Marine Aquarium Conference of North America

The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America® (or MACNA®) is the oldest marine aquarium conference in North America.
MACNA is a combination of several events.

• It is an educational symposium where people can attend lectures from industry leaders, conservationists, authors, and scientists.

• A trade show, where hobbyists can buy the hottest new corals and see new cutting edge equipment. Attendees can also give their feedback to manufacturers so they can continue to bring us the innovations that continue to advance our industry.

• Lastly, it is a social event where speakers, vendors, and hobbyists come to socialize with one another. It gives all of us an opportunity to put faces with names you might see on a message board, email, or even YouTube.

Every year, a club who is a member of the Marine Aquarium Society of America® (MASNA®) is chosen to host MACNA. Bidding for MACNA is done the same way as the Olympics. Interested clubs submit a plan to MASNA telling them why they should be chosen as a host. The entire event is organized and operated by volunteers who are simply trying to help out their local club.

MACNA 2017

Bayou Reefkeeping (BRK) is elated to announce that MACNA® 2017 will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 25th – 27th, 2017 at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center and Hilton Riverside Hotel. MACNA® 2017 is proudly sponsored by: Aquaforest, Deepwater Distribution, Maxspect International, Central Pets, Coral Vue, Reef Nutrition, eShopps, and more!


MASNA Aquarist of the Year

Each year at the annual MACNA conference, MASNA presents an award to the person who is considered to have made an outstanding recent contribution to the marine aquarium hobby. This person is selected by marine aquarium hobbyists around the world.

Voting as of 2014

• Before MACNA, current MASNA members can post their nominations on the MASNA website for that year’s Aquarist of the Year. This is a “write-in vote”. From there, each entry will be tallied, and the nominees and their biographies will be presented to the panel of previous recipients for the selection of that year’s winner of the MASNA Aquarist of the Year award.

MASNA Student Scholarship Program

The Marine Aquarium Societies of North America’s (MASNA) Student Scholarship program provides funding for undergraduate and graduate college students to pursue their degrees in a marine science discipline.

Applications for the awards are judged based on the applicant’s enrollment in a marine science undergraduate I graduate degree, a G.P.A. of 2.5 or greater, and their proven contributions and demonstrated commitment to the marine aquarium hobby. Funding for the MASNA Student Scholarships are provided by corporate industry sponsors, private sponsors, and MASNA.

The History of MACNA!

Twenty eight years and going strong! If you do not see your local club listed here, talk to your fellow members and do something about it!

