Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Alabama Reefkeeping Discussion - meetings and general chat

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Scott
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Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by Scott » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:28 pm

Thread was split because I hijacked hlanders thread. See other posts here: http://www.mbrk.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t ... 943#p40943


I will tell you that the first meeting we had was at Cliff and Terry's house and there may have been 15 people there. It was good to meet others that had the same interest. We actually sat down and planned the club format and decided on having a forum or something on the internet. The second meeting was at Liz's house, if I remember right there were a lot of people there possibly because she had bought a huge tank from somewhere in the northwest and had it shipped here. When it got here it was cracked. That was when it all really started. After a couple of years the first round of members started fading out or losing interest and then the second round came in, but because they had some knowledge of what we had done previously they still had a genuine interest in the club and getting it started. Once that group started fading out interest started waning and even some of the loyal members stopped participating or left the hobby, me included. I could provide a list of people that gave this organization a base to grow on but with the everything things happen. In my case it was kids and changing careers to support them and send them to a good school. Looking back though I miss it and that is why i am back. If you can get interest sparked and people actually involved in something the meetings/frag swaps would be great but with only a few people that participate it might be less than what you expect.

I would like to see this place with the activity that it once had and then we could have real meetings. I used to search all the reef related message boards and refer people in the area here and that seemed to work pretty well. I know that if there was some renewed interest on the forum and I had a tank set up I would have another meeting.
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Scott » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:54 pm

I searched for some of the meeting we had early on but most of the pictures are no longer hosted anywhere. I did find Shawn's narrative on a couple here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1102. I hosted the February 2004 meeting. Also, look at the Alabama Reefkeepers forum starting at the beginning. You see a real interest in the club at the time.
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Fishfood » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:01 pm

Scott.. I don't know if you have seen it yet but the panhandle reef club has been going for probably 2 years with structure and meetings every 3 months. They have members from Panama City to Pensacola and I know a few folks from Mobile go to the meetings when they are held in pensacola. Most of their meetings are either at Reefers in pensacola, its a new store that just came about I guess 2 yrs ago, and then they rotate with the gulfarium over in ft. walton. They have also had meetings at other places but none at anyones' home just because they get too many people. They do meetings stuff and then doi seminars and frag swaps/sales at the end of the meetings. It has structure, dues and it seems to be doing well. They have sponsors on their web site and paying members can get some discounts at some local places I guess.

I know that that kind of club wasn't wanted here. It was more of the informal thing that was going on. Can people put together frag swaps every now and then? Sure, but I've seen the question asked 2 or 3 times over the last few years and I don't know of anything that has come from it. I for one really don't have anything to trade and with my small tank I dont' have room for anything. The hobby has become and afterthought to me, although I'm getting an itch to get a 55 and go even more basic and get away from sps for nice lps.

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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Scott » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:12 pm

Formal never was our 'thing' not that it couldn't be but it seems like there is just a lack of interest in Mobile in general. I honestly don't know why. I enjoyed the meetings and getting together even if it was just to see someone else's tank and talk crap about aquariums.

Have you been to any of the Panhandle meetings? If so has Ken (Nepthea) been there? I used to get some of the best frags of SPS from him but i know that I haven't talked to him in a few years.
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Fishfood » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:22 pm

Ken doesn't go to them. I don't think he has a tank anymore. He has been through like 4 different tanks since he lost his during Ivan. I mean big tanks, 250+.. I think the last one he had was 390 to 500. Anyway Andy got a bunch of frags and coral from him when he sold everything this last time. I haven't been to any of those meetings. When they first started up I was just getting ready to move here. So the entire time you guys had meetings here I was in pensacola and didn't feel like driving back over here on the weekend since I worked over here during the week. Now I just don't feel like driving back over there. You can check out their site at panhandlereefers.com I think. Andrew posts there a bit. They have club discounts with bulkreefsupply and a few other places. They are also members of MASNA.

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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Amphiprion » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:48 pm

See, I'd love to help organize something formal like what the panhandle club has, but I just don't think we'll get the same response that they did. We'd need to issue club dues, etc. to get that to work and, for whatever reason, that probably won't blow over very well with a lot of folks. I'd be happy to pitch in, myself. I think it could make a difference in the area. I wouldn't say there is a lack of interest in the hobby, as there are plenty of serious folks here, but doing what it takes to have a club is what is difficult. Even if we were to arrange something simple like meetings like before, I have the feeling the attendance would be kinda bad. I think most of the folks in the area just want to keep it on a casual basis. That being said, I wish I would've made it to the earlier meetings that were going on. Heck, I lurked here for almost 2 years before I joined and I only wish I had joined sooner. But hindsight is 20/20.
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Fishfood » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:17 am

