The Cost of coral.. Are we paying to much?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jeremy Brito, Oct 9, 2017.

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Do you feel the market price on coral is inflated due to limitation or popularity of the coral

  1. I feel the price of coral on average is fair

    5 vote(s)
    27.8%
  2. I feel the price of coral is influenced by its popularity

    11 vote(s)
    61.1%
  3. Shut up and take my money

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  1. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    Hey guys i want to talk about a slightly touchy topic, that some of you might have saw me discussing in another post. So not to off track the other post i figured id bring the discussion to here were it can be talked about and debated with out taking away from what the previous posts main purpose was (to sell a frag).

    So before i get into my theory on this let me first say this post was not meant to discredit or hurt the small scale coral business or bash them in any ways, or point fingers at those of us who can afford high priced exotic coral that spend the money for the sole fact of having that rare gem they can show case in there tank and brag about to there friends. this post is simply to discuss the average cost of corals on the general market that the every day reef keeping enthusiast may call common on the market frags.

    So here it goes in all hopes that the disclaimer keeps it a civil discussion/debate. Why are we paying so much for common coral! when i first got into this hobby and had big dreams of having amazingly colored beautiful corals of a wide variety my dreams were cut short as i filled my fantasy online shopping cart and looked at the astronomical total (not including the shipping) ... yup i said to my self this aint happening any time soon so i started small with a few cheap purchases and bumming some frags from the great group of people we have in the club and the learning process of coral husbandry began. I learned shortly of the different requirements corals have and the hard learned facts of how painful it can be in the wallet when you make a mistake. Keeping all that in mind the next time i was coral shopping i started thinking about the prices of these corals and going what effects these prices and what makes this frag of the same species of coral worth so much more then another of the same species aside from the looks alone?

    In this post the corals ill be referring to are Zoa's and Mushrooms so must of my generalizations will be geared towards these.
    I came up with a pretty simple list of cost factors which i feel are common sense, though i am not in the business of farming and selling large volumes of corals so feel free to add change or discredit as needed lol.

    The first cost factor i found was the importation cost. considering most new and exotic or rare pieces are new and exotic or rare because they haven't been mass grown and fragged for the market this means that they are still being harvested from the wild by collectors and put out on private auctions for sale to vendors who then purchase these rare gems to bring something to there market that sets them apart from the competition. These Frags have a high price tag for good reason. First someone had to go diving to find these corals then frag them and Market them and ship them internationally which is an added cost to the local vendors not to mention the competition price to buy these frags. The second raise in the cost is the market price in which now the vendor has to recoup his investment plus the cost of keeping the coral alive until sold and still make a profit so now the price has been marked up at least 3 times before we the hobbiest even see the frag.
    It is my opinion these corals on the market that deserve a some what higher price because of the fact that they are pretty much collected in small numbers at first and haven't had a chanced to be farmed, then shipped halfway across the world to be sold making them quote on quote rare finds.

    Like the begging of aquarium trade there were only a few common finds regularly available and every thing else was collected straight from the wild and sold to collectors at a higher cost but eventually these collectors domesticated (so to speak) these rare livestock and then breed or farmed them making them common and thus bringing larger numbers to the market at reduced cost because now the livestock didnt have to be collected from the wild in some remote place and sold and shipped.

    Which brings me to the next factor: Husbandry.. this is a variable that pretains specifically to what type of live stock we are talking about, husbandry in other words the care of and raising of, has a cost factor of its own which equates to housing, feeding, medicating, providing the ideal environment and of course time committed to the particular piece of live stock prior to sale. In the Rare import case husbandry initially is basically what it costs to keep the livestock alive until its sold, but moving further down the chain when the vendor decides to grow/farm the live stock and create an abundance the initial cost is higher because of the time it will take the vendor to care for it until its in large enough numbers and ready for sale.

    So kinda alot but here is the point after these rare pieces become farmed they become common they no longer carry the cost of the initial import, and they no longer carry the special value of being a hard find. Sure it still took the vendor some time and money invested in farming them but now they are mass produced and after the sale of a few those original costs of have been recouped. But they still sell them at the high price of the rare find.. and we the consumer still buy them at that price.

