Brantley Berry

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Brantley Berry

Brantley Berry

Pleco Caves

Several years while attending an annual ACA convention, I was walking through the vendor showroom and spotted several tables covered with some really cool-looking clay caves. I had been looking for something very specific for one of my tanks, so I walked over to the tables and saw a large sign that said Pleco Caves. I began talking to the young lady on the other side and explained that I was looking for something specific. I then asked her if they do custom work. She said, “Sure.” That was my introduction to Jodi and Brantley Berry, owners of Pleco Caves.

Based in Indiana, Pleco Caves is a regular vendor at many cichlid and fish conventions/shows. The number and diversity of clay products they make for aquariums is incredible. Not only do they make great stuff but they are fantastic to work with. They have made several custom items for me, which have always been produced exactly to my specifications. Don’t let their business name fool you. Their products work great for cichlids too! I can honestly say they have made my fish journey a better one. I reached out to Jodi and Brantley back in the spring and asked if they would be willing to do an interview for the blog. Thankfully, they didn’t hesitate. Let’s get started!

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-11

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Dave Smith

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Dave Smith

Dave Smith

Dave Smith will be giving a talk about “Building Your Fish Room” in October.  Dave is a scientist in the food industry. He has 50 years of experience in the hobby and has had articles published in the Journal of the American Livebearer Association and the ACA’s Buntbarsche Bulletin. Although currently concentrating on livebearers, his Cichlasoma bimaculatum took Best of Show at the 2017 ACA convention.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-10

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Kevin Cumberton

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Kevin Cumberton

Kevin Cumberton

Tangled Up in Cichlids

Kevin is the owner of Tangled Up in Cichlids, an internet-based tropical freshwater fish import/export company that has been in operation since 1995 that specializes in New World Cichlids, as well as Characins, catfish, pleco, and other rare and unusual species from around the globe. Kevin has been in the aquarium hobby for 35 years most of which was as a private hobbyist and breeder until taking on the role of owner/operator of TUIC in 2019. Tangled Up in Cichlids is located in Northwestern NJ and operates as a single sole proprietor operation with no other employees in a closed to the public 10,000+ gallon, 2,000 sq. ft. facility. TUIC continually offers a unique and widely diverse weekly updated online stock list that is available to the public via the internet, that rivals or surpasses most private and open-to-public retail establishments in the US. Tangled Up In Cichlids

LTFF Meeting

  • 2022-01

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Charley Grimes

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Charley Grimes

Charley Grimes

Title

Body

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-11

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Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

Gerald Grifin

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Gerald Grifin

Gerald Grifin

Anabantoids

Gerald started keeping fish at age nine and by ten bred his first species, Colisa lalia. He was hooked and soon after bred three more Colisa species (chuna, fasciata and labiosa). At age twelve, he read All About Bettas by Walt Maurus and instantly knew that wild Bettas were in his future. However, it being the 1970’s and living in Oklahoma, the future would be a long time in waiting until he would enter college in the 80’s. From there he was able to use the library’s resources to research articles on wild Bettas and establish connections in the hobby. Gerald would soon join the International Betta Congress (IBC) and finally procure his own wild Betta stock. It wouldn’t be long before he would be writing his own articles on his own observations and experiences. In the meantime, Gerald was also busy with the domesticated Betta splendens and their genetics. From there, Gerald would establish and become the President of the Oklahoma Betta Breeders Association.

In 2000, Gerald’s passion for fish was reignited as family and career responsibilities were settling, and would jump head-first back into domestic and wild Bettas. Since the world was quickly changing and wild habitats were being destroyed before science could observe and record, Gerald would help establish the IBC Species Management Program to identify keepers and breeders of wild Bettas worldwide in an effort to share knowledge, stock, and information before species would disappear from the wild forever.

Today, Gerald is running 80 plus aquariums dedicated to all types of fish both fresh and saltwater but his first love will always be Bettas and Anabantoids. Gerald is currently President of the Oklahoma Aquarium Association and has served as the BAP, HAP, and Presentations chair. Also, he is currently the President of the multistate Betta Chapter SCUBA, President of the Oklahoma Betta Breeders Association, Treasurer for the American Labyrinth Fishes Association, and editor of the IBC periodic magazine, FLARE. In all this, he is also currently the Judging Board Chair of the IBC having just rewritten the international judging standards for show Bettas.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-10

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Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

Brandon May

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Brandon May

Brandon May

Nano Fish

Brandon has a background in Biology and water ecology and worked for Kentucky State University’s College of Agriculture and Sustainable Systems before joining the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection as an Environmental Scientist in 2015. He has been a hobbyist for over 30 years primarily focused on ‘nano breeds’ like livebearers, killifish, tetras and dwarf cichlids. Since 2012 he has gotten into keeping a variety of aquarium dwarf shrimp. He lives in Frankfort with his wife and three boys.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-07

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Rusty Wessel

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Rusty Wessel

Rusty Wessel

Central American Cichlids

Rusty Wessel maintains over 8,000 gallons of freshwater aquariums in a state of the art fish house constructed specifically for fish. The 90-plus aquariums predominantly contain cichlids and livebearers, which he successfully raises and breeds.

