill and smaller than a finger? That would be the “amazing and often overlooked members of the genera Danio and Devario, and some of their close kin,” said Mike Hellweg, who will be presenting during the session “Danios and Devarios” at this year’s Aquatic Experience. A popular speaker, auctioneer, writer, and owner of a small—but growing—fish hatchery, Hellweg will introduce his audience to a number of Danio and Devario species (hereafter all referred to as “Danios”). During his presentation, Hellweg hopes to share, not only his knowledge, but his fascination with Danios, as well.
Hellweg is no beginner, when it comes to keeping and breeding Danios. “I have enjoyed and been fascinated by the Danios since I was a kid back in the early 1970s, and I had Zebrafish breed in my tank,” said Hellweg. “I was able to raise a couple youngsters, and the rest—as they say—is history. I’ve always had at least a few Danios in my fish room, and, even today, after working with more than 1,000 species of fish, and breeding over 400 species, I still find myself keeping and breeding the various Danios and their kin.”
Why is Hellweg so enthusiastic about Danios? “There are dozens of beautiful, active, and hardy [Danio] species that have entered the hobby in the last 15 years. Many of them show fascinating behaviors that might surprise many hobbyists who don’t really know them,” said Hellweg. “There are still new species being discovered and described, including some half dozen in the past year alone! There are so many different species to enjoy, and all of them are unique.”
“Unique” is the word: the diversity among the species of the Danio genus is remarkable. Some Danios are, indeed, brightly colored, while others are clear as glass. Some certainly are long, and others are short. Some are spotted, others striped. Still others have patterns that combine spots and stripes, or that defy classification altogether. Some Danios will live for nearly a decade, yet others will live for only a few months. Some scatter their eggs; others place them among roots, rocks, and other materials; still others lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. Furthermore, some Danios are transgenic—combining the genes of multiple species. In addition to their unique coloring, some transgenic fish actually glow!
Hellweg’s session will be helpful to both retailers and hobbyists, and will highlight a number of Danios, including Zebrafish, which have become important to the aquarist’s hobby, as well as to human health and genetic research. Learn more about adding Danios to your aquarium at Hellweg’s session!
Lawrence Kent: “An Aquarist Visits Ghana: Searching for Specific Cichlids”
Before his trip to Ghana, Lawrence Kent made four, specific goals. They were goals that any aquarist with an adventurous spark would make, given the chance. Attendees of Kent’s session at this year’s Aquatic Experience will quickly discover that Kent is certainly an aquarist—and undeniably adventurous—as they journey with him on his Ghanaian quest.
Kent’s work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation allows him to support the efforts of projects that fight hunger and poverty in the developing world. As a result, Kent, who is based in Seattle, travels often, visiting both Africa and Asia several times each year. During these trips, Kent seeks out time to devote to a single activity: looking for rare and interesting tropical fish. In this way, Kent has had—and taken—opportunities to indulge his aquarist’s hobby in countries such as Cambodia, Columbia, and Nigeria.
Although Kent is fascinated by all types of fish, birds, and reptiles, as well as the challenge of correctly identifying and breeding them, he is particularly interested in cichlids, many of the thousands of species of which are found in Africa. At home, Kent keeps 25 aquaria, many of which feature cichlids that he has collected abroad. In addition to his work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kent is a frequent contributor to Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Cichlid News.
The goals that Kent acquired in anticipation of his trip to Ghana were these:
- Find some of the endemic cichlid species of Lake Bosumtwi—a crater lake in the middle of the country. Several species of cichlids exist only there.
- Capture the Steatocranus irvinei of the Volta River—a strange, elongated, blue-lipped cichlid exclusive to the river.
- Find the rare Tilapia Pra cichlid, which has yet to enter into the aquarist’s hobby. Kent acquired this goal after a conversation with Dr. Paul Loiselle of the American Cichlid Association, who previously lived in Ghana.
And, finally, the goal that his mother gave him…
- Avoid contracting Ebola, which was spreading through West Africa at the time of Kent’s visit.
This presentation, which will be of interest to hobbyists of all stages, will be Kent’s first at Aquatic Experience. During his session, entitled “An Aquarist Visits Ghana: Searching for Specific Cichlids,” Kent will share the successes and trials of his trip. Join him on the aquarist’s adventure of a lifetime at this year’s event!