AGA 2010 – Day 1

November 13th, 2010

The first day of the Aquatic Gardener’s Association 2010 convention began with a field¬† trip to Florida Aquatic Nurseries (FAN).¬† FAN is the top supplier of aquatic plants in the United States, and have hundreds of plants under cultivation across two locations in south Florida. We began the tour strolling through several green houses filled to the brim with emersed aquarium plants. The largest plants in these greenhouses were often the sword plants, which were in full bloom.

FAN Greenhouse

Anubias and Cryptocoryne were the other two very prominent plants in the greenhouses. Outside, rows of cement ponds contained lots of submersed plants, many that were throwing up flower stalks in the Florida sun.

Cement ponds at FAN

One of the most impressive of these flowers for me was the Hydrotriche hottoniiflora, which had a beautiful cluster of yellow flowers on each stalk.

Hydrotriche hottoniiflora Flower

Another plant that was really neat to see was the Echinodorous sp. ‘Vesuvius’ fully emersed and flowering. After seeing it I think Vesuvius may be an even better paludarium plant than an aquarium plant. It’s quite unique looking! During the tour, we also learned about a new hairgrass FAN is hoping to soon put into production. This plant is about 4″ taller, but the leaves are a bit thicker than the other Eleocharis we have in the hobby, similar to how a Lilaeopsis looks.

Echinodorous sp. 'Vesuvius' Emersed

FAN also is a major player in the water lily market, winning international awards for the hybrids over the past few years.

Lily Flower

After touring through their two locations, FAN was kind enough to have the whole group there for lunch, during which they ran a slide-show presentation with more information about their award winning lilies.

Jeff Senske Hosting Iron Aquascaping Competition

Following lunch, many attendees signed up for a tissue culture workshop, which I hear was very informative. Since I have already done a similar workshop with GWAPA members, I decided to take the afternoon off. The convention activities resumed later in the evening with the Iron Aquascaper Competition, hosted by Jeff Senske and ADG. This year’s competition pitted Houston aquascaper, Luis Navarro against ADG’s own Frank Wazeter. Both contestants were required to use the materials at hand to aquascape an ADA 60-P aquarium.

Frank Places Driftwood

Frank started by setting up a driftwood hardscape, along with a bright sand foreground.

Luis Prepares

Luis, on the other hand, chose to plant his foreground, and use rocks as his hardscape. It’s always fascinating to watch other people aquascape, to pick up tricks from them. This was the first time that I saw someone use a paintbrush to level out the sand in the foreground. I’ll have to try that myself on my next scape.

Iron Aquascaper Competition

After about an hour, the two contestants finished their scaping, and began filling the aquariums with water.

Frank's Tank

Frank's Aquascape

In the end, Luis Navarro was the unanimous winner of the competition. Congrats Luis!

Luis' Tank

Luis' Winning Aquascape

One Response to “AGA 2010 – Day 1”

  1. Arlene Wagner Says:

    Wow! So jealous of you guys! Are you bringing us back any cool new plants?