    In the Example of Zoa's there are hundreds and hundreds of varieties , vast range of different colors and made up names. In this example Lets say the Average Zoa Frag contains two polyps, as far as zoa's go they are pretty much considered one of the best corals for beginners because they are hardy, reproduce well and dont require much in the realm of care infact some have problems with them growing like weeds and they even become pests in are tanks. This statement pretty much holds true to all varieties of zoa regardless of color or name even though some may argue that there are some zoa that grow slower then others or require this or that i think it can still be said that if you can keep one type of zoa its a pretty safe bet you can keep a different type in the same tank. So going back to cost if a rare Zoa comes onto market that meets what i talked about before it can be seen as understandable that it be higher priced, but what about the not rare other fancy zoa's with the designer names why are they priced so high? Think Rasta Zoa this is a pretty cool looking zoa with a nice color pattern, how ever its not rare in fact while searching the net i went threw about a dozen online coral vendors that all sold them and none of them listed a stock limit so id say its a safe bet that they had a pretty decent stock pile of them. They were all listed around 30 dollars or more and i know in coral 30 dollars isnt even close to high priced but my point is they are just as common as a the plain solid color zoa's that sell for 5 bucks a polyp but carry a high price tag.

    It comes to the realization that regarding Zoas it is simply the fact of how pretty or cool looking the polyp is that defines its cost in most cases, and we the consumer are kinda responsible for setting the market price, sure the vendor tacks on a cool name maybe even throws out labels like Aussie edition or what ever but really what your getting is a common zoa that at this point cost the vendor no more to keep in stock (if he is growing them) then it does to keep the 5 dollar zoa.

    The same example i used for Zoas can also be found in mushroom corals and other softies were paying for fancy color patterns and the vendors make larger profits if they are successful sellers.

    I guess all in all the point is the coral is worth what we are willing to pay for it and if thats the case why are we still willing to pay top dollar for coral that is no longer collected half way around the world that is no longer only seen in small numbers around the community but is now home grown, and easy to find.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  2. Raffle King

    Raffle King Officer Emeritus Officer Emeritus NJRC Member

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    Do you know how much it cost to get Aussie corals to the states that is why they are so high in price
     
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  3. joe b

    joe b Active Member NJRC Member

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    IMO Zoas are not beginner corals. I think the price is cheap for what your getting... Some of the silly priced ones are expensive because they are new and desirable. If they end up being good growers the price eventually comes down to what I would call reasonable, if they are hard to keep the price stays high.
     
  4. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    hense the part about the original cost of importation when they are new on the market i am speaking of corals that have been on the market for a while now and are grown here to the point they can sell them with out worry of inventory and they are still selling them at the original cost as if you were getting the ones straight out of the ocean
     
  5. njtiger24 aquariums

    njtiger24 aquariums SECRETARY Board of Directors NJRC Member

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    just like anything in the market its base on what someone is willing to pay for it. For example while at RAP I wanted a rose bubble tip. There were many and I mean many tanks that had rose bubble tip nems but the prices ranged up to $80. I was not paying that much for a nem. I finally found one selling in a range I was willing to pay so I did get one. I believe that some people feel they need to pay more for the 'gem' to have a nice tank or a nice coral. If folks start shopping around more and be willing to walk away then I think prices will come down
     
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  6. MadReefer

    MadReefer Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    As with any hobby prices are high at first and then come down. I agree with the previous post walk away and eventually prices will come down depending on the coral.
     
  7. Raffle King

    Raffle King Officer Emeritus Officer Emeritus NJRC Member

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    Its called the name and color game
     
  8. horseplay

    horseplay Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    It’s economics like any other market place. I am cheap so I usually buy the ugly stuff :)
     
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  9. Mark Shelly

    Mark Shelly Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    I know how much it costs to run my tank, I don't know the costs and risks of those who grow and sell corals, but I suspect it is high. Like any other job, if you can't make enough money to live on, you won't do it. As a result, I feel it is reasonable for vendors to sell items at prices they think they can get. I know the corals that I would like in my tank usually cost more than other similar corals. But there are others that I have no interest in, and wouldn't pay 10% of the asking price, although I might understand why others would. And I am aware that corals don't look the same in my tank as when I buy them (and I only buy them in person), so selecting only the best looking corals may lead to disappointment. Corals rarely look as good in person as they do in photos either. The silliest thing to do is buy a coral because the name sounds good, which appears to be more of an online tactic.
     
