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GCCA Articles

North American Discus Association Convention and Show 2016

North American Discus Association Convention and Show 2016

July 7th – July 10th Lombard, Illinois


     The North American Discus Association is very pleased to announce our 2016 Discus Convention and Show July 7th – July 10th in Lombard, IL (Chicago Suburbs). This is the largest Discus only event held in North America. The Convention brings you a chance to hear world class speakers discuss topics related to caring for Discus and the Show features 100 + Show class discus presented for judging.

     The Convention/Show will be held at the Westin Lombard Hotel Yorktown Center and is 12 miles Southwest of O’Hare International airport. The 4-star Hotel offers a number of top hotel amenities, including a state-of-art fitness center, and two on-site gourmet restaurants. Known as one of the top Lombard, IL hotels, the rooms are well-appointed, and stylishly decorated and offer all the comforts of home. Adjacent to the hotel are 150 retail shops and an 18 screen IMAX AMC theater. The hotel offers a complimentary Hotel shuttle within a 5-mile radius. The Hotel is offering a special group rate of $115 a night for Show participants.

     The Speaker list for the Convention is exceptional:

Dick Au -NADA Senior Judge and author of “The Back to Nature Guide to Discus” and “Trophy Discus”

Al Sabetta – Owner of, one of the largest Discus forums in the world.

John Nicholson – NADA Senior Judge and founding member.

Josie Christopher – Founder and President of Chicago Discus.

Spencer Jack – Founder and President of the Canadian Cichlid Association, Co-founder of Aquarium Society of Winnipeg.

Ricardo Vasquez – Moderator and “Photo Guru”

Dan Lorbeske – Shedd Aquarium Senior Aquarist

Erica Hornbrook – Shedd Aquarium Amazon Collection Manager.

    During the weekend, 100 plus Show Discus will be on display and will be judged for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in individual classes. These discus come from around the world and will be some of the finest discus available. The Show also judges a very special class – Bred by Exhibitor. All entries in this class must be a discus that was bred by parents owned by the entrant. NADA provides judges for Discus Shows in North America and these judges will be on hand to judge the winners.

     During the 4 day weekend there will be Sponsors and Vendors set up in the Show Room with Merchandise displayed and for sale. Sponsors and Vendors will be on hand the entire weekend to talk with and answer questions. There will also be sale tanks set up with Discus available for purchase from sponsors and individual participants. A majority of the Show Discus are usually available for purchase during the Show.

     For more information on the Show and registration, please go to

We look forward to seeing you there.

Posted: 3 weeks 1 day ago by 1fishgeek #36419
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So who is going to NADA, besides me?
Posted: 1 month 2 weeks ago by CozyKeith #36402
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There will be a great deal on 20 gallon high tanks with glass top, heater, and sponge filter available. $20 each or 6 for $100. Tanks will be presold during the show on a first come first serve basis and can be picked up Sunday starting around 10:00 until noon or so.
Posted: 1 month 3 weeks ago by Mugwump #36398
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yes it is....looking forward to attending...
Posted: 1 month 3 weeks ago by scubadiver #36397
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Pretty cool that this is in Chicagoland -

ACA 2016 - Cincinnati, Ohio July 7th - July 10th

2016 ACA Convention! 


Cincinnati, Ohio

July 7th - July 10th


Registration is now open

Announcing  the American Cichlid Association Convention 2016, Born to be Wild. Come experience the infamous yearly gathering of cichlidiots, cichlidophiles, and fans of all things cichlid. Speakers include, Ad Konings, Greg Steeves, Rusty Wessel, Jeff Cardwell, Vin Kutty, Steve Lundblad, and Wayne Leibel who will provide top notch lectures throughout the convention on relevant and hot topics in cichlid husbandry and habitat. Along with the biggest and best cichlid show of the year, you’ll enjoy a nightly hospitality suite, great vendors’ showroom, large dry goods auction, multiple silent auctions, a huge cichlid and catfish auction, and all of the great attractions and landmarks Cincinnati has to offer.

This year, the Greater Cincinnati Aquarium Society is hosting the festivities. We are holding the convention at the Marriott Cincinnati RiverCenter Hotel.

