Great time @ IMAC

Pescado Racing

different orbital
Having a great time out at IMAC. I've been talking with Simon Garrett and Paul Whitby, two of the UK speakers. The coral vendors have great stuff, I've spent waaay too much between the corals and raffles. I have a bunch of photos I'll post when I get home. We've had a good number of AZ people out here, I see a lot of them are volunteer staff for the event. Met exhibitors and speakers from around the U.S. and beyond. I think the best part of the convention is, if you stayed on the Queen Mary. You can wander the halls of the ship at pretty much anytime. We were out ghost hunting til 2-3 am on some nights. The character of the ship really made this a unique show. For it's first year on the west coast, I tip my hat to the event organizers. Good show.


New member


Is there a website to see what this is all about? Might be interested for next year.


New member
I would have to respectfully disagree. I was out for the day on Friday and was pretty underwhelmed by the event. Not so many equipment vendors, the coral vendors had teeny tiny frags.

The speakers were pretty good. Christine Williams gave a great, funny and enjoyable speech about the dangers lurking in our tanks, Fenner gave a speech about Redox (even he admitted it was not his best presentation).

Attendance was poor, there were only 20-30 people watching Fenner's presentation--and he is a pretty big name. Overall, I think that there were less than 70 people there on Friday from 10:00AM to 3:30PM when I left.

The best display was Quality Marine's large display, but nothing for sale at their booth, it was a PR only booth.

It was a stretch to spend 5 hours at the event. Even then, I pretty much visited every vendor 3X.

Frank did his best to organize the event, just a little disorganized, not enough vendors and definitely not enough attendees. Will probably not be back, but according to many vendors I spoke to, the bigger show on the West Coast is Reef-A-Palooza in October.

Anyway, here are some photos

Over Long Beach Harbor before I landed


The Hotel


The Quality MarineTank


Christine Williams being introduced


Her Presentation


Bob Fenner Being Introduced, see how many empty seats, even at the front, really a pity


Hopefully it got busier during the weekend.
There have been prop auctions I have been to that have been better attended than the Friday's attendance at IMAC, a real pity

Orbital, thanks again for the pass!!

Pescado Racing

different orbital
Wow, did you not walk past the first row of exhibitors? It seems to me there are twice as many vendors for equip. here then coral vendors. I think the floor layout, impeded view to the exhibitors in the back rows. Saturday was about the same pace as Friday, maybe more people? The banquet was awesome, the noted speaker was great (simon garrett). I think it's a new conference with a few hurdles. Overall I had more fun then in a crammed venue with a bunch of aggrivated people clamouring over each other for space. Some of the best speakers, I had time to meet and talk with. Scheduled over the three days, I can understand a day pass might not give you the 'best impression'. IMO, I'll be back next year on the boat for this one.


New member
Yes, definitely went thru the entire show and yes there were 2 floors of equipment, food, chemical vendors compared to the 1 floor for livestock vendors

I am glad that you had a great time. Maybe my expectations were high--this was my first aquarium trade show and I am used to large conventions and trade shows in other industries.

Agree that the speakers were great!

I was hoping that Saturday would have been better attended. I am not sorry that I went on Friday, hearing the presentations was pretty good, but not sure if worth a return next year


New member
I enjoyed the heck out of it. I hope you get to use your tickets next year, but I think I got some pretty good use out of them this year.

I agree that the Queen Mary was an excellent place to hold the event. The convention was spread across three decks in a segregated area of the ship. The frag sales booths were all on the lowest deck, which was below the waterline. Frank joked about being "the first convention with underwater coral sales".

On the negative side, I'm pretty sure attendance was below expectations. I chalked that up to a few major factors:
a) This was the first IMAC produced by Fourreef Consortium, LLC (Frank Burr, Gresham Hendee, Jake Adams, and Neal Yahata),
b) The IMACs organized by Dennis Gallagher were in Chicago, IL. This one was in Long Beach, CA, and
c) The economy might (or might not) be starting to turn around, but it's still way, way down.
People often attend conferences that are (relatively) close to them, organized by people they know and trust to put on a good show and take care of them. This year's organizers had never hosted a show before, and building trust takes time. With this year's conference 2,000 miles away from the previous site, travel costs probably turned away some previous attendees. Finally, lots of people can't afford trade shows this year, as hobbyists or business owners.


New member
On the positive side, I think the Fourreef team did a great job building confidence. Frank in particular was everywhere, making sure that people had a good experience.

As an example, one couple bought tickets for the Saturday raffle without understanding how it worked. At some shows, all the raffle tickets go into a common pot, and all prizes are drawn from that pot. At IMAC West, it worked like Frank's FRAG raffles. People bought tickets, separated them, and placed the ticket parts into boxes for different prizes. Near the end of Saturday's raffle, a confused woman suddenly came forward and said that nobody had torn her tickets and entered them into the drawing. Frank explained the procedure, and let her put her tickets into the last couple of drawings. Luckily, the couple stayed for the whole show. Frank made sure they had more tickets for Sunday's drawing than they had bought for Saturday's raffle.

Another example came at the banquet. Because attendance was low, there were extra coupons for Beef, Chicken, and Vegetarian entrees. Frank came around to various tables, asked how we liked our meal, and offered people the opportunity to switch to one of the other entrees if their original choice didn't live up to their expectations.


New member
The raffles themselves had some impressive prizes. Aside from the obligatory "huge tank you'll have to pay someone to ship home if you didn't drive a U-Haul to the show", there were a couple of world premiere items in the drawings.