  10. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    To the extent of yes corals have special requirements that make the cost of keeping them so vendors can justify prices being somewhat higher I agree but that was never denied the point I was referring to is that aside in some corals the patern would show that even though most of the original challenges of making certain coral readily available for sale have been meet, we still acept the price for what it is instead of walking away till we find a good deal an thus we the buyers set the market I'm not against a small business making a profit and grasp this is a supply and demand factor in most cases I just wonder if we are allowing our selves to be up sold on coral in general because we are still under the belief system that if something is higher priced then it's more exotic then the cheaper one when really it's all starting to become just as common as anything else that's been on the market for awhile.
    I'll use one recent shopping experience I saw a mushroom coral commonly given the nick name a jaw breaker this preticular one did have a nice pattern and color and I was unaware at the time of it being different then any other run of the mill mushroom I currently keep in my tank aside from its color so I asked the seller how much for a frag containting one decent size polyp and was told 100 bucks to 150 dollars ... my jaw dropped I couldn't fathom paying that for a mushroom concidering the ones I have are similar grow like weeds and cost me about 20 dollars the vendor explained it was rare and it was imported ect but I walked away thinking no way will I pay that for anything in my tank. Later I went home and started to research a little on the Internet and found mushrooms labeled jaw breakers and just standard mushrooms I found the ones with the fancy names were priced higher but as I started to look further on a site that sold wysiwyg coral and found standard mushrooms that looked almost identical to the ones labeled jaw breaker on another site for 1/4 the price so I asked my self whats the difference aside from the color and I couldn't come up with much to me it then seemed color was the factor in cost
     
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  11. joe b

    joe b Active Member NJRC Member

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    Jawbreakers are slow growing and more prone to problems than my other shrooms. There is also a randomness to their patterns that makes them interesting.
     
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  12. jazeel50

    jazeel50 New Member

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    Something is only worth what someone will pay for it. Your right end of the day it's just a mushroom or zoa. Or there's a fancy name behind it. I.e. JF Some coral are way to expensive but then again if there's a Buyer there's a market So shop on and be satisfied!!!!


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  13. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    Yup that's how I feel at least to bad there's no way the consumers can influence a change
     
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  14. Empire

    Empire Active Member

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    The majority of the more expensive corals, as raffle king said - color and the name game. The price of wild corals is really not that expensive if you consider what you are getting. You can go on Live Aquaria divers den and buy a colony of 4x4”+ Aussie strawberry short cake, get a 14 days warranty, for $275 shipped. A 1-2” frag of a true Aussie strawberry shortcake runs for $25 easily sometimes more depending on how it looks.

    Plus the price factors in availability and how often these corals are able to frag since a lot these corals are slow growers. I remember when the red dragon came around on the market and how expensive it used to be compared to where it’s at now. It used to be like $125 for an inch frag, now you can get a decent chunk of it for that price. But then again, look at Stan, Smcooler’s tank. He has original ORA pieces from mother colonies that died and aren’t around anymore, like the original ORA pearlberry. I’d prefer to buy home grown corals that have been in tanks for years and pay a premium over corals that are transhipped since home grown corals get thrown through a ton of stress and still live.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  15. DELxCMB

    DELxCMB Member

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    once there's a name to it.. the price triples.. it's just like everything we buy.. a leather wallet from Wal-Mart costs $10, but when you say it's a Gucci wallet, it jumped up to $400. yes I know the material is better, but just trying to make a point. I personally don't care about names, if I like the color, I get it. that's why I rarely buy corals online. I need to see in person the coral under different lighting before I buy it. lots of people also want to be able to say, "I spend $300 on this 1" frag" just to brag. so everyone has their own reason why they spend what they spend. I go to a shop in NJ where the owner doesn't care what the names are, each piece has a set price, and everything that it the same has the same price. I'm sure a lot of you know which shop that is.

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  16. jazeel50

    jazeel50 New Member

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    I don't know that shop please share


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  17. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    I totally agree on the aspect of corals harvested from the wild being truly worth the cost, adding the factors of someone going out to collect it, package it, sell it, and ship it understandably these corals hold the value. I like you would prefer tried and true aqua cultured coral that has been acclimated to living in a tank cause sometimes coral can be a gamble in that aspect.

    As DelxCMB posted about the shop that sells coral by type and size with set price, i feel that is a fair system for corals that have been on the market awhile an are no longer collected from the wild but aqua cultured for sale
     
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  18. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    i would to love to know the name of the shop
     
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  19. DELxCMB

    DELxCMB Member

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    fengs reef !!!!!! 99% of the frags are from his own tank.

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  20. Jeremy Brito

    Jeremy Brito Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    oh now that makes sense i herd of fengs i just gotta find time to make a trip up there
     
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