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2021 Convention Speakers

We are proud to feature the following guest lecturers at this year's AGA Convention:

André Longarço

André Longarço has been an aquarist since 1977 and an architect aquascaper graduated from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, in 1992.

Founder of Aquabase Aquapaisagismo in 2003, the first company 100% dedicated to aquascaping and Nature Aquarium in Brazil, he is recognized worldwide for his expressive results in aquascaping contests, dedicating himself to Nature Aquarium for more than 20 years.

At the moment, he serves as a speaker and international judge for aquascape contests around the world and also, he is the creator and presenter of the TV SHOW called Aquarismo, on the FishTV channel with over 65 million viewers.

Married, father of two little mermaids, he is an aficionado for Nature and Wabi Sabi concept. Besides being always with his family, he shares his time with his bonsais, carnivorous plants and orchids.

André's presentation is The Brazilian Style Aquascaping - The fusion between the japanese wabi sabi concept and the Brazilian happiness.

Nick Kinser

Nick Kinser is an aquascaper and aquarist that has been in the hobby for nearly 20 years. Over the years he has dabbled in just about every discipline of aquascaping, from nature style, dutch and iwagumi, to blackwater, biotopes and paludariums in his later career. He does not consider himself a master in any of these disaplines though feels he is getting close with paludariums. His 3rd ever paludarium won him first place in the AGA aquascaping contest in 2020. He has won awards for his work in several contests, both local and international.

Nick currently works at the Glen Echo Park Aquarium, a small but wonderful aquarium dedicated to conservation through education. The aquarium features life from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the region where he currently resides. Nick wears many hats at the aquarium but his main duties are the design, set up and ongoing maintenance of the exhibits. He has set up a number of fresh water and brackish water habitats over the years, that have earned him the respect of his peers not just in the hobby world, but from fellow aquarist, zookeepers, aquarium curators, scientist, native fish enthusiasts and the like. His work can be seen at the GEP Aquarium as well as a number of his aquascapes that have been featured on the YouTube channel Tank Tested.

Nick is also active in several aquarium clubs. He is a currently a member of GWAPA (Grater Washington Aquatic Plant Association), where he serves on the Board, as well as a member of PVAS (Potomac Valley Aquarium Society) AGA (Aquatic Gardeners Association) and JRAS (James River Aquarium Society).

Nick's presentation is Paludarium Basics, tips, tricks and techniques.

Gary Lange

Gary Lange has been keeping fish since he was 10 and has been associated with the organized hobby for the last 40 years. He is a member of the Missouri Aquarium Society (MASI) and has held various positions in the club. He is a grand master breeder in MASI, and has won "Best Fish In Show" on four different occasions, twice with rainbowfish.

In 2005 he took the rainbowfish collectors dream trip – collecting in West Papua. He’s now made a total of seven trips to West Papua. He brought back rainbowfish that have never been seen in the hobby including Chilatherina alleni and Melanotaenia vanheurni. With these trips he’s collected and brought back at least 17 different undescribed species of rainbowfish. Along with his collecting partner, Johannes Graf, and now Wim Heemskerk, they are currently working on naming them. He is currently running over 90 aquariums (~2,500 gallons, 9,500 liters) and keeping over 65 species and locations of rainbowfish and blue-eyes.

Gary's presentation is The Most Amazing Rainbowfish! In our pursuit of this amazing rainbowfish they used planes, a Ferry Boat (yes a ferry boat), Cars, Taxis, Motorcycles and a giant Dump Truck! Whatever it took to complete our mission! Oh and then there was that 18 foot boat with twin 40 HP motors to head alongside the shoreline fighting 4 foot ocean waves. Our 7th trip to West Papua was indeed lucky as we brought back four species that will almost for sure see commercial production. Two of them are perfect for that midsized planted aquarium. Move over praecox and boesemani!

Michael Kane

A native of Rhode Island, in the late 1970s, Mike Kane conducted graduate research on the application of plant tissue culture methods to study the physiological control of leaf development in amphibious aquatic plants, especially Myriophyllum and Proserpinaca species. As a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida (UF), his research was focused on development of commercially-viable in vitro propagation (micropropagation) for numerous aquarium, water garden and wetland plant species. He also taught practical hands-on undergraduate/graduate courses at UF on the micropropagation of horticultural crops. For many years he taught hands-on plant tissue culture workshops around the country, including the workshop: Aquatic Plant Tissue Culture at the 2010 AGA Convention. In recognition of his teaching and research efforts, in 2014 he received the Society for In Vitro Biology Life Time Achievement Award. After 34 years as a professor, he retired in July 2019. While he still enjoys providing technical support to the commercial micropropagation industry, Mike and his wife Roseann especially enjoy spending time with their family in Colorado.

Mike's presentation is An Aquatic Plant Tissue Culture Journey: Keeping My Feet Wet for 44 Years.

Alex Wenchel

Alex Wenchel is the creator and host of "Tank Tested", a YouTube channel with 100,000+ subscribers. And little wonder, the beautiful visuals and professional storytelling are very entertaining. He has kept aquariums for over twenty years, but it's only been in the last few that has gotten into (award-winning!) aquascaping.

By trade, Alex is a documentary and natural history filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. and has been producing digital series for National Geographic. For instance, check out Nat Geo Wild's Wild's Wild Life with Bertie Gregory or Symbio's Wild Warrior.

Alex will be speaking on Aquatic Photography and Videography.

Jonathon Butkus

Johnathon Butkus’s interest in the aquarium hobby started at a young age when he was fascinated with the natural world around him. Like many aquarists, it began with a single goldfish tank and from there rapidly grew until he pursued a degree in Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture. He has worked in many different positions throughout the aquarium industry and has enjoyed various niches in the aquarium hobby like breeding fish, growing aquatic plants, aquascaping, and even working with marine aquariums. His many jobs in the aquarium trade led him to designing, installing, and maintaining numerous filtration systems for various styles of saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Today he continues working in the aquarium industry while exploring his passion for various aquarium related topics.

Jonathon will be presenting the unusual topic Saltwater Macroalgae Planted Aquascapes.

George Farmer

George Farmer is an internationally renowned aquascaper and planted aquarium expert from the UK, where he lives with his wife, Emma, two stepsons and daughter, Harrison, Toby, and Florence, and miniature schnauzer Tommy.

He has hundreds of articles and photographs published in magazines from the UK, USA, Germany, and France, and has been a guest on primetime TV, radio, and podcasts.

George has aquascaped for the Royal Horticultural Society and has traveled all over the world to give aquascaping workshops and keynote addresses. He co-founded the UK Aquatic Plant Society in 2007, and has a large following on his YouTube and Instagram channels where his aquascaping videos have had over 25 million views at the time of writing. George’s other hobbies include keeping fit, biohacking, and gaming.