MACNA Host Club / Location (Click for Photos) Dates MASNA Student Scholarship Winners MASNA Aquarist of the Year Keynote / Banquet Speaker(s)
I Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto April 22-23, 1989 Helmut Debelius, Martin Moe
II Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts Association April 21-22, 1990  Neville Coleman
III Windows to the Sea Marine Aquarium Society (New Jersey) April 20-21, 1991 Helmut Debelius
IV Florida Marine Aquarium Society September 20-21, 1992
V Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto September 12-13, 1993 Dr. Daphne Fautin & Dr. Robert Richmond
VI Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts Association October 14-16, 1994 Dr. Richard Pyle
VII Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 14-16, 1995 Martin Moe Dr. Gerald Allen
VIII Kansas City Metro Aquatics Council October 11-13, 1996 Tom Frakes
IX Chicago Marine Aquarium Society September 12-14, 1997 Bill Addison Julian Sprung & Charles Delbeek
X Marine Aquarium Society of Los Angeles September 25-27, 1998 Dr. Bruce Carlson John Dyer
XI Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 10-12, 1999 Scott Michael Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock
XII Florida Marine Aquarium Society (Fort Lauderdale) September 29 – October 1, 2000 Larry Jackson
XIII Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society (Baltimore) August 17-19, 2001 Dr. Ron Shimek Dr. Charlie Veron
XIV Dallas-Fort Worth Marine Aquarium Society September 27-29, 2002 Eric Borneman Walt Smith
XV Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 5-7, 2003 Anthony Calfo Denise & Larry Tackett
XVI Boston Reefers Society October 14-16, 2004 Julian Sprung Dr. Richard Pyle
XVII Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarium Society September 16-18, 2005 Bob Fenner Jon Hoech
XVIII Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston September 22-24, 2006 Dr. Sanjay Joshi Walt Smith
XIX Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society September 14-16, 2007 Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley Dr. Gerald Allen
XX Atlanta Reef Club September 5-7, 2008 Charles Delbeek Joanne Ruxton
XXI New Jersey Reefers Club (Atlantic City) September 25-27, 2009 Brita Mjos Matt Pedersen Richie Kohler
XXII Orlando Reef Caretakers Association September 3-5, 2010 Kristin Privitera-Johnson Dr. Matt Wittenrich David Vosseler
XXIII Greater Iowa Reef Society (Des Moines) September 9-11, 2011 Chris Jury Dana Riddle David Hannan
XXIV Dallas Ft Worth Marine Aquarium Society September 28-30, 2012 Zach Ostroff & Bobby Ortiz Kevin Kohen Jean-Michel Cousteau
XXV Florida Marine Aquarium Society (Hollywood) August 30 – September 1, 2013 Adeljean Ho & Drew Delorenzo Todd Gardner Dr. Richard Pyle
XXVI Colorado Organization for Reef and Aquatic Life (Denver) August 29-31, 2014 Ross DeAngelis & Sam May Richard Ross Dr. Luiz Rocha
XXVII Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society September 4-6, 2015 Liz Marchio & Tim Lyons Terry Siegel Dr. Bruce Carlson
XXVIII San Diego Marine Aquarium Foundation September 9-11, 2016 Elizabeth Groover & Kory Enneking Joe Yaiullo Jason Hewlett (Entertainer)
XXIX Bayou Reefkeeping (New Orleans) August 25 – 27, 2017


MACNA Website.
MACNA Facebook page.
MACNA 2017 Facebook event.
MACNA Twitter profile.
MACNA 2014 Presentations
MACNA 2016 Presentations

The Early MACNA’s

Tom McCarthy of the Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts’ Association (C-SEA) made a phone call to Scott Dyer of the Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto (MAST). The idea presented was to organize a joint event featuring a prominent speaker to be attended by both societies’ memberships. Scott replied to Tom that he had been thinking along the same lines and it was from this simple start that the idea of a weekend conference was born. MAST agreed to host the first Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) and C-SEA agreed to reciprocate the following year.

MACNA I (1989)

The first MACNA was held in Toronto on April 22nd and 23rd of 1989. Attendance totaled over 190 aquarists from the U.S. and Canada. Speakers and topics presented at the first Conference included:

Martin Moe (Breeding)
Tom Frakes (Water Quality Considerations)
Forrest Young (The Florida Scene)
Albert Thiel (Marine Algae)
Dr. Peter Rubec (Sodium cyanide)
George Smit (Live Rock/Mini Reefs) and
Helmut Debelius (Red Sea Fish and Invertebrates).

The Conference was held in the main lecture hall of the Royal Ontario Museum and featured several new products on display for the benefit of attendees and participants. Saturday night featured cocktails and a banquet (establishing the MAC NA tradition of carrying on well into the night hours). The MACNA I Committee, in alphabetical order, consisted of:  Ken Burrows, Sheila Byers, Charles Delbeek, Roger Driessen, Scott Dyer, Bob Harris, Russell Jardine, Paula and Goran Jovanevic, Bev and Chris Knight, Ian Shapiro, Ron Tuur, and many more who helped on the day of the Conference.

MACNA II (1990)

MACNA II was planned and organized by C-SEA’s Dave Egloff, Ron and Iris Garsteck, Tim Hemsoth, Joe Keyon, Dominic Madonia, Tom McCarthy, Kent Seward, and Roger Seward.

