Is complaining about the cost of aquarium equipment fair when you do this?

Complaining about the cost of aquarium equipment when you pay large sums of money for coral & fish..

  • is Fair

    Votes: 264 51.6%
  • is Not Fair

    Votes: 210 41.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 38 7.4%

  • Total voters
    512

revhtree

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**Please understand that this thread isn't for company reviews or feedback. All posts that mention products or company names will be removed to stay on topic. Thanks**

Who likes to pay an arm and a leg for things? Not me and not most of you. I get it. I understand. This hobby isn't cheap. But I did want to talk about something that I see quite often in this hobby and wanted to get your feedback on it. What do I see? People complaining about the prices of equipment yet don't bat an eye at the cost of coral. Is that fair? Let's talk about it and please read the above note before answering! :)

Is complaining about the cost of aquarium equipment fair when you will pay large sums of money for coral and livestock?

On a personal note I am of the mindset that if you're selling something then you have the right to ask what you want to for that item or service. If I don't like the price I don't buy it. The market will dictate if the worth is there. Ok carry on!

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90's reefer

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One thing for sure is the hobby is not cheap.
Equipment or coral costs, just like any hobby, are justified by the hobbiest.
Complaining is human nature and I for one dont see a need for it.
However, I am just one of many.
 
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Cell

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I feel like anyone complaining about the cost of equipment likely also complains about the cost of coral. I think the cost of coral is the bigger transgression because you can propagate it. Growth rate should set caps on coral prices.

Equipment-wise, the thirst for tech and automation combined with the lack of industry competition in those areas makes for exorbitant prices and sometimes not fully polished products/product support.
 

Reefs and Geeks

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For someone who frags and sells their coral, the coral themselves can be seen as an investment that will in time pay for itself, and then some. Equipment is kind of like insurance. High quality equipment, in general, should protect your investment in coral and possibly increase it's growth rate in some circumstances vs cheap equipment. It is much harder to bite the bullet on an expensive light or pump than a colorful coral though. I don't display my equipment, but do my coral. So I get alot of direct enjoyment out of a nice colorful piece of coral. A fancy light? not so much.

All of that being said, I personally don't complain about high price of equipment because more affordable stuff is out there. If you don't like the price, don't buy it and move on. I don't complain about the price of a Lamborghini, I just buy a Chevy and move on.
 

Tahoe61

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Well now that I think about it I could have bought a highend LED or T5 hybrid with funds I have spent on corals during shutdown (shutdown started March 23 rd).
Hmmm I would have an awesome light but no corals.
State of the art equipment is beyond my means so I make do with mid range equipment, but I have some awesome frags growing out.
Yeah I feel fine complaining about equipment prices.
 
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Crabs McJones

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I think what some people don't understand is all the work and handling that goes into a product. The research, design, production, packaging, distribution ect... All those steps need to be paid, and make a profit. They're not going to do stuff for free or to break even.
When I worked at an auto parts supply chain, we had a seminar about oil filters.
The guy at the seminar said if we could get oil filters direct off the line, they could sell them for 50 cents and still make a profit. But when you factor in the amount of hands an item needs to go through, the numbers start jumping. The filter goes from production to a truck, that truck has to get paid, from that truck they go to packaging. Packaging company has to get paid, from packaging it goes on another truck, that truck needs to get paid, then it goes to the distribution center. Distribution center has to get paid, then they truck it out to the stores, truck for that has to get paid, and then the final markup at the retail store. So now your 50 cent oil filter now costs upwards of 10 to 15 dollars.
Many people don't factor any of that in when considering the price of an item.
Just my thoughts and opinions ya'll are free to disagree, but I don't usually complain about prices of items too much with this knowledge. If I don't like the price I simply look for an alternate or I don't purchase it.
 

Alarmguy66

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I think hobbyists have the right to decide what they pay. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything related to reef keeping. Its not an investment for the majority of us, its a hobby. At the same time, people have the right to complain or vent, and none of us are forced to read the complaints. Thats how a free society should work. I think the term "fair" is over-rated. I would say the costs can be frustrating, but there are reasons that there are Kias and Mercedes. Both do the same job, but boy are the costs different. What needs to be understood is that high cost drives new innovation, and as that happens the older technology gets cheaper.

To answer the question, its "fair", and I think necessary. Complaints drive the markets response, more so than praise.
 

Reef.

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I think this question is based on an incorrect premise, people do complain about the high prices of equipment but still buy them, but likewise they as equally complain about coral prices and still buy those.

I don’t see a contradiction here.

You either pay the price or buy a different product/coral, little choice if you want to stay in the hobby, some complain, some don’t, same with any group of people.

The Poll question takes this incorrect premise as fact, not sure the result is going to be very meaningful, ticking the ‘other’ box is akin to having a poll asking what colour is the grass and the choices being Red, blue or other!
 
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ahiggins

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I feel like complaining about coral prices sky rocketing is justifiable but equipment is what it is. Lights are what frustrate me the most but honestly, if you can’t afford the equipment or find a solution to an affordable option, you shouldn’t be in the hobby.
 
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Cory

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I dont complain because this hobby isn't a necessity and I understand that our numbers are few and paying for a brick and mortar store wouldn't be easy with low priced things you usually buy only once.
 

