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What is aquascaping like in your country?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by John N., Sep 8, 2010.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I often wonder how the aquascaping hobby varies from country to country.

    - Is aquascaping gaining popularity in your country?
    - Do you think you have more aquascaping guru's or mostly fledgling aquascapers than other countries?
    - Are your country men/women more focused on growing aquatic plants than actually aquascaping?

    Bottomline, what is aquascaping like in your country? :-?

    -John N.
     

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  2. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    Location:
    Brunei
    Brunei is definately far behind in aquascaping. There are maybe 5 or 6 people really into it and some 5 or 6 starting into it. Given time it will become more popular I hope. There is one aquarium shop starting to import more plants now and another importing CO2 and special DIY CO2 containers (Sera). I think the lack of interest is because that is no aqauarium shop really done a good scape for display. thereby, not much people understands what aquascaping is.^:)^
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the US varies by region. California and Florida seem to have had more exposure to scaping than say the midwest, where I am from.

    A reason for that I think goes along with what Chuntc said about aquarium shops not really selling it. For most I think they aim more at a small gravel aquarium with just common fish. People who tend to get more involved go saltwater. I had that plan until i stumbled across aquascaping and my entire concept of what an aquarium was and could be changed.

    I think that can change with shops becoming more involved, they have the access to the majority of casual hobbyists. Setting up an well done display tank could sell so much more, but I never see that in stores I have visited.
     
  4. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    The american market is actually scaling back a lot on freshwater as a whole overall - many shops have downsized or completely eliminated freshwater offerings. Planted aquaria especially has almost zero exposure.
     
  5. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers New Member

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    South Africa
    in South Africa, there is a loyal following of about 20-30 active planted tank guys. of which about 5 can successfully grow any plant they want.

    a lot of the people are still focused on just growing plants at the moment, but as they get more comfortable this will evolve into scaping.

    a lot of plants, fish and shrimp are blacklisted - no importing, so it also makes the variety and choices a lot smaller, especially for nano's. there are only a couple of shops that even bother to get some decent stem plants in, most of the shops only stock java fern, l. sessiflora and java fern.

    the exchange rate is also pretty high, and everything needs to come by ship or plane so things are expensive when they do get here. flourite for example costs $40 for the 7kg bag...

    as previously mentioned a lot of the shops focus on marine setups, with display tanks etc. and tropical fish, there is no focus at all on planted tanks. there used to be two shops that i knew of with a planted display tanks, but the one was not very good, and they have since taken it down.

    so yeah things progressing slowly.
     
  6. Chazzam

    Chazzam New Member

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    Australia
    In Australia keeping fish is no rare occurance, but true aquascaping is hard to come by. There are a couple of shops that are very "into" it, but most people brush off starting a serious tank beacuse of the money restrictions...
    There is definately a small number of people very interested in Aquascaping, and about 50 who can do it REALLY well....
    I hope it will grow as much as it has done in some parts of Asia and Europe...
     
  7. yankadi

    yankadi Aspiring Aquascaper

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    In Lithuania there is also not so many people who are really interested in aquascaping. Most of all them are still growing fish, plants, but not trying do to aquascaping. There is a lot of pet shops, online shops there you can buy something for your aquarium and for plants, but special plants shop there is just a few. Also, it's true that aquascaping is gaining popularity in Lithuania. More and more people are trying to keep healthy plants in some kind of composition. Most of them are still concentrated in growing plants, but it seems that some of them are going to do aquascaping. It is really interesting, that mostly active persons in this hobby - men ;)
     
  8. Trocado

    Trocado New Member

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    Lisbon
    In Portugal we dont have many good people but have very people interested in aquascaping.

    The best of all is Filipe Oliveira.

    There you can see some work Aquariofilia.net -> Galeria

    HRS
     
  9. viktorlantos

    viktorlantos Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Location:
    Budapest, Hungary
    Hungary jumped in the aquascaping 3 years ago approx. So this is still very new here. We spend a lot of time to promote the hobby. Sponsoring local aquascaping forum, organizing contest, bloggin writing etc. Bringing in the goods from europe/usa/asia too. Hungarian club has a few hundred members, but there are only few very skilled one. i hope in the following years we can change this and the hobby reach more people as we have tons of aquarist in the country.

    Contest really help as community too.
     
  10. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Location:
    Germany
    Germany is almost about Nano tanks and breeding fresh water shrimps.
    There are only few real aquascapers, most people are running planted tanks set up for a long term. But the Hobby is getting more popular and I hope more people will get involved soon.
     
  11. kojot

    kojot New Member

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    Serbia
    In Serbia we trying to keep up step whit the rest of the world, and we intend to be getting better and better.
    Last mount we found first Serbian Aquaristic Society whit goal to promote hobby in our country.

    Akvaristi?ko Dru?tvo Srbije - Naslovna
     
  12. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    One of the things that prevents Aquascaping in Australia is the fact that Australia has HEAVY RESTRICTIONS on aquatic plants. As I understand it, Australians have limited plant selection and probably lose interest in it quickly.

    -John N.
     
  13. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I've noticed that locally in California. From Southern California, SF Bay Area, to Sacramento, aquatics supplies, particularly in planted aquarium supplies and plants, the selection does not seem as robust compared to 5 years ago. Lots of empty tanks (once planted) and store shelves.

    This has not only impacted fish stores, but also the the major aquarium plant dedicated stores in SF and Berkeley seem to have limited their selection by a great deal. AquaForest Aquarium is still doing well from what I seen and heard. Of course it helps to have a major aquatic plant club supporting the store and in turn the aquascaping hobby.

    But the US and Global Economy decline really has seem to shut down the massive growth in the aquascaping hobby we began to see in 2000-2007. Until that point, US aquascaping really seem to be taking off...but now it seems stunted. :rain:

    -John N.
     
  14. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    From what I see on the more general aquatic sites where I pretend to be guru ;) a lot of the US newcomers are entering into the non CO2 low maintenance area.

    Maybe Tom Barr's influence. He is in the area you mention if I remember rightly.

    However it isn't only Tom that 'pushes' this route. It seems to me that since the decline many are taking stock of the situation and seeing the benefit of a lower cost setup.

    Thats not a bad thing though. Its no longer an area where Walstad tanks that aren't what we would call 'aquascapes' are the only option. There are now many of these setups coming through that most definately are aquscapes. One today here on ASW from Spain :)

    Maybe this is the future. Or at least until the decline eases. It could also herald a new 'green' aquascaping with less electricity, CO2 and fert being used :)

    AC
     
  15. Chazzam

    Chazzam New Member

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    Thats very true John, but just because there are heavy restrictions doesnt mean that you cant find them;) as long as you have some good friends!
     
  16. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    I've heard rumors from as far as Seattle to Houston that AFA isn't doing very well and making up for the loss by charging more. However, you know how rumors are. ADG had a temporary setback caused by Hurricane Ike and the onset of the recession - but Houston's strong economy has kept things going. For example, we moved into a brand new facility and are even still expanding operations.

    The planted tank side of the hobby and industry, honestly, is very goofball as an average. There really isn't any room for business to grow into the planted tank side of things - most planted tank hobbyists just aren't willing to spend the money to support it. Now, you compare this to the Reef side of things - and it completely blows away anything the planted tank side of the hobby can do in terms of development, new business, et cetera. The smallest Reef 'forums' blow away even the largest freshwater forums in terms of traffic.

    It's a basic economic model that's resulted in the stagnation - people won't spend the money (and I mean in general, not necessarily on ADA products), so companies won't innovate new products. Because companies will not spend money on advertising, product development, et cetera, the hobby doesn't expand, the market doesn't expand, and the demand falls flat on it's face, resulting in the massive cut back in anything planted (and even freshwater) related in the US in favor of the Reef market - because the Reef people -will- spend the money to have a set up.

    Take for example, if someone were to start a new business today doing something planted tank related - you would basically be limited to whatever customers you can glean from TPT, APC, ASW, et cetera, and whomever is local to your operation (if you are brick and mortar in some capacity).

    Why develop a slick, cool nano lighting solution when most people will just buy a hampton bay light and screw in a different bulb? Et cetera, et cetera.

    So while I admire the DIY approach to things and the ability to figure out creative solutions - from a business perspective it is precisely this approach that hurts any kind of new business growth and inadvertently the creation of a stagnant hobby/market pool. Again, I'm not talking about ADA (because that will always be a super-hyper niche product), I'm talking about any and all kind of industry growth/development.

    By the way - John if you're on LinkedIn and Facebook or Twitter, you should add me.
     
  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    So how do we get this to expand in the US? Honestly, I think its a lack of exposure. How many people garden or do similar horticultural things such as growing house plants. Most people, but none know of aquatic plants and aquascaping. I come from an area that is frozen much of the year. Aquascapes could be a great transition for people who enjoy this outdoor activity when the outdoors aren't agreeable.just a thought.
     
  18. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    Another thought strikes me -

    The aquarium hobby, especially the planted tank side is -extremely- publish or perish oriented. If you aren't constantly publishing something, you disappear off the radar almost instantly. This creates a very difficult scenario for most people, since all it ever does is escalate - the more you publish, the more you -need- to publish and the faster people eat up your content and want more. Content is easily the most valuable commodity in all of the aquarium industry.

    The other side to things - why the Reef side expands and why the Planted aquarium does not enjoy the same level of success, even though both require very similar maintenance requirements - and the reason why aquascaping is more emphasized in Planted Tanks are one in the same.