They have had a lot of support from the local stores over there, and from the gulfarium. People who work at the stores direct people to the sites. The club isn't store driven either becuase there are about 5 or so stores that have their own sections and have some type of sponsorship. Some participate more than others from what it looks like. Anyway the dues are only $20 for the year I think. That takes care of the web site, membership to MASNA and food/drink or renting facilities for the meetings. They have a board that is voted in and it seems that is where problems come from. Some people don't agree with the direction that some members want to take the club. I was never a fan of paying for the membership but after sitting back and watching what they have done I think $20 is a reasonable price, considering what I end up losing on stuff that doesn't make it in my tank, or the equipment I buy and decide I didn't really need. I imagine that the $20 would be well worth it to beginners if it helps them cut their losses.

Scott hit the one major sticking point to something like that... members coming and going, losing interest and getting out of the hobby. The pensacola group has been in it current form for2 to 3 years I guess, but they started the same way MRBK did back n the day, and did the meetings at someones house for a good while. They started to get too big for meetings at peoples house and made the leap into what it is. So I'm guessing one of the original guys, Dr. Hank has been with the group for 4 or 5 years now, but most of the other early folks have left the area or just got out of the hobby. These clubs seem to have no problems in more populated areas. I guess thats why Panhandle Reefkeepers gets people from Pensacola to Panama City.. It needs that large of an area to support the club.

I had once suggested breaking their site up into regional sections like Mobile, Pensacola, Ft. Walton/Destin and maybe PC. Keep the same general forums but have these special sections for local meetings and frag swaps. Then have a larger meeting twice a year where everyone goes. Lets face it people who are into this hobby drive a good bit to go get things they want. I mean Andy drove to Destin when Ken was taking his tank down. Karen and Billy have gone from Louisiana and over to Destin I think to get things for their tank, or have had people come from those locations to get stuff. I drove to Birmingham to pick up my old 135. Before stores in Pensacola started getting in decent Acro's and other unique coral many would drive over here to Progressive.

Right now I dont know how much I would personally support a club like that. My 6-month old is causing me to lose interest in my current tank and really I haven't paid much attention to it in the last year, although I'm itching for something bigger that I can set and forget, something simple.

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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Scott » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:29 am

Amphiprion wrote:I wish I would've made it to the earlier meetings that were going on. Heck, I lurked here for almost 2 years before I joined and I only wish I had joined sooner. But hindsight is 20/20.
It could be similar to that again. When we started there were only a handful of us but most of us were pretty passionate about the hobby. There is no reason the club couldn't start back up but what will it take to re-energize it and get new people involved AND feel good about something that there are taking part in. I am sure there are a handful that are somewhat active here now. Look at the some of the older posts here, there were lot's of people that were active, participating members.

How would you go about organizing something that could grow again and sustain itself so that we could have a community like the panhandler's?
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Scott » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:49 am

Drew has a lot of valid points but the things that they can do in Florida is different. We don't have 5 reef stores, we really only have one (al least in Mobile and Baldwin Counties). I have seen a couple others come and go but they couldn't make it. They didn't have the right stock, their set up couldn't support the stock they had, bad location, bad management, whatever, I really don't know. I do know that I went into a lot of them and was never impressed like the store that was in Kenner, LA (I think it's moved or closed) or the one just north of Atlanta, there are no stores close like those here at all. I would even pay the dues but Snoop can't even get members to cover the $100 it takes to keep the board up and running, so how many others will. Even if they were $5 and we had advertisements on the board would everyone pay?

Members waxing and waning should have only a minor effect if everyone else participates. How do you get people, like Amphiprion who lurked for 2 years, to join and participate. If he had been here the two years that he lurked how would things have been different. He gives good advise, knows the hobby and the doesn't mind expressing his opinion. That would have been useful to a lot of people back then. That is what we need more of now to get people to come back, participate and join. I know there are other things that need to happen too though, but what are they (what do reefkeepers want in a club)?
Fishfood wrote:Right now I dont know how much I would personally support a club like that. My 6-month old is causing me to lose interest in my current tank and really I haven't paid much attention to it in the last year, although I'm itching for something bigger that I can set and forget, something simple.
That was one reason I left for a while, some things have to take the back seat and it's something that you can do without.
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Re: Frag Swap

Post by Fishfood » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:38 am

Look at the stores invovled in the panhandle reefkeepers site... You only see 1 on there that has been up and running in pensacola since I got into this stuff back in 2000 and that is Aquaria, and even that store changed ownership and names since then. The old Reefers that was down town closed, Tims store Aqua Works closed. The new store Reefers paradise was started from 2 members on panhandle reefkeepers. 1 other sponsor is a guy who breeds clowns in his garage. One is a mechanic who has a store in his shop. The main players in Pensacola, Waterworld and Reef Scapes don't advertise there, although employees from those stores do participate on the forums.

