Welcome to

Dr. Roy Yanong on Pet Life Radio


Tropical Fish as Pets

Is your family thinking of adding a fish tank or pond to your home? Fish tanks and ponds are wonderful places to observe a habitat on a smaller scale. It's like having your very own window into a fresh water riverbed or saltwater ocean. Keeping aquarium fish is a pleasurable and educational hobby for families around the world.

Keeping fish as pets has been a tradition going back to ancient Egypt and China. Today, many more different, beautiful and fascinating kinds of fish and other aquatic animals can thrive in your home if you learn the do's and don’ts and get the right equipment.  Aquariums and ponds are living, breathing aquatic works of art that can be as simple or as complex as your imagination and skills allow. 

In these fun pet podcasts, you'll learn all about aquarium fish and other aquatic animals, the aquarium industry, and the science and art that surround this fascinating hobby! So dive in--the water is fine!

Episode 60 - Breeding Dory: Rising Tide Conservation Updates with Matt DiMaggio and Eric Cassiano

The summer of 2016 saw a major triumph for Rising Tide Conservation, with the successful spawning and rearing of Pacific Blue Tangs at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory. “Breeding Dory” became the headlines and story for news outlets around the world. But commercialization is still in progress, and many other species are also in Rising Tide’s sights.

Matt DiMaggio and Eric Cassiano, two UF scientists instrumental in the success of the Pacific Blue Tang project, continue their efforts to support aquaculture of aquarium species and support conservation. Join us, as Matt and Eric describe their Rising Tide research and the excitement of “Breeding Dory.” 


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Episode 59 - Plug and Play Sustainability: Biota Aquariums with Kevin Gaines

Many decades ago, keeping marine aquariums was a logistical nightmare, a feat only for the most advanced hobbyists. Over time, technology and science overcame many of the original environmental challenges, and aquaculture offered a few alternatives to wild capture fisheries. And now, Biota Aquariums plans to take the marine aquarium hobby to a more sustainable next level.

My guest today is Kevin Gaines, CEO and co-founders of Biota Aquariums. Kevin has strong roots in the aquarium hobby, and a passion for aquaculture and conservation. Join us, as Kevin shares his hopes and dreams, and the story behind Biota Aquariums.


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Episode 58 - Cichlids of the Americas with Dan Sharifi

Central and South American cichlids include some of the most behaviorally complex and colorful adult species in the hobby displaying vibrant turquoise, fluorescent reds, oranges, and yellows, especially during breeding. These species are prized by intermediate and advanced fishkeepers, who know their species by scientific name, locale, and strain.

My guest today is Dan Sharifi, owner of Cichlids of the Americas, an internet-based source of some of the most beautiful and difficult to find species and strains of New World cichlids.  Join us, as Dan explains how a former financial services manager became a premier source of New World Cichlids in the U.S. today!


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Episode 57 - All in A Day’s Work: Industry Insights from Sandy Moore of Segrest Farms

Segrest Farms, one of the world's largest wholesale ornamental fish distributors, supplies over 1,000 pet shops, public aquariums, and research institutions each week with aquarium livestock, aquatic plants, herps and other small animals, and live food. Sandy Moore, President of Segrest Farms, has been a hobbyist her entire life and also has been at the forefront helping to keep the aquarium trade alive nationally and internationally.  Join us for a fascinating conversation, as Sandy discusses Segrest Farms, her career, and the many challenges the aquarium industry is currently facing. 


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Episode 56 - Open Up Your Aquatic Horizons with My Aquarium Box!

Ever wonder if you should try a different fish food, or if that new aquarium gadget really is something you should look into?  Perhaps, like many hobbyists, you haven’t keep up with the latest trends, but would like to expand your horizons.

My guest today is Mike Haynes, self-proclaimed fish geek, YouTube educator, and co-founder of My Aquarium Box, an aquarium supply subscription service. Join us, as Mike explains how he and his three "fellow fish geeks" came up with this great idea, and how you can plug in!


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Episode 55 - Following the Fish: Mike Tuccinardi’s Sustainability Stories from the Field

Although most common freshwater aquarium fish are farm-raised, many others are collected by world-wide by artisanal fishermen. Good habitat and sustainable practices are key to the longevity of these species and the hobby.

My guest today – Mike Tuccinardi, is an aquarium fish expert, sustainable fisheries advocate, and Senior Editor for Amazonas and Coral Magazines. He has explored fisheries all over Asia and South America to foster and improve sustainability and has documented his insights in reports, articles and travelogues. Join us, as Mike shares his fishy experiences from the field.


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Episode 54 - The Hypnotic New Wave of Aquarium Keeping: Jellyfish Art

Jellyfish have mesmerized us for centuries. Their beauty, fragility, and grace, combined with a stinging defense, have made jellyfish keeping a major challenge and, for a time, only possible at public aquaria.

My guests today - Jeff Turner, his son Joe Turner, and Jon-Michael Degidio - through their company Jellyfish Art, have changed all of that. This amazing group of innovators and life-long hobbyists has untangled the mysteries and brought jellyfish keeping into our homes, offices, restaurants, and schools.  Join us, as we discuss this hypnotic new wave and the secrets of jellyfish with Jeff, Joe, and Jon.


