Discussion: High priced fish and corals verses low priced fish and coral.

Discussion in 'Weekly Reef discussions' started by mnmuskyman2011, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. mnmuskyman2011

    mnmuskyman2011 Senior Member
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    TCMAS Weekly Discussion

    We would like to get more reef related discussions going on the forum. We will post a weekly topic to get the discussion started then let you all take it from there. The rules are simple, keep on topic and keep it positive.

    This weeks topic: High priced fish and coral verses low priced fish and coral.
    Are the high priced fish and corals really worth it? Would you spend the money on a high price coral/fish if there is a similar coral/fish for less?


    Also, feel free to post an idea for future topics as well.
     
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  2. eschulist

    eschulist That Office Nano Guy
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    In the very early days sub 1 year into my tank I made a couple $50-75 coral purchases that ended up dying fairly quickly. Now getting close to 4 years with the tank really stabilized I don't mind spending $100-150 on a single frag of coral if its really cool. It doesn't even have to necessarily be rare or brand name. If its a unique looking piece that I don't see locally and fits into my color/shape desires at the moment I'll spring for some expensive ones. However I'll still go for the bread and butter corals if they are some of the best options for say a red or blue coral.

    When it comes to fish my options are much more limited. I can't have large fish so 60-80% of the fish I immediately just ignore. I still drool over them but I don't think about purchasing them. I've had my eye on a few rarer fish that are in the $150ish range that fit into my tank requirements. I would feel fairly confident spending that on a fish after I've thoroughly done my research on it and asked questions to others that have kept the fish before. There are a few dream fish that I do want but they are over $500 and will likely stay dream fish for awhile. They may be hardy and do just fine but I can't spend that on a fish right now. If there was some way to test the fish risk free for a few weeks to see if it could settle in, eat, and I could get over the anxiety of it suddenly dying it might be a different story. And no matter how spendy that cool fish seems to be I still really like the standard fish as well and want them in my tank. I must have a clown and royal gramma.
     
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  3. Travis Dragan

    Travis Dragan I contributed!
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    I think cost is relative, if we all were only concerned with cost we would all just have feeder guppies. I think too often we worry about costs especially when you add a brand name to them. The thing i think we often overlook is the supply and demand. Many of the name brand items are new or unique, they are not something that can be mass produced quickly and the varieties are supplied by nature. Often a few years after the initial offering of an item from a brand name those same pieces begin appearing in standard lists for stores to purchase, we have had this many times where we get a brand name piece from a mariculture or wild harvest facility without the brand name cost.

    This hobby is expensive, it costs a lot to start up and is much more expensive than freshwater to maintain in general. There really are not too many "substitutes" for price points, even something like a Heniochus, they are called the poor mans Moorish Idol because they resemble them but are historically easier to care for but they do not match the grace and beauty of an Idol.

    As far as being worth it, im not sure that is a discussion that anyone other than the person buying the coral should be a part of. If the discussion were about the benefits or drawbacks to a cheap salt versus a more expensive salt, that would be one thing but this is kind of like would you buy Starbucks coffee if you could find cheaper coffee.
     
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  4. tthorn125

    tthorn125 Keeper Of The Peace
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    Cost is relative, but it goes further. Most people want to know that they are getting value for their hard earned money. I won't get into examples with stores, but some are drastically cheaper for the same items (feeder guppies).

    It also depends on how much money you have to call something expensive. $10 dollars to someone may not mean much, but to someone who makes minimum wage it might be expensive.
     
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  5. vandy10

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    At this point of my life cost is definitely an inhibiting factor. I don't have experience with corals so even if I had the money I would lean towards the purchase of lower cost corals. As for fish I think I could be tempted to purchase more expensive ones depending on the hardiness of the fish.
     
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  6. eschulist

    eschulist That Office Nano Guy
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    There are lots of similar looking fish and corals and thats leaves great options for many people, but sometimes there just isn't a true substitute for the best thing. If the cost descrepency is high enough though sometimes settling for the middle ground on coral/fish coloration and price is the best option.

    Here are a few examples

    Blue Pygmy Angels

    Cherub approx $30
    [​IMG]

    Flameback African Approx $50
    [​IMG]

    Flameback Brazillian (Fireball Angel) Apprx $90
    [​IMG]

    Resplendent Angelfish Approx $$$$$
    [​IMG]

    Resplendent Cherubfish (Captive Crossbreed) Approx $3000
    [​IMG]

    Is the last fish the coolest and most jawdropping? Yea probably for most people, but at such a huge cost difference I doubt many hobbyists would ever consider it.



