Richard Ross


Richard Ross is a Senior Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences. At work Rich maintains many exhibits including the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef, participates in ongoing field work in the Philippines and ongoing coral spawning work in the Florida Keys, and continues to try to push the boundaries of coral husbandry and marine fish and invert breeding. He has kept saltwater animals for over 25 years, and has worked in aquarium maintenance, retail, wholesale and has consulted for a coral farm/fish collecting station in the South Pacific.

Richard is a regular author for trade publications (he is very proud of his multi part Skeptical Reefkeeping series), a frequent speaker at aquarium conferences and was a founder of one of the largest and most progressive reef clubs in Northern California, Bay Area Reefers. He is an avid underwater videographer and has been fortunate to scuba dive in a lot of places around the world. At home he maintains a 300 gallon reef system and a 250 gallon cephalopod/fish breeding system. When not doing all that stuff, he enjoys exercising his philosophy degree, spending time with his patient wife, his incredible daughter and their menagerie of animals, both wet and dry. More information can be found at

What’s up with Phosphate?

Phosphate – that word you keep using might not mean what you think it means. The drive to lower phosphate levels in reef aquaria has consumed reefers for the last decade, but is this never ending quest really necessary to have a thriving reef tank? This talk will discuss successful reef aquariums that run ‘high’ and ‘absurdly high’ phosphate and nitrate levels without experiencing disaster, possible reasons why this is happening, and what this might mean for reef keeping in general.