The hobby expensive because we are making it so

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BTimms

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This is just a rant and I realize it’s not going to change a thing and yes I’m aware of the economics of supply and demand. Please note if you see a reference to something you may have posted, it is not a personal attack on you and I will not be mentioning any names. I’m using what’s been posted simply as a reference to justify my standpoin

The hobby expensive because we are making it so…

I say this not because I don’t want to spend money on the hobby, I say this as we are pricing the average hobbyist who are the ones who will continue this hobby, out of the hobby.

Now I realize this hobby is not what it was when I stopped following the “latest and greatest” in equipment, lighting, and everything else. I can easily just say, well I remember when a small colony of hammer or torch or frogspawn was $50 for 8-10 heads. I realize this is not realistic to expect the the same 10 years later.

With that said here are my issues:

Corals - What the heck is going on with the pricing? I’m not saying the cartoon names, as I understand the reasoning behind it. I’m saying since when is a half inch frag worth $500-$800? I say this after reviewing a “flash sale” and nothing I clicked on was below $300. Yes I’m well aware of plenty of other vendors that do not price this high but still $70-$100 per frag is well outrageous.
Now that’s not to say it may or may not be some rare species or slow grower that deserves the price but I mean seriously.
Well okay, those are vendors, they’re out to make money, fine.
I now turn to us “hobbyists”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read, “well my tank is an investment” or “I only frag to recoup the cost of running the tank and last year I sold $16k in coral”. I’m sorry but if your tank is costing you $16k a year, you really have something wrong with your tank.
I also see a lot of the “Well it cost me “x” so I’m not selling it for less” like these deformed mushrooms we call “bounce mushrooms”. $500/less than 1/2 inch frag. Seriously? That’s just ripping off the hobbyist.
I can guarantee that if I was to ever get one of these mushrooms (it’d have to come cheap), I’m not going to frag it out the moment it gets 1 inch big. I’ll let it multiply on its own and sell them for cheap. No labor involved other than removing from the rock. There’s no reason a mushroom, a freaking mushroom, one of the most prolific growers in home aquaria, should cost $500. At most maybe $100 for a full single mushroom that has some super color variant.

Based on current market value, I supposedly have close to $2k in coral in my tank with my “Firemouth” Green Rhondactis Mushrooms and Neon Green Toadstool and Indo Hammer. I have no plans on fragging any of it because my tank is not an investment. My tank is for my enjoyment.

Okay fine, tell me to find local hobbyists who are out there to help you out. “Many local hobbyists will just give away frags”. Please tell me where these hobbyists are cause they aren’t local around here or in the selling forum here.

Now I understand that there is plenty of reason for increased cost due to import/export bans, Covid, inflation. However, I would say, a large percentage is “captive grown” now, with certain exceptions obviously, so captive grown should reduce the cost, I would think.

Anyway, if we continue to price gouge, this hobby will become what all the “true collectors” or “investment hobbyists” want. One that only the 1% can afford.

Go ahead flame away. I can feel it coming. Bring on the heat! It’s already 80 degrees and humid as all get out outside anyway
I could not agree with this more! Well put!

Local reefers selling little nub pieces of dying (not encrusted) frags for lfs prices or more disgusts me.

The name game and use of stupid street names drives up costs of corals. Local reefers and lfs call the same acro different names in order to drive up costs and they all came from the same mother colony.

Also people selling used equipment for near new prices.

The general costs of essential goods, such a small salt has skyrocketed over the last few years.

Just because it’s a “marine” aquarium doesn’t mean it’s somehow magically more expensive whatever.

If these corals or fish are aquacultured or maricultured locally in abondance they should not see a 1000% margin.

Greedy people have entered the hobby sneaking greedy prices. Scammers and dishonest people are all the same.
 
