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The biggest obstacle that I can see is that keeping a healthy planted tank requires far more knowledge. Your average hobbyist gives it a half-hearted effort, fails miserably, and moves on. The average LFS guy doesn't have the necessary experience to provide much help. There just isn't enough financial incentive yet (in the US) for LFS's to educate themselves about the hobby.
 

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What you've described is the ADA system in great detail. Amano and his troupe have been very succesful at marketing their particular line of high-quality goods accompanied by a line of fertilizers and accesories that put people on a trajectory for success. In parts of Asia the "planted aquarium" thing is in full swing. The hobby isn't enormous there, but it's a good sight bigger than here in the US. The average person in Japan has probably seen a nice planted tank often enough to know what it is. The average person here has probably never seen one.

Another difference is that hobbyists in Asia seem to tollerate spending more on their setup. There, it is seen as a legitimate hobby. Here, the average person looks at an aquarium as something to house the critters they won at the county fair or as a container for bait.
 

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Yep. That's about what I've seen too, at least in the US. We remain stuck in a hobby that is only sustainable because of the Internet. If I had to rely on local sources I'd have nothing but mondo grass and java moss.

Change will come but it will probably be glacially slow. I don't know how to say this without offending anyone, but take a look at the people who show up for a fish convention and then compare them to those that show up for an aquatic plant convention. The LFS's will continue to cater to the first demographic until the second one is large enough to be worthy of their attention.
 
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