Drs Foster and Smith LiveAquaria

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sirdarksol

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I just received an order of plants and an order of freshwater invertebrates from Drs Foster and Smith's aquarium livestock site, Liveaquaria.com.

Liveaquaria splits their orders into three categories
1. Live rock and sand
2. Freshwater Plants
3. Everything else, including marine plants

When purchasing, you have to pay shipping for each category separately. Because they demand overnight shipping for critters, two day shipping for plants, and three day for live rock and sand, this can get expensive. It's not the worst thing in the world. I'll cover more about this later.
Also, they require that fish/inverts/coral orders be $30 or more in order to keep their prices down.

They have an excellent range of living things to order. Although some things are out of stock frequently, Liveaquaria has an "e-mail me" function to let you know when they have something in stock. I bought from them because they have a range of aquatic plants and invertebrates that I have not been able to find in any of the stores in the area. Three of the things I ordered were not available in any store.

What I ordered and the condition it came in:
4 Amano Shrimp (one a cherry red)-Excellent condition. The cherry red seemed to be stunned from the transport, but within four hours, it was swimming up the sides of the tank and hoarding bits of the algae I dropped in for feeding.
3 Freshwater Clams- Two in good condition, one in its separate component pieces. Based on the condition of the flesh, I think the broken clam had been dead prior to shipping, and had just been held together. The other two have taken well to their tank.
3 Japanese Trapdoor Snails- Ok to excellent condition. Two have become mobile. One has shown signs of life, but has yet to move from its spot.

Dwarf Four Leaf Clover- Good
Micro Chain Sword- Excellent and propagating. The plant had sent out a runner in its pot, allowing it to be easily split between two tanks.
Red Myrmio (sp?)- Good
Anubias Nana- good

I got a refund for the deceased clam. No questions, no request for a return of the creature, just an immediate refund. Even better, the person I talked to sounded genuinely sad that the clam had died.

As I said above, shipping can get pretty expensive. However, the more you order, the less this matters. They have more or less flat rate shipping for everything except live rock and sand. Better, their prices are quite a bit better than any store (at least the ones around here.) I got the Anubias Nana for half the price of what it cost in the only local store that carries it. Same with the cherry shrimp. If I had ordered two of the Anubias plants, it would be cheaper, even with shipping. It would take five of the cherry shrimp to make up the difference, but if you're stocking a number of tanks at once, it could easily be cheaper than a store.

The inverts came packed in a styrofoam cooler, triple bagged, padded with packing peanuts, and heated with little heat packets to maintain a temperature. The plants were less protected, but still in good condition.
They give excellent instruction in how to acclimate your fish.
If I ever have cause to order a decent amount of fish again, I will most definitely be ordering from LiveAquaria.
 

inuyasha_lover_21

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I love there website. I been thinking about ordering from them. Reading what you wrote. I may buy from them next year. Thanks for the great review
 
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sirdarksol

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A bit of an update:
Two of the snails died relatively soon after they arrived. However, I'm not sure this wasn't my fault. I might not have paid close enough attention to water quality. Honestly, I'm only presuming that one of them died, as I never have found a corpse. The other, however, had three children (one of which survived) immediately prior to dying, so I figure things turned out even.
Also, be warned that their plants carry both algae (no big surprise there, just have developed some algae that I haven't seen in my plant-free tank) and snails. This latter one is an unpleasant surprise, as the types of plants I got have lots and lots of leaves to hid a snail in.
All of the shrimp, as far as I can tell, have survived.
Still happy with LiveAquaria.
 

vin

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Great site....But the minimum orders and shipping for the livestock make it very cost prohibitive IMO. I use them for my ferret supplies but they do not combine shipping across stores....
 
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sirdarksol

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vin said:
Great site....But the minimum orders and shipping for the livestock make it very cost prohibitive IMO. I use them for my ferret supplies but they do not combine shipping across stores....
I agree that the minimum orders are pretty annoying. I actually had to order more than I wanted to order.
The costs may make it not worthwhile to order commonly found fish, but odd things that can be quite a bit in your LFS are pretty cheap. In the end, if you buy the minimum order, such stuff ends up being about the same (of course, prices will vary from store to store as well as around the globe). If you buy more, they end up being cheaper.

And I love the regular Drs Foster and Smith site (not LiveAquaria). I end up saving around 25% on pretty much anything I buy from them.
 

COBettaCouple

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i wish there was a way to ship plants that didn't require expensive shipping but would still bring living plants to your door.. i love ordering from DFS, but i'm not likely to order from liveaquaria until we have need of some odd/unusual fish and/or plants.
 
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