How did corals get so expensive.

Imaexpat2

New member
Great video and it explains a lot of the whys. It misses a few too though. The demand has increased but the availability of whats being imported has almost come to a screeching halt! What is being still imported cost a pretty penny due to the fact they have to grow it out now in coral farms or the logistics to bring wild caught stuff has increased significantly. Minimum wage used to be about 5.35 now its more like 15 bucks in many places. Increased cost to do business results in increased cost for the consumer. The way our government is borrowing and printing money and spending like a drunken sailor has caused the dollar to seriously drop in value and doesnt have the purchasing power it used to have. Back when I first got into this hobby corals pretty much came in two predominant colors....Doo-Doo Brown and Ho-Hum Green. Now Zoanthds can be had in a plethora of colors no matter what color tickles your fancy. The sky is the limit literally....and so is the price! But like a prostitute....she is gonna go to the highest bidder.

Its a lot easier to spend a year growing a coral out and then fragging 20 pieces off it and selling it by the 1" crumb, than it is for someone to grow a frag out to a 4 inch colony and then sell it as a colony. Again increased demand has taxed the price to the point most people are completely priced out of buying colonies unless your Big Daddy Warbucks. It takes about a year to take a 1" frag to a bushy 4 inch colony. But then again I always preferred to take the cheap way out and buy a tiny frag and watch it grow out in my system and got more pleasure out of it than if I went and spent big stupid dollars on a colony. Taking a new tank full of Ugly and watching it blossom into a stunning beautiful reef to me was the ultimate reward in this hobby not the instant gratification most reefers want now a days.

The scacity of "real Live Rock" like we used to get back in the day has gotten so bad I now run a 90 gallon tank that I have about 200 lbs of live rock in, live rock thats not just bologically alive, but actually encrusted with coralline algae and sponges of various types and all kinds of benefical critters one it from Pods to Mini Brittle Starfish. I do that so if I want to start another tank or if a newbie wants to get into the hobby I can give or sell them a few pieces to get their tank seeded. Now days many LFS have a rock vat full of dead dry base rock that norally would retail for about 3.29 a pound on there shelf going for 7.99 a pound just becuase its been in a SW vat for a couple of weeks. Biologically it might be alive but rarely does it have anything more than bacteria living on it. Used to be about half the excitement in this hobby was setting up a new tank with about 50-100 lbs of live rock and maybe some dry rock and 6 months later coralline algae and stuff was growing all over it and you were finding corals, sponges and critters of all types on it! Thats what got me into this hobby was the amazing amount of diversity one could find on live rock back then and have in a reef tank. Of course we also used to also get some bad stuff we didnt want in our glass boxes too.

Unlike most I have a definite preference for buying unmounted fresh frags as opposed to mounted ones. I cant remember the last time I went into a LFS and didnt walk out of there going dang, they have a bunch of trash at big stupid dollar prices with bubble algae, Bryopsis, Hair Algae, Acro Red Bugs, Zoa Spinders and Montipora eating Nudies just to name a few of the nasties one can pick up and bring home to their display that has a 1000 bucks or more worth of coral in it and contaminate their systems. Of course QTing new purchases would eleminate a lot of that head ache for a reefer too. Thats why I dont put a dang thing in my display till its been in QT for a least a month and only then after several dippings and if I am satisfied with its health does it go in my display. If your lucky a retailer or wholesaler might have dipped it but very precious few QT anything as they are under pressure to move product...if they arent moving product they aint making money!!!

The biggest change I have seen in this hobby is the technology that has grown by leaps and bounds. Back when I got in this hobby I knew I wanted stick and I went out and got what the Big Dawgs like Mike Paletta, Sanjay and Steve Tyree were running....Metal Halides and VHO actinics! We were just gravitating to 10k halide bulbs from 6500k's and that was cutting edge. Your other more affordable options were NO bulbs in T12 and Power Compact were starting to be all the rage. Then came T5HO as the new innovation in lighting available to hobbyist shortly there after. About 5-7 years later came LED's and since then they are getting to be of better quality and suitability to our critters by the year. Heck I dont know if you can even still buy VHO bulbs...I still have equipment left from back then I guess I need to finally throw away as I now use T-5HO's on a couple of tanks and LED's on the rest and I am slowly ditching all my T5HO's. We used to drip Kalk....now almost everyone with sticks has a calcium reactor! I am a old guy now and I am still stuck in the dinosaur age and dripping Kalk +2 but I am seriously toying with the idea of getting a Calcium Reactor. Every year tank systems seem to get more and more automated. Back in the day I had to seriously have some husbandry skills, pay attention to my tank and whats going on with it, now we have controllers and monitors and dosers and rarely get hands on anymore. Nowdays a newbie can pretty much buy a tank set up and just sit back and pretty much watch the show and not put much effort into reef keeping. Thats good in a way as success is more easily achieved but in other ways I think were are slowly loosing a lot of what Mother Nature taught us over the years. Its way too easy to just throw money at this hobby than it is to learn the valuable lessons Mother Nature gave us as we use technology as a crutch to achieve success. How many times do we come to the forum and see a post about a newbie that got the latest greatest set up, dumped a bottle of something in it to speed up the cycle and then a week or two later added to clowns, a hippo tank and a couple of Fat Head Athias, over feed, then have a tank crash or algae issues so bad that two months later you see a For Sale post selling equipment and getting out of the hobby? Few take their time at this hobby and hone their skills but expect instant gratification? I have always said the hardest part about this hobby was "the waiting and taking your time". I have always said "The Lack of funds is a blessing in disguise as it forces you to slow down".

Well enough of my rambling before yall slice your wrist and take a hot bath from this long winded reply. Thanks for starting this thread....it made me sit back and do a lot of reflecting. Its one of the best threads I have seen in months and why I keep coming back here periodically and hanging out after extended absences.
 
Damn, that was one hell of a reply. Ya, there's more variables to it. I'm glad I was part of the "Good ol' days." where 50 bucks would score a damn nice piece of coral.
 

Imaexpat2

New member
Im just amazed at the degree of evolution that has taken place in the last 21 years!

But damn corals have indeed gotten to be very expensive. I so remember getting a 1 inch frag of a Bali Green Slimer from Tyree. I paid 100 bucks for it and thought I was the shiznick! My fellow reefers thought I was high on crack but they all wanted a piece of it and was on a waiting list when it got big enough to frag, lol! It was the same thing with the various Blue Torts, they were considered the pinnicale of show pieces in a reef tank back then. Now days frags of that collector grade can easily cost you 250.00 plus, I mean look at the price of Bounce Mushrooms!!! Back in 2000 I thought a 15 dollar Ricordia was pricey, now you cant hardly touch them for less than about 40 bucks plus at a LFS. In fact in 2001 I financed my 240 sps tank growing out frags of Torts, Slimers, Tri Colors, Tennius and Ricordia!
 

discussmith

New member
Well being gone so long with all the changes I'm returned to newby status. I was taken aback when showing corals through the color changing lens. It makes corals look like something they are not and can certainly change what someone would pay believing they are getting this premium product that is like being photo shopped.
 

Imaexpat2

New member
Thats why I dont like buying on line...generally speaking I wanna see what it looks like in person, especially if I am about to spend big stupid dollars on it! I wanna make sure I get what I am paying for!!!
 
Top