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Episode 53 - Diving into Aquatic Beetles with Dr. Jiri Hulcr

When you think of an aquarium, you don’t usually think of aquatic beetles.  My guest today, Dr. Jiri Hulcr, Assistant Professor of Forest Entomology at the University of Florida, and long time aquatic beetle hobbyist, however, thinks people have things all wrong.  He says that beetles are much more interesting than fish!   So why is a forest insect expert such a big bug lover?  Join us, as we learn more about keeping aquatic beetles from entomologist Jiri Hulcr.


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Episode 52 - Picasso, Snowflake, Black Ice, and Lightning: The Art and Science of Designer Clownfish - PART 2

Clownfish, the first marine aquarium fish in commercial production, have been a staple of the industry for decades. Soon, the thirst for “designer” clownfish took hold, and, just like with koi, goldfish, and angelfish, an explosion of varieties has now occurred.

My guest today is Matt Pedersen, hobbyist for over 30 years and Sr. Editor & Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media LLC, intimately involved with CORAL & AMAZONAS Magazines, as well as their online presence at Reef2Rainforest.com.  Matt started the Marine Ornamental Fish & Invertebrate Breeder's Association, sits on the Marine Breeder’s Initiative Council, and was 2009 Aquarist of the Year by IMAC West and MASNA.  Join us, as Matt continues our discussion of the past, present, and future of clownfish varieties. 


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Episode 51 - Picasso, Snowflake, Black Ice, and Lightning: The Art and Science of Designer Clownfish - PART 1

Clownfish, the first marine aquarium fish in commercial production, have been a staple of the industry for decades. Soon, the thirst for “designer” clownfish took hold, and, just like with koi, goldfish, and angelfish, an explosion of varieties has now occurred.

My guest today is Matt Pedersen, hobbyist for over 30 years and Sr. Editor & Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media LLC, intimately involved with CORAL & AMAZONAS Magazines, as well as their online presence at Reef2Rainforest.com.  Matt started the Marine Ornamental Fish & Invertebrate Breeder's Association, sits on the Marine Breeder’s Initiative Council, and was 2009 Aquarist of the Year by IMAC West and MASNA.  Join us, as Matt discussed the past, present, and future of clownfish varieties. 


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Episode 50 - Aquatic Pet Products: A Past, Present, and Future Look with Tim Plafcan of Spectrum Brands

Improvements in the science of fish-keeping have been only part of the hobby’s success. Advances in aquatic pet products, including aquarium systems, nutrition, water quality, and salts have been critical to driving both fresh and salt water fish interests.  My guest today, Tim Plafcan, is Senior Product Manager at Spectrum Brands, which includes Marineland, Tetra, Instant Ocean, and Jungle products. Join us, as we discuss aquatic pet products: past, present, and future.


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Episode 49 - JUST KEEP SWIMMING: Andres Ryan’s Fish Farm and His Creed

Just Keep Swimming is not only the name of Andres’ Ryan’s fish farm, it is also his creed. Andres is an aquarium fish farmer in Florida who has bred and raised literally hundreds of species, but now concentrates  on the more delicate and difficult-to-spawn aquarium fish, including clown loaches, cardinal tetras, Galaxy rasboras, fancy plecos, and freshwater ornamental shrimp.  Join us, as Andres and I discuss fancy fish, the challenges of commercially raising new species, and the future of the hobby!


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Episode 48 - Coral Diseases and Syndromes: A Primer, with Dr. Michael Sweet

Coral reefs are among the most beautiful and biologically diverse communities in the world.  Yet corals are in decline globally.  Although some disease syndromes have been identified and described by researchers over the past few decades, many factors contributing to coral health and disease- both in the field and in aquaria- are still poorly understood. 

Dr. Michael Sweet, the lead researcher in the Coral Health and Disease Laboratory at Derby University, UK, uses innovative techniques to better study coral health and disease, and has helped bridge the gap between researchers and reef hobbyists. Join us, as Dr. Sweet discusses coral health and disease both in the field and in your home reef tank.


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Episode 47 - After Ten Years, Yorktown Technologies’ GloFish Continue to Glo-On!

When the first transgenic red zebra danio first lit up the U.S. aquarium hobby in 2004 amidst great controversy, naysayers thought this would be just a passing fancy. Ten years later, Yorktown Technologies’ highly successful “GloFish” line has expanded to ten lines, six colors, and three species.  My guest today, Alan Blake, CEO of Yorktown Technologies, is the man who started it all. Join us, as Alan discusses the past, present, and fluorescent future of the GloFish! 


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Episode 46 - Upside Down, Electric Blue, and Chocolate: Some Cool Fish from John Skidmore of Golden Pond Tropicals, Inc.

What do upside down catfish, electric blue Jack Dempseys, and eartheaters all have in common?  They are all bred and raised by my guest today, aquarium fish producer John Skidmore of Golden Pond Tropicals.  For 15 years, John raised shrimp in the Caribbean and Hawaii, before moving to Florida to start aquarium fish farming. Join us, as we learn more about the fascinating species bred and raised at Golden Pond Tropicals!  


