MACNA 2016 : Who is Going?

Discussion in 'Events & Announcements' started by OnTheReef, Jul 26, 2016.

By OnTheReef on Jul 26, 2016 at 7:38 PM
  1. OnTheReef

    OnTheReef OnTheReef (Eric) Supporting Member

    I am planning to attend MACNA 2016, who all is going?
     
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Discussion in 'Events & Announcements' started by OnTheReef, Jul 26, 2016.

    1. Ashalye
      Ashalye
      [​IMG]

      The photo booth person thought we had the best photo all weekend! :D
    2. Newjack
      Newjack
      Way to represent! Anyone coming back with any corals? or raffle prizes?
    3. Ashalye
      Ashalye
      We won 2 of the smaller raffle prizes each day. (No crazy 150gal DD tanks, DSLR or iPad Pro :p)

      I'll let Matt @<3-2-reef say exactly what we got. I think Friday was a little pump and a magnetic probe holder, Saturday we got a UV sterilizer and reef nutrition pack, and today we won a 3pack of 2 canisters of dry food and a canister of carbon, and a pair of seabay clown fish. So our $95 worth of raffle tickets paid off!

      They're going to mail us the fish and reef nutrition. I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that on the plane!
    4. Apon
      Apon
      I brought home 1 coral and 8 fish on the plane. All survived the trip so far.:D.....and no I won no raffles.:confused:
    5. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      No raffle winnings, but I probably got enough food samples that it is practically a raffle prize worth of stuff :) No livestock though as i am still in San Diego leaving in a couple hours, and my cousin's little girl only has a betta cube, so doubt anything could survive in that. They did gave some great blow out prices at the end thst left me sad, saw one vendor with a ton of 10 dollar frags and then a buy 6get 4 free sign so basically 6 dollar frag... but alas I am better off without for now
    6. Flagg37
      Flagg37
      So no big announcements or new releases from vendors?
    7. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      Well the vaporware that is the Mindstream is still waiting for release, although the replacement tests have moved to a subscription based format at 35 a month. Sicce has a controllable dc return that can pulse and oscillate intensity suitable for closed loop application. Rossmant had a tiny ac powered pump that could push 4000+gph and with optional controller could act like a dc pump.

      I'm at the airport typing on my phone with a wiggling baby in my lap so cant recall too much more now but there's a taste
    8. coral4me
      coral4me
      The clown pair we won are Spotcinctus Clownfish from Sea and Reef. We haven't seen them yet, but here's a picture from their website. =)
      Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 12.54.40 PM.png
    9. Flagg37
      Flagg37
      Oh wow, that's a cool one.
      coral4me likes this.
    10. Surferboy1500
      Surferboy1500
      Hey guys - new here - I went to MACNA and won quite a bit, but also spent quite a bit. Wish I would have found the club before going, didn't know many there!
    11. Apon
      Apon
      Welcome Surferboy. We never ran into OntheReef either? Not sure I ever met him, but some others were running around I guess.
    12. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      Well I'm back from MACNA and I have a few pictures (didn't take a ton) but I got a bunch of literature, and I'll try to relay as much information as I can remember. I'll also break the post down into sections, so feel free to jump to whatever equipment you like. To those who have never been to an aquarium conference it's more like a trade-show with a conference aspect, meaning they have talks by people on various subject but there also is a large tradeshow floor with various vendors about, some of them have products for sale at the event, some you have to ask about a tradeshow price, and some are true to the name wholesalers who only deal with store fronts or other distributors, and of course there were those who were selling coral too, unfortunately due to me coming back on Monday and my cousin (whom I was staying with) didn't have a tank there was no livestock purchases for me which is a shame too because on the last days there were some super killer "we don't want to take this home" prices. I only went Friday and Sunday, but on Friday I got in at 10am when they opened the doors, went down a couple rows in a meandering way, about an hour later Arnold got to the show and we walked from the other side and got down about 2 rows which by which time was about 2pm to which we left for lunch, while yeah you could see everything easily in a day if you talk to the vendors (and that's where the real info on their products are) it'll take MUCH longer, when we left by about 5pm or so we got through a little over half of the displays, Friday was a slow day so many vendors were free to talk to you, Sunday was equally slow too as people were going home that day so not as many there, vendors even wanted to start packing up.

