Monday, April 2, 2012

Opening thoughts – Their website doesn’t do them justice! Not saying their website is bad looking, lol. What I mean they as a company can offer so much more. Just simply, that you just need to ask them. What you want they likely have, if they don’t have what you want. They likely can get it for you. Most of the times in a very good timely fashion.

Customer Service & Knowledge – I don’t know, his like superman to me. Bob that is, lol. My only contact whom I have ever spoken to and exchanged emails with is Bob. He knows what his talking about, if he doesn't he will find out. His direct and more importantly is personable! You can build trust with this guy. Your not just a number but treated as a person. Bob values each customer and this to me makes me want to return and become one of many loyal customers of They are the closest thing to to my opinion. I trust him. That alone says a lot coming from me. 

With my first order with him... What gets me(, lol) and makes me wonder. How he can be able to call me about the package arriving safely. If we are in different time zones(, a difference of three hours.) Like the package arrives at 10am, at most it must be like 8am in California. I think that's pretty cool, what customer representative would call you and that early? At least for me its always me calling them and if their from the other side of the country i would typically would wait till noon pass to call.   

(91%) Mantis Shrimps – They can identify the Stomatopods, most of them and that's pretty good. What they don’t know, similar to they can contact Dr. Roy. A good connection and advantage. So, at least you are more likely to get what you seek. Not this mystery Mantis, lol. Like in some places...they state your getting a 'Peacock' but in reality it was a Gonodactylus chiragra, lol.  

Availability & Variety – From looking at they’re site, my first impression was disappointment. Their site doesn’t express who they are. The more you work with them, more you learn what they can offer. My disappointment changed to being impressed.  They have a large specialty of Clownfish!

"Our site was made the de facto clownfish site by all the reviews posted by clownfish enthusiast and clownfish breeders who had previously bought clownfish from us. The deeper story is  that between my business partners and I we have practically every species of clownfish including very rare clownfish variants we also know a great deal about anemones. We study and document clownfish both in captivity and in the wild. We are proud that all our research and hard work on clownfish has paid off handsomely. However as mentioned above we carry a wide and expanding range of saltwater critters." ~ Bob

Another thing that Bob didn't mention in that statement. They offer pairs and what rocks my mind. Is that its pairing of different species of Clownfish, which they call it 'Haute Couture'.

What I learned is that you only need TO ASK them what you want. Bob will get it for you! Rare is their key word. If you like shinny objects like a mermaid but is looking for that extra  shine. is your new best friend.

Recently I asked Bob if he could get me a Golden Midas Blenny. I bet your thinking I can get that at any place. Yes! BUT, what I was looking for, were characteristics that are not often seen. I rarely see a perfectly equal and EXTRA long tail. Bob got me this fucking amazing Midas Blenny. (Sorry, please excuse my colorful word. Profanity gives that little ‘oomph’ to things, lol) Not only having an extra long tail as I wanted. It had other characteristics…like it had a nice black strip on the top fin. There was a nice hint of blue hue on it’s tummy. Something I had read about but never seen. I took a video of her but it don’t give what I describe justice! Video of the Amazing Midas Blenny.

(95%) Mantis Shrimps – So they provide everything that the other companies I have mentioned in my Blog and more. They can even get you those rare ones on Dr. Roy’s list. Those I know they have obtained are the Haptosquilla hamifera , Raoulserenea komaii and Tetrasquilla mccullochae. 

Pricing – Some are fairly priced, but they are a bit pricy. However, with them you KNOW it’s quality. Plus with rare items expect to pay a lot. Just imagine how much time, and money is spent obtaining and or breeding their stock. Also want to add, that Bob is very flexible about payment. Like I’m more comfortable in paying in small amounts with larger orders. That’s a rare bonus. Well, how I see it his very personable, which is a two sided coin. You both build trust with one another and its give in take. I think that’s cool. I’d personally would be more likely to keep coming back for his services. Would you?

(50%) Mantis Shrimps – The most common ones are pricy but some I have gotten that were fair. The rare ones they get expect them to be pricy. (How I see it, if your not willing to pay for our expensive hobby. Your not likely willing to do your best to keep your investment alive. However, as a customer your always looking for a bargain. Just be smart and do your research....)

Policy & Procedures – The quarantine time is eight weeks for all fish and four weeks for all inverts that they offer. Bob will nearly always provide you a photo(s). Of the actual picture of the very same item you will get. They can HOLD your items, for a maximum of one month, provided with a reasonable explanation on your part. Nice! They have a guarantee, “We guarantee all our marine life to Arrive Alive. No other guarantees are expressed or implied.” However, IF any item(s), photo required of the deceased. They will give store credit of the price of the item(s), valid for one year. More on their terms & conditions.

Packaging & Shipping – Their packaging is simplistic and well done. At first I found it a bit too simple, wish they would add some fillers to keep the items from moving about in the box. At least my first package was like that, however, the next order they packed it better. I think it might depend on which shipping method was chosen. They ship internationally! So, I don’t question to much on how they pack their items. What I care about is that they look healthy and arrive alive. Which, is true with them as far. 

Shipping, what is nice! It isn’t JUST FedEx! Bob can offer you many options, “ the contiguous United States is $50.00 per box of up to 10 lbs billable weight, shipped by FedEx, UPS, or USPS.” Since I live on the opposite side of the United States, he offered me an option for air freight. It’s the same $50 and all you do is pick it up your self at the nearest airport. It was much easier then I expected and I would take this option from now on. What’s nice it’s available on Saturdays!

