About Greg Sage


Greg Sage, MEd., began selling guppies from his bedroom as a young boy in Ohio, and today runs selectaquatics.com, a fishroom of 120 tanks, specializing in rare livebearers, goodeids, and wild swordtails. Select Aquatics has also become known for the Green Dragon Plecostomus - an Ancistrus developed and bred here since 2011, and a line of Puntius (Pethia) padamya "Odessa" not available in the hobby.

Chairman of the American Livebearer Association from 2000 – 2004, Greg has published numerous articles in hobbyist publications on Livebearers, livebearer husbandry, selective breeding and automatic water changing systems. He also produces a half hour show on Youtube - "Select Aquatics Presents" on each of the species at Select Aquatics, and answers questions from customers with videos from the fishroom. Greg resides in Erie, Colorado and can be reached at selectaquatics@gmail.com.


About Karen Randall


Karen Randall grew up with aquariums as a child. While experienced in many facets of the aquarium hobby, as an adult her focus turned to a concentration in planted display aquariums and the study and propagation of aquatic plants. Her articles and photography have been published in multiple languages and publications around the world. For many years she authored the monthly column, “Sunken Gardens” in Aquarium Fish Magazine. She is an international speaker on aquarium subjects. Karen is past president of the Boston Aquarium Society, and serves on the board of the Aquatic Gardeners Association. She was editor of the AGA magazine, The Aquatic Gardener for 5 years and is now technical editor of the magazine. She serves as a judge for both the AGA International Aquascaping Contest and the Aqua Design Amano International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest as well as serving on the jury of a number of live aquascaping contests. She has also served as a consultant on several major projects at public aquaria.

Karen travels frequently to study aquatic plants in the wild. She has traveled extensively in South and Central America and South East Asia as well as the southern parts of the U.S. In Brazil she has assisted with Project Piaba, a conservation program in the Amazon centered on the aquarium fish trade. She regularly does programs on these topics as well as aquatic gardening for groups ranging from aquarium clubs, school children, garden clubs and church organizations.

Karen started a program a number of years ago to put aquariums in many classrooms in the local public elementary schools. In 2003 she was awarded the Northeast Council of Aquarium Society’s Betty Mueller Award; a life-time award for her outreach work and other contributions to the aquarium hobby.

Her website is www.sunkengardens.net.


Ted Judy has 40+ years of experience keeping aquariums, and 20+ years of activity promoting the aquarium hobby through writing, blogging, video production, and event presentations.  You may be familiar with his TedsFishroom.com website, FaceBook page, YouTube Channel, or magazine articles through which Ted has shared his hobby with anyone interested enough to see what he has been up to.   Ted is also a traveling aquarist, and has been on fish-collecting trips to West Africa and South America.  Professionally, Ted has been a teacher, aquarium retail manager, fish importer/wholesaler, video producer, and aquarium industry consultant.  He is currently working for CustomAquariums.com & CustomCages.com doing whatever needs doing on any given day (but mostly computer stuff).  Ted currently lives near Madison, WI.  His club affiliations are the Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists, the Aquatic Gardeners Association, and the American Cichlid Association.


Colombia – Los Llanos

Colombia exports more aquarium fish than any other South American country, and 90% of those fish come from the Llanos, a huge tropical grassland that stretches from the Andes Mountains in Colombia to the northern edge of the continent in Venezuela.  This talk presents several interesting aquatic habitats in the Colombian Llanos through pictures and video.  Approximately 1 hour long.

Colombia – La Confluencia

The city of Puerto Inirida, Colombia, lies near the confluence of three important river systems: the Rio Inirida, Rio Guaviare, Rio Atabapo and Rio Orinoco.  Some of the most popular species of fish in the aquarium hobby come from these rivers and are exported from Puerto Inirida, including the jaguar catfish, altum angelfish and panda uaru.  This talk documents the trip that Ted and his friends made to the region in 2016.  Approximately 1 hour long.

Colombia – Mitu: Gateway to Rio Negro

The city of Mitu sits on the banks of the Rio Vaupes, a tributary of the Rio Negro that flows to the Amazon.  This region is well known to bird watchers, but has only recently become a target for aquarium fish collection.  The fish here are more similar to those of Brazil than most of Colombia.  This talk documents five days of exploring the region in 2018.  Approximately 1 hour long.

Pretty Places

Inspiration for beautiful aquascapes can some from anywhere, including actual aquatic habitats.  This talk presents some pretty habitats from West Africa, Colombia and Mexico.  The presentation is approximately 1 hour long.

West African Aquarium

West Africa is one of the most important regions of the world for the diversity of freshwater fish that are found there, a few of which are some of the most popular species in the aquarium hobby.  But West Africa has so much more to offer than krib cichlids, Congo tetras and upside-down catfish.  This talk presents a general overview of West African fish.  Approximately 1 hour.