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Reefing102

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It became that way in 2006. Things were getting crazy. It's the rest of us who are keeping relevant and trying not to get weeded out.
I look for steals and deals on the market place here. Shipping can be insane. But if the corals are cheap, why not?
I was looking for octospawns. A lot of vendors have them at 150 per head. >.> Yes, that's insane.
When I want something, and for a price... I don't stop until it's done.
Yes, this hobby is frustrating. When I see nice frags for sale to local pic up only. ;Sour
My area is very dull and not a lot of reefers here. They can't afford it.
Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I’m rural Ohio and unless your in one of the Big C’s, you have few if any locals. I’d love to open my own local store, the issue is I know the area and there’s simply not enough disposable income in the area to make it sustainable. With that said, it does frustrate me similarly to see a great deal and the “local pick up only”. My goal right now is to find a no name torch, basic purple, pink, or green. It’s the one coral my wife loves the look of in pics (she’s not a fan of the golds). But everyone is attaching a fancy name to get a premium out of it. I did find one vendor on here who seems to have pretty decent pricing but it’s just negotiating the price with the wife cause of shipping lol


I love your energy, let’s talk about it because if we don’t nothing can be done about it. I’m one of those local reefers that if a coral is going to be sold from my tank I sell them cheap, to a local. I also buy them cheap from places that don’t slap a catchy name on it. I collect euphyllia tho and it’s easier for me to find nice pieces that don’t come with a catchy name except for some really high end ones that have a universal well known name for its color variant. I sold a ten headed frammer for 60 bucks because I didn’t have the room in my tank and it grows like a weed. I got a bunch of zoas I could let go of and I’m not expecting a price per polyp. I feel like coral isn’t the main price problem but it can be if your not careful. My problem is the lighting and flow. Most of this stuff is outsourced to China to maximize profits but I don’t see the price reflecting the manufacturing origin. If I did I would never see people buying jabeo products. I don’t want to pay a company just so the company can pay another country’s work force, all the while the ceo and his buddy’s piggy back off that country’s labor. It’s wrong to allow a manufacturer that makes similar products for others, to slap a different label on your product so you can turn around and market it at a premium, it makes me feel like a sucker to pay more for a product just because the label or shell has been redesigned.
I feel these companies are scared to pay a premium to keep their design and create manufacturing jobs here in the US. But I would be more scared that the foreign manufacturer is going to take my design and hand them over to the competition because they have no ties or respect for you. Some of these foreign country manufacturers are going/have gone through lawsuits for leaking info that was not their’s to give
This too. I’ve read time and again the Chinese black boxes do just as good as the high end brands. However I would honestly seriously consider dropping a thousand or so on a US made light. Right now though I’m a Halide guy but that’s just my old school mentality.
 

Viva'sReef

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Same story I've read on these forums for 20 years.

About 12 years ago, a 1 polyp frag of Blue Hornet zoa's was hundreds of dollars. I just bought a 3 polyp frag for $20 from a LFS.

Competition, Availability, Hype, Color combo, growth rate, & collection area all play into price. You can't expect to pay little for the "new Hotness" but if you look around you can and will find deals of some really nice coral. Local Frag swaps are where it's at most of the time. The last time I went I spent aroudn $400 and left with a cooler full of frags, some were even mini colonys.
 

BTimms

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Rants like this frustrate me. There is plenty of cheap coral out there but you cant expect people to sell the current "fad" corals or rare and unusual corals for 20$ a frag. Vendors are often going to focus on those coral because that is where they stand to make the highest profit margin and they are trying to make a living in an unpredictable and sometimes challenging hobby.

I like selling coral as a hobbiest for several reasons, helps offset some of the cost of the hobby, i get to meet and talk to other hobbiests, and i can sell some nice coral for less than vendors do (still not cheap in many cases). Its fun. I sell lots of cheap coral or try to at least, but the odd thing is that its hard to sell the cheap stuff. What people want is the really nice stuff for dirt cheap, and that is an unrealistic expectation. The last swap i went to i sold a lot of the high end expensive stuff i brought but had a hard time selling the 20$ hammer frags, 15$ birds nest frags, 10$ monti caps, and 10$ green acros for example and had to bring most of them home. Just my observation
Good for you not scamming Andy jabbing your local community reefers.

The problem is some local hobbyists will charge insane prices and rip people off for little pieces of snot.
 

Mibu

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I also love how people know, they are selling more of a photo than a coral. Forget what the coral looks like in a tank. Buy this $1k frag because of how great a macro shot looks. Let's not delve to deep here. That's kicking a hornet nest. Maybe it should get kicked.
We can make a change. We have to do it. Actions speak louder than words.
But if people want to be gobbled up by these trends, I won't stop them. There's still enough of us here to know better and can do better.

