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 iBluewater.com. They are the closest thing to Stomatopod.com 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 Stomatopod.com 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. iBluewater.com 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, “...to 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 it...you 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 Stomatopod.com. Well, nothing could fill the shoes of Stomatopod.com 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!