Though i would Share this convo with a "Pro Plant Grower" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Though i would Share this convo with a "Pro Plant Grower"

I recently talked on the Phone with a Plant grower for one of the Plant sales web Sites, cant remember which one right off hand. He made some comments that Startled me a bit.

He said that Amano's Soils are and i quote "CRAP".
He said Eco Complete is a far better Product.
Also recommended Plain Pea Gravel over Amano Soils(with root tabs).
Said he used Amano's Line and Striped it out of the tank in favor of Eco Complete.

I just found those statements Shocking as i was under the impression that Amano was the Top Go To Guy in Planted tanks.Other than that only Advice i found to be Odd was he highly recommended In gravel Heating cords.Thoughts on this?I am in the middle of a disability claim and If approved i will be getting a big back check and was considering setting up a tank with Amanos Products but after hearing this from a guy who grows Aquatic plants for a living im not so sure.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 03:36 AM
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His advice is worthless. While eco is great, Aqua soil is far superior, he probably just wants to sell you some eco and/ or root tabs.

EDIT: Haha, ninjad you LL!!

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 03:36 AM
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I think that there's more than one way to skin a cat, there are plenty of tanks and experience represented on this forum that prove that there is more than one way to put together a fabulous planted tank.

I'd imagine that someone growing plants commercially wouldn't want to invest the time and $$ to properly cycle ADA AS before being able to use it. I belive Tom Barr, who says he uses AS in all his personal tanks, said that he got similar growth with river silt... so it just depends on your priorities/goals.





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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clwatkins10 View Post
His advice is worthless. While eco is great, Aqua soil is far superior, he probably just wants to sell you some eco and/ or root tabs.

EDIT: Haha, ninjad you LL!!
See that's the funny thing, he didn't try to sell me anything and said if i could find the stuff he suggested locally that i should get it that way to save shipping, this guy was no salesman that's for sure he was just the guy in the back growing the plants.Trust me the whole time i was on the phone with him, i was waiting for the sales pitch, it never came!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by vance71975 View Post
See that's the funny thing, he didn't try to sell me anything and said if i could find the stuff he suggested locally that i should get it that way to save shipping, this guy was no salesman that's for sure he was just the guy in the back growing the plants.Trust me the whole time i was on the phone with him, i was waiting for the sales pitch, it never came!
I think you will find not just in planted tanks, but in any hobby that you will find some enthusiasts can be very opinionated when it comes to certain products. In the motorcycle world I see this alot with motor oils and tires.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I'd imagine that someone growing plants commercially wouldn't want to invest the time and $$ to properly cycle ADA AS before being able to use it.
You don't have to cycle AS before you use it - the first month gives amazing plant growth! You can use it right out of the box - just can't add livestock for a few weeks, but that is secondary to a lot of planted tank folk, particularly if you are growing plants commercially.

I doubt it would it be profitable to use on a large scale with their prices though.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 12:20 PM
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Honestly you see this in lots of hobbys. Reefing especially, one guy creates some fantastic tanks. He writes a few books and then creates an entire product line. People think that by buying that person's products they will have tanks just like him. It's like exorcise, people look for the silver bullet.
"Will make tank be better if I use product X?"
There are tons of posts like that on here.
"Should I use product X or product Y?"

You should use good husbandry. If you use good husbandry you can slack on the other stuff. People always try to use great products thinking they can then slack on the husbandry.

Most hobby's also have what I call a "20 inch rim factor". 20 Inch rims do not make your car faster, the only purpose they serve is for the owner to drive around going : "Look st me, I'm on 20s!"

Lots of hobbys are driven by that need to show off. Usually it's very expensive equipment with a cult like following. It's a mixture of things:
  1. People showing they are serious enough about the hobby to spend big money on it
  2. People showing they have big money to spend
  3. People that spent more than they should have and are pround of their purchase
  4. People who feel elite that they know about these products and own them.
I'm sure you can add your own. I've seen great reef tanks that had $20,000.00 worth of high end equipment on them and I've seen totally ghetto setups that were just as nice. As was already mentioned, the great thing about aquatic hobbies is the multiple roads to the same point.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by fritz View Post
Honestly you see this in lots of hobbys. Reefing especially, one guy creates some fantastic tanks. He writes a few books and then creates an entire product line. People think that by buying that person's products they will have tanks just like him. It's like exorcise, people look for the silver bullet.
"Will make tank be better if I use product X?"
There are tons of posts like that on here.
"Should I use product X or product Y?"

You should use good husbandry. If you use good husbandry you can slack on the other stuff. People always try to use great products thinking they can then slack on the husbandry.

Most hobby's also have what I call a "20 inch rim factor". 20 Inch rims do not make your car faster, the only purpose they serve is for the owner to drive around going : "Look st me, I'm on 20s!"

