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December 2009 FAMA Editor's Note

Reef-A-Palooza Fish Show

By Clay Jackson

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Every year I try to attend the annual gathering of reef aquarists known as Reef-A-Palooza. And every year that I do, I’m never disappointed. There’s always something new to see, a new nugget of wisdom to absorb, new coral frags to marvel at (and purchase), new hobbyists to connect with and old friends to catch up with. As a member of the Southern California Marine Aquarium Society ( — Reef-A-Palooza’s organizing body — I had the pleasure of assisting vendors at last year’s event.

This year’s Reef-A-Palooza speaker lineup is the strongest it’s ever been. Freshwater And Marine Aquarium contributor Scott Michael, who is a renowned author and photographer specializing in marine fishes, is one of the featured speakers. Knowing Scott, he won’t be short on humor or world-class photography when it is his time to present. Other present, as well as future, FAMA contributors who will be speaking at this year’s Reef-A-Palooza include the venerable Bob Fenner, biotope guru Scott Fellman, coral mariculturist Justin Credabel and aquarium techie Scott Vallembois.

You can check out all of their impressive credentials, as well as get hotel information, event hours, a map and directions, vendors that will be attending and where to find them via an online floor plan and a partial list of raffle prizes, at Of special note is the gallery section of Here you can look at photos from the 2004 and 2006 Reef-A-Paloozas and compare them with a video of the 2008 Reef-A-Palooza (see below), and you can see how far the event has come, from backyards and parking lots to one of the premier two-day hobbyist trade shows in the country. It truly is amazing what a few dedicated aquarists can do.

So, if you reside in Southern California, or plan on visiting the weekend of Oct. 24 and 25, 2009, plan on dropping by the Orange County Fair and Exposition Center, in Costa Mesa, to come and experience Reef-A-Palooza in person. You’ll be glad you did.

To get a feel for the sights and sounds of Reef-A-Palooza, check out a video of the 2008 event at

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