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Episode 45 - Mudskipper Madness with World’s Expert, Dr. Gianluca Polgar

Which fishes commonly court potential mates on land, can climb up mangrove trees, and dig deep burrows to lay eggs? The incredible mudskipper! Although mudskippers have made it big in some children’s cartoons, very few people really understand how unique and varied this group of fishes is.

My guest today, Dr. Gianluca Polgar, is the world’s expert on mudskippers and an aquarium hobbyist at heart.  Join us as Dr. Polgar shares his vast knowledge of the mighty mudskipper!


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Episode 44 -Seahorse Roundup with Beth Privett of Seahorse Corral

Among the most iconic of all marine species in the aquarium hobby are the seahorses. From tiny dwarf species to large majestically camouflaged seadragons, children and adults alike have been fascinated by their appearance and behaviors. My guest today, Beth Privett, owner of Seahorse Corral in Florida, is a highly-regarded seahorse breeder, who was inspired to breed them to reduce wild collection and to make them more accessible to home hobbyists worldwide. Join us as we “roundup” the latest information on captive bred seahorses with Beth Privett!


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Episode 43 - A 'Cultural' Collaboration: Petco and Defenders of Wildlife Promote Farm-Raised Fish

Most common freshwater aquarium fish are aquacultured—born and raised on fish farms in Florida, other parts of the U.S., and abroad.  Most marine aquarium species, by contrast, are collected from the wild, with only a small percentage farm-raised.  Petco and Defenders of Wildlife have joined forces to reduce impacts on coral reef habitats and species by promoting aquacultured fish over wild caught species.  How did this unique collaboration develop and what can it accomplish for both the aquarium hobby and the environment?

My guests today are Rich Williams and Todd Gwynn from Petco, and Dan Thornhill from Defenders of Wildlife. Join us as they discuss the plight of coral reefs worldwide and how a push toward aquaculture can help both the industry and the wild.


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Episode 42 - Turquoise and Gold: Mike Drawdy of Imperial Tropicals Discusses Some Present and Future Aquarium Fish Gems

Florida’s aquarium fish producers comprise much of the heart and soul of U.S. production.  They are a colorful, hard-working, and dedicated group, and many come from families who have been farming for generations.

My guest today is Mike Drawdy, owner of Imperial Tropicals in Lakeland, FL.  Mike, a third generation fish farmer, raises a variety of colorful species, including fancy swordtails, guppies, tetras, catfishes, and cichlids, and is always searching for the next big fish.  Join us, as Mike discusses his path to the aquarium industry, life on the farm, and some of his favorite fish!


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Episode 41 - A Sea of Problems and Solutions: Fabien Cousteau Discusses Ecological Restoration and his Plant a Fish Programs

Many consider our planet’s oceans too vast to be in trouble. But numerous scientific studies are proving that water quality and the lives of many marine—and terrestrial species, including ourselves, are at risk from mankind’s waste and climatic influences.

My guest today, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of aquatic pioneer Jacques Cousteau, is himself an ocean explorer, film-maker, renaissance man, and even an optimist. Join us, as Fabien describes life as a Cousteau, his hopes and efforts to jump start ecological renewal through the “Plant A Fish” program, and how, ultimately, we are the solution to this sea of problems.


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Episode 40 - Rachel O'Leary: The Girl with the Apple Snail Tattoo Talks MicroFish and Inverts

The beauty of the aquarium hobby is that there is a niche for everyone, including those who love tiny tanks. My guest, today, Rachel O’Leary, owner of Misjinkzd, is well-known for her collection of tiny freshwater fish and invertebrates, ideal occupants for now trendy 'nano tanks,' aquaria that, like bonsai trees, can brighten up small spaces. Join us, as we learn more about life on the nano-side from the girl with the apple snail tattoo.


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Episode 39 - A Brief History of Marine Aquarium Fish Aquaculture with Pioneer Martin Moe

Breeding marine aquarium fish for the hobby was just a dream several decades ago, until a relatively unknown fisheries biologist named Martin Moe started his company, Aqualife Research, with wife Barbara, in the early 70s, breeding clownfish.  

Martin Moe was ahead of his time, and is now considered by many the father of marine aquarium fish aquaculture, with many fascinating stories to share about the field.  Join us, as Martin reminisces on the past and looks to the future of marine aquarium fish aquaculture.


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Episode 38 - Discus, The King of Aquarium Fish with Gabe Posada of Jack Wattley Discus

Many beautiful aquarium fish come from the Amazon but one of the most iconic is the majestic discus.  Known as the 'king of aquarium fish,' discus have a reputation for being difficult to keep.  But are they? Our guest today, Gabriel Posada, has been breeding and raising discus for many years at Jack Wattley Discus. Join us as Gabe shares his knowledge and stories of discus and aquarium pioneer Jack Wattley.


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Episode 37 - Introduction to Aquatic Plants with Brandon McLane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries

A beautifully aquascaped planted aquarium or outdoor pond easily rivals even the most complex of reef aquariums. In fact, a school of fish swimming through an underwater forest in a small home tank, or spectacular water lilies in a koi pond can brighten up an space.  But where do many of these plants, come from?

