A common question new fish keepers ask a whole lot is whether they can buy aquarium fish online, and the short and sweet answer is yes. There are many sites that deal with selling fish, fish food, and aquarium accessories online, though its quite hard to determine the best one.
Moreover, several challenges come with buying fish online, which include: not having a choice on the fish you get especially the color and pattern, acclimating it (them) after being shipped for a long time, and the higher cost of buying fish online (when you factor in the shipping cost) as opposed to getting them from your local market or fish store.
To better understand what to look for and what to expect when buying aquarium fish online, read on!
You can find a lot of fish online that you can’t find in a store, and usually, they are cheaper. It does cost a little more when you factor in shipping, but when you think about other pros, it kind of evens out.
Can Live Fish Be Shipped?
Of course, if you can buy fish online, you should at least be able to have it shipped to you. Most sellers within the United States will ship them through traditional shippers like UPS and FedEx.
The seller pack fish in shipping bags filled with aquarium quality water, in the same way they pack your fish when you buy them from your local pet store.
That said, you want to make sure you are home when your fish arrives, so track your parcel closely when in transit. You do not want the package sitting out in the sun, or maybe it’s a little bit of a chilly day, and it is a fish that does not like to get cold.
Once you receive your shipment, open the box and make sure the fish is alive inside the unopened bag. In case its not in good condition, or maybe its dead on arrival, take a picture of the bag to use as proof to the seller, if possible, take a short video.
The picture and video are important because most time online sellers have a live arrival guarantee only (mostly for express shipping), and can’t be held responsible for how you acclimate your fish or anything that happens to it after it arrives.
One other thing to note is that acclimating fish shipped to you can be a little different considering it has been in the bag for a long minute.
So, see this article if you would like to know how to acclimate fish you bought online.
Best Place to Buy Aquarium Fish Online
Please note this list does not qualify as expert advice, but rather aquariwise opinion with no affiliation to any of the sites listed below.
Live Fish Direct
Live fish direct is an online fish store that majorly sales live African cichlids, but they also stock different freshwater tropical aquarium fish. The retailers also breed tropical fish with main focus on African cichlids particularly Lake Malawi cichlids.
The biggest pros of buying from live fish direct are their quick delivery and almost always deliver what you ordered both in size, colors, and gender.
The main person at live fish direct is Josh Davis who I must say is a real-life fish hero.
That Fish Place
That fish place is a small family-owned business that has grown gradually since 1973 with the aim of making aquarium supplies more affordable for fish hobbyists, this is according to the retailer’s website.
This seller is quite in touch with the customers need and even holds an annual event where tons of visitors come from all over the USA and Canada to explore their retail store.
Moreover, you can get a sneak peek into the business through their virtual walkthrough online.
Some of the glaring benefits of buying fish from that fish place are their animals look well care for and even have signs up saying when the fish were last fed and what they fed them. Their staff is quite helpful and seem to be quite knowledgeable about what they are offering, and the price and selection beat most online stores.
Live aquaria offer some of the best shopping experience possible for quality freshwater and marine fish, coral, live rock and sand, inverts, and live plants.
Among the things that live aquaria boast off over other online sellers is:
- Arrive alive, stay alive risk-free guarantee of up to 14 days and an unprecedented guarantee of up to 30 days for corals.
- Live aquaria shipping is best because, according to their website, fish health is their first concern and have developed the safest, most stress-free shipping system in the industry.
- The retailer also has specialists who help educate aquarium owners, whether novice or seasoned enthusiasts on the proper care of the aquarium fish they get.
- An acclimation guide is included in every order to take you step-by-step through the process of adjusting your new aquatic life to their new home.
Aquabid works a little different from other online retails sites, it operates like an open market or auction, where sellers place their fish, and interested buyers name their price.
The fish species traded most on Aquabid are cichlids from Africa and South America, though a lot of other tropical aquarium fish are available in varying numbers.
Because a huge number of sellers display their fish on the site, there is a large fish market to choose from compared to a conventional online store, but the stock does change dramatically with time.
The Wet Spot Tropical Fish
The name of this online retailer pay homage to the reality that occurs when working with over 400 fish tanks, which is how much capacity wet spot tropical fish has.
Its also good to note that this seller is one of a few (together with live aquatics, live aquaria) that have almost perfect reviews from customers, both new and returning.
On the wet spot tropical fish website, you are likely to get species from across the globe including those from South East Asia, Africa and the tropics of the Amazon river in South America.
Another this that might interest you is that at wet spot tropical they are very keen on fish health hence don’t tranship them. Once they receive fish from around the world, they put them in a holding facility until they recover from the strain of the journey and are healthy enough; again this is according to their website.
Lastly, this online retailer has won several excellence awards and certifications, which might interest you if you are looking for the most authentic online fish site.
In my opinion, PetSmart tends to have a bigger selection of tropical fish compared to Petco, the other major pet product outlet in the USA. However, this can vary widely from one location to the other.
Compared to other online retailers, both Petco and PetSmart have a narrower fish option with the most common species like mollies, danios, gouramis, and platies being more readily available.
Because PetSmart is in the business of almost all pet products as opposes to exclusive live fish sellers, you may only want to buy specific species from them. Mostly consider getting tropical fish that are considered hardy and don’t have very particular maintenance need.
Some fish species you are likely to have success with when purchased from a large retailer (case in point PetSmart or Petco) include bettas, corydoras, tetras. rainbow fish, blood parrot cichlid, bristlenose pleco, rasboras, and mollies.
Also, make sure your quarantine any fish you buy online from these retailers they are maintained together in community tanks and often carry diseases.
Lastly, you may want to consider buying fish from your local pet store or breeder or other online shops before you consider PetSmart or Petco, though they are often more convenient for hobbyist living in cities.
Like PetSmart, Petco is another large countrywide retailer you may want to consider when buying aquarium fish online. The dynamics are the same to those of other large retailers with the only difference being the size and diversity of their stock.
Mostly, you will find even different Petco stores having a different range of stock depending on the demand in the local area where the store is.