      Also take what I'm saying with a grain of salt since much of the infomation is from the point of view of the sales reps who's products can do no wrong while the flaws in the competetors are very apparent. Most all pictures were taken with my phone, so expect a bit of blur. Lastly I don't know how "new" any of these are, but I've never seen a them so I'm going to call them "new" in my book.

      The Event
      [​IMG]
      So the event was in San Diego and held at the Town and Country conference center/hotel. When I got their at 9:30 they were fairly backed up trying to get people to register, unfortunately they did not have my badge for some reason so had to print a new one, however I never had to get another. I think they gave me an all day badge or the security working the show simply was glancing at people to make sure they had badges. Needless to say I did pay for 2 days, so it's not like I ripped them off, I just didn't want to go through the hassle of getting a new badge printed. Overall a nice location to have the event, it was larger than the Reef-a-Palooza I went to, it wasn't obvious where the speakers were but once you knew it was easy enough to get to, plus I liked how they staggered the rooms so that there was no rush to get a speaker out when another started. One "problem" is that there were speakers just about all day, so if you wanted to hit the booths you had to give up speakers, I really only went to one talk (Matt Wandell) but I really wanted to hit up Marc Levenson (Melevsreef) for his talk on building a fish room unfortunately I wasn't going to be there that day. Didn't see signs the first day, but Sunday had "No outside food or drinks" signs up and they were enforcing, I guess they didn't want people making a mess on the carpet... or they were pissed everyone walked 5 minutes to a local mall instead of eating at their overpriced restaurants :D

      Most of the vendors were in one big room, while a smaller room was for raffle boxes and a few other vendors. Maybe it was a cheaper place, but fish related art was over there, some extremely far-east companies with customer service reps who didn't seem to understand English, etc.

      Aquariums
      There were a number of manufacturers there, Acrylic Glass Exhibits (A.G.E.) they had an acrylic cylinder, and a glass peninsula on display at the end of the show both were for sale for $2500, the glass tank was (eyeballing) 72"x30"x30" and came with a steel frame stand and looked really nice, but don't think Southwest would allow that as my luggage, the cylinder looked nice too, about 5 feet wide I'm guessing with a center overflow, neither was filled with water though. Crystal Dynamics had a booth, and I mentioned how much it looked like the old Leemar tanks, and I found out they had a lot of the old workers working for them, I am extremely tempted to get a tank from them I NEED glass. My only complaint with them was I'm not a big fan of the bulky trapazoidal overflow boxes in the tank.

      Fluval had some nano all-in-one tanks that were actually mini-peninsula style tanks, I didn't ask about pricing but it is Fluval so I expect these to be more "affordable" style tanks.
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      JBJ had a number of nano-tanks as well, some fairly nice rimless ones, and these AIO tanks "Cubey", I asked about a price and they seem to range from low $300s to high $300s, not sure if the stand is included in that price. I was thinking about one for my son's room, but I'm not sure about how stable a tank like this would be, obviously would want to anchor it to the wall in some way.
      [​IMG]

      Kordon (The Amquel and other water conditioner guys) apparently are US distributors of a UK brand Arcadia, I can't find any info about them online which makes me think it's not available here yet, but the name on the pamphelt they gave me is "L'aquarium". But it's complete setups similar to Elos (I'm not comparing to quality, just general looks), has opti-white glass (another brand of low-iron), the stand is very shiny white (what made me think Elos), and it seems to be an all in one solution, tank, stand, sump. They apparently are based out of Hayward though, so might be able to get more information from them.

      There were a few other vendors too one of which TheLAFishGuy was working for, but this one was by Planet Aquarium I believe, and is a monster of drop off tanks, that one that was raffled? Yeah that's nothing. Just look at the guy on the other side of the tank to get a feel for how large it is, probably was 4 feet tall and I believe it was even made of glass not that you could reach the bottom to clean it :D
      [​IMG]
      They were selling this thing at the end of the show, I didn't even ask about price because I'm guessing it's not a standard size :D

      Controllers/Monitors
      Of course Neptune had a presence, they were showing off their entire product line. Said hi to Jon while we were there (he's in the group photo, non-silly one).

      Digital Aquatics has a controller I've heard about before not sure how long it was in the beta-testing phase, the Archon, it basically is similar to the new Apex in that they have done away with the screen and made it wireless to work with a phone/tablet, which seems to be a growing trend for everything.