We have three exciting tours planned for this year- a tour of the Newport Aquarium, a tour of several Cincinnati Craft Breweries, and a tour of the world renowned Cincinnati Zoo. Other area attractions include Cincinnati Downtown, U.S. Bank Arena, Museum Center and Omnimax Theater, The Beach Waterpark, Cedar Fair Kings Island, The Golf Center at Kings Island, Tri County Mall, Jungle Jim’s International Market, and The Bass Pro Shops in Forest Fair Mall.



Posted: 1 month 3 weeks ago by scubadiver #36400
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Don't forget to register for the ACA -

Classic Speakers

Overview Speakers Swap Auction Hotel Register FAQ

ShowRules Schedule

Featured Speakers and Talks

Chris Biggs



Topics: Banquet - 'the Mad Aquarist' and "The Florida Experience: a nerds eye view"

Hailing from the barren Tundra of the frozen North that is Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Chris Biggs is a devoted father of three, and court Jester to his lovely and tolerant Queen, Dayna. A life-long Aquarist, his father thrust him into the hobby at a very young age with a 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, both as a speaker and as the mouthpiece for Xtreme Aquatic Foods.

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.

He is Tall, loud, and colorful- Chris is an enormous nerd and quite strong with The Force he has an entire room dedicated to Star Wars figures and diorama, many of which he has hand crafted himself! Outgoing and entertaining, Biggs is often found, Guinness in hand, wearing a shirt extolling his mighty gonopodium and sharing his vast knowledge with a sarcastic, yet endearing smile.


Rachel O'Leary


Topic: Freshwater Invertebrates: A Primer for the Devoted Hobbyist covering how to breed and keep many freshwater invertebrates for keeping as well as their utilitarian application as feeders, infusoria production, and the algae control.

Rachel O’Leary, from Mount Wolf, PA is a proud mother of 3, loving wife, and an unmistakable personality within the hobby. A life-long fish keeper, her interests range from nanofish to monsters, with a focus on invertebrates and dwarf species. Rachel has spent the last 10 years studying invertebrate husbandry, aquascaping, and breeding practices. Rachel’s fishroom consists of over 100 tanks ranging from 10 to 220 gallons, and her breeding program includes members of the Corydoradinae group, Apistogramma, Ancistrus, Hypancistrus, Pelvicachromis,  as well as various Cyprinids and livebearers. One of the leading importers of invertebrates in the US, she breeds and keeps dozens of dwarf shrimp and snail species, as well as dwarf crayfish and crabs, and is regularly bringing in new and hard to find specimens. She also has a passion and interest in gar and polypterids and houses several species.

Rachel actively attends conventions and travels to speak at clubs and conventions on her invertebrate and nano fish interests. A big advocate of rallying regional support, Rachel also sponsors many clubs and events around the United States. She provides freshwater aquarium livestock from around the globe, to redistribute and help share with hobbyists around the country. Rachel is very focused on education and information for her customers, and personally deals with each individual to help them make the best choices for the tank.

Rachel is a frequent contributor to Amazonas magazine with articles featuring her travels and interactions with other hobbyists and breeders, as well as species spotlights and special features. She recently had a book co-authored with Mark Denario published titled The 101 Best Freshwater Nano Species: How to Choose & Keep Hardy, Brilliant, Fascinating Nano Fishes, Plants and Invertebrates.

As dedicated to education and community as she is to her fish, Rachel has served as a moderator in several of the largest online aquatic communities.  A member of close to a dozen associations, she can frequently be found at conventions and club meetings around the country and internationally. An invited guest, host, judge, and speaker, Rachel loves to share her knowledge and experiences with like-minded enthusiasts.

Willem Heijns

Topic 1: Belize, searching for cichlids This talk comprises a travel report to the beautiful country of Belize (just east of México). Visits were made to the rivers and lagoons trying to find cichlids both for filming and collecting. There’s footage of cichlids in many rivers as well as an exciting boatride with a local fisherman on Freshwater Creek.

Topic 2:

México, a journey into the world of cichlids In this presentation the places to visit are marked on a map of México. A river drainage will be selected of which pictures and (in most cases) a video will be shown. Together with the (sometimes funny) stories this makes an excellent way of getting to know this beautiful country and its cichlids. The videoclips have also been released on DVD (copies available at the event).



