Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: College Station, TX
Skimming through this thread and you pretty much see a common theme or two. Time, and skill level not lining up with tank goals.
I agree, it's presumptuous to make the blanket statement of "you should plan better" Someone can be passionate about the hobby, but being there are a limited number of resources and minutes in the day, that becomes a limiting factor.
For instance. I like plants and corals. Fish are ok, and I would always strive to keep some sort of finned critter in the water, but I'm in the hobby 99% for plants and coral. If for some reason I was told I could have aquaria in the home, but I was only allowed to have a cichlid tank, or a fish only community tank, or a fish only with live rock saltwater tank, I'd just as soon not have a tank at all. It's alot of effort to keep clean, and almost none of the rewards.
That brings us in line to skill level. The thing that has had me contemplating leaving the planted tank hobby entirely has been skill level. I would have shut my tank down several times if my wife and kids didnt love the fishies so much. They could care less about the plants, light, or substrate. Took my wife 6 months to even notice I had a pressurized co2 tank running under the stand. I have a vision in my head of what I want the tank to look like. I want it to either look like Tom Barr's best work, or an award winning dutch aquascape, or one of the amazing amano style mountain scapes.
Those types of tanks are incredibly difficult and expensive to make happen. Often dry started, and require almost daily pruning and replanting to keep looking perfect. With 50 hour work week, spouse in school full time, multiple kids, one being an infant, and a house and yard and other tanks and pets to maintain, I've just flat out not had the money or time to invest in making that kind of aquascape happen. And anything else is a disappointment. Perhaps I'm speaking in extremes here and being long winded, but I think that's the root of alot of people leaving the hobby. Becoming disinterested and disappointed with their work becasue of algae, or even despite following all the rules and making all the necessary investments, the tank just doesnt turn out the way we envision, and that can cause someone to lose interest real quick.
A catastrophic tank failure is also a certain death sentence. If one of my tanks broke or a stand failed or something like that and I flooded the house with 100+ gallons of foul smelling fish water, ruining electrical devices and costing thousands in repairs, you can guarantee that I would be out of the hobby indefinitely. Id miss it, but I would find something else. Most people do.