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Hobby Burn Out & Quitting

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Crispino Ramos, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos New Member

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    I have seen fellow hobbyists quitting the hobby after years of plant collection, aquascaping, and spending on lots of equipments. I wish I know how to prevent it from happening among the active hobbyists. Why do you think these events happen?
     

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  2. biguran

    biguran New Member

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    Hi CR, being new in here maybe its not my place to "educate" but many times been thinking the same.

    Some surveys show that 9 out of 10 who start in this hobby will quit. Most of them in 6 month time. Some because cant devote the necessary time, some coz they just wanted to try and most coz they didnt find/get the required info.
     
  3. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a really interesting topic. One close to me. I'm guilty of exactly that, burning out.

    Like many planted aquarium addicts, when I first got into the hobby I went full steam ahead learning everything I could. One tank quickly became ten tanks. Full planted, Pressurized CO2, High Light, Ferts, etc. Once I found that "fulfillment" of having growing most of the popular and more rare plant species in the hobby, I lost some interest.

    I turned to aquascaping as a way to re-spark the joys I felt growing a planted tank. While my aquascapes are nowhere near some of the caliber we've see on ASW, my aquascapes were perfect in my eyes. However, after a couple of years, the constant upkeep and maintenance became less of a hobby, but more of a daily/weekly chore.

    I now have three planted aquariums, and very limited time to attend to them. I selected some slower growing plants such as cryptocorynes, java ferns, and anubias to make the maintenance less work. This has worked out very well, and I can enjoy my tanks more than before.

    So how can you prevent "burning out" from happening and why does it happen?

    For me, the trick was to slow down and refocus my energy into a few aquascapes that I could manage and truly enjoy.

    Sometimes I confuse myself, and think aquascaping is a job or a chore, when in actuality it is something that should be enjoyed. Some people may feel the same confusion.

    In my case, the confusion and burnout factor is multiplied by the fact that I manage all the projects and activities here at ASW. There is a lot of work that goes on in the backend to bring the Magazine, Aquascape of the Months, Gallery, Aquapedias, forum, etc. to life that most people don't realize. We work extremely hard, so hard that it can feel like a job.

    To keep ourselves from burning out, for me I have to remind myself why I dedicate so much of my time and finances to ASW and the hobby.

    I committed myself to the hobby and ASW because I love the joys it brings when people see a planted aquarium for the very first time. It’s amazing to see the artistic, cutting edge layouts that people continuously produce each year. Most of all, I love the great community and relationships we've formed over the past two years here at ASW and the potential we have for the future.

    -John N.
     
  4. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers New Member

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    i think this happens to loads of people. i for one blame all the forums, the internet and most especially takashi amano. people never seem satisfied with their tanks lately, growth is not fast enough, tank is not colorful enough, i cant seem to grow this plant, my tank doesnt look like the amazing scapes i see in the competitions etc. etc.

    so people end up spending more money, setting up more tanks, always striving for that one perfect layout. the forums also make things extremely competitive and people are always trying to impress the other forum members.

    i dont think a lot of people realize that that one competition winning photo was a snapshot in time of a scape that is probably very short lived. the scape was designed and laid out and photographed very specifically for that competition, most tanks probably dont make it passed the 1st year mark. i am not saying there arent exceptions with some tanks going 2 or even 3 years, but this is definitely not the rule.

    so now you have 5 or 6 tanks running, maintenance, like john said, becomes a chore, you are pruning and trimming and doing water changes probably at least a couple of hours a week. people start to let their tanks go a bit, the fast growers take over, the scape starts to look messy and people start to lose interest, it is easy to stay motivated when your tanks are looking stunning, it feels like work when you have to maintain overgrown, or algae covered scapes.

    my advice to beginners is to take it slow and grow into the hobby. just as many guys start reef tanks and quit, as guys start planted tanks and quit. also once the challenge of growing plants is gone, unless you want to move into the more artistic aquascaping side a lot of people transition to marine tanks.

    so setup a medium to low light tank, no co2 and learn to grow plants without algae, learn about scaping with slow growers, and ferns and try and grow a carpet. then move up to higher tech higher light or move on to aquascaping. most people just jump right in, with as much light as they can and try and grow difficult plants and end up saying the hobby is too hard and give it up. there is a lot to absorb with regards to planted tanks. and you are still trying to keep fish and other inhabitants with all their problems and requirements happy at the same time.

