ALA 2018


Cory McElroy


Our banquet speaker, Cory McElroy, owner of Aquarium Co-op in Edmonds, balances his time between managing his store and creating content for his popular YouTube channel about proper fish and aquarium care.
If you haven't listened to Cory's podcast or seen any of his livestreams, check them out! He has an extremely broad knowledge base and is a very entertaining speaker. His love for the hobby and people involved, is very evident. Outside of being our banquet speaker, Cory will also be speaking on fancy strain guppies.

Ben Van Dinther


Ben Van Dinther is the owner of the Water Colors Aquarium Gallery as well as Aquarium Services. He started keeping fish when he was 8. It was not until he saw a picture of Psuedepiplatys annulatus, the Clown Killi, that the hobby became an obsession. He is a fellow of the Grand Valley Aquarium Club in Grand Rapids Michigan and holds top honors in the Horticulturist Award Program. Ben will be speaking on Aquascaping.

Pat Hartman


Pat Hartman has been keeping fish for over 40 years. Although not a founding member, he has been a member of the Southwestern Michigan Aquarium Society (SWMAS) in Kalamazoo, MI since early 1979, and is active with the Grand Valley Aquarium Club (GVAC) in Grand Rapids, MI. In the early 1980’s, he developed a special interest in livebearing fishes and rapidly became involved with the American Livebearer Association (ALA) where he served in various capacities, including Chairman.

Pat is involved in most every aspect of the ALA, having won several major Show Awards at the ALA Convention, participates in the Species Maintenance Program, serves as auctioneer, and has successfully bred over 170 species of livebearers in the ALA Breeder’s Award Program. Pat was also instrumental in the formation of the ALA Vern Parish Fund where he served as Co-Chairman from 1996-2007. Today he specializes almost exclusively in wild species of Livebearers. Pat was honored by being named “Fellow of the ALA” in 2006.

Pat is also active with the North American Goodeid Working Group (NAGWG), and finally made his first trip to Mexico in Nov 2014 for the 4th International Symposium on Viviparous Fishes, along with the GWG Meeting, visit to the Fish Ark, and Collecting Goodeids in the Wild. He made his second trip to Mexico in February 2017 as a part of the First ever NAGWG Goodeid Study Tour.

Pat’s Talk “NAGWG Goodeid Study Tour 2017” will be a recap of this trip including sampling of fish at 7-8 native habitats, visit the famed Fish Ark in Morelia, and learn about the Reintroduction effort with Zoogoneticus tequila at Teuchitlan Springs, plus some cultural education and Pat’s personal observations along the way.

Juergen Kasprick



GVAC Proudly announces, Juergen Kasprick a speaker at the ALA Convention, presenting... Live Foods: Their Use and Culture. Juergen started breeding freshwater tropical fish when in his teens by raising and selling guppies to the local aquarium shops. Then in 1967, he got serious about the tropical fish hobby with up to 120 tanks in his basement fishroom. He was one of the founders of both the Motor City Aquarium Society and the Michigan Killifish Association. Over the years he has bred more than 200different freshwater tropical fish; making extensive use oflive foods in their diet. Juergen currently maintains 90 tanks containing a variety of dwarf cichlids, blue-eye rainbowfish, catfish, killifish and livebearers.

Caleb McMahan


GVAC and The ALA is proud to announce Caleb McMahan as a speaker at the ALA Convention May, 4, 5, & 6th in Grand Rapids MI. Caleb McMahan is an ichthyologist at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, interested in the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of Neotropical fishes, particularly those in Central America and Mexico. He has worked all over Middle America and his current projects are largely focused in El Salvador and Guatemala. His research aims to integrate multiple disciplines of study to answer questions about the incredible diversity of freshwater fishes.

Patrick Miller


GVAC proudly announces Patrick Miller as a speaker at the ALA convention, in Grand Rapids MI. Patrick has been keeping fish for just less than 20 years. He is a fellow of the GVAC and has spawned over 140 species aquatic animals, including 75 species of live bearing fish. An active hobbyist, Patrick started putting small ponds and tubs up in his backyard shortly after finding the hobby. During the summer you can usually find 10-15 small ponds and tubs set up in his yard along with his 30-40 tank fish room. Patrick’s style of fish keeping can be described decidedly low tech. Patrick believes aquatic plants are a vital part to his hobby and utilizes them in his tubs and ponds as a major source of filtration. 
Patrick will be talking about keeping and breeding Livebearers in small ponds and tubs. He will be talking about setting them up with plants, feeding fish to breed and things that you may not have thought about when keeping and breeding fish outside during the summer.

Arely Ramirez.jpg

"Biology reproductive of exotic and native fish species from Teuchitlan, Jalisco, Mexico" Biology Laboratory of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México. This is Arely's Master's thesis.

Student Poster
Arely Ramirez