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This is the second time that I've been playing around with planted tanks and shrimp. I came back about a year ago after taking a 5 year hiatus. It seems that this hobby is a constant revolving door just by reading the "for sale" section.

Anybody have a decent theory as to why this happens?




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People fall in love with the idea of a fantastically planted tank. Then they are disappointed with the reality (put an Amano tank next to mine and I'd either laugh or cry). Having a planted tank that looks good, i mean GOOD, takes, at the least, real planning, money, time, and effort.

Then there is all the conflicting information and theories which causes a lot of changing of equipment, flora and fauna.

--This is sometimes why I chuckle when I read a thread that starts with "My girlfriend wants a small tank like mine...." doomed to fail.
 

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I mean, I have off and on periods, but I think one factor (at least with me), is that once I get everything stable and where I want it, if I wanted to do more I'd need to start off from scratch more or less.
Its also a money thing and commitment thing. I have the passion for all kinds of animals, although lately this hobby has been more than say, reptiles and birds for me.
Although, the costs of fish keeping might seem cheaper than those two up front....its not in the long haul. I still maintain that fish are the most difficult animal to keep out of everything possible to own.
 

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I think it's healthy. My hobbies are all over the place and it keeps me fresh, excited, and enjoying them. I'm just getting back to aquarium stuff after spending a bunch of time on my place in Tennessee, Corvette, Duramax truck, got some new guns, bought some gold and silver bullion, and starting my prep for a bodybuilding show
 

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I got away from it years ago and I came back because I realized I liked the slower pace, the enforced patience.

I can go play World of Tanks if I want a fast paced, high-strung amusement but when I want to relax I go feed the fish and settle into the couch to watch the fish swim around and see the plants grow.

As for why other people do it, I'd say mostly the cost... it's expensive for something that doesn't really provide much for instant gratification.
 

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FRUSTRATION: Running into that one intolerable problem that seems unsolvable.

OBSESSION: It's easy to get so wrapped up in this hobby that you grossly overextend your budget, time, patience, skills, or whatever else. Burning out is the typical result. Often cyclical, leaving and re-entering the hobby repeatedly. I am guilty of this one. Learning to pace yourself helps tremendously.

"HOT RODDERS": That's my nickname for the folks that always challenge themselves to improve, optimize, surpass previous results. When there's no challenges left, they lose interest.
 

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I got out for nearly 5 years when I moved around a lot and had to sell all my tanks. Then one day I was at walmart and walked by the live fish section, and of course I had to look. I saw that they had green spotted puffers for sale. Puffers, as you may know, are the cutest things in the world and can turn even Michael Vick into an avid animal lover. My little brother had an unused 20 gallon tank that once housed a snake, so I asked him for it and set up a brackish tank for a single GSP. After doing more research, it appeared he needed a larger tank. The rest, as they say, is history.
 

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For me, I got into the hobby to relax, and lower my stress levels, doctor said it would be a good idea. Then a year later, I had a 2nd massive heart attack and couldn't take care of my tanks for over a year and a half. Now I am finally able to lift the buckets and carry water so I can take care of my tanks again. I'll probably be back out of the hobby in a few weeks after my next stress test, they're seeing if I need open heart surgery, so I imagine ya'll won't see me for a spell lol. Health, life, money, boredom, are all factors in why people leave and come back.
 

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I was really into it in my early-mid teens, then got out of it due to limitations of what my parents would allow me to have (along with the limitations of a kid's budget).

Now that I've moved out and gone to college, I'm trying to get back into it, since I no longer have to deal with my parents dislike of certain animals. Unfortunately, now I have to deal with the apartment managements dislike of certain animals. And a college student's budget. And finding people willing to petsit bugs...

The more things change, the more they stay the same, apparently.
 

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I'm currently not to into my tanks. I barely look at them.
Why?. Because I can't get a single fish to remain alive longer than a week in this house. No matter what I do.
I'm maintaining several tanks at several other people's houses. And all the fish and plants are thriving.
This house.... they just die.
I'm discouraged.
 