Held in Aurora, Ohio, April 21-22, 1990, at the Aurora Woodlands Inn near Sea World, the Conference was attended during its two days by over 150 professional and amateur aquarists. Speakers and topics at the second MACNA included:

Forrest Young (Rearing Tropical Marines)
Don Johnson (Natural History and Habits of Reef Fish/Invertebrates)
John Tullock (Reef Conservation/Live Rock)
George Blasiola (Fish Disease and Nutrition)
Paul Specie (“What’s in a Name?”- Latin and Greek roots for scientific names of species)
Julian Sprung (Care of Marine Organisms)
Tom Frakes (Water Quality)
Neville Coleman (“The Sea Life of the South Pacific”) and
Frank Murru (Sea World and Maintenance of Public Aquaria).

Neville Coleman (Brisbane, Australia) was also the featured speaker at the Saturday night buffet held on the grounds of Sea World. Toronto and Cleveland had made a great contribution to the aquarium hobby by taking on the organization and planning of these first two conferences. Excitement ran high at each event – so high that the idea of an annual conference kept surfacing. If there were to be a third MACNA, who would host it? Fortunately, in attendance at MACNA II, were members of Windows to the Sea Marine Aquarium Society (NJ). They returned from Ohio and presented the idea of hosting a conference to their club (Windows). In October of 1990, Windows agreed to “take the plunge” and commit itself to hosting MACNA Ill.

MACNA III (1991)

MACNA III was held on April 20-21, 1991 at the Radisson Hotel, Newark International Airport, New Jersey. Windows organized seven committees: Publicity (Bob Denton), Program (Bob Denton), Fund Raising (Allan Starace), Banquet (May Markoff), Audio-Visual (Jerry Riedler), Journal – i.e. Advertising, Layout and Design (Mehul Sheth), and Finance (Jack Snyder).

Speakers and topics at MACNA III were:
Albert Thiel (Mini-Reef and Delicate Fish Systems Filtration)
Dr. Louis Garibaldi (Conservation and the Marine Aquarist)
Dr. Dennis Thoney (Contemporary Cures for Marine Tropicals)
Martin Moe (Applying Commercial Breeding Techniques to Hobbyists’ Systems)
John Tullock (The Truth About Marine Water Chemistry)
Joe Randazzo (What Hobbyists Need to Know About the Capture, Shipment and Wholesale of Marine Animals)
Julian Sprung (The Economical and Environmentally Balanced Mini-Reef)
John O’Malley (A Review of the Angelfish)
Helmut Debelius (Fish Candidates for the Mini-Reef)

The Saturday night banquet was a sit-down affair with a fixed menu. Following the banquet, aquarists adjourned to another room where Helmut Debelius delivered a breathtaking slide presentation entitled “Discovering a New Angelfish” . Attendance at the third conference ran well over 300 – MACNA had become a known and awaited event in the aquarium world. Florida had been approached through Beth Hayden to possibly host MACNA IV. Florida Marine Aquarium Society (FMAS) members, like their New Jersey counterparts, were in attendance at MACNA III, and returned home to present the possibility to their Club of hosting a Conference in Miami.

MACNA IV (1992)

MACNA IV was supposed to have been held September 19-20, 1992 at the Sonesta Beach Hotel on Key Biscayne. In August of 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida leaving residents without phones, power, water, food, housing and gas. The Sonesta Beach Hotel was unusable. Once phone communications were restored, the FMAS Board was able to meet to decide whether to try and continue with MACNA. It was decided that if an alternate hotel with adequate space and facilities could be found, MACNA IV would take place as scheduled. FMAS was successful in relocating the Conference to Dania, Florida (north of Miami) and a phone committee was set up to call every registrant to confirm the Conference was on and explain the shift in locale. Hotel, banquet and ancillary service negotiations, completed months ago, were speedily renegotiated. A Friday night “get-acquainted” reception and “mini-program” was provided for attendees and speakers. Program speakers and topics included:

