2015 Speakers include Greg Wittstock, Hans-Georg Evers, Heiko Bleher, Joe Olenik, Oliver Knott, Oliver Lucanus, Patrick Donston, Paul Loiselle, Julian Sprung, Charles Delbeek, Sanjay Joshi, George Blasiola, Tony Vargas and Steve Lunblad.

The educational programming at Aquatic Experience is intended to address both the retailing and hobbyist aquarist.  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.

Frank Reece
Join Frank Reece on his journey of quirk as he delves into the lighter world of social media.  Reece has interviewed industry leaders, best-selling authors, manufacturers, fish clubs and hobbyists, while also being locked in an aquatic jail, cleaning penguin homes and being eyed up by hungry Groupers.   Reece will take you through the unique and often unimaginable sideshow that is the internet. From the ludicrous to the insane.  Enjoy a night of good food and laughter as Reece explores the humorous side of a  social media world gone mad. Some aquatics may apply! *All Access Weekend Pass or Banquet Ticket Required.

State of the Aquatic Industry Town Hall
Don’t miss the “State of the Aquatic Industry Town Hall” with Bob Likins, Julian Sprung, Sandy Moore and Chris Buerner, Friday at 6:15.  This important Town Hall is open to all Aquatic Experience attendees and exhibitors.  The panel will discuss important issues impacting fish, corals and other aquatic creatures.  Retailers will learn how they can best communicate current threats to their customers to get them involved.  Bring your questions and learn what’s happened, what may be next and what all of it could mean to the aquatics industry.

Retail Panel
Presented by Lundblad, Olenik and Donston
Please join our esteemed Aquatic Experience-Chicago retail panel, Moderator Bill Trufant and Panelist Joe Olenik, Patrick Donston and Steve Lundblad who will discuss the leading retail topics affecting the Aquatic Industry retailer today.  As time allows, 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.

20/20 Approach to Successful Pond Building
Presented by Greg Wittstock

They say a pond is the ultimate fish tank. But just like fish tanks, a proper design and setup is the key to success. Aquascape installs and maintains more water features each year than any other builder. Each one is built utilizing a proprietary 20 product, 20 step installation approach. Come learn this process, as well as the 5 part recipe to establish outdoor ecosystems. Come learn and get inspiration for your own water features.

Effective Approaches to Solving Common Fish Health Problems
Presented by George Blasiola

Whether you’re a pet store owner or a novice aquarist, fish health problems can leave you baffled and frustrated.  A basic understanding of the factors that initiate fish health problems is essential to every aquarist.  Using a preventative approach, this seminar discusses the ways to spot potential problems with freshwater and marine aquaria, as well as how to solve them.

Improving Freshwater and Marine Fish Health through Better Feeding Practices
Presented by George Blasiola

This seminar is focused on the proper approach of keeping aquarium fish healthy through a balanced feeding program. However, it has more advanced coverage of topics including the biochemistry utilization of nutrients by fish, optimal protein using by fish, differences between diets for juvenile fish and adult. This seminar is more appropriate for retailers or aquarists than for an individual starting an aquarium for the first time.

South America: Collecting Ornamental Fishes in the Rio Madre de Dios, Peru.
Presented by Hans-Georg Evers

Join Hans as he presents the biotopes and fish fauna of the southern Peruvian state of Madre de Dios, a seldom explored region.  He will provide photos of the cichlids, catfish, characins and many more species as well as water conditions and the structure of specific biotopes. This session will include discussion of several corydoras species as well as their breeding in captivity.

Asia: In search of the Clown Loach Chromobotia Macracanthus
Presented by Hans-Georg Evers

Clown loaches are amongst the top ten selling aquarium fishes in the world. Although minimal information discussing collecting biotopes for the aquarium trade is typically available, this seminar will present pictures and information about chromobotia macracanthus in its natural biotopes in Borneo and Sumatra and Indonesia.

Aquarium Installation and Maintenance Service
Presented by Joe Olenik

Owning an aquarium has shifted from a hobby to a source of entertainment.  Many people would love to have one in their home or place of business, but either don’t have the time to maintain one or are intimidated by it.  If you don’t already have a maintenance division in your store, it’s time to get one going! Especially if sales have been a little off lately.

Rio Xingu: Brazil’s Most Periled and Diverse River
Presented by Oliver Lucanus

The Rio Xingu is one of the most diverse aquatic ecosystems in the world, with many endemic species adapted to a life in the rapids of the river. The river is also threatened by the construction of a large dam, that will damage much of the habitat. Join Oliver for a closer look at the fishes of the Rio Xingu and the looming threat to this unparalleled ecosystem.

Setting Up an Aquarium for Rheophile Fishes
Presented by Oliver Lucanus

Rheophile (Current-loving) fish are becoming more popular in our hobby. They have evolved in a unique environment that is not so easy to recreate. In a workshop like environment we will discuss building a suitable habitat for river species and what factors are most important to the long term care.