The Kribs: Pelvicachromis, Wallaceochromis & Enigmatochromis

The cichlids of the genus Pelvicachromis have been extremely popular in the aquarium hobby for many decades.  This talk presents the fish of this group, their taxonomic history, behavior and husbandry.  Approximately


About Michael Barber


Michael Barber has been a fish enthusiast and keeper for more than fifty years. He has bred over fifty species of Calichthydae, dozens of Apistogramma species and many more. He maintains an automated fishroom with summer rain water collection to stimulate breeding and a quarantine rack for fish caught in the Amazon.  Michael is co-leader (with Devon Graham) of MT Amazon Expeditions, which provides Peruvian Amazon expeditions and collecting trips. In 2015, in partnership with Ian Fuller, they established a new fish collecting venture GoWildPeru. He is treasurer and interim president of the Potamac Valley Aquarium Society.



About Rusty Wessel


Rusty Wessel maintains over 8,000 gallons of freshwater aquariums in a state of the art fish house constructed specifically for fish. 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 the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Uruguay, and the continent of Africa. If it lives in fresh water, chances are that Rusty has either caught it or been bitten or stung by it. He has been collecting since 1983, and is recognized by other experienced collectors as one of the best. He has made over 150 trips, and has introduced many new species to the aquarium hobby. In 1991, Rusty discovered a beautiful and elusive new cichlid in an area that had already been thoroughly collected. In the June 1996 edition of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine, Dr. Robert Rush Miller, emeritus professor of the University of Michigan, described and named this species Theraps wesseli. (In the recent Rican reorganization, it is called Choritheros wesseli.)

Rusty is also a prolific author and photographer, as his writings and photographs have appeared in a large number of specialized publications, such as Aquarium Fish Magazine, Aquarist and Pondkeeper, Buntbarsche Bulletin, Cichlid News, Ad Konings' Cichlids Yearbooks, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium and Tropical Fish Hobbyist.

In the organized hobby, Rusty is currently the "Back Issue Sales Person" for the American Cichlid Association and a speaker participant for the ACA/Zoo Med Speaker's Program. He is past chair of the ACA board of trustees (1990) and chaired the 1992 and 2014 conventions. In addition, he is an active solicitor for the "Guy Jordan Endowment Fund", set up by the ACA to fund cichlid research. Rusty has been awarded with the greatest honor the American Cichlid Association gives to its distinguished members, the ACA fellowship in 1997. On the local level, he is currently treasurer for the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers.

Rusty has lectured and judged numerous fish shows throughout the United States, including the annual "Florida Tropical Fish Farmers" show and several ACA conventions.


About Jeremy Basch


Jeremy is quickly becoming a world authority on spawning oddball catfish, especially wood cats. He was the first in the world to spawn the jaguar catfish, Liasomadoras oncinus!!

Jeremy Basch lives in Columbus, OH but is originally from Westlake, OH near Cleveland. He started keeping fish over 25 years ago when his father took him to a local pet shop. For his first job and just short of his 17th birthday, Jeremy started working at the largest fish store in Ohio. Throughout the 12 years of working at the fish store, Jeremy was put in charge of fish husbandry, fish quarantine and eventually became an associate manager. He now works for Nationwide Insurance as a Commercial Underwriter.

Jeremy set up his first fishroom in 2004. His current fishroom contains 100+ aquariums ranging in size from 2.5 to 150 gallons. Over the years, he has had many species of fish spawn in his aquaria including various cichlids, catfish, rainbowfish, killifish, livebearers and invertebrates. Jeremy specializes in the catfish of the families, Loricariidae and perhaps more notably, Auchenipteridae, the Woodcats. Like most aquarists, Jeremy also enjoys other fish species including killifish and lampeyes from West Africa. He was the first person in the world to have the Jaguar Catfish, Liosomadoras oncinus, spawn and give viable offspring!

Jeremy is a current member and the former chairman of his hometown club, the Columbus Area Fish Enthusiasts (CAFÉ). Other fish associations Jeremy belongs to include: the Ohio Cichlid Association, the Greater Cincinnati Aquarium Society, the Greater Akron Aquarium Society, the Catfish Study Group, the American Killifish Association and the American Cichlid Association. He has written a several articles which have appeared in the Buntbarsche Bulletin, his local fish club’s publication, the CAFÉ Menu and Amazonas. Jeremy’s article in Amazonas shared his first successful breeding of Liosomadoras oncinus, the Jaguar Catfish. Jeremy can be seen at many fish shows and conventions throughout the Midwest and beyond.


 Mark Denaro has been keeping freshwater fish since 1972 and marine fish since 1976. He has always been very interested in planted and biotope aquariums and has been keeping reef aquariums since before that term was coined. As of 5 years ago, Mark has bred over 200 species of freshwater fish and propagated over 150 species of aquatic plants. He has had 9 species of marine fish spawn in his tanks and has propagated over 30 species of marine invertebrates.

