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How many aquatic plant shops do you think the uk can support?

castle

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Just feels like there are quite a few options now, has the hobby grown that much?
 

Courtneybst

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I feel the opposite where I am. There's only 2 Maidenhead aquatics in the whole of South London and they're pretty much right next to each other.

If Aquatic Design Centre didn't move to Balham I would have been a bit screwed. As great as these places are, neither are specialist aquascaping shops.
 

dean

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Anymore Specialist plant shops I think would struggle in most areas for actual visiting customers


Surely they would have to basically be an online business so then why have the expense of a retail outlet ?

It’s a shame as I’d love one near me to visit


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Nick potts

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Anymore Specialist plant shops I think would struggle in most areas for actual visiting customers


Surely they would have to basically be an online business so then why have the expense of a retail outlet ?

It’s a shame as I’d love one near me to visit


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We could certainly do with some in the Torbay/Devon area.

Aqua essentials are local but online only.

Online is great for equipment, but you can't beat a brick and mortar store imo, you can't look at hardscape online, view plant health etc, plus you are always going to need fish.

I think more aquatic outlets need a better selection of aquascaping stuff, rather than a dedicated aquascaping store which is harder to make profitable.
 

John q

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I'd be surprised if we don’t see a steady growth of aquascaping shops over the next 12 months.
The industry has grown considerably over the last decade or so and I think events over the last 12 months will only fuel that growth further.

The only potential banna skin to that growth is of course how the economy manages itself over the next couple of years; and that could well have an impact on amounts of spare cash folks have which would be needed to feed said growth.
 

Nick potts

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I'd be surprised if we don’t see a steady growth of aquascaping shops over the next 12 months.
The industry has grown considerably over the last decade or so and I think events over the last 12 months will only fuel that growth further.

The only potential banna skin to that growth is of course how the economy manages itself over the next couple of years; and that could well have an impact on amounts of spare cash folks have which would be needed to feed said growth.

That is a good point, I have seen a lot of new fishkeepers during this pandemic, and many see the stunning scapes online and want that in there home, of course now we are going to be hit with some dire financial situations imo, which may hamper spending, but may also see more reef keepers move over to the FW world (marine is so much more expensive.
 
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Another Phil

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We could certainly do with some in the Torbay/Devon area.

Aqua essentials are local but online only.

Online is great for equipment, but you can't beat a brick and mortar store imo, you can't look at hardscape online, view plant health etc, plus you are always going to need fish.

I think more aquatic outlets need a better selection of aquascaping stuff, rather than a dedicated aquascaping store which is harder to make profitable.
Is Jack's Patch on the A381 Bisopsteignton still part of Maidenhead Aquatics? they had good selection of fish 5 years ago but since been bought out by Otter Nurseries.

Endsleigh garden centre, Ivybridge, are Maidenhead Aquatics but we've never been there.

St Bridget's garden centre, A3052 o/s Clyst St Mary have aquatics but probably not worth a trip unless you are in Exeter.

Our go-tos are Bow Aquatics A3072 ( bit of a haul from TQ), and Homeleigh garden centre A388 Dutson north of Launceston, which is a great place but even worse from TQ unless you combine it with a trip to the North Petherwin "Tamar otter and wildlife centre", which is a decent combined day out.

also Maidenhead Aquatics
Fort Austin Avenue
PLYMOUTH
PL6 5NU
which I know nothing about.

When lockdown is over we want to check out "River and reef aquatics" who have an address/ phone in Tavistock but not much online info.
 

Nick potts

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Is Jack's Patch on the A381 Bisopsteignton still part of Maidenhead Aquatics? they had good selection of fish 5 years ago but since been bought out by Otter Nurseries.

Endsleigh garden centre, Ivybridge, are Maidenhead Aquatics but we've never been there.

St Bridget's garden centre, A3052 o/s Clyst St Mary have aquatics but probably not worth a trip unless you are in Exeter.

Our go-tos are Bow Aquatics A3072 ( bit of a haul from TQ), and Homeleigh garden centre A388 Dutson north of Launceston, which is a great place but even worse from TQ unless you combine it with a trip to the North Petherwin "Tamar otter and wildlife centre", which is a decent combined day out.

also Maidenhead Aquatics
Fort Austin Avenue
PLYMOUTH
PL6 5NU
which I know nothing about.