DivingTheWorld

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I have no problem paying more money for excellent equipment that is bulletproof, works great, and lasts a long time. I still run my Apex Classic. It works great and is bulletproof. My RO POV-DC1 skimmer, cost an arm and a leg, but bulletproof. My MP40QD's LOVE them. That said, it seems a lot of newer "high end" products coming out are riddled with bugs and have lots of issues (at least from what I read here). If you're going to sell expensive equipment, it needs to be extensively QA'd and be bulletproof!
 

chipmunkofdoom2

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I mostly see the opposite. People seem to have no problem buying a $2k super-sleek AIO system, put $700 worth of powerheads in it and $1,300 of LEDs over it. But, when it comes to corals, $300 for a Homewrecker frag is personally insulting and outrageous. I don't often see people with $30k in top of the line named corals complaining about the cost of equipment, although I'm sure they're out there. I personally think both equipment and coral prices are out of control, but I put my money where my mouth is. I only buy corals in packs to save money. I run cheap equipment. I don't use a controller besides the $35 Inkbird on my heater.

I think at the end of the day, if you want the best, be it corals or equipment, and you want things a very specific way, you're going to pay top dollar for it. There are cheaper alternatives out there for almost everything in this hobby. Most of these alternatives do involve sacrifices in terms of cheaper equipment, smaller frags or getting a bargain assortment frag pack that may not have the corals you want. Still, it's an either/or type thing. You can either pay a ton of money to get the best of the best of the best (sir), or you can compromise and save some money. You can't have both. Whatever path you choose, you should make peace with the sacrifices that path requires.
 

Tahoe61

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I feel like complaining about coral prices sky rocketing is justifiable but equipment is what it is. Lights are what frustrate me the most but honestly, if you can’t afford the equipment or find a solution to an affordable option, you shouldn’t be in the hobby.
And that is exactly why I can complain.

As a long time hobbyist and I have had to make do at times. It's my opinion that we should grow the community not make the hobby impractical or impossible for some because of finances.
 

Humblefish

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Here's the thing: When I buy cheap equipment, I have no expectations of it lasting for very long. (Although it usually does.) But when I pay a premium for so-called high end equipment, and it has a high failure rate, that ticks me off. There's a well-known wavemaker that has a solid motor but expensive wet sides that break or rust every 2-3 years. The only explanation is planned obsolescence, because the same wet sides would last 5+ years when I first started buying these pumps.
 
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Tiger Brown

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At its core the word "complaining", whether you use it as an adjective or a noun, is defined as an expression. Humans express their emotions, thoughts, opinions, frustrations, needs, desires, wants in a multitude of ways. One of these ways is through online forums like this one, with a group of like-minded hobbyists, through which, share a common language that most non-reefers don't understand.

In sum: To express is human, to complain is to express, thus, complaining is part of being human, therefore those of us that complain are just humans appropriately vetting our frustrations as a normal routine of keeping our emotional selves in homeostasis.
 

andrewey

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I have no problem paying more money for excellent equipment that is bulletproof, works great, and lasts a long time. I still run my Apex Classic. It works great and is bulletproof. My RO POV-DC1 skimmer, cost an arm and a leg, but bulletproof. My MP40QD's LOVE them. That said, it seems a lot of newer "high end" products coming out are riddled with bugs and have lots of issues (at least from what I read here). If you're going to sell expensive equipment, it needs to be extensively QA'd and be bulletproof!
I also think this is an important point that is missed when discussing price. I haven't seen many complaint threads about lifereef or deltec skimmers although they are both extremely pricey. The same is true of API/Geisman T5 fixtures, Eheim return pumps, tunze ATOs, etc. In all cases, you know the price and you know what you are getting, so in this example, @revhtree 's free market hypothesis holds up as people can freely choose to spend their money on a product with a perceived benefit vs lower cost alternatives. Everyone can have their cake at the price point they want.

The same can't be said for every company or their product line and I don't think there is anything wrong with pointing out that many companies are not delivering on this "social contract" to produce a functional product or the longevity of a product differs dramatically from the expectation. Similarly, I think it's pretty reasonable if people want to complain about the cost of a tank if that tank is going to have a seam failure in a few years or most of the pumps die within a year. In truth, the discussion should be less about cost and more about which products or companies are worthwhile investments while other companies sell mainly disposable products, but the underlying anger is still the same.
 

Cell

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Maybe this is a good question question of the day itself, but I think the cost of equipment is less of a concern to me than what seems like a questionable level of product support after purchasing at times in this industry. I paid the price, now make sure this works correctly and help me when it doesn't.
 

Paul B

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I don't complain about anything. If it is to much, I don't buy it.

But I know something about prices. I invented and patented an aquarium related device and it cost me about $30,000.00 between the patent office and lawyers. The molds were more and trying to get the thing made in America almost drove me nuts.

(I don't sell them or own the company as I gave it away) Sponsors on this forum sell it I think.

They sell for about $140.00, the profit is about $7.00, the rest goes to the manufacturer, wholesaler, shipper, material, insurance etc.
If they were made in China or India the profit would be about two dollars more. They are built in Florida.

Some things just can't be made cheaper and corals, for the most part can't be any cheaper nor can fish.

I have been to many of the places where they collect fish and they are almost free. Most of them die before they are even shipped.
The cost is in the holding facility while they are waiting for a plane and the shipping which cost way more than the fish.
Many, or sometimes all of them die in transit. No part of that business is very profitable.

We can complain but if you know people who own LFSs, do any of them look rich?
 

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