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!
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.
As per the Hydro Sponge Filter, these are NOT authorized for sale on Amazon and as from feedback from others in the industry, most of these sold via Amazon are clearance and sometimes missing parts. As well most models such as the excellent professionally recommended Hydro Sponge Combos are not available at all via Amazon.
There have now been many casualties due to Amazon, including the maker of highly efficient T2 Aquarium Lights, Fusion Pumps, the Smart Filter, Ancient Mariner, Via Aqua, & many many more as vendors make the bad choice to sell on Amazon, only to be destroyed by their practices.
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”;
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!
*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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I was a part of this email thread and let me tell you a couple of things. First off, this person comes across completely nice, telling us how wonderful our articles and how there is nothing like them on the web (which is true) are and in the same breath, tells us he is taking his business elsewhere (Amazon). This is were I start to take a double take on the guy because he was completely, cluelessly, rude. This guy is getting free information and looking for the cheapest prices on the internet, what does that tell you?
Next, this guy says that he didn’t end up getting the filter even from the other site (Amazon), because of the handful of bad reviews it has. This guys then goes on about how can we promote a product that is crap because Amazon says so and how we can’t be a family based business when one of the defects of the product could leak water into electrical sockets and cause his house to catch fire. He proceeds to talk about how we shouldn’t think our word is Gospel because of crap he read somewhere else.
First of all, if you want to buy on Amazon, why don’t you take your complaints to them. Your wasting our time! Not to mention, reading information for free that we pay to put together. Then call us out?! And if you actually read the information that you claimed you did, you would understand that the people on Amazon where using the product wrong…hmmm
This is a piece of what he wrote: “I hope none of this has caused offense, yet when making such prominent claims do not expect people to simply take your words as Gospel, even though you are a well experienced company with some exceptional advice. I appreciate you are running a business however do not try to push certain products that are, on the basis of a multitude of people’s experiences, garbage, then try to alter perceptions by claiming the only problem is it is too good at it’s job.”
Lets make this simple, we have used dozens of dozens of these filters, along with many other types. These people on Amazon, how many have they used? Maybe just the one and what if that experience was bad, of course they are going to give a poor review. All filters have their pros and cons. We clearly state both about this filter this guy is talking about and he wants to complain to us when we haven’t had the issue because we use the filter right. He even goes on to tell us he took our advice on other products and they work great (oh, but these too he didn’t purchase from us). Real winner.
Another kicker to this guy, after the first rude email. He comes back and wants to buy the filter, but only if we can convince him…oh, but we should also know that our price is much higher than Amazon and blah, blah, blah. Hey buddy, have you heard of MAP pricing…Yeah Amazon clearly doesn’t follow it. You support family business? No, you do what’s best for your pocket book… He even said it in his second email to us. Seriously, we don’t even want you as a customer. You need to be convinced? This is the product many professionals use…What more do you need to know or is that not good enough for you?
The conversion pretty much lost control after this. The guy thinking we were rude and we thinking he was rude. For us, it was like someone came into our business, wanted our advice, it not being good enough, then walking out to buy somewhere else. AND THEN, coming back saying he would purchase from us only if we can convince him. All I really wanted to do was yell, just leave and go somewhere else, we don’t even need your business!
All said and done, another rude customer, but something we just have to deal with some time to time. Tactfully nice and rude all at the same time. Still makes the person a rude person.
Excellent points Devon!!
He tried to couch his venom in compliments, and had the audacity to accuse your employer of promoting “dangerous” merchandise all based on highly inaccurate Amazon reviews which he seems to take as Gospel himself.
This guy actually helps make the point why Amazon is a terrible place for reviews/advice, at least for aquarium products.
I have NEVER had the problems with the Rena Smart Filters this guy states as a matter of fact, but then I clearly recognize how to properly set up this top notch hang on power filter.
What I do not get is how someone can be this gullible as this James character, maybe he is so infatuated with Amazon he cannot think with any reason and instead lashes out at anyone who disagrees with his precious Amazon, but this is just my guess.
One thing is clear and that is this James character was likely a school yard bully who has gotten what he has wanted and refused to grow up, but then, Quoting Chris Rock about his childhood of being bullied; “Who’s going to cure cancer?” Certainly not this James guy from the email thread, as he is clearly one of the bullies of the world that only take.
For the Chris Rock quote: