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GRADE THEM! Do they get an A+ or an F- or somewhere in between?

What overall grade would you give to the whole class of online livestock vendors?

  • A+

    Votes: 15 3.3%
  • A

    Votes: 39 8.7%
  • A-

    Votes: 34 7.6%
  • B+

    Votes: 70 15.6%
  • B

    Votes: 104 23.2%
  • B-

    Votes: 46 10.3%
  • C+

    Votes: 33 7.4%
  • C

    Votes: 58 12.9%
  • C-

    Votes: 16 3.6%
  • D+

    Votes: 7 1.6%
  • D

    Votes: 12 2.7%
  • D-

    Votes: 7 1.6%
  • F+

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • F

    Votes: 2 0.4%
  • F-

    Votes: 4 0.9%

  • Total voters
    448

revhtree

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Today let's hand out some grades! The quiz has been taken now let's see if they passed!

What the heck am I talking about? Today let's talk about OVERALL ONLINE LIVESTOCK orders. Fish, coral, snails anything living what grade would you give them? So I know you might be ready to grade each individual online vendor but today I was thinking about grading them as a whole, as ordering livestock online overall.

1. If you were to give a grade to the whole class of online vendors, what would you grade them?

2. What kinds of things impact the grades positively and negatively?

3. What has vendors done to get an extra credit grade with you?


**Please don't call out any vendors as this is not what this is about and we want the discussion to stay on topic! Thanks.

GRADE.jpg
 

NanoReefLovers

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I am going to follow along on this one as I only ordered once 17 yrs ago and everything came in dead. Recently I have been thinking about doing an online live stock order. I am going to read this thread closely as I want to know the best place to order from.

In keeping with the theme of the question, I guess I will be “auditing” the class so I can’t get the prof a review.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Over about 10ish order and probably 60 fish/corals I have had 2 DOA, no pests I can directly trace and 2 missing fish. The missing fish is what confuses me because it is probably the easiest part of shipping livestock (counting). Overall a pretty positive experience from most online vendors with one instance of a refusal to correct the issue
 

Jdubyo

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I have probably bought somewhere around 30-40 coral/fish/inverts online. I made sure to do some research first but have only had 1 negative incident. Not totally sure I can blame the vendor either. It was probably something that happened in shipping. Anyway, the majority of my purchases were from @WWC and @AquaSD. Everything was bagged and secured well. I would recommend them to anyone inquiring. :D
 

LadyMac

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As a whole I’d say an A, but I buy from individuals, and most of my purchases have been freshwater fish or plants. I have bought several macro algae packs and a couple small coral packs as well and all came in alive but smaller than I had anticipated. One thing that really got me were people shipping macros in bags full of water. Buying freshwater plants I’ve always gotten them wrapped in paper towels or newspaper and bagged like that. Overall I’m happy with what I got, and chalk the size expectation up to being new to corals.
 
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vetteguy53081

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At work and will elaborate more later but the grade I determined is based on a few factors:

- Smaller size than shown and I believe many vendors are progressively making frags smaller and smaller while charging market price
- coloration. I understand that photoshop is more common and filters used to sharpen contrasts but by golly, show the customer what they’re getting for their hard earned money. If you’re using certain lights- perhaps mention lights used for photos
- if youre going to put on a sale and offer a discount.....OFFER A DISCOUNT!! We are much smarter than vendors realize when they jack up prices, then offer a discount. We didn’t just fall off a turnip wagon and lost our memory as to how much that same piece was 1-2-3 weeks ago
- stop sending us aptasia, red bugs and plugs with some sort of eggs on them!!
- quit blaming high prices on COVID . We get it that shipping has gone up but to take advantage and add 25-50% ; not my money which none have seen for at least 6 months.
 

WVNed

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I have ordered and had things shipped many times.

Things I didn't like are
inverts shipped in bags with no water making them impossible to acclimate. Macro algae shipped in no water with heat packs so it comes out of the bag smelling like boiled spinach. A fish in a leaky bag put into another leaky bag and those into yet another leaky bag.

Extra credit
Fish packed so well that they experienced a one day delay in delivery yet arrived perfectly fine.

Having a preferred list of vendors is fine but things change over time and I have seen good vendors go the trip.
 