    it may sound a bit mean, but instead of encourage people new to the hobby to get co2 and get a bigger tank and get more light and co2, we should be steering them towards a solid foundation of growing plants. everything else will evolve from there. having a planted tank is more like gardening than keeping fish, so if people dont enjoy gardening they probably arent going to enjoy this hobby. when people first get into gardening, nobody encourages the novice gardener to setup 5 distinct areas in their gardens and try growing all different types of plants with different requirements all in the same garden, and at the same time get a green house and try and grow extremely difficult orchids...

    takashi amano, and all the wonderful inspirational tanks on the net show people what their tanks could look like, but a lot of times they are just a snapshot, and dont show people how to get there.
     
  5. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I've only been in the hobby a few years but last year for virtually the whole year I lost motivation totally.

    However I decided to totally slow things down, I minimised my emersed plants setup and sold off a lot whilst keeping the rest runing along.

    With my tank I went non CO2, Non fert and low light so it would run itself minimally.

    I then virtually ignored all the forums for a long time as they just didn't interest me at that time.

    However during that year and now with a virtually different setup I slowly began getting interested in how this new setup of low light, no CO2 and no fert was suceeding and plodding along it's slow route with virtually no interference from me. I was basically just feeding each day for this period.

    Slowly and surely that brought me back into the hobby and today I am more interested than ever.

    Thats not to say that I wil not lose interest again but I think the 'year out' gave me a break from it.

    AC
     
  6. tenshu

    tenshu New Member

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    Simple formula: Satisfaction = Result - Expectation.
     
  7. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    That makes me mean too. lol

    Recently I have noticed on virtually all the forums when a beginner mentions a plant problem they are instantly told by many that liquid C will help and ferts need adding.

    No thought that the beginner has a low light non CO2 tank. I often look like a grurmpy old man when I enter the fray saying 'Stop....why add C? Lets get rid of the cause of the algae not give it turbo speed conditions by adding more C'. lol

    It also means that if they do go turbo and then lose the motivation they know they can return to non turbo and just leave the tank to run without maintenance during their 'dormant' non motivated spell confident in the fact they already know that it can and will work.

    Nice to hear your comments wearbunnyslippers. refreshing. I'm smiling again now

    AC
     
  8. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    I think if a person gives up, there could be many reasons. Frustration of algae is one which takes a lot of time to eradicate. For me I think I will give up when I have to shift.

    I hate shifting and shifting a planted aquarium will ruin the set up.

    It is also a time consuming hobby. But when things are going right it is satisfying. I can sit infront of my tank for hours on end. But is not doing much of that nowadays due to time constrains. I hope I will carry on with this hobby for a long time as it is keeping me away from trouble. Hehe!^:)^
     
  9. Raven

    Raven New Member

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    Nobody mentioned economical reasons. With 5 heavily planted tanks in my house and one of them extra turbo, the cost of maintenance is one of the reasons that makes me consider from time to time, not to quit aquascaping, but to go to the low light, no CO2 side.
     
  10. viktorlantos

    viktorlantos Aspiring Aquascaper

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    or probably to less aquarium ;)

    i agree on others the major problem could be the tons of info which you go after at the beginning. we want to learn every single details. check on this and on that forum, see how others are doing. it gives a good start and you learn lot of things very fast, but at the end you will loose free time and spend your time only with your aquariums. maintain, uprade, etc or indirectly learning, reading about the hobby and helping others.

    on the other hand creative jobs, hobbies burns out people really fast if you do the same thing continously. need some time to relax, enjoy life, filling up with inspiration. and forget the 24/7 dedication only to the hobby.

    it's not the high tech tanks which do this, you can have a high light co2 tank with all bells and whistles and have enough free time of course. it's how you manage the time you're dedicating to different things.

    you can do amazing tanks just like you see in the ADA gallery. there are many slow growing layout. just select the plant carefully if you know you have less time to work with it.

    limit the time you spend on other activities because we all spending too much time hanging on forums etc than maintaining our tanks.

    i tell you as a forum addict ;)
     
  11. kire.laz

    kire.laz Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Frustrations and not having good patience - I think are the main reasons :)

    There is one Japanese thought: Everything what is fast is not good! :) Be patient is the key :)
     
  12. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    For me the key to preventing burnout is to get off Stems, lol. I mean there is just no way I'm going to maintenance multiple tanks and be cutting stems. I haven't had a stem heavy tank (big or small) in a very long time.