Right now though I’m a Halide guy but that’s just my old school mentality.
Enough people love the t5's and halides and wont look at leds. I use led's and miss my old t5's. But for now, I am ridding with these until the end of the year to replace with a hybrid light system of t5's and halides.
but it’s just negotiating the price with the wife cause of shipping lol

Shipping kills it for me too. That's an extra frag or 2.
My lfs can't keep lps alive, sps melt in a day or 2. He basically has shrooms and aiptasias. He orders in lps and they die. The lights are too weak, I told him that. He wont listen. Oh well what do you do?
How do you sell a dying coral? So, he's no help for the hobby here, either.

let’s talk about it because if we don’t nothing can be done about it.
That's very true.
 
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Reefing102

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I could not agree with this more! Well put!

Local reefers selling little nub pieces of dying (not encrusted) frags for lfs prices or more disgusts me.

Also people selling used equipment for near new prices.

The general costs of essential goods, such a small salt has skyrocketed over the last few years.

Just because it’s a “marine” aquarium doesn’t mean it’s somehow magically more expensive whatever.

If these corals or fish are aquacultured or maricultured locally in abondance they should not see a 1000% margin.

Greedy people have entered the hobby sneaking greedy prices. Scammers and dishonest people are all the same.
Absolutely. This is what I’m seeing on the few local things I browse
 
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Reefing102

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Wow it seems like not all local people give y’all good deals. That definitely makes the hobby harder. :(
Definitely not a lot of good deals. I got a great deal from a guy on here on a halide but wasn’t a local guy. Most of the locals seem to want retail or higher around here. I don’t even bother messaging them to see if they can do better cause they’re asking price shows me their mentality in my opinion.
 

Joe462

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Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I’m rural Ohio and unless your in one of the Big C’s, you have few if any locals. I’d love to open my own local store, the issue is I know the area and there’s simply not enough disposable income in the area to make it sustainable. With that said, it does frustrate me similarly to see a great deal and the “local pick up only”. My goal right now is to find a no name torch, basic purple, pink, or green. It’s the one coral my wife loves the look of in pics (she’s not a fan of the golds). But everyone is attaching a fancy name to get a premium out of it. I did find one vendor on here who seems to have pretty decent pricing but it’s just negotiating the price with the wife cause of shipping lol



This too. I’ve read time and again the Chinese black boxes do just as good as the high end brands. However I would honestly seriously consider dropping a thousand or so on a US made light. Right now though I’m a Halide guy but that’s just my old school mentality.
I feel you on the rural Ohio thing, if i want much of anything interesting i have have to have it shipped or wait for a swap, and even the swaps are no guarantee
 

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I understand your pain! And it should not be how thia hobby plays out. I dont buy into these named corals though, seems like an america hype stigma thing.

I feel lucky where i live as im super close to a reef and buy directly from the wholesaler/collector. I just wouldnt pay more then $30 for a acro unless its a colony, how the hell is a frag worth $100-$800 is beyond me haha
 
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I could go out and buy whatever I want, whether it's equipment or corals.
I choose not to. I took a 25 year hiatus and when I came back sticker shock dang near killed me.
I have no desire to have the rarest or flashiest, I just want growing thriving corals (inexpensive ones are fine) for my enjoyment.

The hobbyist who is able to frag and sell at reasonable prices to help maintain their hobby, hats off to you.
I see no problem with that.

Everyone here knows when something is ridiculously priced, we look, laugh and move on.
 
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Reefing102

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Same story I've read on these forums for 20 years.

About 12 years ago, a 1 polyp frag of Blue Hornet zoa's was hundreds of dollars. I just bought a 3 polyp frag for $20 from a LFS.

Competition, Availability, Hype, Color combo, growth rate, & collection area all play into price. You can't expect to pay little for the "new Hotness" but if you look around you can and will find deals of some really nice coral. Local Frag swaps are where it's at most of the time. The last time I went I spent aroudn $400 and left with a cooler full of frags, some were even mini colonys.
Haha the “mini colony” thing is one of the other things that gets me. Again, I know times have changed, but I remember when frags were your 2-3 inch in size with multiple branches. Now that’s classified a mini colony. A mini colony to me is at least 4 inches. I should say it’s not that I expect the new hotness to cost a little more, just that the “little more” has gotten insane in my eyes.

I wish swaps were advertised more, as I rarely see anything popping up around here (even in the big cities unless I’m not in the right groups).
 

