Would EI have a negative impact on plant sales?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by ghostsword, 2 Feb 2010.

  1. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    Messages:
    3,443
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    From what I have read on this forum and from further research, the EI method has been around for a long time, the earliest records I found on the net date from 1997 (http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/pmdd-tim.html).

    I have to agree that it is a little bit confusing to get the head around, but people should just see it as Vitamins and with trial and error realise the best way forward.

    Without good care most aquatic plants will die weeks after being purchased, not enough light, CO2 and lack of nutrients will kill them.

    The more plants die, the more plants we need to buy, thus ensuring that the plant companies remain in business.

    Now, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

    If we keep our plants alive and in good health we will save money, enjoy our tanks that little bit more, and learn from it.

    On the other hand if it wasn't for the plant importers we wouldn't see most of the plants we currently have available, so that is something we need to start looking at.

    If we don't buy as many plants, due to our better understanding of plant husbandry (if it can be called that!), how will the plant dealers survive?

    Last week I went to ADC in London and only bought two small pots, one was Ceratopteris Thalictroides and the other was Marsilea Hirsuta. The sale assistante asked if that was it, and as I told him that what was on the pot was more than enough, he replied that if one knows how to keep plants it was more than enough.

    It struck me that even those small pots I could split up, and with good nutrients, light and CO2 in less than month I could expect to have at least one third more plants and give the excess to friends and forum members.

    Somewhat I felt guilty.

    Obviously there are enough people buying plants to keep the shops afloat, however if we keep all our plants in good health, they will multiply, and we will share them with others, minimizing again the amount of people that are buying plants.

    I would like to know what is the thoughts of plant importers and dealers on the matter. Are they seeing a decrease on the amount of plants they sell?

    Should we do more to help the hobby? Am I being unrealistic?
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    I think you have to bare in mind that shops don't necessarily rely on plant sales, and often sell no-aquatic plants. I don't think it would be a big problem if people were better at keeping plants, as we often like to change our scapes and do new things, trying new plants out etc.

    I think clever shops would supply different ranges of plant related goods, such as fertilisers and CO2 equipment. After all, we still have to buy stuff to keep the plants alive :)
     
  3. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    Messages:
    3,443
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    That is true.. However with the internet at our fingertips, plant related goods can be purchased from all over the world.

    For example, I bought from ebay 25kg of Magnesium Sulphate for £24 (including shipping), and 400g of Potassium Sulphate for £7 (including shipping). Now those are major saving compared to most shops.

    Even CO2 equipment the savings of using FE compared to the normal CO2 bottles (JBL and the like) are hard to ignore.

    I like to visit shops, look at what is on offer and rather buy on a shop than do it online, but as we are getting better with plants and sharing them I am sure that the shops feel a bump on their balance.
     
  4. fourmations

    fourmations Member

    Messages:
    201
    hi

    the other thought would be that with all these methods
    we get better results and attractive tanks,
    thus spurring us to set up more tanks
    or inspiring more people into the planted tank hobby

    rgds

    4
     
  5. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Plant sales - I doubt it.

    Off-the-shelf ferts - perhaps.

    Making the hobby more affordable can be a very good thing for the retailer. It makes it more accessible and therefore sales from other items will increase i.e. aquariums, cabinets, lighting, substrates, plants etc.

    There will always be cheaper ways to pursue the hobby, at the short-term detriment to the retailer perhaps. But in the long-term, if there are more hobbyists, then I think this is good thing, and the retailer doesn't have to lose out. They just have to adapt to the market accordingly.
     
  6. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    Messages:
    6,492
    Location:
    newark notts.
    yes, my thoughts too.

    i've bought more plants as an experienced grower than I did when I was inexperienced.

    we must not forget that we, the UK planted tank scene, are a minority and probably don't buy as many pots as the majority put together. The 95% of people who are inexperienced that buy plants from MA and P@H will always buy from them thus keeping them in plant sales. Fact!

    from my iwagumi @ MA saw sales triple! many of the converts now buy more plants than they would of if they were not 'guided' so to speak.

    To grow healthy plants whether it be via EI or bottled ferts always has to be a good thing.
     
  7. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    Messages:
    3,443
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    I wouldn't think otherwise, to grow healthy plants is indeed a good thing, and once tried one is hooked.. :)

    With a healthy planted tank, there are only so many plants you can fit on your tank, however multiple tanks is something that I see happening, I started with a single tank and now have two, and planing a third tank to try new plants.
     
  8. paul.in.kendal

    paul.in.kendal Member

    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Kendal, Cumbria
    I reckon there's a similar market we can look at and usefully compare with - terrestrial plants.

    As a keen gardener, I know how to propagate, and I swap and share with other enthusiasts freely. But I buy many more plants - and kill more plants! - than most people I know. The buzz of successful growing encourages more experimentation, more learning and more commitment to spend on the hobby. My vice, and that of many other gardeners, is new plants, different plants, difficult plants. With such a vast array of terrestrial horticultural plants available, I can only ever get hold of a tiny fraction of what I want from friends' gardens - I NEED specialist plant nurseries! (Makes me sound like a junkie...)

    So long as the aquatic plant trade continues to develop new plants for cultivation (and they surely will), then we'll continue to buy from them. So long as it continues to offer top quality plants in the numbers we sometimes need, all in one go, then we'll continue to prefer them to friends who may not be able to spare sufficient quantities of a plant, of a sufficient quality.

    And so long as we continue to improve our growing techniques and skills, our lust for more exotic, more challenging plants will grow too.

    So I'm sure the other commentators are right, that growing aquatic plants well boosts the business, even if we do propagate and share them.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    That sums it up very well Paul :)
     
  10. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    Messages:
    3,443
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Completely makes sense.

