What are good places to buy fish online?

ToastPuppy

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As the title states, I don’t know where are good places to buy saltwater fish online if I want to. What are your recommendations and can you share any personal experiences with them? Ditto for locations you’d suggest I avoid. Thank you!
 

mrpontiac80

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First hand experience… all good..
The fish hotel (quarantine fish)
Tank stop
Saltwaterfish
Live aquaria



No first hand experience
Dr reef
TSM
Marine collectors
World wide corals
Top shelf aquatics
 

JNalley

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In order of how much I like them:

BlueZooAquatics
SaltwaterAquarium
SaltyUnderground
LiveAquaria

All positive experiences. I only buy CUC from BlueZoo and from ReefCleaners (I didn't mention ReefCleaners because you specifically mentioned fish, but I use ReefCleaners almost exclusively for CUC, and use BlueZoo only when I am also placing a fish order in conjunction).
 

JC1977

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For quarantined fish I’ve had good luck with marine collectors. I’ve also had pretty good luck with live aquaria barring the fiasco with a Assasi Trigger I purchased recently. You will have to quarantine yourself if you go through live aquaria though.
 

kass03

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I've had saltwater fish almost 50 years. I've ordered from live aquaria many times and always been happy until today.
My fish usually live long so I don't order that often. I lost a couple fish a few weeks ago when my power was out for 2 days. (I have a generator but didn't get it going until about 12 hours after).
So I ordered 3 fish. A longnose butterfly, an eibli angelfish they call red striped and a bluehead wrasse. I also ordered some snails.
So the FedEx lady knocked on my door at 9:30 am and said the box was leaking. It was damaged and she opened it because it said live fish. She was trying to help. She said the yellow one was dead and she proceeded to take each fish out and the butterfly had both bags it was in popped. It had barely any water in and was upside down looking dead. She then took out the angel and it had some water in it but it was cloudy and the fish was dead. It was leaking a little. The wrasse and snails were ok.
I brought everything in and was inspecting it. All of a sudden I saw the butterfly gasp for a breath. I quickly put it in a plastic container but had to put some water from my tank so it had enough to swim. I acclimated it and it was ok so far but who knows with all the stress. The angel is dead.
What I am really mad about is these fish were just thrown into a cardboard box. I paid a $9.99 box charge. They were always in a styro box before when I ordered.
I called them and they said yeah we don't use a styro box anymore just a cardboard one. First of all what did I pay a $9.99 fee for? and second anybody knows if you get cardboard wet it falls apart. Plus a styro box protects it from getting crushed. The butterfly was in a double bag that was popped with like a 5 inch gash in it.
I have never had fish shipped to me without a styro box. I wonder how many losses they are having now without them. It's ridiculous to me especially when they charge you for one.
 

JNalley

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I've had saltwater fish almost 50 years. I've ordered from live aquaria many times and always been happy until today.
My fish usually live long so I don't order that often. I lost a couple fish a few weeks ago when my power was out for 2 days. (I have a generator but didn't get it going until about 12 hours after).
So I ordered 3 fish. A longnose butterfly, an eibli angelfish they call red striped and a bluehead wrasse. I also ordered some snails.
So the FedEx lady knocked on my door at 9:30 am and said the box was leaking. It was damaged and she opened it because it said live fish. She was trying to help. She said the yellow one was dead and she proceeded to take each fish out and the butterfly had both bags it was in popped. It had barely any water in and was upside down looking dead. She then took out the angel and it had some water in it but it was cloudy and the fish was dead. It was leaking a little. The wrasse and snails were ok.
I brought everything in and was inspecting it. All of a sudden I saw the butterfly gasp for a breath. I quickly put it in a plastic container but had to put some water from my tank so it had enough to swim. I acclimated it and it was ok so far but who knows with all the stress. The angel is dead.
What I am really mad about is these fish were just thrown into a cardboard box. I paid a $9.99 box charge. They were always in a styro box before when I ordered.
I called them and they said yeah we don't use a styro box anymore just a cardboard one. First of all what did I pay a $9.99 fee for? and second anybody knows if you get cardboard wet it falls apart. Plus a styro box protects it from getting crushed. The butterfly was in a double bag that was popped with like a 5 inch gash in it.
I have never had fish shipped to me without a styro box. I wonder how many losses they are having now without them. It's ridiculous to me especially when they charge you for one.
Another retailer going on my, do not buy from, list.
 

