On November 22nd & 23rd 2014 I've participated the Vivarium 2014 edition. It's been 2 days of fun, hard work, meeting up with other aquaristic enthusiasts and good business.
And like always, both Frogfoods and Emeraldking-aquatics stood next to eachother again. So, we had 8 meters of total booth length of aquaristic and terraristic merchandise to offer.
Below: A collage of the booth during those 2 days.
Terraria Houten 2014
On December 7th 2014 I was participating the Terraria Houten 2014 together with Herman ter Wengel from Frogfoods and Eric van Wanrooij from Jewelspray.
This was the first time that most exposants were a bit delayed with building up their booths. For the animal inspections early in the morning took too long. Exposants who brought in animals had to let all of their livestock be inspected before they were allowed to start building up their booths. Because of this, some exposants started building up while the doors were already opened to the public.
Despite of the delays we had in the morning, business went well the whole day. A real crowded floor of visitors from all over the country made it a worthwhile event.
Behind us we had a czech exposant with lots of reptiles and amphibians. We had to make an agreement with them in order where to put our properties. For even behind our booths less space was left but we had to leave our belongings somewhere. But despite of the cramped space we made it work...
Aquaterra event 2015
On May 9th 2015 I've participated the Aquaterra event 2015 at location " 't Manneke" in Berkel en Rodenrijs. We were the first exposants to arrive early in the morning. The organizer came in a bit late. So, we've waited in the car for a bit waiting till Xander Valkenburg (organizer) arrived at the scene.
It was remarkable how many belgian customers which I knew from my annual presence at the Naturaria fair in Antwerp hopped by.
It was also a day before Mother's Day and so fashion jewellery which I've brought along did good business. The fashion jewellery contains several kinds of jewellery with raptile or amphibian ornaments. In general I do put them on the table for those who are interested in them.
At this event, I've changed the presentation of the fish for the first tme. I've decided to use different jars which were more uniform in comparison to the ones I've used before. The ones befores were all uniform in shape as well with the exception of the color of the lids.
It was an amazing day in a rustic enviroment and unfortunately it was also the last edition of this event. This event and the DBA Hobbydag (both organized by Xander Valkenburg) were supposed to come together as one new vivaristic event. But personal health issues made the organizer decide to cancel the new event.
Grand opening weekend "De Waterlelie"
Om May 16th 2015 I've contributed to the grand opening weekend of aquarium and pond specialist "De Waterlelie" in Enschede. The whole weekend starting from friday May 15thg up til May 17th 2017 this store had its re-opening celebration. This store had moved a couple of blocks from the former location.
I've been requested by this store to contribute to this event by having my own booth with rare livebearers in a shelter on their premises. I was the only addition with fish at this event. It offered visitors a glance of rare livebearers that were available besides the standard livebearers available at this store.
Despite of the fact that the whole event took 3 days, I was only able to contribute for just one day because of my other schedules. The only misfortune for visitors were the frequent rainshowers that day. But despite of the weather conditions, the day went great.
At the end of the day a mobile bar was brought into the shelter. Participants, some regular customers and friends gathered to have a party with beverages and a wonderful buffet. This sore is one of my favorites in my neighbourhood. I'm a regular customer overthere ever since the first owners started the store for years ago.
Above: Coffee before starting setting up the booth. Well, setting up was easy this time. Putting a certain amount of jars on the table and all the rest was kept in boxes. For it was a bit cold in there to put all fish on the table. Later on a turbo heater was placed in the shelter.
Well, I had an excellent day overthere...
Terraria Houten 2015
On June 7th 2015 I was participating the Terraria Houten 2015 together with Frogfoods and Jewelspray at the Expo Houten in Houten.
Before the doors opened up to the public it was a bit hectic. The day started off with rainshowers which made transporting our stuff from the parking lot to our location indoors a bit hard with all the other exposants who wanted to get their goods safe and dry inside as quick as possible as well.
I myself had some trouble to get my badge for the day clipped properly on my chest. But I've managed within the whole hectic situation.
