Last week I flew over to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta as an invited guest to speak at the “Journey into an Aquarium” seminar which took place at the National Aquarium Malta. This event was organised by Andy Bugeja of Aqualine Malta, the Maltese distribution agent for Naturekind Advanced Fish Food and featured some other great speakers also including Chris Ingham (Author of the book Discus World), Tristan Camilleri (Director of the Malta Aquaculture Directorate) and Raymond Caruana (The Killifish Conservation Project).
I had the pleasure of being able to speak in great detail with the aquariums curator Daniel Da Castro about the excellent work they are doing to educate people about the importance of aquatic ecosystems, but also had the chance to see first hand the brilliant captive breeding and reintroduction programs they have backstage, like that of the Lesser Spotted Dogshark, which has been subject to serious anthropogenic threats in recent years.
As part of this trip I was also specially invited to conduct a biotope aquarium workshop at the Malta Aquarist Society which was coordinated by Jonathan Theuma Carabez. I walked the members step by step through the process of how to recreate the natural biotope of a specific aquatic biocoenosis from the Rio Atabapo, a blackwater river I visited a few years ago on the border of Colombia and Venezuela; I have shown a few photos from some of the stages below.