      Mindstream guys had a booth, they had something which may or may not be a working model. It basically constantly tests various parameters of your tank, then uploads them to a cloud server. I believe they said $900 for the unit, and a $35/month subscription to access the data on the cloud and get monthly replacements of the testing mechanism. Not yet released, vaporware :D. I personally am not sold on it for that price point.

      Milwaukee has a controller called the "DL Black Box Series", various ones exist that measure pH, Temp, ORP (depending on model), also wireless to your phone, has a power controller, and as the guy said "we're not trying to compete with the other guys, we simply want to let you know about a few critical pieces work" Price point was in the mid $300 range I believe. Not sure how useful that would be, but Milwaukee does make good testing equipment.

      Aquatronica is another new one I saw, aquatronicastore.com , basically had a touch screen, and a non-touchscreen model that did the same thing just one is online and accessed from phone/tablet. Looks to be an affordable solution too, can't speak of quality though, although one thing I hated was the power bar setup, it is an absolutely horrible design that doesn't allow any wall warts. [​IMG]

      Saw another product (in the "cheap" room) called the eXact iDip which apparently works with your smartphone/tablet. It uses color photometry so you don't have to compare to a card or wait for a color change. Pricing is interesting on it, it's less than $200 for the phone version, and except for Alk, pH, and Chlorine you actually pay for the app from the app store (all seem to be 4.99 each) and of course you'll pay for new reagent kits when you run out, although I do see starter kits marine and aquarium, the marine has a calcium, nitrate, alk, ammonia, hardness, phophate, pH & magnesium (calculated... which I guess means uses other values to guess?) and that goes for $340. But if accurate it looks like a neat thing if you hate doing testing by shaking vials of water and adding drops.

      Triton water testing had a booth, basically for $40-50 (forgot the exact price) you buy a kit, send them water, and they zap it and send you back the results. It's a very pricy single test of everything, but if accurate could be useful to dial in your tank. They of course also sell the stuff you need to correct your tank :). I think Rich Ross did a talk on something along this.

      GHL is releasing a new ProfiLux controller, the ProfiLux 4, it looks pretty sweet, not sure on pricing but it is definitely a high end controller

      Saw the Vectra Cerebra, man that thing looks clunky as all hell with the huge "main" screen, and even the powerbars are gigantic, only 6 plugs too. They were selling them there, not sure on price, but they claimed when they released them initially at a discounted price they sold out in 45 minutes, yet I still recall being able to buy one some time later. I'm sure it's a good controller and all, it's just a matter where it fits in the market. Actually it would be neat to see a side by side of all the controllers out there.
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Then there was a startup company called ReefKinetics and their "ReefBot", it's basically a testing mechanism that takes water from your tank automatically and then does the tests for you. Now this is in no way a finished product, so don't ask me where the old water goes, but it seems like a neat idea. You can set up multiple little "test stations" that connects to what I can only imagine is a peristaltic pump which drips the precise amount of tank water and via the reagents.
      [​IMG]



      Lastly SenEye is a neat little monitor as it measures pH, ammonia and temperature. Also it has a light sensor on it that not only measures PAR values, but also shows how that light is distributed over the various wavelengths, so you can see if your blue LEDs are going funky bad or if your halides are shifting colors drastically. Requires replacement strips since it's something that stays in the aquarium, but they're about $10 each and they last a month. It doesn't control anything, but it gives you up to date monitoring, unfortunate thing is that it plugs into a computer, or a wifi device (for an extra cost). The light sensor might make it worth it (less than $200 I believe). Also a coupon for 15% off at BRS seneyeBRS.

      Lighting
      First up from Hydor, Aqamai line of products which again with the trend smart phone/tablet controlled. The Aqamai LRM fixture looks to be a bit on the low powered side of things to me, Nichia brand LEDs (never heard of them) and the control aspect has you adjusting the intensity of "warm" colors (reds, greens) vs the "cool" colors (blues) unsure where the white LEDs fall into there. But it seems neat but it's nothing like others which let you adjust each color individually. It's only 80watts too so not meant to be a blast of light
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Kessil showed off their A80(?) series, these are fanless and extremely thin. They also are not very powerful, meant for small nano-tanks or for fish only applications.
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Maxspect showed off the Ethereal fixture, 130watt, 5 channel, and can connect to some controller/wifi station so you can control up to 200 units (not sure if they can be controlled independently or not, still looking for that option to light a tank from one side to the other with the bright area moving across it through the day. Maxspect always struck me as kind of a middle tier of lighting options, definitely better ones out there, but they aren't the super cheap Chinese knock off stuff. But their advertisement pamphlet says "24inĀ² of Coverage" so someone definitely screwed the pooch and doesn't understand math, or they're trying to pull one over on you because that's less than 5" by 5"
      [​IMG]

