CatCon 2024 Speakers

Eric Bodrock – Spawning MY Favorite Oddballs, Part II

Eric Bodrock is the Owner of All Oddball Aquatics, a tropical fish hatchery and independent online retailer located near Pittsburgh PA. Along with his fiancé, Regina Spotti, they currently maintain about 275 aquariums in their home-based hatchery and are working with many species of fish. Eric has been active in the aquarium hobby since age 10 and has worked in the retail, wholesale/distribution, installation, and hatchery aspects of the industry. In addition to his accomplishment of successfully spawning well over 500 species of freshwater fish, including more than 130 species of catfish, he has published articles, judged dozens of fish shows and has given countless presentations. In addition to covering much of the United States, he has traveled to aquarium related events in Canada, Germany, Norway, Peru, and the United Kingdom.

Eric has been an active member of the Greater Pittsburgh Aquarium Society, which he has been a member since 1975! He considers himself as a “Lifer” in the hobby and continues to promote the aquarium hobby in every possible way…you’ll often hear him say: “There’s always room for one more tank!”


Hans Evers – Cory News, banquet talk – A Journey to the Upper Trombetas

Hans-Georg Evers lives in Hamburg, Germany and since his very early days has been an aquarist at heart. Hans’s love of nature’s aquatic realm serves as the engine for all his activities around this most beautiful hobby in the world. Starting first with a community tank, his interest and expertise soon grew to a specialization in African cichlids of Lake Tanganyika and later of West Africa. In the early 1980s his interests changed to the catfishes and today the Corydoradinae (corydoras catfish) and Loricariidae (the “plecos”) are his favorite fish, followed by tetras and. . . .all other freshwater fishes! Hans so far has bred and raised more than 300 different species of freshwater fishes in his tanks, including 106 species of Corydoras and more than 40 different species of plecos.  His recent set up consists of about 50 tanks ranging from 2 to 200 gallons in size.

Hans stays busy travelling, lecturing, and collecting specimens, is fluent in English and Portuguese and speaks some Spanish. He has visited many tropical countries in search of new and interesting fishes and invertebrates for the hobby. Countless journeys have been undertaken to the Amazon (mainly to Brazil) where he has collected fish from all of the larger effluents of the Amazon River and other parts of that large country. He has also spent time in Peru, Venezuela, Indonesia, India, and a number of other countries. During the last five years he has concentrated on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where he has collected fish and shrimps all over the island.

Hans has published 10 books about his experiences and findings including the “Mergus Atlas vol. 6”; the two volumes of “Mergus Catfish Atlas” together with his good friend Ingo Seidel; and the “Identification Guide to Corydoradinae Catfishes” with Ian Fuller. He has also written more than 650 articles in hobbyist magazines worldwide. In 2005 he became Editor-in-Chief of the German aquarium magazine AMAZONAS, and was Editor-in-Chief of the English version of AMAZONAS until mid 2018.


Haakon Haagensen – Twig Catfish

I started keeping fish in 1990, aged 12. My father, Arne, got hooked on the hobby at the same time, resulting in a significant growth in the number of aquariums in our home during the following years. This allowed me to take my hobby to a whole new level. South American Cichlids and Catfishes were (and still are) the favorites, but my interest for various types of fish has always been broad.
In 1993 I began working in the ornamental fish business cleaning tanks at the local fish shop while I was still in school. I have not left the aquarium trade since, and as a result I can now look back at over 30 years of experience. In 2019 I was hired as store manager for Dogman Midtun, one of the largest pet shops in Norway. I still consider the weekly imports of fish to be the highlight of my job.
My main interests within the aquarium hobby are, as mentioned, Cichlids and Catfishes. However, through my work I find great joy in importing and trading all kinds of new and rare fish. I also enjoy fish photography; I mostly publish my photos on my Facebook page (Haakon Haagensen Photography) and at For the last 10 years I have been involved in the presentation of new L-numbers in the German magazine DATZ. On top of this I do lectures both domestically and abroad, and write articles and publications for various magazines and online platforms. Together with my friend Lars Jamne, I run the website, where we publish species profiles for various members of the Loricariidae family.


Daniel Konn-Vetterlein – Collecting Catfish in South America

Daniel Konn-Vetterlein, the German, was born in 1990. After school he absolved a voluntary year in ecology and found his passion for birds, but also the Wadden Sea in northern Germany, a world heritage and signpost for the years to come. He decided to stay in the North and began his studies of Biology and later also Spanish at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. During his studies he already started to work in environmental education, the monitoring of fauna and the development of renaturation plans.

Very early in his aquatic progress, he decided to dedicate all his passion and time to catfishes. Loricariidae, Callichthyidae, Auchenipteridae etc., these taxa fascinate him at day and night-time. To increase his possibilities Daniel joined the IG BSSW e.V. (International Society for Barbs-Tetras-Loaches & Catfishes) in 2008, made a lot of friends and connected well in the hobby. In 2015 he was elected president of mentioned society and is representing the growing club since.

Whenever he can he tries to travel to the natural biotopes of catfish in South America. One country more than others has become a second home for him: Bolivia. During several expeditions to this beautiful country, he studied many fish species of which little is known in the hobby. His current project is to catalogize the fish species of the country. Daniel tries to spread the gained information, adventures, and funny anecdotes whenever he can. He loves travelling to conventions, fish-meetings, and personal rooms full of catfish. Plus, he writes for several magazines and contributes to online databases.


Oliver Lucanus – Synodontis Catfish Habitats, Xingu River

Oliver is a lifelong aquarist with over three decades of experience in keeping, importing and photographing fish. He has travelled to many countries and all continents to collect and document fish and their natural habitats, and has led multiple expeditions to South America.

Oliver works for the Canadian Airborne Biodivesity Observatory, a research project documenting natural spaces using remote sensing. Oliver is also the co-founder of the Fish + Forest Project at McGill University in Montreal, a project that unites earth science and fish ecology to gain a better understanding of threatened ecosystems worldwide.

Oliver takes social media fans where no other brand can go. Along his journeys, he helps educate fishkeepers on a variety of environmental issues that not only affect wild habitats, but the aquarium hobby itself.


Regina Spotti – Spawning MY Favorite Oddballs, Part I

Since childhood, Regina has been interested in everything Nature; everything that occurs in the natural world intrigues her. Tropical fish quickly became an area of interest at a young age, thanks, in no part, to goldfish in a grocery store. What began as an endeavor to save a handful of stressed fish quickly became a never-ending quest to keep several different genera, each new species providing new understanding and presenting new challenges. While she can’t keep them all, there are a few “oddball” species that she has kept and is currently working with that will be shared with you in her presentation, ‘Spawning My Favorite Oddballs, Part 1”


And Shane Linder as our MC for the weekend!