As usual this event had been visited very well. Hardly some time left to walk around the floor myself. It remained busy from the start and it was a day worthwhile to put such effort in. All reservations of fish which I've brought along were already picked up during the morning.
Killifish and livebearer Asperen NL Expo 2015 (Killifish and livebearer convention 2015)
On August 29th and 30th 2015 I've contributed to the Killifish and livebearer convention 2015 at hotel "De Schildkamp" in Asperen. I've been one of the jurors overthere within the categories "Wildguppies", "Endlers N-class" and "Endlers K-class". This edition was organized by Killifish Netherlands (KFN) and Poecilia Netherlands (PN).
Just finished judging.
First thing I did after arriving at the hotel was going to my room to unpack and get comfortable before going to the exhibition floor.
I already arrived on the 28th for the judging took place on this friday 28th 2015. I also brought along 6 entries of fish to compete within the competition.
The order of the showtanks of all categories was a bit different than I was used to. But that was just a small issue. It didn't bother me while judging the categories I was in for.
In a way, it's not more than logical that both disciplines of toothcarps (killifish and livebearers) are combined in one show.
The hotel "De Schildkamp" is situated in a rustic enviroment in a small place called Asperen. I always get the feeling of being on vacation when I'm there. It's got a lovely terrace, clean and nice rooms, great catering and above all... close to nature...
What's also great is that you get to relax at the lake when you cross the street overthere. It's a beautiful serene scenery. At one point I was intending to lay down on a bench at the lake. But when I got there, I already saw Kees de Jong (author of aquaristic articles, carrying the same last name and fellow board member of Poecilia Netherlands) taking a nap on that bench. So, I had to wait till he was done taking his nap...
Kees de Jong gave an interesting lecture about breeding goodeids in captivity on saturday afternoon. And afterwards a fish auction followed.
Between the day's events we took some breaks. The hotel does have two terraces which you can use to relax and have some beverages with eachother. Which we also did, of course...
During the evening we had a nice dinner (members of KFN and PN). After we we've finished dinner, the awards ceremony followed.
After the awards ceremony we went with a small group to the bar. But the bar turned out to be so crowded that we decided to sit at one of the tables next to the bar. The night lasted long for I went back to my room at 3 at night. The booze really hit on me...
On sunday we had to empty the tank set ups and clean all of them. All show fish were caught and bagged that morning by us to become entries for the next auction. On saturday we already had the big auction of livebearers and killifish.
As usual, also this event came to an end on sunday afternoon August 30th 2015. We had some drinks afterwards before we all left for home again.
And yes, also I did some purchasing at the fish auction...
At the Aquaterra event 2014, I was requested to contribute to the AquaHortus 2015 exhibtion due September 2015. I immediately accepted the request. I was requested because of my own vision of aquaristics. Theo Verleun (DBA) already knew me from the vivaristic events and knew that I don't practise aquaristics by the holiness of the traditional aquarium book. Which made me an interesting exhibitor for this 3 week lasting exhibition.
The exhibition was organized on the occasion of the 425th anniversary of the Hortus botanicus of Leiden, the 85th anniversary of LATV (aquarium and terrarium society of Leiden) and the 10th anniversary of DBA (dendrobates society). The exhibition was held at the greenhouses and premises of the University of Leiden. Lots of vivaria were exhibited. Besides exotic fish, amphibians and reptiles, also native fish and vent animals were shown as well. The AquaHortus exhibition is not an annual event. Which made it an honor to be part of it...
The exhibition is one of the biggest events I've ever participated. Unique is also the fact that it lasted for 3 weeks (September 5th 2015 - September 27th 2015). Of course, I've also contributed to the preps before the exhibition opened its doors to the public. My main focus was at the winter garden greenhouse for my tank set ups were located overthere.
Besides of the fact that I was one of the team members who did a lot of preparations, I do have to admit that I do have a lot of respect for everyone who contributed to the preparations. It took a lot of time and effort to get the job done. It was hard labour but it was so worthwhile when I look at the results.
With the shortage of driftwood that we had to decorate some larger biotope tanks with, it's been decided to get some driftwood from the pond near the winter garden greenhouse. They'd to fish driftwood out of the green water.
