Purchasing Aquarium & Pond Equipment via Amazon

Purchasing Aquarium & Pond Equipment via AmazonRevised 3/23/17

Amazon is sometimes NOT an honest place to purchase aquarium equipment from or at the very least a not a good place to purchase aquarium equipment and expect to support those in the hobby/industry dedicated to good research, information, and cutting edge products.
At the very least your purchase via Amazon does NOT support small to medium size businesses and expect them to be there in the future to help you or provide innovation!!

Here are just a few reasons before I go into more detail:

  • Amazon sells equipment from the same manufacturers as more knowledgeable aquarium supply outlets, HOWEVER they often sell stripped down versions that often render the product useless for what it is deigned for.

    Examples include the SunSun Submersible UV Sterilizers that have NOT been adjusted for the CORRECT flow rate for level 1 sterilization. None of these include the important pre-filter to lower turbidity inside the UV, making more efficient UV sterilization.

    Another product is the SunSun Canister filters (303B, 304B, etc.) which are NOT sold by Amazon with the necessary filter media or retrofits of the connecting pieces which prevent a leaking filter later down the road.
    As well the UV lamps often supplied are not HO low pressure UV lamps, rather just 7-14% UVC medium pressure lamps, which are much less costly

    This filter is one I have clearly seen the differences and why it should ONLY be purchased from reputable professional dealers.

    This could be said for many other products sold on Amazon.

    Then of course, there are many high end premium product manufacturers that do not allow their products to be sold on Amazon, so when you shop Amazon, you are not going to find these products. Examples include manufacturers of the best aquarium/pond UV Sterilizers, FSB filters/Reactors, RO filter systems & much more

  • When you get your information from a brick & mortar store, or some of the few top notch aquarium information web sites such as “Aquarium/Pond Answers”, then purchase on Amazon, you not only are hurting small business, but you are stifling the growth of innovation, good service & information.

    Many of the better products for your aquariums come out of small business research since these guys/gals are generally much more involved in the hobby in a hands on and research sort of way.
    Products line such as TMC AquaRay & FSB Filter, AAP Wonder Shells, and Clay Neighbor’s Custom Fish Foods are all good examples of lines of top quality and/or innovative products that would not exist if all your purchases for aquarium products were made via Amazon.

  • Amazon sells products that clearly are not what they are meant for.

    Example here would be the Green Killing Machine. It’s sold as UV Sterilizer when in reality it CANNOT maintain level 1 sterilization and thus is ONLY a UV clarifier.

    Often so called UV Sterilizers are sold with the same model number but are missing critical parts such as the pre-filter sponge resulting in high water turbidity, resulting in low UVC exposure.
    Also many of the Amazon UV Sterilizers are sold with medium pressure UV bulbs instead of of low pressure UV bulbs, which cost considerably less, but also have only a fraction of the UVC output for true level one sterilization.
    Frankly only a fool would purchase a UV Sterilizer via Amazon, as odds such a person would likely get a UV clarifier at best and often it is a piece of equipment with a short lifespan too!

    References:
    UV Sterilizer Use, Sterilization Basics
    Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond

  • Amazon will use whatever listing is first made to represent all future sales of a given product.

    This means, no matter how inaccurate, misleading, or simply lacking proper information to better educate the future buyer, the information WILL NOT BE CHANGED!

    A good example is the Wonder Shell made by Weco. The information published by the manufacturer is incorrect as per use resulting in those following this information using this product incorrectly and/or for the wrong reason (such as for alkalinity)

  • Most manufacturers of “high end” aquarium LED fixtures will not even sell on Amazon!
    YET, by reading reviews of low end LED fixtures sold on Amazon such as the Fluval LED and Current Satellite one might think these were great lights, which even remedial investigation shows these lights are NOT as their PUR is poor at best.

    The problem is since there is no comparison to LEDs that reflect optimum known science in aquarium lighting as well as the anecdotal natural of most Amazon reviews, one cannot get a real scientific assessment of what is best to get if in the market for LED aquarium lights.

