October 12-13, 2019 | Saturday 10 am - 6 pm | Sunday 10 am - 4 pm
Secaucus, NJ | Meadowlands Exposition Center

First International Betta Congress-Sanctioned Competition

Aquatic Experience Hosts Its First International Betta Congress-Sanctioned Competition


For the first time in Aquatic Experience history, the show will feature a competition sanctioned by the International Betta Congress (IBC), an overarching organization that promotes the keeping, breeding, and showing of all varieties of betta fish. Presented by Betta Breeders United—a chapter of the IBC—and sponsored by Hikari and Aqueon, the competition will showcase over 300 dazzling bettas as they compete in dozens of classes within the broader categories of competitor-bred, purchased, and wild species. With a diverse array of bettas displayed by breeders from all over the world, Aquatic Experience attendees will be mesmerized by the beauty of these timeless fish. Many of the bettas that participate in the competition will be available for purchase after judging has been completed.

“Every fish in this show is the product of careful planning and hard work,” said Holly Rutan, who serves as the President of the IBC, Vice President of Betta Breeders United, and an apprentice judge in the competition. “From a balanced diet, to daily water changes, to flare training—their owners dedicated months of effort culminating in this moment.”

Formerly known as Siamese Fighting Fish, betta fish used to be kept for sport due to their fighting tendencies. The IBC, however, does not condone the fighting of fish and instead encourages admiration of bettas’ beautiful appearances and unique personalities. Founded in 1966, the IBC is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting and researching bettas. The IBC is now active worldwide, providing training for judges and establishing standards for shows organized by affiliated local betta chapters such as Betta Breeders United.

Betta Breeders United began in 2015 as a Facebook group focused on responsible, science-based betta breeding. The group became an official IBC chapter in 2018. Today, Betta Breeders United has over 17,000 members around the world and constantly strives to showcase the incredible variety of the betta species with national events, such as Aquatic Experience and the 2020 International Betta Congress Convention.

For Aquatic Experience, Betta Breeders United is expecting bettas from throughout the U.S. and Southeast Asia to be entered into the competition, with 100 or more available for purchase after the judges have made their decisions. Siegbert Illig will serve as head judge for the event. He has been breeding bettas since 1994 and showing his fish in IBC-sanctioned competitions since 1995. Certified as an IBC judge since 2003, Illig has won numerous awards for his work, participated in developing the show standards for the halfmoon betta, and has been integral in the acceptance and popularization of the grizzle color pattern. Other judges for the Aquatic Experience competition will include: Rich Creighton, who has judged numerous international shows in his eight years as an IBC-certified judge, Bob Plenge, a two-time recipient of the IBC Outstanding Service Award, Kurt Bihlmayer, who joined the IBC in 1978 and also serves as a judge for the American Killifish Association and apprentice judge, Holly Rutan.

For more details about how to enter this exciting competition, visit https://www.ibcbettas.org/show/betta-breeders-united-at-aquatic-experience/. Betta Breeders United is looking forward to sharing the beauty and diversity of the betta species with Aquatic Experience attendees.

The Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association

The Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA): the Face of the Tropical Fish Farming Industry


The Aquatic Experience is excited to announce that the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA) will be returning to this year’s event. As the face of the tropical fish farming industry, the FTFFA captivated attendees of the 2018 Aquatic Experience with the popular “Wall of Fish,” consisting of 24 tanks that were filled to capacity with a diverse, premium-quality selection of Florida-produced fish and aquatic plants. Last year’s FTFFA booth also featured a 125-gallon display tank stocked with a wide variety of fish and plants, a special tank designed to showcase the world of “GloFish,” and knowledgeable representatives from the FTFFA.


Headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, the FTFFA is dedicated to helping Florida fish farmers consistently fulfill the Association’s slogan: “the best tropical fish come from Florida.” With over 200 members, the FTFFA is the industry’s premier trade association and serves as a powerful advocate for both the region’s tropical fish farmers and the aquaculture industry as a whole.


