Bailin Shaw has had a love of fishkeeping from when he received his first aquarium for Christmas at the age of 5 and has had at least one aquarium running since that day. To relieve the stress of graduate school, he dove into learning about keeping naturally planted aquariums through the Aquatic Plant Digest listserve and used the information to create natural and balanced environments to breed his fish. To look for like-minded individuals, he restarted the Oklahoma City Aquarium Association to find people with similar interests in both fish and plants and served as the president of the organization for 2 years before moving for employment.
While working at his first job in Dallas, he started the first plant specific aquarium club and served as the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Aquatic Plant Club during his time there. The club eventually grew large enough to host the Aquatic Gardeners Association convention and is still running strong to this day. His next move brought him to Connecticut where he started the New England Aquatic Plant Society and was president of the club for the two years before moving to Chicago. In Chicago, while working the Aquatic Gardeners Association’s booth at the Aquatic Experience, he took names of people who were interested in starting a planted aquarium club in the area. As a result, the Chicago Aquatic Plant Society started in early 2016 in a meeting room at a local Panera Bread and has grown to be one of the largest and strongest planted aquarium clubs in the United States.
In addition to serving as the current president of the Chicago club, Bailin also serves as an executive board member for the Aquatic Gardeners Association and is the chairperson for the annual Aquatic Gardeners Association International Aquascaping Contest. When he’s not working on various club duties, Bailin runs 6-8 low maintenance and high-tech planted tanks and is passionate about educating hobbyists about the benefits of keeping a naturally planted aquariums.