    The swissguard and deepwater candys are often compared together and while similar I don't think you can truely replace the eye popping color and beauty of the deepwater even if it is 5-10X the price.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Fish that are deepwater, have amazing coloration, and only found in small sections of the ocean are always going to be high priced no matter what. So they will retain their value and rarity. Corals on the other hand change price so quickly. Extremely rare and colorful corals have huge pricetags in the first few months to a year or two but after that the price really crashes once enough people have them. The ease of propagating, trading, and shippings corals makes them not really worth getting them right away. There are a few exceptions for sure, rainbow scollys or trachyphyllia are hard or impossible to frag so once an amazing one is found in the ocean its price stays high as it is and will stay the only one like it.
     
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  7. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    It's all relative to your income :)
    I know of a few very wealthy people who have no problem spending money on fish. One of which has spent over $150K on fish in the past year..

    Banded basslet $2000
    [​IMG]

    Bicolor basslet $1200
    [​IMG]

    Bladefin basslet $10000
    [​IMG]

    Masked angelfish $15000 ea
    [​IMG]

    Peppermint angel $22000
    [​IMG]

    Odontanthias species $300-$4000 ea
    [​IMG]

    Clarion angelfish $2500-$4000 ea
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    But then, you also have to be able to live with the fact that your $10000 fish has just as much chance of getting ich and dying over the weekend as your $9 firefish..

    I know a few people with peppermint angelfish in their freezers...
     
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  9. rlinusc

    rlinusc I contributed!
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    As i am stocking my tank now, i feel like this discussion is relevant. I honestly had no idea that there were some fish in the hobby that went for thousands of dollars and all of them are way out of my budget.

    But more germane to my situation is figuring out whether to buy fish/corals in the $10-20 range or $30-60 range. i don't feel like i would have the confidence in my tank for a while to consider a $100 fish yet. Obviously the cost with respect to livestock is a strange one when we are prepared to pay hundreds if not thousands for the equipment to hold, display and keep the fish. That said i think that can be explained because we all know that livestock die.

    So when it comes to choosing livestock between the two ranges, my plan is that i am happy to pay for fish that are more expensive if they are aquacultured I am mindful of wanting to keep this hobby sustainable. One reason i like this group so much is that it allows for opportunity to trade and to help with fragging etc. Corals are interesting in this area as fragging has meant that few species need to be taken directly from the ocean, which is great. As for the less expensive option, currently i like the idea of growing smaller frags out rather than putting a more established colony in my tank as i hope to have this hobby long term. That said, i know the error rate for smaller frags will be higher so i will need to balance the two.
     
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  10. Nickz

    Nickz Senior Member
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    I have bought the higher priced fish at x store vs same fish at y store for less $$$...

    Seems pointless to me since x store higher priced fish didn't eat and died within 3 days. Then went to y store and bought the less expensive same species fish and it ate and is living fine. I have had similar happen the other way around as well. This has happened a couple times, That being said, I am still a believer in the fact one needs to support the lfs vs chain when possible.

    As far as expensive species vs a cheaper similar species... No contest, if the species I want costs more so be it. With the tanks I have running, my saltwater fish are less expensive than any of my freshwater but that's just what I like for salt fish that I have somewhere to put.
     
    #10 Nickz, Sep 10, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
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  11. ArcKatana

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    I've had a school of Interuptus angels be great for a week then die one at a time over a couple of days. I've had gem tangs come in and eat from my fingers as soon as they were acclimated. Cost is cost is cost. What people get out of the hobby for their hobby is up to that individual.

    I'll never breed clownfish again, even if I could make easy money doing it. I just find it to easy and honestly boring. Now stuff that hasn't been done before, that is exciting to me because there is no road map, no step by step directions. When I posted my video of Liopropoma mowabrayi spawning on MBI it got picked up by Reefbreeders. Evidently it was the first recorded spawning event of that species. It didn't seem so cool to me after a bit as they were spawning in my 14G nanocube every night.

    Learning about the biology of this hobby/inverts/critters and how they are all connected is what makes me stay in the hobby for the past 22 years. I've got a school of red firefish that I hope to breed. Even tho they are $2 a pop at wholesale, there is a huge challenge in raising them. That's what I like, the challenge. Cost is relative to my enjoyment.
     
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  12. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    Flame angelfish are the lab mice of aquaculture labs. They basically practice raising flame angels due to how similar they are to many of the food fish they raise. It's a shame they are not commercialized yet.

    This means that if the flame angelfish is the lab mouse, The same should apply to all dwarf angelfish. The real challenge is the live food they require.
     
  13. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    To me this topic is a balance of two sayings I've stolen from people-


    Copps @ RC- buy fish that excite you
    Kriens here- paraphrasing this but, doesn't matter what you get soon enough you'll be bored with it anyways

    Cost is obviously relative. For me it's generally a 'natural' progression from cheaper to more expensive stuff. This aligns with ones confidence and experience level. That said, I put a lot of effort into livestock purchases to make sure this is something I want long term. Turning over livestock is in my opinion not a very responsible thing to do, if you are going to buy something know it's requirements and be in it for the long term. Easier said than done and impulse decisions always happen, we are all human (except Angie).