Develop and Implement a Documented Husbandry System
Presented by Patrick Donston

Better fish equal better sales. The problem is many retailers are “reactive” and not “proactive”. Mechanical as well as systems of operation are like a car in that if not maintained, will break down, causing dismay for our clients.  In this session we will discuss an easy approach to evaluate livestock, make daily tasks and record data. I will explore scientific methods for building better systems and stronger fish as well as how to self-audit and train your staff.  Sample spreadsheets will be available as hand-outs.

A Cichlid for Everyone
Presented by Steve Lundblad

The common misconception of cichlids being only for a specific buyer will be addressed. There are many myths pertaining to cichlids that often cause the public to view them in a stereotyped light that directly impacts the bottom line of a retailer. This mentality has led to retailers only stocking certain types of cichlids and the public missing out on many amazing varieties. Various types of cichlids and their environments, along with selling tips will be discussed.

Zoanthids: Hardy, Beautiful and Sometimes Deadly. What Aquarists Should Know
Presented by Julian Sprung

Zoanthids are among the most popular reef creatures harvested, farmed, fragged, collected, sold, and traded (like stamps) in the reef aquarium hobby. Internet forums, aquarium literature, and scientific literature contain a substantial body of information and historical references about the toxicity of zoanthids, but the subject is hardly considered at the retail level in the trade, nor at the wholesale level. This talk brings up reasons why some considerations should be made at both levels.

Selecting Specimens For Your Aquarium: An Evolutionary Thought Process Instead of Impulse
Presented by Charles Delbeek

Purchasing marine fish is often the direct result of an impulse purchase rather than a well-thought out plan. When faced with row upon row of aquaria filled with fish of all shapes and colors, our sanity tends to leave us. This presentation will outline a more structured approach to fish selection and collection planning that focuses more on needs and desires than the flavor of the month, while taking into account compatibility, suitability and sustainability.

Ny Trondro Malagasy: An Overview of Madagascar’s Endemic Fishes
Presented by Paul Loiselle

Ny Trondro Malagasy! Home to lemurs, chameleons and exotic plants, the fabulous Red Island also boasts an amazing and gravely threatened assemblage of endemic fishes. This introduction to the Malagasy ichthyofauna focuses on Madagascar’s endemic rainbowfishes, killies and cichlids. This session will discuss the reasons for their dramatic decline and outline how aquarists can play a role in saving these living fossils from extinction.

Methods for Managing Nitrates in a Reef Aquarium: Pros and Cons
Presented by Sanjay Joshi

Nitrates in a reef aquarium are often the bane of many reef aquarists. High nitrate levels are associated with unwanted algae growth and reductions in coral growth. Reef aquarists are constantly striving to reduce nitrate levels. There are several methods available to control and manage nitrate levels in a reef aquarium. This talk will discuss the various methods that can be used to manage the nitrates in a reef aquarium.

Design Mistakes Reef Aquarists Make and How to Avoid Them
Presented by Sanjay Joshi

A large number of problems and aquarium disasters can be traced back to poor design of the Reef Aquarium system. Drawing from my 20+ years of experience in keeping reefs and setting up systems, this talk will focus on some of the common design mistakes and discuss design alternatives to avoid and minimize their impact.

The Amazing Freshwater Fishes and Their Unique Biology
Presented by Heiko Bleher

In this presentation Heiko will introduce the unique biology of freshwater fishes, the oldest and most fascinating vertebrates on planet earth. You will receive an inside view of their amazing biology, the way they communicate and their fabulous reproduction methods.  Don’t miss this fascinating, informative, and educational session.

New Rainbow Fishes & Blue Eyes
Presented by Heiko Bleher

Join Heiko as he takes you to a paradise of your dreams.  He will present his discoveries from this paradise and the new species he found. Learn where the species from his latest travels, which are now being bred for millions to enjoy, were discovered.

Live Aquascaping Nano Tank
Presented by Oliver Knott
Join Oliver, an aquarium designer and international professional aquascaper, as he demonstrates setting up and planting a Nano tank.  Nano tanks have grown in popularity due to their size and they are the perfect tank for the Betta fan.

Live Free Style Reef Scaping
Presented by Oliver Knott

In this demonstration Oliver will use his freshwater aquascaping experience to create a different kind of reef tank.  Join Oliver as he builds a different kind of structure using reef rocks to create a world designed to reflect a fish’s natural habitat.

Successful Reef Aquariums: Reef Aquariums from Around the World
Presented by Tony Vargas

Successful Reef Aquariums will showcase fantastic reef aquariums from around the world and will illustrate with photos and videos how they’ve became these works of art.  There are many reasons why these showcase reef aquariums are successful and during the presentation we will discuss what the tenacious hobbyist have done to these aquariums to make them extraordinary displays.

Reef Safe Wrasses: Types and Care of Wrasses in a Reef Aquarium
Presented by Tony Vargas

Reef Safe Wrasses will present a detailed look into the behavior and social interaction of these types of fish in a captive reef environment.  What makes a Wrasse Reef safe?  This can be a loaded question with many different answers, but typically the results are the same.  Just a few years ago wrasses were considered a no-no by many.  Today, there are many extraordinary looking wrasses that are suitable for the average reef aquarium.  Come see this large catalog of colorful wrasses and your next possible reef aquarium inhabitant!

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Media Partners

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