The educational programming at Aquatic Experience is intended to address both the retailer and the hobbyist.  These seminars range from addressing intermediate level information to advanced issues.

To access these seminars you must purchase either the All Day Pass or Weekend Pass.

Aquatic Experience Retail Panel Discussion
Please join our esteemed Aquatic Experience-Chicago retail panel, Moderator Chris Clevers and Panelist Joe Olenik, Patrick Donston, Bill Trufant and Sandy Moore who will discuss the leading retail topics affecting the Aquatic Industry retailer today.  Topics for discussion may include tips on how to educate your customers, the value of supporting independent-friendly manufacturers, your shop environment, social media and events.  Bring your thoughts and questions for the retail panel and join them in this important discussion.

State of the Aquatic Industry Town Hall- Systematic Attacks On Aquatics
The Town Hall, Friday at 6:15, is open to all Aquatic Experience attendees and exhibitors.  This Town Hall will present the important  issues impacting the aquatic industry.  Bring your questions and concerns and learn what is happening in your industry and  how to protect your right to sell and keep fish.

More Marketing, More Sales on a Budget That Won’t Break the Bank
Presented by: Lynn Switanowski
Every aquatic store owner wants to create a buzz around their store. To make it the store that people talk about all the time, and the ONLY one they will go to when looking to make a purchase. Is your store THAT store? Do you have all the customers you want (or need) every day of the year? If not, this session is for you.
Attendees of this session will learn 5 ways to take your marketing programs to new heights that lead to increased traffic resulting in more sales. And we’ll show you how to do it on a limited budget! Learn how to create low-cost, high customer engagement marketing programs that focus on creative and sometimes unconventional techniques to drive awareness, but won’t break the budget while doing so! Attend this session today and market your business to more customers tomorrow!

Staffing Made Simpler: Recruiting, Training and Retaining Staff
Presented by: Lynn Switanowski
What does it take to find a good staff for your aquatic store in today’s competitive retail marketplace? And what do you need to do to get the peak performance out of your retail associates in 2017 and get them to deliver the results your business needs? Attend this session and you’ll learn how to develop your employees into top performers in your business every single day. Learn how to create a business atmosphere where training is stressed, individuality is encouraged and where individual personalities encouraged daily. You’ll also learn tips for creating a positive working environment for all your employees and how to utilize the strengths of each staff member to retain them for years to come. Store owners who attend this session will walk away feeling encouraged about the opportunities to meet, hire and retain passionate employees who can help deliver the financial goals of any size business for years to come.

Coral Fragging Tips and Tricks for Retailers
Presented by: Justin Credable
This session will cover the tools and methods required to frag and acclimate coral in your retail store. Learn the variety of techniques utilized to successfully propagate the various coral species and varieties and their disparate needs in care and handling. Safety and personal protection will also be provided, to ensure you and your coral stay healthy.

Selling Oddball Fish
Presented by: Joe Olenik
Are you tired of buying the same selection of fish every week or month? Your customers probably want to see something new as well. In Joe Olenik’s fish room at Hoffer’s Tropic Life Pets in Milwaukee, the rare and unusual was the norm, and hobbyists came from across the Midwest knowing they’d find a treasure trove of interesting and hard to find fish. This presentation will get you psyched to venture outside the Styrofoam box and spruce things up in your fish dept. You will learn why to stock oddball fish, what constitutes an oddball, where to start and additional products to support this.

Shrimps & Freshwater Inverts in Freshwater Nano Tanks-A New Trend in the US Market
Presented by: Chris Lukhaup
To revitalize the aquarium hobby we constantly need new trends, which bring new ideas and give the customers something new or keep the well-known interesting by adding new aspects. Shrimp and other freshwater invertebrates are such a new trend, and the Nano boom has also taken the aquarium hobby in Europe a large step forward. Of course the hobby has seen other trends in the past but today things are quite different, and the prompt and flexible reaction to changes in the market is of much greater importance. Trends are almost always created and made popular by small aquarium hobbyists, and the industry. In this presentation, Chris Lukhaup will explain the field of freshwater shrimp especially for dealers.

