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Money and the Hobby: Noticeable difference between our perceived difference in attitudes towards investing in SW versus FW planted tanks in the US.

That I think is the OP main theme here.

My comments based on my experience and thoughts after reading this thread thoroughly (found it last night):

There are different relations between expensive [equipment] investment and good results [balanced system] between both worlds.

For a Reef tank that correlation is pretty much straight forward: to a certain point money can buy success here much more easily than in planted tanks.

I think we can agree on that but those of us that have tried both (reef and planted) are likely to see this clearer.

Both systems are in more than one way different ball games.

I haven't read any paper on this yet but I suspect that a higher Social-Economic-Status is likely a strong predictor of the possibility of someone keeping a Reef Tank (independently of keeping or not a Planted Tank).

The opposite might likely be true: Lower Social-Economic-Status probably includes more persons keeping planted tanks than Reef tanks.

The Social-Economic-Status may therefore explain, in part, why we see some resistance to invest in equipment and rare plants, as well as the need to go DIY.

As organisms we live our lives according to context (unless we have a severe personality disorder) between two opposite extremes: Survival versus Life-Enhacement.

At Survival we strive to minimize our losses while at Life-Enhancement we strive to increase our well-being.

Things are not black and white here but consider that spending 300 to 500 usd in a nice high tech CO2 System isn't the same than spending 3,000 usd on an all rimless Starfire-Glass tank. There are degrees of spending flexibility in planted tanks that may not be there for Reef tanks.

Someone in the lower end of the SES might succeed in keeping a nice looking "El Natural" or even a nice low tech/light EI with DIY CO2 and get much more beautiful results than someone, at the same SES level attempting a FOWLR tank. Reef tanks are not truly possible to obtain while on a very limited budget.

Maybe some of us entered into planted tanks while still in "Survival" mode (in SES terms) and kept that attitude while succeeding in life and having the blessing/opportunity of living in "Life-Enhancement" mode.

I don't know many planted tank enthusiast willing to pay 500 usd for a small Bucephalandra sp; I know a few of us that probably will.

Reef enthusiast don't sit until someone "grow" corals and prices drop; I keep seeing a tendency in the opposite direction in the planted tank enthusiasts.

The "industry" and the "society" also play a role. Access to Reef gadgets is most times as easy as walking in a store or going online for US hobbyist, all you need is the money to purchase. Try to get T5HO at 8,000K in the US today (I ended purchasing mine online in Europe).

Same thing happens with livestock: a wide array of Corals, Inverts and Fish for Reef Tanks is easier to find than that Eriocaulon or Cryptocoryne sp. I truly want.

It's a cycle feeding itself: Market has two sides in the equation, the provider/seller and the consumer/buyer. Planted tanks seem to be in "stall" in the US.

Here is the core of the OP question: What explains the difference in investment attitude (tendency to go cheap) in planted tanks in the US and how do we change this reality?

It's mind baffling and the SES part of the equation falls short here unless there are truly only a few planted tank keepers with solvency and/or there are also few willing to invest (time and money) figuring how things work out in a planted tank.

That phenomena doesn't seem to happen in Europe and Asia. To some extent the same US reality is happening in my dear Caribbean half-Island.

I visited only one LFS in Berlin a couple of years ago. I was in awe with the fish varieties for both SW and FW; the aquatic plants area was a paradise; the readily available equipment for planted tanks was similar to SW.

I live in a Third World Country, where SES differences are gross. It's sometimes heart-braking for me noticing the motivation for planted (and SW) tanks in decent persons (some with college degree) with an income so small that I feel nothing but admiration mixed with pain; I don't see myself going through the difficult financial situation they are enduring and at the same time strive for a planted tank yet there they are, determined to get that savings that in a few months would put pressurized CO2 in their tank(s) even if it will work with an old single stage regulator for a good while.

Then there's our understanding of biology: Most macrophytes (terrestrial, amphibian and aquatic plants) biology and physiology is less understood today than Corals/Inverts/Fish.

Besides a few exceptions like the Barr Report (in the paid member's section) information is scarce, vague, contradictory as for what really happens in our planted tanks. I use Google translator like Niko does yet it's obvious how imperfect that tool is.

Most Reef keepers end having a nice refractometer yet how many planted tank keepers end purchasing a nice PAR meter?

Simple question, complex answer...

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

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I can't find Nutrafin's WasteControl DSMS yet in Hagen's FAQ they state that this product decompose solid waste: "waste are reduced to their lowest components by the bacteria team". The info is still vague (reduced as in ion/cation exchange?) but makes me wonder if:

We may have two sources here capable of providing at least N and P to the water column in more than one way from these added heterotrophic bacteria: as byproduct while alive as well as once dead; how relevant or not this "probable" nutrient source is we just don't know.

Leaching nutrients from the substrate into the water column from the "mumbo-jumbo" stuff is another variable that we may consider.

I do figure that the massive death of heterotrophic bacteria in Cycle should provide more nutrients to the plants through the water column.

Add fish waste and uneaten fish food to the equation and we may have enough to provide at least slow-growth; N and P removers keep the levels on the low side constantly and as long as its probable periods of depletion doesn't "dry out" plant's reserves it shouldn't affect overall plant health other than its growth rate.

I have a problem with 3 bps of CO2. It tells me nothing as for how much bioavailable carbon ends up in the water column. We need to measure it to actually know (I mean with calibrated instrument which is prohibitive). The absence of algae suggest CO2 is not a limiting factor here unless... despite being limited the huge amount of heterotrophic bacteria kept alive in this tank outcompetes algae or maybe another explanation I haven't considered... yet (we are on the hunt for those aren't we?)

This discussion may seem to be off-topic but unless we understand all the facts we remain working with unproved hypothesis if not total ignorance.

Fairly good level of knowledge of how things work allow Reef Keeping with minimal risk; the cost of equipment that solve the problems we understand may be expensive or not; in Reef keeping they usually are so SW fellows must invest or forget about it; in FW planted tank we are still figuring things out and I agree, until we do -at least to the extent of keeping algae as a negligible nuisance- we have little room of changing things, at least in the US market.

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

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One of my dearest live plants provider/seller, David, has a nice business in the US; he sets up beautiful planted tanks and rent them with maintenance routine, like Bubbles is doing in Hong Kong.

Check his website:http://displariums.com/

He's a member of APC by the way; it would be interesting to learn from his experience.

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 
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