Do you support aquarium supply companies over places like Amazon and should you?

Do you think it's important to support aquarium specific businesses within our industry first?

  • YES

    Votes: 486 82.7%
  • NO

    Votes: 58 9.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 44 7.5%

  • Total voters
    588

DiZASTiX

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It depends. A lot of Amazon companies are fairly small entities that would need even more support than "reef industry orgs". I assume "supplies" here refers to consumables (e.g., KZ products, bulk chemicals, food) and not things like lights, tanks, so on. For me, it's based on a few factors:

(1) I almost always buy from BRS or Geo's store.

(2) However, I generally optimise w/r/t total price or speed, based on need.

(3) As someone I believe to be a "high volume" consumer buyer, I don't feel Geo or Ryan would be upset if I bought things from other places too.


For things that aren't consumable (e.g., LED strips) I generally buy from BRS or Geo. For parts that could be part of anything (e.g., fittings), I opt for McMaster-Carr, Amazon, or Home Depot.


Whatever the case, I'm a "high reliability" buyer, so I always go for certain brands that reflect this need.


I think it's really just necessary now more than ever, regardless of where one spends, to spend more. Spend or die, economically speaking.
 

1stNoel

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I always make a point of buying "something" when I go to the LFS, even if it's only $10 worth of food, because I appreciate having them around. I even spread the love around, as there are several in my area.

Bulk purchases go to BRS, because I appreciate all of the content they provide.

I also use the R2R forum for coral or used equipment purchases.

I rarely use Amazon for aquarium purchases unless it's something I can't find elsewhere.
 

Indytraveler83

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I voted "Other" because I'm not really sure how to place my thoughts:

1) I support my local lfs whenever I feel they are being reasonable. This is probably 80% of the time.

2) Where I feel this hobby in general becomes unreasonable is when brand name items cost significantly more than generic counterparts that achieve the same purpose.

I feel like Amazon is the best place to mitigate what I feel is unreasonable about the hobby, by purchasing the cheaper generic items.

And let me be clear: I'm not talking livestock. I just simply won't pay a premium (sometimes 4-5x) for equipment because it has features I do not value. I grow softies/lps just fine with generic lights and pumps.
 

Mike9976

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Ran into a post on the BRS #AskBRSTV FB page where someone had stated that Amazon was showing aquarium supplies not delivering until April 23rd! Almost a month from now. Granted some people were saying that they were still getting items a couple days after they ordered. I thought about this and thought that it would make a great topic today.

Let me step on my soapbox for a moment if you will. (hmm also it just occurred to me that R2R is kinda in the same boat with competition like FB)

THIS is exactly the reason we need to support companies like Bulk Reef Supply, Aquarium Specialty, Marine Depot, Premium Aquatics, Champion Lighting Supply, SaltwaterAquarium (all R2R sponsors) and our local fish stores more than places like Amazon! I understand why Amazon is doing this but it doesn't mean that hobbyists still don't need their supplies quicker. Supporting companies within our industry will help ensure that we will always be able to get the aquarium supplies we need when we need them.

Do you think it's important to support (to be a customer of) aquarium specific businesses within our industry first? If not then why not?


SUPPORT INDUSTRY.jpg
I purchase what I can via Amazon. Pricing is better and someone else mentioned the return policy. I also use 3 or 4 LFS on Long Island and Queens and but goods from them. Also pick brain. Good thing bout those places is the more they see your face, the more u spend they tend to then start taking care of you. The smart ones tend to know that these forums can realistically make or break them. The power of referral and word of mouth is strong.
 

Brian_68

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Closest large LFS is shut down for this anyway so actually Amazon or the other mail order firms will be needed. Just got a large frozen order from LA yesterday since the local LFS closure, first time I ordered frozen food online.
 

clffthmps

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Reefing can be very expensive,so yes if I can get it on Amazon cheaper than that’s the route I will go. Hate to say it but to be honest I have to budget for my aquarium not make them richer.
 

