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    MACNA XX | Gifts from Japan!

    The attendance of Mr. Koji Wada and Tetsuo are two large reasons why I decided last minute to go to MACNA. In the end, they are the ones that truly made MACNA a memorable event. They are extremely knowledgeable and kind. For those who do not know: Mr. Koji Wada is the owner of Blue Harbor […]

    The attendance of Mr. Koji Wada and Tetsuo are two large reasons why I decided last minute to go to MACNA. In the end, they are the ones that truly made MACNA a memorable event. They are extremely knowledgeable and kind.

    For those who do not know:

    Mr. Koji Wada is the owner of Blue Harbor Aquarium in Japan. It is one of, if not the, premier fish store in the world…getting in the rarest of the rare. He is also an avid diver and collector.

    Tetsuo Otake received his degeree in Marine Sciences here in the states at Cal and is an expert aquarist. He is known for his vast knowledge on marine animals and for his translation of Kiyoshi Endoh’s book Angelfishes of the World. Tetsuo is very modest and I found this out from John “Copps”, thanks again John.

    As many of you know Japanese Aquariums have always been a source of inspiration for me. I remember seeing the first pictures of these then controversial aquariums back in the early 90s and have been hooked since. The influence of Japanese Aquariums is readily visible in the glassbox and will continue to be so in future projects.

    I spent most of Saturday walking around the exhibitions with Tetsuo and Toshi showing them new equipment and the improvements over past designs. (Toshi owns a LFS in Japan that I will talk about another time.)  I was happy to be able to share this information with Tetsuo, as in Japan they lack many of the modern equipment choices that are available in the U.S. and Europe. What they lack in those areas they certainly make up in lighting, design aesthetic, and rare fish. This merging of American and Japanese aquarists was a Eureka moment. What we lack they have, and what they lack we have. 

    On Saturday is when Tetsuo also presented me with some gifts! I was shocked by his generosity. Previously we had only talked via e-mail, but through the hobby and MACNA we have become friends. Tetsuo gave me a bag with all kinds of goodies from himself and Hideki. The Blue Harbor polo came from Mr. Wada which I will discuss later in this article.

    On Saturday, when I was with Tetsuo we walked by the Julian’s Two Little Fishies booth. I saw that the Blue Harbor Crew had brought along some Japanese Magazines and of course I was going to buy some, but Tetsuo stopped me. I was a bit confused and asked why?! That’s when he opened one of the bags and showed me three magazine that he had brought from Japan for me! He knows how much I love Chaetodontids, and one of them has an article on Butterfly Hybrids with many Tinkeri hybrids and morphs. I was thrilled.

    The first magazine is the new “Coral Keepers Handbook”. It reads from right to left, so what we in America would think is the back is actually the front. It provides information on the care of nearly all coral types, as well as showing different color variations and morphs. It also features a Tank of the Month type format where they show successful reef tanks and information about them. (Hideki’s beautiful reef is featured in the magazine) Here are two images that caught my attention in the magazines: A beautiful reef and xanthic Regal Angels.

    Previously we had discussed that Tetsuo would bring 2 Spotlight bulbs as ours needed replacing. Hideki provided to Tetsuo not just 2 bulbs, but 3 to add to our lighting arsenal! All 3 are a different spectrum and color temperature and will allow some very cool lighting effects on our tank. We had not tried these higher kelvin bulbs before and they pop colors like nothing I have seen. I now know, how so many Japanese reefs have those neon greens and blues… Superkaru bulbs do the trick and do it well. Thank you Hideki and Tetsuo!

    In the first photo showing all the gifts you may have noticed two small containers on the right side. These were another total surprise! Tetsuo gave me two bottles of a product called LIVESea Combination 2. It is a trace element, vitamin, and amino acid supplement. He uses it back in Japan with good results and thought I would be interested in trying it out in conjunction with VSV.  Tetsuo will be translating our VSV method to share with Japanese hobbyists in the near future.

    A complete “recipe” is not provided, but it does contain the following ingredients:


    • Vitamin A, E, K
      • B1, B3, B6, B12
      • C, D
    • Na
    • K
    • Ca
    • Mg
    • Fe
    • Zn

    As you can see in the close up photo, it is in a dry powdered form. I tried  some last night by mixing a small amount with RO/DI water and adding it to the sump. About 30mins later I noticed some great polyp extension on our Acroporas. We’ll see how it influences color. I will only be adding it at night, so not to tease our angel and butterfly with some polyp snacks.



    On Sunday as MACNA was winding down, I bumped into Mr. Wada. We were saying our good byes, when he asked if I would like a Blue Harbor shirt. Of course! He invited me and my friend Mike, up to his hotel room to grab the shirts.

    After we had the shirts, Mr. Wada said he had some photos to share with me. We spent nearly an hour looking and talking about various photos of rare fish. I was lucky enough to have my jump drive on me and he gave me many amazing images that I will share at another time.

    Many of the photos are from his favorite dive spot, Kashiwajima that he took just this past June. Most of the fish I had never seen, only heard mythical stories about… and I feverishly scribbled down notes as he spoke about them. In Japan they have true collectors that pay top dollar. We laughed as it seemed like every fish he showed me would never make it the U.S. After that we said our good byes as I had a plane to catch back home.

    I think you can see why this was such a memorable MACNA. I’d like to again say thank you to Mr. Wada, Tetsuo, Toshi, all the Blue Harbor Crew, and Hideki. All of you are so very kind and I hope to make it to Japan in the near future. There is much we can learn from international hobbyists and I hope all the MACNA attendees appreciated their presentation and attendance at the event.



    1. Sean
      September 12, 2008 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

      Wow! You have some incredible gifts there. Now I have an even higher opinion of Mr. Wada and his crew.
      I too hope to go to Japan soon and learn more about their culture and aquariums, maybe this upcoming summer.

    2. mcliffy2
      September 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

      Glad to see UPS came through and the lights got there safe. I’m thinking next week I’ll have to come check them out in action.

    3. marlon
      September 13, 2008 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

      Wow! That’s a lot of gifts! I can’t wait to see your new lights for your tank.

    4. Davebien
      September 16, 2008 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

      I sure wish I could have actually “heard” what was said at the reception but with a crummy PA and an impolite crowd who kept talking… The Pics were sure beautiful.

      Thanks for the background info. And isn’t Rod a great guy?

    5. jd
      September 17, 2008 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

      I really like the spotlight lighting. I want to get my hands on some of the low wattage metal halide spot lights.

    6. September 18, 2008 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

      Hi Dave,

      Yes the crowd was very rude at times…. I was at the very front and still had a difficult time hearing. I’ll have more information on the presentation up soon, hopefully that will fill in some of the blanks.

      And yes, Rod is a great guy 😉

    7. September 26, 2008 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

      Hi Eric,

      I am also interested in Japanese reef culture!

      I am very enviable if you had a good time at MACNA.
      I want to visit MACNA someday and I hope I can meet you in there~!!! 🙂

    8. stunreefer
      October 17, 2008 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

      Great write-up guys!

      Unfortunately I had to pull out of this years MACNA due to work, and was very disappointed I missed their presentation. Hopefully they’ll be at future MACNAs.

      Thanks Again!

    9. Spike12472
      September 13, 2010 at 4:23 AM | Permalink

      OK this COM 2. Where can we get that?

    3 Trackbacks

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