Reef-A-Palooza NY 2018
03 Jul, 2018
I’ve been attending reef aquarium conferences for over a decade, but I’d never been to a Reef-A-Palooza until 2018. CORAL Magazine asked me to help out at their booth this year, and we all had an excellent time. I got to meet readers who thanked me for my articles and made me feel warm and fuzzy. We also got to meet some incredibly passionate and talented folks in the industry who are working on projects like captive-breeding programs, a “Noah’s Ark” for public aquariums who suffer losses in natural disasters, and ambitious plans to clean up the Gulf of Mexico!
After setup in the morning, I had about ten minutes before the show started to walk around and check out the other booths and buy a few corals (I may or may not have spent $10 per minute).
Once the doors opened, a swarm of people came in. If you want to beat the crowd, get the Diamond pass. You’ll be allowed to come in early and browse at your leisure without being jostled or waiting your turn.
The best part of Reef-A-Palooza is getting to meet all your favorite industry icons and meet or reconnect with reefer friends. I was greeted by the one and only, always friendly and informative Julian Sprung when I showed up at the hotel. My friend Bob lamented that he may miss Julian’s talk because he had to go home early, but Julian was happy to give him some one-on-one time with a general outline of his talk and some tips before he left. Metrokat introduced me to Rachel Fogle of Reef Weeds on Friday night, and I audibly gasped because I am a huge fan of her artwork. I shook her hand and told her how starstruck I was to meet her, and she replied, “But I’m a big fan of yours!” I got to chat with some of my favorite writers, bloggers, videographers, aquaculturists, and industry reps this weekend. I’ve been drooling over the new Aquamai wavemaker for my reef bowl, and I got to talk to the Hydor rep about the pump while checking it out in person.
It is tough to choose a favorite, but the Reefs.com booth was really neat this year. They had some captive-bred flame angelfish from Colchester Pet Shop and also the new Marine Depot controller board. The PE Mysis/Poma Labs booth with their captive-bred Singapore Angels also had a lot of people talking. My good friend Larry Flint from the Reef Conservation Society was there selling coral for their Tanks in Schools program (I spent most of my money there, but it goes to a good cause).
There was an overwhelming amount of gorgeous livestock at Reef-a-Palooza this year. I wanted to buy everything. No one could turn anywhere without seeing eye candy like a Diamondtail Wrasse, Gem Tangs, Acanthophyllia corals, neon coral frags, and captive-bred marine fish.
I want to give a big THANK YOU to my good friends Al and Mark who bought me raffle tickets for the TSM Corals Gem Tang raffle. This is my dream fish, my Holy Grail, and I WON! Luckily I was sitting down when I got the call that I won, because I nearly fainted. Judy Billard (Reef to Rainforest and CORAL’s Business Manager) had to help me walk to the TSM Corals booth to collect my new Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum). I’ve never won anything else in my life.
I’m happy to report that the new Gem Tang named Alwyn is happy in his new home. He will stay in quarantine for conditioning and Cryptocaryon prevention for at least 8 weeks. I’ve been receiving a lot of messages from friends in the area who have nothing but the best to say about TSM Corals. I’ve been informed that they have already quarantined and conditioned my Gem Tang, but I like to be thorough. It was very obvious to me that the Gem Tangs had been so well conditioned based on their body condition and fearlessness. When I checked on my new Gem Tang pet the first morning, he fearlessly swam to his algae clip and bit it, then motionlessly stared at me with anticipation as if to say, “Hey, my clip is empty. Give me some more SeaVeggies.”
If you’ve never been to a Reef-A-Palooza, you don’t want to miss the next one! Hobbyists of all experience levels are welcome. I talked to a lot of people who don’t even have aquariums yet and are in the researching stages. I was also very pleased to see a lot of old friends who have been reefing for decades. They love RAP for the great selection of livestock and displays of the newest gadgets. My friend Bob said it best when he said, “Everyone at Reef-A-Palooza is so happy and nice. I don’t see a sad face here. This is like heaven for people like us.”