Rusty’s specialty is Central American fishes. He has successfully collected fish from the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Uruguay, and the continent of Africa. If it lives in fresh water, chances are that Rusty has either caught it or been bitten or stung by it. He has been collecting since 1983, and is recognized by other experienced collectors as one of the best. He has made over 150 trips, and has introduced many new species to the aquarium hobby. In 1991, Rusty discovered a beautiful and elusive new cichlid in an area that had already been thoroughly collected. In the June 1996 edition of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine, Dr. Robert Rush Miller, emeritus professor of the University of Michigan, described and named this species Theraps wesseli. (In the recent Rican reorganization, it is called Choritheros wesseli.)

Rusty is also a prolific author and photographer, as his writings and photographs have appeared in a large number of specialized publications, such as Aquarium Fish MagazineAquarist and PondkeeperBuntbarsche BulletinCichlid News, Ad Konings’ Cichlids YearbooksFreshwater and Marine Aquarium and Tropical Fish Hobbyist.

In the organized hobby, Rusty is currently the “Back Issue Sales Person” for the American Cichlid Association and a speaker participant for the ACA/Zoo Med Speaker’s Program. He is past chair of the ACA board of trustees (1990) and chaired the 1992 and 2014 conventions. In addition, he is an active solicitor for the “Guy Jordan Endowment Fund”, set up by the ACA to fund cichlid research. Rusty has been awarded with the greatest honor the American Cichlid Association gives to its distinguished members, the ACA fellowship in 1997. On the local level, he is currently treasurer for the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers.

Rusty has lectured and judged numerous fish shows throughout the United States, including the annual “Florida Tropical Fish Farmers” show and several ACA conventions.

*Bio by Raleigh Aquarium Society

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-07

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Dan Sharifi

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Dan Sharifi

Dan Sharifi

Central American Cichlids

Dan Sharifi is the owner of Cichlids of the Americas, an internet-based fish provider. Dan has kept fish for nearly 30 years, focusing primarily on Central American cichlids, but with a number of South American cichlids as well. His current indoor facility is over 3,000 square feet, with additional outdoor pools and ponds used to raise fish. In his facility, there are tens of thousands of fish, with over 80 varieties currently in Dan’s breeding program. Dan is one of a few USDA-APHIS certified facilities in the U.S., and ship fish to literally every continent. Over the years, as a fishkeeper, Dan has collected, located, and purveyed fish in countless ways. Dan enjoys sharing his love of fishkeeping and breeding with hobbyists and clients and is a regular speaker for aquarium societies. He is well-known as “Cichluvr” on numerous aquarium websites. Dan believes he has one of the largest collections of Central American cichlids in captivity.

Before becoming a full-time fish breeder and source for New World cichlids, Dan worked a total of 19 years in financial services for HSBC, Bear Stearns, and Mercedes Benz Financial running and managing multiple call centers to handle consumer loans, mortgagesauto finance, and managed collections, information services, and credit risk.  He oversaw over a thousand employees at HSBC and Bear, and call centers in Dallas, Tampa, and Manila at Mercedes Benz.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2021-09

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John Krepper

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John Krepper

John Krepper

I first started keeping fish at age 12 (1968) and was quickly introduced to the Louisville Tropical Fish Fanciers and participated as a junior member. I moved from high fin green molly’s to Rift Lake cichlids in a short time and then settled in Lake Tanganyika in the early 1970’s and have keep them ever since with the exception of a break from 1994 to 2005. While in Santa Barbara California I founded the Santa Barbara Aquarium Society in 1979 and in 1985 returned to Louisville I rejoined the LTFF club and was later elected president then served for a few years and was the active president when LTFF sponsored the 1992 ACA convention. I have been a member of the ACA during my years in the hobby and regularly attend the ACA convention. Over the years of keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids I have photographed my fish as well as my friend’s fish and will present these photo’s and share my experiences in the hobby in keeping Lake Tanganyika cichlids feather fins and sand dwellers in the aquarium. Topics include feeding, territory requirements, water conditioning, general maintenance and good fish pics. I look forward in seeing soon.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-03

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Dre Alvarado

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Dre Alvarado

Dre Alvarado

Aquarium Plants

I have been an avid hobbyist over the past 10 years.  I kept fish as a kid and in college but about 10 years ago I dove deep into the hobby.  I joined my local club, Tampa Bay Aquarium Society (TBAS) and within a couple of years I was running for President and organizing major events for the club.  I am the past Vice-president of the Florida Fancy Guppy Club and am currently the President of TBAS.

My involvement with the clubs lead me to a job with the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association’s Coop Store.  I managed the store for about 2 years from 2011-2013.  While working there I developed connections with many tropical fish farms in the area.  I then went to work for Nautilus Marine Wholesale as a sales rep.  My love and knowledge of fish exploded there as I was introduced to species from all over the world.  At the end of 2015 I left to try to pursue web development and website design.  After 1.5 years I came back into the industry working at WaterScapes Aquatic Plant Nursery where I am currently the Sales Manager.  I am in charge of all imported items, sourcing new local plants and some dry goods such as driftwood, and working on special projects.

LTFF Meeting

  • 2020-02

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Thanks to the club sponsors for making what we do better.

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