The FTFFA benefits its members and the greater fish farming community in numerous ways. With its co-op store, the FTFFA provides members with the best possible prices for fish-rearing and care products. The organization also plays an active role in aquaculture research designed to help farmers produce the highest quality fish and aquatic plants possible. Additionally, the FTFFA has a powerful lobbying arm that provides a legislative voice for fish farmers. With an ally like the FTFFA, it’s easy to see why Florida is the top producer of tropical fish in the country. With a goal of helping and supporting tropical fish farmers, the FTFFA encourages and enriches the sense of community in the industry. The Association also takes the lead in marketing and advertising for the farmers, getting the word out to suppliers at pet industry trade shows about the superior fish available from Florida farmers.


The FTFFA is thrilled to return to Aquatic Experience this year and participate in the unique interface between farms and consumers that the event provides. In addition to the incredible Wall of Fish, the FTFFA will conduct a “People’s Choice” contest in which attendees can vote for their favorite tank of fish amongst the multitude of tanks on display. By casting a vote for their top three favorite tanks, each participant will be entered into a door prize drawing for a complete aquarium setup. The winning farms will also be awarded a trophy at the FTFFA’s annual meeting. Come visit the FTFFA at Booth #722 and learn about the amazing quality and variety of tropical fish from Florida!


About the Florida Fish Industry


Consisting of more than 100 separate operations, Florida fish producers have earned an outstanding reputation as a reliable source of top-drawer tropical fish and plants. In fact, tropical fish are the number-one air cargo product out of Tampa International Airport, with an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 boxes of fish departing weekly.


Using the latest technology, Florida tropical fish farmers have been able to utilize pool greenhouse covers, biological filtration, automatic feeders, ultraviolet sterilization, reverse osmosis, and computers to increase production. And increased production is a good thing, especially since Florida fish farmers have seen a growth in demand for their product.


What is the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA)?


The FTFFA began as a cooperative in 1964, when the first members realized that they could substantially cut their costs by purchasing needed items in bulk. This realization led to the establishment of the FTFFA co-op store, where Association members still enjoy a healthy discount on fish farming items.


The FTFFA is still the only professional organization to represent tropical fish producers. The Association has a Board of Directors consisting of dedicated volunteers and a permanent executive director. It now boasts a roster of more than 200 members—primarily Florida fish farmers, but also retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and others with an interest in aquaculture and fish production. The group is funded by membership dues, the co-op store profits, and from our nesting-type shipping box. These funds are then channeled into Association projects, such as research and marketing.


Research is an important way of making us better farmers and business people. For this reason, the FTFFA has established a research partnership with the University of Florida, where the FTFFA was instrumental in establishing the College of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. This partnership has resulted in projects for disease diagnosis and control, and a special project on genetic improvements on the swordtail. There is also a full-time veterinarian available to farmers with more serious problems.


The FTFFA also helped establish a research laboratory in Ruskin, Florida, which focuses on a wide variety of fish production, nutritional studies, and genetic improvements. Going hand-in-hand with research are educational programs offered by the FTFFA. Our emphasis is on producing more high-quality fish, in recognition of the fact that everyone will benefit from bigger, better product coming out of Florida. With a mission of supporting the tropical fish industry, we aim to yield benefits for farmers in our state and others—and even beyond the aquarium fish industry. To learn more about the FTFFA and what we offer, visit https://www.ftffa.com.


Aquatic Experience Returns October 12-13, 2019

The World Pet Association (WPA) brings the industry’s premier show featuring “everything aquatic under one roof” back to the East Coast with the Aquatic Experience, held October 12-13, 2019 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center (355 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, NJ 07094). As the most comprehensive show of its kind, this incredible “must-sea” event will showcase both saltwater and freshwater exhibits and everything else aquatic for hobbyists and enthusiasts, as well as for those in the aquatics and pet industry.

For hobbyists, the Aquatic Experience offers 61,000+ square feet of saltwater and freshwater exhibits and fish displays to explore. An incredible Wall of Fish features more than 36 aquariums stocked with the finest quality and variety of ornamental tropical fish and aquatic plants farmed here in the U.S.  Another feature, the Fish from Around the World Display, presents a series of vignettes in order to simulate how a complete aquarium system may appear in a home or office. Additional educational opportunities and aquatic fun are geared toward the next generation of fish fans, including a Kids Aquarium Contest and Win A Betta! Toss game.