Freshwater Shrimps in the Wild and Aquarium
Presented by: Chris Lukhaup
In recent years shrimp have gained a growing popularity with aquarium hobbyists, with little knowledge about these invertebrates and their requirements, keeping them was quite difficult. For this reason, we decided to travel to their countries of origin early on to find out more about them and their life strategies.
Our travels included the south of China which is a hotspot for diverse shrimp species. In this session Chris will present their habitats and share information about how these fascinating creatures can successfully be kept in an aquarium.

Millennials Are Coming-Is Your Marketing Ready?
Presented by: Michael Johnson
Once upon a time, Millennials were heralded as the key future segment for retail.  Well, that future is now.  Millennials are not just the key drivers behind brand and trends – their sheer numbers give them enormous spending power.  If you are not connecting with this segment today, you are behind the curve.  Millennials respond to marketing and shop differently than other generations.  Do you know what this consumer wants and what makes them tick? Are you effectively reaching this shopper in your market?  Does your brand and product messaging fully resonate?  Join us for a fun and insightful session in which we’ll discuss Millennials and their world, outline some of their key marketing needs and motivations, and share tips on how you can be the go-to solution for this important demographic.

Phosphate-It May not Mean What You Think it Means
Presented by: Richard Ross
The drive to lower phosphate levels in reef aquaria has consumed reefers for the last decade, but is this never ending quest really necessary to have a thriving reef tank? In this session Richard will discuss successful reef aquariums that run ‘high’ and ‘absurdly high’ phosphate and nitrate levels without experiencing disaster, possible reasons why this is happening, and what this might mean for reef keeping in general.

Breeding Loricarids
Presented by: Barbie Fiorentino
If you’ve always wanted to know how to choose the fish best suited for your water parameters, set ups, or preferences, you won’t want to miss this presentation!  Tips, tricks, and detailed instruction on set ups will ensure future success with your plecos.  Nutrition, filtration, even how to evaluate and choose breeding stock will be covered in detail.

Coral Reproduction and Restoration in Tanks and in the Wild
Presented by: Richard Ross
Every August, biologists met in the Florida Keys to better understand how spawning is triggered, collect and fertilize gametes in the lab, and then use those juvenile corals to colonize public aquariums, as well as repopulate the area around the Keys with healthy, genetically diverse coral. In this talk we’ll discuss why the corals are endangered, advances in the practicality of their sexual reproduction, and how people are helping protect and repopulate the corals that have been disappearing.

How Optimal Nutrition Can Minimize Disease Outbreaks
Presented by: George Blasiola
There is a connection between good nutrition and disease outbreaks. This seminar focuses on one of the most important aspects of keeping fish healthy: providing an optimal diet that provides daily essential nutrients. Fish must receive essential nutrients in order to stay healthy to be able to withstand disease challenges, maintain an enhanced immune system and repair damaged tissues caused by parasites. A good program of feeding fish a healthy diet also results in the true measure of success in the hobby: greater longevity.

Effective Marine Fish Disease Identification and Control
Presented by: George Blasiola
Having a basic knowledge of how to identify fish diseases is critical before deciding on the method to control the disease. Of course, knowing how to prevent disease problems is always a better approach before a disease outbreak occurs. This seminar will discuss the most common diseases, factors that initiate outbreaks, disease diagnosis, and current methods of control. The seminar is appropriate for all levels of experience and a great refresher for store owners and staff as well.

New Trends in Lighting and their Effectiveness & Efficiency
Presented by: Sanjay Joshi
LED lighting has made considerable progress and is now a very viable alternative to other lighting such as T5 fluorescent and Metal Halide.  This talk will discuss the basics of LED lighting with a review of important characteristics that should be looked at when comparing with other lighting option.  The effectiveness of LEDs for reef and planted aquariums will be discussed along with examples of successful applications.

South American Dwarf Cichilds of the Genus Apistogramma
Presented by: Wolfgang Staeck
The past decade has witnessed the ongoing exploration of South American freshwaters and the opening up of many new areas to the commercial exportation of ornamental fishes. These developments have not only increased the number of Apistogramma taxa known to science but also caused an unprecedented expansion of the number of Apistogramma species available to aquarists. This session will provide an overview of the genus Apistogramma and an appreciation of the enormous diversity of these dwarf cichlids, although only a small selection of this large and astonishingly diverse genus can be dealt with. Both information on the reproductive patterns of these cichlids and the description of their natural habitats relate their biology to their management in captivity and the techniques of keeping and breeding them under aquarium condition.

