Christel Kasselmann

Christel Kasselmann is an internationally recognized expert on aquarium plants, having made over 55 expeditions into the tropics to study the requirements of aquarium plants,  and published over 500 articles on their origin and growth in the natural environment.  Moreover, she described several new species and varieties. For about 30 years, Christel Kasselmann has been the editor and the chairwoman of the internationally recognized Aqua Planta magazine. She has written four books which were translated in about ten languages; two of them, Planted Aquariums and Aquarium Plants (Krieger Publishing, Florida), were translated in English. In 2010, the 3rd edition of Aquarium Plants was published in German and Dutch, with over 450 described species. At home, she cultivates six large planted tanks with 4000 Liters (1060 gallons) in total.

Christel will be doing two presentations, first a lecture on interesting aquarium plants in both nature and in culture.  She will discuss the ecology of their habitats, their water chemistry and other requirements, and how to cultivate them in the aquarium.  At the banquet, Christel will have a second talk on her travels around the world searching for new aquatic plants.


Dennis Wong

Dennis Wong is the creator of the website advancedplantedtank.com and is also well known for his technical Youtube videos covering all aspects of the planted aquarium hobby. He is well known for propagating difficult plant species and does testing for commercial aquatic farms on new plant products. He also consults for the local zoo on aquatic plant matters and sells fertilizer mixes to both the commercial and consumer markets.
Dennis participates frequently in the aquascaping sphere, competing in live aquascaping competitions (Chicago 2017 and Shanghai), and playing the role of judge as well for other aquascaping competitions. (AGA 2018, Aquajaya 2018).
Dennis is doing two presentations at the convention.  On Friday afternoon, he will aquascape a small aquarium live in front of the audience, taking questions along the way.  On Saturday, Dennis will give a talk entitled “Aquascaping Techniques and Trends in Recent Years”, simple hacks that will make an impact in any aquascape.

Cara Wade

Cara is a 20+ year veteran in the planted aquarium hobby, with a focus on lighting science and rheophytic aroid cultivation. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring aquatic environments and documenting aquatic plants, from dirty ditches in Central Texas to jungle streams in South America and Southeast Asia, as well as birding and eating strange and spicy foods. She supports her aroid addiction as a GIS analyst working on native aquatic plant restoration and species monitoring projects.

Cara’s talk is “The Best of Both Worlds: Paludariums”.  In the world of aquatic gardening, most of our focus is on submerged cultivation…yet many of our plants are capable of living both above and below the surve, and have much more to offer us when grown emersed.  So why enjoy them in only one growth form when you can have both?  Paludariums are setups featuring both aquatic and terrestrial environments.  Learn the basics of paludarium styles, design, construction, planting techniques, and long-term maintenance!

Cory McElroy

Cory got his start in the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society where he earned the HAP title of Master Aquatic Plant Horticulturalist and began working at a local fish store. After five years in the industry, Cory opened his own store known as Aquarium Co-Op which is still thriving. From there, he progressed into social media which led to a large following on YouTube and an e-commerce business. This has led him all over the world including the Dennerle/Tropica Plant Farm, collecting wild fish in Peru, visiting Florida Aquatic Nurseries, and Chinese aquascaping suppliers, just to name a few. While still remaining active in the hobby, this has allowed him to have both a hobbyist and business perspective on these trips.

Cory’s presentation is “Trains, Planes and Cargo Containers: How Do We Get those Plants and Aquascaping Supplies to the Hobby,” where he will share some of this unique perspective.

Vin Kutty

Vin Kutty began keeping aquatic plants 30 years ago after reading Dupla’s Optimum Aquarium book. Incurable wanderlust and a restless yearning for tropical flora and fauna take him to Amazon, Africa, or tropical Asia twice a year. His aquascaping preference leans towards classic Dutch style, but a constant influx of newly discovered plant species and several on-going plant nutrient experiments limit aesthetic scaping. He lives in southern California.

Vin’s lecture is “Rotala Kill Tanks — Nutrient Experiments and other Brain Droppings.”