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The Economic State Of The Reefing Community (1 Viewer)

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Cody

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FarmerTy

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I think I’m in a unique position where I could illuminate to both sides of the discussion.

I am a reefer at heart. Started 16 years ago and never took a break. I’ve had a system the entire time. My journey has taken me from $5 GSP frags to $1500 CSB anemones... and everywhere in between. I am one part hobbyist and one part vendor... two parts all awesome dude. Okay, kidding about the last part but it sounded funny in my head to say. [emoji38]. I studied Marine Biology at A&M Galveston, ultimately getting a degree in Ocean and Coastal Resources there. I’m a reef geek all the way... but I also consider myself a business man as well.

My display is all mine. And what I mean by that is I don’t just put expensive corals in there. I put what I find beautiful from 5’ away. Typically this means nice mono-colored specimens that are brilliantly blue or yellow or red. Gorgeous fanning or tabling growth forms... things that are just beauties in mature form. I don’t care if it’s the hottest coral out there or a cheapie you can’t even give away... if it adds to the aesthetic ambience of my little slice of the ocean, I’ll put it in there.

On the flip side, I have two frag tanks and two under construction currently. In those tanks are my rainbow acros and super expensive frags. One’s that to me personally, beauty is most appreciated from above and close up. That’s where you can appreciate the multitude of colors up close and personal. That’s also where I keep hyped corals. Ones that maybe I don’t even personally enjoy myself but everybody is after. I keep up with trends, buy the “hottest” stuff out there and grow it out and sell frags of it down the line. If anything looks gorgeous from 5’ away, it may graduate to my display. If not... it’ll reside in the frag tank for life. To me, it’s like my Pokémon tanks... gotta catch them all. Whoever has the biggest and nicest collection will be showered in adulation and envy. Its like why some people collect compulsively in different hobbies... to say they have the best stuff and best collection. I have all the original X-men comic books, first editions... or I have a whole collection of classic cars... etc. Fortunately for me, the collection gives back as it funds my entire hobby and even pays me a salary too.

So, to me... I can understand where people looking to just have a nice looking reef have cause to complain about current pricing these days and I can also understand why certain “new” acros can go for $1k a frag. Personally, I can build a gorgeous SPS tank from classic pieces such as red planet and Oregon tort and not cost a fortune... so to reefers looking to have a nice tank and not have to empty their wallets... it can be done. Try to do that with a Jawdropper frag or JF homewrecker and you’ll have spent more on two frags than your entire tank. For those though that like to collect the rarer items and have a collection potentially enviable to other reefers, there’s room for you to do that too. [emoji6]

However you enjoy your reefing journey, I think the hobby is big enough for anyone to find their niche.
 

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As for pricing I just find it is all about the supplier. You would not believe the ultra low prices I pay for stuff when I pass through Toronto. But maybe an increase in price is a good thing. People will generally take betta care of a 100 dalla fish that a 10 dalla one. They are God's living creatures and deserve to be well taken care of no matter the price. My tank is running a lot betta since I took out all that crushed coral but that is what I was told to do.
 
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This thread is three years old but I wanted to revisit it considering that inflation is a very relevant thing today, while real wages have been flat for 50 years. Are torches going to fetch the same price they used to to a year or two ago? Are local fish stores going to survive? I bought a cannister add-on for my RO unit from BRS two months ago. I checked again today and it's 20% more expensive. Is this sustainable?

I will make some predictions. I think that you're about to see the largest exodus from this hobby that you've ever seen in the history of the hobby, and I'm not quiet sure how detrimental it will be.

1) Rising cost will push people out: This is a luxury hobby. Wages are flat across the board while inflation goes up, and that's for everything from frags to lights. This will be one of the first hobbies to go to the cutting block when money gets tight, as it should be.

2) The largest participation drop in the history of the hobby: There are more people in the hobby now than ever due to a growing pool of knowledge, better technology, and ease of accessibility. The growing participation in the hobby will produce a higher number of people calling it quits than ever before simply because so many entered that might not be able to maintain their tanks, or choose not to.

