Two Thumbs Up!!

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When ordering aquarium supplies, fish, etc., online, do you sometimes cross your fingers, hold your breath, and hope for the best? We do! With all the choices out there on the internet, things can get confusing and there's always that doubt of whether or not the seller will deliver what they promise, will the item look like the picture, and will it arrive on time? This becomes especially important when shipping livestock. There are some pretty skeevy characters out there, who care nothing about the health of the animals they are shipping (it's all about the Benjamins). Having gone through some trial and error of our own, we decided to compile a list of outstanding vendors--ones who back up their product, are willing to share their knowledge, and go above and beyond what you'd expect. For the most part, these are smaller vendors with niche-type items for sale. If you have someone you'd like to add to the list, we'd love for you to share!  


Dry Goods (breeding supplies, food, mineral supplements, live cultures, etc.)

(1) Are Indian almond (catappa) leaves and alder cones on your list of must haves? If so, then you need to talk to Fishguy_1955 (Aquabid name)!! This seller offers a wide assortment of breeding and shipping supplies as well as live food cultures (micro, banana, and walter worms), and flake food.  What's nice, is that he has breeding kits, geared toward a specific species of fish, or you can buy the supplies, separately. We ordered the blackwater breeding kit which included catappa leaves and alder cones for our killies and shrimp. Shipping was fast and communication was very good! The seller was nice enough to include a free sample of his Fry crack, fish food for baby fish.  The packaging is very plain (clear baggie), and does not include ingredients, but whatever is in it, the fish love it!! I've also fed this to my microfish, who enjoy it as well. The seller usually has quite a few auctions running on Aquabid, but if not, you may contact him via his email address fishguy_1955@yahoo.com


(2) The Shrimp Tank--as the name implies, this site is dedicated to shrimp and their upkeep. Will, offers almost every Borneo Wild, Mosura, and Salty Shrimp product imaginable, but even better yet, he carries Dennerle, Shrimp King. In the past, we've been unable to buy Shrimp King products from anywhere other than overseas, so we were  thrilled to find them a little bit closer to home! As far as we know, Will is the only person selling Shrimp King in the US at the moment (at least on the internet). Another hard to come by item is SL-Aqua, snowflake food. It's an interesting, and different way to feed your shrimp--can't wait to try it! If you're not in the market for food, then there are a limited number of plants (mosses, subwassertang), dwarf shrimp (blue diamond, crystal reds, tigers and blue rilis) snails, cholla wood, alder cones, etc., for sale on the site. Our experience with the Shrimp Tank was a pleasant one, from start to finish!! Prices were competitive, the order was well packed, it arrived on time and all items were present and accounted for! The Shrimp Tank is a great place to start if you're you're looking for high quality food and/or supplies for your shrimp! You can also check them out on Aquabid, seller name OblongShrimp. Added note: in another week to two weeks, you'll be able to find GlasGarten and Peters Larden Cologneshrimp products in stock, as well.     



(1) Msjinkzd specializes in microfish and inverts. Rachel, offers a wide variety of the unique and different when it comes to the wee, ones! In fact, it was her web site that got me hooked on microfish! This seller is very knowledgeable in her field, and is willing to share her expertise and experience with any given fish.  What's nice, is that she's not out for the sale--if the fish/invert has some, shall we say, peculiarities, then she's not afraid to say so.  The web site is easy to navigate and there are lots of pictures and some basic info on all livestock.  You can also pick up alder cones and catappa leaves, and Rachel, is a distributor for Repashy Super Foods.  New fish, shrimp and snails arrive constantly, so it pays to check back often!


(2) Chris Butcher, sells an assortment of fish to include cichlids, plecos, killifish, catfish, wild and domesticated livebearers, US native fish, etc. He can be found on Aquabid.com, under the seller name of 90125. We ordered some killifish that were absolutely gorgeous! Shipping was fast, packing was good, and the killies, were healthy and ready to get out of the bag! Chris, knows a lot about fish, and is willing to answer any question you may have. If you can't find him on Aquabid, then he can be reached via his email address crichbutcher@comcast.net


(3) If you're looking to hatch out some killifish, then Vadish (Aquabid name) is the man to see! He doesn't always have an auction going, but you can contact him at vadim@comebacktofishhobby.com . Vadish, does not sell killifish, only their eggs (some of which, can be very hard to find). We ordered Austrolebias nigripinnis, and to date, he's the only person we've found who sells them stateside. The packaging was well done and we appreciated the collection info he enclosed. We have had a really good hatch out rate with the eggs and couldn't be more pleased! Seller is well informed, very patient, and willing to help a total fish hatching, newb! If you'd like to learn more about killies, then his website has some really good information and will help you on your way towards the wonderful world of killies!


(4) Mike, aka Mysteryguy on Aquabid, sells an assortment of fish (mostly live bearers) and shrimp. He has 20 types of guppies, sword tails, cherry shrimp, and super cherry (the biggest and reddest). He'll soon be adding carbon rilis and blue velvet shrimp to the list as well. We bought our rabbit snails from him and they were/are awesome! Shipping was very fast, packing was superb and the snails were disgustingly healthy! A wonderful experience from beginning to end and a very easy seller to work with! Mike can be contacted via his email address ourfish22@gmail.com or look for his auctions on Aquabid.  