When lockdown is over we want to check out "River and reef aquatics" who have an address/ phone in Tavistock but not much online info.
Jacks patch is still there but not been there in years, and yes Homeleigh is a great shop, used to be there a lot when I kept marine.

I have 2 great shops for fish and general stuff, Aquator which is about a minute walk from me, and South devon aquatic centre in Paignton, but neither stock a great aquascaping selection, though aquator does carry some bits and pieces and will try and source anything they can if asked.
 

dean

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It would be a huge leap forward if the average lfs and the large chains stopped stocking horrible nasty bright Psychedelic gravel and stupid ornaments but instead promoted natural products and had more aquascaped displays

This would massively change how people viewed fish


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castle

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I'm not so sure.

I have always struggled with aquatic shops and their models, it just feels like there aren’t that many people with aquariums to warrant so many fish in shops. Or, there are a lot of fish deaths.

Planted tanks are in my mind a middle class hobby, as the price point to entry is high, it isn’t a jewel tank and a goldfish, for example. Additionally, £5-£10 for a pot of plants is something many would question, especially on entry to the hobby. The plants are likely to die, we should be more honest about that.

I know this can be as cheap as you make it, and I’m looking at this from the top of my ADA built castle, but plants are still expensive. Every lfs I visit has planted display tanks, unsure if that has changed much.

I don’t mean to bring a ‘class’ into this, just you’ve go to be in a fairly stable place to splash out on a planted tank and all that comes with it.
 

Courtneybst

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I agree to an extent. Planted tanks and especially aquascaped ones are not cheap by any means and that probably puts a lot of people off.

However, some of it is also down to priorities and what an individual values. For example you could have someone that doesn't earn much and the idea of spending £££ on an aquarium would seem absurd, but in the same breath would be comfortable to spend that same money on other things. If someone suggested I spent £1000 on shoes I'd have no interest, whereas £1000 towards aquascaping stuff doesn't seem too wild because it's my hobby.
 

Nick potts

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Woops, posted that without finishing my thoughts, I have always struggled with aquatic shops and their models, it just feels like there aren’t that many people with aquariums to warrant so many fish in shops. Or, there are a lot of fish deaths.
I think the number might be high on both counts, when you count ponds, small tanks with a few fish etc, shops also lose a hell of a lot of fish.

Planted tanks are in my mind a middle class hobby, as the price point to entry is high, it isn’t a jewel tank and a goldfish, for example. Additionally, £5-£10 for a pot of plants is something many would question, especially on entry to the hobby. The plants are likely to die, we should be more honest about that.
I don't agree with this one so much, a full-on high tech ADA setup maybe, but you can create a planted tank on so much less, any tank will work, it doesn't need to be optiwhite and rimless, a filter and light and away you go (again these don't have to be that expensive either. A lot of what we use is not needed, things like aqua soil, powders, potions etc.

Tropica and other tissue culture plants are more expensive but are not the only options, with many shops and online retailers selling plants for a couple of £.

I don't think I have spent more the £200-300 on any of my tanks, now granted they are all small and don't run the most expensive equipment (I just don't see the need when what I have works), but I class that as a small amount?

There is also a difference between an aquascape and planted tank
I know this can be as cheap as you make it, and I’m looking at this from the top of my ADA built castle, but plants are still expensive. Every lfs I visit has planted display tanks, unsure if that has changed much.
Compared to a lot of hobbies as mentioned above, a planted tank is relatively cheap.

None of my locals have any nice displays anymore.
 

castle

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Fish deaths I think come from the ever reducing space an aquatic store wants to pay business rates on. The days of a backroom quarantine racks seem to be long gone. Also, better to have that space with viewable stock in, I suspect.

I think you could create an aquascape for less than £200, but you'd probably have to get everything online. If you're completely new, haven't done much research, I suspect your wallet will be empty once you leave any of the brick and mortar stores. As with any of these things, price is relative. But still, I don't see that as cheap.

I think comparing planted tanks to other hobbies on price alone is unbalanced, most hobbies don't take up a few square feet of floor, don't have a somewhat blinding light hovering above them, involve carting 10s of litres of liquid though a house. Don't forget the frozen bloodworm in the freezer. Other hobbies don't punish you if you slack either.