    In order to impress someone with a Planted aquarium you absolutely need to have a pretty kickin aquascape. If you aren't doing some kind of cool aquascape, then people simply will not be interested. Period, end of story. Every 'bad' aquascape out there doesn't do anything to help the hobby grow (let's face it, it took Amano to get the majority of us interested, at least in the US). A tank that's biologically amazing to pull off - but is lacking in aesthetics just won't inspire anyone except for people who are already in the know and already realize that it's pretty cool to have done.

    So while it is impressive to pull off a Walstad tank, a Walstad tank is never going to attract enough attention from someone to get them to want to make a planted aquarium. You absolutely need that refined aquascaping element to get that inspirational "wow" and impact. And I think everyone here can agree, there is a pretty small minority that is capable of consistently putting out that kind of layout. This also hurts the new hobbyist - with such a steep learning curve requirement to get non-hobbyists interested in your activities, it can get depressing to the point of wanting to quit.

    Now take the Reef side - I could put a couple of half-dead corals and a clownfish into a tank, never be taken seriously by a "serious" reefer, but because I have a neon glow under water I'm going to attract the attention and wow's of anyone who enters my room and simply doesn't know any better. A Planted aquarium just doesn't have this ability for bad design to be taken as 'great' by people who don't know any better. I could have the most half-dead coral selection possible, some purple algae and you have the recipe for a college dorm or apartment god.

    So, with that kind of instant, easy appeal, you have the same scenario with Reef aquascapes as you do with the planted aquarium industry at large - they're both hyper niches, because at the end of the day only a handful of people are going to be able to recognize the difference between "great" and "crap." Reef aquascaping doesn't develop just like the planted aquarium doesn't develop en masse yet - there just isn't enough demand, isn't enough popularity to drive people to do it.
     
  19. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    Well, that's part of the reason for ADG Vibe - we're pushing hard to expand exposure to the hobby as exhaustively as we can. The Vibe has nothing to do with selling product, it has -everything- to do with spreading inspiration. People like that -would- be interested in it, but they have no means, even in the internet era, of seeing it without being lead by the hand.

    They need to be driven by visual inspiration - without visual inspiration, and lots of it, there is absolutely no expansion to get more than a handful of new people. Why visual inspiration? Because you can't possibly describe a planted aquascape to someone and have them instantly understand - it requires the intense visuals for them to be able to comprehend what is being talked about.

    So the great challenge of our generation in this hobby, now that the "boom" from the internet is over - is to create and publish as many inspirational aquascapes as often as we can in as many places as we can to gain more exposure. The last "boom" could get by on methodology that isn't in the form of a product or system - but the next big boom will only come from the -greater- challenge of taking all of the systems already in place, using systems that we know will work (pressurized, good lighting, good substrate, et cetera, all that lacked before) and focusing supremely on the refinement of aquascaping skill as a -whole- just one person or small group of people pushing out new badass aquascapes isn't enough for this next challenge.
     
  20. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Location:
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    Hi Everybody,
    Make a movie called 'Finding Neon'-that would make more people interested. :)
    Pretty cool to have the world as your audience-

    Over here we have a small forum club that has grown over the years. I start scaping back in 2000 but only got the hang of it [growing plants] in 2004. It was hard in the beginning till the age of forums[2005 for me], even then nobody knew each other other than their odd sounding forum names!

    To get a forum going was a challenge as we wanted it to self fund. We asked a few LFS if we could rescape their tanks back in 2006 and some said yes please do! In return they help fund our forum. Great! Some persistence paid off and we got a few LFS to help fund our activities in return for helping them scape/promote their shop.

    Equipment wasn't fancy then-the most fancy thing I had was an Eheim canister filter. Didn't even know there was a such thing as soil or the difference between the two. It just seemed so expensive back then. LOL.
    Now it's become a necessity!

    We're quite lucky that our weather with the aid of a fan can keep plants alive. However on hot months, a chiller is needed to keep it looking really fresh for photos. We're also lucky that 'marine hobbyists' are in the habit of quitting or upgrading constantly:)[seemingly so]- I got a 2nd hand chiller and lighting for cheap! :-"

    Talking to other hobbyists and sharing ideas is a great way to keep the interest going. Long coffee shop talks, farm visits, plant swaps, netting trips, photography-
    Photography seems to go hand in hand with aquascaping- with nice pictures comes interest. Now almost everybody expects a step by step with pictures or a youtube video!

    IMO the main thing that keeps this hobby going strong here are the competitions. We're quite lucky there is a strong base in the capital now because of the IAPLC and other competitions all over the world. I certainly would not be rescaping every year if not for the IAPLC! We've had local live competitions every year since 2006 and this year promises to be the best.

    This year Mr Amano is going to be finally here for the Aquafair 2010 in November-he'll be giving a lecture[clink link below] and judging our live competition[1.5-3ft tanks]. It would be our chance to see him in person and ask him some questions...[Eg-'Why is that tank in the top 100?!!' or 'Why is my tank not in the top 100?']:-" LOL.

    Lastly-do let us know if you're coming-More details here - :welcome:
    Takashi Amano Lecture Aquafair-Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
     

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