My guest today is Brandon McLane, Vice President of Florida Aquatic Nurseries,  one of the largest producers of aquatic plants in the United States. Join us, as Brandon explains the ins and outs of this fascinating aspect of the hobby!


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Episode 36 - Angelic Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Angelfish Varieties

Freshwater angelfish, whose scientific name, Pterophyllum means winged leaf, are a uniquely shaped member of the cichlid family from the Amazon and have been a favorite of hobbyists for decades, ever since they were first bred in the 1920’s and 30’s.

My guest  today is Matt Pedersen, Senior Editor of AMAZONAS and CORAL Magazine, and Associate Publisher with their parent company, Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC. Join us, as Matt explains how angelfish genetics translate into the numerous beautiful varieties we see today.


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Episode 35 - Josiah Pit and Australia’s Aquarium Industries

The aquarium industry is truly international.  Although many fish come from farms and collection points in Florida and other parts of the US, numerous species also arrive from points around the globe.  Australia has its own thriving aquarium industry and hobby, and is home to some of the most beautiful and prized freshwater and marine aquarium fish in the world, including the popular rainbowfishes and the stunning leafy seadragons.

My guest today is Josiah Pit, Operations and Supply Chain Manager for Aquarium Industries, the major aquarium livestock source for Australia. Join us, as we learn more about ornamental fish in the land Down Under!


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Episode 34 - Banggai Cardinalfish Adventures with Journalist Ret Talbot

The Banggai cardinalfish is a small, beautiful marine aquarium fish that wah. s discovered twice, rose quickly in popularity, but now has an uncertain future.  What do we know about this fish and what can be done to save it?

My guest today, Ret Talbot, is an award-winning writer and photojournalist with nearly 20 years of experience covering stories from exotic locales including Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Ret frequently reports on the marine aquarium trade, has co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saltwater Aquariums and  is  a senior editor at CORAL Magazine. Most recently, Talbot served as the embedded journalist with the interdisciplinary expedition to Indonesia. Join us, as Ret discusses the plight of the banggai cardinalfish


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Episode 33 - AMAZONAS’ Hans-George Evers and the Amazing L-Cats

Most hobbyists are familiar with the common pleco, the catfish that feeds on algae and detritus and is a staple of any community tank. But most do not know that there are currently well over 600 different species of catfishes in the pleco family, the Loricariidae, many with incredible color and patterns, like the zebra pleco and the gold dust pleco, and many of which have not yet been properly identified by scientists.

My guest today is Hans-George Evers, long time aquarium hobbyist, lecturer, author, and Editor-in-Chief of AMAZONAS magazine. Join us, as we learn more about Hans, AMAZONAS, and the amazing L-Cats!


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Episode 32 - Growing Up Fish: Life at 5-D Tropical, Inc. with Jason Diaz

The U.S. aquarium fish industry is centered in Florida, and has a rich tradition of fish farming families.  My guest today, Jason Diaz, has been working in his family’s business since age 12.  Jason is President of 5-D Tropical, Inc., an aquarium fish production and import facility, based in Plant City.  5-D produces 100s of thousands of aquarium fish weekly, comprised of over 60 species and varieties of fish, with the spectacularly colored GloFish among their most popular.  5-D also imports fish from all over the globe.  So what’s it like growing up in an aquaculture industry when your parents were also your bosses?  And where your brother and sister work, too? Join us, as Jason gives us his unique perspective on the aquarium industry.


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Episode 31 - Water Garden Wizardry with Ken Jones, the Prince of Ponds

Ken Jones, my guest today, is a well-known and highly respected water feature and water garden designer, who has been in the aquatic landscape business for over 30 years.  Ken has been involved in many aspects of the aquarium hobby throughout his career and his projects have won Designer Showcase awards from the national trade magazine, Watergarden News. Ken also writes for many of the hobby and trade publications and produces and hosts his own television show. Most recently Ken began hosting the Prince of Ponds podcast and founded the Ornamental Water Feature Academy.  Join us, as we discuss the ins and outs of water gardens with Ken Jones!


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Episode 30 - Aquariums in the Classroom: Riverview High School’s Aquascience Program

Aquarium keeping is more than just a great hobby. It also teaches valuable lessons about science, nature, and even careers in aquatics! A perfect example of this can be seen at Riverview High School, in Sarasota, FL, where innovators Katrin Rudge and her colleagues use aquarium systems to teach aquaculture, natural resources, engineering, and business. Riverview High School’s Aquascience Program currently enrolls approximately 250-300 students, and their “Stars to Starfish” program is gearing up to educate not only these high schoolers, but hundreds of visiting grade school students as well. 

My guests today are Katrin Rudge and her students Matt LaVigna, Wes Robertson, Tyler Fushikoshi. Join us, as we discuss aquariums in the classroom at Riverview High School!


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Episode 29 - Using Science to Develop Marine Fish Culture Methods: The Rising Tide Conservation Initiative

Many hobbyists know that clownfish and a few other marine species are now bred by fish farms for the industry. However, most other marine aquarium fish are even more difficult to breed and are available only as wild caught specimens. How can we ever crack their breeding and culture codes?