Peter Wilkens (1. Corals and Other Invertebrates of Southeast Asia and 2. European Reef Tanks and Invertebrate Propagation)
Scott Michael (Fishes for the Spineless Aquarium Owner)
Dr. Michael Stoskopf (Healthy Fish, Everyone’s Goal: The Medical Care of Marine Tropical Fishes)
Dr. Bruce Carlson (Mini-reefs and Coral Reefs: A Case of Symbiosis or Predator-Prey?)
Panel Discussion: The Future of the Marine Aquarium Hobby in North America: Is There One?
Julian Sprung (Building the Modern Reef Aquarium)
Charles Delbeek (Stingers, Suckers, Munchers and Maulers: An Introduction to Reef Aquarium Parasites and Pests).

Two repeating workshops, offered twice each day, were given by Godfrey Waugh and Jill Hambrook-Broz (The A-B-C’s of Marine Fish Nutrition) and Martin Moe (How to Raise 100 Clownfish and Still Keep a Job and Your Spouse).

Approximately 400 attendees came to Dania from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Europe and throughout the U.S. Co-Chairs for MACNA IV were Beth Hayden and Richie Strassberg. Committee members included: Michele Arena, Cindy Bickford, Danny Garcia, Debbie Garcia, Nancy Lempicki, Bruce Moreland, Michael Robert, Roseanne Strassberg and Tom Cavanaugh. Toronto (MAST) had already indicated its willingness to host MACNA V – for the first time, it was possible to announce at the close of MACNA IV, that not only would a MACNA V take place, but when and where it would be held and what club would host it.

MACNA V (1993)

The fifth Marine Aquarium Conference of North America was held, once again, in Toronto at the elegant Crowne Plaza Hotel, September 11-12, 1993. MACNA V opened with a Friday night reception and opportunity for attendees to meet the speakers. The Conference theme was “Bringing the Hobbyist and Scientist Together in Celebration of Marine Life”. Speakers and topics presented were:

Charles Delbeek {Tridacnid Clams Ain’t No Sushi)
Dr. Robert Richmond (Reproduction and Recruitment of Reef Corals)
Julian Sprung (More Than One Way to Scrub a Tank)
Scott Michael (Cartilaginous Companions in the Home Aquarium)
Mike Paletta {Techniques for Successfully Propagating Marine Invertebrates)
Dr. Daphne Fautin {The Anemonefish Symbiosis: A Three-Way Partnership)
Rudie Kuiter (Wild Aquarium II)
Mini-Reef Forum (panel discussion).

On Saturday evening attendees were bussed to the Ontario Palace for a gourmet dinner and spectacular presentation of slides entitled “Wild Aquarium I” presented by Rudi Kuiter in the Cinesphere’s IMAX theater. The two upcoming conferences were already scheduled: MACNA VI would return to Cleveland/C-SEA and MACNA VII would be hosted by the Louisville Marine Aquarium Society (LMAS) in Louisville, Kentucky in 1995.

MACNA VI (1994)

October 14-16, 1994, returned MACNA to C-SEA and Ohio. Held in Cleveland, the Conference theme “Propagation for a Self Sustaining Hobby” was well-reflected in the choice of speakers and topics:

Frank Greco (CITES and Relevant Regulations)
Joe Yaiullo (Tubastrea Spawning)
Dr. John Lauth (Coral Damage and Recovery)
Dick Perrin (Coral Attachment Workshop)
Julian Sprung and Charles Delbeek (Mystery Workshop)
Svein Fosså (Care and Biology of Stony Coral)
Cecilia Riley (Laboratory Studies of Mariculture)
Dr. Robert Buddemeier (Environmental Factors Affecting Coral)
Martin Moe (Atlantic Angelfish Spawning)
Gerald Heslinga (Micronesian Mariculture Demonstration Center – Mariculture Efforts).