    Emperor angels and Queen angels are not all that expensive (as juvi's) nor rare but they really excite me which is why I have those. Goldflakes and Regals (from Divers Den) are much more expensive but wicked cool.

    Where I've made mistakes is wicked cool looking fish which are boring as hell. Sunburst Anthsis for example, way cool and one of the most boring fish I've ever seen. Goldfish do more.

    What's hard for me is differentiating between what excites me for what reason - rarity alone can cause one to be excited but for me I'm so shallow and vain that it needs to be good looking for me to get excited. That said, it doesn't matter what I get to some degree there will be something prettier come along tomorrow to get my undies in a bunch over.
     
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  14. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    Most expensive fish I ever paid for was a Aussie Scotts Fairy wrasse, $250. I didn't enjoy it, I was a nervous wreck wondering if today was the day I was flushing $250 down the toilet. It was the most skittish fish and even with tops it would find it's way out of the tank, saved it at least a half a dozen times over a couple of years but luck eventually ran out. Somewhat relieved afterwards as I swear is scared of it's own shadow.

    For me, not into the fish so much so I just target fish that provide a balance of color to the tank. Avoid fish with special requirements. Never worried too much about find the cheapest fish, I'm not going to shop around town to compare prices of a Yellow Tang so if it's $15 more one place than another isn't a big deal just that overall looks good and eating well at the shop.
     
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  15. WadePW

    WadePW Junior Member
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    Like everyone else is saying, the term 'expensive' is all relative to a single person. For me, even if i'm making decent money, I'll always take some time to look around and see if I can find it cheaper somewhere else. There has been a few fish on divers den that have caught my interest, a pair of clowns, but I can't bring myself to spend upwards of $400 on a pair of fish. Now coral on the other hand, I'd be more willing to.
     
  16. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    Dave brings up a fun point, the pucker factor of dealing with expensive fish is a fun one. Nothing like taking a $500 buck fish and sticking it's butt in a bucket of fresh water... :)
     
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  17. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    My blotched anthias and candy bass total $1000, and the clownfish pair I have with them is potentially worth the same.. Every Monday I come in expecting the worst, and nearly had a panic attack when I came in once to a cloudy tank (pump was sucking air, everyone was fine).

    I worry less and less with each week, and I don't think I'd mind adding more expensive fish later on. I also keep a massive space invader's pectinia in this tank too, which is worth some $$. I would need a few sick days to recover if the tank crashed. lol
     
  18. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    I've got a MIA blotched anthias... whoops
     
  19. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    My thoughts tend to mirror most everyone else's; it's relative to each individual.

    When it comes to corals, I tend to look for frags from other members. It's not so much the cost that is impacting my decision, it's that I know the coral has done well enough in a tank that it needed to be fragged. And with buying smaller frags, as the coral grows out in my system the coral's growth will be best suited for my lighting and water flow. I'm patient enough to wait for smaller (cheaper) corals to grow into larger (more costly) colonies.
    And as far as general coral selection for me goes, I shop by design (shape and color) and I tend not to care about what "name" the coral was given.

    But when it comes to fish, I feel I am reaching that tipping point of willing to spend more money on a specific fish.
    I have twenty-some fish right now, and the most expensive individual fish easily cost me less than $100. It's not that I prefer to spend less on fish, but I find the beauty in all marine fish; more expensive does not always equal more beautiful. And I also consider a fish's behavior, diet and compatibility above its status based on price.
    I am to the point with my tank now that I feel like I can justify spending a bit more cash on specific fish that I really would like to keep. There are a few that are on a short list that I would not have a problem spending $300 or more, but I am still a long ways away from spending $1000 or more for a single fish.

    I would rather have a tank totally filled with colorful corals and a variety multiple fish than to have a tank with a couple of high-priced celebrity corals and a single Gem Tang.

    (Edit: I was going to say Peppermint Angelfish, but I would LOVE to have a Peppermint Angelfish!)
     
  20. ChristopherKriens

    ChristopherKriens Xenia lover
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    High priced fish or corals aren't worth it for new reefers as they're in a unique position to enjoy the cheap stuff in all its glory for the first time. Everyone is different, but for most, the drive to be more challenged or keep more rare specimens eventually gets the best of us.

    In this hobby, there is no real connection between the value of an animal and pricing. Pricing is mostly defined by the natural, logistical, and political limitations to supply. Some hobbyists do define their value in terms of rarity or pricing, and this self-imposed reason is why there seems to be a real connection.

    I like to think that in a world where the Royal Gramma was exceedingly rare and difficult to collect and the Candy Basslet was always in stock at your local fish store; their prices reversed, that I would still keep them both.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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