mrpontiac80

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I've had saltwater fish almost 50 years. I've ordered from live aquaria many times and always been happy until today.
My fish usually live long so I don't order that often. I lost a couple fish a few weeks ago when my power was out for 2 days. (I have a generator but didn't get it going until about 12 hours after).
So I ordered 3 fish. A longnose butterfly, an eibli angelfish they call red striped and a bluehead wrasse. I also ordered some snails.
So the FedEx lady knocked on my door at 9:30 am and said the box was leaking. It was damaged and she opened it because it said live fish. She was trying to help. She said the yellow one was dead and she proceeded to take each fish out and the butterfly had both bags it was in popped. It had barely any water in and was upside down looking dead. She then took out the angel and it had some water in it but it was cloudy and the fish was dead. It was leaking a little. The wrasse and snails were ok.
I brought everything in and was inspecting it. All of a sudden I saw the butterfly gasp for a breath. I quickly put it in a plastic container but had to put some water from my tank so it had enough to swim. I acclimated it and it was ok so far but who knows with all the stress. The angel is dead.
What I am really mad about is these fish were just thrown into a cardboard box. I paid a $9.99 box charge. They were always in a styro box before when I ordered.
I called them and they said yeah we don't use a styro box anymore just a cardboard one. First of all what did I pay a $9.99 fee for? and second anybody knows if you get cardboard wet it falls apart. Plus a styro box protects it from getting crushed. The butterfly was in a double bag that was popped with like a 5 inch gash in it.
I have never had fish shipped to me without a styro box. I wonder how many losses they are having now without them. It's ridiculous to me especially when they charge you for one.
Wow…. Sorry to hear that. I’ve bought from them before also but I’d never expect a fish or coral delivery in nothing but cardboard!
 

kass03

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I've had saltwater fish almost 50 years. I've ordered from live aquaria many times and always been happy until today.
My fish usually live long so I don't order that often. I lost a couple fish a few weeks ago when my power was out for 2 days. (I have a generator but didn't get it going until about 12 hours after).
So I ordered 3 fish. A longnose butterfly, an eibli angelfish they call red striped and a bluehead wrasse. I also ordered some snails.
So the FedEx lady knocked on my door at 9:30 am and said the box was leaking. It was damaged and she opened it because it said live fish. She was trying to help. She said the yellow one was dead and she proceeded to take each fish out and the butterfly had both bags it was in popped. It had barely any water in and was upside down looking dead. She then took out the angel and it had some water in it but it was cloudy and the fish was dead. It was leaking a little. The wrasse and snails were ok.
I brought everything in and was inspecting it. All of a sudden I saw the butterfly gasp for a breath. I quickly put it in a plastic container but had to put some water from my tank so it had enough to swim. I acclimated it and it was ok so far but who knows with all the stress. The angel is dead.
What I am really mad about is these fish were just thrown into a cardboard box. I paid a $9.99 box charge. They were always in a styro box before when I ordered.
I called them and they said yeah we don't use a styro box anymore just a cardboard one. First of all what did I pay a $9.99 fee for? and second anybody knows if you get cardboard wet it falls apart. Plus a styro box protects it from getting crushed. The butterfly was in a double bag that was popped with like a 5 inch gash in it.
I have never had fish shipped to me without a styro box. I wonder how many losses they are having now without them. It's ridiculous to me especially when they charge you for one.
The butterfly is full of ich or velvet. It makes me want to cry.
 

Malum Argenteum

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were just thrown into a cardboard box. I paid a $9.99 box charge. They were always in a styro box before when I ordered.
I called them and they said yeah we don't use a styro box anymore just a cardboard one. First of all what did I pay a $9.99 fee for? and second anybody knows if you get cardboard wet it falls apart. Plus a styro box protects it from getting crushed. The butterfly was in a double bag that was popped with like a 5 inch gash in it.
I have never had fish shipped to me without a styro box. I wonder how many losses they are having now without them. It's ridiculous to me especially when they charge you for one.
I ordered from LA a week ago, and my animals (filefish, bunch of CUC) were packed in a foam laminate box that looked a lot like a cardboard box until I looked more closely. Foam layer (~1/4") sandwiched between a paper outside layer and foil/mylar inner layer. It wasn't good packaging, not even close, but wasn't cardboard.
 