MARK M. DAVIS

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I purchase from BRS, Marine Depot, Aqua cave, Premium Aquatics, along with direct purchases from Santa Monica Filtration, GEO's reef and Coralvue. I do purchase some generics from Amazon like filter pads, or Nori. I've had pretty good luck with all of the vendors. Usually, pricing is the same. Warranty usually goes back to manufacturer and not the seller which would make Amazon much better since they offer instant refunds. I've never had an issue with the manufacturers although, I've had to pay for returns and warranty type issues for manufacturing type defects. Geo's reef and Sicces have been very good at warranty replacement but, Santa Monica had me pay a discounted rate for a newer version of their LED assembly. If Coral Vue or Spectrapure offer better deals than BRS or Marine depot, I'll buy direct.
 

DiZASTiX

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I voted "Other" because I'm not really sure how to place my thoughts:

1) I support my local lfs whenever I feel they are being reasonable. This is probably 80% of the time.

2) Where I feel this hobby in general becomes unreasonable is when brand name items cost significantly more than generic counterparts that achieve the same purpose.

I feel like Amazon is the best place to mitigate what I feel is unreasonable about the hobby, by purchasing the cheaper generic items.

And let me be clear: I'm not talking livestock. I just simply won't pay a premium (sometimes 4-5x) for equipment because it has features I do not value. I grow softies/lps just fine with generic lights and pumps.
I generally go for the brand counterpart for some things due to the aesthetics. To me, the aesthetics are a "must-have", which is why my tank doesn't have a skimmer because I can't figure out right now the safest way to implement an alternative to an in-sump for a 14gal.

(One of my other hobbies is car tuning, so some munies are just spent on aesthetics).

That said, I quoted this because I agree wholeheartedly on things like bulk chemicals. There are non-industry products that are far superior to industrial products from a quality standpoint (perhaps not necessarily from an ease of use one). I hope this doesn't get quoted harshly or out of context, so to clarify, I'm referring to things like bulk pharmaceutical grade chemicals. Accounting for purity and amount of product, buying a giant bag of high purity stuff is way better than something specific to our hobby, provided you want to dive into the chemical aspect of the hobby. (And if you don't, that's okay too: Ryan @ BRS says the hobby is what you make of it, so the best munie spent is whatever derives the most enjoyment with the lowest death of poor animals.
 

reefs4less

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As long as the majority of affordable products from China remain available on Amazon, the unfortunate truth is that most aquarium specific companies will never be able to compete. USA suppliers only hope is to support made in USA brands and figure out a way to get the cost of manufacturing to a competitive level. My 2 cents anyway.
 

Javamahn

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I buy based on availability price and delivery costs and times. That being said all things equal I will buy from LFS if possible, online aquarium specific and then amazon in that order. I do find it sad that brick and mortar stores have a difficult time competing with the online stores because of overhead and MAP. But that is capitalism.
 

Dev795

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I buy a lot of my stuff on amazon, mainly bc it’s cheaper, a lot of the time other industry business sell it more on there site but amazon will sell the same one, shipped from the same company at a lower price...i try to support my lfs all the time and online industry vendors but I’m on a budget and can’t always afford these “brand name” products, they may have some benefits but so far in my one year of experience i haven’t needed the top ones and have had no problems with equipment(yet)
 
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Crustoceous

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It’s kind of hard to justify spending $55 on a bucket of salt when amazon is selling it for $20. But if it’s a unique service or higher quality item only available from those stores then yea, no reason to cheap out, because you get what you pay for. But there’s no reason to throw money into the wind when the prices of things in the hobby are already high. I don’t know many people that find satisfaction in paying the highest price possible. If you do, please send them my way I have a few items they may be interested in.
 

Oberst Oswald

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LFS (Something Fishy in Pa) for livestock, food and if they have what I want in stock.

LFS (Reefco in NJ) for coral.

Bulk Reef Supply for everything else if it is in-stock.

