Annual Symposium and Workshops

Annual Symposium and Workshops


In 1994, approximately 30 zoo and aquarium Life Support System (LSS) professionals met in Las Vegas to discuss water filtration systems. By sharing ideas and pooling their knowledge, the attendees hoped to benefit individual operators and entire facilities. What started as a meeting for a few individuals turned into an annual symposium attended by over 400 life support operators, water quality technicians, curators, aquarists, researchers, managers and equipment manufacturers.


AALSO has expanded greatly in the last 20 years. The organization now has over 1,000 members, 500 certified operators, and roughly 300 vendor members. These vendor members supply the zoo and aquarium industry with pumps, valves, filters, heat exchangers, sensors, and every other piece of equipment that keep animals and their habitats healthy.

The AALSO Symposium and Workshops is an annual five day idea exchange. Members share their successes and failures, facilities describe their new projects and system retrofits, and vendors conduct equipment specific training and display their latest products.


Facility Lectures


The morning sessions each day are dedicated to facility lectures. These lectures cover a wide range of topics such as:

  • New Exhibits and Systems
  • Exhibit and System Retrofits
  • Green Practices
  • Innovative Practices
  • Life Support Techniques and Equipment
  • Water Quality Techniques and Equipment
  • Project Management
  • System Failures
  • Veterinary and Animal Health Issues
  • Diving Operations
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Safety
  • Laboratory Best Practices




The afternoon sessions each day are dedicated to workshops. These hands-on training sessions cover a wide range of topics such as:

  • Levels 1-2 Exam Preparation
  • Level 3 Exam Preparation
  • Understanding the Benefits of VFD’s
  • Basic VFD Commissioning
  • 10 Hour OSHA General Industry Course
  • ASME B31.3 Solvent Cementing Training for PVC & CPVC
  • Butterfly, Ball and Check Valve Workshop
  • Small Pump Rebuild
  • Laser Alignment of Pump and Motor Coupling
  • Actuated Valves: Flow Dynamics, Level Sensing and Actuator Adjustment
  • Maintaining Larger Pumps
  • Plate Heat Exchanger Preventative Maintenance
  • Ozone, ORP and Probe Calibration
  • Ozone System Maintenance
  • UV Sterilizer Maintenance
  • Small Chiller Sizing
  • Fusion Welding PE Pipe
  • Glass Tank Drilling
  • Proper Calibration & Maintenance of DO, pH & Conductivity Sensors
  • Mechanical Seal School with Interactive Installation



The symposium provides attendees the opportunity to obtain the following certifications:


  • Life Support Operator Certification Level 1, 2, and 3
  • Water Quality Technician Certification Level 1, 2, and 3
  • NSPF Certified Pool Operator (CPO) course
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour training
  • PVC/CPVC Pipe Bonding Certification


5,000 Gallon Automated Water Loop


At the symposium, members are able to rebuild pumps, size chillers, calibrate sensors, fuse pipe and operate ozone systems on an automated 5,000 gallon aquatic system.


Sponsorship Opportunities


Not able to attend the AALSO Symposium and Workshops due to financial problems? Consider applying for one of our sponsorship opportunities. With the support from a few valued vendors, AALSO offers sponsorship opportunities each year. Any Operator Member can apply for sponsorship to attend the annual Symposium and Workshops.  Sponsorship can cover your registration fee, lodging, airfare or everything. Sponsored Members are required to do a presentation in the form of a lecture or poster.