      Kordon again with Arcadia brand products, this time T5 retrofit LEDs, basically plug them directly into a T5 fixture and they work except they're LEDs so will (hopefully) last longer. Unsure about how bright they are compared to T5s though, they claim "twice the PAR" but are they comparing vs T5? or T5HO bulbs? Then are they comparing vs just a bulb? Because adding a good reflector can almost triple the amount of usable light. A 4' bulb only use 18W vs 54W that a T5HO light does, and LEDs are not that much more efficient, so I suspect they actually are not as bright. Will be interesting to see where they go from here. Reefbuilders seems to have posted an article on them as I'm typing this one up. http://arcadia.systems/aquatic/lighting/led/t5/

      Also from Kordon (Arcadia) is the Series6 LED array, basically it's a sets of 3 LED pucks in a fixture across the entire tank. A mixture of white, blue, royal blue, violet, UV, red and green. Also wifi enabled to program and do whatever you want. http://arcadia.systems/aquatic/lighting/led/series-6/

      Quite a few other LED manufacturers, or rebranders, nothing that really caught my eye super well though. The "cheap Chinese black box" type of LEDs, and actually the company that makes some with a more longer version of it. They are the ones that had sales reps who didn't speak very good English at all, but they did offer me a bag! So props to SemiLED :D

      Pumps/Skimmers
      Mentioned earlier the Rossmont and Sicce pumps on display

      Neptune showed off their COR pump, not sure how new it is but I did like the fact that unlike the WAV if you don't have an Apex you still can use the pump, although at that point I do not know what would differentiate between it and any other DC controllable pump. Here's some Neptune booth eye candy anyways :D
      [​IMG]

      One company called Simplicity, which said whole push is towards the affordability line with DC pumps and skimmers, a 12" wide skimmer is just under $700, but they look like they have the same exact controllers as all those Chinese DC pumps that are rebranded under various names. They also have a number of return pumps, as well as sumps and other things (GFO, GAC, etc). However they are one of the companies that don't sell to individuals only to businesses.

      Finally got a look at the Nyos line of skimmers, big suckers. Efficient pumps in them too, 22watts is the large pump, the largest skimmer has 2 of them. My only complaint though as that the pumps are inside the skimmer body. melevsreef youtube channel does a review of them and shows how much work there is in cleaning them. They also do a lot of test kits and additives, with their nitrate test kit being one of the easiest to read due to how the comparison chart works.

      There was this beast of a skimmer/filtration device by Fritz Aquatics, absolutely massive. Fairly sure this is for commercial systems or those with EXTREMELY large tanks (over 1k gallons easily). Not even going to ask a price.
      [​IMG]

      And of course Abyzz showing off how powerful their pumps are.
      [​IMG]
      Not sure what pump is doing this but the water did reach the top. Also something to note, their smallest DC pumps run $1300 (and it pushes less than 2k gph), their biggest is $2400. You really have to be a committed (and wealthy) individual to go this route. Any pump that makes the Red Dragon series of pumps look cheap needs to really sell to a specific clientel. Not to say they are not good pumps, I'm sure they are, but at what price point does quality of a product have diminishing returns? Also note what's on the table there, the big jet ski looking motor, that's another pump (for commercial use I'm sure)

      Reeflo was/is having a sale on their pumps too, the rep told me 40% off all pumps, he gave me a "card" and told me to contact him directly, basically the same price he sells to dealers who sell to us. Now they make great pumps that push lots of water with some pressure, but I almost feel like their target audience has shrunk a bunch due to the emergence of a lot of high efficiency pumps. The upside his pumps are external, and that in itself has some benefit, but again is it something you would care about?

      CoralVue was showing off how many different brands they own, Reef Octopus line, Icecap skimmer line, Some other one, however out of all of them the CS reps there seemed to either be very disinterested in talking with people (or me, as I went through multiple times trying to get someone to approach me), or they really didn't know squat about the product.

