December 1, 2012
Mr. Rusty Wessel
Rusty maintains over 8000 gallons of freshwater aquariums in a state of the art fish house constructed
specifically for fish. The 90 plus aquariums predominantly contain cichlids and livebearers, which he
successfully raise and breeds. Rusty’s specialty is Central American fishes. He has taken his hobby to
a point where he has successfully collected fish from the countries of Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba,
Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Mexico, from 1983 to the present, for over 100 trips to this date.
Considered by many to be the ultimate collector, he has introduced many new species of fish to the
aquarium hobby. If it lives in the water, chances are that Rusty has either caught it or been bit or stung by
it. Dr. Robert Rush Miller, emeritus professor of the University of Michigan named a beautiful and elusive
cichlid discovered during one of his expeditions to Honduras, after Rusty in the June 1996 edition of
Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine, Theraps wesseli.
Rusty is as well a prolific author and photographer, his writings or photographs have appeared in a
wide distribution of specialized publications, like Aquarium Fish Magazine, Aquarist and Pondkeeper,
Buntbarsche Bulletin, Cichlid News, Ad Konings’ Cichlids yearbooks, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium
and Tropical Fish Hobbyist.
In the organized hobby, Rusty is currently “Convention liaison” and “Back issue Sales Person” for the
American Cichlid Association and a speaker participant for the ACA/Marineland Speaker’s Program.
He is past chair of the ACA board of trustees (1990) and past convention chair (1992). In addition,
he is an active solicitor for the “Guy Jordan Endowment Fund” (A fund set up under the ACA to grant
endowments for cichlid research). On the local level, he is currently treasurer for the Louisville Tropical
Fish Fanciers. Rusty has been awarded with the greatest honor the American Cichlid Association gives to
its distinguished members, the ACA fellowship in 1997.
Rusty has lectured and judged numerous fish shows throughout the United States, including the
annual “Florida Tropical Fish Farmers” show and several ACA conventions.