Whats wrong with the aquarium hobby industry? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Whats wrong with the aquarium hobby industry?

Back with another open ended question

There are hundreds or thousands of hobbies that people can choose to engage in.
Why not this one?
What keeps them out?
What keeps them in it?

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 11:56 PM
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Why not this one? I think its just a diverse hobby we oftentimes feel we do not share with others, but often there are far more casual keepers out there. They just do not get involved at a level many that frequent these forums do.

What keeps them out? I will say there is a lot of just scary science when a new person jumps into aquariums, not even mentioning SW reefs or high end planted tanks. They can be very intimidating to folks who prefer to forget what they learned so many years ago in HS chemistry

What keeps them in it? The challenge and experience. Positive results and a sense of community when they are at the brink and discover a fun local group they bond with. Our local fish group has quite a few members that only have 1 aquarium, but they attend every meeting because they like everyone and have fun.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" Desiderius Erasmus
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for jumping in here.
I probably fall in the middle where I have a single tank, that I am still learning with but would love to be able to learn faster and easier.

To anyone else answering, not just looking at those three questions specifically, just conversation starters.

Lets hear the good and the bad.

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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 12:09 AM
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I can say that as far as the bad goes, I think its safe to say we have all been in a chain petstore and overheard the most awful and incorrect advice being said and attempted to help. It is at that moment when I realized just how many folks received that same advice or worse and had no one around to help and just give up. I see Craigslist full of those aquariums

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" Desiderius Erasmus
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 12:32 PM
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I was a little surprised by the start-up costs, especially when attempting to "do it right". Starting from absolute scratch, with no fish/aquarium keeping friends locally, it's been a couple hundred bucks just to get supplies, equipment, starter plants, etc for my small low-tech 10g, and I could have spent waaay more. Not anticipating the outlay staying that high, and I know plenty of hobbies cost more, but my previous hobbies have mostly been outdoor and free, or slower to accrue new equipment.

And then there's the science and the patience, which can be definite barriers for people.

Why I'm loving it...
- refreshing all my science/bio brain cells in ways they've missed
- I'm a gardener at heart, living in an apartment already filled with houseplants (my boyfriend claims this is only a way for me to acquire more plants)
- I'll have the pleasure of some small colorful shrimps and maybe a fish or two to care for as well
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 01:03 PM
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 04:47 PM
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You know what is weird to me... I've not had a hardcore interest in regular terrestrial plants, sure I've had some indoor and yard plants... But there is just something about it when it is under water! A lot of my family is into botany, landscaping, nursery management etc so maybe it is still in my blood somewhere. My wife and I are in a new house with a large yard and LOTS of landscaping so I'm hoping that I can apply a lot of what I learn to that and merge the interest and keep our yard looking good in the summer.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnemenoi View Post
Why not this one? I think its just a diverse hobby we oftentimes feel we do not share with others, but often there are far more casual keepers out there. They just do not get involved at a level many that frequent these forums do.

What keeps them out? I will say there is a lot of just scary science when a new person jumps into aquariums, not even mentioning SW reefs or high end planted tanks. They can be very intimidating to folks who prefer to forget what they learned so many years ago in HS chemistry

What keeps them in it? The challenge and experience. Positive results and a sense of community when they are at the brink and discover a fun local group they bond with. Our local fish group has quite a few members that only have 1 aquarium, but they attend every meeting because they like everyone and have fun.
+1 very well put. Totally agree
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 05:07 PM
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I think what puts many people out of the hobby is failure due to lack of important knowledge about things like the nitrogen cycle. While the information is readily available these days on the internet, they don't necessarily know to look for it.
I'm probably being an old curmudgeon, but I think every aquarium sold should come with a sheet explaining the cycle. Handouts should be near the door or fish department of all Petsmarts, Petcos, etc. Every fish customer should be asked about it.
Yeah, I know it's overkill, but I wouldn't be insulted if asked, and I've been keeping fish since the 1960's.

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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 06:22 PM
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I think many folks had some early "goldfish in a bowl" experience, or something else that ended badly, suggesting aquariums aren't easy to keep. Then later seen someone else's beautiful aquarium (esp. saltwater) that cost thousands of dollars, suggesting any decent aquarium is expensive.

I was under these impressions for a long time. My family never had more than a goldfish in a bowl. Even though aquariums fascinated me I never actually thought to actually try it until nearly 30 years of age, and only then because I was given a nearly complete setup for free. If it hadn't been for that I might have never tried.

And I admitted to myself I knew absolutely nothing about it, so I sought out my own information. Some "Freshwater Aquarium FAQ", which covered the nitrogen cycle, feeding, water changes, chlorine/chloramine, all the essentials in 20 pages or so. Everyone should read that or something like it when they start, at their own leisure, not rely on a quick conversation with someone.

The fact that 10 years later I'm still making progress, and always have a list of things I want to try extending at least a year into the future, definitely helps keep this hobby foremost and fresh; despite numerous others competing for my time.

Plus I always tried and failed to keep houseplants, either over- or under-watering them. At least here I don't have to worry about that. If the tank is full, the plants have the right amount of water.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 06:43 PM
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While quite a few folks I know would love to have a fish tank, they simply travel too much or move too often for fish to be a good option.

Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, even bugs are pretty easy to haul around. Fish? Not so much.
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twentypoundtabby View Post
I think what puts many people out of the hobby is failure due to lack of important knowledge about things like the nitrogen cycle. While the information is readily available these days on the internet, they don't necessarily know to look for it.
I'm probably being an old curmudgeon, but I think every aquarium sold should come with a sheet explaining the cycle. Handouts should be near the door or fish department of all Petsmarts, Petcos, etc. Every fish customer should be asked about it.
Yeah, I know it's overkill, but I wouldn't be insulted if asked, and I've been keeping fish since the 1960's.
I totally agree. There are pamphlets on specific critter care, and a mini background on the fish being sold (like: community, schools of 5+, size maturity) but not it's environment.

I welcome the salesperson who, when I'm picking out fish or something, asks me "What size tank do you have", or "You know you can't put these 2 together, right?" But they are not common, and you can see the dread on some salespeople's face when a "fish catcher" is requested.

I, myself have been an nature lover and wildlife artist since I could walk and hold a crayon. Aquariums just come with the territory for me.

I think some people are turned off by the "having another pet responsibilities", and don't even view it as being a hobby.

-Stef*
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 07:12 PM
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when you tell someone you keep aquariums as a hobby, they think of this



a typical pet smart/co built aquarium with cheesy decorations, neon gravel, and plastic plants w/ a goldfish who sadly lives a month or two at most.

and I wager that for most people, they don't really care to keep something so ugly in their house. Or view keeping an aquarium something a child does because of that stereotypical appearance.

it is amazing when folks have their eyes opened and see what exactly is possible. when they walk into the room and see your aquarium teaming with life, plants growing, natural or dark substrate... then you start talking to them about the wild system you've got in place to keep everything happy, and they decide it's way over their heads lol.
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 07:17 PM
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Whats wrong with the hobby are people selling mts for $1 a piece plus shipping even though they are considered pests.
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 07:21 PM
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LOL!
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

-Stef*
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