Whats wrong with the aquarium hobby industry? - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:11 PM
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I have to agree with many here that have said people just think of clown puke and spongebob bubbly decorations when I say I have multiple fish tanks. You should have seen the guy at Tractor Supply Company's face when I told him the 100 pounds of blasting sand I bought was to go in a fish tank lol.

I teach at a middle school and keep a lightly planted 5 gallon betta tank with a really beautiful blue green crowntail in it. When kids, or teachers, come in and see it they don't expect to see live plants and natural looking stuff. I usually get one of three reactions. 1. WOW! that looks like a lot of work. 2. You should put a Nemo in there. 3. How can I do that?

When I get reaction 3 it makes me smile a bit. Some of my past students have really gotten into fish keeping. I had a couple that really wanted to get into Mbuna after I showed them pictures of the fish in my tank. I kept a batch of fry from one of my Yellow Lab holders and brought them in. They grew out in a ten gallon I brought in and when they got big enough I let the kids take them home. While they grew out the kids got their own sand and rock set ups at home and cycled them correctly.

The thing I enjoy most is the fact that many of these students that show interest in it are not the ones you'd think they would be. It is usually the ones who don't care much for school and find themselves in the principal's office more than most. Fish keeping helps introduce them to science that they may not have known they enjoy so much. They develop a bit more focus too and can put a lot of reserved energy towards something positive.
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post #32 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 04:12 PM
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Sliderfish, that is beautiful. Wonderful there are still folks like you out there.
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post #33 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 05:16 AM
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Just an odd story about how i jumped into this hobby, i feel it fits here. A few years back when my wife and I were dating and got our first place, she said she wanted to get this 29gal (i thought it was huge lol) i told her it was a waste of money, time consuming, and that " it was a tv you had to feed. Well she bought it anyway. I was pissed until we went fish shopping after it cycled. She asked what i wanted and i told her nothing, it was her deal. At this point when you say fish tank i think googly eyed goldfish. Then she pointed out a lil tire track eel. I started to lose it. I could not believe i could have an eel, i was stoked. So we left the store with my eel(i named him waldo) and a few rainbow sharks. Fastforward about two years, i ended up with an electric catfish(iv still got her, her name is tesla. Guess why lol) any way thats when my big mean monster fish fase took off i was an active member of MFK and hooked. Thats where i learned that i love DIY. Present day. I build and repair my own tanks, design and build stands, filtration, and my own lighting. Why did i get into it? Because it made my wife happy. Why do i stay? Because it keeps me on my toes , everyday is a new adventure, with how fast the tech is progressing in this hobby there is always a new challenge, new ideas, and new upgrades. Not to mention all the fun folks you meet that have same interests wether on forums or at the lfs. Sorry about the book i just wrote lol. Got carried away. Thanks for reeding

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post #34 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the great replies/stories (got busy with life so just now catching up)

I want to say that I don't think there is anything really wrong with the industry (despite my leading topic), but there is always room for improvement and it can start with just one person, or just one forum.

Part of my day job is to identify things that make a product easier to use, and i am hoping to spend some of 2014 directing that focus to this hobby and increasing awareness.

If anyone would like to be a part of that. please PM me and I will provide some ideas and updates as the year progresses.

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post #35 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 08:18 PM
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People are also afraid of death (naturally). Keeping an aquarium, there is always the risk of the fish you love dying if you didn't take care of it right, or made a mistake. 100% of the people here have at some point had a fish die on them. Its discouraging. If you start out with a betta in a cup, and it dies, get a second and it dies, why get a third?

While that keeps most people away, there are the few that want to know why their fish died. My first fish 'henry' was a red betta I kept in a 1g hex from walmart. When it died, I wanted to find out why, turns out I needed a filter. Then I got a 29g with guppies, and when they all died. I realized they needed a heater. Then I found out about cycling. Then I found out about nitrogen, then I found out about plants, and it went on from there.

That was 6 years ago when I was 11. Now, some of my best friends are aquarist's, and I have been to different lectures, met the people that discovered the fish you keep, or the plant you grow, and have had opportunities and learned far more than if I had gotten in some boring hobby with no academic part.

Its been hard. I have lost hundreds of fish. I have lost many things, many rare plants. But I have also succeeded and managed to help other people get started.

This hobby is rewarding. That's why I stay in. I have learned life lessons from my mistakes and gained a lot from my success.

