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Traffic didn't slow at all when we changed the For Sale section format. It grew for months on end for something like four years. That section alone is still a huge traffic target even though it requires users to sign in. Traffic started slowing when social media kicked into high gear. Now that many are beginning to have concerns about privacy abuses and misinformation re: social media, traffic is *slowly* ticking up. The same has happened pretty much across the board for all forums of all types the past 5-6 years. Some just want quick hits, pretty pictures, flashy video in order to sate short attention spans. Nothing wrong with that but a place like this is not going to give them what they desire.

Some sellers are no longer active here because they were unfortunately banned for repeatedly scamming our members and the For Sale section. That includes a couple popular sellers. More often than not, people who are only in the hobby to make money end up going the way of the Dodo Bird because there's not a longterm sustainable market. Others have completely fallen off the face of the earth (like one of our former moderators) or are no longer part of the hobby - which does ebb and flow on a regular basis. A few people have died and that obviously sucks. Usually don't find out until months or years later. A lot of younger newcomers aren't familiar with buying from hobbyists because they've grown up with Amazon and other retailers. But I've found many eventually recognize the benefits of obtaining plants and the like from fellow hobbyists - especially after a couple negative experiences with retailers.

Note: 7 years ago, it was tough to find everything you'd need on a site like Amazon or fleabay. And plants? Not a chance. Now you can buy tissue-cultured Buces and have them delivered the next day. It's like we're living in a different world compared to a few years ago.

If y'all wanna speed things up, you should use the Classic version of the forum along with uBlock Origin for intrusive ad blocking. I can't imagine visiting any website serving ads without it. The use of 85 million ads per page (okay, 23, ugh) really makes the forum insufferable otherwise. (mmm hmm, I'm a moderator complaining about it. but it takes money to keep this thing alive, I guess. they really need to give paying members an ad-free experience.)

I look at forums, at least in the current era, as places for in-depth conversation and social media more as a convenient way to pass time here and there. Think we also have to recognize that the hobby has shrunken quite a bit the past few years. When times are tough, people spend more time at home messing with tanks.
 

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My favorite part of hobbies is sharing my progress on forums. I've been on everything from car to costume forums and TPT. I enjoy documenting my progress and seeing what other people are doing. Taking advice and passing on experience is what hobbies are about, in a community sense. Facebook and reddit just dont offer the same journal experience. I know folks my age, the dreaded millenials, drift toward social media. But nothing does what a forum does for me. I even enjoy reading through my own threads just to see how things have changed for me.

Rules and such change the for sale stuff as stated. I've always ROAK off my stuff.
 

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Most of the activity is gone to places like Reddit and instagram I think. It is unfortunate that a lot of newcomers to the hobby are fooled by these "3-month old, final update" tanks on social media and get discouraged if they don't get the same results. I believe that the hobby is threatened by influencers that push flair over long term stability of an aquarium.

Anyways. TPT forum definitely has a cyclical nature to it. But the planted tank hobby as a whole has definitely slowed down a lot. I think part of the reason is that ADA has had a hugely reduced presence in the US in the past few years. In addition, a few big youtubers (Aquarium co-op, King of DIY) actively steer people away from fully planted tanks. The hobby has also gotten a lot more complicated I think. Maybe we are going into a transition as the reefing hobby did as more knowledge is accumulated and things will get simpler again. The reef business is booming and things could never have been easier (if you have the money).
 

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Most of the activity is gone to places like Reddit and instagram I think. It is unfortunate that a lot of newcomers to the hobby are fooled by these "3-month old, final update" tanks on social media and get discouraged if they don't get the same results. I believe that the hobby is threatened by influencers that push flair over long term stability of an aquarium.

Anyways. TPT forum definitely has a cyclical nature to it. But the planted tank hobby as a whole has definitely slowed down a lot. I think part of the reason is that ADA has had a hugely reduced presence in the US in the past few years. In addition, a few big youtubers (Aquarium co-op, King of DIY) actively steer people away from fully planted tanks. The hobby has also gotten a lot more complicated I think. Maybe we are going into a transition as the reefing hobby did as more knowledge is accumulated and things will get simpler again. The reef business is booming and things could never have been easier (if you have the money).
I do not keep up with any of the big Youtubers-- why do they steer people away from fully planted tanks?
 