Rising Tide Conservation, an initiative spearheaded by the Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, is a collaborative effort designed to advance methods and disseminate information regarding captive breeding of marine fishes and to provide alternatives to collection.

Eric Cassiano and Matt Wittenrich, two scientists based at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, and members of the initiative have been concentrating their efforts on culture methods of a variety of species including anthias, tangs, dragonets, and porkfish.  Join us, as we discuss the opportunities and challenges in their work with Rising Tide Conservation.


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Episode 28 - Cancer and Old Age in Fish: Dr. Todd Cecil Gives Us the Facts

Cancer and old age are difficult to handle when they happen to our pets. Although most people are familiar with these issues in dogs and cats, not many aquarium hobbyists have the same level of understanding for their fish.

Our guest today is Dr. Todd Cecil, owner and operator of Western Aquatic Animal Veterinary Service, and primary exotic animal veterinarian at Pet Emergency and Specialty Center based in San Diego. Dr. Todd is well known for his fish medicine expertise and has been working with fish and other exotic animals for the past seventeen years. Join us, as Dr. Todd teaches us all we need to know about cancer and old age in pet fish.


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Episode 27 - Getting “TANKED” with Wayde King and Brett Raymer

Do you want to have the fish tank of your dreams?  Ask Wayde King and Brett Raymer, brothers-in-law, best friends, and the highly successful brains behind their company, Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM).  Housed in a 13,000 sq ft. facility located in the center of Las Vegas, ATM has created thousands of conceptual aquariums for high-profile clients. Animal Planet’s newest hit show “TANKED,” follows the professional “antics” of these creative geniuses and puts a colorful, Vegas-style spin on state-of-the-art aquarium design and construction. Join us, as we get “TANKED” with Wayde and Brett! If you can dream it, ATM can build it.


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Episode 26 - Myth Breakers: Common Misconceptions of Aquarium Fish-Keeping and Fish Health

There are many common “myths” and misconceptions out there in the aquarium hobby that continue to live on. More experienced fish-keepers know fact from fiction, but those new to aquarium keeping often must learn the truth the hard way!

Dr. Denise Petty is an aquaculture extension veterinarian at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Florida. An avid fish-keeper herself, Dr. Petty works closely with the aquarium fish industry, veterinary students, and veterinarians as a clinician and an educator. Join us, as Dr. Petty answers common hobbyist questions and teaches us the truth behind these myths!


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Episode 25 - Matt Wittenrich’s Psychedelic Approaches to Mandarin Goby Breeding

For many years, marine aquarium fish were only available from the wild. Then, in the 1970s, pioneering scientists developed methods for commercial production of clownfish. Over the years, other species including neon gobies, dottybacks, and seahorses also became available from fish farms. Most recently Dr. Matt Wittenrich “cracked the breeding code” for the mandarin goby, one of the more popular marine fish species. Dr. Matt is a well-known marine biologist, a highly sought after speaker, a nature photographer, and the author of The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes.  Matt recently earned his PhD at Florida Institute of Technology studying how larval reef fish feed. Join us, as Matt shares his psychedelic approach to breeding mandarin gobies.


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Episode 24 - If Electric Fish Could Talk, What Would They Say? Ask the Gymnocom!

The aquarium hobby is filled with beautiful and unusual species with secret lives. The black ghost knife and elephantnose are two popular and fascinating fish, which communicate and sense their surroundings by means of weak electrical signals. If we could hear these, what would they say?

My guest today, Benjamin Grelie, is a member of the French company Gymnokidi which has worked with scientists to build a machine to answer that question. Their product, the Gymnocom, translates the electrical impulses into words! Join us, as Benjamin explains the magic behind their Gymnocom!


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Episode 23 - Keeping Fish and Other Aquatics Healthy-- the PetSmart Way!

PetSmart is the largest North American pet and pet supply company, with a total of almost 1200 retail stores. Have you ever wondered who manages the health of PetSmart’s millions of fish and other aquatic animals? Dr. Nick St. Erne, who has been working in the field of exotic and aquatic veterinary medicine for decades, is more than up to the challenge! Dr. Nick is PetSmart’s Technical Services Veterinarian in charge of aquatic animal health. Dr. Nick is an author of two fish health books and a favorite invited speaker, having lectured for numerous koi club events. Dr. Nick is also actively involved in the advancement of aquatic animal medicine through his work with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association.

Join us, as Dr. Nick teaches us the art and science of aquatic animal health—the PetSmart Way!


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Episode 22 - The Good, the Bad, and the Not-So-Ugly Truths about Aquarium Bacteria

Most people think of bacteria as something that will make you and your pets sick. In reality, bacteria play a critical role in healthy fish, ecosystems, and well-balanced aquarium systems. Dr. Tim Hovanec, the founder of Dr. Tim's Aquatics, has been working in the aquarium and aquaculture field for decades. His graduate research revolutionized our understanding of biofilter bacteria, and over the years, he has designed numerous bacteria-based products that solve many common aquarium problems. Join us, as we discuss the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly truths about aquarium bacteria with Dr. Tim.