      Vectra had a nice booth, was temped on the Vectra Alpha 250, as there was a show price of $1050 on it (about $200 less than retail, plus no tax), but it was a cash only price and I didn't feel like trying to find a bank to get that kind of cash... plus my tank isn't anywhere close to being ready. When it is time then I'll consider it again.

      Other
      MRC's booth had a few nice things, first their X-series (I think) of product lines, these are sumps and other "non commercial" type of builds, i.e. thinner acrylic, more affordable etc. A quick look at ReefBuilders seems this was out/announced last year... so ok not new, but new to me :p
      [​IMG]

      Here's a calcium reactor that instead of having upflow it squirts out of the downtube. The rep said this allows you to pack in finer media, and allows more surface area worth of material, not sure how useful that would actually be though.
      [​IMG]

      Saw a number of the "slim line" overflows, Reef Savvy makes one that they were pimping as the thinnest. Synergy has a new one with everything extruded and the bulkheads welded on so no seams and you can get very close to the box walls, also have a U/V shape to their teeth where it gets wider higher so if you increase the flow there's more surface area that can be skimmed. Seemed Reef Savvy and Synergy had a bit of a falling out. But they both make good products.

      Bashsea makes some really sexy sumps, blacks and reds, blacks and blues. As well as just about any sort of cannister/cylinder shape products.

      And this one for Vincent, the Dreambox that I bought... NOT
      [​IMG]
      Comes with Bubble King Super Marin 200 with RD3 speedy, a RD3 speed return pump, 2 cannister filters, LED interior lights, red welded seams, and was $434 off retail price!
      [​IMG]
      Only $4999, should have gone Vincent, totally worth the trip :D

      Not sure what company this was, but the porthole magnifying glass caught my eye.
      [​IMG]

      And right as I took a picture, got a camera hog that had to show off how awesome it is!
      [​IMG]

      Here's one of ORA's displays, nice cylinder zero edge tank. Super crisp and clean looking. They used two of those oval photon cannon pendants (name of manufacturer escapes me now) and to be honest that tank had the best overall color.
      [​IMG]

      Here's the Quality Marine tank... yup looked crappy cloudy like this since day one.
      [​IMG]
      Then on day 3 (or 4 depending upon when they set up), it was clear!
      [​IMG]
      I really like the vortec pump on the bottom of the tank blowing upward.

      Lastly the Sunday raffle, which on Friday when they had all the days out was maybe 1/10th this amount of boxes. In fact this was a major bone for some people that they kept putting boxes out so people who already put tickets get screwed. Didn't win anything of course but it was all good fun. Loved their raffle ticket system, you basically got a sheet with 25 tickets (plus a bonus ticket that was not well advertised) that were all the same number so you only had to keep track of that single number, buy multiple sheets then you get multiple numbers. A few people won a LOT of prizes, but they had bought a TON of tickets, looked like they held a stack of playing cards, with each card was $20.
      [​IMG]

      Overall it was a fun trip, I do envy reef bloggers who (may?) get paid to do this for a living, plus separating each one of these would make this infinitely more readable however I'm not going through that effort without a paycheck! :D. Would love to do this on a regular basis but alas I think there are enough reef blogs out there and adding one more would be tough to get a foot in the door. Wall of text is now over!
      Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
      Ashalye, Raddogz, boun11 and 3 others like this.
    13. Enderturtle
      Enderturtle
      Wow thank you so much for the pictures @sfsuphysics

      Hope y'all had fun. I had a blast going to reef-a-palooza for the first time so I imagine this trip was epic!
    14. Apon
      Apon
      Mike I think all the talks were recorded. Not sure how you get the videos.
    15. Flagg37
      Flagg37
      That was a great synopsis. Thanks for taking the time to write that all up.
      Geneva likes this.
    16. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      sorry for the large picture sizes, when I uploaded them to imgur it looked like it automatically reduced the size of the photos.
    17. Geneva
      Geneva
      Yes, thanks, @sfsuphysics Mike for taking the time to write up your experience! I almost feel like I was there....
    18. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      If anyone wants a little more info about something specific feel free to ask... at least while memories are still fresh in my mind

      Arnold, yeah I thought I saw a video camera, but yeah dont know how to see those videos
    19. Flagg37
      Flagg37
      Did Neptune make any mention to when their COR pump will be released?
    20. sfsuphysics
      sfsuphysics
      Did not ask, they had one working on display. Jon could probably answer that though

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