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7:38 AM   April 18, 2015
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Most Important Purchase

When a parent or family member decides to purchase an aquarium startup kit for an aspiring hobbyist, lights and sirens should sound – at least in the heads of every staff member at your retail operation.

This entry into the hobby could be the single most important sale on any given day in your business. When appropriate product recommendations are made, it could result in years worth of business from a successful hobbyist looking to expand an enjoyable pastime. Use caution when making recommendations to this important demographic, as what kids what and what’s best for them may be two separate things.

What Kids Want: Small Tanks
When buying that first setup, parents often opt for small kits or novelty merchandise they feel will appeal to a child’s sense of fun. It seems a natural fit to parents who hope their purchase brings joy, and a new hobby, to a child. Make sure to caution these buyers on the dangers of choosing this route.

The Pitch: Bigger Is Better

  • Smaller tanks are often more difficult to care for. Their margin of error for controlling water quality is very narrow. The smaller the tank, the more likely a child is to experience failure when they skip a maintenance chore, like a routine water change.
  • Smaller setups are easy to ignore. A larger tank acts as a visual reminder of daily chores. It also allows kids more opportunity to decorate and experiment with setup options – something they’ll enjoy as their love of the hobby grows.

What Kids Want: Bright Colors
Day glow colors offer a sense of excitement that is synonymous with kids. Gravel and décor items in electric hues may sound good to the beginner, but may actually hamper their early success at the hobby.

The Pitch: Guided by Nature

  • Purchasing naturally inspired items for the tank encourages study of wild fish ecology. Particularly for older children, who want to know how things work, naturally replicating the environment of the fish they choose to keep fosters a deep appreciation and lasting enthusiasm for a hobby they’ll enjoy for years to come.
  • The more unnatural the environment, the more stress tank inhabitants are likely to experience. Without natural hollows and plants to hide in, frightened fish are likely to become ill. Sick fish create undesired hassles for new fish owners.

What Kids Want: Lots of Fish
The temptation to fill a tank with dozens of brightly colored fish is often strong among young hobbyists. Overzealous mixing of too many fish from too many different species creates a recipe for disaster.

The Pitch: Sturdy Standbys
Educate people new to the hobby about the importance of starting with just a few, hardy fish. Novice fishkeepers likely will experience a higher chance of succeeding when they start with one or two, non-aggressive, low-maintenance fish. As those initial pets grow and flourish, new hobbyists are encouraged to take their tanks to the next level. <HOME> 

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