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Episode 21 - Scrubbers, Sumps and Such: An Introduction to Coral Reef Systems

For a long time, the only way to be near a coral reef was by scuba diving or visits to the local public aquarium. However, over the past 20-30 years, reef-keeping has evolved and become much more accessible. Today, although many people have a piece of the ocean in their homes and businesses, there is still debate over which reef systems work best.

My guest today is Bill Hoffman, the Manager of the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit in Fort Pierce, Florida.  Bill has spent the past 17 years managing marine aquarium exhibits for the Smithsonian Institution, and worked closely with Walter Adey, who invented Algal Turf Scrubbers. Join us, as we discuss coral reef systems with Bill.


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Episode 20 - Aquarium Fish Sex: How Craig Watson’s Obsession Helps Stimulate Florida’s Ornamental Fish Industry

Florida has been the center of aquarium fish and plant production in the U.S. since the 1930s. The state’s fish farmers currently raise hundreds of species of ornamental fish. But how do they breed all these different species?  Most people know guppies give birth to fairly developed young fish, but do they know how guppies actually breed? And what about all the other species?

My guest today is a good friend and colleague, Craig Watson, Director of the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory. Although Craig has worked in many different areas of aquaculture, he has always had an obsession for aquarium fish sex—figuring out what it is that makes fish want to breed—and it’s not just all about soft lights and music!  He’s helped many farmers crack the secrets of the intimate world of fish—and will share some fascinating stories with us today.  Join us!


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Episode 19 - Fish Logistics: Moving Fish and Aquaria, Fish Care When You’re Away, and Power Outages

So your aquarium has been set up for a few years and now it looks great! But then life throws some aquarium-keeping challenges your way. Here are a few scenarios: you are moving and want to bring your 55 gallon aquarium . . .you have to leave home for a few weeks, and aren’t sure what to do about your fish. . . powerlines have just been cut because of bad weather, and you don’t have a generator. What do you do?

My guest today is aquarium fish expert Bill Shields, from 5D Tropical, Inc and the Tampa Bay Aquarium Society. Bill has been through each of these potentially aquarium-life-threatening scenarios, and has helped numerous people keep their aquaria healthy and happy through similar stressful times. Need some pointers? Join us!


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Episode 18 - Sea Life at Home: Getting Started with Marine Aquaria

Although most aquarium hobbyists are freshwater enthusiasts, a growing number are taking the salty plunge and keeping marine fish and invertebrates. Advances in marine aquarium technology, increases in numbers of aquacultured species, and a better understanding of animal needs has helped fuel this increase.

Our guest today is James Kinsler, Assistant Curator of Fishes at SeaWorld Orlando. Jim has over 16 years of professional experience working with marine and freshwater fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians. As a member of the SeaWorld Aquarium team Jim has been involved in every facet of animal acquisition, transport, aquarium exhibit design, construction, and husbandry. Join us as Jim discusses the amazing aquatic life at Sea World and offers suggestions for those interested in keeping marine aquaria at home.


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Episode 17 - Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Coral Reefs at the New Marlins’ Stadium

What do major league baseball and coral reef aquaria have in common? If you said the Florida Marlins new Ballpark in Miami you are right! The New Marlins Ballpark, scheduled to open in 2012, features two state-of-the-art coral reef aquaria, both within wild pitch distance of home plate.

Our guest today is Francis Yupangco, the very experienced Director of Business Development and Marketing, and Senior Marine Biologist for Living Color Enterprises, Inc., the innovative company based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which designed and is building these elaborate and high tech systems.

Join us as we discuss how Francis and his company’s team are making baseball, hot dogs, and tropical fish a unique and entertaining combination!


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Episode 16 - Would Your Water Pass the Test? The Shedd Aquarium’s Allen LaPointe Explains How to Avoid Water Woes

Fish live, breathe, sleep, in fact, do everything, in the same body of water. Your fish rely on you to keep things clean and fresh. So do you know enough to keep them happy? Poor water quality is one of the most common causes of problems in the aquarium industry, for both large and small systems. Many hobbyists only understand part of the story, and need to learn more.

Our guest today is Allen LaPointe, the Director of Environmental Quality at the world-famous John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. A chemist and zoologist by training, Allen will share some important water quality lessons he has learned from 13 years at the Shedd. Join us!


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Episode 15 - Killifish: Small, Secret Gems of the Aquarium World

Killifish are beautiful, small-bodied fish found in many areas around the world, including in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are, as a group, one of the aquarium industry's hidden gems with only some of the hundreds of brightly colored species sold in local aquarium shops. In nature, some of them live in tiny puddles of water, where their eggs must survive dry periods. One species can reproduce, literally, on its own, from just one fish! All have fascinating life histories. 

Our guest today, Charlie Nunziata, has been an active aquarium hobbyist for more than 45 years. Charlie is a life-long member of the American Killifish Association, through which he has been awarded numerous honors. He has founded local societies in New York and Florida, and is currently a Board of Trustees member and chair of the Killifish Conservation Committee. He also is very active with the North American Native Fishes Association. Join us, as Charlie teaches us more about the fascinating and unique killifishes--and how to find them and keep them successfully!


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Episode 14 - Have a Sick Fish? Veterinarian Dr. Helen Roberts Helps Heal Wet Pet Woes!