Willem is a 67 years old retired bankmanager and has been keeping cichlids well over half his lifetime. He started out with the firemouth (Thorichthys meeki) and subsequently has been hooked up with Central American cichlids ever since. Having had small tanks at first he moved on to build his "Cichlidarium" containing two 600 gallon aquariums and some smaller ones. After some major calamities (two 600g tanks exploded almost in his face) the Cichlidarium was finally closed down in March 2011.


About 15 years ago he started collecting cichlids in México and other countries in Central America. Most of these trips he made together with Ad Konings and some with Juan Miguel Artigas and Don Danko. On the first trips he focussed on collecting cichlids but on later ones Willem tried his hand at shooting video both above and below the waterlevel. This has resulted in bringing (new) cichlids into the Dutch hobby and a number of films, a compilation of which is available on the DVD "México, a journey into the world of cichlids".


His last three trips were made to Nicaragua. He visited most of the crater lakes in that beautiful country searching for cichlids, concentrating on Laguna Xiloá where he put his diver’s license to good use being able to get video footage from depths of 20 meters or more. This footage was edited to produce the DVD "Nicaragua, cichlids from the crater" which is also available to the public.


No longer keeping cichlids, Willem is now concentrating on writing. He has published a number of articles about cichlids in magazines worldwide and has also co-authored a book on these wonderful fishes. His main area of interest is the evolution and systematics of Neotropical cichlids belonging to the subfamily Cichlasomatinae.


Chuck Rambo - Hydrologic Systems Analyst, Well Compliance Officer

Topic - Poor Man’s Collecting Trip-In 2009 I took a group of aquarists through the everglade swamps of Florida looking for introduces tropical fish species that had escaped from the local fish farms during hurricanes. When we got these we discovered some very cool local native species. As a side trip we went to a few existing fish farms and fish wholesalers to see how fish farming is being done today.

Chuck has been keeping aquarium fish for 47 years. He has been interested in all kinds of aquatic life but his strongest love has always been cichlids. He started with a 5 gallon metaframe aquarium and a pair of convicts then mushroomed at one point into a substantial fish room with 50+ aquariums filled with cichlids from all over the world. He is a two term past President of the Pacific Coast cichlid Association and a two time Chairman of the American Cichlid Association.  His work with the ACA earned him a “Fellow” status within the organization. He has been to both rift lakes with renowned cichlid authority Ad Konings. He was also part of the Lake Victoria Cichlid and Conservation Program working with endangered Lake Victoria cichlid species. Chuck also keeps carnivorous plants from all over North America



Ray Lucas


Topic: TBD

Ray has been a fish hobbyist for over 48 years and active in aquarium societies since the late fifties. He has been an active member in almost twenty different clubs including local and national ones. For years Ray traveled and entered fish shows around the country, then continued as a speaker on many topics. In the 1980’s Ray worked with Paul Speice (his mentor) on the TV and live shows, “The Aquatic Maestro”. He was inducted into the Tropical Fish Hall of Fame in 1989 and is also a member of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and Western World Pet Association. Ray worked for General Motors for over 30 years and is now retired. Ray is currently traveling with Kingfish Services, a company he started in 1989 with Python Products and Mardel Labs, promoting their products to fish clubs around North America. He is now representing MARS FishCare North America, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Aquarian Flake Foods, Pond Care, & Rena Products, Python Products, Aquarium Technology Sponge Filters, Cichlid News Magazine, Cichlid Press (Ad Konings), The Fish Factory (Mike & Robin Schadle), Finley Aquatic Books, Diskus Brief Magazine, Discus Hans USA, Eastern Aquatic Blackworms, and Ken’s Fish. Kingfish Services just visited their 400th show in 18 years, as a service to the aquarium societies and manufacturers in the trade! Now over 400 shows bringing hobbyists, aquatic societies and the aquatic industry together. Visit for images of our past events adventures and check our calendar for upcoming events. Besides fish, Ray loves music, Nascar, grandkids, old cars, and being with great people. Ray has bred over 45 species of Livebearers, 30 different Cichlids and 10 Catfish and still maintains 12 aquariums and 2 ponds.