    Use a sand foreground. Doesn't get easier than pool filter sand.

    Try a minimalist approach. If you could successfully run a tank that needs minimal attention in terms of trimming and algae control then you've in effect cut your maintenance considerably.

    BTW I disagree with not using co2. Co2 makes everything lush, full, clean looking. You just have to use the right plants in terms of how they have to be pruned and how often.
     
  13. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Surely you're not suggesting that non CO2 tanks' plants are not lush, full and clean looking?

    The only reason I was talking non CO2 is lto slow the whole thing down. i.e. prune once a year :) I was getting bored of pruning the ferns, crypts and anubias all the time with CO2!!! :)

    AC
     
  14. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah I understand you want to slow things down, but once you do that your giving up lushier, fuller, faster growing plants that will be cleaner based on new growth. I haven't meet a plant yet that doesn't grow fluller, faster and lushier with co2 than without.
     
  15. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    we must agree to disagree on that :)

    I agree faster growth but not with fuller or lusher :)

    AC
     
  16. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, then we must respectfully disagree. I would take it even a step further and say that many aquatic plants within the confines of our glass boxes do not reach their full potentional without some source of supplemental co2. Now this isn't to say that they don't look healthy to the human eye, but if you were comparing those same plants next to ones that received the co2, they would not look as good. The leaf struture on the co2 enriched plants for most species, if not all, would simply look fuller, richer, more vibrant.
     
  17. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos New Member

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    Those are all very good comments for every hobbyist to think about.

    Just like an athlete or dancer to develop their skill/art, they have to be there in every training/dance class. A planted tank hobbyist has to spare a certain amount of time on aquarium upkeep and learning about the hobby regularly.

    I like the idea about shifting from stem plants to cryptocoryne.
     
  18. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    There are many reason, different hobbyist may have different reason. Let me try to list it down ;)

    1. Time. I know couple of people giving up hobby because they get married or having a child. They need more time to take care family rather than hobby. However the opposite also true, I seen people start this hobby because their child want to keep fish :)
    2. Living space. This is probably only apply in Singapore where we stay in small flat. :p
    3. Pick-up new hobby. Many of them due to photography hobby. This is interesting since they pick-up photography hobby because they want to take nice picture of their Aquarium.
    4. High expectation, can't keep up with their own expectation. There are people start hobby because they seen beautiful tank that ADA produce but they fail to realize the challenge to produce such scape.
    5. Unable to grow healthy plant or lost battle against algae
     
  19. anda

    anda New Member

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    Very true. It took me time to realize that...

    I think the key is to focus on what gives you satisfaction, not on what others would think of your tank(s). At the end of the day, you have to live with it, not them. If it becomes a chore and a source of stress, you have a problem.

    I have had aquariums since over 20 years. It's kind of a cycle. I have a rush, invest a lot of time and some money and then eventually something else grabs my focus and I spend less time and money on the tanks. But they survive and I will eventually come back to them.

    Like others on this thread, I think people get burned by the intense flow of information and a not-so-fair comparison basis they get on the internet. Years ago, the only reference I had was in books, the LFS and my buddies. Now, you get to see super scapes everyday.

    Take it easy, one step at a time, and if you persist, you'll get there... Don't ruin yourself and your energy in trying to skip steps and get the best and the greatest on day one.

    Another factor is money. Not so long ago, having a tank was relatively cheap. But if you follow the herd and get all the tech stuff (I also have it), it becomes quite an expensive hobby. People think they "need" it to have satisfaction in the hobby but that is not true. You can grow plants, have fun, with minimal investment.
     
  20. tenshu

    tenshu New Member

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    That's not true, basic investments: Tank, Lights, Filtration, Plants, Fauna are exepensive.
    The key is buying used stuff on sites like craiglist (we have leboncoin here ugly site but cheap deals). But it even cost a lot.

    For my 60l i did great deals : 90€ for the tank + light, 60€ for pump and co2 bottle, 70€ for complete co2 system. I steel need some aquascape supply, and we are lucky to have the great online resseler aquascape-boutique for rock, driftwood & ada stuff.
    But it would have take 6 months untill i could finally start my tank, and a fair amount of cash.

    I'm not speaking about fauna prices, i would become insulting.
     

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