The hobby expensive because we are making it so

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ClownWrangler

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This is the nature of all "niche" hobbies. We pay way more than we should for our first ball of chaeto, but would rather throw our excess in the garbage than take the time to send it to someone else unless recouping our initial investment. And so it perpetuates. There is a lot of paradoxical psychology involved.
 
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NowGlazeIT

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Personally, the inflated prices for everything reef has benefited me. Since I can't seem to say no to my tank, I have been able to give up cocaine, alimony to my ex, college tuition for my kids and pricey dog food.
That pricey dog food can get out of hand if your not careful…….;Shy
 

Bouncingsoul39

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It’s not “we” it’s the greedy vendors trying to get rich off the hobby and the whales that buy everything at the high prices without a second thought. This hobby has always been expensive. Now it’s even more geared towards the wealthy only.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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It’s not “we” it’s the greedy vendors trying to get rich off the hobby and the whales that buy everything at the high prices without a second thought. This hobby has always been expensive. Now it’s even more geared towards the wealthy only.

If ORA and BIOTA maintain healthy competition with each other and the hobby continues to grow, that will eventually change, but unfortunately enforcement of collusion and antitrust laws have gone by the wayside in the US recently, so eventually they may join forces and become a monopoly or oligopoly. They may even push for more export bans to further corner the market. Lets hope that doesn't happen. What we need are more captive breeding company startups.
 
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Reefing102

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I would agree a lot is the vendors. However I see plenty of “hobbyist”/“investors” who will frag a frag just to sell it for the same if not more than the vendor because it’s artificially made rare by photo enhancements or it’s “new” name
 
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Reefing102

Reefing102

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I would definitely buy more captive bred if they were readily available. I understand it’s more difficult but I think if some our hobby’s wealthiest put some money together, they’d be able to get quite the set up going (baring anti trust issues)
 

rusty hannon

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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
Im with you , beside you n for sure got ur back.you f not alone
 

Nine Pieces of Eight

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I can agree some fish have come down immensely (gem tangs for $399 shipped? That was unheard of back then). Others have skyrocketed (ocellaris clowns for $40, really?). Equipment is insane yes and I see most of the fancier stuff as unneeded. While my focus is on coral, most people are trying to set up a reef and aren’t doing fish only
Agreed prices are extortionate!

I just got back in the hobby 5 months ago after taking a long break due to traveling and moving. I am starring to feel I have come back at a bad time.

I wasn't paying attention to Coral prices, but was keeping an eye on Fish prices and noticed since the ban on export and covid, Yellow tangs went from £60 to £399 overnight.

Luckily I picked up an healthy juvile Yellow Tang from a local reefer for £140. I still feel I over paid, but the yellow tang was one of the main reasons I started this hobby many, many years ago and when the shortages hit I knew it was now or never because I would never pay £400.

Have the prices been slowly rising for certain corals or did they rise after covid?
 
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Reefing102

Reefing102

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Agreed prices are extortionate!

I just got back in the hobby 5 months ago after taking a long break due to traveling and moving. I am starring to feel I have come back at a bad time.

I wasn't paying attention to Coral prices, but was keeping an eye on Fish prices and noticed since the ban on export and covid, Yellow tangs went from £60 to £399 overnight.

Luckily I picked up an healthy juvile Yellow Tang from a local reefer for £140. I still feel I over paid, but the yellow tang was one of the main reasons I started this hobby many, many years ago and when the shortages hit I knew it was now or never because I would never pay £400.

Have the prices been slowly rising for certain corals or did they rise after covid?
Well certain coral prices haven’t changed much depeding on what’s “in”. Like certain zoas are still fetching $100/per polyp just the color variant changed (I remember prices like that back in 2010 or so) However, I think there’s been a steady rise in overall coral prices due to bans and I got back in after COVID and I’ve read that there was a huge influx in the hobby due to people being home so I think it increased more as demand increased and supply dropped due to shipping issues and such
 

Pntbll687

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So, this hobby CAN be done on a budget, as long as you know you're not going to have the latest and greatest all the time. Used lighting, especially when new models are released, can be found at GOOD prices. There's always decent used tanks floating around.

Coral can be hit and miss depending on location. Where I live, there's really only one true lfs that carries reef stuff, but the pricing on coral is "normal". $50 hammer frags, $100 zoa colonies (and I mean 100+ polyps on live rock) and enough softies and leathers for anywhere from $10-$100 depending on size. If the lfs gets something in and it seems high priced to me, I'll check wwc and a few other vendors for comparison, my lfs is usually 50% below what wwc would charge for something.

As for hobbyist giving away coral, they can be found, but you're better off looking for deals and getting $10 frags from people. The only thing I give away is GSP, and that's only when I have some cut and ready to go. Someone buys some frags I'll ask if they want gsp to go with it.

I think allot of pressure needs to be put on manufacturers to bring prices down. Terrance from Neptune on recent youtube live said and I'm paraphrasing here "This hobby isn't cheap, and it's also not inexpensive". This is the total GARBAGE BS that needs to stop. He's a manufacturer using circular argument to justify his own high prices, specifically talking about the new light that just came out.

Ecotech marine may be seeing the light as to what the hobby actual wants. Versa pumps being $165 is a STEAL for what they are and what they can do. I would have expected this to be a $250-$300 for a single unit from them. Or this is just the little carrot they want you to get hooked with and draw you into buying all their stuff.

But the industry won't change overnight, big ships take a long time to turn direction.
 