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I do not keep up with any of the big Youtubers-- why do they steer people away from fully planted tanks?
Regarding Joey (KoDIY), he doesn't particularly advertise keeping planted or even decorated FW planted tanks (although a lot of it has to do with fish choice). Additionally, he inadvertently portrays keeping a lot of plants as difficult, often throwing them away in between videos.

In regards to Aquarium Co-op, admittedly I am not his audience as he tries to broaden the base by only trying to market things that are "easy" to retain patrons. But, because of this, he often tries to get people to steer away from more elaborately planted tanks and toward things like anubias, java fern, or echinodorus dominated tanks. And let's be real here, you don't need an entire forum to maintain these plants.

Anyways, planted tank hobby is changing a bit, at least in the USA.
 

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There are TONS of channels dedicated to planted tanks and scapers though. Many are in Europe but they do beautiful tanks and do great how to or demonstration videos with great production values. If you are interested in planted tanks there is no shortage of that on Youtube. Joey and Cory are fine for what they do but their focus is more general fish hobbyist. Appeal to the masses if you will.

Social media has changed a great deal but I do like FB to keep in touch with family or people I know. Forums are still nice for more of an ongoing discussion. Instagram I don't really get the appeal of. I feel like it is more the selfie generation and not for serious photography. I host all my stuff on Flickr. Not really a phone person. They are handy to have but I am not one to really spend my time with my face buried in my phone.
 

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Not too long ago I joined some FB groups.

IMO, they are a poor place to learn about the hobby or get advice.

Topics come and go quickly, folks throw out some very questionable advice, and it's almost impossible to have a serious discussion about anything. Much of this hobby requires a more nuanced detail oriented approach. You aren't going to find that there.

I often suggest to people that if they really want to get help and get more serious, they should come to a forum like this. It's still the best place to share experiences and grow in the hobby.

And I am doing all I personally can to keep it going!!!:grin2:
 

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Most of the activity is gone to places like Reddit and instagram I think. It is unfortunate that a lot of newcomers to the hobby are fooled by these "3-month old, final update" tanks on social media and get discouraged if they don't get the same results. I believe that the hobby is threatened by influencers that push flair over long term stability of an aquarium.



Anyways. TPT forum definitely has a cyclical nature to it. But the planted tank hobby as a whole has definitely slowed down a lot. I think part of the reason is that ADA has had a hugely reduced presence in the US in the past few years. In addition, a few big youtubers (Aquarium co-op, King of DIY) actively steer people away from fully planted tanks. The hobby has also gotten a lot more complicated I think. Maybe we are going into a transition as the reefing hobby did as more knowledge is accumulated and things will get simpler again. The reef business is booming and things could never have been easier (if you have the money).


Well as someone who has been keep reeds for 35 years. The reef hobby is not booming. With the loss of the indo corals. Corals that where once beginner corals at 30 bucks are now 300 dollars.
While there is hope for the corals trade to come back. It currently hopefully for aquacultured corals only. Leaving new hobbyists with zoa’s and SPS corals. So really easy corals and really difficult corals. Not great for a new hobbyist.
I know many reef hobbyist who have planted tanks now as the cost of keeping corals are driving many from the hobby. The aquarium hobby needs all the help it can get as most people find aquariums “too much “ and don’t even try to see if they would enjoy the hobby. Many hobbyist now days started the hobby as kids. As I did. 56 years ago the hobby base is getting older and is not being replaced.
 

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Well as someone who has been keep reeds for 35 years. The reef hobby is not booming. With the loss of the indo corals. Corals that where once beginner corals at 30 bucks are now 300 dollars.
While there is hope for the corals trade to come back. It currently hopefully for aquacultured corals only. Leaving new hobbyists with zoa’s and SPS corals. So really easy corals and really difficult corals. Not great for a new hobbyist.
I know many reef hobbyist who have planted tanks now as the cost of keeping corals are driving many from the hobby. The aquarium hobby needs all the help it can get as most people find aquariums “too much “ and don’t even try to see if they would enjoy the hobby. Many hobbyist now days started the hobby as kids. As I did. 56 years ago the hobby base is getting older and is not being replaced.