    Here area couple of sources that better explain why the two lights I referenced are not at all a quality build, from daisy chaining of emitters to poor PUR and more:
    Current Satellite LED Review
    Fluval LED Review

  • Amazon provides poor product support for correct directions. Since Amazon relies on community driven reviews and no true knowledge of the product. Often products are sold with customers purchasing the wrong unit for their aquarium.
  • Amazon uses unfair trade practices including not paying the hidden fees that all small business pay when shipping including paying carbon taxes.

    In fact as of 2017 via a UPS representative of a friend who ships via his small business, UPS has greatly increased dimensional weight (often doubling some larger box costs to small to medium shippers).
    What has this to do with Amazon?
    The facts are Amazon has set agreements with the only two shippers of note [FedEx/UPS] where they pay a flat fee so that Amazon can ship as efficiently as possible utilizing often over sized boxes filled with air pillows and not pay any extra for dimensions, etc.

    This has resulted in losses for UPS/FedEx which have recently decided to pass this on to their small to medium shippers.
    The result is every time one of these shippers ship a box of much dimension at all they are subsidizing Amazon so that Amazon can provide low or free shipping.

    I ask any person with integrity; HOW IS THIS FAIR??

    So any time you purchase ANYTHING via Amazon, some other non related business is subsidizing your purchase.
    If this does not bother you at all, well I guess you have no morals whatsoever!!!

  • As well Amazon allegedly violates monopoly laws and the DMCA laws in use of copyrighted material. Amazon also uses Black Hat SEO methods to further push out small business.
    Reference: Amazon & Google in Bed, Black Hat SEO; Search & Adwords Dishonesty

  • In the end, regardless of price, everything you purchase from Amazon something you could have purchased from a professional seller, you are further eroding innovation, true knowledgeable customer service, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, you are insuring that on products that can compete in a discount environment will all that will be left such as junk sponge filters instead of 4-5 times the bio load Sponge Filters such as the AAP Hydro Sponge.
    Casualties already include Aquatronics, the leading innovator of aquarium and pond fish treatments that to this date no company has come close to this companies products leaving many holes in good fish treatment products.
    THINK ABOUT THIS NEXT TIME YOU ATTEMPT TO SAVE A FEW BUCKS BY PURCHASING FROM AMAZON!!

While the title of this article is about why one should not use Amazon for their aquarium/pond supplies.
Even worse though, is to not use their community generated reviews which are horribly inaccurate.
The reviews are often based on a one time use of the product, often incorrectly based on lack of time, lack of controlled testing, or incomplete parts. As well science such as PUR in lighting is never even mentioned.
My observation is based on continued use, often in controlled comparisons, correct installation, and suggestions from other professionals in the aquarium keeping field.

I should note that the reason for this post came from an email thread that was forwarded to me by another pro in this industry.

This began when a ‘friend of a friend’ and I were astounded at the person who sent the emails. They had lack of logical thinking or integrity in his thinly veiled compliments that were in reality attacks on the person receiving the email.

I was so taken a back by this email thread that I quickly asked for and received permission to comment publicly on this email thread.

Frankly after reading the entire thread a couple of times I wanted to vomit as to the senders total bully BS and more.

The person writing; James W, starts off with disguised compliments, then questions the review of the AquaClear by author who wrote in the thread, with words such as “perplexing”. He based his opinions on his use of ONE Aqua Clear.

Since I know of the author and I too have used dozens of these filters as well, I can vouch that this filter does have a higher than average problem with the impeller. Which James was perplexed why the authors noted there of its higher than normal failure rate. The author who brought this to my attention was making additional suggestion, which James also didn’t like.

He started to make other complaints, but was confused based on Amazon reviews.

The author was clear with the information he used to back up his claim, but James never did look at the references provided.

This is just one case where reviews from Amazon got the best of people.

Another issue with Amazon user reviews
As a user and wholesale purchaser of the Rena Smart Filter, I can also state categorically that the reviews over at Amazon are totally off base, but then Amazon irresponsibly sells these filters without the proper knowledge and parts that is required.

See also my comments about TaoTronics Aquarium LEDs, often purchased at Amazon due to less than accurate information and reviews at Amazon:
TaoTronics LED Light Reviews

The email sender goes on about the costs of purchase. Well, since I and a number of other persons know the costs not only to the retailer, but to the wholesalers such as Central Pet. The facts are that Amazon is selling below cost and more importantly below MAP pricing (manufacturer agreed pricing), which tells you a little about Amazon’s honesty.