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Reefing102

Reefing102

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I agree with the manufacturer perspective. I remember back in 07/08 when LED was in its infancy the reason for LED was less heat and less energy consumption. While I understand LED is generally not ran at 100%, your looking at wattage similar to other types of lighting at the same or similar price point (barring Chinese black boxes). So I ask where the savings are at? Oh my AC isn’t running as much? Maybe in So Cal or AZ or HI. Here in Ohio, Generally my AC doesn’t turn on til mid afternoon. At that point my Halides have been on for a while and I welcome any extra heat in the winter.

Plus, how is it Chinese knockoffs are that much cheaper than brand name. Sure there are definitely some parts differences but when there’s a $300+ price difference, I just don’t see it. At least in halide, the starting difference was $100 or so. But yea, the manufacturer price fixing, I mean “MAP Pricing” has got to go.

I’m sorry if I’m a business, I’ll sell your product for whatever I want to sell it for as I have already bought it from my wholesaler and if I want to take a loss, I’ll take a loss.

Now if said manufacturer wants to give me the product to sell (no upfront cost to me), I’ll gladly sell it for whatever they want me to (kinda like a consignment).
 

Pntbll687

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I agree with the manufacturer perspective. I remember back in 07/08 when LED was in its infancy the reason for LED was less heat and less energy consumption. While I understand LED is generally not ran at 100%, your looking at wattage similar to other types of lighting at the same or similar price point (barring Chinese black boxes). So I ask where the savings are at? Oh my AC isn’t running as much? Maybe in So Cal or AZ or HI. Here in Ohio, Generally my AC doesn’t turn on til mid afternoon. At that point my Halides have been on for a while and I welcome any extra heat in the winter.

Plus, how is it Chinese knockoffs are that much cheaper than brand name. Sure there are definitely some parts differences but when there’s a $300+ price difference, I just don’t see it. At least in halide, the starting difference was $100 or so. But yea, the manufacturer price fixing, I mean “MAP Pricing” has got to go.

I’m sorry if I’m a business, I’ll sell your product for whatever I want to sell it for as I have already bought it from my wholesaler and if I want to take a loss, I’ll take a loss.

Now if said manufacturer wants to give me the product to sell (no upfront cost to me), I’ll gladly sell it for whatever they want me to (kinda like a consignment).
The map pricing thing is crazy.

So I work as a distribution sales rep in the pet industry and we carry 1000's of map priced products.

99% of the time it's a minimum ADVERTISED price. You can't go below X in an ad, but you can sell the product for whatever you want. But more and more companies are finding stores selling below MAP and giving them warnings and cutting them off from buying product for a certain amount of time. MAP price had turned into "this is what you must sell it for"

It turns businesses into money exchanges. There's no reason to buy it one place or another, same price everywhere.

Same thing with the "sales" that go on with MAP products now. Every retailer had the same "sale" at the same time for the same exact items. That's not a sale, that's just the manufacturer offering everyone a 10% credit memo on items for a certain period of time and forcing the retailer to pass the "savings" on to the consumer.

MAP pricing has set an artificially high price floor across hobby, and encourages others to be in line with pricing.

I've seen some promising things on IG from mahina_coral with new light bars that look to be exactly what people want.
 

Rp8

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So I actually sold everything before a move and actually had people telling me I was “selling myself short”. I was actually trying to help the hobby out. Sold everything. $1500 worth of just corals in 4 hours. And do u know who the folks were? Local suppliers that then turned around doubled and tripled my prices on fb and to lfs. Was I disappointed, yes. Did I do my part, yes. Can I blame them for not sharing my ideas? Kinda I guess. BUT, that is capitalism and the American dream at its finest. Do I get this rant, yea, selfishly. Here I am after the move and wish I had all my stuff, or had someone sell me stuff for a steal
 

Joe462

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Map pricing helps keep local fish stores in business, they make much higher profits on map items. That's how amazon drives small businesses out of business, they drop the price so that they are making pennies or a loss and small businesses cant do that. The map pricing prevents the amazons of the world from doing that, the LFS doesn't have to try and compete on prices with huge corporations that have lots more buying power. That is part of the point, to eliminate price wars that LFS can't win. or Maybe, but either way LFSs benefit and i find that MAP pricing isn't all bad.
 

Cina05

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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
Tidal Gardens is in Copley Ohio if you're close enough to them to drive (i wouldlove to visit their facility). I'm new to reefing, but I think they have some reasonable prices and their frags shipped well for me, and I'm in Texas. Most online places offer free shipping if you buy over a certain amount, so I tend to buy more at once vs a few here and there when I buy online. IMO the cost of shipping ($30-40) is worth the safety of the corals for overnight shipping. I just made a big purchase on ebay from WWC's live event. I got 17 frags and with $40 shipping it turned out costing me an average of $17 a frag and about 3 hours of my time bidding on frags when the sales were about to end. I'm not saying the hobby is cheap, but it's definitely as expensive as you make it. Look for fb groups too if you haven't already. In Houston and SE TX area there's at least 4 reefing communities on FB. There's an aquarium society and reef specific community groups online locally, I'm sure there's something in a reasonable distance in OH.

Definitely the equipment was an expensive investment though, even second hand, so I hope it lasts. I've gotten the best deals on equipment and livestock/ corals from people getting out of the hobby or upgrading equipment. Some just in fb marketplace, not even in a reefing community page. It's a time investment too if you want to catch deals. Happy reefing!
 

Appoloreefer

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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 have to agree with you, prices not only for corals are high but also with fish and it is to the point where most people cannot afford to keep it going. I have tried looking for other reefers to try and get coral but have not found any even joining local forums. It is a shame that the cost has driven so high that it is pushing people out of the hobby and it is a shame that reef keeping could become a thing of the past if it continues. I love my reef tank and want to keep at it but if prices continue to go up I will not be able to afford it because I certainly am not getting an increase in pay. That is where the problem lies. Everything not only corals and fish, but food, utilities, gas, everything is rising except income.
 
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