He has been involved in the organized hobby since joining the Indianapolis Aquarium Society in 1984. He has served in almost every possible elected office in aquarium societies since that time, including serving as president of the Indianapolis Aquarium Society, the Bucks County Aquarium Society and the International Betta Congress. Mark is one of the founders and is the current president of the American Labyrinth Fish Association.

Mark is well known as a speaker and judge, having spoken to over 40 aquarium societies in 16 states plus Canada, including a number of regional and national conventions. He has spoken several times at past Carolina Aquarium Workshops. He has also presented educational programs on coral reefs and on rainforests at numerous schools in several states. Mark has worked in the pet industry for over 25 years at all levels, including working in store management for both independent retailers and big box chain stores, sales manager and warehouse managerfor a regional livestock wholesaler as well as owning a retail shop, a marine wholesale operation, several aquarium and terrarium installationand maintenance companies and Anubias Design, a specialty supplier of new, rare and interesting freshwater fish, invertebrates and plants. Mark has written articles for club magazines as well as Aquarium International and Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazines.

In 1994, he wrote: The 101 Best Freshwater Nano Species: How to Choose & Keep Hardy, Brilliant, Fascinating Species That Will Thrive in Your Small Aquarium, co-authored with Racheal O’Leary.

Alex got into tropical fish when he was 8 years old with his dad getting him a 5 gallon tank. One of the earliest fish he became hooked on was the common krib, Pelvicachromis pulcher. Since then he has been interested in reptiles, birds, orchids, native colubrid snakes and tarantulas.

After spending time in New England teaching Environmental Education he came down to attend UNC Charlotte for a Masters in Education. He has spent over 10 summers at various summer camps running nature programs, and other duties, and it was his experience at summer camps that got him to go into education. After keeping and breeding a wide variety of snakes and tarantulas as well as fish and plants he has settled back into keeping tropical fish, orchids and roses. He spent a few years in the tropical fish business with Fintastic, until it closed. Currently he specializes in West African riverine cichlids, and the genus Pelvicachromis, with nine tanks, about 40 orchids and other tropicals,  60 rose bushes and other outdoor plants, at his condominium in Central Charlotte. He is an elementary school science teacher,  board vice president of the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, and president of the Charlotte Area Aquarists Society.


From Ken's self-introduction for a 2017 talk at the Ohio Cichlid Association:

I started keeping fish when I was 6 years old, catching introduced exotics in the creek behind my house when we lived in Tampa--mostly livebearers, but it was a start. Little did I know where this would lead! My parents bought me a 10 gallon tank to keep my catch in, as I was proliferating little containers all over my bedroom, full of aquatic creatures. Tanks seem to multiple as easily as guppies, as I now have about 600! I don't think there has ever been a time in the last 48 years when I did not have fish.

I keep a variety of cichlids from Africa, Central and South America, and many wild type and fancy livebearers and discus. I got my first discus in 1978 and just keeping them alive back then was the challenge. My first successful spawn was in 1982, with some of those “new” Wattley Turquoise, and I've been hooked ever since. I love to breed fish and have spawned hundreds of species, introducing several new species to the hobby.

I worked at a major University for 18 years, keeping my sanity with my fish hatchery, Fishfarm USA, and owned a retail pet store. I've been the President of the Atlanta Area Aquarium Association (AAAA) since 1998, was elected to the first of four two-year terms to the American Cichlid Association Board of Trustees in 1998, and served as Chairman of the Board in 1999 and 2004. I was Chairman of two very successful ACA Conventions in 2002 and 2008, in Atlanta. I was also elected to the Board of Directors of The North American Discus Association in 2005 and I've belonged to the American Livebearer Association for many years. 

In 2001, I went with a group of breeders and importers, organized by Bing Seto, to Asia for a two week tour of Asian fish farms and the international discus show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Aquarama in Singapore. Wow, what a trip! We visited Hong Kong, Bangkok, Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore.

I’ve been on 5 collecting trips to Honduras with groups of serious hobbyists, including Rusty Wessel and Eddie Martin. Man, this hobby just gets more fun. We went to Mexico in February, 2006. I’ve gone on trips to Uruguay in November/December the last 5 years. I've enjoyed all aspects of the hobby, including meeting great people, going to shows and conventions, speaking for clubs, breeding new fish, and collecting in the wilds of exotic places! Keeps me busy and off the streets.

Two RAS Sessions with Ken:

Ken will spent time with RAS on both Wednesday and Thursday evening. On Wednesday, Sept 5, we will have dinner and drinks at the Hibernian Pub where we can informal discussions on fish.  Ken will host a Q&A discussion format session where we can pick his brain on spawning and raising fry. He will also dazzle us with photos and interesting stories. It will be a fun evening!!

At our regular Thursday meeting on Sept 6, Ken will speak about “His fish collecting adventures in South and Central America”.