bondolo's combined tanks

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by bondolo, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    Now that I am no longer dosing ammonia via water changes and topoff the tanks are considerably improved. The brown slime is gone (in two days), the cyano has nearly disappeared and the hair algae is waning. I have started to feed the tanks again and have not seen any response by the algae.

    Some of the LPS corals were definitely hurting without feeding since August. I expect to get more aggressive about feeding slowly. The green bubble tip seems unhappy with the ammonia reduction and the frogspawn is partially retracted most of the time for the last week.

    I'm disappointed it took me so long to figure out the source of the ammonia/nitrate problem.
  2. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Glad it's fixed though!
  3. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    Glad you found what was wrong...i M I going to learn all these things ?
  4. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    Mostly I didn't know. I know when the problems started and looking back I did see a sign that didn't click at the time--my DI canisters started to deplete much faster in late August.

    In general it was just doing the normal things, water changes, testing and reduced feeding, to correct the visible problem--hair algae, cyano and sometimes diatoms. When doing what should have fixed those problems didn't work and my testing results were wacky--zero phosphates, medium to high nitrates I kept searching. Eventually I read something about what happens when the activated carbon phase expires on an RO unit and tested my RODI reservoir for ammonia. Bingo! Mind you it was 3 months of diligence on the other measures to little effect. Experience will make you more observant to the right signs. If my DI resin ever starts to kick off again I will know something is up.

    Learning from Erin (Kensington Reefer) I have learned to be observant which of my corals suffer first when phosphates start to rise, which ones respond poorly to nitrates, which ones can't tolerate a calcium drop, which ones freak out when alkalinity is too high, etc. I don't test every parameter every day and I don't think it would help if I did. I do spend at least 5 or ten minutes looking for signs of change though and try to be observant about unexpected behaviour.

    When you can correlate changes in your tank to what you can quantify then you are one step ahead of the game--because once you can do that you can react to changes immediately on observation. Testing or other quantification will confirm it but noticing early and reacting is key. You'll just get more experienced as you go.

    I happen to be cautious and cheap (ahem, frugal). This is may be a good mix for staying in the hobby for a long time. I want to advance my tank by building on success rather than just trying things randomly. I don't buy $100 or $500 fish or corals without confidence that I won't just immediately kill them. In fact I don't buy those animals at all because I don't have that confidence. I am getting more confident with LPS corals even though recently killed several chalices.

    It seems like a good choice to start with cheap (often free) and easy to care for corals and fish even though it's nobody's intention to buy things just to kill them. Then when those survive and flourish reward yourself for success with more interesting and expensive critters.

    I realized I had reached a new plateau when I simply discarded unwanted discosoma mushrooms and kenya tree props. It probably wont ever happen with too many other other corals but it was recognition that my abilities had advanced to a definite point. You'll get there too with patience and careful observation.

    BAYMAC Guest

    Learning your "canaries" is a crucial aspect of reefing IMO/IME.

    FWIW I checked our commercial DI for ammonia in the production water after this thread, just as one of those "won't hurt to check" deals. Nothing there, but I did create a new protocol for others to check every 3rd week of the month (monthly DI canister changes) just so we are always sure,
  6. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    This is definitely the mentality I plan on following once my tank's all set up. Thanks for sharing that, Mike!
  7. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    Thanks Mike. Great info. I just got 105G quote. Expensive. Not sure why things are so expensive. You can get an 60 inch LED TV for $1000 and one kesil light cost $400. Very unfair. :) I feel this is a rip-off, everything is so expensive. Even mp40 cost $500 and for that much you can buy a laptop or iPad. :)

    On the other hand I understand that corals grow slow and so they are expensive but equipments should be much more cheaper. How can we conserve environment if equipments are so expensive.
  8. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Yeah, the markup on the equipment is pretty high. It's basically the Apple model.

    BAYMAC Guest

    Not at all the Apple model of mark-up.

    You cannot compare a hundred plus billion industry with one that isn't even a billion. The economy of scale allows them to offer stuff cheaper.

    There is not a ton of money in this trade despite what hobbyists think. Margins are tight all around.
  10. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    I do not think that's true. Scale is enough, but there is not much competition things are way too expensive. $500 MP40 is really out of proportion. Plastic covers made is china, magnets are made in china whole thing would cost less than $100 at best. So margin is there. Either companies are making 400$ or dealers are adding it up. Some one is make tons of money.
  11. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    Mike - Sorry for taking over your thread. ;)
  12. Well said! The difference in global market sizes is several orders of magnitude. Hundreds of millions of LED televisions have been sold, but aquarium equipment designers/manufacturers will be fortunate to sell hundreds of thousands of units. Margins are typically much lower in the electronics industry, but if you are making very niche products you have many of the same expenses as companies with broader reach, so prices are higher to cover the necessary expenses and required profits to fund additional research/investments.

