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Report from your Toronto correspondent.

Posted By: Martin Thoene <gkadar@sympatico.ca>
Date: Sunday, 28 November 2004, at 2:07 p.m.

Ok, while out doing our laundry today, I nipped up to Superpets to have a proper look at this system.

Like Harold says, the Hagen GEOsystem (their way of writing it, a logo if you will), is presented to the punters with a very fancy, curvaceous cherry stained wooden promo display. There is a central swinging board type thing that itemises how you decide which system you want and how you build it up in stages. This is flanked by very colourful, backlit pictures of the various setups they suggest. They look quite nice, if a little clinical and too squeaky clean (i.e. just set up for the photographs).
This display forms the end of the section in this shop dedicated to the GEOsystem. I can't tell if the whole thing is a Hagen design, but it does seem to fit the product boxes rather too well not to be. It, and it's full stock looks like a big investment for the retailer IMO. You have from the bottom up, flat packed cabinet stands, next the tanks 60, 80, 100 & 120. Above those are the "GEO" part of the deal. They offer ready packed, various types of substrates and on another shelf boxes of natural rocks and pebbles which you can select individually. Augmenting these are boxed artificial bogwood and rock formations. Some of these are purpose designed as plant receptacles.

I am assuming that the exact area a retailer commits to this concept is up to them, but for Emma's information, this Superpet has a shelved,double sided display about 6 feet wide by 12 feet long and tagged on the end of that are various of the tanks set up, but not actually filled with water or fish.

I was approached by a sales assistant, so I took the opportunity to act dumb and see how good his sales pitch was. I would guess that he was coached on the sytem because he gave a very good presentation and answered my questions well. Yes, basically we are looking at Stepford wives tanks here. There's a CDN $4.95 booklet that goes through the selection and setup process of various sizes of tank and the posible inhabitants. Choose a continent and the guide tells you what rocks, plants, etc you need. It shows you where to put them, so the danger here is of cloned tanks. They list which fish you should keep as well, but it's a short list for each setup.

I lied that my wife and I had considered a big tank for our lounge (hey, he should SEE our lounge!), so he suggested the 120 kit.
Good news is that this is the tank they choose for Clown loaches. It's actually 58 US Gallons, so at least adequate. The kit comes with a Hagen tank, stand, hood, lighting, a Fluval 304, heater, and a bunch of chemicals for CDN$849.88.
Once you add the Ontario 15% tax, you're still in under $1000, so I guess they've priced it like that on purpose.
To that, you have to add the "GEO" bits, plants, etc.

For Hagen, it presents a way of ensuring that their product gets bought rather than someone buying a Hagen tank, an Eheim filter, and an EboJaeger heater for instance.

They obviously have a lot invested in this concept because of the display and packaging of the whole shebang.

For the retailer it represents a lot of money tied up in stock, but an easy systemic sale rather than having to suggest which components a newbie fishkeeper should buy. I guess one would have to price the components individually to see if there is a true price advantage.

In an ever increasingly brainless world, it makes the purchase of that first aquarium a real no-brainer. I'm not sure that is the way fishkeeping ought to be approached.


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