this is quack, i have formed the cave dwellers fleet. i am experiencing the same growing pains as you. i have been in a few fleets that have gone under because of the condition of the game over the couple of years in existance.
the problem i am seeing with the lack of recruits and active members are that anyone that is good that still plays has thier own fleet. this creates a problem for fleets recieving members.
good luck on your challange as i am experiencing the same problems. send me a private message if you would like to be allies and group in pve or pvp.