April 21, 2023 – Speaker: Eric Thomas

• Presentation: I’m Dying to Get Out of Here! Self-Poisoning in Corydoras Catfish

• Description: Corydoras catfish have a reputation for releasing a toxin which can kill the fish when being transported or handled. This presentation covers the latest research on the chemistry of the toxin, how and why it’s released, and what people can do to prevent deaths.

• Speaker: Eric Thomas

• Eric Thomas started keeping fish around 1970, at about 8 years old. With his older brother Bill, Eric kept and bred mouth-brooding cichlids (Geophagus and several Lake Malawi mbuna including Labeotropheus trewavasae, Maylandia zebra and Melanochromis auratus), along with Steatocraneus casuarius… and convict cichlids (who doesn’t start with convicts?). Eric and Bill were members of the now-defunct Tri-City Aquarium Society of Southern California. In college, Eric studied captive husbandry of vertebrates; with his mentor Professor Rudolfo Ruibal at UC Riverside, in 1978 Eric was the first person to breed the Budgett's frog Lepidobatrachus laevis in captivity. In Dr. Ruibal’s lab, Eric learned about and began studying skin glands and their function. Eric went on to earn a Ph.D. under Dr. Paul Licht at UC Berkeley, studying reproductive endocrinology and the influence of sex hormones on frog skin glands. Currently, Eric is an associate professor of Biology, co-chair and director of graduate studies for the Biological Sciences Department at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Eric’s research is split between reproductive pheromone production Hymenochirus frogs and self-poisoning in Corydoras catfishes, and recently he’s started studying Microglanis bumblebee catfishes in Peru.

Eric presentation

At home, Eric’s interests are keeping and breeding catfish, primarily Corydoras, Loricariids, Auchenipterids, and most recently keeping Microglanis and other Pseudopimelodids. Between home and work, Eric runs up to 27 aquaria and currently has over 40 species of catfish. Socially, Eric operates a YouTube Channel (Bekateen) and FaceBook page (Bekateen’s FishRoom) for sharing his knowledge and experiences with fellow fish keepers; he is also the program coordinator for the Sacramento Aquarium Society and a moderator on PlanetCatfish.com.

Meeting Location:

Crafton Volunteer Fire Department
8 Stotz Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

Doors open at 6:30 PM; meeting starts at 7:30 PM

Turn in your BAP/AHAP

Breeders Award Program (BAP) and Aquatic Horticulture Awards Program (AHAP) will be accepted.


Support your club and potentially win prizes donated by our sponsors. Support our sponsors by visiting their web pages listed on this web site.

50/50 to help cover cost of event venue

50% of the winnings go to a participant, 50% goes to club to help pay rent for facilities.


There will be a mini-auction. Sellers will receive 70% of sales. 30% goes to club to help pay for expenses and supplies.


There will be plenty of time to mingle with members and guests throughout the evening.