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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.

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