The preparations for the exhibition started already a couple of weeks before the exhibition opened its doors. I do have to admit that a couple of days before the grand opening, the whole set up of the livebearer tanks had to be changed and plan B was activated. It was planned to use the show set ups of Killi Fish Netherkands (KFN). But unfortunately, it turned out that because of the size of those tank set ups, getting them on the first floor seemed not possible. So, we came up with a compleet different tank set up in a short period of time.
The only factor that could be a burden was the sun which shined enormously on those small tanks. It meant that we had to do a lot more water changes and other maintenance as we've planned before.
After we were all done finishing all the preparations a day before the grand opening, we had a gathering with all cooperators of this event. It was hard labour to get this all done and so we all were happy to have a relaxed evening with live music, snacks, drinks and socializing.
Below , from left to right: Me (Emeraldking-aquatics), Theo Verleun (DBA) and Paul Vons (Siergarnalen.com).
I got home pretty late that evening. But as the picture shown above shows, you can tell we had a great evening.
Below: One of the first tanks to see when you enter the first exhibition floor.
Like every event, this exhibition was also in need of sponsoring. And also I was one of the sponsors of this event.
I've been working at this exhibition as frequent as possible during the 3 weeks. Because of my regular job I wasn't able to be at this exhibition every single day.
I've been working at several locations on the whole premises besides just my own location at the Winter greenhouse.
I also worked at the front desk to inform visitors about the exhibition and at the booth of the NBAT (Dutch Federation of Aquariums and Terrariums). It was funny... for there was this booth of the NBAT with flyers and so on but no one to represent the NBAT. It was situated across my own tank set up. And I did know some basics from the NBAT. So, I decided to represent the NBAT at that moment for those who were interested in the NBAT.
I really love the idea that the whole premises and other greenhouses were used for this exhibition. I don't know the number of all the vivariums displayed but it was a lot for sure. Most tanks and terrariums indoors were tropical or subtropical. And 0utdoors there were several marine and brackish water tanks with dutch aquatic animals displayed. A socalled journey through dutch waters...
One of the impressive greenhouses overthere is the Victoria greenhouse. centered is an amazing tropical pond with the Victoria amazonica. This amazonian giant is being considered the queen of the water lilies. Famous for its giant circular leaves which can grow up to approx. 2,5 meters in diameter. It's been told that one fullgrown leaf can hold a small child of approximately 45 kg when the weight is kept evenly on the top part of the leaf. Also the flowers of this giant water lily are amazing to watch but unfortunately each blooming will hold maximum 48 hours.
This Victoria amazonica is native to backwaters of rivers in the Amazon basin, the Pantanal and the Guianas in South America. But the first Victoria amazonica was found in Bolivia in 1801.
In this specific pond a lot of fish and mainly livebearers are swimming i there. I also spotted some freshwater puffers with a size of approximately 20 cm. Rogier van Vught (supervisor of the greenhouses) helped me out to catch some fish from that pond. I was really interested in those livebearers. For sure guppies and endlers have crossbred in there. But nevertheless, I thought it was amazing how certain specimens looked like. Also swordtails, mollies and platies were swimming in there.
Above: Rogier van Vught catching livebeares for me.
Below: Jars with some caught fish from the Victoria pond.
All vivariums (fish tanks and terrariums) which were displayed at the exhibition had to be labeled. So, visitors would be able to find out the info by themselves.
Not only on the exhibition floors during the exhibition there was still a lot to do for me but also behind the scenes I was kept busy with maintenance. From time to time I was struggling where to find certain gear in that space.
One of the largest and most amazing tanks we had displayed was the south american biotope tank (shown below). Different types of angels and cories were swimming in there.
Besides fauna also flora was exhibited in a huge way. It was a tropical floral world in those greenhouses. Despite of the fact that I've been focussing on animals during the exhibition, I also just couldn't stay away from all those amazing looking plants as well...
On september 27th 2015, the last official day of the exhibition came to an end. The day after we've started to disassemble the whole exhibition. In total it took about a complete week before every single bit of the exhibition was taken down.