Showcasing the innovation and top trends in aquatics, the Aquatic Experience will feature the latest products and fishkeeping solutions. A meeting place for others who are passionate about aquatic life, the Aquatic Experience is the place to converse with industry experts, other hobbyists, and favorite aquatic social media personalities. Attendees can soak up ideas from educational seminars and demonstrations (free for both consumers and retailers) presented by well-known speakers, and will have the opportunity to sign-up for a Fish Health Management Course.

The Aquatic Experience offers several competitions: the Aquascaping Live! Contest, the fourth annual International Shrimp Contest USA, and the American Cichlid Association Fish Competition. New this year to the Aquatic Experience is the Betta Breeders United Competition, which will be an International Betta Congress (IBC) sanctioned competition. Whether participating or watching, attendees will enjoy the beauty and wonder of some of the best aquatic life on display.

For those in the aquatic industry, the Aquatic Experience is where retailers of all sizes can gain insight and a fresh perspective on their businesses. There will be seminars geared toward bettering business practices, providing fish and aquarium care tips, and growing an online presence. The Fish Health Management Course, a basic fish health specialty course designed to educate attendees about the basic principles of proper freshwater and marine fish management in closed aquatic systems, will be targeted in its scope and focus to pet store owners, employees, aquatic system consultants and other industry related individuals (hobbyists, veterinary technicians, and others are also welcome to attend). In addition to the educational programming, the show floor will feature new products and business solutions, allowing retailers to provide customers with the best and newest the industry has to offer.

Whether new to the aquarium hobby or an expert within the trade, the Aquatic Experience will provide attendees with new knowledge to improve their aquariums and grow their hobbies.

“I sincerely hope that all that is offered at Aquatic Experience will result in an increase in excitement over fish-keeping as well as ownership in it,” said Jacinthe Moreau, President of the World Pet Association.  “To me, caring for a fish aquarium or doing aquascaping brings the calming effects of nature right into the home. Once an aquarium is established and decorated with rocks and plants, the soothing sound of the water and watching fish swim are stress and anxiety-reducing.  With our fast-paced, sometimes crazy lives, owning fish is like having our own sanctuary.  Let’s grow the passion of those attending Aquatic Experience and spread this excitement!”

For more information on Aquatic Experience, contact the World Pet Association at 626-447-2222.

The World Pet Association (WPA) is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet industry and related products and services. WPA works to inform and educate the general public in order to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends. WPA is the host of America’s Family Pet Expo, the world’s largest consumer pet and pet products expo, held annually in Costa Mesa, California. The organization also produces SuperZoo, an annual pet industry trade show that showcases a comprehensive collection of exhibits and offers a variety of informative educational seminars. For more information, please visit www.worldpetassociation.org.

OASE at Aquatic Experience

Come see OASE’s complete line of Indoor Aquatics products at the Aquatic Experience

OASE Living Water is excited to showcase its North American Indoor Aquatics line at the Aquatic Experience this month, from our Thermo Filters to our line of biOrb aquariums and decor!  The range of products on display at the show is sure to draw in the attention of all levels of aquarist – from the beginner to the professional hobbyist.

OASE’s Indoor Aquatics line of products, includes filtration, pumps, heaters, and more and are all backed by German engineering.  These items have previously been available in Europe for professional, hobbyists, and beginners alike and have been recently introduced into the North America market.

“We believe that aquarium owners want to focus on the beauty of their aquarium and not on high levels of maintenance. This approach is central to our concept for Indoor Aquatics and our customer’s around the world are really impressed with the results,” James Knight, the Global Indoor Aquatics Category Manager for OASE remarks. “We are very excited to introduce the same experience to North America so that aquarists everywhere can find that same joy.”

