AGA 2008: Banquet & Auction

November 20th, 2008

The informational part of 2008 Aquatic Gardener’s Association Convention wrapped up on Saturday evening with Karen Randall talking about her collecting trip to Thailand with aquatic plant author and expert, Christel Kasselman.

Bangkok Aquarium Market

When they first got to Thailand, they wanted to experience the huge market in Bangkok. They had heard stories about the size and quality of the aquarium-related stands setup there. After much walking, they finally came to some of the dealers, finding rack after rack of aquariums filled with aquatic plants. Karen said that they could pretty much locate any aquarium plant known to the hobby in that market, in addition to some new ones.

Exotic Java Fern (maybe)

Take for example this variegated fern shown above, which was purportedly a form of Java Fern. Unfortunately, with several weeks ahead of them, they weren’t confident they any plants bought in the market would survive to make it back to their homes. In addition to the plants, the markets had an amazing selection of other materials including rocks, wood, equipment, and even an insane variety of gravel. (shown below)

Gravel in Bangkok Market

I can only imagine what it must be like to walk through so many shops who really get it in terms of aquatic plants. From there, Karen and Christel traveled throughout the country, collecting various crypts and other plants trying and find something new. They did find some interesting stuff, which she promised we’ll hear more about soon.

2008 AGA Auction

The next day, Sunday, was an all-day auction. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a thousand bags of plants spread across 4-5 rows of tables. I took 30 bags of plants myself to sell, but only came home with four. There was pretty good variety present in the auction, and prices were all over the map. In the beginning, prices tend to be a little bit inflated, but as the day wore on, several folks got some really good deals. It’s interesting to see relatively well-known plants, such as Anubias barteri var. nana, go for high prices while lesser known new plants go for less than they’d sell for online. Every auction is different, however, and I had a great time chatting with folks, while occasionally placing a bid. After 4-5 hours, I was off to the airport, after enjoying a fantastic convention. I highly recommend that every aquatic plant enthusiast try to attend at least one of these conventions in the future.

4 Responses to “AGA 2008: Banquet & Auction”

  1. Mallory Says:

    That gravel picture they took is so beautiful!
    Why do so many people collect crypts?

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Mallory, there are many reasons that people collect crypts. They’re great for many “fish” people because most species are very undemanding of light. Plus, you don’t have to fertilize the water column if you only keep crypts because they’re root feeders, so you can get by with using a rich substrate, and burying a root tab every once in awhile. From a scientific point of view, they’re widely distributed, highly variable, hybridizable, and if nothing else, have unique looking flowers. They’re more easily tissue cultured than many other aquatic plants, and many provide a color and leaf shape/texture that other plants in the aquarium do not. They do not need to be trimmed like stem plants, and have so many varieties to choose from that you could appropriately use crypts in your foreground, midground, and background.

    And of course, everyone else is doing it, so why not you? 😉

  3. Mallory Says:

    Wow, thanks for the info, Kris! I’m inspired to look into them now. The extent of my crypt collection is a single bronze Wendtii in my Dark Green shrimp tank. It gets so much light that the leaves are flat to the Amazonia.

  4. guitarfish Says:

    Glad to help! C. wendtii is what is most commonly available in the hobby, although there are many different varieties of C. wendtii out there. It can be a really pretty plant, especially when you have a huge stand of it. Have fun exploring the other ones out there!