Ordering fish online

Jan Cavalieri

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After losing over 50% of my fish that came from local fish stores I gave up. Plus I'd research about 20 different species and they never had ANY of them, they just had the common beginner's fish, all tiny, all boring and super cheap. I was looking for some more exotic fish and the only way to get those is online. Arizona Gardens is a breeder and supplier. The cost for shipping is around $40 but you'll want a heat or ice pack and a styrophome cooler. These fish ship overnight. I've had a few losses and tried to purchase the same fish twice and got completely the wrong thing each time but they have a huge quantity always in stock. They also carry a huge variety of plants (separate shipping charge of course). I believe they set up tanks for large companies like NASA so they must keep a lot of fish on hand. Not impressed with their customer service (or lack of).

I've started to deal with LiveAquaria (I believe they are part of DrsFostersand Smith) - they don't have quite the variety and are often out of stock on some of the really cool items but they are WAY better than a LFS. Great customer service. I can buy loaches, rainbowfish, Gourami's, Killifish, Many unique cory's, as well as the basic fish. For those of you into the HUGE fish - they have multiple varieties of those. Each page lists a description of the fish - maximum size, the temperature, water hardness, PH. Temperament. They even have a diagram that shows which fish get along with others. Which fish should be a "caution" and which fish should never be mixed. 3 of my 4 tanks are all peaceful fish. I found out the hard way that about 7 of my Gourami's (all SUPERSIZED) were all mildly aggressive - it was a little more than mild and as soon as I removed the "peaceful gourami's" the level of aggression has dropped but now they are picking on the corycats which will be moved out tomorrow - rarely have I ever seen until now a Gourami attack a fish of a different species - with this group that has all changed. That tank will be only semi-aggressive fish and will only have 7 fish in it yet they are so big that's plenty for a 29 gallon tank. It gets cloudy with more fish in it

The shipping is similar in price to AZgardens but if you purchase a certain amount (about $170) worth of fish then shipping is free. They have lovely coolers that I will use over and over when removing fish temporarily. Like everybody, they screw things up (I just got white loaches instead of gold) and they credited me for the white fish, no return necessary. Strangely 3 catfish died within a day - my water parameters were PERFECT and they looked in good health but immediately hid. I had to take everything out of tank 2 days later to find 3 decomposing bodies. I sent the picture to the company and have a credit on file for those. There responses have been less than an hour. So nobody is perfect. I am concerned about disease in the catfish because they fit so well in my tank parameters but nobody else has died so who knows what happened, In any case, I lose a fish about once every 10-15 as opposed to traditionally losing 1/2 or more of my LFS fish. I even bought my neon tetra's online (don't laugh - I needed some color in my life). They follow a large bright Orange peaceful Gourami around as if she is their mother - it's too funny to watch. She is confused but patient.

Anyway - I would have to travel a ways to get to a really large fish store where I would probably find everything my heart desires but returns and such would be a pain. I don't travel well - I'm on oxygen and high doses of narcotics so I don't drive other than to doctor's appointments (my dear husband used to drive me everywhere before he passed away and I felt much safer -I probably should not be driving) So this is the perfect way for me to research a fish very carefully before I decide to buy it. The downside is they don't always quite look like the pictures and they go out of stock quickly on popular items. And of course the shipping cost. Buying a lot of fish at once is rather reckless but when it gets you a $30-50 discount it's kind of hard not to. Buying large quantities originally made me lose my tank cycling - it just wasn't cycled well enough to handle that much ammonia - so I'm far more careful now. Only the completely cycled tanks get new fish of any larger quantity. I'm still on watch for skyrocketing ammonia levels. I am now done with my fish purchases - all tanks are full or a little over full - but I believe I've balanced bottom feeders with mid-section schoolers and eaters and top eating fish. So no one section is over crowded. I have very hard water and most, but not all require it - but I've never had an issue with a fish dying from needing softer water as long as the Ph is OK.

Sorry to be so long winded but as Colin knows, that is the way I am. I only have a cat and 50 fish to talk to - sometimes for many days on end so I get a little lonely. Sorry if I digressed, hopefully I did include the info you needed.
 