Then, reading how the Amazon CEO treats his employees provides, anyone with any morals, can even more have a snap-shot of why this is not the company to purchase your aquarium/pond supplies from.

More importantly, which went right over Jame’s head is, Amazon is 100% community driven, with no expertise at all in what they sell.

I know from the numbers that many high end retailers could cut their staff by 75% and still sell, but then not provide any of the free information and intense product support that they do.

This is why sellers such as Tropic Marine Centre prohibits their retailers from selling through Amazon. No real support.

This James fellow (email sender) has the audacity to get offended by the email recipient for calling him out for his many purchases of products such as SeaChem Matrix based on his free advice through Amazon rather returning the favor via his website.

The sender also seems to think the recipient is too stupid to figure out if he spends his valuable time answering questions he already addresses in his articles that he will then finally purchase a filter he claims is already sold at too high a price via the high end aquarium supply retailer.

REALLY??? Everyone I have already spoken with who have read this email thread were quite taken aback by this guys at first disguised and then blatant rudeness and moral cluelessness.

The FACTS ARE Amazon does not sell this product (Rena Smart Filter) with the correct equipment to work properly, so how can you expect an accurate review.
Yet, James seems to think he is entitled to very thorough personal explanation on filters, so he can likely then go back to Amazon and purchase!!!!
This guy is a real piece of work!!

As the email recipient correctly pointed out, if everyone behaved as this guy does, their will be no accurate, science based information in the future. In the end, every thing will be community driven with no real knowledge.

The analogy used in the forum thread was analogous to reading all your medical information at Amazon or Yahoo Answers and then purchasing at Amazon for your medical needs (including your surgeons/doctors).

God forbid if this bully/clueless individual every had cancer in such a world where Amazon & their terrible community reviews is where he would have to get his cancer treatment.

Unfortunately though, with people thinking and purchasing as this person does, this is the world we are coming too.

The email senders final comment: “So, it is ok for you to be condescending, but when someone takes offense you don’t like it. And still a refusal to answer questions directly I truly wished I’d never wasted my time. Another keyboard tough guy” is really out of line.

First the email recipient was never condescending, and second his article clearly answered his questions, which he was vague on up until the second to last email.

As for a “keyboard tough guy”;
REALLY???

So it is OK for him to take from the email recipients basket of eggs for his family, but not OK for the recipient to defend his time and expertise? Wow, frankly what a selfish jerk!!!!

BTW, here is a quote from the recipients web page (Aquarium Filtration Information) about the product which clearly answers the email senders questions, he just felt even though he never made a purchase that he was somehow entitled to and expanded response and that the email recipients time was not valuable:

QUOTE: “What is sad, is the uninformed anecdotal reviews (such as at Amazon) that permeate the Internet condemning this filter for what is actually a positive. As noted earlier this filter is so efficient, that it can clog easily; this is NOT a flaw, rather users simply should be aware of this and maintain this filter accordingly and add a pre-filter as recommended by aquarium professionals!

It is noteworthy that there is NO PROBLEM with the leveling feet, rather it is the lack of use of a pre-filter as previously noted that can cause this filter to leak out the back due to clogging.

Unfortunately Amazon has “no skin in the game”, provides no service or scientific knowledge to the products they sell and most importantly since they have no knowledge of how the Rena Smart Filter should be properly set up, do NOT sell this product with the correct pre-filter. Resulting in the irresponsible and incorrect reviews.

Reading reviews on Amazon and then purchasing many aquarium products there is akin to doing the same for your medical needs!”

Please note, my friend who forwarded this email has asked me not to link to the email recipients web page or name.

The bottom line is:
One;
you should not be purchasing from Amazon or any of the disguised aquarium/pond supply retailers such as My Fish Place, Pet Mountain, etc.

Two; you cannot believe the reviews from said places such as Amazon where by the filters were not sold with the complete products to even set up correctly (also in part why the lower price).
This is analogous to purchasing a Ford without a transmission and then stating their cars/trucks do not work correctly. Unfortunately many Amazon Aquarium products reviews do JUST THIS such as with the Smart Filter!

