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Oliver Drescher was born 1985 in a house full of fishes in a small city in Eastern Germany. His father, Frank, was a hobby fish breeder. At around 5 or 6 years Oliver started to keep his own tanks that he could fill it with his own fishes. At first he kept livebearers, barbs and cichlids but soon followed the passion of my father and became interested in different species of catfishes like Corydoras, L-Numbers others. His father successfully spawned the Asian stinging catfish Heteropneustes fossilis.


In 1995 Oliver obtained with the African catfish Synodontis cf. robbianus. After the first breeding successes with this species in 2000/2001 he found my real passion in keeping and breeding African catfishes. In 2004 he met his wife on the biggest German speaking website about L-Numbers and settled to her to Vienna in Austria. There he had access to many nice African catfish species and has  tried to breed many of them. Today Oliver keeps more than 25 different species of African catfishes. Over the years he’s had some nice breeding successes without ever using hormone injections like some commercial breeders do.


How does he breed them? Come see at the All-Aquarium Catfish Convention 2020!

Oliver's appearance is made possible by the generous support of the Capital Cichlid Association.


Barbie Fiorentino, proprietor of Aquarium Solutions and aquatic forum moderator extraordinaire, joins us from Spokane, Washington! She is preparing a new talk for the our Saturday evening reception, "The Dangers of Breeding Catfish", in which she will investigate the many ways she's attempted to hurt herself keeping our favorite fishes, along with stories from a few other notable sources. 


Barbie is an accomplished catfish breeder (especially of plecos), a fish store owner, a (past) fish club president, and moderator of forums, groups and other online assemblages dedicated to catfishes and the aquarium hobby.

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Steve Grant is a UK aquarist and amateur ichthyologist who specializes in catfish and loaches. He has kept fish for 30 years and the first fish he bought was an albino Corydoras aeneus. Ever since that moment he has been fascinated with the identity, taxonomy and nomenclature of catfish, despite being hospitalized by a Shovelnose catfish! He has authored numerous articles for aquarium magazines and the CSG Journal, and has a large collection of catfish images. He is also an avid collector of ichthyology books, and his collection includes many rare or out of print books. He has probably bought more books than fish!


Steve has described two species of Corydoras, C. kanei and C. crimmeni, and now has a Corydoras named after him: C. granti. He has described a replacement name for a species of Mystus; a genus of loach; three genera of driftwood catfishes; rediscovered the lost syntypes of a Synodontis and a Pseudomystus; and 'described' an L number pleco. He has travelled to Peru and Bolivia to catch catfishes and runs the Facebook group, Catfishes of the World.

Steven's appearance is made possible by the generous support of Aquatic Life Farm.

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Leandro Sousa from Altamira, Brazil. Leandro is an Ichthyologist and Professor of Biology at the Universidade Federal do Pará, right in front of the Xingu rapids, and is doing extensive field trips with local fishermen to try to understand the amazing Loricariid (pleco) diversity found there. He uses scuba diving techniques and underwater photography to catalog the fishes, their habitats, as well as fishermen’s’ capture methods. He also coordinates a Conservational Breeding Project of Xingu Endemic species at the University since 2014, focused mainly in Hypancistrus zebra and other Loricariidae.


In Leandro’s presentations you will learn about the fishes of the Xingu River, especially plecos, their behavior and habitats, and about his research, conservation breeding programs, and education efforts.

Leandro's appearance is made possible by the generous support of Freshwater Exotics.

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Eric Thomas started keeping fish in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, when he was about 8 years old.  With his older brother Bill, Eric kept and bred mouth-brooding cichlids (Geophagus and several Lake Malawi mbuna species), along with Steatocraneus casuarius… and convicts (who doesn’t start with convicts?). Eric and Bill were members of the now-defunct Tri-City Aquarium Society of Southern California. In college, Eric studied captive husbandry of vertebrates; with his mentor Professor Rudolfo Ruibal at UC Riverside, in 1978 Eric was the first person to breed the Budgett's frog Lepidobatrachus laevis in captivity.  In Dr. Ruibal’s lab, Eric learned about and began studying skin glands and their function. Eric went on to earn a Ph.D. under Dr. Paul Licht at UC Berkeley, studying reproductive endocrinology and the influence of sex hormones on frog skin glands.


Currently, Eric is an associate professor of Biology, co-chair and director of graduate studies for the Biological Sciences Department at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Eric’s research is split between reproductive pheromone production in frogs and self-poisoning in Corydoras catfishes.


At home, Eric’s interests are keeping and breeding catfish, primarily Corydoras and Loricariids.  Between home and work, Eric runs up to 27 aquaria and currently has over 40 species of catfish.  Socially, Eric operates a YouTube Channel (Bekateen) and FaceBook page (Bekateen’s FishRoom) for sharing his knowledge and experiences with fellow fish keepers; he is also the program coordinator for the Sacramento Aquarium Society and a moderator on


“I’m dying to get out of here! Self-poisoning in confined stressed Corydoras catfish”

This presentation examines the phenomenon of self-poisoning in Corydoras catfish when they are stressed while confined in small volumes of water. Distress and death develop rapidly as a result of the corys secreting skin toxins which are likely intended as a defense against predators in nature.  Structure of the toxin glands and chemistry of skin toxins are discussed, as well as how the toxins cause distress and death.

Eric's appearance is made possible by the generous support of

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