3) The coral market is beyond saturated: Corals aren't going to fetch the price they used to. I see it across the board in live sales on the national stage, every 5 minutes there's a new vendor flipping the same corals, and the prices are marching down very quickly just to sell what is for sale.

4) There are no more "new" corals": Every vendor has been buying from the same few exporters for a while and it's been two years since I've seen anything that I haven't seen before, despite a massive amount of disposable income flowing into the hobby over the last two years. There are only so many colors in the visible spectrum, there are so many variations of them, and I feel like I've seen them all. Different tanks and different parameters produce different looks for each coral, and I feel like different sellers are exploiting this as if it's a different variety, while these variations can very easily be explained by different tank parameters, different photography settings, etc.

5) Speculation: I know many people that have justified spending a lot of money on a coral with the expectation that it would grow, they could frag it, and they could sell it. If the other points I've made are true, then this collapses on its face, leaving a lot of folks as bag holders once the price collapses, and that's assuming they can grow it. At the end of the day, 90% of corals that are purchased are killed. If they weren't killed then there would be a major supply side for corals and the demand would be down near dinosaur bones. Point being, prices got as high as they did based on speculation, and it wasn't driven by consumption demand, but rather by supply demand, aka the markets are flooded with "rare" stuff that's readily available.
 

Stickboy97

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This thread is three years old but I wanted to revisit it considering that inflation is a very relevant thing today, while real wages have been flat for 50 years. Are torches going to fetch the same price they used to to a year or two ago? Are local fish stores going to survive? I bought a cannister add-on for my RO unit from BRS two months ago. I checked again today and it's 20% more expensive. Is this sustainable?

I will make some predictions. I think that you're about to see the largest exodus from this hobby that you've ever seen in the history of the hobby, and I'm not quiet sure how detrimental it will be.

1) Rising cost will push people out: This is a luxury hobby. Wages are flat across the board while inflation goes up, and that's for everything from frags to lights. This will be one of the first hobbies to go to the cutting block when money gets tight, as it should be.

2) The largest participation drop in the history of the hobby: There are more people in the hobby now than ever due to a growing pool of knowledge, better technology, and ease of accessibility. The growing participation in the hobby will produce a higher number of people calling it quits than ever before simply because so many entered that might not be able to maintain their tanks, or choose not to.

3) The coral market is beyond saturated: Corals aren't going to fetch the price they used to. I see it across the board in live sales on the national stage, every 5 minutes there's a new vendor flipping the same corals, and the prices are marching down very quickly just to sell what is for sale.

4) There are no more "new" corals": Every vendor has been buying from the same few exporters for a while and it's been two years since I've seen anything that I haven't seen before, despite a massive amount of disposable income flowing into the hobby over the last two years. There are only so many colors in the visible spectrum, there are so many variations of them, and I feel like I've seen them all. Different tanks and different parameters produce different looks for each coral, and I feel like different sellers are exploiting this as if it's a different variety, while these variations can very easily be explained by different tank parameters, different photography settings, etc.

5) Speculation: I know many people that have justified spending a lot of money on a coral with the expectation that it would grow, they could frag it, and they could sell it. If the other points I've made are true, then this collapses on its face, leaving a lot of folks as bag holders once the price collapses, and that's assuming they can grow it. At the end of the day, 90% of corals that are purchased are killed. If they weren't killed then there would be a major supply side for corals and the demand would be down near dinosaur bones. Point being, prices got as high as they did based on speculation, and it wasn't driven by consumption demand, but rather by supply demand, aka the markets are flooded with "rare" stuff that's readily available.
All great points. I'm excited to hear some of them though as I'm setting up my new 150g and if the prices on fish and coral are headed down thats a good thing for me. :) Though currently I'm looking more at captive bred fish than before, maybe it'll help with those costs too as they are still crazy expensive.
 

RR-MAN

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Cody,

It's 30% inflation and 70% GREED. Companies/vendors jack up prices on everything since there will be no blow-back from consumers. Who wants to spend ~$1,000 on a single radion fixture most have other bills to pay. Even most of the local LFS - prices are outrageous if you can find any decent live stock. I understand it's a business got overhead cost has to make money but mostly it's greed.
 