In between we had some breaks. For it was a load of work.
Time for a refreshment... In my case a beer...
It's been an amazing event which lasted for way over a month with all the preps involved. Despite of the fact that this exhibition has been organized by dutch organizations, the exhibition itself was of an international allure. Not only dutch visitors but also lots of foreign visitors have been visiting this marvellous exhibition in a period of three weeks.
As already mentioned before, this ain't an annual exhibition. When the next one will be due remains a questionmark at this point. But I'm glad that I've been part of this edition...
Naturaria fair 2015
On September 27th 2015 I've participated the Naturaria fair 2015 in Antwerp again. As always, it was an early rise that morning for Antwerp (Belgium) is still 3 hour cardrive away from my place.
Despite of the early arrival in the morning at the Antwerp expo, it was already hectic with all the exposants busy to bring all their stuff on the exposition floor.
With this event, I always let my buddy Herman (from Frogfoods) build up his booth before I'll start. The space left will be mine.
As usual, the exposition floor was crowded with visitors. Also with this edition, I had a lot of french speaking customers wether they were french or belgians, I have to admit that my french didn't come out that fluently anymore. Maybe I just had to practise the language a bit more before showing up at this event.
Nevertheless, it was an amazing event again. And it's so nice to have a steady clientele in Belgium. Always fun to be there...
On November 21st & 22nd 2015 I've been participating the 2015 edition of the Vivarium (Holland's largest vivaristic event).
This time I've moved my booth to the other side of the expostion floor. A few weeks before I was asked by the organization if I wouldn't mind to move across the floor. It turned out that we had a bit more exposants this edition than usual. It turned out to be a better location than the location I had before.
We were sp surprised how busy those two days have been. In some way we had a lot more visitors in the building than usual. It's always crowded but this time it was insane. It was so busy that I was able to pay a visit to the restroom after 4.30 pm. This is one of the risks when you're running the booth on your own.
This was also the first time that I've changed the presentation of the livebeares. The jars were replaced by these small containers. They're broader, so the fish have more space to swim and also the surface is larger for a better oxygen absorption.
On day 1 about 45 minutes before the doors were opened to the public, an accident happened. The frame of the tank set up of a german exposant (almost across my booth) collapsed. Everybody was a bit in shock by that. So, some (including me) offered them our help to get the job done before the visiting crowd would dominate the expostion floor.
At the end of the 2 days, we were all tired but it was worth the effort.
Terraria Houten December 2015
On December 6th 2015, I was helping out at the booth of Frogfoods. I only brought along fish reservations which people could order till the day before the event. So, I've sold only fish which were in the styrofoam boxes.
As usual we had to squeeze in a bit behind the booth. Our back neighbours had much more boxes than usual which made it a bit hard to move around. But we're always lucky to have nice neighbours at such events.
Despite of the fact that it's been busy, I did find some time to buy myself also some goodies. Well, it was another exciting and successful day we had.
Terraria Houten June 2016
On June 5th 2016 I was helping out at the booth of Frogfoods and at Tim bij 't Vuur's booth at the Expo Center Houten in Houten.
I was helping out at 2 booths. First at Frogfoods and later on at Tim Bij 't Vuur's booth. One booth with live food and the other with fish and spiders... a fun combination in one day.
Above: At Frogfoods
Below: At Tim Bij 't Vuur
Besides myself and Herman, also 2 other friends were helping out. They wanted to see how it works at such an event. They had plans to open up there own terrarium store in Zwolle (Overijssel, the Netherlands)
Despite of the fact that we were that busy, I've tried to squeeze in some time to see what kinds of live animals were displayed. I really had the feeling that a lot more diversity of live animals were offered at this edition.
Like I've already mentioned, later that day I'veben helping out at Tim Bij 't Vuur's booth. This booth contained guppies, endlers and spiders. The combination of fish and spiders is a bit awkward but nevertheless business went well.
It was really fun and interesting to work at 2 booths at the same day for once.
Above: Tim Bij 't Vuur and me...