The Aquatic Expo (TAE) was founded with the goal of showcasing the aquarium hobby to the public. One of the most amazing things about the aquarium hobby is the endless possibilities for every aquarium. There are so many interesting species and pieces of decor that can be used to fill up those glass boxes, and our goal is to bring together as many of those pieces as possible. The Aquatic Expo is designed to showcase livestock that is not normally found in your average pet store. Big box chain stores do not have the facilities to keep a wide variety of livestock, and therefore many people are unaware of the abundance of options that are out there. Our goal is to bring as many of those options to the Expo as we can so that attendees can see, and buy, things that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
Who we are
TAE was founded by Tristian, Grace, and Sabu. After years of running shows in the Carolinas and achieving our goals of community involvement, awareness, and conservation the 3 friends and showrunners decided that an event encompassing the best elements of their competing events would be in the interest of the community at large.
Planning for TAE started 2 years ago and picked up steam in early 2022 after Fire Marshalls warned our event coordinators that future events would need to limit the attendees for safety reasons at our existing venues.
Joining forces under The Sustainable Reef – a Non-Profit with ties to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Marine Aquarium Council, Rising Tide Conservation, CLMS Aquaculture, and Virginia Tech only seemed like the most logical solution to empower our events. TAE is proud to support the Sustainable Reefs mission for aquaculture-based events, providing a connection between aqua culturists, educating future generations of hobbyists, and connecting companies with their customers in a safe productive environment.
The Aquatic Expo goes to great lengths to bring in quality vendors, and we hope that this attention does not go unnoticed. With over 120 vendors and a wealth of experience, TAE is loaded with knowledgeable hobbyists and professionals.
For the last three years, the Carolina Aquatic Expo and Reef Smart have laid the foundation for the future of the aquarium hobby in the Carolinas. As the 2 largest aquarium shows in the Carolinas, combined, TAE will continue to be an ambassador for the hobby and to all hobbyists.
That mission aside, TAE’s organizers have long maintained that Reef Events have devolved into cash grabs by organizers, un-inspiring talks, and pieced-together demonstrations that do little to retain visitors and event participants. TAE changes that by inviting speakers from around the world, introducing actual live shows during the event from various countries, and striving to interest and hold the attention of our visitors for the full event. TAE isn’t just a shopping opportunity, it’s also learning, connecting, and defining moments in our visitor’s day that will last for years.
TAE strives to provide our sponsors and vendors with above-average promotion, exposure, and opportunities to connect with the community and their customers.
Our Merit-based hand-selected and curated approach to vendor selection also ensure that not only the highly decorated but also much deserving vendors are offered an opportunity to participate in the event.