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A good plant display, good looking plants, and good selection may work very well. I have a single example and it does go along these lines, but I can't say if that will change anything really.

Some years ago I frequented a fish store and got the onwer to think more about plants. Maybe the fact that his tank system actually provided a special area for displaying plants helped. He never used these tanks and finally he decided to give plants a try.

Bottom line was - when the display was 100% full of plants 50% of them sold within 3-4 days. The rest 50% took about 45 days to sell.

After about a week most plants looked really, really bad. I guess that's one reason why they could not sell well. But also he told me that he has noticed that people buy more if he has more stock. It didn't matter if it was great quaility. People he said like abundance. But he also said that people buy plants with the mentality that within a week they will die in their tank. Disposable beauty, that's all.

One problem with all the local stores is that the tanks where they have the plants have bad lighting. No store ever goes full out in providing a great environment + bright strong light. It is cheaper to just order new cheap plants. That's all it boils down to: About $400 for lights + a CO2 system.
 

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Yeah, well, Bubba fish-store-owner luvz to get free stuff!

Only way I see to get a store to display plants is to "have a meeting at my store and setup a planted tank to get your hobby more popular". As we have done in the past. "Smart" fish-store-master extraordinaire will walk around thinking he's getting a hell of a deal - for !free! and all these potential customers are flooding his super-duper store.

Except that the wonderful freeloader feeling ends when a realization happens. That a planted tank is not an animal anyone from the store panel of monumental experts understands. That, and the fact that most of the "potential customers I tricked into coming in" seem to be hell bent on not spending a dime at the super-duper store. And it is not the store's fault that it's full of obsolete brand new crap....

At this moment a dichotomy takes shape. 2 parts going in different directions that is. So different that insted of the letter "Y" the situation looks more like a "T".

I always come to the same point - to develop the planted tank hobby better we need more understanding how things work.

--Nikolay
 

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The route becoming a store that has planted tanks should start with the owner carrying a few easy-to-grow species---the old favorites that go back to the 50's such as Amazon swords, Vallisneria, water sprite, etc. Along with these plants the owner should carry some fertilizers because even these old favorites may need some iron, etc. Once the owner has had some success selling these plants, he or she will get interested in more species, and this will happen when customers who have had success with the easy varieties start asking for more and different species.

Start with Echinodorus bleherae; it is almost impossible to kill.
 

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A good plant display, good looking plants, and good selection may work very well. I have a single example and it does go along these lines, but I can't say if that will change anything really.
^ This. It's a marketing problem; fish market themselves (pretty colors, movement). All the store has to do is have halfway decent stock and keep the tanks clean. (Some places I've seen can't even do that!) Plants need to be "packaged" attractively in order to sell. There's an LFS in my area that started out as an aquarium maintenance service - they have beautiful tanks with plants and fish, and the tanks with plants have LOTS of plant mass. They also label certain fish, at least, "NFS" - they keep "worker fish" in their stock tanks to maintain quality; I didn't ask but they may well do the same for certain plants. And they have a beautiful planted tank framed right in the entryway wall when you walk in. They've got the experience to keep things looking nice rather than just serving as another distribution point. And it's a great selling strategy, I bought an expensive fish when usually I wouldn't have bought a fish at that price from ANY other place around here, because their tanks don't look as good. Good looking tanks make the customer think that the stock is healthy and worth paying more money for. I wasn't shopping for plants that day, but if I want something nice I'll definitely be going back there for it.
 

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A good plant display, good looking plants, and good selection may work very well.
One more thing that would help. Packaging.

Imaging that aquatic plants were sold like other aquarium decorations: Just plop it in the tank. Move it if its in the way.

How?

Sell the plants in cheap glass or acrylic vases, like this:
Plant Houseplant Flowerpot Liquid Terrestrial plant


Advantages:
* More attractive than the plastic pots
* Ferts built in soil, gravel cap included.
* No substrate requirements for the tank.
* Easy to reposition, remove.
* Ideal: As easy as buying a plastic plant.
* Price point: The pots retail for under $3.00, so the range of $5-7 should be possible.

