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We just posted a great new video from ADG/ADA-US of a series of installs at Picasso Exotic Aquatics in Leawood, Kansas. They installed some freshwater and marine show tanks for them. The video, as usual from ADG, is incredibly well produced. We invite you to check it out. There are some surprises...like plastic plants!

http://www.tankgeek.com/2010/12/30/adg-install-picasso-exotics/
 

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Pretty... Still i didnt want to be "THAT GUY" that will point the unconfortable question... Where are the plants? Synthtic plastic plants are nice, but this forum is about plants i think...
Nice aquascapes, with great wood, and great arrangement, however the whole effort was a bit of a let down, seriously i thought it went down the drain really by going all plastic on both the "reef" and the "planted" tanks... instead of using the real things. Not exactly the example a shop with this potential(i liked the whole of the video mind you) wants to set for their future clients, after all you guys will want to sell the real things too(at least they are more profitable for a seller than say plastic plants that never die, and dont need to be replaced overtime=P
But thats me, i like my tanks like i my women's mamary glands... real=p

Besides the lack of live plants, i must say i loved the video, pretty good, and the shop must be like a sanctuary for fish maniacs=). Wish it was in Portugal or in some other european country...
 

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Hey Doubleott, I have no idea what P.E.A. intends to sell as far as ADA or aquatic plants - though I know they're focusing roughly 60/40 on Marine to FW.

The choice for plastic was simple: the client had a need and a request and needed inspirational displays without hefty maintenance. As we all know, it takes a lot of expertise to properly execute a planted aquarium, much less an inspirational planted aquascape. It also takes a lot of maintenance time investment (it takes roughly one to two hours a week to keep a 17.7 gallon 60-P planted aquascape perfect in the gallery, where as it takes about 30 minutes every two weeks to keep a hardscape only discus display that's 300 gallons pristinely perfect).

Given these factors, and also the fact that we aren't local to Kansas (thus aren't the ones maintaining the aquariums), it was in Picasso's best interest to go this route until they have the proper expertise to execute a full-blown planted aquarium.
 

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Not to mention it's in a window... A real planted tank with fertilizing would probably turn into an algae farm with that much direct light.

But, thats not what its about. The aquascape is stunning and it takes real talent to make plastic plant look good, and it looks GREAT! Excellent job! It looks better than a lot of planted tanks I've seen.
 

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look at 2:35 to 3:03 it tricked my eyes for a second. and looks at 4:10-4:30 <-- nice aqua scapes ... all the tanks look nice to me, in my opinion it was all about the nice aqua scape vs plastic or real plants.
 

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I second Francis' sentiments. Shops will get the most bang for their buck out of doing systems the majority of their customers will be able to afford and have success with. When I did design/installation and maintenance for a living it was the rare customer who was willing to do a full blown planted aqauarium. An attractive system with synthetic materials appeals to a much wider customer base and is one hell of a lot easier for a store's maintenance techs to deal with. It's a win-win for everyone and ADG sure knows how to set up an attractive system regardless of the materials!

Cheers,
Phil

Hey Doubleott, I have no idea what P.E.A. intends to sell as far as ADA or aquatic plants - though I know they're focusing roughly 60/40 on Marine to FW.

The choice for plastic was simple: the client had a need and a request and needed inspirational displays without hefty maintenance. As we all know, it takes a lot of expertise to properly execute a planted aquarium, much less an inspirational planted aquascape. It also takes a lot of maintenance time investment (it takes roughly one to two hours a week to keep a 17.7 gallon 60-P planted aquascape perfect in the gallery, where as it takes about 30 minutes every two weeks to keep a hardscape only discus display that's 300 gallons pristinely perfect).

Given these factors, and also the fact that we aren't local to Kansas (thus aren't the ones maintaining the aquariums), it was in Picasso's best interest to go this route until they have the proper expertise to execute a full-blown planted aquarium.
 

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I second Francis' sentiments. Shops will get the most bang for their buck out of doing systems the majority of their customers will be able to afford and have success with. When I did design/installation and maintenance for a living it was the rare customer who was willing to do a full blown planted aqauarium. An attractive system with synthetic materials appeals to a much wider customer base and is one hell of a lot easier for a store's maintenance techs to deal with. It's a win-win for everyone and ADG sure knows how to set up an attractive system regardless of the materials!

Cheers,
Phil
Completely agree. The very high end market many times doesn't care if the arrangement is real or not. It's about visual impact and how it will look in one's home/office. This is also true on the salt-side as well with many upscale setups including mostly fake specimens. Even if you use all ADA product in the tank there is still a need for a maintenance discipline that many will not pay for or not understand.

A big part of the reason ADA and other professionals tanks look good is that there is a discipline and culture to take care of it. If ADG is not there, then that all goes away.
 