Dark_Knightt

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I put B+ as ive only ordered online livestock once. 3 corals. 1 of them is dying but its mostly just my tank conditions, but i think its may be dead or almost. I prefer going to the LFS and acc getting to see and pick my own corals. Theres a jolt of excitement that comes from bagging corals and having them handed too you. ;):D:D
 

lapin

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I think they are doing a good job overall. Some are good and some are not. They do have a good selection and most times you get what you ordered.
There is a lot of room for improvement. They do have to make money and be competitive.
I still like seeing before I buy so most things I get from my LFS
 

Greybeard

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I voted D-

Honestly, FAIL would be more correct.

We, as a hobbyist group, have ACCEPTED that receiving diseased fish is NORMAL. Do a quick search for quarantine up in the right corner... everywhere you look, you MUST quarantine all new purchases. Why? Because WE accept that receiving SICK LIVESTOCK as reasonable.

QUIT IT!

We, as hobbyists, need to quit accepting that receiving sick fish is just the way it is. Quit believing that it _should_ be OUR responsibility to quarantine and medicate every fish we buy. Don't know about you folks, but I'm HAPPY to PAY for healthy animals. If that yellow tang is $175, but you can tell me honestly that he's been in your holding tanks for 4 weeks, isn't showing any signs of disease, is eating well, clear eyes... Fine. I'll pay. QUIT SENDING OUT SICK FISH!

Ok, I just bought some chaetomorpha from aquaculturenurseryfarms. 1 cup of Chaeto, $40 + S&H.

It arrived dry, in an envelope, with a core temperature of around 90f. I figured it was a goner, but it appears to be resilient enough that it might actually make it. Still... that's my last order from these folks. Hopefully, it'll grow well, and I'll once again be able to give macro algae starters to my fellow reefers, instead of making people pay these ridiculous prices.

<Rant off>

As for fish, I don't buy online anymore. I buy from one guy, a LFS, where I can SEE the fish, even leave the fish in the store for a week or so BEFORE I take it home.

Corals? if my local guy can't get it, I'll drive 4 hours to the loo, or even KC... or wait for the next coral swap (there's a misnomer... swap... for greenbacks. You just _try_ and exchange coral for coral at these things!)
 
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4TheLoveOfReefs85

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I am going to follow along on this one as I only ordered once 17 yrs ago and everything came in dead. Recently I have been thinking about doing an online live stock order. I am going to read this thread closely as I want to know the best place to order from.

In keeping with the theme of the question, I guess I will be “auditing” the class so I can’t get the prof a review.
I have to agree the same thing happened to me about five to six years ago, lost about four hundred dollars in livestock... Then they (not naming) wouldn't give me a refund so I could choose another vendor... I truly had too many issues with them, I have not ordered since, I wasn't even able to re-order the species I pre-ordered that I lost, to begin with, they "claimed" they were out of stock. Bloody hell, on top of it, the packaging wouldn't have allowed them to survive to begin with. It was a disaster. I too will be following quite closely. The stock they gave me after did not survive, they had to be quarantined and nothing made it. I have not bought a single thing since. I need life in my tank severely...
 

NinjaTiLL

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2 online orders so far (within last 2 months): ipsf.com and saltyunderground.com. Both shipments were packaged well and all livestock arrived alive and healthy. Prices are mostly more reasonable online than at the LFS. That means I get more livestock for my money! Shipping cost is always a consideration so I either wait and place a big order or find a vendor closer to me where the shipping cost isn't terrible. saltyunderground has one of the lowest free-shipping thresholds I've seen at $79.
 

4TheLoveOfReefs85

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I voted D-

Honestly, FAIL would be more correct.

We, as a hobbyist group, have ACCEPTED that receiving diseased fish is NORMAL. Do a quick search for quarantine up in the right corner... everywhere you look, you MUST quarantine all new purchases. Why? Because WE accept that receiving SICK LIVESTOCK as reasonable.

QUIT IT!

We, as hobbyists, need to quit accepting that receiving sick fish is just the way it is. Quit believing that it _should_ be OUR responsibility to quarantine and medicate every fish we buy. Don't know about you folks, but I'm HAPPY to PAY for healthy animals. If that yellow tang is $175, but you can tell me honestly that he's been in your holding tanks for 4 weeks, isn't showing any signs of disease, is eating well, clear eyes... Fine. I'll pay. QUIT SENDING OUT SICK FISH!

Ok, I just bought some chaetomorpha from aquaculturenurseryfarms. 1 cup of Chaeto, $40 + S&H.

It arrived dry, in an envelope, with a core temperature of around 90f. I figured it was a goner, but it appears to be resilient enough that it might actually make it. Still... that's my last order from these folks. Hopefully, it'll grow well, and I'll once again be able to give macro algae starters to my fellow reefers, instead of making people pay these ridiculous prices.

