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I want walmart prices. If sterilite manufactured a
bunch of this stuff it could be dirt cheap. its just
plastic boxes and stuff they could pump out by the
trillions. pumps and powerheads are cheap enough. but
when you see $250-300 for a device that does nothing
but control the on and off of powerheads to cycle
through them thats ridiculous. The same goes for
acrylic things like sumps and skimmers and calcium
reactors which could be made for pennies.

It's simple: the market is not big enough for these devices to allow them to be manufactured in sufficient quantities to result in low prices. For example, a mold for a skimmer might cost $50,000. Yes, complex molds for plastics are *expensive* since they require a lot of very complex machining. If you sell 1000 skimmers, that's $50 per skimmer just to cover the cost of the mold. I don't know how big a market there is for skimmers, but I would be surprised if it's more than a total of maybe 10,000 units per year, and that would have to be split among the many different types of skimmers out there. There isn't a market for trillions skimmers or trillions of power head controllers so each unit has to carry a higher percentage of the total cost to design and manufacture each unit and these are not insignificant costs.

DIY can often be cheaper because you are doing your own research and development, and you don't have a manufacturing facility to support. You don't have to contract for labor and pay wages and benefits, nor do you have to deal with utility costs for your factory and warehouse(s) and the taxes associated with the facilities.

There is a lot of price gouging on aquarium stuff which is probably the biggest reason to DIY -- especially on lighting which seems to be the most overpriced. Ballasts, for example, *are* manufactured in huge quantities since they don't go only into the aquarium hobby. Why it should be $400+ for a MH ballast when I can get one at the local electrical supply house for $29 (and maybe $20 more for an enclosure) is a bit of a mystery.


***************************** Waveform Technology UNIX Systems Administrator

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