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Russjw

Russjw

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Very much appreciated Jan :) thank you for your insight

Theres nothing wrong with Neon tetra's ;)
 

Lilyann

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After losing over 50% of my fish that came from local fish stores I gave up. Plus I'd research about 20 different species and they never had ANY of them, they just had the common beginner's fish, all tiny, all boring and super cheap. I was looking for some more exotic fish and the only way to get those is online. Arizona Gardens is a breeder and supplier. The cost for shipping is around $40 but you'll want a heat or ice pack and a styrophome cooler. These fish ship overnight. I've had a few losses and tried to purchase the same fish twice and got completely the wrong thing each time but they have a huge quantity always in stock. They also carry a huge variety of plants (separate shipping charge of course). I believe they set up tanks for large companies like NASA so they must keep a lot of fish on hand. Not impressed with their customer service (or lack of).

I've started to deal with LiveAquaria (I believe they are part of DrsFostersand Smith) - they don't have quite the variety and are often out of stock on some of the really cool items but they are WAY better than a LFS. Great customer service. I can buy loaches, rainbowfish, Gourami's, Killifish, Many unique cory's, as well as the basic fish. For those of you into the HUGE fish - they have multiple varieties of those. Each page lists a description of the fish - maximum size, the temperature, water hardness, PH. Temperament. They even have a diagram that shows which fish get along with others. Which fish should be a "caution" and which fish should never be mixed. 3 of my 4 tanks are all peaceful fish. I found out the hard way that about 7 of my Gourami's (all SUPERSIZED) were all mildly aggressive - it was a little more than mild and as soon as I removed the "peaceful gourami's" the level of aggression has dropped but now they are picking on the corycats which will be moved out tomorrow - rarely have I ever seen until now a Gourami attack a fish of a different species - with this group that has all changed. That tank will be only semi-aggressive fish and will only have 7 fish in it yet they are so big that's plenty for a 29 gallon tank. It gets cloudy with more fish in it

The shipping is similar in price to AZgardens but if you purchase a certain amount (about $170) worth of fish then shipping is free. They have lovely coolers that I will use over and over when removing fish temporarily. Like everybody, they screw things up (I just got white loaches instead of gold) and they credited me for the white fish, no return necessary. Strangely 3 catfish died within a day - my water parameters were PERFECT and they looked in good health but immediately hid. I had to take everything out of tank 2 days later to find 3 decomposing bodies. I sent the picture to the company and have a credit on file for those. There responses have been less than an hour. So nobody is perfect. I am concerned about disease in the catfish because they fit so well in my tank parameters but nobody else has died so who knows what happened, In any case, I lose a fish about once every 10-15 as opposed to traditionally losing 1/2 or more of my LFS fish. I even bought my neon tetra's online (don't laugh - I needed some color in my life). They follow a large bright Orange peaceful Gourami around as if she is their mother - it's too funny to watch. She is confused but patient.

Anyway - I would have to travel a ways to get to a really large fish store where I would probably find everything my heart desires but returns and such would be a pain. I don't travel well - I'm on oxygen and high doses of narcotics so I don't drive other than to doctor's appointments (my dear husband used to drive me everywhere before he passed away and I felt much safer -I probably should not be driving) So this is the perfect way for me to research a fish very carefully before I decide to buy it. The downside is they don't always quite look like the pictures and they go out of stock quickly on popular items. And of course the shipping cost. Buying a lot of fish at once is rather reckless but when it gets you a $30-50 discount it's kind of hard not to. Buying large quantities originally made me lose my tank cycling - it just wasn't cycled well enough to handle that much ammonia - so I'm far more careful now. Only the completely cycled tanks get new fish of any larger quantity. I'm still on watch for skyrocketing ammonia levels. I am now done with my fish purchases - all tanks are full or a little over full - but I believe I've balanced bottom feeders with mid-section schoolers and eaters and top eating fish. So no one section is over crowded. I have very hard water and most, but not all require it - but I've never had an issue with a fish dying from needing softer water as long as the Ph is OK.

Sorry to be so long winded but as Colin knows, that is the way I am. I only have a cat and 50 fish to talk to - sometimes for many days on end so I get a little lonely. Sorry if I digressed, hopefully I did include the info you needed.
Amazed you had a good experience with AZ Gardens-- they are notorious among those who routinely order fish as a business to steer clear of. I have seen so many issues over the years online with this company-- they have an F with the BBB.
 

Deanasue

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Live Aquaria will put you on a list if item is out of stock and contact you when in. It usually doesn’t take long.
 

Fishmanic

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I've bought from Liveaquaria and Wetspot. Great selection. And customer service for both companies is outstanding. Overnight shipping is safer than priority. I also have several LFS such as Petco and Petsmart for more common fish where I can save instead of paying for overnight shipping cost on online companies. For just a few common fish, LFS is the way to go. If ordering lots of fish, online companies is more convenient and they do pack them well.
 
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