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I mean the expense doesn’t just go to corals here we are paying 500$+ for a single light of LEDs or 300$+ for a flow header. Ontop of it all your also paying around 300$ for cut out square pieces of plastic for sumps… skimmers are alittle over priced but not much as they are curved plastics which takes more to make then square shapes.

as for corals yeah they are crazy priced. Acros if done right can give you a nice colony in 2 years or less which you can frag. Sad thing is some acros are 200-1000$ for a frag which is one of the more easy corals to frag… Zoas can iffy seen them cheap from some vendors where as some like the predator Zoas are like 100-200$ a polyp..

Only thing that I believe is price right is certain fish tanks from certain makers as I’ll be down to pay 6,000$ for a 150 gallon if they can ensure me it will last 10+ years and give me a warranty that’s more then a junky 2 years.
 

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Haha the “mini colony” thing is one of the other things that gets me. Again, I know times have changed, but I remember when frags were your 2-3 inch in size with multiple branches. Now that’s classified a mini colony. A mini colony to me is at least 4 inches. I should say it’s not that I expect the new hotness to cost a little more, just that the “little more” has gotten insane in my eyes.
I wonder what is going on here,
Back in 2006- 2012. I was buying coral colonies from LA. They would all ship in fine. They stayed with me until I had to move in 2017.
Now, I am scared to order a colony (2-4"). It seems they die during shipping. Not to mention a lot of torches I have purchased.

So, could some of these prices be due to shipping issues to cover for the costs death of others being refunded?

Edit: A side note, I have seen too many driver's abuse shipped live stock. I think this could be causing the corals to suffer as well. I now greet the delivery person to try to prevent some of this.
 

Joe462

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Haha the “mini colony” thing is one of the other things that gets me. Again, I know times have changed, but I remember when frags were your 2-3 inch in size with multiple branches. Now that’s classified a mini colony. A mini colony to me is at least 4 inches. I should say it’s not that I expect the new hotness to cost a little more, just that the “little more” has gotten insane in my eyes.

I wish swaps were advertised more, as I rarely see anything popping up around here (even in the big cities unless I’m not in the right groups).
It does seem like its hard to figure out where to advertise swaps, unless you closely follow the groups that put them on they are easy to miss. A couple weeks ago Cincy reef had a hobbiest only swap and i only found about about it a couple weeks before the event, so not a lot of time to frag stuff up for it. It was a really good event, lots of reasonable coral and cool people.

i do wish there was a good way to keep track of all the relatively local swaps.
 
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I 100% agree on the equipment cost. I apologize my focus was on coral, I just don’t use most of the latest and greatest equipment so yea.

With regards to lighting specifically, I went with halide because it’s been proven over decades of use to work. LED I’m reading threads where people are replacing their lights after 5/6 years due to some LEDs burning out. So to me, $800 or whatever the cost may be, every 5/6 years or $100 in bulbs every year. The cost difference is minimal but I don’t have to mess with my hanging kit or anything
 
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It does seem like its hard to figure out where to advertise swaps, unless you closely follow the groups that put them on they are easy to miss. A couple weeks ago Cincy reef had a hobbiest only swap and i only found about about it a couple weeks before the event, so not a lot of time to frag stuff up for it. It was a really good event, lots of reasonable coral and cool people.

i do wish there was a good way to keep track of all the relatively local swaps.
I haven’t followed Cinci, they’re about 3 hours away, so they have a Facebook group? I have most of the Central Ohio and Cleveland area ones I could find
 
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I wonder what is going on here,
Back in 2006- 2012. I was buying coral colonies from LA. They would all ship in fine. They stayed with me until I had to move in 2017.
Now, I am scared to order a colony (2-4"). It seems they die during shipping. Not to mention a lot of torches I have purchased.

So, could some of these prices be due to shipping issues to cover for the costs death of others being refunded?

Edit: A side note, I have seen too many driver's abuse shipped live stock. I think this could be causing the corals to suffer as well. I now greet the delivery person to try to prevent some of this.
I’ll be honest, I have never had corals shipped to me, I’ve always picked up my own from the LFS. Although I agree, they are building in potential death into the cost. It seems wild coral have become more sensitive in general. I wonder if it’s perhaps the bags are lower quality leeching stuff into the water or something. I have no idea
 

Frostblitz20

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i think alot of the prices just depends on the flavor of the month/year corals. Like if Walt Disney Acros fell out of favor with the community for need your bet their price will dump from 250$ a stick down to like 50-80$ range.

kinda like how bounces are crazy atm as well. Best thing you can do to fight the battle is pick up a cheap frag from another reefer and grow it out and frag it and return the favor.
 
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