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I've read numerous times how the US hobbyists are lacking in their monetary commitment to the hobby. Since we are a leading nation in terms of standard of living, why do you think this is? In the SW side it is quite expensive, yet this doesn't translate over to the freshwater side. We have hobbyists that keep both and I still see that same person being "cheap" with the freshwater side. I see them begging for plants, using sub-par equipment, etc. I watch threads from Indonesia where people spend $1000s with huge tanks built in to atriums and such.

What are your thoughts?
 

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In general, it's the capitalist mentality. As an individual, my goal is always to get the lowest price. Businesses respond by lowering their costs.

As a consumer, I don't make the connection that this can drive underpaid waiters, assembly line workers, or janitors to steal from me to feed their families.

There are other countries in the world where it costs $$$ to eat out, clothes cost $$$, taxis cost $$$, but the overall standard of living is the highest on the planet.

It also makes people much more conscious of quality and value, preservation and conservation.

In specific, perhaps the salt water industry has made use of the "difficulty" of their version of the hobby to create a perception of exclusivity, which they can play to with pricing and marketing? Like golf, sports cars, and other markets where prices greatly exceed the cost of manufacture?
 

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it could be that my salary is small and i have to put my faimly first.....

its not a perception ... i think it is a reality. i would say that people that can do reef are well off and understand before they take the plunge that they know what they are getting into and what it takes to keep live peices. i would say anybody can keep a FOWLR but not anybody can keep a reef.

i had a reef once and i cheaped it out. it was the first generation JBJ Nanocube and i spliced a 10 fuge into it to keep from buying a $300 skimmer. worked like a well oiled machine ..... however i did cheap that out too.

from one mans POV
THanks
Elliot
 

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In specific, perhaps the salt water industry has made use of the "difficulty" of their version of the hobby to create a perception of exclusivity, which they can play to with pricing and marketing? Like golf, sports cars, and other markets where prices greatly exceed the cost of manufacture?
I agree with this. I think part of the answer is that freshwater is perceived as easier and less technical, but also maybe it is simply that the freshwater planted side of the hobby hasn't caught on here to the degree that it has in other countries for whatever reason.

Is it that we aren't willing to dish out the $$$, or is it that the market just hasn't matured here yet?

In general, it's the capitalist mentality. As an individual, my goal is always to get the lowest price. Businesses respond by lowering their costs.

As a consumer, I don't make the connection that this can drive underpaid waiters, assembly line workers, or janitors to steal from me to feed their families.
A true capitalist strives to get the best value for their money. This is very different from getting the lowest price. Just trying to get stuff as cheap cheap cheap as possible is not capitalism, it is what people label as capitalism (or a "capitalist mentality") so they can blame it for the current state of affairs.

There are other countries in the world where it costs $$$ to eat out, clothes cost $$$, taxis cost $$$, but the overall standard of living is the highest on the planet.

It also makes people much more conscious of quality and value, preservation and conservation.
What is the "It" in this last sentence?
 

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As a "born again" freshwater aquatic gardener after a decade of exclusively marine tanks, I saw the value of high tech planted tanks in being singularly able to show the full beauty of certain plant species, much in the same way that corals can be grown in moderate light, but they won't really thrive unless they get what they want. I learned that in the aquarium hobby you get out of it,what you put into it. I guess some people are into aquariums less as a hobby and more as an ornament, and those people don't really want to make the effort to have slammin aquariums that make visitors really say Wow.
 

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I am a hobbyist on a tight budget, and this makes me ambivalent on the issue.

On one hand, I resent that common materials, devices, tools, and chemicals triple or quadruple in price when the word "aquarium" goes on the label. Examples are polyester fiberl (a.k.a. filter floss), gluteraldehyde (a.k.a. Flourish Excel), and any number of common horticultural products which are the same thing as expensive substrates.

On the other hand, it repulses me that hobbyists do not demand and will not pay for healthy, tank-raised fish kept in humane conditions. Instead, we flock to Pet Megalomart when the otos are on sale for $2.98 even though these fish suffer huge mortality in capture and shipping, and often do not survive even after they make it into our aquaria. Similarly, we will not pay the price for healthy plants kept in optimum conditions, but will buy plants from retail chains stored in the dark and packaged in plastic tubes even when the plants are actually terrestrial and will not survive submerged anyway.

Maybe if we were willing to pay prices for livestock that reflect the real cost of keeping these animals and plants alive and healthy, retailers would not find it necessary to put an exorbitant mark-up on polyester fiber and fish meal (a.k.a. Tropi-Colorific Supreme Floating Morsels).

Or maybe I just hate modern marketing, LOL!
 

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I resent that common materials, devices, tools, and chemicals triple or quadruple in price when the word "aquarium" goes on the label.
So do I. That's not an increase in value or quality, just price. Personally, I like the challenge and satisfaction of finding an equivalent alternative, or recycle/reuse, or just making something work well and look good without money. The less I spend, the more I like it -- unless I'm shortchanging a shop owner, employee, or livestock.
 

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IME, salt water/reef have np dumping cash into thier tanks, but fresh water hobbyist won't pay a dime.


I build alot of stuff for the local reef community, no one questions my prices.

