Rusty Wessel

Rusty Wessel

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Rusty Wessel

Rusty Wessel

Central American Cichlids

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 MagazineAquarist and PondkeeperBuntbarsche BulletinCichlid News, Ad Konings’ Cichlids YearbooksFreshwater 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.

*Bio by Raleigh Aquarium Society

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-07

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Dan Sharifi

Dan Sharifi

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Dan Sharifi

Dan Sharifi

Central American Cichlids

Dan Sharifi is the owner of Cichlids of the Americas, an internet-based fish provider. Dan has kept fish for nearly 30 years, focusing primarily on Central American cichlids, but with a number of South American cichlids as well. His current indoor facility is over 3,000 square feet, with additional outdoor pools and ponds used to raise fish. In his facility, there are tens of thousands of fish, with over 80 varieties currently in Dan’s breeding program. Dan is one of a few USDA-APHIS certified facilities in the U.S., and ship fish to literally every continent. Over the years, as a fishkeeper, Dan has collected, located, and purveyed fish in countless ways. Dan enjoys sharing his love of fishkeeping and breeding with hobbyists and clients and is a regular speaker for aquarium societies. He is well-known as “Cichluvr” on numerous aquarium websites. Dan believes he has one of the largest collections of Central American cichlids in captivity. 

Before becoming a full-time fish breeder and source for New World cichlids, Dan worked a total of 19 years in financial services for HSBC, Bear Stearns, and Mercedes Benz Financial running and managing multiple call centers to handle consumer loans, mortgagesauto finance, and managed collections, information services, and credit risk.  He oversaw over a thousand employees at HSBC and Bear, and call centers in Dallas, Tampa, and Manila at Mercedes Benz.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-08

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John Krepper

John Krepper

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John Krepper

John Krepper

I first started keeping fish at age 12 (1968) and was quickly introduced to the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers and participated as a junior member. I moved from high fin green molly’s to Rift Lake cichlids in a short time and then settled in Lake Tanganyika in the early 1970’s and have keep them ever since with the exception of a break from 1994 to 2005. While in Santa Barbara California I founded the Santa Barbara Aquarium Society in 1979 and in 1985 returned to Louisville I rejoined the LTFF club and was later elected president then served for a few years and was the active president when LTFF sponsored the 1992 ACA convention. I have been a member of the ACA during my years in the hobby and regularly attend the ACA convention. Over the years of keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids I have photographed my fish as well as my friend’s fish and will present these photo’s and share my experiences in the hobby in keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids feather fins and sand dwellers in the aquarium. Topics include feeding, territory requirements, water conditioning, general maintenance and good fish pics. I look forward in seeing soon.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-03

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Dre Alvarado

Dre Alvarado

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Dre Alvarado

Dre Alvarado

Aquarium Plants

I have been an avid hobbyist over the past 10 years.  I kept fish as a kid and in college but about 10 years ago I dove deep into the hobby.  I joined my local club, Tampa Bay Aquarium Society (TBAS) and within a couple of years I was running for President and organizing major events for the club.  I am the past Vice-president of the Florida Fancy Guppy Club and am currently the President of TBAS.

My involvement with the clubs lead me to a job with the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association’s Coop Store.  I managed the store for about 2 years from 2011-2013.  While working there I developed connections with many tropical fish farms in the area.  I then went to work for Nautilus Marine Wholesale as a sales rep.  My love and knowledge of fish exploded there as I was introduced to species from all over the world.  At the end of 2015 I left to try to pursue web development and website design.  After 1.5 years I came back into the industry working at WaterScapes Aquatic Plant Nursery where I am currently the Sales Manager.  I am in charge of all imported items, sourcing new local plants and some dry goods such as driftwood, and working on special projects.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-02

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Jim Cumming

Jim Cumming

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Jim Cumming

Jim Cumming

South American Cichlids

Jim Cumming hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and has been keeping tropical fish for over 65 years. Other than a fifteen-year sojourn into the world of killifish (his online name is ‘notho2000’) he has kept and presently keeps Central and South American cichlids, and currently devotes about one third of his 40 aquarium fish room to Madagascan cichlids and the Etroplus genus from India.
Jim has given presentations to over 100 cichlid and generalist aquarium societies throughout the US and Canada over the last 6 years and in the Spring of 2018, was invited to Berlin and Dresden, Germany where he presented on Madagascan and South American cichlids to the German Cichlid Association (DCG). Other speaking engagements included the International Cichlid Conference in Brisbane, Australia in November 2018, the Nordic Cichlid Association in Uppsala, Sweden in March 2019, the East Anglia Cichlid Group in Newmarket, UK in April 2019 and the ACA Convention in Cromwell, Connecticut, in July 2019. In 2020, Jim has been invited to speak in France at the French Cichlid Association’s Convention in Lemans, and in Lausanne, Switzerland as well as a return to Australia where he will be presenting to four groups in November. Jim has never turned down an invitation to speak other than for a conflict of dates.

Over the last 10 years, Jim has become captivated by the magical cichlids from Madagascar. They have certainly ‘supercharged’ his passion for the cichlid keeping hobby. Jim has had extensive collecting experience in Mexico, Belize, Cuba, and Brazil as well as the Southern U.S. He maintains a very active YouTube channel with around 700 videos as of January 2019, highlighting the fish he keeps or has kept. The emphasis is on maintenance and breeding, along with social interactions, both con- and hetero-specific. Jim has been a moderator for several on-line forums and several Facebook aquatic interest groups and maintains a Facebook site solely devoted to fish and their conservation. Jim has had articles published in Amazonas, Cichlid News, Buntbarsche, and the Swedish Ciklid Bladet magazines. He is also an American Cichlid Association sponsored Speaker, as well as a Madagascan Cichlid Species Specialist and speaker for the CARES Preservation program. On Facebook he administrates the group Madagascar Endangered Fishes and is a Moderator of Geophagus Keepers. He also has been actively involved in the local Aquarium Society of Winnipeg, where he served for many years as Program Chair, Journal Editor, and President. He enthusiastically looks forward to spreading the word on Madagascar and its cichlids, as well as on variety of other hobby-based topics wherever and whenever he can.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-01

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