One of the world premieres was Salinity salt, part of Sea Chem's Aqua Vitro line. The cool thing about this salt will be the Certificate of Analysis. Every bucket will include a Guaranteed Analysis sheet, listing the exact characteristics of that batch (pH, Alkalinity, Mg, Ca, etc.). Seven buckets were donated for the raffle. Seven empty buckets, that is. Apparently the salt isn't quite ready, so the IMAC West winners will receive actual buckets of salt by mail, about a month from now.

Two of those seven buckets will be coming... to my house! I'll post the Guaranteed Analysis when I receive the salt, and I'd like to collaborate with a few people to test those numbers. I'll start another thread for that when the salt arrives.


New member
I need to mention one more negative item before I talk about the hotel. Because the exhibit hall was split between three decks, there were a lot of stairs. The hall had escalators, but they weren't running. There was an elevator, but it was hidden in a corner. I only found out about it on Sunday. I can stand to lose some weight, so the stairs weren't necessarily a bad thing for me, but having the escalators running, or having a sign directing people to the elevator, would have been a big help.

The hotel is amazing. I don't have a cable to connect my phone to my computer, and my wife had the digital camera for the weekend, so my pictures will have to wait. Displays about the history of the ship are tucked into nooks and crannies all over the boat. Just as an example, I never would have guessed that the ship once contained both a chapel and a synagogue, with a parchment scroll of the Torah hand-written from memory by scholars.

My stateroom was internal, meaning that I didn't have a porthole. To make up for that, the light seal was the best I've ever seen in a hotel. When I turned out the lights, it was pitch black in my stateroom, with only the faintest glow from the hallway light peeking under the door. I don't mind a little light when I sleep, but I know that a lot of people have trouble sleeping with any light. Note: By "faint glow", I mean that I could see a vague light patch under the door, but I had to turn on a lamp to see my hand in front of my face.

I agree that the keynote speaker gave a great talk. I learned a lot, including a new word (bommie). On the other hand, I think perhaps it would have been better to schedule him during the day. As an after-dinner speech, I thought it was a bit too long and technical. I suspect that people with full bellies and a few drinks in them are best served with a short speech and a colorful, but simple slideshow.


New member
Quality Marine won the inaugural Best Display award, and they totally deserved it. They set up a big cube with a ton of awesome fish, lots of coral, and two of the coolest tunicates I've seen in captivity. The plumbing under the tank was elegant, simple, and impressive (at least to me; I know nada about tank plumbing). They had two VorTech units attached to the floor of the cube, with acrylic "collars" holding the sand out and preventing a dust storm. Their prize fish was a neat little hybrid angel.
Edit: They seemed most proud of the angel, but I really liked the orange spot filefish. Of course, it treated all the corals as its own personal buffet (it's a corallivore), but it was awfully cool to watch.

I saw a couple of cool speakers. Mitch Carl was a real standout, with his presentation on SECORE - the SE xual CO ral RE production project. Describing the dense stands of Acropora palmata he worked with in Puerto Rico, he referred to them as "real corals, not those pink-tipped p**** corals you guys raise". His talk was very entertaining, and the project could become extremely important in the future.

I plan to pick up a DVD with a couple of the presentations. The cost is $10/speaker. I spent Friday driving out there, and extended my trip with a wrong turn, so I missed all of Friday's speakers.

Edit: I volunteered Saturday, mostly working the raffle area. If that makes me my opinions biased, so be it. These were my impressions of the show, as a volunteer and a visitor.

Edit 2: Okay, a 140 gallon bowfront isn't a "huge" aquarium, but the tank and stand are way too big to fit in the average sedan for the drive home, and they definitely won't fit into an airline carry-on bin.
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New member
Apparently, there's an occasionally-heated rivalry between Reefapalooza and MAX (Marine Aquarium eXpo). They both use the Orange County Fairground, but Reefapalooza is in the fall, and MAX is in the spring.


AZ FRAG President
So this was my first IMAC and I can't really compare it to the prevous ones. I will agree there could have been more people there. It seemed like the vendors were bored. I was very pleased with the venders that were there. The coral booths did not have many large colonies, but all most everything was top shelf frags and that is what I'm into right now. I took advantage of the oppotunity. The raffle was awesome, there were a lot of attendees there for that. Over all, there was a lot to learn from this years mistakes, and that just means next years IMAC will be something to look forward to.


New member
how did quality marine get their display tank to be ready for a 3day event? if they just set up that tank wouldnt they have a huge cycle with all those fish and live rock? im just confused on how they set up a nice tank like that with good water quality?

Pescado Racing

different orbital
Here are a few pics taken from IMAC....

H.M.S. Queen Mary

Quality Marine Display - Winner of "Best Booth" Award

Close-Up of Quality Marine - Tiger Tunicate

Quality Marine #3

Reef Nutrition Booth

Spectra Pure Booth

Some of the many raffle prizes
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Pescado Racing

different orbital
Some more Pics...

Lumenarc Booth (left)

Fire Station aboard the Queen Mary, self-guided tour @ 2 a.m.

Queen Mary Grand Ballroom, wall mural

Queen Mary hidden doors within the Grand Ballroom, take a look at the detailing

Look what we found! Cardiff Tide Pools, San Diego (post IMAC)

Our day to play and go home. Cardiff Tide Pools.
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Pescado Racing

different orbital
Oh yeah... TECO Chillers had lemonade and margarita dispensers hooked-up to their chillers. That's quite a tasty beverage! Homemade margaritas ice cold makes any conference that much better!