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"99% of the time, a fish tank with plants will fail. Once you start a dedicated planted tank with fish, then you begin to succeed." - Geniusdudekiran
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post #36 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 08:40 PM
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i don't think people are afraid of fish dying. Most people more than likely assume it's just one of those things that happens when you've got a fish tank.

no one bats an eye to a feeder goldfish living a week, or a month... when it lasts a year, they're surprised.
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post #37 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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I tend to agree that most people assume their fish will die. so they are lest invested from the start.
Having the right information available (forums, LFS, local groups) could/should help people avoid this assumption.

It would be great to get to where a new person looking at the hobby had the tools/information/support they needed to assume they would be successful from the start.

How do we get the hobby there?
We all know that the big box store is not the best place to start, but reality is that is where it begins for the majority of people.

I look around the tech industry at all kinds of products everyday and wish I could pull some of those ideas into this one.

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post #38 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dswiese View Post
How do we get the hobby there?
We all know that the big box store is not the best place to start, but reality is that is where it begins for the majority of people.
sounds like the perfect place to start. talk to the managers and local aquarium clubs and see if the fish store would be willing to host or allow the placement of club brochures/cards
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post #39 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
+1 lol. but who cares. I don't keep fish for the sex appeal. ok well maybe my reef tank. but my planted tank is for me, myself, and I. I got into the fish keeping hobby about ten years ago and have never looked back. I started with a tank that looked like bozo the clown barfed in it, and now ive graduated to the mid tech planted group. guess we all have to start somewhere. I got into fish for the sheer enjoyment of the hobby. its relaxing and helps me keep my sanity at the end of a crummy day. enough said.
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post #40 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Art by Stef* View Post
For some that eyesore might of been a starting point.
I had one just like it, but it had that bubbling treasure box thing and a diving dog.

But, you are right, scapegoat.
They get intimidated.
Surprisingly enough, the "betta ina cup" has jump started some planted tanks for folk.
They start with a bowl, realize its too small, upgrade, like it, and it slowly starts to "get their feet wet" in the hobby.

For others, there's always air plants

This! I remember how crazy if felt when I first got started. The thing that got me slowly dabbling and to where I at today was accidentally stumbling across this site...now it's close to an obsession.
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post #41 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 08:46 AM
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I think the worst part of the hobby, at least for beginners is the all in one setup. I didn't even buy mine at a big box store, I bought locally. Within 2 weeks I replaced the light. A few months later I replaced the filter. Basically, like most, I bought a $30 dollar tank for $100+ with accessories that had a very short time of use. I basically tripled my investment ASAP when I was told what I had would work. That was just to keep what I had alive.

Though I don't see it as much, non aquatic plants really sucks for this hobby. You really rack your brain trying to solve a problem that you can't fix, often spending money in the process. Luckily, this forum saved me for a lot of grief. I have met many people over the years who never got this, paired with the all in one kit, and though you just replaced plants monthly.

Gold fish/feeder fish, though they can be really cool, are such a problem for this hobby. They are arguably the worst fish to start with, considering cost, and the ones most start with. It makes you think this is whole hobby is impossible, for good reason, yet it's where we all start. It doesn't make sense to me from a retail perspective because you basically make everyone quit the hobby before they get started. I guess making 20-40 bucks off a lot of people is likely easier than getting them to shell out cash for the proper setup.

Exotic plants/shrimp/fish. Nothing is wrong with this but I feel I overlooked some of the coolest fish in the world, thinking I needed something better. Neon tetras are really cool fish, guppies are even cooler.
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post #42 of 42 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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I do like the idea of connecting with local big box stores and trying to provide better handouts information for customers.
Though that could introduce 'competition' with their main brand flyers, products, directions, etc.
I also see a need for a cleaner online presences as consumers are most likely to search online when things go wrong, and there is a lot of old or plain wrong information.
(though finding the right info even in a place like TPT can be tough)

Surfacing thought leaders in the community to newcomers would be a great way to start I think.
When I started browsing and reading TPT it still takes me a while to understand who to trust and verify taking advice from.
That will always be the case, but I think we could do better.

Less forum post more whitepapers? This works great in a lot of industries where you can get simple concise bits of information without reading X pages of a forum and all the chaff that goes on.

Is it better online store options to buy from?
We have a lot of great sellers here on TPT, but a newcomer wouldn't know that and would most likely end up with tube or tc plants from Big Brand store (not that those are great either)

other ideas ?

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