    People/companies are not flocking into aquaria to strike it rich, and in that way I feel that this "industry" is still largely driven by passion. I also feel that this makes BAR membership dues one of the best bargains in the hobby! :D
  13. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    No worries. I'm pretty forgiving of the margins in reefing equipment particularly innovative things like vortechs. On the other hand the only way I am going to get some of the nicer things is by being patient and buying second hand. If you want to see high margins and tiny market, look into adaptive equipment for the disabled. ;-) The reefing industry is a bargain compared to that business.
  14. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    I think what is missing is competition, big players are not there and so people are striking the gold for now. Once the big guys enter everything will be fine, like if GE enters with good LEDs or Samsung enters with good Skimmers or even Honda comes out with really good skimmers etc. and then it will be more popular and good for the hobby. At some point Golf used to be rich people's game and now almost anyone can afford. May be I'm wrong but only time will tell.
  15. There are costs associated with designing a product, typical overhead (office, warehouse, R&D, technical support, customer care, etc.), and a company needs to make a healthy margin in order to continue investing in next-gen development. I'm not in the aquaria industry, but I've been on both sides of the equation when it comes to beating up a supplier for cost down and getting pounded for cost reduction. It's refreshing and rare when someone is smart enough to ask "How does the cost reduction impact quality and the future viability of the company?" If a company is no longer a continuing concern they are unlikely to honor warranty claims! :bigsmile:

    Quick aside, Nish - I also balked at the cost of certain products in the hobby, so I believe I understand your point of view. I've since been introduced to a different view on value, so I am just sharing some of the things that I've found along the way.

    Mike, sorry for going OT in your journal!
  16. Excellent point! Oftentimes this is a chicken and the egg scenario. Does a conglomerate with leveragable resources like GE or Samsung expand into aquaria, where they have to compete with established companies in an industry they are not familiar with? They will most likely need to see significant market potential, such as an expanding market and/or significant margins. That we don't see this happen could very well be an indication that margins are not as lucrative as we may assume.

    On the other hand, the more people that are into aquaria, the more economies of scale come into play. If everyone had one or more aquariums in their home like we have with big-screen TVs, you can bet that there would be much greater competition and lower prices all around. Ultimately the more passionate people there are in this hobby, the better! :D
  17. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    You are welcome to your opinion, but being an insider, and knowing the Ecotech guys since they started, I can assure you that you are quite wrong. I'm not your average hobbyist, nor am I guessing, I've been working in this trade for quite some time and I am privy to a lot of information that most are not.

    The scale is very low compared to computers/TV/etc.

    Marketing is extremely costly. I can blow $100K on ads in 3 magazines for the year and still not hit 1/2 the marketing I should. MACNA? Could burn $20K no problem. InterZoo, $30K easily, Germany is not cheap. 30+ smaller events a year, I could blow $50K. Staff? Other overhead? R&D, Patents, lawyers, fighting patents, etc. To Ecotech and the rest of this industry, that is a lot of money.... to Apple, Toshiba, ANY TV or computer manufacturer, that is chump change.

    If this hobby is too costly for you, its not the hobby for you, plain and simple. ITs rather easy to DIY and keep costs down, but if you want off the shelf stuff, the prices are very reasonable.
  18. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    This market was looked at 5-10 years ago by the big guys, one bit and bought a few big players. That did not work out so hot for them, the rest have seen this, I doubt anymore will enter the market... especially with the numerous bills aimed at the forehead of this industry. Once wild imports are banned and numerous corals listed on the ESL, this hobby will be a shell of what is used to be.

    Honestly, anyone that is aligned with the BAR mission statement would take issue with this hobby expanding to every living room in the US, I do and I would greatly profit from such a thing. I put life above profit :)
  19. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    I think that best we can hope for the in hobby is that commodity equipment from larger industries can be applied to the hobby.

    This has certainly helped somewhat for lighting but hasn't been as much help yet for pumps apparently. There have been recent efforts to improve pump efficiency outside of the reefing hobby and we will certainly benefit from those improvements eventually. The new efficient pumps are mostly designed for solar direct DC operation for use in "hydroponic gardening" and the developing world but there will be technology gains for the reefing hobby as well.
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Prices seem rather reasonable to me - given the high fixed cost amortized over very few units sold.

    Don't assume a "big guy" coming in is a good thing for prices.
    Sure, they can lower their actual costs.
    But the last thing they want to do is pass those savings on to you.
    Generally, they rely on name brand, marketing muscle, patents, side deals, dumping, and so on,
    to push aside the competition.
    Of course - several big guys may result in a price war. But unlikely in this tiny market.

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