Michael Barber

Fish keeper for over fifty five years. Parents started the journey with the gift of a five-gallon stainless steel slate bottom aquarium with box filter and stainless incandescent hood, with not so  fond memories of spun fiber glass filter media embedded in fingers and unexpected electrical groundings. Graduated from live bearers to egg layers before ten years of age - first egg-layer bred and raised was the Pearl Gourami, bred discus before the age of twelve (back in the sixties).

Passion is Calichthydae and Apistogrammas (& Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis).  At one time he had nearly fifty species of Corydoras, Brochis and Aspidoras in the fish room. Have breed over fifty species of Calichthydae, dozens of Apistogramma species and many more.

Maintains a dedicated fishroom—Restazonia—downsized in 2014 from over 100 tanks to 60 tanks with a centralized filter system and automated water changes. Summer rain water collection stimulates breeding activities. Also maintain a quarantine rack with a very strict quarantine regimen for fish caught in the Amazon. A former basement laundry room serves as a support hub with water treatment, storage facilities and a five 55-gallon rain water system.

Blessed to venture to the Amazon basin to collect most of the fish kept and thoroughly enjoy introducing others to the collecting experience; especially mentoring them while they prepare for their first Amazon expedition. Co-leader, with Devon Graham of MT Amazon Expeditions fish collecting trips. In 2014, he began facilitating the trans-shipping of fish caught on those trips. In 2015, in partnership with Ian Fuller, they established a new fish collecting venture, GoWildPeru, in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. 

Member of the Potomac Valley Aquarium Society (PVAS), Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association (GWAPA), the Capital Cichlid Association (CCA), James River Aquarium Society (JRAS) and the Catfish Study Group. Serving as PVAS Treasurer since 2015, Past PVAS President of PVAS (2008) and currently serving as Interim President. Past Co-Chair of the All-Aquarium Catfish Convention and committee member on the 2016 and 2018 CatCons. Other membership of note is The American Begonia Society, Potomac Branch.

2018 Events

January 6: Jeremy Basch “Auchenipteridae – The Wonderful Woodcatfish”

February 3: Devon Graham “On the Origin of Species, or why are there so many fish in the Amazon?”

March 10: Panel Discussion -- Jim Chitty Frank Cowherd, Don Kinyon, and Dave Sombach “Successful Fish Breeding”, moderated by  Patchin Curtis

April 8 (Sunday): Spring All-Day Auction

May 5: Gary Lange “Collecting Rainbow Fishes”

June 2: Larry Jinks “TBD”

July 7: Bowl Show

August 4: Workshop: Christine Keys and TBD “Drilling and Repairing Glass Tanks”

September 1: Barbie Fiorentino “Keeping and Breeding Plecostomus”

October 4-6: All-Aquarium Catfish Convention

October 7 (Sunday): Fall All-Day Auction at Hyatt Regency Dulles

November 3: Mike Hellweg “Miniature Cyprinids” and Annual Meeting, Elections, Workshop

December 1: Holiday Party