A cash bar preceded the Saturday night banquet after which Richard Pyle presented a slide show of rare and exotic deep-dwelling marines. During the course of the Conference, Stuart Keefer gave a brief, unscheduled presentation on his “Eco-Labeling Project”.

MACNA VI drew the largest attendance to date with well over 400 aquarists, professional and amateur. With Conference planning well coordinated in advance, Louisville was able to distribute brochures for its upcoming MACNA VII at the Cleveland Conference.

MACNA VII (1995)

Louisville MAS hosted MACNA 7 at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville, KY on the 14 -16 of September 1995. The Hotel was an excellent choice both for the meeting facilities and the number of rooms available. The year earlier the attendance was a record of 400 plus attendees, but the attendance for MACNA 7 distanced that number by and additional 200. This was truly an astounding record of 630 attendees! Speakers that made presentations at Louisville were:

Dr. Jean Jaubert Director of Scientifique at Monaco
Dr. John Randell distinguished Senior Ichthyologist at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawaii
Dr. Gerald R. Allen Curator of Fishes at the Western Australian Museum in Perth, Australia
Dr. Joan Holt
Dr. Phil Lobel
Dr. Vaughn Pratt
Steve Tyree
John F. Kuhns
Dick Perrin
Godfrey Waugh
Martin Moe
Richard Londeree
John Tullock
Stanley Brown
Bill Addison
Henry Feddern
Elwin Seagrest and
Joe Lichtenbert

Vendor participation increased as well at Louisville. There were over twenty two well known vendors displaying. The Saturday night Banquet was well presented and Dr. Gerald Allen thrilled us with a nine position multimedia production shown on a back projected screen. The First MASNA “Outstanding Hobbyist” award was presented to Martin Moe.

Notable products showcased at MACNA

• MACNA 2005: Ecotech Marine VorTech prototype
• MACNA 2008: Ecotech Marine VorTech MP40
• MACNA 2011: Ecotech Marine VorTech MP60
• MACNA 2012: BuildMyLED
• MACNA 2013: Ecotech Reef Link
• MACNA 2013: Apex Fusion
• MACNA 2014: MaxSpect Gyre Pump
• MACNA 2015: Ecotech Vectra M1 D.C. pump
• MACNA 2015: Smart ATO Micro
• MACNA 2015: MindStream
• MACNA 2016: Alkalinity Monitor

External Links

Third Party Reviews

• Reef Builders: 11 Reasons to go to a MACNA conference
• Melev’s Reef: What is MACNA? Why should you attend?
• MACNA 1989: MAST’S History
• MACNA 1992: Dave Sheehy’s MACNA 1992 Review
• MACNA 1993: MAST’s History
• MACNA 1994: Announcement of MACNA VI
• MACNA 2000: Terry Siegel’s review of MACNA XII 2000
• MACNA 2000:’s review of MACNA XII 2000
• MACNA 2002: Kevin Kuykendall’s MACNA Mania
• MACNA 2003: Melev’s Review
• MACNA 2005: Fishfreek’s aquariumadvice Review
• MACNA 2005: Melev’s photos / review of speakers
• MACNA 2010: MACNA XXII – Matt Pedersen’s Story
• MACNA 2010: Gary Parr’s MACNA 2010 review
• MACNA 2015: Melev’s MACNA 2015 recap

Third Party Pictures

• MACNA 1989: Poster of the first MACNA
• MACNA 1998: Aquarium Design’s photos.
• MACNA 1999: Tim O’Dear’s photos
• MACNA 2003: Melev’s photos
• MACNA 2004: Ewan’s Reef Central photos
• MACNA 2005: Melev’s photos
• MACNA 2006: Rendos’ Reef Central photos
• MACNA 2006: MASNA Booth
• MACNA 2007: Melev’s photos.
• MACNA 2007: Walt’s MACNA 2007 Banquet Video.
• MACNA 2008: Victor90’s ReefCentral photos.
• MACNA 2012: Melev’s photos.
• MACNA 2014: Matt Rogers’ 3Reef photos.