I say that, but I think fish keeping is the most rewarding hobby someone can have, if you don't take it too seriously. I love it, the question/title is my main concern - I have no understanding on the scope of the hobby.
 

mort

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I think that we might see a bit of a boom in planted tanks soon. There are lots of people who are leaving the marine hobby, I just have myself, for various reasons but justification of crazy pricing seems high on the list, add that to the apparent boom in house plants with millenials and small aquaria and I think we might get a fair few new scapers coming along. Shops can also supply bits and bobs for those that like terrariums, so whilst I don't think there will be a massive increase in dedicated aquascape shops I think most normal lfs might shift some of their stock to plants.
 

dean

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Deaths of fish are usually accepted by shops at upto 10% good individually owned shops are much much less
The chains are very expensive for their fish, their markup is astonishingly high but they tend to be in expensive locations

Quarantine rooms !
Thing of the past in most cases

Most imports happen Monday - Wednesday so the fish can be up for sale at the weekend

I don’t agree with it having to cost £1000 to get a good looking aquarium
We tend to buy gel pots now but the lfs also still sell bunches
You can get good growth and healthy plants in just gravel especially with valisineria, Java fern and other bunched plants that live in medium to low light

I’d rather see a tank full of valisineria with fish swimming between it that a helicopter

The cost of these big ornaments is expensive £75 + that would buy a lot of bunches

The shops should be leading the way but alas most are happy to sell the horrible rainbow gravel and sponge Bob figures

Fish are relatively easy to keep compared to other pets people have
I’d rather have some frozen worms in my freezer than dead mice and rats
You can’t compare it to other hobbies it’s not golf, tennis or grouse shooting (middle class ones )

There’s a huge market in second hand aquaria


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castle

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I’ve somewhat shared my thoughts on this now, but having tried to sell 20 odd tanks, some ADA, TMC etc in 2018 there was not much of a market, practically gave it all away.

Tanks on eBay aren’t snapped up either.

Again, class was a poor descriptor as I have commented.
 

mort

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If we are talking dedicated plant shops like aquarium gardens then I don't think the hobby at the moment can support that many across the country. If it's a normal lfs branching out a little to supplement what they are already doing then I think it can be profitable for them but only if they put in enough work to advertise and share the benefits.
I say this because the proper plant shops seem to have a decent following but they have to heavily invest in displays, hardscape and equipment to do so but still rely heavily on mailorder. I simply don't see the average shop with a planted setup tucked in the corner as making a massive profit out of the plant side of the hobby.

There was a trend for shrimp a few years back and the lfs seemed to welcome this boom and invest but it seemed shortlived going by local examples. We see booms and busts in various aspects of the hobby and I think you have to be very good at what you do to consistently attract custom.
 
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Wookii

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I think the Midlands is sorely lacking a dedicated Aquascaping store.

Neither AG, Horizon or Scaped Nature is particularly accessible - AG being the closest (to me in Nottingham) but still a 3.5 hours round trip. Horizon would be a 5 hour round trip, and Scaped Nature over 6 hours.

That said, I tend to agree with the OP, it's hard to imagine there is enough demand in the UK to support many more dedicated aquascaping stores.
 

dean

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There was a trend for shrimp a few years back and the lfs seemed to welcome this boom and invest but it seemed shortlived going by local examples. We see booms and busts in various aspects of the hobby and I think you have to be very good at what you do to consistently attract custom.

It’s just like fashion, things change a bit slower than clothing but there are definite trends, but a trend lasts just as long as the shop owners / managers deem it to be profitable

The problem is limited tank space so they need each tank to be as profitable as possible

Even if there was a huge shop that had everything you could ever need and all the possible livestock species In stock
People couldn’t buy anymore than they already do

I’d happily bet that aquascape enthusiasts are probably amongst the worst customers a shop can have, spending hours playing with the hard scape, knowing what plants they want snd if you don’t have it they will buy online plus we don’t buy that many fish, for 2 reasons fish are almost secondary to the scape and due to the knowledge they know how to keep them alive.

Let’s be honest once we have an aquarium set up the only thing we buy regularly is fish food, this won’t enable a shop to survive

It’s sad to say but the aquatic trade relies on people making mistakes, people leaving the hobby and new ones joining
So most shops cater for the beginner, well most of their sales area is put aside for fish snd products they buy regular,
Then there are a very few shops that specialise

But sadly not plants

I do not know of a true aquascaping shop in the NW UK


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