Past Guest Speakers


June 15, 2019 | Josie Christopher | The Care and Spawning of Discus

Josie is the founder and president of Chicago Discus. A hobbyist and discus enthusiast for many years, she decided to take her love of discus to the public in 2010. After planning and building the hatchery, she and Miranda, her business partner established Chicago Discus in 2012.

Josie will be talking about the care and husbandry of discus.


May 18, 2019 | Cara Wade | The Best of Both Worlds: Paludariums

In the realm of the aquarium hobby most of our focus is on submersed cultivation, whether of plants, invertebrates, or other livestock…yet many species available in the hobby are capable of living both above and below the surface, and have much to offer if provided an emersed habitat.  Paludariums are setups featuring both aquatic and terrestrial environments that showcase the dual aspects of these species.  Learn the basics of paludarium styles, design, construction, and planting techniques, as well as long-term maintenance issues for growing healthy plants and livestock below and above water!
Cara is a 20+ year veteran in the planted aquarium hobby, with a focus on lighting science and aquatic aroid cultivation.  In her spare time she enjoys exploring and documenting aquatic plants in nature, from dirty ditches in Central Texas to streams in South America and Southeast Asia, birding, and eating strange and spicy foods.

February 16, 2019 | Ken Boorman – Beyond Rainbows: Other Great Australian Fishes

Originally from Australia and now living in Chatham, Ontario, Ken has kept fish for over 50 years. A good part of this time he has dedicated exclusively to collecting, keeping, and breeding several families of Australian and New Guinea native fishes in his numerous home aquariums. He has been a member of the Australian New Guinea Fishes Association for many years and is currently the North American President for that group. He is also President of the Chatham-Kent Aquarium Society and has been active in CAOAC. He will be familiar to many people as the person who operates Lisa’s Lair Bookstore. He is well-read on most aquarium and terrarium subjects.


January 12, 2019 | Bagging 101 (Note: 2nd Saturday, Not 3rd)

Bagging 101

Do you struggle with bagging? Would you like to learn how to prepare fish for shipping so that you can sell on Aquabid? Come to this meeting for a hands on demonstration!

PLEASE NOTE:  The date of this month’s meeting is Jan 12. It is the 2nd Saturday rather than our usual 3rd Saturday of the month. The location is still 10 Pin Alley.


Dec 15 2018, Saturday | Holiday Party

When: December 15, 2018

Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Place: Goodman Community Center, Brassworks Building, 214 Waubesa Street, Madison, WI 53704

Entrees and soft drinks will be provided. Please bring a dish to share. There will also be a cash bar.
Please RSVP to Dianna Peterson by replying to the thread under “Upcoming MAAH Events” ( on the forum (or with number of adults and children attending and what type of dish you will be bringing .


Nov 17, 2018 | Joe Cutler


Oct. 20, 2018 | Craig Bingman

Water quality challenges and solutions for fresh and saltwater aquariums

Aquarium keepers face a wide array of water quality challenges in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. This talk highlights how experience with either type translates to the other. Also noted are significant differences between the two. We will discuss physical parameters, nutrients, toxicants, mineral demands and gas exchange. Our touchstone will be creating optimal environments where aquatic creatures can thrive through a deep understanding of their physiological requirements.

Craig has been a bit too fascinated with water chemistry since his first trials with “pH up” and “pH down” at eight years old. His fish were less enthusiastic about the wild ride. While growing up, he kept many freshwater and marine aquariums. About the time that the internet was taking off, he realized that there could be an interesting synergy between his professional understanding of biological chemistry and his aquarium hobby. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he moved to New York, where he fell in with a group of dedicated coralholics, who self-identified as the New York Reef Mafia. There he wrote a series of articles that helped lay the foundation of the modern reef aquarium hobby, covering optical effects in aquariums, autofluorescent pigments in corals, calcification, and many other subjects. His longstanding interests include predicting outcomes in aquariums through numerical simulations, and understanding the interplay between the three major physicochemical processes in reef aquariums: nutrient dynamics, gas exchange and calcification. He has presented at several national aquarium conferences. Today, Craig is back in Madison, where he works at a “major research University” where he “uses X-rays to take pictures” of molecules. He continues to think about aquariums whenever work allows and his son doesn’t need his diaper changed.


