Making a Splash with Education

The fifth annual edition of Aquatic Experience – Chicago will provide an in-depth look at fish health management for members of the aquatic industry.




The World Pet Association’s (WPA) Aquatic Experience – Chicago is returning this fall for its fifth installment Nov. 3-5 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. Last year, the show hosted more than 6,500 guests, a 75 percent increase in attendance over our first four years, proving once again that the fishkeeping hobby remains a competitive sector of the pet industry. Today, fish are the third most popular pet by household in the United States, which boasts the largest market of aquarium enthusiasts.


Our goal with Aquatic Experience has always been to provide an opportunity to advance the aquatics industry. To achieve this, it’s crucial that we do our best to educate not only consumers, but also pet business owners about fishkeeping so they can ensure that they, as well as their employees, are equipped to help customers become successful hobbyists. So, this year, we’ve created an opportunity for both business owners and consumers to get a solid foundation in fish health concepts from some of the most notable speakers in the country.



On Friday, Nov. 3, Aquatic Experience will host a day-long Fish Health Management course that will enhance attendees’ knowledge about basic principles of proper freshwater and marine fish management in closed aquatic systems. Featured speakers for the course include Timothy Miller-Morgan, director of the Aquatic Animal Health Program at Oregon State University; Greg Lewbart, professor of Aquatic Animal Medicine at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine; Patrick Donston, owner and operator of Absolutely Fish; and fish biology specialist George Blasiola.


Topics to be covered in the Fish Health Management course include:

The Aquatic Environment: Biological, Chemical and Physical Factors and their Interactions in Nature and in Closed Systems—Achieving successfully functioning aquatic systems requires a basic understanding of the complexity and interplay among various physical, chemical and biological processes. This lecture covers various topics including biological, chemical and mechanical filtration methods, water chemistry, chemical interactions, the role of the filter bacteria and other organisms, and the components needed for properly functioning systems.


Anatomy and Physiology of Fishes—This presentation reviews the basic anatomy of fish, as well as an introduction to fish physiology and how fish utilize various physical and chemical mechanisms to function in their environment.


Maintenance Protocols, Water Testing and Challenges in Closed Aquatic Systems—This lecture outlines the necessity of basic water testing, sampling procedures, interpreting results, maintaining records and setting up a documented husbandry system in the store.


Aquatic Nutrition Principles and Practices—Balanced diets are essential for the health, growth and longevity of fish in aquaria. Topics covered include the types of nutrients required by fish, utilization of nutrients, optimal protein requirements, comparisons of types of foods, pros and cons of various foods, benefits of vitamins and essential oils in diets and implementing healthy feeding guidelines.


Principal Diseases of Freshwater and Marine Fish—This lecture will cover the principal infectious diseases of freshwater and marine fish. Topics include how to prevent the development and introduction of diseases to aquatic systems, the role of quarantine, learning how to recognize the signs of various diseases prior to initiating chemical treatments and use of a microscope to identify disease organisms.  PB


Doug Poindexter is president of the World Pet Association. Tickets for Aquatic Experience – Chicago are currently on sale. All day passes are $35 and weekend passes are $99. For more information, visit


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