Just recently I had a guy that wanted me to give him a price on a custom sump for his fresh water tank. He was floored when I told him it would be $1000, for the diamentions he wanted. Of corse I got the "why so much?" question. I tried to explain to him that there was $800 in just arcylite gp( 2x 1/2" sheets) he just could not wrap his head around that price. I've built 10-15 that size in the last 5 ish years, for reefers and had zero complaints about price or quality.

oh well.
 

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Saltwater is touted as the 'gold standard' for aquarium opulence, and that makes everything else fall by the wayside.

I work as a Horticulture Consultant for a rich realtor in my city and he has a large, expensive and beautiful reef aquarium. When I showed him pictures of Amano tanks, however, he wanted to know why he hadn't seen anything like it before.

It's an exposure thing. It's also about spectacle. Both of these items tie into the 'american capitalist bigger is better' mentality.

It's a culture thing. When you have people constantly telling you that SW reefs are the exclusive diamond of fishkeeping, that's what you're going to believe, and you're not going to spend money on anything else.

Supply and demand. Demand is low; supply follows suit.
 

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Planted tanks are and have been very poular in Europe and I think they are well ahead of us in knowledge of the hobby. Why? I think its because they have much better equipment available to them that is proven technology and they have been at it longer.

I may be wrong but I also have a feeling many of the American planted tank hobbyists are young and dont have the cash to buy top of the line equipment and improvise.

Desire vs Wallet.................Wallet usually wins.
 

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There's also the general impression that staple freshwater fish are a diime a dozen. An individual who spends $40 or more on each saltwater fish or coral is willing to spend $1,000 or more on an appropriate setup. People are less reluctant to spend that amount to house some $3 freshwater fishes or plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There's also the general impression that staple freshwater fish are a dime a dozen. An individual who spends $40 or more on each saltwater fish or coral is willing to spend $1,000 or more on an appropriate setup. People are less reluctant to spend that amount to house some $3 freshwater fishes or plants.
I think that's a good point! I'm all for saving a dollar when I can, like buying generic excel, fiber floss etc. but some things such as plants selection, rimless tanks, etc you have to anti-up for. Since there are only a few willing to pay for some of these considered "luxuries" we end up with limited availability. I would love for this part of the hobby to change.

So are some telling me that SW side is dominated by the "older set" and FW side is the younger people?
 

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having had both, a reef takes actually alot less time/work then a planted tank.

Part of that is the "toys", part is the growth rate diffrence. Plants grow so much faster.
 

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I blame the industry itself. There is more money to be made in SW than freshwater so that's where stores try to push you. Every fish store you go into has a huge SW display. How many stores do you see with a nice planted display. NONE in my area. If they do sell plants it's in a small aquarium with inadaquate lighting, so why would a customer spend as much money on something that doesn't look as nice.
Follow the money, there's more money to be made from SW then planted.
 

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There's also the general impression that staple freshwater fish are a diime a dozen. An individual who spends $40 or more on each saltwater fish or coral is willing to spend $1,000 or more on an appropriate setup. People are less reluctant to spend that amount to house some $3 freshwater fishes or plants.
I'm in this camp as well. In the USA people are more willing to spend large money on a setup around fish, but not one around plants. When I say fish I'm referring to saltwater, where the fish are many times the focus of the tank and not the scape. Most saltwater setups also have UVs to protect their fish (investment) most freshwater aquarists do not use one especially for this purpose.
 

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Desire vs Wallet.................Wallet usually wins.
Ditto! I (and a few others that I can think of) would be perfectly willing to plop down any amount of cash on proper equipment for a planted tank, but the "wallet" simply won't allow it. In my case, it's a matter of making due with lower quality or improvised replacements until the right stuff can be purchased. Example, If I had $500 to drop on a new filter for my planted tank, I'd do it without blinking. But, the money simply isn't there...so I have to wait until it is...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ditto! I (and a few others that I can think of) would be perfectly willing to plop down any amount of cash on proper equipment for a planted tank, but the "wallet" simply won't allow it. In my case, it's a matter of making due with lower quality or improvised replacements until the right stuff can be purchased. Example, If I had $500 to drop on a new filter for my planted tank, I'd do it without blinking. But, the money simply isn't there...so I have to wait until it is...
I certainly get this, but it doesn't explain the SW side of the industry. There are the same money constraints in peoples' lives.

I blame the industry itself. There is more money to be made in SW than freshwater so that's where stores try to push you. Every fish store you go into has a huge SW display. How many stores do you see with a nice planted display. NONE in my area. If they do sell plants it's in a small aquarium with inadaquate lighting, so why would a customer spend as much money on something that doesn't look as nice.
Follow the money, there's more money to be made from SW then planted.
I think that is a good point, but if they brought in the rare plants and the high tech stuff and set-up a display, keeping it in good stead they would begin selling the stuff. It's a catch 22 for them. They must have a HUGE capital investment in the SW side. Even if they had a flat screen TV with pxs of amazing scapes revolving on the screen over their plants that would draw people...
 

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I certainly get this, but it doesn't explain the SW side of the industry. There are the same money constraints in peoples' lives.
It may be self-selection at work. A big factor in my own choice for FW was that I couldn't afford SW. That, and I was extremely impressed by what people here could do with the art...!
 
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