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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I've read all the posts and my head is swimming. I do see some points worth noting

1. Until enough people are exposed, mass appeal, which will bring in the $$$ to the hobby won't happen.
2. Right now public opinion about FW is tanks and fish in big box stores. Cheap dirty, dying plants and floaters. No one is gonna spend big bucks on that. Even few LFS have decent FW tanks
3. Since availability is limited this encourages online sales which further undercuts LFS who are the main people to change perception
4. The learning curve is steep with few experts, except maybe online, to talk to or learn from.
5. Following the money leads to SW in our current industry.

Sounds like we are the only ones who can change perception. We could offer free pxs of tanks and plants in those revolving frames to be placed at checkouts to LFS. We could support those doing eBooks with free pxs and our knowledge. We could support our local plant clubs. We could set up tanks at libraries and schools and volunteer to maintain them.

I'm not sure I agree that there is so much more biodiversity in SW as opposed to FW. If you look in the invert side at all the amazing and colorful shrimp , snails, clams,etc available now its incredible. We don't know what is out there because we don't see it in this country. Think apistos and rams and rainbows, discus, tetras, plecos, killies etc. The sheer color, size and amount of possibilities can be mind numbing. When these are placed in planted tanks the effect is breathtaking. I think that's why we have all been asked, "is it salt water?". I'm not sure anything will change in my lifetime. I do know that this is why I am always in search of the next rare plant, the unique fish, the cool rocks. I want the beauty I see available in other countries. I want to grow the rare plants and share them with others. I want to spread them around the hobby so we, in the US don't loose that plant. Maybe we all have to make a difference in our own little corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
@ Margit- I feel the need to respond to your post. My responses are in blue. I will quote your line first and then respond

..this whole discussion centres around a very strange argument: commitment is proportionate to the amount of money spent (the size of the diamond is an accurate measure of love, right?)...

Wrong - the question was not how committed you are to the hobby by show of $$$ spent. It was why are people willing to shell out the $$$ in salt water but not freshwater? Why is there such availability of species flora and fauna in the SW side but not FW side? Usually that comes down to the profitability margin because without the demand there is not supply. If it costs to stock it and bring it in then people have to be willing to buy it.

you need advanced technology to have a "nature" tank...

No one ever said this. We have an entire forum dedicated to "el natural" style methodology. This discussion wasn't necessarily about a "nature" tank, just FW scapes in general. I'm not even sure there is an official definition of a "nature" tank.

When I read some tank journals, inspiration invariably comes from landscapes or fairy tales ("enchanted forest"); seems none of the scapers ever went through the trouble to study biotopes or put on a set of goggles to take a good look around under water.

I don't think these type of aquascapes claim to be biotopes. Why would you assume that they are lacking in education about them?

There is nothing wrong with wanting a showy, albeit unnatural planted tank; some people prefer sculptured boxwood to a garden that's running wild. And so need CO2 and fancy lighting. It's legitimate to do so - but it's not the height of the hobby... and when the beautiful technology breaks down (failed valve), you've gassed your fish to death...

I'm not sure what is at the "height of the hobby". I do know that the aquascape winners are using the fancy equipment. Most that use CO2 have many fail-safe's built into their setups. For me I have a double guage regulator to prevent end of tank dump, a Ph controller and even then I never turn my CO2 higher than it could hurt my fish EVEN if it were continuously running. No one wants to hurt their fish or livestock. Mistakes can happen, even in a set-up like yours.

... Again, if it floats your boat, it's legitimate. But it doesn't mean that you've arrived at the pinnacle of the hobby or that you're setting standards. All it means that there exist many ways to skin a cat, some with technology, others with little or none. But don't take money as a yardstick for seriousness... and do take a minute to consider the ecological costs... chances are that your set up is sustainable only as long as the friendly neighbourhood nuclear plant doesn't blow up...

