What do you think about our hobby?

Clown guru

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Here's a true story! If remember the infamous Red Hornets, most of you were not even thinking about having a reef tank. The Red Hornet was one that started the high-end high priced zoanthids before scarface, and many others. It was first introduced on Ebay at $300 per polyp. Everyone wanted the "Red Hornet". If I did, but not for $300 a polyp. I waited maybe a month and purchase 2 polyps at $150 a pop from a well known vendor online. These were fast growers and everyone had them. I within a few months that same vendor was selling them at $30 a polyp, I was not happy. Imagine paying $300 for a polyp! Sick....sometimes a pays to wait. I love too hobby, but I rather spend my money on my wife, girlfriend or a date...cause at least I'll get back satisfaction.
 

heuerfan

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I used to have a bunch of red hornets, lol.

But actually i believe it was the purple people eater zoanthid that started the high price craze. Also i'm sure you remember the safe c r a c k e r reds, those weren't cheap either.
 

Geraud

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I was just looking at an online store, and saw Drendros, 125$ a head. Dendros 8 years ago were not cheap, like 25$ a head, because they are slow growing etc. But calling it "sunburst" should not increase the price by 5. I believe mine are the exact same. Now I will put white cotton gloves when I am feeding them, and address them as "madam, sir, dinner is served" tonight.
I sometimes think that whoever is naming these "designer corals" is using a random name generator, as well as a random price generator. I miss the fact that in Europe people do use the scientific name first. i know that for some species it is hard to know on a live animal, but I refuse to call something "Ultra mega shiny signature original 78 Bowie outfit Acropora"
 

Charley

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Not surprised, why would one want to stay in the hobby?

Everyone talks about the high prices as being the reason but that is only one reason.But no one talks about the elephant in the room.

Is the hobby enjoyable, fun, relaxing, pleasant? If so, paying high prices would not be such a big issue.

Is changing water weekly fun? No
Is checking the water parameters almost daily fun? No
Is watching things getting out of control such as algae fun? No
Is watching the the tank look like hell as a result fun? No
Is sorting thru conflicting and confusing info to resolve fun? No
Is dealing with some sort of almost inevitable crash fun wiping out hundreds of dollars spent? No
Is paying high prices for equipment a plus? No
Is navigating the treacherous waters of buying a frag without getting ripped off fun? No
Is sweating it out when you buy a fish or coral that is disease free fun? No
Is being lectured on top it all that one did not do things correctly or do more research before this or that fun? No
Is realizing you have to be a semi scientist to keep a tank running for any stretch of time fun really? I think not
Is the LFS experience pleasing? No alot look like a mess
and that's just what I can think of....

Of course when someone comes over and sees my tank when things are going well it brings a moment of joy. But usually that person is happy they did not spend all the money and sweat to have this. Just happy to view it and go home.

Yes, there are great people in the hobby.

But does it compensate enough for all the above? Maybe for a rare few who like the challenge of all this. I think most would discover they would rather play golf or do something enjoyable or relaxing with their time.

So, if people can list the positives of this hobby and promote it, maybe it would grow. If people can make the experience more smoother, clearer, concise and cost effective then maybe it would grow. IMHO

I just had an STN crisis. Circuit breaker went off in the room for no apparent reason. I guess the pumps were off maybe a few hours. Enough to turn some SPS, other corals on the brink, lost 1 fish. Not terrible, not great either but so disheartening for sure. I should spend a few hundred bucks to shore things up again. But why? what is the compelling reason to stay in the hobby? I could cash out all my stuff prob for about 2-3K and call it a day. I am staying in because my wife says I enjoy the ocean, fish too much ......but my pragmatic side says enough is enough already. I think alot of hobbyists go thru the same. IMHO
 
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XclusiveReef

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@ Charley sorry bud but I don't agree one bit. I know we all have our opinions but here is why i disagree:

weekly water changes? no, you can do 1 water change a month (every 3 weeks)
checking parameters? well honestly some people check 1 time a week
Algae? depends if you know how to manage it but for the most part any experience reefer can get it under control

you can make this hobby as cheap or as expensive as you want. I know Dave's Nano Tank built his own 100 Gallon tank, had ok gear and probably all basic corals including sps and his tank looked AMAZING...

I get satisfaction from seeing something 1/2 inch in my tank grow over time and develop colors into something beautiful. AND if one day it crashes what can I do? its life.. one can go in their can and wreck it.. does that mean you never gonna drive again? no..
 

Charley

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@ XclusiveReff totally ok that that you disagree and most welcome, and I am sure alot will very strongly disagree with me. But I do think I bring up the correct issues as to why people leave.

However:) already going down a slippery slope. For example I meet with red sea people at RAP. They strongly suggested changing water once a week. Just listened to a podcast reef news network ( love the podcast ) and I believe a guest also suggest once a week, maybe 2.

