Jump to content

Frustrating Experience ordering Fish Online


Recommended Posts

Sorry Long Post. 

I'm a total Noob . I live in Arizona and we don't have much in LFS in my area. I found an Aquatic farm in Tucson that states it is "one of the leading suppliers in the U.S.A. of farm-raised freshwater tropical fish, saltwater & marine fish, aquatic plants for ponds & aquariums, as well as high quality Koi & Gamefish, including Tilapia for Aquaponics & Ponds."

Once my tank cycled, I ordered 3 Reticulated Hillstream Loaches,  some Nerite snails and a few shrimp. This place charges $39.00 for their fastest shipping ( which is required for the "Live Arrival Guarantee" ), $9.00 for what they called an "Insulated Styrofoam box" and $1.00 for a ice pack. All of which I was more than happy to pay for to aid in  the safe arrival of my new little friends. About a week and a half later my shipment arrived. I was surprised that the "Insulated Styrofoam box" was just a regular cardboard box with a few very thin pieces of Styrofoam in it. The ice pack was quite a small one that had long since lost its cool. Everything in the box was very hot. Now I'm an Arizona native, I know ordering stuff in the summer here is a risk. it is very hot here. With that said, they are a Native Arizonian Company since 1987, so they too are aware of how hot it gets here. I expected these poor animals to be packaged in an actual Styrofoam box which would have held the temp better. One shrimp and several of the olive Nerites lost their life on the trip. Along with that, the box did not contain my 3 Reticulated Hillstream Loaches ( which I paid $15.99 each, a total of $47.97 + tax for ) nor was there an invoice included.

Per the instructions on this place's website, I filled out the loss form for the dearly departed animals. If items are missing from your order, the website states to check your invoice to see if the item is on backorder. I could not do that. I did not get an invoice. I tried calling the company repeatedly and also emailed them several times through the website and also through my personal email over a week and a half. I never got any kind of response. Upon calling, no one ever answered any of the phone numbers and the mailbox is always full so I could not leave a message. I never got any feedback from the "Loss Form" I filled out on their website. I finally sent my last email stating that I understand in the business of live animals things happen, but what I could not understand is the lack of response to my inquiries about my order. I informed them that as a first time customer, I was not happy with the lack of response from them and would not be recommending them or purchasing from them in the future. Two days later, still with no phone or email response from them, I get an email from their shipping carrier that a shipment is on its way. ?? Not sure what was being shipped to me. Tried calling them and emailing them again to find out what I was being sent. Still no response.

Today arrived a very hot, poorly package box containing 2 very, very dead loaches of indeterminate species and a very tiny, what I think may be a Hillstream Loach of some type. 😕? It does not at all look like a Reticulated Hillstream Loach. It is a chocolate brown color with what might be light yellowish spots. It looks nothing like my other Hillstream Loaches that are about the same size. This time the box had an invoice for 3 Reticulated Hillstream Loaches.

Is this pretty much what I can expect when ordering fish? Am I just spoiled by how nicely and well-package my live plants come from Aquarium Co-Op? I expected that kind of packaging from this place since they are shipping live animals. That is not what I got however.

I did end up going to a LFS ( not really local, about 45-50 minutes away from where I live) to buy my fish. I don't know where I'm going to buy my Black Moor when the time comes. The LFS doesn't carry Moors. This has really put me off ordering live animals through the mail. I feel so bad for those poor little babies that died because I ordered them. 

I have the lone survivor in a quarantine tank. We'll see how he does.

AAG 2 Dead Loaches.jpg

  • Sad 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ArtemisCai I have ordered fish, snails, and shrimp successfully from Aqua Huna and snails and shrimp from other online stores with minimal issues, plants from ACO and a few other stores as well with minimal issues.

