It is easier to get the feet wet with a non-CO2 setup, low-maintenance setup, and IMO, a better way for a newbie to start. Where I normally am, we get a lot less threads titled "my algae disaster" since Newbies learned to start with a simpler setup. You can always upgrade later. It does cost less! Lasts longer too. It is also great for busy people who cannot always play with their tanks. In the two US centers mentioned, FL and CA, I am rather isolated in Miami, where SW and predatory species setups are far more common. That being said, AGA is in Ft. lauderdale this year, so that will give South FL an aquascaping boost. Most of my stuff is purchased online, and I make due. I get stuff from UK and Singapore.