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All great points. I'm excited to hear some of them though as I'm setting up my new 150g and if the prices on fish and coral are headed down thats a good thing for me. :) Though currently I'm looking more at captive bred fish than before, maybe it'll help with those costs too as they are still crazy expensive.
I really like the idea of captive bred fish. I’m also wouldn’t mind pricing to go down as I am still working on stocking my tank. I’d love for tank and equipment prices to go down, because what they charge for reef spec stuff is ridiculous. Aquarium prices seem to be driven by the cost to buy containers so hopefully that will even out at some point.
 

jrounding

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Cody,

It's 30% inflation and 70% GREED. Companies/vendors jack up prices on everything since there will be no blow-back from consumers. Who wants to spend ~$1,000 on a single radion fixture most have other bills to pay. Even most of the local LFS - prices are outrageous if you can find any decent live stock. I understand it's a business got overhead cost has to make money but mostly it's greed.
I’ve heard green chromis cost them around a dollar a fish and then they turn around and sell them for 30 dollars. I can’t imagine the markup on the rest of it.
 

oguzman

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This thread is three years old but I wanted to revisit it considering that inflation is a very relevant thing today, while real wages have been flat for 50 years. Are torches going to fetch the same price they used to to a year or two ago? Are local fish stores going to survive? I bought a cannister add-on for my RO unit from BRS two months ago. I checked again today and it's 20% more expensive. Is this sustainable?

I will make some predictions. I think that you're about to see the largest exodus from this hobby that you've ever seen in the history of the hobby, and I'm not quiet sure how detrimental it will be.

1) Rising cost will push people out: This is a luxury hobby. Wages are flat across the board while inflation goes up, and that's for everything from frags to lights. This will be one of the first hobbies to go to the cutting block when money gets tight, as it should be.

2) The largest participation drop in the history of the hobby: There are more people in the hobby now than ever due to a growing pool of knowledge, better technology, and ease of accessibility. The growing participation in the hobby will produce a higher number of people calling it quits than ever before simply because so many entered that might not be able to maintain their tanks, or choose not to.

3) The coral market is beyond saturated: Corals aren't going to fetch the price they used to. I see it across the board in live sales on the national stage, every 5 minutes there's a new vendor flipping the same corals, and the prices are marching down very quickly just to sell what is for sale.

4) There are no more "new" corals": Every vendor has been buying from the same few exporters for a while and it's been two years since I've seen anything that I haven't seen before, despite a massive amount of disposable income flowing into the hobby over the last two years. There are only so many colors in the visible spectrum, there are so many variations of them, and I feel like I've seen them all. Different tanks and different parameters produce different looks for each coral, and I feel like different sellers are exploiting this as if it's a different variety, while these variations can very easily be explained by different tank parameters, different photography settings, etc.

5) Speculation: I know many people that have justified spending a lot of money on a coral with the expectation that it would grow, they could frag it, and they could sell it. If the other points I've made are true, then this collapses on its face, leaving a lot of folks as bag holders once the price collapses, and that's assuming they can grow it. At the end of the day, 90% of corals that are purchased are killed. If they weren't killed then there would be a major supply side for corals and the demand would be down near dinosaur bones. Point being, prices got as high as they did based on speculation, and it wasn't driven by consumption demand, but rather by supply demand, aka the markets are flooded with "rare" stuff that's readily available.
I'm all for price decreases. Let the bubble POP! Here's the other component that we haven't seen fully occur yet, we're walking ever so slowly into a recession. I have no idea how long it's to last, but once jobs start being lost everyone here is going to start feeling the pain.
 

BigRick

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I dont think the bubble will pop.. not on a hobby.. never seen it happen unless the hobby dies.. then only rare stuff becomes valuable... look how many peeps gone in 3yrs in this thread.. Most economic reason and a lot gave up after the freeze.. there comes a point for people that if hobby if your constantly losing money you find something else. Unfortunately people who aren't serious enough with husbandry learn the hard way.
 

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