Jmp998

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Seconding seahorsesaavy. Limited selection (outside of seahorses) but for the order I placed, I was contacted directly by Alyssa who seemed concerned not only that I would be happy with my order but that the animals would be safely delivered. Everything I received looked to have been well cared for, well fed, and as advertised. I had some issues with UPS shenanigans but they were not the fault of seahorsesaavy in any way.
 

Jmp998

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thebiotagroup.com for captive bred fish.
Agree, Biota is advancing the hobby and aggregation of aquaculture options is probably the future of the hobby due to a variety of factors. Any fish that I can get from Biota (or other similar aquaculture), I will, even if it is more expensive. This is a luxury hobby and I prefer a healthy and tank-adapted aquaculture fish when practical, even if I need to save a while longer to afford it. YMMV, depending on your personal circumstances, certainly when I was a student etc cost was a more important factor.
 
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Fishfreak2009

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As the title states, I don’t know where are good places to buy saltwater fish online if I want to. What are your recommendations and can you share any personal experiences with them? Ditto for locations you’d suggest I avoid. Thank you!
Avoid liveaquaria. Repeated bad orders and experiences, and I'm definitely not the only one. Dead and diseased fish shipped in horrible packaging, and it has only gotten worse over the years. Their horrible advertising trying to get people to buy fish pretty much impossible to keep in the average home aquarium seals the deal for me, preying on inexperienced aquarists with something cool and flashy and costing those fish their lives, should be something that gets a company shunned in this hobby.

I was also pretty disappointed with my fish from NYAquatic, having stuff ship that was clearly in rough shape when it shipped out and arrived dead, and stuff that died shortly after arrival. None of the fish I purchased (which was quite a few different species) survived more than 30 days, while I haven't had that issue with fish purchased elsewhere. Others seem to have great fish from them so do with that what you will.

From ReefPro, I had mixed results. Some of the fish I received were perfect, others came with visible flukes, others never ate or settled in and withered away. Also had communication issues, and was less than happy with dealing with them and with fish I had purchased suddenly no longer being available (especially fish I won in auction at a cheaper price than normally listed on their website). I personally won't order from them again.

I did order from CoralReefTN, which is the retail site for Sustainable Aquatics and I was extremely happy with what I received. 10/10 highly recommend them!

Petco.com is hit or miss, plan on quarantining as your order usually direct ships from one or more wholesalers. No different really than buying fish that just arrived at your LFS.

I've personally never bought from their retail pages, but I've heard and seen wonderful things from TSM Aquatics, Marine Collectors, Alyssa's Seahorse Savvy, and Biota. I have biota fish in my systems, but they were purchased via my LFS, not their retail page.

Lastly, I highly suggest trying to shop through a LFS, though I understand it isn't possible for everyone. I routinely visit 6 stores that are within a 1.5 hr drive one-way from my house, so that I can hand-pick my fish. And by supporting my LFS, I can usually get them to special order me exactly what I'm looking for, which is often not the bread and butter clowns, chromis, damsels, etc. you come across in most LFS.

If anyone on here has purchased from Reefbeauties.com or from Violetaquarium.com I'd love to hear and see pics of your experiences as well.
 

kass03

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I ordered from LA a week ago, and my animals (filefish, bunch of CUC) were packed in a foam laminate box that looked a lot like a cardboard box until I looked more closely. Foam layer (~1/4") sandwiched between a paper outside layer and foil/mylar inner layer. It wasn't good packaging, not even close, but wasn't cardboard.
Ok it did have the thin layer of foil wrapped around one side of the box but that does nothing for getting crushed or leaking. It might help with cold but probably not because it's not even on all sides or sealed like a styro box. When I have to pay $9.99 for a box I expect a styro box inside a carboard box.
My cardboard box was falling apart it was so wet.
 

PharmrJohn

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The butterfly is full of ich or velvet. It makes me want to cry.
Wow. I'm sorry. Bad news bears man. When I read about moving from Styro to cardboard with your situation, I flashed to a news feed I saw a few days back. In Washington State, we are moving from Styro to other modalities of transport. Very soon, for example, we are not going to get food packaged in styro cause it'll be illegal. Granted, the food industry is pretty far removed from livestock transport, but I'm wondering if this issue is going to translate to our hobby as well.
 

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Lots of great information here.

My only experience has been with Dr. Reefs. They provide a great service. One fish arrived DOA and they replaced it no issues. They have wonderful customer service.
 

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Any fish that I didn't buy locally has come from bluezooaquatics. All have arrived very healthy and in great condition.
 

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