Aquarium Conferences and Trade Shows
By Adam Cesnales
In any profession, trade, or hobby,
conferences and trade shows are the place to go to see and hear about the
latest techniques and equipment as well as to network with peers. The
aquarium hobby is no exception, and we are bringing you this special all
marine issue of CA to coincide with this year's Marine Aquarium Conference
of North America (MACNA) in Boston, MA. Many other conferences and trade
shows are held all around the country and for all areas of interest.
After attending my first big aquarium
conference, I could not imagine why more folks don’t attend. Cost and time
are certainly big issues. For many of us, our hobby is already as expensive
and time consuming as we (or our spouses!) can tolerate. However, when it
comes to cost, I am a strong believer that nothing has saved me more money
in this hobby than being well educated. The costs invested in books, club
memberships, and of course, conferences have been recovered many times over
in preventing the loss of animals and by knowing how to “do it right the
MACNA attracts well over 500 marine
aquarists annually and boasts an amazing list of speakers. The vendor hall
is always an amazing sight to see, with displays of marine livestock and all
of the newest dry-goods. Speakers usually discuss husbandry information and
techniques, the state of the hobby and the environment that our animals come
from, cutting-edge information like breeding marine fish, public aquarium
research and the newest developments. A lot of credit has to go to the
organizers of each conference for providing attendees with such a great
lineup of events, but the best part of any conference isn’t planned or
scheduled, and that is the camaraderie!
When considering why more folks don’t
attend aquarium conferences, I considered that perhaps some aquarists
believe that only “fish super-geeks,” “coral snobs” and the like attend
conferences. This truly is not the case. The chance to get to know, chat
with, and learn from fellow everyday hobbyists truly is the very best part
of any aquarium conference!
Even the “celebrities” of the hobby are easy going and pleasant to chat
with. How often does the average aquarist get to ask Eric Borneman about his
corals, or Scott Michael about his fish, or Bob Fenner about opening a fish
When it comes down to it, they are all fish geeks too, and love to hang
around and chat like the rest of us.
this leave any doubt about the lengths that manufacturers will go to
impress prospective re-sellers? Please forgive the non-aquatic
Trade shows are an opportunity for
manufacturers to display their products for a large number of industry
professionals and for industry professionals to see the offerings of a large
number of manufacturers. Although trade shows are really meant for industry
professionals, the average hobbyist can gain entrance with a bit of planning
and perhaps some help from someone who is a professional. Most casual
aquarists aren’t aware of what is available to them beyond the walls of
their local fish store. Heck, a lot of the time, the local fish store
doesn’t know what’s available either!
Attending a trade show will really open your eyes to what is out there.
display of new products at Interzoo. You should have seen the
Photo by Anthony Calfo
The Interzoo pet industry trade show
is held every two years in Nurnberg, Germany and has become one of the
largest pet industry trade shows in the world.
I spent three full days at Interzoo trying to see all of the aquatic
exhibits, and they were only about a third of the total pet product
Manufacturers from every corner of the globe exhibited equipment, food,
supplies, and even livestock for just about every type of pet interest
While traveling to Germany is a bit
extreme, it is a great opportunity to mix business and pleasure. If flying
to Europe is beyond your interest, never fear, there are several large trade
shows right here at home.
In keeping with the “cutting-edge” spirit of aquarium conferences and trade
shows, we are including two articles about Zeoliths and a new product line
called ZEOvit. Zeoliths are minerals that selectively remove certain
substances from water and exchange them for others. The ZEOvit system
employs specially chosen Zeoliths to maintain ultra-low nutrient levels in
reef aquaria. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Alexander Girz,
who authored one of the pieces. Care to guess where I had that opportunity?
At Interzoo of course! Alexander was so convinced of the benefits of
the system that he wished to bring more information about it to American
aquarists, so we arranged for a translator and here it is!
We hope you enjoy this issue of CA, and as always, we welcome your feedback
or on our forum at