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ATS's have a big hurdle to over come?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by atoll, May 29, 2017.

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  1. atoll

    atoll Member

    OK, I am going to play devil's advocate here to a point so bare with me and don't shoot the messenger.
    The way I see it is ATS apart from refugium types are having a hard time getting full acceptance in the hobby. Now you might suggest plenty if people run an ATS but in comparison to other forms of filtration etc, they still have quite a way to go IMO. I am in the UK and when I talk about my ATS many treat my posts with something akin to suspicion and that they are some sort of snake oil.

    Another point people seem quite happy for pay around £400 for a skimmer but not an ATS stating they are expensive. Others simply don't think an ATS can produce the results better than or equal to what they are already running.

    I think one of the issues is that no truly big player in the field of aquarium equipment manufacturing has as far as I am aware has so far produced an ATS of their own. No big name has really endorsed them or given them much air time. I am talking the likes of Sprung here or BRS sure they have touched on the subject but nowhere near as much as other forms of filtration. Just what are they afraid of? I have my suspicions.

    So we have to ask ourselves why is that? I have my own theories on why and it's all to do with commercialism. At his point, I won't expand on that but would like to hear others opinions on the subject.
  2. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    I'm kind of surprised myself that the big players haven't jumped in either. Commercialism is one thing, cost and competition is another. There are several out there that make simple versions, and cheap. When I say simple, that's not meant in a derogatory way - they are functional, and do the job.

    When you start adding features and complexity to make it stand out, that adds cost.

    The other side of it is that while most filtration equipment is just plug & play, and very straight forward as far as functionality goes, an algae scrubber is not. Not by a long shot, IMO. I don't think that there is another piece of equipment that functions so differently depending on the tank/system that it is running on. To really excel and be successful with a product like an algae scrubber, you have to be aware of these things and know how to give the right advice and most importantly know what questions to ask...meaning, you have to have an algae scrubber expert managing customer support.

    Then there is the education side, there are still a ton of people out there that have no idea what an algae scrubber is. That's getting less and less by the year, and the hostility against them (which was really based on ignorance and misinformation from old schoolers) is pretty much gone, and that's flat out due to end user success, which is hard to argue with.

    But, commercialism. I'll spill some beans here. One big online retailer wants to carry an algae scrubber and they like mine. They have a pretty rigid wholesale discount rate and it makes it hardly worth doing on my end. It falls into the category of "loss leader". Plus, I can't keep up as it is. But they're not going to feature a product that they don't carry & make $ on, plus that whole support thing I stated above. So I fall back on a model based around Avast, which is "my wholesale discount is X and if you don't like it, bye bye" and this is why you don't see a lot of stores (brick & mortar or online) carrying Avast (but there are some). They started in a garage, they make good products, and their margin is tight.
  3. atoll

    atoll Member

    Yes I agree with most of what you say, however, take a skimmer there is quite a lot that goes into them production and design wise so I don't see that as such a big deal. Depending on size a decent skimmer will or should cost around the price of a good waterfall ATS?
    I posted a sample of an exchange of ermmm views I had with a guy on a .com forum here in the UK (there are a number more similar that I have replied to on various forums) on your FB group you may have seen. I find there is still a lot of negativity and resistance to this now so new method of filtration. I recall when I started in this hobby 36years similar negativity against skimmers now look how far they have come.
  4. imho an ATS is one of those things that makes a lot of sense, but doesn't make a lot of money. People will buy it once and that is it. No money can be made after that, no media, no trendy products or products. So that is why companies have no interest to commercialize, know what I mean? it is like selling you a car that basically would never break down, there is no money or profits in that!!! :)
  5. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Yes, but the same could be said for a skimmer.
  6. that is true of the skimmer, but skimmers at best they say takes out only ~ 30% of DOCs, algae scrubbers takes out a LOT MORE than that.
  7. atoll

    atoll Member

    Agreed. However ultimately LED's will fail sooner or later the pump supplying the ATS will fail also. However, both these items if of decent quality should give years of service. A skimmers pump will fail and perhaps some plastic parts will become brittle and break but as with the ATS these should last a considerable time if they are of decent quality. What an ATS might well take away from other manufactures products are things lie NO3 reducing media and the reactors required to use them. Some snake oil products may also disappear, no bad thing IMO.
    Turbo likes this.
  8. Only con is with is ATS need some patience and tweaking which some reefers just do have. They want something to throw in (with dosage instructions) and the magic happens. But an ATS needs tweaking a lot (at least this is what I have been through), plus of course the research that one has to do online as well in order to design one from scratch.
  9. atoll

    atoll Member

    My experiences to date are just about the opposite to everything you state above. Mine was plug and play, set up, running perfectly in a matter of minutes. What research are you referring too as I am sure there are 10x (maybe more) more skimmers on the market than ATS's. How much research do you need to do after all when buying one and how much would you have to do to produce a decent DIY skimmer for instance? I am sorry but those are my experience and thoughts although I guess you must have had some difficulties of one sort or another but not me or my friends who employ an ATS and I have built 2 DIY ones before moving to a larger tank and the need for a larger ATS which I ought this time.
  10. i am only speaking of what I have experiences. People's perspective is just different. Just a few things in mind:

