MACNA 2015 – Nation’s Capital Soon To Be Salty

Update: Check out our MACNA 2015 recap!

MACNA 2015 will take place in Washington, D.C.

MACNA 2015 will take place in Washington, D.C.

In a little more than a week, thousands of marine aquarium hobbyists and industry professionals will shoal in Washington, D.C. for the 27th annual MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America). If you attended MACNA last year in the Mile-High City or in South Florida the year before, you’ll know they were both incredibly successful events. Hosted at the beautiful Marriott Wardman Park, this year’s conference is in the capable hands of the Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society, marking ten years since the club last brought MACNA to our Nation’s Capital.

What is it and what can you expect?

MACNA is a long-running, large-scale event that successfully hybridizes several components into one cohesive weekend of saltwater and reef aquarium goodness. First is the learning symposium aspect, which gives industry leaders, conservationists, authors, and scientists a platform to address a wide variety of topics. I always look forward to hearing what the top minds in our hobby have to say – so don’t underestimate how educational and entertaining these can be!

Next is the trade show, which I liken to a frag swap on steroids – fraught with dry goods manufacturers, livestock vendors, and industry organizations – and is probably what most folks imagine when they think of this event. The scale, though, can only be appreciated when you walk into the hall and see all the exhibitors…massive! This provides hobbyists a great opportunity to check out the latest technology, speak directly with manufacturers (think questions and feedback!), peruse tons of fantastic corals and fish, and drool over the eye-catching displays in many of the exhibitor booths.

Panoramic shot of huge exhibitors' hall at MACNA 2014

Panoramic shot of huge exhibitors’ hall at MACNA 2014

And finally my favorite part, the social gathering aspect – you’re amongst thousands of salty kinfolk! I find that particularly encouraging in a “closet” hobby such as ours, where it’s hard (usually impossible) to walk down the street and identify a fellow aquarist. Sure we have places to gather online, but this is an event to put faces with screen names, get acquainted with new friends, and meet the speakers who are happy to share their knowledge and expertise with anyone interested. Who doesn’t love the opportunity to mingle with like-minded individuals? To me, this is where the true value of MACNA is realized.

What’s on the agenda?

This 3-day conference is packed full of events, both formal and informal, so here are the highlights you should be on the lookout for:

  • Excellent lineup of 24 speakers from around the globe (including marine biology professor Todd Gardner, LiveAquaria’s Kevin Kohen, 2014 Aquarist of the Year Rich Ross, award-winning science writer Ret Talbot, accomplished author Dr. Charlie Veron, and many more!)
  • Niche-focused workshop-style presentations
  • Exhibitors’ hall including 100+ manufacturers, vendors, and organizations
  • 3rd annual APEXusers MACNA Meetup
  • The ever-popular MACNA raffle featuring thousands of dollars worth of prizes (including a trip to Fiji with Walt Smith)
  • Friday night reception
  • Saturday night banquet (Aquarist of the Year announcement and keynote by Dr. Bruce Carlson)

Connect with us!

It’s always great to chat with folks who are part of the community. So if you’ll be at MACNA, we’d love to meet you! If you spot me or Jeff wandering around the event in our Saltwater Smarts apparel, feel free to stop us and say hello. Of course if you’d like to make sure we connect, drop us a message and we’ll make plans. We hope to see you there!

Can’t make it this year?

If you’re not able to attend this year, no worries, we’ve got you covered! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for photos and live updates throughout the event. Plus, as usual, you can expect a complete wrap up right here on our site after the conference.

Photo credit: Glyn Lowe, Saltwater Smarts

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About "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich

"Caribbean Chris" Aldrich is co-founder and Director of Saltwater Smarts, an avid SCUBA diver, and contributor to a live rock mariculture project in the Florida Keys. He has been an aquarium hobbyist for 20 years and his current aquarium is a 127-gallon Carib reef biotope.


  1. Don’t forget the 3rd Annual Neptune Systems APEXusers MACNA MeetUp on Friday morning – FREE – Champagne, talks, $2500 FREE raffle –

    • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says:

      Hi Terence – thanks much for stopping by and sharing information about your meetup! I noticed the registration is closed at your link. Are folks able to get in without being pre-registered?

      • ABSOLUTELY! With pre-registration came some additional perks (like access to breakfast at 7:30), but the doors to those not pre-registered will open at 8AM. We will have as many as can fit in the room – right now that is about 350. There may less champagne and breakfast by then, but they will still get a free raffle ticket and have an opportunity to get some good information, meet some other control freaks, ask questions, and maybe walk away with a great raffle prize!

        • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says:

          Ah, very good. Thanks for the insights, Terence. I’ve added it to my list of highlights in the article. Hopefully I can carve out some time to attend, either way we should certainly meet up at some point during the conference. See you next week!

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