I would say that in terms of newer and better products, small trade shows, coral swaps etc. The reef business is definitely more lively than FW. The fact that so many new high-production cost products keep coming out for reefing systems indicates to me that people are actually buying these things and that the hobby is still in a good spot. With the indo ban, people are trading torches for hundreds of dollars, yes. But, your average hobbiest can still get almost anything they are looking for. You can't get a big acro colony or multihead hammer for 60 bucks or less anymore. And that actually might be a good thing. But, you can still get frags of almost anything pretty easily.


I wasn't around for the Mike Paletta or GARF generation. And while I can't speak to how the demographic has changed, the reef hobby has definitely gotten bigger and is still going quite strong in most metropolitan areas.
 

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Freshwater hobbyist don’t demand higher tech systems. There isn’t a demand for plant swaps. The AGA convention limits the number of attendees. Having held several MACNA’s and having been to 25 of them. It’s all about promotion. Freshwater hobby is not focused as a hobby as a whole. You have conventions for every type of fish instead of a “freshwater “ convention that would bring together all the freshwater hobby. Aquashellia and Aquatic experience are trying to do this but it would be better for the various freshwater associations team up and do a FACNA to promote the hobby.
 

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I partially agree about FB fish groups however I will say that there are some specialist groups that are excellent. Some of the general fish keeping groups are full of crazies though.
True. The one thing I miss about Facebook is this.
 

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The format of facebook though is bizarre to me. Espescially for specialized groups. So all information shared just gets buried deeper and deeper in the 'conversation'? Why would anyone be bothered to share worthwhile and in depth information knowing that in a day or a week or whatever no one will ever read it again? I can't even really wrap my head around it properly I think ? Or I've never learned how to use it properly but it's just like a giant hodgepodge of random 'conversations'. For me the only value I've seen in Facebook is classifieds.
 

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I think of it as conversational. I have a question about something. I ask and get some answers. Usually very useful. Very fast most of the time.

My favorite thing about it is when people share photos and videos of fish or plants that I am not familiar with. Really all social media (including forums) I think of as just tools to help me learn and be exposed to new things.
 

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I think of it as conversational. I have a question about something. I ask and get some answers. Usually very useful. Very fast most of the time.

My favorite thing about it is when people share photos and videos of fish or plants that I am not familiar with. Really all social media (including forums) I think of as just tools to help me learn and be exposed to new things.
The specialty groups on Facebook, like the characin and corydoras groups that I had belonged to, had ichthyologists and collectors/hobbyists that had a vast knowledge of these fish far beyond what you would find on a forum. I found a great deal of what is communicated on these groups are the specialists speaking to one another ( where they are collecting, what they are breeding in the aquarium, scientific studies, etc...) not really the greatest for answering the basic newbie question.

It seemed to me that many of the beginner questions went unanswered- unless it was a question of identification. They appeared to be very interested in answering these quickly.

But, also, many of these specialty groups attached to the forum informative studies on breeding, identification, and care that were accessible to all members of group. Works that could be assessed at any time.

There were also- in many of these groups- 1 or 2 highly experienced hobbyist /breeders that loved nothing more than to friend you and help you in any way they could.
 

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Interesting. I just missed the boat I guess on Facebook. Can't navigate my way around it worth a hoot. Based on its popularity it obviously has merits for many. I just chose never to learn about it. The forum format has always appealed much more to me. I search a ton and it's forums I often look to it seems for results. If there is a way to effectively search Facebook I never learned it. Even their algorithm for classified(marketplace) searches I find annoying and ineffective.
 

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That is how I feel about Twitter and Instagram. I just find them pointless, especially because I am a PC person and not a phone person. Everything in the world being catered to mobile platforms is annoying to me but that is just how things have progressed I guess.
 

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The format of facebook though is bizarre to me. Espescially for specialized groups. So all information shared just gets buried deeper and deeper in the 'conversation'? Why would anyone be bothered to share worthwhile and in depth information knowing that in a day or a week or whatever no one will ever read it again?
This is my main issue with FB
 

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Interesting. I just missed the boat I guess on Facebook. Can't navigate my way around it worth a hoot. Based on its popularity it obviously has merits for many. I just chose never to learn about it. The forum format has always appealed much more to me. I search a ton and it's forums I often look to it seems for results. If there is a way to effectively search Facebook I never learned it. Even their algorithm for classified(marketplace) searches I find annoying and ineffective.
Well, that said, I will never be a member of Facebook again.

So, happy that you are here with us now and not on Facebook :smile2:
 
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