    - I am not a handy person or have done any DIY stuff in fish tanks
    - Never heard of what an ATS is before I researched it
    - I had to make several tweaks and that is why basically I came into this forum to get feedback from turbo

  11. atoll

    atoll Member

    Maybe as with skimmers some ATS's require more tweaking than others. I know of a number of people having issues with the Santa Monica rain 2 for instance. Other ATS's like my Atlantis 2 seem easy to set up and there are a number of us in the UK running them and I have yet to hear of anybody having setup and tweaking problems. I was the first to recommend seeding the screen, even the manufacturer was sceptical that seeding would make any difference but it's now been proven seeding give the screen a good kickstart. So well does seeding work that I was harvesting some algae within 7 days of setting it up, I kid you not. After seeing my results from seeding my Atlantis the manufacturer now send a small packet of algae out with every new unit sold.
    After just 2 weeks this was the growth I was getting on my screen. What you see is a mixture of different algae's both GHA and Ulva intestinalis.

    bkillen and Turbo like this.
  12. Seem like the ATS cuts into the core business of most aquarium business. Its a great nutrient reducer, and many companies make lots of money on water quality products. No need for a refugium, possibly smaller Skimmer and less water changes equals less Salt sales. I think many aquarium company rely on consumers lack of knowledge, to make money off them. Give someone an ATS that will help keep water quality up, and there is no reason to buy water quality products.
    atoll likes this.
  13. atoll

    atoll Member

    Ain't that the truth, I do very few and little water changes and when I do, to be honest, I am not sure why I am doing one. I think I have done 20% water change this year. My NO3 and PO4 are very low I hardly do testing for them now. I think sooner or later one of the big players will break rank and come up with their own version but I will hold out as long as possible. I would like to see the likes of BRS do a review of say one of Buds and I am sure he would be only too happy to supply them with one for testing. Somehow, however, I feel they would be reluctant and I think we know why that might be.
    rfbrowne likes this.
  14. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    They have two actually
  15. atoll

    atoll Member

    Well, that's a start and good to hear.How long have they had them on test and when do you think they will be reporting back on them Bud?
    I guess you have had a fair bit of dialogue with them about your scrubbers and ensuring they run them right etc?
  16. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    They've had those for well over a year. I was in discussion with them about carrying them, but they want a huge wholesale discount and then I'd have to ship to them for free. I have a high material cost so that model is prohibitive and I don't see a way to reduce costs without sacrificing quality, so that's essentially a no-go.

    I do know that they really want to carry them, or any quality product for that matter. I heard that one of their guys was at MACNA in San Diego where I had a Rev 4 L2 and L4 on display at the Synergy Reef booth and he essentially said "why aren't we carrying that product".

    Believe me...I wish I could 1) manufacture them fast enough to keep up with BRS demand (which I'm sure would be huge) and 2) be able to do so in a way that was worth my time. But unfortunately, that's not the case right now.

    I'm pretty sure that they won't release any official test data unless it's a product that they can carry. Although, they don't carry DIY algae reactor kits...anyways, that's the story.
  17. atoll

    atoll Member

    Hmmmm, Guess you have thought this one out but have you considered farming the production out? I know you already do some of the parts subcontracted out like the LED panels but mass production as with skimmers should bring down construction costs. Like I suggested you probably figured that out anyway and it's not viable for whatever reason cost mainly I would have thought.
  18. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Yes, many times
  19. Bulk Reef Supply is selling two systems that require tons of water additives. "ZEOvit", and "Triton". ZEOvit uses some sort of rock reactor, and has so many bottled items, I wouldn't even know where to start. Triton, requires a huge refugium, and also a ton of water additives. Both look like a huge money pit. Both systems have a large up front cost, plus a ton of recurring water additives. The way I see it, an algae scrubber only requires a one time hardware purchase. No recurring additive purchases. All I need to do to keep up with my tank is to do occasional water changes and im set.

    BUD, seems like if you want BRS to sell your AWESOME scrubber you need to come up with a scrubber additive system. Haha. Maybe come up with something that "Seeds" and "Feeds" the scrubber so BRS can sell recurring products.
    atoll likes this.
  20. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    You mean like this...
    DIY the DIY FE++ Ferrous citrate supplement
    Or maybe a Potassium doser using a DIY mix...

    Unfortunately those are more DIY fixes....not really a recurring product. So, that's probably not going to happen either!
    Nikko718 likes this.

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