If I were you, I’d be filing a claim through your credit card company.  That might be the only way to get the attention of the poor seller you’ve been trying to deal with.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrators

Shipping live fish is difficult. Unfortunately most all websites claim to be the best, or the biggest etc. It's all marketing tactics instead of focus on process.  I'd say lots of business have poor communication and practices, not just live fish. This is one reason why we avoid naming vendors. A poor vendor for Arizona, might be an amazing one for Kentucky. Proximity, weather conditions, species ordered all play a big role. This is also why I don't ship fish, it's near impossible to do a great job in every situation. I'm sure there is a way to segment the market and achieve this level of success. However I wouldn't be able to do it on top of what we already do.

More businesses just need to adopt the attitude of, when something goes wrong, make it right. Keep in communication with the customer. Those 2 steps put the company ahead of most of their competition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 7:48 PM, Odd Duck said:

 

If I were you, I’d be filing a claim through your credit card company.  That might be the only way to get the attention of the poor seller you’ve been trying to deal with.

I filled out another loss form. I'll see what transpires. That's a good suggestion. If I don't hear from them. I may do just that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If this is a seller out of Tucson that I think it is, they have a reputation for this. I'm so sorry you went through this awful experience and I hope a credit card claim can get your money back.

Please don't let this put you off of reputable online sellers, though. There are plenty of good experiences to be had from communicative businesses.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 9:57 PM, ArtemisCai said:

I filled out another loss form. I'll see what transpires. That's a good suggestion. If I don't hear from them. I may do just that.

I wish you luck.  Sorry you had such a bad experience.  Good suggestions from @Jimfish98.  And as @laritheloudmentioned, there are good vendors out there.  ACO is a very good example.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is too relatable. It hurts to read. I had a comparable experience with a vendor that's often mentioned on here. Like you, I felt bad that the fish died because I ordered them. It took me a while to comprehend that it was not even 1% my fault. It was 100% the fault of the company. 

I am so sorry this happened to you, and to the animals. All I can offer is to tell you you're not alone in the situation and the feelings that come with it, and there are good vendors. I'll message you the names of the 2 I know of, and maybe other forum members can also message suggestions.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 8:52 PM, Jimfish98 said:

I think a good chunk of the hobby in the beginning is finding the vendors you want to use and support. I recommend finding the Facebook page for a local club and they may know of dealers good on shipping, have stuff they are selling, or know of an LFS that can be your go to place. 

I'm not on Facebook but I should still be able to see enough without a login to find a local group. Great suggestion! Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 8:41 PM, laritheloud said:

 

Please don't let this put you off of reputable online sellers, though. There are plenty of good experiences to be had from communicative businesses.

I won't let this place ruin it for me, it sounds like I just choose a bad apple. TBH, I'm a little hesitant, but I will try to go with places that I know people have had good experience with from now on. Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/20/2021 at 4:56 AM, Taco Playz said:

Sorry for the awful experience. Is your other doing ok after being in the QT tank?

Thank you. The little one seems okay, at least as much as I can tell. It was very stressed. So after acclimating for 20 minutes, I put him in the tank and turned off the light. I have peeked in every so often without turning the light on. It is too dark to get a really good look though. He is alive and seems to be doing okay so far. I will try to take some photos once I know it is doing better. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so sorry about your fish. In my experience I establish a communication link and actually talk to them several times prior to ordering via emails or phone calls. If the company is not exceptionally patient and communicative I just don’t order I feel like they may not have the fishes best interest at heart. It doesn’t always work out but seems to flatten the curve a bit. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is really smart. I wish I would have done that. Hind sight is 20/20. I plan not to make this mistake again. I'm such a trusting Noob. I will not be so trusting from here on out. I will do more research before ordering online again. I thought I was doing the right thing by ordering from a company in my own state. I figured that way, the animals would not be traveling very long. I was wrong. It took two days for the package to arrive from a place that is only about 2 hours from me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 10:41 PM, laritheloud said:

If this is a seller out of Tucson that I think it is, they have a reputation for this. I'm so sorry you went through this awful experience and I hope a credit card claim can get your money back.

Please don't let this put you off of reputable online sellers, though. There are plenty of good experiences to be had from communicative businesses.

