What are prices like on a single portion of stems or moss? converted roughly to USD. With that kind of competition I imagine dirt cheap.
I am in currently in Hong Kong, and I go to the fish street a couple times a week if I am not traveling for work.
Majority of ALL plants there sell for $10HKD ($1.2USD), wrapped in cotton, in a black pot, and bagged with water. The more rare ones will be double or triple the price. For example, the normal green bacopa sell for $10HKD, it comes with four stems. All the plants are PRISTINE, no signs of bad growth, no stunting, no holes, no yellowing or anything. The best looking aquarium plants you've ever seen in your life. After it gets into my tank, that is another matter. :P After all, with so much competition, a customer simply walks to another shop to buy better plants.
More than 80% of the plants in this picture are $1.2USD per bag. I buy most of my plants from that shop.
I never buy the livestock hung on the bags, only in the display tanks.
Here are some prices at the fish street(you must go to various stores to get these prices, but most are comparable):
-10 Taiwan Fire Reds- $12USD
-10 Cherry shrimps- $4USD
-4 stems of pink bacopa- $2.50
-10 Celestial Pearl Danios- $15USD (depending on season, prices were double this just two months ago)
-1 Electric Blue Ram- $7USD
-1 German Blue Ram- $5USD
-1 Cardinal Tetra(they give deals the more you buy, 5 and get 1 free sorta thing)- $.50USD
-1 pot of Downoi, with 4 heads- $3USD
-ADA 60-P- $80USD
-A big bag of moss(depends on the kind) - around $4USD
-Most swords/crypts with nice growth- $1.2USD
-10 Chili Rasboras- $6USD
-a 7"x5" inch densely tied bunch of Java Fern (10" high leaves) goes for $1USD
-a big rhizome of Anubias (bigger than you and your moms hand combined) also goes for $1USD
And of course, no shipping charges, no transport stress to the plants or livestock.
The above prices are for the fish street, if you go to the local HK for sale forums ( http://www.aqugrass.com/phpBB3//viewforum.php?f=2
), prices are even cheaper. $.10USD for a cherry shrimp, crystal red shimp for $12USD, etc. With +100 cherry shrimp in my tank, I don't bother selling them in Hong Kong, I give them to friends.
When the time comes for me to go back to the US, I may just quit the aquarium hobby, there is no way I'd be wiling to pay US prices after living in HK.