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View Full Version : Where do you get your corals?


ReefMaster48
10/03/2017, 07:34 PM
Where does everyone get their corals? Anyone know of a great online source that is fairly inexpensive with good options?

Local places are very far away and incredibly expensive, and Iím not to comfortable with ordering/buying/trading corals with people I donít know well, just looking for a decent online source. Iím in the Eastern Shore of Maryland area if anyone knows of a good LFS. Recently started a frag tank and am looking to fill it!

This is my first post on RC, been on other Reef forums but not this one, so my apologies if Iím in the wrong posting, etc.

Reefpuck
10/03/2017, 07:45 PM
LiveAquaria is a pretty popular place for any corals/fish/inverts. You'll get other suggestions I'm sure, but check out their website.

And welcome to RC!

der_wille_zur_macht
10/03/2017, 07:48 PM
I'd suggest you keep looking locally as much as possible. There are good reef hobbyists out there everywhere. A good local friend and/or a good LFS is worth more than a dozen awesome online vendors. I love stopping by the local shops here just to glance in their frag tanks, I've grabbed some amazing deals that way and the stock is constantly changing. It's nice to be able to spend $10 on a single frag instead of trying to justify a large enough order to get shipping reasonable. Look through the club forums here, and check on facebook for local clubs or LFSs. It seems like the local scene is moving off forums and on to social media.

That said, there are at least a few good online vendors out there. I like the Diver's Den section on liveaquaria. Not the cheapest, but I feel like they have a good variety and consistently good quality. Plus, they know what they're doing when it comes to good packing and shipping practices. I've seen a few comments with respect to puchases from the regular Liveaquaria that weren't as positive, but I haven't experienced that myself.

I also like kp aquatics out of Florida - they do local collecting of Caribbean species and they have great prices on some stuff that is hard or impossible to get anywhere else. They're closed right now after Irma, but it looks like they intend to reopen.

I've had a few orders from other places recently but most of my online livestock purchases have been through those two outfits. Selling and shipping corals over the internet is a very hard business, no single vendor is always going to get it right at a great price with a great selection - there are going to be hiccups and differences in opinion, YMMV. Another great reason to shop locally - you can walk right in and see the specific coral and then take it home yourself. It takes a lot of the pressure off the vendor to get everything totally right.

rocsec1
10/03/2017, 07:53 PM
Frag swaps and local reefer

xCry0x
10/03/2017, 08:10 PM
Craigslist or see if there is a regional forum here for your area and ask if anyone has starter frags.

Buying online is only good if you plan to buy a decent amount because you are going to eat a $30-$50 overnight air shipping cost due to the nature of what you are buying.

Now if you are looking to spend a bit of money... worldwidecorals is particularly good if you want to drop $100 on a 1" acro frag with some fancy name. =)

urban_s
10/03/2017, 08:40 PM
Lfs and some locals

Ron Reefman
10/04/2017, 05:23 AM
I used mostly local reefers and on occasion an LFS. But I wanted some different corals that the locals don't keep (or at least don't sell). Look at http://www.cultivatedreef.com/
They aren't cheap and their discount plan is a bit confusing. My first buy was a couple of very nice clowns and a couple of corals. Buy that also got me a coupon for 20% off my next buy. I ended up getting the max discount and the 20% off which made for very reasonable prices on harder to find corals. Then I got them to send me photos of the better rock flower anemones they had and I maxed the discount on those as well. They are a smaller operation and Holly is extremely easy to work with. Send them an email and you'll get a reply!

ReefMaster48
10/04/2017, 07:14 AM
Thanks to all for the quick replies!

Im trying to stay with mainly softies. Leathers, Xenia, few zoas, mushrooms, etc etc; but theres also a few LPS that Id like such as War Coral, maybe an Elegance.

Live Aquaria is often to expensive for me, although with a larger order theyll ship for free, but 50-60 bucks for a frag is quite expensive. At least for me. lol

I live in somewhat of the middle of nowhere, esspecially when looking for LFSs, but there is one place I gotta check out that's only 45 mins away. Im hopeing they have some deals! And what Im looking for. Ill be calling today.

Cultivated Reef actually seems like a decent source, I might email them and see if they have some more softies and or if they can order them.

Thanks again!

