If you look at the number of planted aquariums entered into the biggest aquascaping competiton in the world, the International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest, there is about 1200 entries from all over the world (stats from this thread). In a global population of over 6 billion, 1200 entries doesn't seem to be alot when you look it in that perspective. Are planted aquariums worth the effort? Are they worth the time dedicated into aquascaping it? Well, most of us will probably say wholeheartedly "YES!" but despite the fact planted aquarium hobby has been around for years, local fish stores in the United States and perhaps in other areas, have not embraced the products and plant inventory necessary for hobbyists to have a great planted aquarium and aquascape. The demand for a planted aquarium doesn't seem to be there. Why is that? Off the top of my head, here are a couple of potential reasons from a newcomer perspective. Planted aquariums are seen as not worth the time and effort. Growing aquatic plants is complicated and takes too much outside scientific knowledge i.e. chemicals, plant metabolism, photosysthesis, etc. Aquascapes are too difficult or require too much time to maintain. Fish stores owners/employees aren't able to grow/aquascape display tanks to get new hobbyists interested, results in lack of interest. Planted Aquarium aquascapes are overshadowed by Saltwater Reef Tanks. Although I do think it's true planted aquariums can be as complicated as any other hobby, the result of a well done aquascape is an rewarding experience for anyone. It's really unfortunate that a newcomer to the hobby is stopped by the preconceived difficulties of growing aquatic plants in an aquarium. When compared to a Saltwater Reef tank, I think planted aquariums are simplier to maintain, less expensive and certainly has a unique beauty to it. With only about 1200 entries submitted in the largest international contest event in our hobby to me that seems like a small number. Do people not feel like it's worth the time or energy to submit their aquascapes? I also often wonder how to increase the demand/participation for aquascaping and the planted aquarium hobby among local fish stores, newcomers, and individuals entering aquascaping contests. There's got to be a way to make aquatic gardening more appealing. Your thoughts? :-? -John N.