2022 MASNA Award honoree Michael Paletta
2022 MASNA Award honoree Michael Paletta

via MASNA (Marine Aquarium Societies of North America)

MASNA is proud to honor Michael Paletta of Pennsylvania, USA, as the 2022 MASNA Award recipient for his lifelong involvement in promoting the marine aquarium hobby. Throughout the past 40 years, Michael has devoted his time and knowledge to educate all interested in the hobby. MASNA will be awarding its annual MASNA Award to Paletta at the MACNA 2022 Banquet starting 7 pm Central on September 10th, 2022, in Milwaukee, WI.

Michael Paletta – MASNA Award recipient, 2022

Michael Paletta’s love for fish developed when he was a child before progressing onto marine and reef tanks in the 1980’s. He first attempted to keep corals after sourcing his first reef by German author Jurgen Lemkemeyer. After some back-and-forth translations, Michael and Jurgen started a wonderful friendship, sharing knowledge on their trials and errors. Michael and Jurgen had the same goal of passing on their knowledge and assisting fellow hobbyists.

What followed is an accumulation of 40 years educating hobbyists via 350+ articles on reef tanks, marine fish, and invertebrates. Michael has been published in many magazines including CORAL Magazine, Aquarium Fish Magazine, SeaScope, Practical Fishkeeping, Aquarium Frontiers, Freshwater and Marine Aquariums, UltraMarines, ReefBuilders, and Reef2Reef. He has enjoyed speaking at over 300 marine societies, national conferences, Zoom calls, and radio shows globally.

Paletta on assignment with CORAL Magazine to interview Andrew Sandler and document his Polo Reef.
Paletta on a recent assignment with CORAL Magazine to interview Andrew Sandler and document his Polo Reef.

Michael has published two books, titled “The New Marine Aquarium” and “Ultimate Aquariums”, which focus on simplifying marine fish keeping for beginners, and the advancement of the hobby.

"Patience is key, don't be intimidated." - Michael Paletta on success in reef aquarium keeping.
“Patience is key, don’t be intimidated.” – Michael Paletta on success in reef aquarium keeping.

Outside of his day job, where Michael worked in marketing, sales, and research in oncology, Michael has aided in the set-up of over 200 tanks throughout the US, with several over 2,000 gallons in capacity. He has also consulted for various companies. Michael currently maintains a 500-gallon SPS dominated tank, two 120-gallon tanks, (one a soft coral sunlit tank and the other a SPS non-Acropora tank, a 90-gallon propagation tank, and a 40-gallon LPs dominated nano tank. These tanks enable him to keep numerous types of corals, whilst running tests to learn what conditions are most suitable. He is currently working on the factors that cause tissue necrosis in corals and how to cure it on a tank-wide basis.

Back in the ’80s Michael and fellow hobbyists never expected the hobby to be what it is today. Due to the copious amount of information to learn and share, and despite his experience, Michael classifies himself to be a beginner in the hobby. Over the past 40 years, it has been Michael’s goal to make this very complex hobby accessible to all intrigued. Other than his family, it is his one true passion that has enabled him to meet great lifelong friends.

Michael’s tip: Patience is key, don’t be intimidated.

About The Award Process

Annually, MASNA awards the prestigious MASNA Award and Aquarist of the Year Award to deserving individuals for their work in helping shape and influence the marine aquarium hobby in a way that positively contributes to the ongoing sustainability of the hobby to the future marine environment. Together with MASNA, previous recipients of the MASNA Award confer to decide who has given the most to the hobby and industry to be deserving of that years’ awards from a selection of nominees.

Every spring, MASNA Members are invited to submit nominations for consideration. Nominations in and of themselves are a great honor, so it is crucial that you take the time to nominate worthy candidates, particularly those unsung heroes in your own aquarist circle. The aquarist you may feel most deserves this honor can’t be considered if you don’t nominate them, so be sure to watch for the next nomination period in the spring of 2023.

Please also remember that you can resubmit your nominations in subsequent years to keep these noteworthy candidates up for consideration. Many past recipients have been nominated repeatedly before ultimately being selected by the committee.

Ultimately, the annual MASNA Award and Aquarist of the Year recognitions are the culmination of several months of nominations, considerations, debate, and a rigorous voting process. Recognition with these awards is more than just a milestone of recognition, but often represents encouragement that the honorees keep doing what they did that earned them this recognition, and hopes that there is even more to come!

To learn more about the MASNA Aquarist of the Year visit: https://masna.org/masna-programs/aquarist-of-the-year

To learn more about the MASNA Award visit: https://masna.org/masna-programs/the-masna-award/

About MASNA, Marine Aquarium Societies of North America

MASNA is a non-profit organization composed of marine aquarium clubs, individual hobbyists, and industry partners from North America and abroad, totaling several thousand individuals.

MASNA’s goals are to:

  • Educate our members with online and published material, the MACNA conference, and other sanctioned events,
  • Assist in forming and promoting the growth of clubs within the hobby while ensuring a sustainable future for the marine environment,
  • Support the efforts to eliminate abuses in collecting and transporting marine organisms through education, assistance, and encouragement, and
  • Encourage the ethical growth of the marine aquarium hobby and support captive breeding/propagation efforts.

MASNA’s charter and additional information about MASNA can be found at http://masna.org/aboutus.


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