Recommended Reading:

*Fish Beginner
*For information about a company that truly supports the aquarium hobby;
Tropic Marine Centre
*Another company that supports the aquarium industry and monitors their MAP pricing to places such as Amazon:
ATI Sponge and Pre-Filters
*An interesting blog about alleged dishonest Amazon business practices, I found this an EXCELLENT MUST READ!!
Ford Offers Amazon Gift Card

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AquaBeam Ultima 1500 NP; Review Correction

AquaBeam, AquaRay Ocean Blue NP Ultima 1500Revised 7/29/14

While I generally find “Reef Builders” aquarium lighting reviews educational or at least somewhat helpful, they unfortunately really blew it with this one, Although after reading their curiously inaccurate “LED showdown“, I should not be surprised either;

http://reefbuilders.com/2013/01/23/aquabeam-ultima-1500-np-strikes-modern-ratio-blues-whites/

The author seems to show certain biases that get in the way of the truths about this product, which I personally have found to be the BEST LED fixture I have used to date.

However before I come off and seem to attack the author, which would be wrong, let me address the points he makes and the errors there in.

Quote:
“The Ultima 1500 NP LED tile includes Cree’s latest and greatest XT-E chips with 6 diodes spread across four cool white (which TMC calls ‘Ocean White’) and two royal blue (which TMC calls ‘Fiji Blue’) But perhaps the most notable addition to the AquaBeam Ultima 1500 NP is the use of the very well received Osram Oslon Deep Blue LEDs which TMC also has a made-up name for – “Nature Perfect”.”

CORRECTIONS:

*First TMC has patent rights with Cree and whether or not TMC added this name of “Ocean White”, I cannot say, but what I do know is this is NOT a cool white emitter. In fact it is not from the same emitter bins since TMC has patent rights to specific tweaks if you will with emitter bins such as the XT-E used here.
This is nothing new, as companies that hold patents have done this for eons.

*He is also incorrect as per the Royal Blue, as TMC has been using a Royal Blue emitter for a few years, while the Fiji Blue is different with a lower nanometer range and lower peak nanometer of 450nm, unlike the royal blue at 465.
This is well published, so I am not sure how he can make such a statement

*Finally, the “Nature Perfect” Osram Oslon emitter is the name simply given by this new specifically reef developed emitter.
It is NOT even a deep blue emitter rather a full spectrum blue developed specifically for reef aquariums.

Here is the spectrum, DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A DEEP BLUE TO YOU??
Osram Olson PUR Full Spectrogram, not deep blue

SUMMARY

Hopefully reef keepers looking for one of the best LEDs on the market, especially when price is considered will look at the facts first, as this clearly is one of the best, if not THE best LED fixtures available as of 2013.

Tragically, when it comes to Aquarium LED Lighting, much of what is passed around as facts nowadays is anything but.
As well many companies such as Reef Central are sponsored (bribed if you will), yet will attack me or others on a personal level when facts are presented stating my recommendations do not count as I or others might have a bias, which the obvious response is YES!

However, these others who actually promote inferior LEDs at least when it comes to energy consumed per PUR light output such as the EcoTech clearly have a bias, and one based on promoting their sponsors.

So in the end, whether you take my word or others in my profession whose careers and livelyhood is based on using what truly works or not, I certainly can understand “why not” with all the confusion and often conflicting information.
WHAT READERS SHOULD DO, is actually look at the facts, as I presented here and in many other posts, not the hype, not PAR readings when PUR is more important.

The answers do not take a rocket scientist to decipher, so if you open your mind and look past the many reef forums and websites that do not use known science to prove their points, rather often attack others who provide facts with comments such as “they are not credible as they use or sell this product”, you will find that the answers for the best LEDs to use is actually quite easy.

Here is a website demonstrating the Ocean Blue 1500 and even newer Reef White 2000 LED in a reef aquarium with many corals:
Howard’s Reef; New light over the Shallow Reef

Reef Aquarium with Aquaray Aquabeam NP 1500 & 2000

Also please reference these excellent articles, including the first that deals with the subject of PUR versus PAR and how so many persons are often stuck on their LEDs with green emitters and other energy wasters that often require higher energy wattage to do the job of lighting a reef tank:

*PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting
*TMC Ocean Blue NP Ultima Reef LED Light
*Aquarium LED Lights & Lighting