This Year's Speakers
Entertaining speakers share their journey and wisdom
Here are the speakers for the 2022 Keystone Clash:
As a life-long fish keeper, Greg’s interest in aquatics was seeded early on with his fascination of life found in a local pond that he would frequent on his way home from elementary school each day. Between the tadpoles, dragonfly larvae and sticklebacks, the web in which life is wound became evident to young Greg and his fascination in trying to find where everything fit in remains with him to this day.
Through the years, many species of tropical fish were kept but it was not until he found haplochromine cichlids, particularly those from equatorial Africa, that his calling was found. Mentored by Dr. Les Kaufman and Dr. Paul V. Loiselle, Greg has maintained and bred countless species of fish, mostly from the Lake Victoria region of Africa.
Greg’s involvement in CARES and his work with endangered cichlids has been satisfying to say the least. He has published three books and hundreds of articles in a multitude of languages in an attempt to increase the popularity of haplochromine cichlids. A special enjoyment is traveling to organizations across North America to promote his love of aquatics.
He will see you at the Clash!
1. Keeping and Breeding Haplochromine Cichlids
A look at the amazing assemblage of haplochromines with tips on keeping and breeding them successfully.
2. Creatures of the Comal
A look at the incredible diversity of life in the Comal River in South Central Texas. Some of the fish there might surprise you!
Tom Keegan has been keeping fish since he was five years old and has never left the hobby. Starting with a Metaframe ten-gallon tank and a box filter in the early sixties. He started working at the local aquarium shop when he was twelve. He built a small fish room in his basement with used equipment from the store and started breeding angelfish and others for extra money in junior high and high school. Still working and now managing the store, he helped, taught, and was involved with many professors at SUNY Stony Brook with their experiments using fish and became the person to go to for guidance. At the end of his junior year in college the store was up for sale, he took the leap to purchase it not knowing if he was going to be accepted into medical school.
Tom earned his pre-med BS in Biology from Stony Brook University in 1978. Not accepted to medical school, he operated the store for some thirty years, building it up to over 300 tanks and a pond section with about twenty vats. Seven days a week he lived the dream of looking, observing, and keeping fish from all over the world. In 2003 when the store closed (long story), he moved on to a new career but never stopped keeping fish in his home and yard. He now runs a small koi farm on his property and has a fish room in his house where he breeds different species of fish for fun. He lectures at many of his local clubs and many people know him from the history in his store. He is an active club member at LIKA, GCAS, NCAS, and LIAS. He has a lot of fish and equipment history, and knowledge learning from many of the old timers in the industry. The vast amount of his fish keeping knowledge and experience is from the store and being in the hobby from the sixties on.
From his experience with fish over the years he knew there was something more going on inside a fish’s head. After some reading and research there was a lot of material about this. So, he put together a two-part lecture series. The first part talks about the physical aspect of fish senses. How they see, hear, smell, taste and yes, feel. The second part actually explores how they use these senses and how cognitive fish really are. They do think and learn better than you can imagine. Maybe better than a fifth grader. You will leave these lectures with a greater understanding of how to relate and keep your fish.
Jim Cumming hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and is a lifelong fish keeper, having been involved in the hobby for over 65 years. Other than a 20-year sojourn into the world of killifish where he maintained over 100 species in 160 aquariums, (his online name is ‘notho2000’) he has kept and presently keeps Central, South American, Malagasy, and Indian cichlids.
Presently about one third of his 40 aquarium fish room is devoted to the Madagascan cichlids and the Etroplus genus from India. For the last 12 years, he has been deeply involved with maintaining and breeding Malagasy cichlids and distributing them wherever he can. This passion for Madagascan cichlids has resulted in him speaking on them and their plight. Over the last 8 years, he has presented to well over 100 groups in the US, Canada, Bermuda, Europe, and Australia. He looks on himself as a hobbyist ‘in the extreme’ and is mainly focused on fishes’ behavioral and social interactions, including breeding.
He has had extensive collecting experience in Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Brazil, Costa Rica and the southern U.S. spanning four decades.
Jim maintains a YouTube channel with over 700 videos, highlighting the fish he keeps or has kept. As well, Jim has had articles published in Amazonas, Cichlid News, Ciklid Bladet, and Buntbarsche magazines. He is also a Species Specialist and a speaker for the CARES program, a member of the ACA speaker program, and Administrator of the Facebook groups, Madagascar Endangered Fish, Cribroheros & Beyond, and Asian and Middle Eastern Cichlids. He looks forward to enthusiastically spreading the word on the magnificent groups of fishes with which he has had extensive personal experience.
Madagascan and Indian Cichlids – the Jurassic Connection
Keeping and Breeding Central American Cichlids
Education: University of Illinois (Champaign Urbana) University Atlanta Georgia
Selected Publications: Wrote for FAMA (Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine) TFH (Tropical FishHobbyist) Also had an ongoing column in the “Pet Dealer” Magazine (An Industry Trade Publication) Called “Facts on Fish” Which ran consecutively for several years.
Research Interests: Developed applications for water treatment and analysis for the potable water industry as well as swimming pools, fountains, and the aquarium fish trade.
Accomplishments: Was granted by the US Government 13 patents on new technologies and applications for potable water, swimming pools, fountains, and the aquarium fish industry.
Biography: Joe Gargas, a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, began his interest in tropical fish in the mid 60’s when an aunt gave him his first fish tank with guppies. His interest in tropical fish stayed and grew through the teen years which grew into walls of aquariums. In the late 70’s he became a law enforcement officer in Chicago. During that time, he worked extensively breeding Discus as well as other hard to breed species of fish making extra money in the process. Joe began writing for several aquarium fish publications and had a column in one of them that ran for 7 years. He also began teaching a class that he put together at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago called “Advanced Freshwater Fish Keeping.” This was a 6-week 6-part course that he gave twice a year. In the early 90’s he was approached by the Wardley Corporation in Secaucus, New Jersey (an aquarium fish food company) and was offered the job as a consultant. At this time, he began presenting the PIJAC “Freshwater Fish” certification seminar throughout the USA, Canada and the UK speaking on all aspects of the aquarium hobby. In the mid 90’s, the Wardley Corporation was bought out by the Hartz Mountain Corporation and Joe was offered the job of the Director of Research for Wardley and he and his family were relocated to the Tampa Bay area where he lives today. Joe lectured worldwide on behalf of the Wardley Corporation on all aspects of tropical fish keeping and developed many products. He currently has a hatchery where he is breeding discus, rams, and angelfish, selling to breeders and high-end stores across the country and is currently an active member of the Tampa Bay Aquarium Society. Through his research he has helped aquarists/hobbyists keep their fish alive and remain in the hobby.
Water and the Aquarium – Part 2 (What’s new in aquarium fish keeping)
Making (and Using) CO2 in a Planted Aquarium
Kapil Mandrekar is currently at hatchery manager at Seahorse Savvy, the largest seahorse farm in the USA. He began keeping seahorses when he was 17 and has kept them on and off since then. Kapil has been heavily involved in the freshwater and marine hobby from a young age. During his childhood he was heavily involved in the Southwest Michigan Aquarium Society and was an active member with the Central New York Aquarium Society until he joined the Seahorse Savvy team. Kapil holds a Masters Degree in Aquatic Ecology from SUNY- College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Seahorses the Savvy Way: Beginners Guide to Keeping and Breeding Seahorses.