<Rant off>

As for fish, I don't buy online anymore. I buy from one guy, a LFS, where I can SEE the fish, even leave the fish in the store for a week or so BEFORE I take it home.

Corals? if my local guy can't get it, I'll drive 4 hours to the loo, or even KC... or wait for the next coral swap (there's a misnomer... swap... for greenbacks. You just _try_ and exchange coral for coral at these things!)
I don't have an LFS here anymore, the guy went belly up after I quit when he had me working from sun up to sundown. He couldn't find anyone to not only run 200 tanks, birds, reptiles, but also raise and hatch monarchs, guinea pigs, ferrets, stock shelves, maintain proper orders, plus do special orders for customers, and run the sales floor. The guy was a mess. I was there for 15 to 16 hours a day running his business for 13 years and he never once gave me a raise. Minimum wage, so I quit and now there isn't an LFS here anymore, and no one would work as I did for him. I still don't know how I did it. I loved my job though. Anyways, I have absolutely nothing in my tank due to a winter storm fallout a few years back and don't trust buying online anymore due to nearly a five hundred plus dollar rip off of all livestock coming back dead and them refusing to replace it. so just two clowns, a saddle, few mushrooms, and nine zoanthid heads... Oh and a few ball anemone.
 
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andrewkw

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C+ for Canada. While many complain about the selection here, generally speaking LFS in Canada are comparable to US - I've never been to most of the "big" places but have visited reef shops in various US cities and never really saw anything I didn't see in Canada or for better pricing.

That being said our online selection sucks. There are a few good places but that's it just a few. Most of those places also do in person sales so the storefronts are still better then their online shops. One place I order from has not changed their ordering system since I got the clownfish that is my avatar in 2006. Post a .pdf then have to exchange various emails and phone calls before an order is actually placed. Besides shipping delays that are no fault of the stores I've never really had an issue with an online order.

It has gotten a little better the last few years with some more places shipping, but if there was no pandemic I would rather drive the 7hrs to a good fish store then buy online. Part of this is our shipping network in Canada sucks outside of major cities, but part of it is I just favor in person buying so much more for livestock. Living near a quality LFS is still important in Canada imo even if many in the US don't think so.
 

Miller535

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I have had positive experience over all. I have had a few things come in doa or not look good. But over all everything has been pretty good. Yes there are vendors that photo shop and use fancy lighting and cameras to make their corals look better then they should. But different lights make corals look different, especially with leds. And at this point if you want a coral you should google it and look at several pictures of it in real peoples tanks, This gives you a far more realistic idea then a vendor picture. Tidal gardens owner even recommends it. I also have no LFS that offer any kind of warranty. And their selections are not good. So it is a no brainer for me to order online. I think more then anything it's finding a online vendor that you like. But that's the same thing with LFS's.

My vote was B- by the way
 
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SawCJack00

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Well... I am both an online vendor, and an online buyer. I rated the industry as a B+. The things that make me love an online vendor are, accurate representation in pictures (WYSIWYG), excellent packaging, and great communication as well as follow up and good DOA coverage. Turn offs are lousy packaging leading to DOA, crazy photoshopped pics under blue light only, and ridiculously high prices for nubs... I have ordered online for almost all of my livestock (and I have A LOT of livestock LOL), and for the most part my experiences have been positive, and sometimes incredibly awesome.
 
Last edited:

92Miata

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B-? Maybe?

Advantage Online:
Selection
Warranty/Doa/refunds - if something is dead before I get it home, my LFS is going to tell me too bad. I've had online vendors give me credit for stuff that shows up a little damaged but lives. We got back into reefing recently - and Live Aquaria honored a credit for a dead fish my wife had from 2005.
Dont have to leave my house

Advantage LFS:
I'm not looking at a coral through orange tinted glass.
I'm not looking at a coral with so low Depth of focus that I can't tell whether its taking up half a frag plug, or its 4 inches wide.
True, actual, WYSIWYG
 

CelestEel

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In the past, I've had fish arrive dead, or sick (and died soon after). I've had things arrive that look nothing like what I ordered. I hate it when a SPS coral arrives broken into several pieces. Most people ship them in a way where that won't happen, but it has happened a few times.
I really just prefer to buy from my LFS. And now, the only people I buy from online are right down the street from me, and I know them, so even then I'm sort of staying local.
 
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