Advertisement – Their website is simple and clean, however again it doesn’t promote the quality that they are known for. How i see provide quality stock, so provide higher resolution photos of them. Also, I think if they had a FaceBook it would put them more out there. Just a thought of things to get them out there, shrugs. (I have a background in the Arts & Design. lol)

Conclusion – I like them! I think I have nearly found my replacement for Well, nothing could fill the shoes of but their a good runner up for your Mantis Shrimp needs. I highly recommend them for both Stomatopods and your Marine needs!
Mantis Shrimps – (78.67%) Approved!

Opening thoughts – They are a very good runner up or maybe even as good by their own. They got some good prices and sales! Also I think their a bit better then with Mantis Shrimps.

Customer Service & Knowledge – They’re customer service representative at the time, was this nice lady. I think the woman mentioned that she use to work with She said they were like them but they wanted to give a more personal Customer Service. She was very helpful and was willing to help in anything that I needed. However, that was years ago and something changed about them. The ‘personal’ touch I was use to had toned downed, however, hasn’t changed too much in their service.

Today’s gives an impression that they have a smaller Customer Service team. I have emailed and or spoken to the same group of people. Unlike there is always a different person and never the same one. Again I like talking to the same person(s), to me it builds trust. Shrugs. The guy I seem to always speak to now his a bit rude. Or blunt. His okay to speak to…tolerable but most importantly the bottom line is if there is any problems with your order, his accommodating.

(52%) Mantis Shrimps – From there website they seem Knowledgeable about their stock and to my opinion about the same as They have some kinks to work out on… Like, I called to ask about a Lysiosquillina maculata…wanted to know about its exact size and what gender it might be. I mentioned to the guy I spoke to, that I was looking for a male for a pairing project. He said that are in to things like this and would be willing to help. I mentioned to him that I have email about that Lysiosquillina maculata that was listed. He said that the stock department gets a lot of emails and that eventually they will answer in due time. He also gave me an option to be forwarded to the stock department by phone. The person never picked up and I left my inquiry. I never got a reply, ether by email or by phone. Another instance was I was asking for additional pictures for an item I just bought from them. I did get a reply back from the stock guy, stating he would send one over the following day. However, I never got a picture.

They’re knowledge about Mantis Shrimps are about the same to Their was another purchase I made that they listed another ‘possible’ Gonodactylaceus glabrous. I like that mentioned that they were unsure. Vs. those other sites saying it is, when in reality it isn’t. The Gonodactylaceus glabrous as it turned out to be a Pseudosquilla ciliata. Based on that, I take it they don’t know much about Mantis Shrimps. Plus I can’t really confirm their knowledge as I can’t contact their stock representative. Shrugs, I’m put off about companies that don’t communicate with their customers. However, if there is any problems with your order, they are accommodating. I still like them as a company. I would order with them again and still do but I won’t expect them to answer any of Mantis Shrimp questions.

Availability & Variety – Fish, Inverts, & Corals they have a good amount of choices and they have a WYSIWYG that they call Collector's Choice. Where I often visit as they give a nice selection now and then.

(87%) Mantis Shrimps – They actually get a lot of Stomatopods, which is a bonus. Provided that they can properly identify it and those they can are often these species. Gonodactylaceus glabrous, Gonodactylaceus ternatensis, Gonodactylellus viridis, Gonodactylus chiragra, Gonodactylus platysoma, Gonodactylus smithii, Lysiosquillina maculata, Odontodactylus scyllarus and Pseudosquilla ciliata. They get them fairly somewhat available… I say this cause they do get it a bit more often then

Pricing – I like their pricing ::: Smiles ::: most of the time their pricing is amazing. Some of their Corals can get expensive too and if anything doesn’t sale out, they reduce the price. 

(91%) Mantis Shrimps - Especially on the Mantis Shrimps but for the more common one that are more sought after can get pricy but not by much.

Policy & Procedures – Not sure if they offer holding animals, however, they do have an option when you want your order shipped. I think that’s better then nothing. They have a 7 day guarantee, half of If anything should die a photo and rarely the body is required to get store credit. This is valid for one year. They will only give refunds when something form your order goes out of stock. Sometimes if there is an issue with the carrier, FedEx. would possibly give a offer a discount for the inconvenience. (At least once as I recall for me).

Packaging & Shipping – I don’t know why, shrugs. With’s FedEx is better compared to shipping with FedEx, lol. It’s the same carrier but I get no issues with them when  it comes from They have a flat rate of $39.99 for overnight by 10:30am. I’m never disappointed.

They package your order pretty well, not as extravagant as but it gets your live stock safely to your door! Plus they give out a FREE Care Package. Its basically four things, 1. Acclimation Guide, 2. Drip Line, 3. Stress Guard sample and they're Blue Zoo Mix food sample. (Lately, they haven’t been adding this package with my last two orders.)  

Advertisement – I like their website more then, its simple and CLEAN. Easy to navigate through, however, the photos I wish were higher resolution. Design wise I enjoy looking at it promotes they’re company well. No FaceBook that I know of.

Conclusion – I get most of live stock ether by them and The prices and sales are more likely better. They get in Mantis Shrimps more often and are better priced. I enjoy the selections in the Collector's Choice. I still highly recommend them :)
Mantis Shrimps(76.67%