I am in trying to raise alkalinity, it was strongly suggested to check once a day to reach desired level and its a struggle to do so

Algae, yes I am sure I will get eventually get it under control. But as you know, the looking like a mess part can drive people out right away in frustration.

But, I am simply suggesting all the above "work" is not fun for most people, and the difference of opinions on how to maintain a tank is quite confusing and can lead to errors and crashes. Hence, why people would leave the hobby.

Just because some people do enjoy the going thru the issues of the hobby, have the time, patience, inclination to do thinks cheaply (more power to them)it does not explain why people so many people leave the hobby and consider to do so. I also think that "life" gets in the way of the time needed to be in the successfully and people do not want to go thru a rather confusing, tedious learning curve to become an experienced hobbyist to achieve success. They give up on the hobby beforehand.

I too enjoy watching a coral grow and the behavior of fish. I think, and only throwing it out there, that it is not enough for alot of people to go thru the learning curves and expense to see it thru successfully.

Your thoughts are spot on and much appreciated as to how to perhaps to make it easier and more affordable to stay in. Thank You
 
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heuerfan

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@Charley- there is no right or wrong way to maintain a tank, that is why there are so many different opinions. Unfortunately there are a lot of obstacles in this hobby but once you understand how to deal with them it ain't that bad.
 

Charley

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@heuerfan - yes, agree and in some ways that is what makes the hobby interesting.

There is another fellow just listed his tank, I think a 220gal to leave the hobby with a alot of nice equip, Only a year in. It's a bummer to see, but why?

I do not think we can improve the experience of the hobby by ignoring what the reall issues are.

For those who say its a great hobby (I have said that too to many of my friends) that's wonderful but it does not do anything to address the real issues why so many appear to be leaving. We cannot bury ourselves in the sand and pretend that all is well and its a great hobby when we see this.

Just so happened that this thread caught me in a moment of contemplation as to whether to throw in the towel myself and of all things my wife talked me out of it. It was not in a moment of hobby euphoria......the reasons I stated above I think are very real issues and we ignore them at the hobbies peril.

In having said that, I have no clue as to how to address these issues other than to open espresso bars in LFS.
 

grsfish

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I think one difference between this hobby and other hobbies I have had in the past is that you can?t just take a break. So when people need a?break? they shut their tank down. Making beer, wood working etc I haven?t done in years and I just keep my equipment on a shelf. I really enjoy my tank even though I have 3 kids and 2 jobs. I find it to be pretty relaxing and it?s also amazing to see these little frags you buy grow sometimes even day to day. One of the biggest limiters for me is the price of everything but the good thing with the corals is when you can start selling/ trading them to offset some of the costs.
 

Geraud

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Charley, if you need to increase your KH, these daily testings are indeed needed, but the week or so that it will take you to reach the desire levels.


After that you can go back to weekly testings. It is not bad at all. With a simple test kit (BRS did a video about that) it only takes a couple of minutes.
 

Charley

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@Geraud yes agree. I contacted Bob from ESV and he took the time and was kind to enough to email detailed great advice...beyond so much appreciated. I started at around 6 dkh and got up to about 7.95. Did daily testing, np. My target was 9 ish but hit a brick wall after 2 or 3 weeks. then the mini crash hit and stopped the daily testing. Oddly enough my tank was doing great at 6.

So here I am. I could use a dual rector for rowa/carbon. I need a dosing pump, been doing by hand and a battery back up that ecotech has. Another 400 bucks ish in the hopes of improving the situation.Not to mention an apex would be great...another $450 bucks ( I have the doser part I picked up cheap)! Not to mention a reboot of corals, fish.......I one still with all this have to do things rather diligently or your toast.

Some will say, you should have done this sooner. Yeah sure if wasn't for a 25% reduction in salary back in Sept. etc. Very easy for people to say this or that.

But that aside I can do it, but more a question do I want to double down? Is the hobby worth it? How much is enough already? Only responding so much because this all hit and on the cusp at this moment with this thread. What is the COMPELLING reason for people to stay in? @grsfish gave one one the sweetest reasons to stay in IMHO, very heartfelt.

What do I think about the hobby?

1) if your a DIY type person, awesome you have the skills to save some big bucks thats great
2) You have tons of money to automatic everything when you need too, thats great
3) a person who has tons of time, retired etc......thats great
3) anywhere in between, not so good

I will most likely stay in. But not holding back about my thoughts about the hobby. Might even start a new thread about being on the cusp as a tank thread. Let everyone lay into me about my thoughts and a lousy reefkeeper etc...

And coincidentally , there is thread started today on reef2reef titled

"Is this hobby ever going to be fun, ha"

This is the prob....more frustrating than fun with a high risk to reward ratio in terms of $. Its a tough deal.....

And just found out 2 battery backs are needed, not 1 to back up the vectra and 2 vortechs. .another $170 to bring things up to par and not have the back up police on my case....oh well. Hair algae is looking better to me all the time
 
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