Make sure:
* Plants come with the same Easy, Medium, Hard labels as fish do. With a bright, medium, or dim bulb symbol.
* Include the APC URL on the label
* Include a "Learn More" address too, that explains in pictures how plants fit the ecosystem and shows off fully planted tanks
* On that site, include (e.g.) that great plant nutrient deficiency infographic.
 

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I really don't see this as anything different than what any new product deals with.

First, make sure you have a good product. Today, there are several easy to follow ways to healthy plant growth. I will say, even follow this method to success.

Second, make sure the product is easily and widely available. This is what missing. I got plants today from a large retailer. Terrible on many levels. If I was a newbie, the plants would be dead in a few days.

Third, educate the distributors so they can, inspire of themselves, make a profit and believe in your product. This is the duty of the suppliers. Sadly, even though the US is one of the largest growers of aquarium plants, the growers have never educated the suppliers.

Lastly, educate the public. I think we need an evangelist, an American Amano. We need more publicity and exposure.


Regards,

Art
 

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To add, it is for this reason that I wanted to highlight LFSs that made an effort to carry plants when I managed APC. If we can get them more business they will learn to believe in the hobby. Once they do, other stores will. Once some aquascapes get into Modern Homes and Gardens, then new hobbysts will be born and we will be on our way.

If you know of a LFS doing the plant thing, let us know and let's promote the heck out of them!


Regards,

Art
 

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This article is a huge disservice to our hobby.

Because of the name associated with it and the information that guarantees failure.
 

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Typical Martha--low content, over-simplified, and unlikely to produce success without MUCH more research and effort.

However, even a whisper of interest from Saint Martha can boost a hobby or activity to surprising levels. One of my other interests is poultry, and Martha's glowing accounts of her chickens helped to start the current surge in backyard chicken keeping.
 

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It is also unchanged from the advice that was available back in the '50's: Use well-washed aquarium gravel and the fish will provide all fertilizer needs. This is a lazy effort. All we have to do is put the name, Martha Stewart, on it and people will believe it.
 

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Typical Martha--low content, over-simplified, and unlikely to produce success without MUCH more research and effort.

However, even a whisper of interest from Saint Martha can boost a hobby or activity to surprising levels. ...
Hey! Should I get a tiny bit negative here? This is pretty sad actually:

These 2 have someting in common:




Both are criminals. Both are American icons. One started as a criminal and turned into an icon. The other first became an icon and then a criminal.

I hope you follow my veiled logic - no matter how it looks there is black and white IF one cares to see it. I don't think anyone sees Martha as a criminal. Or Billy. Or quite a few professional athletes. But there is black and white nonetheless.

How does that pertain to our hobby?
Do YOU care to think? To choose beter products? To voice? To drive forward?

This "Money" topic is a complicated subject...

- Cheers! - said Martha.

--Nikolay
 

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This is the type of bad information and stereotype we need to change. What it does take, like Niko said, is effort. That effort normally comes from the commercial efforts. Unfortunately, I rarely find a company willing to invest in this.

But, before any marketing to newbies can be made, the product must give good results and be reproducible easily. Do you think we have finally arrived at a cookie cutter formula for good success with plants? Think of it this way. If you had to tell your mother what to do so she could end up with a nice planted aquarium, can you do it in a simple, short way that she will understand and, actually, be excited about?
 

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One other thing. A very well respect individual in the hobby feels that a well aquascaped planted aquarium is not possible for the masses in the US. Instead, beautiful hardscapes with few plants is the way to go. Thoughts?
 

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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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I think its going to take some one that not only has great sense of Aesthetics as well as a techincal background.

As was mentioned in this thread, most of the reefers are some type of geek/nerd. We are into gadgets and high tech stuff.

Kits don't intrest all but the most basic of aquarists. I've yet to find one that suited my needs unless it was for something like a Q tank. even then I ended up adding/subtracting a bunch of stuff too it.
 
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