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My Take

Interesting question, guess i am not the only one. I have had a fish only tank for about ten years, a 50 gallon and have had good success with keeping it healthy. I have a relaxed but constant maintenance program of cleaning, water changes, monitoring, and it works. On the other hand I really want a planted tank and have made four attempts to plant my tank and so far I am at zero for plants. My first attempt many years ago involved buying plants and sticking them in my pebbles. Each of the subsequent three attempts were preceded with some research and modifications to the tank designed to allow plant growth. My forth attempt ended about three months ago and had pressure CO2 and PPO fert program added to what I had. My forth attempt was decidedly my worst attempt as I spent a lot of money and not only did my plants die I had the worst algae problem ever.

I think a smart person would quit trying after achieving the results I have. Guess I am stuborn and have spent the last month reading everything I could find on growing aquarium plants from basic to advanced topics. Everyone has their own ideas but it is confusing many times for someone after answers when many times you get answers that not only conflict but are opposites. I am preparing to begin my fifth attempt and have been busy asking questions. Those questions have targeted the three basic requirements for plants, light, food, and CO2. And I have received answers which conflict. So, part of the answer to the root question has to be the confusion a new comer faces when beginning.

For my fifth attempt I have just finished changing my pebble substrate for a plant friendly substrate. [In point of fact I have read at multiple places that substrate is not really important and I have read that it is all important.] I have a 2 bulb T5HO fixture in a 48" tank and have upgraded to 6700K bulbs. I have read that with this set up I have too much light and I have read that I have just a bear minimum amount. I don't have a par meter and don't want to invest in one at this point. So, I believe I will begin my fifth attempt with just one of my bulbs on and see what that does. I have read that plants won't grow without food but I have also read that you should not fertilize at the begining, maybe for the first month or two. I plan to not fertilize to start and see what happens. And, I have read that for hardy low light plants I do not need CO2 and I have read that I won't get good plant growth without CO2. I plant to start without my CO2 system turned on as I will again start with low light easy plants.

So, confusion and resultant poor results certainly have caused me to start and stop several times along with the continual cost of experimenting with changes.
 

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i think its a combination of boredom, fascination, obsession, and boredom.

for me, i cant imagine life without some kind of tank. even when i deployed to iraq, i kept marimo balls in a water bottle.

im the kind of guy that is CONSTANTLY challenging myself to improve, but unlike most such people, i have a lot of patience. many of my current projects have been going on for several years. before i joined the army, i kept a strain of mosquito fish that i had selectively bred to be able to withstand insanely high levels of ammonia, well over 20 ppm. that would flat out kill any other fish, even the ones i started with 8 years earlier. i started that strain when i was twelve and kept it going until i was 21. im weird like that. :)
 

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I used to be in & out. But that was simply because before I would just stick to one main hobby & after awhile it gets boring, so I ditch it to start another & so forth. Now I do a lot of other hobbies so they all kind of just balance themselves. I find the key to keeping my tank running is to not show all of my interest into it or else I'll get bored easy
 

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The planted tank hobby is like any other hobby -- people get into it for different reasons. And those reasons can range from a whim like "I saw one on the internet and it seemed cool " to a more serious "I'm an aquatic botanist, I love aquatic plants and I want to experiment". So on the whim end of the spectrum, a person may not be as emotionally, mentally or intellectually invested and thus doesn't have an anchor that keeps them tethered to the hobby, especially when they face challenges. On the serious end, a person likely has way more invested, and therefore is more likely to stick with it through the tough times. And that person probably does more upfront investigation anyway that helps them avoid a lot of the more common pitfalls that lead to frustration.

The other thing is personality. Again, there is that spectrum... on one end is the type who starts and stops a lot of things. Someone who gets frustrated easily, who gives up when the answer is not spelled out for them, who doesn't have patience. Someone who wants instant gratification. On the other end is the type who starts something, solves problems, delves a little deeper, challenges themselves, and takes their hobby one step further, whether that means increasingly challenging setups, or adding more and more tanks. They have patience and like to think. And of course there are personalities all along that spectrum.

If you combine the reasons for why a person got into the hobby with their personality, you can probably guess the likeliness of them leaving the hobby.
 
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