Phil Nixon has degrees through Ph.D. in Biology, Zoology, and Entomology with minors in Botany and Horticulture from Lincoln Land Community College, Southern Illinois University, and Kansas State University. He retired in 2017 as a University of Illinois Extension Entomologist.
Phil has been involved with native fish since age 11 when he started his first fish bowl of creek chubs that he collected with a homemade dip net from a local creek. He started his first aquarium of tropical fish and plants at age 13. He is a member and past board member of the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA). He is Treasurer and past President of the Champaign Area Fish Exchange (CAFÉ). He and his wife Carie maintain approximately 40 aquariums and 12 outdoor ponds with about two-thirds containing North American native fish. Most of the native fish or their ancestors were collected by Phil at NANFA meetings in various parts of the country. He is a frequent auctioneer at CAFÉ, NANFA, Tri-County, and MASI auctions.
Almost every aquarium contains living plants. He grows approximately 25 species of plants under a variety of water, substrate, light, filtration, and other tank conditions. He periodically “weeds” his tanks of overgrowth and sells them at local fish auctions.
Free and open to the public.