George Blasiola, B.S, M.A., a specialist in fish biology, was formerly with the Steinhart Aquarium as an aquatic biologist and various industry companies including Kordon and Wardley. Blasiola has published more than 100 articles in the USA and Europe on fish health, pond management and fish biology. He has lectured at the University of Georgia’s Fish Health Workshop, the North Carolina State University’s Fish Management Course and various trade shows and professional meetings. He is the author of Barron’s New Marine Aquarium Handbook, Koi: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual and the owner/consultant of Aqua-Sphere Research.
Cory McElroy is the owner of Aquarium Co-Op, a brick-and-mortar store in Edmonds, Washington and online e-commerce website. Cory is also the face of the Aquarium Co-Op YouTube channel which has over 340,000 subscribers. His professional career in the hobby began over 12 years ago where he managed a local fish store for 5 years before opening up Aquarium Co-Op in 2013. He has leveraged his retail and hobbyist experience to create educational, informative, and engaging social media content. Cory has become a trusted and household name in the tropical fish hobby while he continues on his mission to advance the hobby and help more aquarists be successful.
With 30 years’ experience as a retailer and AZA accredited public aquarium work, Patrick holds degrees in Ichthyology and Zoology. Noted for numerous articles on aquarium keeping and business best practices, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and aquarium societies around the US. He operates Absolutely Fish Inc; a MAC certified facility, retailer of the year PPN, retailer excellence award Global Pet Expo, and currently awarded one of: “Americas Coolest Pet Stores” by Pets +. You can find his blogs on Pet Product News–Fish Absolutely.
Dr. Tim Hovanec
Dr. Tim got his first aquarium at age 6 and soon with the garage full of aquariums and visions from The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau in his head, he was determined to become a marine biologist. He obtained advanced degrees in Marine Biology from San Diego State and UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Tim has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers and has written dozens of articles and columns for aquarium trade and hobby magazines. He has spoken at many national and international conferences. He is currently the Founder and CEO of DrTim’s Aquatics and hold several patents related to bacteria in aquatic systems.
Chris Lukhaup, Creative Director of the German aquarium company Dennerle is also a research associate of the Museum in Leiden, Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and Humboldt Museum in Berlin. Chris has written over 25 books for aquarist, described several new species and published numerous articles in magazines worldwide. He currently publishes Breeders ‘n’ Keepers, a magazine about the breeding and keeping of shrimps, published in 2 languages. Chris has conducted 50 collecting trips to more than 30 countries.
Shelby Stensrud has been a hobbyist for over 3 decades and currently is the Brand Ambassador for Segrest Farms. Her professional journey began 18 years ago at Preuss Pets where she spent 14 years connecting with hobbyist, managing the fishroom and ordering fish. It is through that passion and experience that led her to Segrest Farms where she now shares that passion with you from the largest wholesaler in the nation.
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 several books: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Common Sense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists, Fishwatcher’s Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World, and Natural Marine Aquarium Reef Invertebrates.
Ekus is CEO of Tropic Marin USA and, along with his wife, Leslie, are responsible for all Tropic Marin products, product support and aquarist assistance in the US and Canada. Lou has been actively involved in the marine aquarium industry for over 22 years. He frequently works with aquarists, helping them with system issues big and small from large public aquariums to ½ gallon nano reefs.
Greg is a Professor of Aquatic Animal Medicine at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine where he has been for nearly 27 years. He is a diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Zoological Medicine and an author on over 150 scientific articles, four books, and approximately 25 book chapters about invertebrates, fishes, amphibians and reptiles.
George Farmer is an internationally renowned professional aquascaper from the UK. He has been contributing to Practical Fishkeeping magazine as their planted aquarium expert for 12 years and co-founded the UK Aquatic Plant Society in 2007. He regular judges aquascaping contests, gives workshops all over Europe, has appeared on TV and radio shows, and consults with various aquatic retailers and companies. George is passionate about promoting the art of aquascaping and has a successful YouTube channel dedicated to this beautiful hobby.
Sam Rutka is the freshwater manager at Easy Aquariums in Gorham Maine. Specializing in building habitats, Sam has planted dozens of paludariums and terrariums throughout New England, including multiple exhibits at the New England Aquarium in Boston. Sam’s work is featured on the cover of AMAZONAS Magazine volume 7 issue 1, which showcases some of his personal and professional vivariums.
Alan is speaking to Wild Collection vs Aquaculture vs Mariclture.
Rusty maintains over 8,000 gallons of freshwater aquariums in a state-of-the-art fish house. The 90 plus aquariums predominantly contain cichlids and livebearers, which he successfully raises and breeds. Rusty’s specialty is Central American fishes, he has successfully collected fish from Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Uruguay, in over 150 trips. Considered by many to be the ultimate collector, he has introduced many new species of fish to the aquarium hobby. If it lives in the water, chances are that Rusty has either caught it, been bit by it or stung by it.
For generations, the global trade in aquarium fish has resulted in continuous revenue streams in to regions of critical biological importance. This provides the basis for sustainable livelihoods, poverty alleviation, food security, and much more. This connection with the environment and the absolute importance for resident fishing communities to maintain and defend tropical forest ecosystems; terrestrial and aquatic, is an amazing outcome of our hobby, and our industry. Know who else thinks so? The World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), public aquariums and zoos, and more every day. There are those that still think of our hobby is ‘the problem” but the groups that really count, now see our hobby as “the solution”. Stay proud, and… Buy a Fish, Save a Tree!