So you’ve got a sick fish—who are you gonna call? Why, your local fish veterinarian, of course! Although pet owners don’t think twice about contacting their vet for the dog or cat’s problems, more and more hobbyists are now also seeking help from their local veterinarian for their sick pet fish. And this is perfect timing, since more and more veterinarians are willing and able to work on wet pet patients. 

One of the country’s leading pet fish veterinarians, Dr. Helen Roberts has been working in the aquatic veterinary field since the early 90s, and has worked with numerous fish species from all types of aquaria and ponds. She has gained the confidence of many clients who travel for hours with their fish or fly her out just to get her help. Join us as we learn more about some of her favorite cases and how today’s veterinarians can help you with your fish!


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Episode 13 - Through Hell’s Aquarium—and Back—with Best-Selling Author Steve Alten!

What is the biggest and baddest aquarium you’ve ever seen? How about the biggest and baddest fish? Best-selling author Steve Alten blows all of those out of the water, with his latest sci-fi horror novel, “MEG: Hell’s Aquarium.” In this 4th installment of Alten’s MEG series, we learn more about Carcharodon megalodon--MEG, for short--the enormous, prehistoric relative of the great white shark, and what could happen if they were still around prowling the oceans—or on display at some of the largest aquaria in the world!

Join us, as we talk with Steve about MEGs and mega-aquaria, other prehistoric and predatory denizens of the deep waters of the Philippine Sea Plate, Bond 007 girls, and his Adopt-An-Author program for teen readers.


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Episode 12 - How Cardinal Tetras are Saving the Rainforest: Project Piaba

Hundreds of millions of aquarium fish are sold each year throughout the world, with an economic value of over 600 million.  Fish in the hobby come from many different sources, including farms in Florida and wild caught fish from the flooded forests, streams, and lakes of the Rio Negro in the Amazon. Tens of millions of fish are exported yearly from this area, and are the major economic source of income for many native people. Project Piaba is a community based, interdisciplinary project which has helped improve the livelihood of these native fishermen and maintain the integrity of the rainforests in the region—both vital to sustainability of the peoples and the wildlife in the area.  Join us as we talk to Scott Dowd, of the New England Aquarium, about Project Piaba, and how buying aquarium fish helps save the rainforest!


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Episode 11 - Keeping Aquarium Fish Where They Belong: Non-Native Species Concerns in the Industry

The aquarium fish industry includes thousands of species of freshwater and marine fish and invertebrates farmed or collected from all over the world.  This global diversity keeps the aquarium hobby fascinating and fresh, but also troubles our natural resource agencies, especially when non-native fish are found in our environment.  Join us, as we talk to Dr. Jeff Hill, a scientist at the University of Florida, to learn more about keeping non-native aquarium fish where they belong!


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Episode 10 - North American Native Fishes: Aquatic Pets from Your Own Back Yard

North American Native Fishes are often overlooked and under appreciated as aquarium specimens.  However many of our native fishes, not only make excellent aquarium subjects, but also rival some of the more commonly available tropicals in color and beauty.  Combine this with the fact that you can go on your own collecting adventure, often nearby--or perhaps even in your own back yard--and you have a great reason to give a second look at North American Native Fishes as subjects for your next (or first) home aquarium.  Among the many native darters, minnows, sunfish and killifish, there's sure to be a North American Native Fish that will suit your "aquaristic" taste.


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Episode 9 - Old World Cichlids

Old World Cichlids, comprised primarily of fish from Africa, are a large and very diverse group of fishes in the aquarium hobby. Aquarium enthusiasts are familiar with many of the beautifully-colored species from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika, including the peacock cichlids, red zebras, and brichardi. These same fish also hold great interest for scientists because of their fascinating reproductive biology, ecology, behavior, and evolution.

Laif DeMason, a well-known importer and breeder of African cichlids, is the owner of Old World Exotic Fish, Inc., based in Homestead, Florida. Laif has been breeding cichlids since 1969 and currently specializes in production and importation of African cichlids. Laif has authored numerous aquarium fish articles and writes a regular column for Cichlid News entitled “What’s New Around the World?” Join us, as we talk to Laif about his business, his favorite fish, and what hobbyists need to know to succeed with African cichlids.


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Episode 8 - New World Cichlids

Cichlids from the Americas, known as “New World Cichlids,” include angelfish, discus, Jack Dempseys, and oscars. But these species are just the tip of the “New World” iceberg. One of the largest groups comprises those in the Cichlasoma complex including the salvini, lowland, red head, and firemouth cichlids.

Don Conkel is the owner of Don Conkel’s Tropicals, based near Tampa, Florida, with additional facilities in Costa Rica and Mexico. Don, a leading New World cichlid authority and published author, has been breeding cichlids since 1975 and currently specializes in production and importation of North and Central American cichlids, including those in the Cichlasoma complex. Join us, as we talk to Don about his business, his favorite fish, and what hobbyists need to know to succeed with these species.


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Episode 7 - How Aquarium Societies Can Help You Avoid Common Fish Keeping Mistakes

Where can aquarium fish hobbyists go for general information and help? Hobbyist organizations are an excellent source of knowledge in all aspects of the hobby, and can provide great tips on fish, systems, supplies, and local stores. There are local aquarium societies in many cities in the U.S. that cater to both freshwater and marine enthusiasts. There are also national hobbyist organizations that are even more specialized. These organizations can help you get to the next level, as my guest Bill Shields will tell you.

