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July 2011 Aquarium Fish International Editor's Note

What's With all the Aquarium Shows?

By Clay Jackson |

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I have saved most of my aquarium show badges through the years, which you can see pictured below. Not counting my recent fact-finding trip to China to find out about a new ornamental fish complex (there was also an international fish show there) or my latest trip to Connecticut for the 36th Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies Convention (NEC), in terms of badges alone, I’ve logged time at the International Marine Aquarium Conference, three American Cichlid Association gatherings, the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, at least three Reef-A-Paloozas, the Midwest FragFest, four Marine Aquarium Conferences of North America, the Doctors Foster & Smith Coral Conference & Frag Swap, Backer’s Pet Industry Christmas Trade Show and two Global Pet Expos. If you’re counting, and China and the NEC are thrown in for good measure, that’s 19 shows. That’s a lot of miles in the friendly skies. If you add in the shows I don’t have badges for, the total balloons to about 25 or so.

Being an itinerant editor has its advantages, such as meeting contributors in person, as I recently got to do at the NEC (Mike Hellweg, John Todaro, Gary Lange, among others); learning about new aquarium trends, fish, corals and products; mining new sources for features, and discovering new writers and photographers. With these fresh new contributor faces come different experiences and perspectives, which are then reflected in the pages of Aquarium Fish International.

So, why have I gone to all the trouble through the years to fly to aquarium shows in eight different states and one other country? I do it for you — AFI’s readers. I do it so AFI can keep its metaphorical finger on the pulse of the aquarium hobby and can in turn inform our readers about what is most pertinent to them.

It is for these same reasons that I recently decided to venture out and take a look at the NEC, up in chilly New England, this past March. I don’t normally attend regional aquarium gatherings, but the NEC is large and held a lot of promise from an editorial standpoint. And I wasn’t disappointed. You can check it out in this issue.

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