Dr. Paul Loiselle
Dr. Paul V. Loiselle is an enthusiastic aquarist of over 50 years' experience. During the course of his career, Paul has had the opportunity to study cichlids in Madagascar, West Africa, Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika, Haiti, Mexico, Central America and the Peruvian Amazon.
Emeritus Curator of Freshwater Fishes at the New York Aquarium and a Senior Conservationist of the Wildlife Conservation Society, he is actively involved in conservation programs focused on the fishes of Madagascar. Paul is a Scientific Advisor to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Freshwater Fish Taxa Advisory Group and Lake Victoria Cichlid Species Survival Program and serves in a similar capacity to the Madagascar Faunal Interest Group.
A founding member and Fellow of the American Cichlid Association and a life Member of both the Association France Cichlide and the North Jersey Aquarium Society, he is an internationally published author of numerous articles on the care and breeding of ornamental fishes and such books as The Cichlid Aquarium, Your Garden Pond and The Fishkeeper's Guide to African Cichlids.
Dr. thomas waltzek
Thomas B. Waltzek studied marine biology at Florida State University graduating with a BS in 1998. He then came to the University of California at Davis where he studied the functional anatomy and ecology of cichlids receiving a MS in 2002. Thomas then studied veterinary medicine at UC Davis focusing on fish health and received a DVM in 2009.
Thomas finished his PhD dissertation on the biology of ornamental fish viruses in 2010. In 2011, he joined the University of Florida as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to begin the surveillance and characterization of emerging aquatic animal viruses.
AGA Board Member, GWAPA Board Member
Like any good enthusiast, Jen started young. Her first aquarium, acquired at the age of seven, housed a humble mix of guppies, barbs, tetras, then cichlids. As an adult, she discovered the much bigger world of fishkeeping via a most fateful encounter, a Craigslist ad she placed (titled: “Firemouth Cichlids–Bring Net and Bucket”) which introduced her to a former Army Lieutenant who opened her eyes to the world of local fish clubs, planted tanks, and full-fledged aquaphilia. Ever since her first GWAPA meeting, Jen has been a passionate aquarium hobbyist and a dedicated enthusiast.
Currently she keeps and breeds an eclectic assortment of fish, and actively competes in aquascaping competitions both live and digital. Jen has served on the board of GWAPA for many years, in addition to serving as an AGA Board Member. As an aquascaper, Jen is one of the most decorated in US live events, and since 2008 has won multiple awards in these competitions at Aquafest, Big Fish Deal, and The Aquatic Experience. She has also competed in the IAPLC with a highest international ranking of #224.
Outside the tank, Jen holds a degree in Graphic Design and runs her creative business, Jen Will Design, from her home in Alexandria, VA, just outside Washington, DC. A former professional drag racer, her addiction to fast cars has only slowed down slightly in her adulthood. Any time that’s left after working, volunteering, and scaping goes into remodeling their mid-century home.
Eager to grow the hobby in the US, Jen enjoys travelling to clubs nationwide to give presentations, aquascaping demos, inspiration, and encouragement to future ‘scapers.
The aquariums started multiplying nearly 60 years ago with a trio of guppies and a pair of Aphyosemion australe. Both bred. Over the years I have raised killies, bettas, angels, gouramis, cichlids, and many others. My current interest are soft water cichlids, the different catfishes, killies and anything unusual. Even with 80+ tanks there is just not enough room.
I am a member of most of the national organizations. I am a past contributor to the AKA JAKA magazine, and past editor of the Atlanta Area Aquarium Association 'Fish Talk' newsletter.
I have many popular videos of live foods and fish on youtube.com (http://www.youtube.com/user/djrramsey).
My talks are based around videos of fish behavior, especially courting, spawning and raising fry. Many nights and weekends are spent with the camera and camcorder in hand waiting for the magical fish moments. My other passion is growing live foods and testing the different prepared foods on my fish. My talks are designed to be both fun and informative. Now retired, there still is not enough time for fish and gardening.
Rusty Wessel maintains over 8000 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.
"The Mad Aquarist"BIGGS
Hailing from the barren Tundra of the frozen North of rural Manitoba, Canada: Chris ‘ The Mad Aquarist’ Biggs is a devoted father of four daughters, and court Jester to his lovely and tolerant wife, Dayna. A life-long Aquarist, his father thrust him into the hobby at a very young age by ‘volunteering’ him at a local petstore to supply their small tank they kept in their family den and Chris has never looked back.
He is a founding member of the Aquarium Society of Winnipeg, the Canadian Cichlid Association, and most recently, the Dead Fish Order. He achieved in short order the level of Grand Master for both fish breeding and horticulture. He is a classically trained Botanist, passionate naturalist and avid gardener. Master of much, Chris is well known for his colorful tattoos, outspoken mouth, and well-received knowledge on most things aquatic and more. Eager to share and educate, he is a welcome presence nationally and internationally.
Chris has traveled extensively, collecting, studying, and admiring fishes, plants and reptiles in their natural habitats, as well as attending workshops and conventions. He has taken his vast knowledge and experience and applied it to building many dedicated and specialized fish rooms, often referred to as his Lab. They have included such fully automated water maintenance systems, pressure chambers, microscopes and dissection tables including his last fish room which held over 3800 gallons. His frank bravado and charm, as well as his experience make him a much sought after judge, speaker and auctioneer at events everywhere. Chris and his family maintain a small hobby farm, Outnumbered Acres The little Biggs Farm where they raise an eclectic assortment of animals.