Bill Shields started keeping fish at the ripe old age of six. Sometime after college, Bill started working "officially" in the aquarium industry, becoming general manager of three Docktor Pet Centers in the Harrisburg, PA area. In 1995, Bill was hired as a breeder for 5-D Tropical, Inc., an aquarium fish production and import/export facility in Plant City, Florida. Join us as Bill and I discuss aquarium fish hobbyist do’s and don’ts, and how to avoid common mistakes.


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Episode 6 - The Straubs: Pioneers of Florida’s Tropical Fish Industry

The United States’ ornamental fish aquaculture industry began to develop in the 1930s and 40s in west central Florida, through the efforts of a number of aquarium pioneers. Since then, the U.S. tropical fish industry, still centered in Florida, has grown from one to over two hundred farms, unified through the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association.

One of these pioneering families, the Straubs, moved from Long Island, NY to begin fish farming in 1940 on the east coast of Florida, and Walter Straub Tropical Fish Farm still produces and sells fish today. As a youngster, Walter H. Straub battled Florida mosquitoes, water quality problems, and other challenges as he helped his father Walter Sr. produce and sell fish for an-ever changing market. After learning the ropes, Walter and his wife Norma took over the business in 1974, and-- 3 wonderful children and 10 grandchildren later-- he find himself “still working on the farm.”  Join us for a journey back to the early aquarium fish farming days, and lessons learned for today, as we travel together in Walter’s time machine.


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Episode 5 - Angelfish, Neon Tetras. . .and Electric Eels: "Shockingly" Fun Collecting Trips in the Amazon

How did wild aquarium fish from South America, Africa, and Asia first get into the hobby all those many years ago? Before there were ornamental fish farms, including those here in Florida, there were fish biologists and collectors visiting exotic places and bringing back beautiful specimens of fish they found.  Many of these fish are now raised on fish farms, but new species continue to enter the hobby every year.  And now, eco-tourists can join aquarium fish collecting trips in some of the most biologically diverse waters of the world.

My guest today is Jaap-Jan de Greef, an aquarium fish expert who has lived--and collected aquarium fish--all over the world.  Jaap is well-known in the hobby not only for his wealth of knowledge, but also for leading "amazing" Amazon fish collecting trips for aquarium hobbyists, and trips to other locales for fish researchers and producers.  Jaap is a favorite speaker for hobbyist organizations and has fascinating fish stories to share.  So get on the boat, have a seat, and listen in!


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Episode 4 - The Science and Art of Koi and Goldfish

Koi and goldfish have been staples in the hobby for a long time, and continue to gain in popularity as staples for aquatic water gardens as well as indoor tank systems. The beautiful color and finnage variations in both species have been developed over hundreds of years, and now some lines and individual fish have tremendous economic and prestige value. 

My guest today is Joe Pawlak, President of Blackwater Creek Koi Farms, Inc., based in Eustis, Florida. Blackwater Creek Koi Farms is a top producer of quality koi here in the U.S.  Joe’s company is comprised of 3 farms located in central and NW Florida, and specializes in butterfly koi, as well as standard koi and goldfish varieties.  In addition, Joe produces a line of high quality fish food.  Joe also does double duty as President of the National Organization of Goldfish Growers in America, and works closely with wholesalers, retailers, and hobbyist groups.  Today Joe will discuss koi and goldfish—from breeding and growing, to clubs and showing.   Come and join us!


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Episode 3 - Clowns and Corals: ORA’s Ornamental Marine Hatchery

Oceans, Reefs and Aquariums, the largest producer and seller of marine ornamentals in the world, is based in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Our guest today is Dustin Dorton, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ORA.  Dustin, an avid freshwater and marine aquarium hobbyist his entire life, first moved from California to Florida to begin the coral propagation portion of ORA’s business. Over time, he learned more about ORA operations and management, and eventually earned his current position. Today Dustin will discuss what is involved with marine ornamental fish and invertebrate production and aquaculture’s role in sustainability of the industry. Join us!


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Episode 2 - A Glo-ing Review of Fluorescent GloFish

Thousands of species of ornamental fish, invertebrates, and plants provide endless possibilities for aquarium keepers.  Traditional methods of breeding by selection added even more varieties to the mix. But as the aquarium hobby entered the 21st Century, pets, biotechnology, and innovative entrepreneurship intertwined, creating the U.S.’s first genetically engineered pet—the GloFish.  After many challenges—and many years of hard work-- Alan Blake, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Yorktown Technologies, L.P. and his colleagues finally saw their fluorescent wet pets swim into stores across the U.S.  In this episode, we’ll talk to Alan Blake and learn more about GloFish, the glow-in-the-dark aquatic pets that have revolutionized the hobby.


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Episode 1 - Introduction

Dr. Roy Yanong welcomes everyone to his new show and talks all about aquarium fish and other aquatic animals, the aquarium industry, and the science and art that surround this fascinating hobby! So dive in--the water is fine!


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