Aquatics Live 2011 review (part 1)
This weekend saw Aquatics Live take place in London, the first aquarium hobbyist event of it’s kind seen in the UK for almost a decade. The event catered for all aspects of the aquatic hobby and even featured some stands for those who enjoy keeping reptiles. The venue was the Olympia 2, a beautiful venue situated in West London.
Having attended a few tradeshow type events before at this venue, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from an aquatic show, but with all the coverage major events such as MACNA and the like get from various reef blogs, I was trying to keep my expectations realistic. The lack of sign posting outside the event on my arrival didn’t help matters, however once I walked into the venue, I knew I was in the right place.
A quick chat with one of the organisers was in order once I got my pass. Jill, from On Show Productions, was excited about how things had turned out and was very optimistic for what lay ahead for the event. It’s always a pleasure to see somebody happy with all the hard work they’ve put into organising something as big as this.
Checking the floor plan, Aquatics Live was split over 2 levels, with most of the good stuff happening on the top level, while many associations had their booths on the lower level. I made a quick walk through the event to get a better picture of where all the marine related stands were located and once I had finished my initial survey of the venue, I then went back to check out these booths and in this article (as well as in part 2) I will highlight a few of the best things I came across. I should mention the rather large, by all accounts, FOWLR display tank that was on show, nothing spectacular unless you’re simply judging on it’s size and the size of some it’s fish…
Tropical Marine Centre
By far one of the largest stands at the event, TMC went all out to showcase nearly every single item from their extensive catalogue including some livestock. They had three (possibly four) of their MicroHabitat 30 all-in-one nano reefs on display. And they looked really good – complete with skimmer and LED lighting unit. They also provided face painting for the kids (and numerous adults) and they had an artists on hand to create a cartoon version of yourself. I got to hand it to TMC, they sure didn’t mess around and really showed why they’re a major force in this hobby.
In addition, TMC also had another booth located away from their main stand, a chill out lounge – where some show goers were seen putting up their feet.
Coventry Aquatics shows off the Maxspect Mazzara LED unit
LED lighting was definitely a big part of this show, nearly every single aquarium in the building was lit by some form of LED fixture. The Coventry Aquatics booth didn’t just have one type on display, but two. They showed off the Key 3 LED unit (same one I’ve reviewed before) but the real highlight was seeing the new Maxspect Mazzara fixture in action. Must say, it’s something quite different to all other lighting units I’ve seen, however beauty is in the eye of the beholder in this case. It does look pretty cool, very industrial and tech looking, but I did over hear many people moaning about this very element of it’s style. Each to their own I guess. My biggest gripe about seeing both this LED unit and the Key3, they were both lighting up empty tanks – dry empty tanks. Showing what these units look like over actual livestock would have been a major plus in my books (as another vendor did, but more about that later).
This was most certainly one of the most elegant and beautiful of all the aquariums on display, the Cubic LED lit jellyfish aquarium. In addition to the jellyfish aquarium with it’s colour changing LED lighting, Cubic also had a range of the media reactors and calcium reactors on display. Construction looked and felt solid, and the overall design using the white materials gave their whole line a very classy feeling.
You can read part 2 of the Aquatics Live 2011 review here.