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Ok...Given those conditions i understand the plastic plants...

I wasnt aware that the high end costumers were so....Undemanding of the tanks created for them by hired aquarium maintenance services. But hey some people have more money than sense, and thats equal everywhere in the world=P I had noticed indeed that plastic and synthetic materials was big in the US, namely in regards to marine setup's, i wasnt expecting this to be as rampart among freshwater fishkeepers, who seem to be far less impulsive than salty lovers (usually people go salty just for the "Nemos"). Good info than.

I had noticed the large differences between the US market, and the Portuguese and european markets... Although you guys have a better acess to a lot of plants, it seems that ignorance and the lack of enthusiasm toward the hobby by people who hire other people to keep their tanks, is more common right?

Dont take me wrong, im trying to understand how fishkeeping is in the US, as the act of hiring someone to keep you tank is unthinkable around here, and the use of plastic plants is seen as the mark of a lazyness, and no iniative of rookie without any knowledge of Fishkeeping and plantkeeping.
I've had Marine setups, namely native inverts and cold water corals, as well as planted tanks (i prefer the later, its much cheaper, and requires less logistics, but it feels so much more rewarding...), but i dont understand why in the US salty setups seem to be king. That or Marine setups receive a lot more publicity, i dont know what reason, but i'd love to know.

It's my opinion, based on what i see of the American community, namely on youtube, it probably has no foundation, and im probably being biased by what i see on youtube. But it seems that Aquatic gardening, plant collecting and planted tanks, arent really common, or at least widespread in the US, making the Marine tank the King in America, whereas in Europe we favor the planted tank... Am i right?

I also noticed that people in America seem to favor acrylic tanks over glass tanks, is that correct?

PS: I apologize in advance for my poor english, as english is not my first language(its not even my second=P)

Also i'd love to know what are the hot shot brands in terms of fishcare products in America. Here is ADA(used to be the best of the best, but its losing ground to ELOS) ELOS, JBL, API and Tropica. What are the brands in America?
 

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I do think you are right about salt water being king in the US. It's far more common to see a s/w tank than a planted one. That's why everyone has been asked a least a dozen times, "Is it S/W?". I'm not sure why is more popular. Maybe we are just behind.

I think ADA is still top of the line here as far as hardware. For ferts maybe Tropica. Glass is best. Maybe its all about availability.

I see why stores and people use plastic but it sure wouldn't attrack the true hobbyist except from a distance. Maybe that's what they need -a drawing card to bring people in. Once inside I would think they would need some scaped tanks with real plants. It's hard to find a nice planted tank store. That's probably why the US is behind.
 

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The US is known for its highly restricting legislation on aquatic plants available for purchase, keeping and breeding... Or at least thats an image we get over here. That is sure to put a dent on any hobbyist's attempts. I wasnt aware that it was hard to find a good FW planted shop in the US considering the plant nurseries we see on youtube based in the US... Guess its mostly for export...:D
 

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Having worked in the field, clients want a tank that looks great 100% of the time and cheap.

You have to remember you have to bill out atleast 3x what you pay your employees to make any money. Thats not inculding things like fuel, the truck/van, tools, consumables... It all adds up fast.



And yes importing plants to the US is a real PITA.


edit, ok now you got my wheels turning.

Lets just say the client wants something attractive with some colorful fish,but on the cheap. So something in the 4' range for most offices would be about right. So lets say a off the shelf 90 or 120 would be a great choice. For the tank, stand and canopy, you are looking at +/- $1000. figure a canister,heater and other "junk" is another $300. $100 for lighting.( decent quality duel strip light) You could easily add other things like a UV, diatom filter... etc.


Thats $1400 and we have not bought anything to go in it yet. Now that $1400 was my price, I'm going to charge you atleast 10% on top of that for it.( more like 15-25%)

Now lets add in stuff like gravel, drift wood( rather real or fake) hand selected rocks from the stone yard, and the like. Lets just call it $300( trust me thats CHEAP) and once again my mark up.

so at this point we have not bought fish yet, every thing is in boxs and we are at $1700 my cost, which is $2000 yours.

Now comes set up, lets just say it takes me and a appentice, 4 hours to set up the tank and have it up and running. If I pay my guy $15 a hour. Its costing me atleast $25 hour to have him as a employee. so for that 4 hours I would have to bill you out $300( $75 a hour)+ money for me. Lets call it $500 for set up.

So now you have a tank, set up and scaped, but still no fish. The bill so far is $2500.

Now comes maintance, 1 hours a week at $75/hour or $300 a month.


Try selling a $2500 up front cost + $300 a month to some one. Its not easy.


