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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading a really old thread (2004) about the state of our hobby (I'd post a link to it but I cannot find it again) and I was wanting to initiate another discussion of the obstacles facing our little niche in the aquarium world as a whole, and seeing what people think now that some time has passed.

I'll start:
I think that our small corner of the hobby has just started to really make its way into the aquarium hobby as a whole. It has always been there in the past (think victorian-era metal and glass watergardens fueled by the sun) but just in the last few years, it is starting to come into the "light" so to speak. Popular magazines like TFH and that UK one (that I cannot remember) have small but regular articles on plants and planted aquairiums. A wider array of plant-orientated equipment and lighting has become more and more available as well as more and more online retailers popping up to take advantage of this coming trend. Additionally, new plants and new species of fish and invertebrates are showing up on the market and inspiring hobbyists new and old to start or return to the hobby. Increasing trend on online forums like... ahem... are bringing a greater number of people together to talk, share, and trade.

However, the LFS and "Big Box" retailers are still ignorant of this growing trend and leave much to be desired in the way of adequately and consistantly supplied aquarium plants and plant products. The unfortunate plants that are regularly supplied are usually unhealthy, algae-covered, grown emersed, not properly acclimated, and are far to expensive, or worse. To top it off, all of the pet shops that I have been to do not have any plant-educated employees, dedicated display tanks to draw in attention, nor even carry the basic plant necessities such as substrates or fertilizers.

I would like to see LFS and "Big Box" retailers having a greater selection of better plants and a complete line of products as well as having plant educated workers or even comprehensive brochures. Dedicated hobbyist in this forum and others have gone through great lengths to aide anyone in the hobby or coming into the hobby about what plants to grow, how to maintain such aquariums, and how to better create the little worlds that we enjoy. My thanks to them all...

That being said, I put it out to us all to think about the state of our hobby and see what needs to be done, and to come up with ideas to help, or at least vent about frustrations... who knows, maybe someone will come up with a business that caters to these needs in a larger theatre...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definately agree... how could we solve this problem? Perhaps a beginner friendly "kit" for planted tanks? I'm thinking a bunch of vals, easy crypts, anubias with substrate tabs and liquid co2? What does everyone else think about this or anything else related to this or otherwise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
...wow...I am impressed that so many people have taken the opportunity to read this post and thank you to anyone who has or will respond to this post...

This week, I have taken a tour through the (Ohio) Valley and visited 23 LFS and 22 "Big Box" fish stores and here is what I have found:
37/45 stores carry plants for aquariums,
44/45 store owners do not believe that there is a market for aquatic plants,
3/45 stores have recently reduced the number of aquatic plants that they order,
1/45 store has recently increased the number of plants that they ordered,
8/45 stores carry planted tank-specific substrates,
40/45 stores carry planted tank-specific fertilizers,
2/45 stores carry CO2 equipment (fermentation only),
3/45 stores employ plant knowledgable staff.
45/45 stores carry non-aquatic plant species.
NONE of the stores carry ANY planted aquarium info. cards, brochures, or books!

There is no local club for aquatic plants, I hope to start one soon.

I have offered to create and print easy-to-read beginner guides for these stores but only 2 were interested in displaying them. I have offered to assemble and maintain display tank for the local pet stores but only one agreed. I've even offered to supply the plants.

It amazes me that only one out of all of the stores believe that there is a market for aquatic plants. That store owner is the only one to have attended any shows/lectures/seminars/etc. on aquatic plants. His store has a display tank dedicated to planted aquariums and mainly sells clippings from other plant keepers (for a profit!!!). They only rarely order plants to sell. They do offer plant-specific lights, substrates, and fertilizers and never have all of them stocked at the same time. They have no books, magazines, or info. booklets on planted aquariums. I've bought most of my plants and plant products from him. He has one customer that drives over 8 hours to shop at his store (The customer used to live here but moved to Florida). He specializes in reef tanks and coral.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I would like to see at least some acknowledgment of our hobby in local pet stores. I hate driving over an hour to get some fertilizer! If most of the LFS had even a base amount of necessities and a small planted display tank, this hobby would become an thriving niche. Imagine the amount of input that would bring to our little corner of the aquarium world.
 
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