Lots of hobbys are driven by that need to show off. Usually it's very expensive equipment with a cult like following. It's a mixture of things:
  1. People showing they are serious enough about the hobby to spend big money on it
  2. People showing they have big money to spend
  3. People that spent more than they should have and are pround of their purchase
  4. People who feel elite that they know about these products and own them.
I'm sure you can add your own. I've seen great reef tanks that had $20,000.00 worth of high end equipment on them and I've seen totally ghetto setups that were just as nice. As was already mentioned, the great thing about aquatic hobbies is the multiple roads to the same point.
I generally agree with this with respect to ADA gear and over-the-top high tech tanks. But here we are talking about substrate: one $30 bag of dirt vs. another $30 bag of dirt vs. gravel and tabs = $?. I've used Eco and Aquasoil and the difference is quite pronounced, especially some of the nicer softwater plants. It's not clear how proper "husbandry" can lower the pH of my substrate like ADA aquasoil can, or serve as a nutrient bank.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 04:16 PM
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I can't knock Aquasoil. It does work. I don't care for Eco and don't use it, but can say ADA knocks the socks off of Flourite in my experience.

I personally feel virtually all hardware items they have (yes, even the tanks, neat rimless, but SHEESH) are horridly overpriced, but the substrate is pretty proven - and I've done it myself in nano tanks. I've also heard nothing but good things about some of their additives like Green Gain.

That said - I'll put my 180g up against just about any ADA substrate filled tank in terms of substrate performance, and my 180g is prepared dirt with a cap. I don't even need to water column dose.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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What im wondering is if these company's realize that if they sold their stuff at a 5% to 10% mark up over cost to make that they would more than likely Double their sales yearly, instead of the 150% mark up most of them run.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 07:04 PM
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Doubling net sales (say 100 bags) with a 5-10% mark up over cost is far less profit than half the sales (50 bags) at 150% over cost. Do the math. Companies are supposed to be profitable, not just be a conduit for money exchange. I seriously doubt they are marking up 150% after mining, transportation, labor, etc. etc. are taken into account.

I don't think substrates could be too much cheaper and still be profitable, especially considering how niche of a market this is. If it were more profitable to sell them cheaper, chances are, they'd be sold cheaper. You're basically saying that the companies are dumb - I doubt this is the case.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macclellan View Post
Doubling net sales (say 100 bags) with a 5-10% mark up over cost is far less profit than half the sales (50 bags) at 150% over cost. Do the math. Companies are supposed to be profitable, not just be a conduit for money exchange. I seriously doubt they are marking up 150% after mining, transportation, labor, etc. etc. are taken into account.

I don't think substrates could be too much cheaper and still be profitable, especially considering how niche of a market this is. If it were more profitable to sell them cheaper, chances are, they'd be sold cheaper. You're basically saying that the companies are dumb - I doubt this is the case.
I have to disagree and ill tell you why.

Go to your local Super Wal Mart, Go to the Fish Department and Look at the "River Stones" they sell for tank use, a small bag maybe a dozen stones, is like 3.47, The walk out into Lawn and Garden, Look at the Smooth landscaping Rock they sell, 50lb bag is 3.87. Rocks look almost EXACTLY alike. Same thing with gravel, Natural brown gravel 25lb bag Made for fish tanks,10.87 Landscaping pea gravel Bigger bag but more natural coloring 3.47(i know just bought 2 of the latter).Why the higher cost of the Polished river stones for tanks compared to the SAME rock for landscaping?
Another Example, Their was a company that Made Both Play sand and SW aquarium sand, Both were Aragonite, Both came from the SAME PLACE and were EXACTLY the same sand, One was put in a bag and called White Play sand(i believe the brand name was South Down) AND the other was put in a Different bag and call Aragonite Sand. The play sand bag said NOT for fish tank use, BUT it came from the exact Same Place and was treated the EXACT same way as the Aragonite sand, the difference the Play sand cost 3 bucks for 50 lbs the Aragonite sand cost 18 bucks for 20 lbs.

I do agree businesses are there to make money, But lets face it Most of the Stuff that is "Made for Fish Tanks" you can find the SAME thing cheaper.There is a Place in Toledo Ohio called Stone Select that Sells Gravel extremely cheap, 80lbs for like .60(and they have FAR more choices in "Look" than your typical LFS) because it is priced by the ton(don't remember exact cost been a long time since i was there) I got Lace rock for my SW tank cost me 40.00 bucks if i had bought Live rock same amount would have been over 300. Point is their is a line between Making money and Ripping people off! And Many of these company's cross that line EVERY day and nothing is done about it.