PS gd its quater to 4, my wife was supose to be off work about 6 hours ago... not good.
 

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i get what you mean...Thats really expensive to be honest... Maybe thats why, hiring people to make our tanks hasn't taken up here yet... 2500$ is about what? 1900€? Thats way more than the average person do monthly around here. But from your numbers, it seems that hardware, and life support systems are really expensive in the US, but maybe im thinking inside the make it yourself/maintain it yourself box...

Still FW hardware is way cheaper than say, SW, making FW tanks should be more pleasant to create and maintain than SW... But if there are no stores to import/sell, good plants in the quality and number to support an ever improving comunity... Well Tough luck!

Too bad, as the USA have the potential to have one of the most developped, or at least, rich (plantwise) and varied, comunities of Aquascapers in the World.. After all, you got Florida, and all those huge rivers and tributaries where, many of the most popular plants in aquascaping/planted tanks, come from... Look at the Ludwigias, the hemianthus micranthemoides(my favorite plant, cant make a layout without it...), and so many others! And im talking of native species, not refering to all the invasive species that have been acclimated to your waters...
Oh what i would give to have all the plant species native to the US, right on my doorstep=P
 

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When you are doing this for a living, you want to keep the maintance times as short as you can. That means good quality stuff and stuff that can go along time between services.

You have to remember stuff like ehiems have to be imported. Not only are we paying that cost, we also have to pay currency conversions and tarffs.


The reason why no one is importing plants in large numbers its its VERY hard to do so. Something that might only cost pennys, will end up costing $10, do to all the red tape. the market here will not stand for high prices.
 

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Are you saying planted tanks in other countries out number ones with plastic plants. That would amaze me. There are lots of reasons one might chose not to have live plants other than laziness and ignorance.

Most people here maintain their own tanks.
I think maintenance companies do mostly businesses
 

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Having had both a reef and a planted aquarium, there is a much steeper learning curve to a planted aquarium IME.

It is far, far easier to remove all phosphate and as much nitrate as you can than to intentionally add nutrients but find a balance with light and co2 (and oxygen for that matter.) In a reef all you need is good lighting and a protein skimmer, maybe some calcium and strontium and other misc. supplements. I had a hell of a time learning how to take care of aquatic plants even though I am great at terrestrial plants.

Another aspect is aquascaping. Anyone can throw coral and live rock in a tank and make it look great! Freshwater aquascaping is a lot harder.

In the u.s. The primary focus is on fish, not plants. If you are a serious hobbyist, you probably have a reef tank. Your average Joe wants a fish tank, not a plant tank, and if he is good at keeping freshwater and has the extra time and expense for saltwater then he will go likely go saltwater instead of planted. Even the nicest planted tank pales in comparison to the gaudy colors of a reef tank, and in America if you are gong to spend a lot of money you want the "wow!" factor and you just cant get that with moss. Sorry.

Coral are more interesting than plants IMO. They move, they sting. They eat, they are fluorescent, and you can sell your excess for quite a bit of money. The biodiversity of a saltwater tank is also incredible.
 

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99,9% of all portuguese made tanks, you see on forums are done with live stuff... (I remember only seeing one with plastic in all my years).

Sure there are plastic plants on sale around here, but even shopkeepers push for the use of live plants...And the honest ones will even teach you how to take care of your tank...

@justlikeapill:
It depends on what you find the most amazing. Some people prefer live, moving things and all the reefy goodness, because its corals, it shines, and moves, and stings, and glows, and sells high, but that is not so for everyone. Sure i like corals, but i find plants much more interesting and cozy the planted tank. And i guess many do as much. There is a certain little something about aquatic plants that the corals just cant give you, despite their flashyness. But it all depends on your personal taste and what you find the most interesting.
 

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But I think that's why saltwater is more popular here. Sure, plants are cozy and familiar but coral looks pretty alien and different. I think that's why the focus is on saltwater in the us aquarium hobby. I also think it is easier (but much more costly) than a high tech planted tank. "Collecting" different varieties of the same species of coral drives the reef hobby as well I think. Some color combinations are pretty crazy.


I think plants aren't so popular because People buy a few, stick them in a fish tank (not a plant tank) and they die. Maybe they try it again and the same thing happens. No research because they are decorations for a fish tank, so they just assume plants are very difficult. I think saltwater sort of forces people to research a great deal more and so you are more likely to succeed based on that alone.

I think a lot of people wouldn't like the pruning aspect of planted Aquaria here as well. Having plants look like crap every two weeks can put a lot of people off.


Just some ideas. Obviously this isn't Portugal and I think people are more apt to go for flash rather than coziness here. Your English is excellent btw!

Fake coral... I can see how people would go for that. A lot of angelfish and butterfly fish eat living coral.
 
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