Aug 18, 2018


July 21, 2018

December 15, 2017 | Member Holiday Party

Please join other MAAH members and Cataclysm volunteers in celebration of the holidays. Traditionally we have met at a member’s house that is gracious to host but this year the Executive Board has decided to spring for something special as a thank you to the people made Cataclysm possible.

This year we will be celebrating at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street, Madison WI. Goodman will be catering the party and will also be hosting a cash bar. The party will run from 7-9:30pm.

The menu will consist of three entree selections. Chicken and Portobello mushroom marsala, squash and tofu curry (vegan) and seasonal ratatouille (vegan), plus seasonal vegetables and wild rice pilaf.

Cake will be served for dessert.

Please RSVP with Megan McGuire at or to this forum thread with your party count by Thursday the 7th.

November 18, 2017 | Rick Borstein: Sixty Tips in 60 Minutes

Rick Borstein is the Webmaster of the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (GCCA), President of the Chicago Livebearer Society (CLS) and President of the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS).

Rick was the Chairman of the successful 2006 American Cichlid Association Convention held in Chicago, IL. Rick has spawned over 200 species of cichlids and is one of only twelve people to hold the title of Master Breeder in the GCCA. Rick’s basement fishroom has 36 tanks ranging in size from 5 gallons to 125 gallons. Rick is primarily interested in cichlids and live bearers.

In this talk, you’ll hear and see— in rapid fire fashion— tons of tips to make it easier, faster or more fun to manage and breed your fish. The presentation is picture-driven and offers tips on better ways to feed, change water, pack and ship fish and lots more. Some do-it-yourself projects are included. Best of all, all the tips are published in a concise PDF online for you to refer to after the talk.

October 21, 2017 | Mike Hellweg: Bettas (not Betta Splendens)

Mike has been fascinated by fishes all his life, and has had various fishes as pets since he could barely reach the top of the goldfish bowl; he has been successfully breeding and trading fish with local shops since he was 9 years old.  Over the past four decades plus he has specialized mainly in miniature fishes, and has had successful spawns from various miniature fishes totaling over 400 species from 32 families of fish.  He currently owns a small fish hatchery and maintains about 3000 gallons divided into 100 tanks.  He is the top ranked breeder of all time in the Missouri Aquarium Society, Inc. (MASI) BAP and the top ranked aquatic horticulturist of all time in MASI’s HAP with over 300 submissions from 50 families, including more than a dozen by seed.  He is an ALA Century Breeder, with over 100 species of Livebearers spawned.  He credits his success to large regular water changes, keeping live plants in every tank and culturing and feeding an assortment of live foods daily for feeding his breeding stock and for growing the fry of these diverse fish.

Over the past three plus decades, Mike has given well over 325 talks to classes, clubs, groups and conventions all over the USA and Canada, has documented many of his keeping and spawning successes in over 300 articles published in hobby publications around the world, and he has had two books on live foods published by TFH Publications.

August 19, 2017 | The Gymnogeophagus of Uruguay by Spencer Jack

Welcome to the dog days of summer! Take a break and join us on Saturday the 19th for the August Madison Area Aquarium Hobbyist’s meeting. We will be hosting Spencer Jack all the way from Winnipeg.


Spencer Jack has been active within the aquaria hobby since the age of five. A true “cichlidiot”, he had worked exclusively with cichlids for over twenty years. He has since expanded his horizons to include all types of tropical fish.

He now owns and operates a tropical fish wholesale business, The aFISHionados, and is an avid fishkeeper and breeder.

Spencer will be presenting on the Gymnogeophagus of Uruguay.

A closer look at the gorgeous genus of Gymnogeophagus from Uruguay. Like their Rift Lake cichlid counterparts the Gymnogeophagus species here almost all express a wide range of geographical variation and a fantastic kaleidoscope of colour varieties. This presentation will give a closer look at just the members of this genus from the country, many of which have never been imported for the hobby before.

There will be lots of fish and plants in the auction following the presentation. Also it’s the start of new BAP and GARP seasons, are you going to to work for Breeder of the Year?

Dinner and drinks with Spencer after the auction at the Hody!