I do agree that ADA Aqua soil is more than likely a little more costly to make, but i still feel that the product could be sold cheaper and still be profitable.

No companies are not Dumb But the do count on the fact that the Average Consumer IS. Or at least that the Average Consumer is to Lazy to Look and realize that they can find the same thing FAR cheaper. Especially if your looking a Gravel, Just called Stone Select Glacier Pea stone is 1.45 Per TON(if they are Selling it at 1.45 per ton how much do you think it cost them per Ton? maybe .10 to .50?), as apposed to a 25lb bag of Aquarium Gravel for 10.87. Marketing rip off is all it is!

http://www.selectstonecompany.com/product-catalog/1698/
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:03 PM
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Your previous post was to point out that if companies only marked up substrate by 10%, they'd more than likely double their sales in a year as opposed to marking them up 150%.

Say a bag of substrate costs $100 to make. A 10% markup would make it $110. If they sold 500 bags a year, at $10 profit, it would mean $5,000 in profit.

Now, the same bag at $150 after a 50% markup. They'd only have to sell 100 bags to make the same $5,000 profit. It's much much more than just doubling sales to make up that lost profit.

In my next point, I'm only speaking about ADA AquaSoil, not the other substrates since I have no experience with them. Sure, ADA AquaSoil is expensive, but as macclellan said, after all the costs of production and transportation are taken into account, I doubt the markup is even close to 50%. Don't forget it's produced in Japan, sold by ADA, transported here to ADG or AFA, and then re-sold. Don't forget that middle (wo)men have to make their profit too.

Another thing you have to consider is that the aquarium industry is one that's based upon a hobby, which means most people have expendable income to spare. They'll make money where they can. The companies aren't forcing you to buy their products; you're free to shop wherever you want.

The convenience of packaging stones and gravel into neat 10 pound bags also adds to the cost as opposed to you having to go to a rock yard, digging up what you want, and bringing it home in your own containers. You pay for convenience.

Does this mean I disagree that some of these items are overpriced? No, but I understand it's how the free market works. There are people willing to pay for them, so there's supply at those prices. If people stopped buying substrate at $40 a bag, then either prices will have to drop or companies will go out of business. It IS a niche market, and people in this hobby have the money to play.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:24 PM
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The prices are set by supply and demand and not what the cost of manufacturing is even though it does play into the factor.

If you can sell a product for 10 bucks to 150 customers and have a nice profit why not do it. But if you raise the price to 11.00 bucks and sales go down to 120 sales then would you keep the price at 11 bucks? NO WAY JOSE!!! You would lower the price back to 10 and get the sales back up to 150 sales.

Now if you sell at 10 bucks and have 150 customers, then lower prices down to 9 bucks but sales are the same at 150 customer sales, would you keep the price at 9 bucks? Again NO WAY JOSE!!! You are losing money like you did when you raised the prices.

These are factors that have been studied by the company sales group and the prices are set to achieve maximum profit by knowing supply and demand and the price people are willing to pay.

Just like gas prices in recient weeks. The mega buck money machines were hard at work getting fat on our "need" for gas. But then prices got too much and people just limited their driving. Other companies started to consolidate and limit their use, thus sales started to go down. A supply glut, more gas not being used meant less profits.

What happened next is that the mega money monsters needed to lower the prices so we all can start driving more and using more gas so they can make more money again. Supply and Demand.


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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Agree that it is a hobby market. But NOT all of us have a bunch of money to play with but still love the hobby.And i still feel people are being fleeced. Let me ask you this. Say you could buy a product that Was Exactly the same As ADA aqua Soil We will call it Soil X. Say the ADA Aqua Soil cost 40.00 per bag and Soil X is 10.00 per bag Which would you buy? I understand we pay a little more for convience but really if your shopping for Gravel is it Really all that inconvenient to take a 5g bucket and go to the Stone yard? Especially if it saves you money and gets you more? Example:

Wal mart 100lbs Gravel- 43.48

Stone Select 100lbs Comparable Gravel-.07

Savings- 43.41

Amount you could get for wal mart Price at Stone Select 621 lbs

I don't know about the rest of you, but in today's poor economy, when Gas and food prices are Rampant i think the little extra work is worth the massive savings!


Extra Work involved-Going to a Different Location, Bringing your own container and Putting the stone in the container.

Most of use Rinse our Gravel any way Or at least i do. So no extra work their.

In hindsight i realize ADA Aqua Soil was a Bad example it is a Highly Specialized product. But i have also been told by others in the Hobby that they have archived equal or Better Results With Mineralized topsoil.

We dont have to Pay more to do the hobby we love, but Yes we may have to work a little bit harder, and research a little more to save that money.

Is it worth the extra work and Research? well that is a personal choice we all have to make.
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