This is your 2nd use of "it's legitimate" and then you end up with the ecological costs, neighborhood nuclear plant... It's quite clear in your tone that you do not think it's legitimate. We could go on and on about ecology and personal beliefs but this discussion is not about that. Also since you missed the premise of the discussion NOT being about commitment to hobby = $$$ spent you are off topic. No one is trying to decide a winner here or set standards. This is just a discussion

Finally, I have spent months thinking about how I can run a successful tank that is sustainable in an environment, where I can't take a steady supply of electricity for granted. I now use sunlight only, a heater for those chilly Nairobi nights and a circulation pump. My tank is locally made. No filtration; instead, I rely on plants. If there should be no electricity for a month, my tank will still provide a stable environment. Before y'all preach technology, try a bit harder catching up on ecology...

Good for you. I'm glad you have achieved your goal. No one faults you or would want to take this away from you. This was not a thread about preaching technology to sacrifice ecology, which seems to be what you espouse. For me it's more about what amazing availability there is in other countries of flora and fauna and why we don't have it in the US when we do have a high standard of living. What is it that keeps it from this country? Many have said it it that the $$$ aren't there to sustain the availability. I think you missed the point. You sound angry and judgmental. I love the diversity. I don't keep or have biotopes. It's not because I don't know about them. It's not because I think they are inferior. I want to enjoy as many species of things as I can in my spaces. I don't expect you to be me. I'm glad you are happy. I don't want to be forced to be you either. We can all be ourselves and enjoy the hobby.
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Discussion Starter · #47 · (Edited)
Margit - I'm not sure what you mean about 18th century orangerie unless you are saying that it's like having the aquarium look like a conservatory of sorts. I agree. I'm ok with that. That is how my tanks usually look. I love to try all the different species and learn about the different plants which then gives me the need for the high tech equipment.

I also agree that you can always have a system collapse. There is nothing natural, as has been said by so many, about keeping a little bit of nature in a glass box in your house. We are not nearly as good at replicating nature as nature is at creating it. Hopefully we are attentive enough to intervene when things get out of balance. This happens even in nature too as when you see ponds turn over with algae blooms and fish gulping at the top, massive fish die off's because of over population of certain types, etc. Nature is not kind about these adjustments - deer starvation because of overpopulation etc. We don't want or like to see this in our homes so we intervene. I use to keep kribensis but don't anymore because they multiply like rabbits and their sheer numbers could overwhelm my tank.

I also agree that working against nature is fraught with frustration. I see this all the time in outdoor landscaping. People use plants that will not work in areas as they mature and then they pull everything out, just when it's getting mature and redo everything all over again - working against the nature of the plants.

What money buys for me is variety. I get to learn, enjoy, experience different flora and fauna that I wouldn't otherwise because of availability. I think it's always been like that though. The people who have money can travel and experience it that way. Those of us that don't have to wait til the prices come down and we can get it where we live.

Technology just for it's own sake is a loosing endeavor. There is always something more advanced coming out next week. Technology chosen as needed is what makes sense for us all. Lets face it we all don't even have the skills to be able to use technology at the same level anyway.

Also, while technology does cost, it's not even necessarily where the money can go. I guess I would like to see more flora and fauna available. That costs money to import, to keep, to sell. That is what I'd really like to see. I think that's what Niko was talking about in his "fish business". Whatever technology I need to maintain this nature, I'm willing to purchase and learn to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
I think it would be possible to put together a low light low maintenance tank "kit" together. If more LFS would know how to do this an market it for their stores fewer people would get discouraged. I just set up two low tech tanks, one for my daughter and one for my granddaughter. All they have to do is a water change every now and then and stick a few root tabs in the gravel. How much easier than that does it get?
 

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Discussion Starter · #101 ·
I agree that the kits aren't the answer for everyone. I do think for beginners who don't know a lot they are a good starting point. We do have guidelines such as El Natural and EI dosing that are general, but they don't really give scaping advice. I kind of think that is where you either have to have an eye or copy someone or use the "kit" method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
I would think a booklet of some kind would be better. you know something like 20 pages or so, that could be given out/ low cost. would do much more then would offering kits.
Yes, but it reminds me of an appliance I had once. It has a sticker on the top that read, "Really now? Have you read the instructions?!"
 
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