I think it’s normal to be overwhelmed by something that is outside of your aquarium keeping experience, not only to gain a new perspective on the hobby in general, but also simply to be awed at the beauty of the freshwater aquatic world. This is exactly what happened to me when I attended the 2018 Aquatic Experience show in New Jersey. Most of the many shows and frag swaps I attended this year were saltwater aquarium aficionado oriented, with few having literally zero presence from vendors specializing in the freshwater side of the hobby. All the more reason that I was humbled by the sheer size and quality of Aquatic Experience, a show that is known for its freshwater aquarium roots. Traditionally hosted in Chicago, IL, Aquatic Experience moved to my neighborhood, the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey. I had a great time attending it and I brought back a memory card full of beautiful images to share with you in this multi-part series, in which I will be covering the best parts of this amazing trade show. I would like to start with a walk around, pointing out some of the great displays and beautiful aquariums I encountered on the show’s floor. Aqua Forest Aquarium, the North America distributor of the legendary ADA (Aqua Design Amano) products, was a shining star of the show. Their booth, filled with a full line of ADA and DOOA (ADA’s sister company) equipment, displayed some of the most beautiful planted tanks I’ve ever seen. ADA products are absolutely stunning to look at; I mean, we have some good looking gadgets on the saltwater side of the hobby but nothing comes close to the unique design skills of Takashi Amano, the godfather of aquascaping and founder of ADA. In case you have never heard of Takashi Amano, I strongly recommend reading about him and his carrier, as he was a fascinating man and lived a very interesting life. You can read his bio at ADA official site and watch a series of videos about his final masterpiece, an enormous planted aquarium display at Lisboa Oceanarium in Portugal. OK, back to the coverage- take a look at these mesmerizing, simple, yet unquestionably three-dimensional aquascapes displayed at the AFA booth: As much as I loved AFA’s display aquariums, I must admit they had strong competition from other vendors who spent the time to create gorgeous underwater landscapes. First, from our own neighborhood, Brooklyn Hardscape and their amazing planted aquariums: Fluval showcased the company’s broad offering of all in one aquariums by transforming them into gorgeous underwater gardens. That company makes some unique-looking tanks, don’t they? I was particularly awed by this minimalistic aquascape at the AquaticLife booth. How about this partially immersed display at the H2O Plants booth? Or this beautiful Dutch style tank at the Tropica booth, powered by Brooklyn Hardscape? I also spent a lot of time admiring the display tanks at Vivariums in the Mist, so much so that my longtime desire to have an immersed planted setup resurfaced, with plans to set up one already forming in my mind. Those vivariums are really amazing! Please come back for the second part of Aquatic Experience 2018 Coverage, I will be showing even more fantastic planted tank aquascapes. Thank you for reading!