I was JUST about to point this out.  If you check their Google reviews there are a LOT of horror stories.   
Always do your due diligence researching reviews!   Ask them questions if you have any, if they don't communicate you'll know right away.    
Sorry this happened to you, it happened to us with a retailer in California who even purged my review of the experience.   From now on I check out their google reviews and even their Facebook or social media presence. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/20/2021 at 9:37 AM, ArtemisCai said:

That is really smart. I wish I would have done that. Hind sight is 20/20. I plan not to make this mistake again. I'm such a trusting Noob. I will not be so trusting from here on out. I will do more research before ordering online again. I thought I was doing the right thing by ordering from a company in my own state. I figured that way, the animals would not be traveling very long. I was wrong. It took two days for the package to arrive from a place that is only about 2 hours from me.

I live in PA Aqua huna is in Washington so naturally I was nervous. Even with a shipping delay the fish they sent are healthy and thriving. Know ahead they are young which I find better but be prepared with fry foods depending on what you are ordering.  The picture sizes against the penny are accurate. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are very reliable places where you can order fishes. I buy most of my fishes on-line but i research the stores quite a bit before placing my order. I also have order numerous 'specialty' fishes from hobbyist without issue. Arizona is a bit more challenging because of the heat but I live in the south and the store i use that ship overnight deliver the fishes in the morning the next day. We aren't allowed to list stores on this site but i can give you a few reliable stores. I'm sorry for your loss but I believe from what you said you picked an unreliable store as there are numerous problems with the description of what they did. Quite frankly less reputable stores don't really have an incentive to see that the fishes arrive alive; they merely need your payment and then deny reimbursement. I don't like to mention aqua huna since they get unfair publicity on this site due to rules that keep us from mentioning other stores but they are relatively reliable and have excellent warranty service. However they are not the best store (but they are close to the best value). That is if aqua huna has what you want then yes they are a safe store to order from with some caveat. Given the description of your experience level i would definitely use them before some of the more expensive stores. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really sorry this happened! I'm pretty sure I know who you ordered from, they were my first on-line order and I had a very similar experience.
 

I've probably ordered from Aqua Huna at least 4 times in the past year and had very good experiences. I live in Idaho so not a lot of places here where I can walk in and see healthy fish or any variety. There are some pretty good online places. I typically do a lot of research for independent reviews before I bite the bullet on a new source after that first bad experience...

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 10:23 PM, ArtemisCai said:

Today arrived a very hot, poorly package box containing 2 very, very dead loaches of indeterminate species and a very tiny, what I think may be a Hillstream Loach of some type. 😕? It does not at all look like a Reticulated Hillstream Loach. It is a chocolate brown color with what might be light yellowish spots. It looks nothing like my other Hillstream Loaches that are about the same size. This time the box had an invoice for 3 Reticulated Hillstream Loaches.

I

I'm so sorry this happened and your first time ordering fish, too. Sounds like that business has problems with boundaries and are trying to do too much or are afraid to fire people who don't do their jobs right. I know a therapist who could help them with those problems 😉 but it's crummy that the little fish and your enthusiasm had to pay the price.

I was afraid to order from an 'unknown' (to me) seller on Aquabid--their website is so 1990's it's hard for me to even look at it, let alone make sense of it-- but I contacted a seller with good reviews and his responses were prompt and helpful, so I took the chance and it worked out well.  You may want to consider Aquabid, too.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am reading everyone's comments but I am out of likes/reactions for the day. 😢 

Thank you, everyone for your comments, advice and commiserations. Your experience and advice is invaluable to me, as is your stories of similar experiences. I feel less bad about myself knowing others have made a similar mistake. I usually am more careful when making decisions, I think the excitement of finally getting to put animals in my aquarium made me lose my senses a bit.

I was able to get a picture of the surviving fish in the quarantine tank. It is not a very good one though. Does anyone recognize what kind of loach it might be?

Maybe Gastromyzon scitulus or one like that?

New, unknown fish.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...