Raleigh Aquarium Society Workshop

February 22nd, 2012

This past weekend, I spoke at the Raleigh Aquarium Society’s annual workshop and auction, along with a lineup of several other fantastic speakers. We had a little bit of everything with talks about Barbs, planted aquariums, West-African fish, collecting in Cameroon, large-scale fish farms, Central American cichlids, and even labyrinth fish. Many of the speakers were the same folks you read in the popular aquarium magazines, so it was a treat to be able to learn from other experts in the hobby.

I was also treated to some great activities in Raleigh by local members. Neil Frank invited me over to see his fish room, which consists of three wonderful planted aquariums. Neil is a long-time planted aquarist, and has lots of interesting things going on in his tanks.
Neil's Aquarium

In the tank above, he has a breeding colony of Melanotaenia praecox rainbowfish, that were buzzing all throughout the tank. I was blown away by the red sword plant in the 90G aquarium below. This old narrow-leaf sword was a single plant, but took up a foot in circumference. The contrast against the greenery surrounding it was even better in person.

Neil's Aquarium

He had another 90G next to this one (shown below) that had an oddball cultivar of Java Fern where every leaf was complemented by two smaller leaves at it’s base, making it look like the fleur de lis.

Neil's Aquarium

All of Neil’s aquariums had sumps, which allowed him to hide most of his equipment, aside from the built-in overflow boxes. I’m seriously considering a sump for my rimless tank now, as I didn’t realize that sumps allow you to keep a constant water level in the tank. Rimless tanks are a pain to refill water lost to evaporation through the week otherwise.


Outside of the conference, I also got an invitation to tour the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Many of the exhibits at this museum feature fish and other fauna that are native to North Carolina. My absolute favorite exhibit was one featuring Blackbanded Sunfish, which are one of the most striking native fish you’ll find.

Black-Banded Sunfish

A close second-favorite exhibit was one featuring native Kanawha darters and Redlip Shiner. The shiner were incredibly active, zooming around the tank, while the darters pretty much hung out on the logs.

Kanawha Darter

This tank was in a wide-open area, so I bet these fish weren’t displaying their top coloration. I’d love to see how red the shiner would get in a nicely planted aquarium after feeding some quality food for several weeks.

Redlip Shiner

After a great time at the workshop on Saturday, Sunday was an all-day auction. I wasn’t able to stay for most of the auction, but there were at least 500-600 items for sale on 10+ tables. They did a fantastic job of dividing up the auction items into categories like south american cichlids and plants so that you could target a specific table for items that you might want to bid on later. All-in-all, it was a great weekend! Thank you to the Raleigh Aquarium Society for inviting me down to such a wonderful event. I had a truly wonderful time meeting and hanging out with everyone, and highly recommend the event to any aquarist.

2 Responses to “Raleigh Aquarium Society Workshop”

  1. Select Aquariums Says:

    Thanks for all the info from the workshop. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures.

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