Tanganyika: A Lake and its Fishes
Presented by: Wolfgang Staeck
Lake Tanganyika is situated south of the equator in the great East African rift valley covering an area of about 13,000 square miles. With a maximum depth of almost 5,000 feet, it is the second deepest lake on Earth. It is a geologically very old lake for experts estimate its age to be from two to ten million years. In Lake Tanganyika more than 200 different species of cichlid fish have been found. Most of them are endemic, i. e. they occur only in this lake. Many of them are popular fish among aquarists due to their bright colors and interesting patterns of behavior. Lake Tanganyika forms a unique natural monument, which is studied by biologists because of its unusual, extremely diverse fish fauna that is unique on our planet. Biologists use these cichlids not only as a model for evolutionary processes, but also as an ideal study object for ecological issues. This session will provide information on the different habitats, the ecology, the reproductive behavior and the brood care of cichlid species popular in the aquarium hobby.

Aquascaping Live Demo
Presented by: Oliver Knott
Join Oliver Knott for this exciting demo utilizing natural looking backgrounds. Learn from Oliver how the right products and clever design tricks will enhance your tank. Don’t miss this demo where Oliver will demonstrate how to use the background to enhance the look of your tank and how to include your filter system.

Takashi Amano: His Life and Work
Presented by: Oliver Knott
Join Oliver Knott as he brings to life the work of Takashi Amano. From his photography to plant layout design techniques and creation of the natural ecosystem of the aquarium, Oliver will present what he learned from Amano and how his work is important to the aquatic plant hobby today.

Danios & Devarios
Presented by: Mike Hellweg
Danios and Devarios are important to both science and the aquarium industry. Their popularity comes from the fact they are hardy, inexpensive, active and attractive – perfect residents for the beginner’s community tank. With new species being described and arriving regularly they are fascinating and can sometimes provide a challenge to the most advanced hobbyists, too. We’ll look at most of the species in the trade, as well as some of their close relatives.

An Aquarist Visits Ghana
Presented by: Lawrence Kent
Through his presentation entitled “An Aquarist Visits Ghana”, Lawrence tells the story of his quest to find the endemic cichlids of Lake Bosomtwi, capture the blue-lipped Steatocranus irvenei of the Volta River, and find the shadowy Tilapia Pra. He meets a few interesting Ghanaian friends and other types of fish along the way.

Reflections From the Inside: 20 Years of the Marine Aquarium Trade
Presented by: Chris Buerner
In this session Chris will focus on the rapid growth and evolution of the Marine Ornamental Industry worldwide and will explore the types of aquariums and species we were keeping in the 80’s, the 90’s and how that has changed and evolved to the current day. Including how the industry has evolved to keep up with growing and changing demand, the explosion of global supply, the growing demand in emerging markets and the impact that these trends have on the industry worldwide including the impacts, potential and real, they have on the environment. Chris will discuss the professionalization of the industry from collection to import and distribution, how new technologies have changed the way we operate, and some concerning trends in the commoditization of the animals. Lastly we will explore positive trends in aquaculture, sustainable harvest, resource management, and the need for trade validation mechanisms.

Forest Fishes of the Peruvian Amazon
Presented by: Liz Marchio
Have you ever wanted to visit the Amazon Rainforest to sightsee and catch a glimpse of what lies beneath the world’s largest river’s tea-colored water? This presentation allows you to follow Liz Marchio, a graduate student at Texas A&M who researches the connection between science and leisure, on a guided tour through the different aquatic habitats in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Liz will take you along with her on this educational adventure where you will see the biodiversity found in oxbow lakes, as well as tributaries of the Peruvian portion of the Amazon River. Liz will provide an update on the state of the Xingu River and new, species harming dam, the Belo Monte. Other conservation issues will be addressed, specifically the effects of gold-mining on the local wildlife and people.

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Aquatic Eperience Chicago | November 7-9, 2014 | Schaumburg Convention Center