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.



Our hands-on training sessions cover a wide range of topics between dry workshops that are small group based and the Big Automated Water Loop (B.A.W.L.) workshops that are based on a recirculating 3,000 gallon system. Learn more about our workshops here!


Facility Lectures


Themed 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 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 CPO, Certified Pool Operator (additional fee applies)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour training
  • PVC/CPVC Pipe Bonding Certification


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.