The group started passing out flyers at the lfs all along the coast. They had raffles and gave aways of stuff donated by Dr. Foster & Smith at their meetings. A big percentage of the folks there were driven there by the LFS, or folks who post on the site who work at the LFS. They also get discounts from some of the on-line vendors because of their club status, and since the gulfarium now sells livestock, paying members get very good discounts there.

The bottom line is you need the local stores participation if you want it to work no matter how good or bad you think they are. You then can't let people insult them on the forums, but I dont' see why critisim wouldn't be a good thing. They drive people to the club and the club helps support all the stores. I know there was a fear before that it was just going to be 1 store that would sponsor the club and use it to its advantage.

As for paying for this site.. what does it really provide people at this point. You said you saw 20 or so people on here yesterday. I haven't seen many posts from these people. There are many other reef forums around where you can get the same info that you don't need to pay for either. You don't have to be a member with panhandle reefkeepers to post and participate on their forums or even attend the meetings(you may have to pay a few bucks if you want food, I don't know?) But if you do pay you have discounts at a few local stores, not all and from a few on line vendors, food and drink covered at meetings and meeting places paid for if its not at a lfs. Is that worth $20? I don't know. I'm not even sure what members get from their involvement in MASNA. With that said I've donated here a few times in the past.

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Re: Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by Fishfood » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:25 am

I'm not saying you need to make it a paid membership for what you want to do. I think if you want to get the activity going you need to see what people want. Get a few people together and have a meeting. See what the benefits of becoming an NPO. Would sponsors be more likely to help out if you were a formal group or a lose knit group who get together every once in a while. Look at what other clubs are doing and see what would work. Heck you could even ask the guys on the board with panhandle reefkeepers what they did and how we could partner up being that we are so close.

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Re: Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by Scott » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:13 am

IMO, the reef related stored need us just like we need them I can't tell you how many times I have told people on other forums about Progressive here and the stores that were good that I had personally seen in their area. I will be the first to criticize them too.

I am not trying to advocate memberships, I am just trying to find some way to promote the club, gain members that care about the future of the club and the hobby and then see how it goes from there. How is this accomplished though. I can (and have) gone on RC and searched for people in our area and pointed them here. But now without some sense of a real community they will come and not stay. So we need to get the people that are here interested and participating. What will it take to do that? A meeting? A frag swap?

:!: How about some ideas from everyone that logs on. I would like to hear why you don't post, why you come here, what would make it better and anything else you would like to add. Just post one letter so that we know your keyboard works and we can get an idea of what it's going to take. :!:
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Re: Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by andy4499 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:56 pm

IMO I think dues are a good idea but the club has got to get more people in the area involved before you can go and start charging them. I do think it would help getting some of the local pet stores more involved. Although the only saltwater stores that are local are B&B and Progressive Marin. I am not sure how they would feel about supporting this site but I know several members of those stores do use this site. I was in Progressive the other day and Beaver said that the shop may be closing one of these days and just do tank maintenance and if you wanted to check out the store it would be by appointment only. I hope they don’t go to that, but I know they have to do what they have to. Anyways if we were able to get the stores more involved it would be a great thing for this site. I know I have been a member on this site for years and have learned a ton for everyone that post on here I don’t post a lot any more on here mainly because most of the posting that has been done has been in the buy sell area. Not many people are asking many questions about reef keeping. I personally like to share my knowledge about aquariums most of which I have learned from this site.

Just to see what kind of interest and activity we have right now on this site I will start a Poll thread.

These are some great discussions on this topic and it has really sparked me in thinking of hosting another meeting some day. I would be up to have everyone over some time to discuss the future of the web site if any one wanted to talk more about it and work out some details of what we can do to improve the site and get more people to participate.
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Re: Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by Fishfood » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:37 pm

Thats surprising if its remotely true what beaver said. What I don't get is how does pensacola support Waterworld, Reef Scapes, Reefers Paradies, Aquaworks and I guess Petland but Mobile can't keep more than 2 stores and maybe only 1 running. I don't know if this is accurate but pensacola is showing a 58k population in 2008 and mobile is at 190k population? I don't get it.

You would think that if a club can help keep interest in new reefkeepers and keep them from giving up they would be return customers to the local stores.

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Re: Topic: MBRK rejuvenation

Post by snoopdog » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:50 pm

Trust me, people are filing Bankruptcy left and right. Chapter 11's are double what they were in 2008.

When times get hard, hobbies go bye bye.
"When they was no meat we ate fowl, when there was no fowl we ate crawdad. And when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand."--Cellmate
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"We ate sand."--Cellmate
"You ate sand?"--H.I.
"That's right."--Cellmate

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