Speakers

JEFF CARDWELL

Abacaxis Adventure, Discus and Apistos!

Jeff Cardwell has been active in the aquarium hobby for more than 45years. He maintains over 60 aquaria and his interests and expertise extend to catfish, killies, rainbowfishes and cichlids. Jeff has traveled extensively to collect aquarium fishes on more than 40 trips to Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Surinam, Uruguay, Mexico, El Salvador, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. An enthusiastic keeper of North America's native fishes, his collecting trips have also taken him to many parts of the United States. Both as a speaker and a judge, Jeff has been a familiar figure at shows throughout the Midwest for more than thirty years. He is an active member of the American Cichlid Association, the American Killifish Association, the American Livebearer Association, and the Circle City Aquarium Society.


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AD KONINGS

Lake Malawi: Labidochromis and other small mbuna.

Lake Tanganyika: Impressions from the Central Tanzanian Coast

Ad was born on January 11th, 1956 in Roosendaal, Netherlands, and lived most of life in Rotterdam.  He began keeping cichlids when at the age of 14. Before long, he was breeding Julidochromis marlieri and Neolamprologus brichardi in the same small tank.  He was hooked.

Fearing a lack of employment opportunity in Ichthyology, Ad decided to study Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam and did his doctoral exam in 1980.  From 1980-1986, he did research on lysosomal enzymes at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He decided that the DNA-related work in Molecular Biology took too much of his free time.  So, in 1986, he moved to Germany to live with his eventual wife Gertrud and her two daughters, Mey (12 years) and Louiza (3 years). It was there that he started to write books and breed Tanganyika Cichlids. He also worked for 18 months at the University of Heidelberg, in the Parasitology Department.  In 1991, Ad started his own publishing company, Cichlid Press, and published his first book, the “Cichlids Yearbook, vol. 1”.

Ad moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1996, where he still enjoys the constant sunshine and beautiful mountains.  Ad is now a permanent resident of the United States and even moved Cichlid Press here. It is still a mom-and-pop company with Gertrud and Ad doing the traveling, planning, photographing, diving, writing, layout, prepress, publication, and distribution for not only his own books, but also Back to Nature books and books by other authors as well.  Ad is in constant demand, providing photos for magazines, books, scientists, and museums, etc. He also does the layout/prepress for Cichlid News and the Dutch Cichlid Club magazine, in addition to working as editor on the best cichlid site on the web, The Cichlid Room Companion. 

He began working with Jay on the Stuart M. Grant Cichlid Conservation Fund in 2007, trying to protect the Malawi cichlids from over-fishing.  An avid diver and photographer, Ad has traveled on dozens of expeditions, mostly to Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, but has also made numerous trips to Mexico and other Central and South American countries. He continues to go on two expeditions per year and is an international speaker in great demand. The good thing of it all, according to Ad, "I haven't worked a day in my life! Enjoy your cichlids!​"


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VIN KUTTY

Foot long or go home

Vin has been keeping tropical fish for over 40 years, with a focus on Pike cichlids for the last 25. He ran the now-defunct pikecichlids.com website and is the admin for Pike Cichlids Facebook group. His passion for Pike cichlids (and all things Amazonian) takes him to South America annually. Along with Jeff Cardwell, he was the co-owner of a 3000-acre Amazonian ecological preserve in Bolivia...until the government of Bolivia nationalized the property and kicked them out. He's collected extensively in West Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. He runs a pharmaceutical company and lives Calabasas, California. 


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WAYNE LEIBEL​

Species 101

Banquet speaker - Going Wild

While the rest of the cichlid world was head-over-heels for African Rift Lake cichlids in the 1970’s and ‘80’s, Wayne Leibel instead focused his interest on New World cichlids, more specifically cichlids from South America. That passion found expression in his writing that attempted to jumpstart more general interest in and increase the information available about these wonderful fish. A prolific writer of some 250 articles, these included a series of 40 articles on South American Cichlids that ran sequentially in Aquarium Fish Magazine (AFM) from 1992-1997; a monthly column in Tropical Fish Hobbyist (TFH) entitled “Wayne’s New World” (1993-2000), followed by a second column in TFH entitled “Cichlidophiles” (2002 – 2011). Other articles appeared variously in Cichlid News, FAMA and Buntbarsche Bulletin, along with two small books. Today, South American cichlids are well-loved and well-respected denizens of the cichlid hobby. Wayne Leibel continues his educational mission these days as Editor of Cichlid News and occasional author. He also remains a very active member of the American Cichlid Association: former editor of BB; ACA Fellow; Jordan Lifetime Award Recipient, multiple-time BOT member, and current chair of the Guy D. Jordan Endowment which awards yearly grants in support of cichlid research.


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STEVE LUNDBLAD

Steve Lundblad has been in the aquarium industry for over two decades and has given many presentations to aquarium clubs across the nation and internationally. He has received numerous awards for his breeding and conservation efforts and is actively involved in the American Cichlid Association and The Greater Portland Aquarium Society. He operates The Cichlid Exchange Inc., a freshwater tropical fish wholesale business, as well as Wet Spot Tropical Fish, an expansive retail store specializing in offering rare and obscure fish species. Steve has traveled to both Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi to dive and observe fish in their natural habitat. He has also traveled to Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and Malaysia. His websites are www.cichlidexchange.com & www.wetspottropicalfish.com.


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GREG STEEVES

C.A.R.E.S. - Keeping it natural

Keeping and breeding Haplochromine Cichlids

As a life long aquarist, Greg Steeves is known for his fascination with the family cichlidae, in particular haplochromine cichlids.  He has written three books, authored many articles in a dozen languages and speaks on the subject internationally.  Together with Lee Ann (Mrs. Steeves), they maintain a fairly large collection of cichlids, catfish and other lineages of aquatic creatures.  Greg is the founding member of the Hill Country Cichlid Club and president of the Federation of Texas Aquarium Societies (FOTAS).  He is a fellow of the Haplochromis Society based in France as well as the Cichlidroom Companion for whom he has contributed nearly since its inception.  He considers his greatest accolade his association with the CARES Conservation Program where he coordinates the Lake Victoria cichlid species.

His love of cichlids and people, together with his message of conservation can be heard (with an ever present humorous undertone) loud and clear on his internet radio show called “Let’s Talk about Cichlids”.

Greg and Lee Ann travel to fish events around the country whenever possible meeting old friends and making new ones at every stop.  Fish and fish people are a large part of his life as is spreading his message about the joys of working with haplochromine cichlids and the importance of ensuring that they survive for the next generations to enjoy.


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RUSTY WESSEL

Cichlid behavior in their natural habitat

Rusty 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 taken his hobby to a point where he has successfully collected fish from the countries of Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Uruguay, from 1983 to the present, for over 100 trips to this date. 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 or been bit or stung by it. Dr. Robert Rush Miller, emeritus professor of the University of Michigan named a beautiful and elusive cichlid discovered during one of his expeditions to Honduras, after Rusty in the June 1996 edition of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine, Theraps wesseli.

Rusty is as well a prolific author and photographer, his writings or photographs have appeared in a wide distribution of specialized publications, like 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 "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 past convention chair (1992). In addition, he is an active solicitor for the "Guy Jordan Endowment Fund" (A fund set up under the ACA to grant endowments for cichlid research). On the local level, he is currently treasurer for the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers. Rusty has been awarded with the greatest honor the American Cichlid Association gives to its distinguished members, the ACA fellowship in 1997.

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


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