First Annual Buckeye Reef Marine Expo Coming Soon!

Northwest Ohioans finally get a frag swap and marine expo in their home territory

Northwest Ohioans finally get a frag swap and marine expo in their home territory

As a long-time hobbyist in northwest Ohio, I’m accustomed to traveling outside the region for frag swaps and events of appreciable size. NW Ohio is located within reach of regular events held in northeast Ohio, central Ohio, and southern Michigan but hasn’t been home to a swap capable of drawing in many folks (and vendors) from outside the area. Now I realize becoming a road warrior is the fate of many a reef hobbyist, but with the amount of hobbyists who call northwest Ohio home, it seemed inevitable that someday we would have a marquee event.

Well that day is almost upon us! On February 13, will host their first annual Marine Expo in Bowling Green, Ohio. With Buckeye Reef founder Jesse Lambdin and founding member Joe Perkins at the helm, the long-planned event earned the “expo” moniker through their long-term desire to build something more than the traditional frag swap.

This first annual event will kick off with guest speaker, and Saltwater Smarts’ very own, Jeff Kurtz. He’ll be expounding upon Marine Aquarium Success in the Information Age. Sadly, since I’ll be in the Sunshine State at that point and I won’t be able to heckle him in person. So I’m counting on fellow hobbyists to pick up my slack! Seriously though, we’ve put together a bang-up talk and Jeff is looking forward to presenting it for Expo-goers. [Pro tip: Those who attend will get early entrance into the Expo. Cherry pickers rejoice!]

2016 Buckeye Reef Marine Expo vendor layout

2016 Buckeye Reef Marine Expo vendor layout (click for most updated version)

After that, the swap portion of the Expo will begin. Currently the vendor hall is almost filled to capacity and will feature 16 livestock and dry goods vendors, 8 hobbyist propagators, and a booth operated by our friend Dave Bowers and his students, who will be doing coral fragging and dipping demonstrations.

Expo-goers can expect an array of door prizes during the event as well as a silent auction to partake in. Additionally, a few pallets of 200-gallon boxes of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals will be available for a great price to anyone in attendance. Word on the street is that those will go fast, so plan accordingly if you’re interested!

The vitals

  • What: Buckeye Reef Marine Expo
  • When: February 13, 2016
  • Where: Wood County Fairgrounds (13800 West Poe Rd, Bowling Green, OH, 43402)
  • Admission: $5 per person, kids 12 and under are free
  • Speaker: Jeff Kurtz on the mic at 11am
  • Schedule: The Expo floor is open from 12-4pm (hint: check earlier pro tip for early entry)
  • For the most up-to-date info, check out this thread
Interested in being a vendor?

At the time of this writing, only a few booths remain available. To snatch one up, you can reach out to

A bit about Buckeye Reef

Buckeye Reef is a fast-growing club and online community founded by Jesse Lambdin in late 2014. The goal of BR is to help bring hobbyists in northwest Ohio and beyond together by promoting camaraderie, education, and shared resources. You can find out more at their website:

Buckeye Reef Marine Expo in Ohio



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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. Muttley000 says

    Ok maybe I’m not a neutral party, but great article!

    • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says

      Thanks, Matt! Looks like we’re going to miss meeting in person yet again. Enjoy the Expo – I’m sure we’ll run into each other one of these days!

  2. Very kind words Chris. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for the article Chris. Too bad you had to jump ship so soon. Thanks again for dive and special access at the Toledo aquarium. Have fun in Florida and don’t forget us up here in the snow belt. Lol

    • Maybe we can get Chris to come back in 2017 for the second expo.

    • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says

      My pleasure – though I’m not sorry to be out of that cold! I’m glad you enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at the Aquarium. Northwest Ohio is really lucky to have such a great facility.

      No worries, you won’t be forgotten. I still have family and friends up there!

      Cheers (and maybe I’ll see you at next year’s Expo…)!

  4. Looking forward to this swap so much! I am sorry to see you are not going to be there, Chris. I was so hoping to see you again before you go. I sure miss seeing you and everyone else from TRAC. You are going to love Florida I am sure.

    • Everybody from TRAC are welcome at Buckeye Reef. Are you a member yet?

    • "Caribbean Chris" Aldrich says

      Howdy Victoria – I miss you and the rest of my friends at TRAC! Maybe I’ll be back next year for the ’17 Reef Expo. I’ve long-loved the Keys and it’s great to finally call them home.

      I would like to encourage you to hop on Buckeye Reef in you’re not already on there. Jesse has built a great community and club. There are many nice folks on there and I know you’ll feel right at home.

      How is your tank doing?

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