On November 22nd & 23rd 2014, I've participated the Vivarium 2014 edition. It's been 2 days of fun, hard work and meeting up with other aquarists.
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.
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.
Grand opening weekend "De Waterlelie"
On 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 15th up til May 17th 2017 this store had its re-opening celebration. This store had moved a couple of blocks from the former location.
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.
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 "Wild guppies", "Endlers N-class" and "Endlers K-class". This edition was organized by Killifish Netherlands (KFN) and Poecilia Netherlands (PN).
At the Aquaterra event 2014, I was requested to contribute to the AquaHortus 2015 exhibition 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 practice 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 labor 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.
I got home pretty late that evening. But as the picture shown above shows, you can tell we had a great evening.
Photo right:: One of the first tanks to see when you enter the first exhibition floor.
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 labor to get this all done and so we all were happy to have a relaxed evening with live music, snacks, drinks and socializing.
Photo left: From left to right: Me (Emeraldking-aquatics), Theo Verleun (DBA) and Paul Vons (Siergarnalen.com).
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 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 so-called journey through Dutch waters...
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.
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 in 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 livebearers for me.
Below: Jars with some caught fish from the Victoria pond.
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.
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.
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 focusing 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 marvelous 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 question mark at this point. But I'm glad that I've been part of this edition...
Note: At the Vivarium 2017 on the first day of the two day event, Peter van der Pompe and his spouse hopped by and handed me over a token of appreciation on behalf of the organization of the Aquahortus2015. I've kept this token displayed for 2 days at the Vivarium 2017 on my booth. Eventhough, it was handed over a bit belated, I was still proud of it...