Any other store... be it Amazon, Petco Marine Depot, Saltwater Aquarium etc that has the product I want in-stock.
 
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I promise this isn't about R2R and sponsors but read on....

One thing we should all consider is the value that we get, for FREE, from companies that not only provide education via videos and articles but the fact that they support platforms like Reef2Reef. We're all a part of this big working wheel!

How do you feel about that?
 

Mooka151

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I can understand the convenience of Amazon, its undeniable. I use it very often but I try to limit my purchases to commodities. I love the hobby of reefing, and I value the content put out by the guys/gals at places like BRS WAY more than I do the convenience of Amazon. Amazon isnt in the reefing business, they don't have a passion or love for the hobby, they are nothing more than a middle man. If we dont try to buy local, and support small owner run / operated business there wont be any left soon. There is value in the item being sold and there is value in the support, knowledge and content being put out by that provider. I benefit from the content put out by a company like BRS, and I feel morally obligated to support them with my business so that they succeed and continue to produce content that I will continue to benefit from.

That said I do not work for BRS nor do I know anyone who does, but I wont turn down some free BRS bucks.
 

zoomonster

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Very touchy subject and going to say some things probably not popular. The whole pet industry particularly aquarium is extremely corrupt and they have been squeezing us for far to long. MAP pricing is just a convenient term for PRICE FIXING. Anything labeled as a luxury or hobby seems to get gouged. If there is something I can get from Amazon for a better price and get it in 2 days or less then yes I will order. Plus some of the items on Amazon are actually from Marine Depot and others. Aside from fast shipping I can get 5% back on Amazon card or free financing for 6-18 months. Saltwater aquarium takes Amazon pay so I can order from them with same payment terms but I don't for various reasons. The vast majority of my supply/hardware purchases come from BRS but my problem with them is shipping which is too slow for free or the extra you pay for UPS ground. Two day and next day prices are ridiculous. I mean seriously even with a $2800+ light order recently from BRS I had to pay extra just to get UPS ground. I did order from them though because I knew they would get priority on inventory from Ecotech and I have been enjoying my lights, that shipped on release day, while some have not even shipped yet. Pet supplies are supposed to be exempt from Amazon delays... ordered Lugol's yesterday (2x as much for less) and coming Sunday. Not 2 day but not a month.

Local fish stores are another story. I will buy equipment from them in a pinch or an occasional fish or coral but the Orlando shops have gone off the rail with pricing. If you have ever been in TSA or WWC you would laugh at the microscopic, fresh cut crap they are peddling online. The stuff on the retail racks is a little better but the prices are laughable. They usually have them grouped together so you can see online and Ebay listings and laugh. With all the shops we have in the Orlando area I just today got a coral order from AquaSD in CA. Even they are getting out of hand with "sales" and prices you can generally expect to get decent sized encrusted pieces. Plus unlike a lot of places that are getting all the Indo aquacultured colonies and chopping them into 100's of pieces they are selling whole colonies at reasonable prices. And I mean an actual large colony and not a couple inch frag places try to pawn off as a colony. Of course yes you can get things like Ecotech and Neptune at the same price as everywhere (MAP) but also pay sales tax.

Especially in FL frag swaps have become a joke with the laws encouraged by the shops that prohibit the sale of stuff from your tank unless you have an aquaculture license. That means for swaps you get to pay for the privilege of going and paying prices mostly higher than online or in store. Of course leave it to WWC and the ridiculous admission prices for ReefAPalooza. With the prices charged the vendors should be footing the bill. Now don't get me wrong it does give you the opportunity to actually see something before you buy it and maybe find a deal or two. Of course if you buy raffle tickets maybe you will win something.
 

Are you still ordering livestock or are you going to wait it out?

  • I'm still ordering and not worried

    Votes: 312 33.7%
  • I'm ordering but being cautious about delivery

    Votes: 178 19.2%
  • No I am not ordering right now

    Votes: 396 42.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 41 4.4%

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