Posted: 2 months 1 week ago by Matt #36375
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Saturday May 28th Vendor Table List
Joseph Abbate 17
Sair Ali 11
Robert Bauer 8 9 10
Thomas Berger 18
Randy Blaszczyk 22
Bruce Canaday 26 27
Josephine Christopher 4 5
Justin Datavs 5 6 7
Peter Durkin 1 2
Freshwater Exotics 16
Leonid Fliman 24
Jo Ann Fujii 25
Mark Huffman 34 33
Jerzy Kowal 15
Jim Lehner 29 30
Victor Mendez 23
Peter Ming 12
Jeffrey Pecor 31
Phil Salant 32
Alan Schahczinski 28
John Sonnefeldt 14
Brett Stokes 19
Terry Tankersley 21
Tony Williams 35
Mariusz Zagorski 20
Cheu Skid Vue 13
Mike Schadle 36 37 38
Posted: 4 months 2 weeks ago by scubadiver #36295
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Time to start signing up for the classic -


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  • GCCA Classic

    GCCA 2012 Classic

    Join us at the GCCA Classic - Memorial Day Weekend 2012 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)



    Thursday May 24th - GCCA volunteers load, unload and set up over a hundred fish tanks (make sure to thank them)

    Friday May 25th Saturday 26th  - Fish show, fish & vendor sales and networking events

    Saturday May 26th - Full day of speakers, fish show and judging, fish & vendor sales

    Saturday May 26th evening - Banquet & presentation

    Sunday May 27th - Huge cichlid only auction (note fish show & vendor sales will be closed on Sunday)  

    A knock-out line-up of country's best cichlid speakers.

    Featured presentations

     - Tropheus - how to keep them, breed them, cure them, what types are there and can they be kept together- 

    - Dwarf Cichlids - An overview of soft water "Dwarf Cichlids", methods for keeping and breeding and loads of photos

    Malawi Peacocks (Aulonocara) - An overview of what a peacock is, how it came by the name, "who" is in the group, what they look like (males and female) and a lot more information both historical, biological and colorful... if it is a "Peacock" from Lake Malawi, it is covered here.

    Importing Cichlids and Catfish from South America – Importing fish can be exciting, fun, scary and risky at times. Here are the ups and downs and everything in between when you try to import fish from South America. 

    Featured Speakers:
    Kevin Plazak - Kevin has been keeping fish since he was 13 but started in earnest at 18. When the tanks slowly started taking over the house he had the good sense to heed his wife's suggestion (read: clear threat) that the tanks need to be out of the house. This lead to a breeding cooperative then a wholesale business. His focus had been on live bearing fish and cichlids prior to the business but fish stores like a wide variety of everything that goes into a fish store so Kevin has been captivated by almost everything that swims under fresh water lately and a few like the Climbing Perch and Mudskippers have been taking up more of his thoughts of late.

    Peter Durkin - When people here Peter Durkin they associate it with Tropheus. He is a successful breeder of Tropheus at a commercial level which fewer than handful of people have accomplished, he successful breeds Tropheus at an amazing quantity. Pete is also a major fish importer from South America and often brings fish to the area that others have never seen before. Peter is frequently at GCCA swaps, well now you can hear him share his experiences, tips and few secrets.

    Two more speakers being confirmed

    Giant Cichlid-only Auction
    Sunday, May 27, 2012 10AM – till the last fish is sold | Register at 8:30AM

    What is the GCCA Classic

    -       Speakers from across the country with a full day of presentations 

    -       A fish show where breeders and hobbyist display their favorite and best fish (and often sell them at the end of the show)

    -       It is raffle where over a $$$$ of goods will be raffled and auctioned away

    -       It is a social event with a dinner party (banquet) and hospitality suite

    -       It is a place to buy fish and supplies from vendors

    -       It is where over hundreds of fish books are for sale

    -       It is where vendors will be displaying their latest products

    -       It is where people put fish for sale up on bulletin board (typically people from other clubs)

    -       It is a huge cichlid auction on Sunday

    -       It is for newbie's and cichlid nuts a like

    -       It attracts people across the Midwest

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - Alsip
    5000 West 127th Street
    Alsip, IL 60803
    Tel: 1-708-371-7300  | Map


    More details to come on

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