(1) If you're looking for crystal red shrimp, then The Shrimp Garden, is where you might want to start! The Shrimp Garden offers CRS, in SS, S+, and A grades. They also have a shrimp starter package that includes all three grades, plus some plants, at a very affordable price. In fact, prices for CRS, are some of the best we've seen!  As for our own personal experience, it was hassle free from start to finish. Even before the shrimp arrived, we received instructions on how to open the package and acclimate the shrimp. Shipping was fast and the packing job was well done. Upon arrival, shrimp looked happy and healthy, with no DOA's.  We couldn't wait to get them out of the bag!  We also received a printed sheet with further instructions on care, acclimating, etc. (very thoughtful and well worth keeping). As for the quality of the shrimp, quite frankly, there were a couple that were WELL above A grade.  The extras were appreciated as well!!  At the moment, The Shrimp Garden's website is under construction, but should be up and running in the not too distant future.  Once complete, it will offer plants, shrimp (CRS, and RCS), and driftwood.  If you are unable to place an order on their web site, then check Aquabid (seller's name is shrimpinista) or contact directly shrimpinista@theshrimpgarden.com


(2) In our quest for orange sakura shrimp, we came across Hans. Communication was super, shipping was fast and all the shrimp were healthy when they arrived (no DOAs). He even included a couple of berried females, so we had babies within a few days! Yea! More shrimp! Hans, sells red cherry shrimp, sakura (both orange and red), blue bee, blue pearl, dwarf crayfish, guppies and wild livebearers. He also sells Sulawesi Malawa shrimp. While not as colorful as other Sulawesi shrimp, these are far less fragile and easier to care for. If you're interested in the shrimp of Sulawesi, then these are a good jumping off point. Their price is also quite reasonable. Hans, is on Aquabid as Hansypatty1968, email address alvarujupatricia@hotmail.com. Another helpful seller who is willing to answer questions!


(3) Arkadiy, sells crystal red shrimp, Opae ula (Hawaiian volcano shrimp), cardinal (Sulawesi) shrimp, and crystal black shrimp. We received an order of crystal red shrimp that had to have been the most well packed box of fish and/or shrimp we have ever received! The bag the shrimp came in was literally stuffed with plants (some really nice ones) which kept them (shrimp) from being buffeted around by the whims of the postal service. The shrimp themselves, were stunning, exceedingly healthy and ready to explore right out of the bag! Arkadiy also keeps, but does not sell the following: tigers, black tigers, blue tigers, red claws, Sulawesi orchids, goldflakes, fire reds, yellows, babaulti and pinocchio shrimp just to name a few. Somebody knows their shrimp that's for sure (and is very nice about sharing their knowledge)!!  Should you wish to purchase some truly amazing inverts, then look for seller name, Ark on Aquabid.com or contact him via email at arkady_m@yahoo.com. Added note: Arkadiy will have a web site up and running in a few months time and we will be sure to post the web address as soon as possible.


Plants (freshwater)

(1)Planted Aquariums Central has a nice assortment of healthy, aquatic mosses and plants. They also carry a limited amount of plant supplies and fertilizers. Their web site is straightforward and easily navigated with tons of info and pictures on how the plant will grow, and any special needs it may have. Worth a look is the "articles" section--even if you're an old pro, you'll still learn something.  We've ordered from PAC, on several occasions and never had a complaint. Plants are shipped in a timely manner and are healthy and green upon arrival.  Even better yet, Heather, includes a bonus plant of some sort, and it's always something we actually ordered (as opposed to some random plant that you don't have a place for, or know what to do with).


(2) Bama Plants, is not a large operation, but they do have some fairly unique stuff!  In addition to traditional aquarium plants, they also carry bog plants, pond plants and carnivorous plants.  We were especially pleased to find some floating plants we'd been looking for.  Prices, are very reasonable, but they often sell out of certain items, so if you see something you want, you should probably go ahead and get it, or be prepared to wait.  We ordered rorippa and azolla for our tanks.  Communication with seller was good, the plants were shipped out quickly and arrived in excellent shape!  Bama Plants also sells on Aquabid as "Nofishtoday." Email address is bamaplants@gmail.com


(3) Marie is just getting started, but she usually has frogbit, guppy grass and pellia for sale. We received a very generous, 4 cup portion of pellia for a killer price (it was absolutely gorgeous)!!  As an added bonus, she threw in some frogbit that was put to good use as well! Look for her under the seller name of Sethanie on Aquabid.com of she can be reached by email at sethanie@gmail.com.  As previously stated, Marie, is new to the "biz" so keep checking back as she adds more items.


Plants (marine)

(1) Gulf Coast Ecosystems, is much more commercial than some of the other vendors, but it is still small enough and niche-like enough, to qualify for this category. The selection of macroalgae offered at GCE, is far above what anyone else has to sell! We were amazed at the variety!! Obviously, during the winter, the selection can be a little more sparse than during the summer months, but there is still plenty to choose from. We could not believe the quality, or the quantity of the plants we received from GCE! We could have scaped 10 tanks and it was just beautiful. Shipping is quite reasonable--a flat $14.00 fee, no matter what you get and the algae was well packed. It arrived looking like it just came out of the ocean! I needed a specific algae that Gulf Coast Ecosystems didn't normally carry. Long story short, they were going out on a dive, knew where some of it was, and said they'd pick some up for me. Now that's service!!    



Glass Holes, is a quirky, off beat, company that sells and I quote, "Dope, Aquarium Stuff!" Their products are geared more towards the marine side of the hobby, but they do offer overflow boxes, hole saws, etc., that can be used on freshwater tanks. If you're in the market for an overflow box and are not a perfectionist, then check out their "blemished" boxes. These are offered at a substantial discount and the only thing wrong with them are scratches or glue blobs--they function the same, they're just not quite as pretty. Shipping was fast, and products were well packed (to include the Willy Wonka, candy they threw in [we warned you they were quirky])! For the saltwater enthusiast, this could almost be your one stop shop!!  

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Many thanks for the very good review.  I strive for 100% customer satisfaction and regularly introduce new products to meet the needs of Aquarists at alllevels of the hobby!  Paul P. The FishGuy

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