The Indoor Aquatics line features a robust line of internal and external heated aquarium filter options for marine, tropical, and cold water. A key feature that is unique to the OASE line are the Thermo options, which have heaters integrated into the filters.  No longer do hobbyists need to see heaters creating visual distractions in their aquascapes and aquarium habitats. Integrated heaters can easily be adjusted, while keeping hands dry, on any of the Thermo Filters by utilizing the control system to provide uniform water temperature throughout the aquarium.  Creating the ideal aquatic environment is simpler than ever with the filtration and water temperature needs accounted for in one product.

Furthermore, in 2016 the biOrb suite of products found a new home with OASE Indoor Aquatics and now biOrb by OASE touts a diverse offering of indoor aquatics solutions for the newcomer to fishkeeping, allowing the hobby to be accessible to everyone. The additional line offers all-in-one aquarium sets that range from 360-degree cylinder designs to the 2018 award-winning CUBE. biOrb aquariums are enhanced with multi-color remote control lighting and can be decorated with the seemingly endless array of vibrant, artist-designed aquarium sculptures, plants, and décor. Additionally, biOrb by OASE offers specially designed maintenance product to service your biOrb’s every need.

To explore OASE’s broad range of Indoor Aquatics offerings for North America, including the Thermo Filters and the award-winning biOrb CUBE aquarium, please visit us at booth 539 at the Aquatic Experience, this weekend, Oct 19-21, in Secaucus, NJ.


Vivariums In The Mist: Bringing a Slice of the Jungle to Homes and Businesses

The Aquatic Experience is excited to present Vivariums In The Mist, an innovative New York-based company specializing in custom vivariums, terrariums, paludariums, planted displays, and supplies. With unique specialties such as poison dart frog vivariums and bioactive enclosures, the company’s mission is to bring a piece of the jungle to customers’ homes or places of business. In addition, Vivariums In The Mist is an experienced vendor of tropical plants—including bromeliads, orchids, and much more—as well as over 20 species of isopods and springtails for customers seeking bioactive benefits. The company is also an authorized dealer of several brands, including Biopod, EcoTech Marine, Zoo Med, Exo-Terra, MistKing, Repashy, and Andy’s Orchids.

Vivariums and terrariums serve as tranquil, mesmerizing displays in numerous contexts, such as homes, offices, schools, hotels, and medical office waiting rooms. They offer the benefits of aquariums, but require minimal maintenance and are far more cost-effective. At the Vivariums In The Mist showroom—conveniently located at the border of Long Island and Queens—customers can view nine planted vivariums, which range in size from 20 gallons to a staggering 210 gallons! The showroom was recently renovated and expanded to include plant rooms and a microfauna. In addition to the items on display at the showroom, Vivariums In The Mist works closely with customers to design unique, customized habitats.

For Paul Demas, owner of Vivariums In The Mist, a passion for frogs and other herptiles (“herps”) was sparked during family vacations to New York’s picturesque Catskill Mountains when he was a child. Paul and his brother enjoyed spending their days catching frogs, fish, turtles, newts, and even snakes. Paul built his first pond using a kiddie pool buried in the ground—but this soon expanded to a custom cement pond that spanned nearly the full width of his family’s backyard. By striving to replicate the flora of his creatures’ natural environments, he was able to create an oasis in which frogs and other herps were thriving and breeding each year. He was also fascinated by a wide variety of plants and their miniature eco-systems. These hobbies, as well as Paul’s professional experience in appliance repair and pet product sales and manufacturing, laid the foundation of his talent for terrarium and vivarium building. In fact, products that he developed when working for a major pet product manufacturer won awards in the New Reptile Product category at the Global Pet Expo, the largest pet industry trade show in the country.

Additionally, Paul’s articles on topics related to aquariums and reptiles have been published in a variety of magazines, including Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Aquarium Fish International. His article, “The Great Vivarium Build of 2012,” was the catalyst for Vivariums In The Mist after it appeared in Reptiles Magazine and yielded a cascade of support, questions, and requests for custom vivariums from readers.

The Vivariums In The Mist team is looking forward to showcasing their unique products at the Aquatic Experience, Booth #611! For more information, visit http://www.vivariumsinthemist.com.

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