About

Established in January 1993, the Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society (CMAS) is a nonprofit organization of marine hobbyists brought together by the desire to promote a better understanding of the life we keep in our marine aquariums. Our focus is to increase the longevity of marine life in a controlled environment and to encourage that life to propagate freely. Only through education and the sharing of ideas can we expect a future for our hobby. Anyone interested in advancing these goals is invited to join.

CMAS meets monthly September through May, usually on the third Saturday of the month. Please refer to our meeting announcements for each meeting's specific location.   Our meetings generally begin at 1:00PM with a short review of club business, moving on to the main program (if applicable) and then to an open discussion among members present. Everyone is welcome to bring their questions and/or problems to the club meetings for assistance as most discussion topics originate this way.

Over the years, CMAS has had the good fortune of being able to bring its members some extremely informative and interesting programs. Some of these programs have been presentations by fellow club members, including Mike Kirda and Doug Lehman.  In the past year, CMAS co-hosted a two-day educational and fragging event called Fragapalooza, which included presentations by Dr. Ron Shimek, Linda Jedlicka, Steven Pro and our own Rod Buehler.  There have been hands-on demonstrations of propagating soft corals and gorgonians, swap meets, raffles, and field trips to such places as the Shedd Aquarium and supporting dealers' stores. For more details about past meeting see the meeting section of this web site.

In 2007, CMAS also participated in IMAC, which holds an excellent 3 event in the Chicago area.  IMAC invites many nationally known speakers to attend (see the CMAS meetings section for details on the IMAC seminars).  Besides the forum for fellow member presentations, CMAS also has had the ability to bring its membership some truly outstanding guest speakers. Recent speakers have included Janet Nestlerode and Beth Hinchey from the Aquarius, Kelly Jedlicki speaking on puffers, Sanjay Joshi talking about aquarium lighting,and Ferdinand Cruz speaking on net-caught-fish.

Although these special guest meetings bring out the largest attendance, the regular monthly meetings are really what CMAS is all about. Information exchange is the heart of our society. From homemade wave makers and protein skimmers to Magnum canister filter repair -- debates over calcium levels, cloudy water and pH control as well as helping new hobbyists learn the ropes -- the Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society caters to the making of all of its members welcome.

In the summertime CMAS holds a barbeque at a member's house, and occasionally during the year members open their homes for "Tank Tours," when all are invited to come see others' tanks.  In 2007, Mike and Elizabeth Kleist hosted a wonderful (and dry) picnic under their patio tents in Brookfield, shaded by the water tower.

CMAS also has a good relationship with many pet stores throughout the Chicagoland area, as many of these stores offer our members discounts on livestock and supplies. Supporting dealers are listed on the website, and we urge members to visit them.

The Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society is also a member and supporter of Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA) -- the national society to which CMAS actually owes its origins, for if it wasn't for MASNA, the founding members of CMAS would not have "found" each other. And MASNA announced its support of CMAS by awarding the 1997 Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA IX) to the Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society!

So regardless of whether you're a beginner, an "old salt," a fish-only person, or a reef maniac, the Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society has something in it for you.