    What this will mean is that the retailers that do not provide good plants will not attract good customers, like us :) .

    Thanks for all the comments and opinions expressed on this topic.
     
  11. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Messages:
    1,949
    Do aquarium shops buy plants?
    Do they buy fish?

    From who?
    Wholesalers or hobbyists?

    What happens if all folks do is kill their plants slowly over time? The hobby is not very successful/few get into the hobby and stay.There will always be newbies and folk's wanting different species to redo aquariums, old and new alike.
    LFS tend to make more $ off other things rather than livestock.

    EI is just a method to add ferts to the water column, sediments could be viewed in a similar manner, CO2 perhaps even more so or the introduction of fluorescent lighting. DIY methods will always be common, they save folks a lot of $.

    EI came about around that time, but was a bit less popular and more a response to get folks who where scared of liquid solutions and PMDD, could do water changes and add dry powder to the aquarium. The modification of PMDD was first however.

    PO4, then adding more light, NO3, K+, and of course treat CO2 like a nutrient so more of that was added.
    This was done more along the lines of still using test kits, and smaller % water changes.
    I was lazy so I just a larger water change instead and never had any issues thereafter.

    This was written in 1996:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.ph ... parameters


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    Messages:
    3,443
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Thanks Tom for your input.
    I believe that EI will become more than a method to add ferts. After all a tank with better plants, and more healthy looking display will for sure allow planted tanks to become more established.

    After all the comments it is becoming aparent that EI will not have a negative impact on the balance sheet LFS'es, but a positive impact, as happy customers will return for more plants, more ferts, and more accessories such as lights, CO2, substrate.

    Could be the shops we have in London, but I am yet to see a LFS dedicated to plants and their keeping.
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    TGM's the only one that I've come across and they don't sell dry ferts anyway.

    Yes I'd love for plants to take precident but they never will. People just don't care and there's too much antiquated information clogging up the learning process.
    I've tried to sell rotola green and told no one wants it, even for nothing the shop wouldn't touch it. Shops don't care and people who just want to throw the plants in and replace them when they're dead they don't want the fuss of having to look after them.
    Ei won't change anything I'm afraid. It certainly hasn't yet.
     
  14. Robert1979b

    Robert1979b Member

    Messages:
    51
    The other thing to think of is that we are massively over charged for the "aquarists" products. A CO2 cylinder has many International (ISO) and british standards (BS) it needs to conform to. There is no difference between a FE and a JBL cylinder upto the screw thread. Why does a FE cost £20 and a JBL cylinder £100+. Same with regulators (although i would recomend a good stainless steel on rather than a welding one as welding ones have steel springs that can rust).

    Don't feel too sorry for them

    Rob
     
  15. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,289
    Location:
    London
    I always buy from whomever is cheapest be it online or LFS! I must say over the last 2 years I must have visited the LFS maybe 5-6 times!! There are not any really decent ones in London and they over charge on everything.
     
  16. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Messages:
    1,949
    Well, I do not care if folks view EI as more than just dosing, it's meant to be a simple common sense solution that aquarist had already been using prior to me.

    Aquatic plants etc, and growing them, certainly is much more involved than just nutrients, but many spend great efforts and energy with nutrients, I'm not sure why even still today :rolleyes:

    As far as LFS's, they are happy when a new group of passionate aquarist join this hobby.
    The LFS are hurting in the USA by big chains, so they have to specialize in Reefs and plants, ponds, maintenance etc.

    Having the clubs meet at the LFS also helps them and builds a relationship with the local hobbyists, a wise move if you are a LFS. You are not going to be able to stop folks from using DIY ferts, or buying stuff on line etc for cheap.
    That's a pipe dream, some owners will feel resentment there, but there's little they can do about it, they run the business, not EI or good hobbyists who can master their plants.

    They can control and market the types of products that make them a good return.
    They can even sell their own DIY ferts, traces, wood, etc, Aquaessentials does.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Messages:
    1,949
    Most are like this.
    Church of the Cheap.

    However, some things that cannot be shipped or easily shipped must still be bought form the LFS's.
    Group buys also are useful.
    Shared expenses for test kits like a nice set of Hach and Lamotte, PAR light meters, UV's etc can be shared and mailed to various members in UKAPS.

    Many still buy their tank and fish from the LFS.

    But, if I know the guy/gal who owns the LFS, and they are nice to me and customers, supports the local clubs, I am very willing to patronize them and suggest to everyone to visit and newbies to go and buy from them. If I do not know them, or they think they know everything and come off arrogant and unhelpful, big whiners about the the lack of customers, well, they do that to themselves.

    I have no pity for those types.
    The market changes, you have to respond and not play by the same old rules that no longer apply.
    You also have to really love the hobby I think.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Messages:
    1,949
    Part of that is their own ignorance about plants and how to grow them.
    It's a market and they are choosing to ignore it.
    Some are able to be taught and want to learn about planted tanks, however, I will say this in 100% truth, most do not have the time to tend a planted tank and learn all these new things. Hard to help and sell stuff if you have little experience with it, no?

    Many LFS do not sell or do coral for this reason.
    Same for plants, etc.

    From a business model, it's foolish to ignore such markets.
    Many LFS owners do this because they like some aspect of the hobby and are okay with things the way they are.

    But then they cannot complain about it later either and then go and do the same buying of things on line themselves, which every one of them does.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,498
    Location:
    Bromley
    Yep, the closest LFS dedicated to plants I have seen is Living Waters in Surrey. Not really in London, but close enough and good enough to be well worth the trip (nearly an hour drive for me from SE9).

    I am going to post a thread up in the events section in the next couple of days to arrange a UKAPS meetup/trip there :thumbup:
     
  20. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,289
    Location:
    London
    Can't do this Saturday or the 13th but the one after would be fine by me ;)
     

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