LtDster
10/04/2017, 08:24 PM
What area of eastern Maryland are you in? Im in Baltimore and can suggest a few LFS that are decent and would be willing to swap frags too from time to time.

ReefMaster48
10/05/2017, 05:24 AM
Do you known where Easton is? That's about the area i'm in.

jacksonpt
10/05/2017, 06:48 AM
Personally -

Option 1 is my LFS. They are really good, have great variety, everything is healthy, and prices are reasonable.

Option 2 is local reefers. Prices are usually much better, but variety and quality/health can vary. Just requires a little more diligence on my part.

Option 3 is Live Aquaria. Variety is good, never had a problem with health, but prices are high and shipping is a pain.


As far as buying from locals... is there any sort of reef club in your area? Even if it's just online (look through the regional/club boards here on RC), it can be a good way to vet good sellers from bad ones.

ReefMaster48
10/05/2017, 08:04 AM
Personally -

Option 1 is my LFS. They are really good, have great variety, everything is healthy, and prices are reasonable.

Option 2 is local reefers. Prices are usually much better, but variety and quality/health can vary. Just requires a little more diligence on my part.

Option 3 is Live Aquaria. Variety is good, never had a problem with health, but prices are high and shipping is a pain.


As far as buying from locals... is there any sort of reef club in your area? Even if it's just online (look through the regional/club boards here on RC), it can be a good way to vet good sellers from bad ones.

Thanks for the advice!!

I actually know a guy who sells corals to other hobbyists, and at a decent price. But the trouble Im having across the whole board is getting what Im looking for. Mainly softies and leathers, but even online, it seems like I can only find a few, and Id have to mix and match between different stores equaling more in shipping then corals. And my only LFS is a Petco.... Which seems to be able to order what I want, but im not sure how I feel about them. Sometimes the corals in store look, well, crappy. Maybe it will be different if I order through them.

Does anyone know if all Petco's get their coral form LiveAquaria? I saw that somewhere online, but will have to call them to confirm.

jacksonpt
10/05/2017, 09:03 AM
It doesn't sound like your experiences are all that different from mine. Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in an area with a booming reef scene. It sounds like you just need to be patient... pick up 1 or 2 things at a time, as you find them. The LFS I referenced in my first post is a 90 minute drive from my house, and I only find what I'm looking for once out of every 4 or 5 visits.

It's the downside of being a responsible reefer and sticking to your plan. (IMO)

ReefMaster48
10/05/2017, 09:14 AM
I called my Petco and they say that they get corals from ORA and another source, so I might try ordering a few through them and see how it goes. The only other LFS which is fairly good for corals is about an hour and a half away. I think I'll end up just slowly picking up some corals and collecting as I go, maybe take a half day trip one weekend. Id rather slowly get the corals that I want, then order a bunch of stuff that isn't exactly what i'm looking for.

Ill keep an eye out on the clubs and forums, maybe ill find someone local too.

mluntz
10/06/2017, 07:26 AM
What area of eastern Maryland are you in? Im in Baltimore and can suggest a few LFS that are decent and would be willing to swap frags too from time to time.

Suggest away! I'm in Millersville and the only place around here is House of Tropicals. There has to be something better!

LtDster
10/06/2017, 07:28 AM
CTE Aquatics near Timonium has a very nice selection and decent prices and looks super clean and well maintained.

Wazzel
10/06/2017, 07:35 AM
Mine come from a mix of places. I prefer to get from local hobbyist, but I live in a small town with just a few reefers. To start my tank I got some things from an on-line vendor (battle corals to be specific). I also pick up the odd thing here and there from the one good LFS in the area.

scooter31707
10/06/2017, 10:58 AM
Vividaquariums and Ebay

ReefMaster48
10/06/2017, 11:57 AM
CTE Aquatics near Timonium has a very nice selection and decent prices and looks super clean and well maintained.

They are about an half and a half away also, so I'll give them a try too! Looks pretty nice.

House of tropics was overpriced, dirty, and made me feel all icky when I walked in. A fish store doesn't have to be pristine, but come on, ya gotta at least sweep the floors and pick up the junk. :thumbdown

johnike
10/06/2017, 12:00 PM
In Maryland, great place for corals.

https://www.pacificeastaquaculture.com/

ReefMaster48
10/06/2017, 12:24 PM
In Maryland, great place for corals.

https://www.pacificeastaquaculture.com/

Have you been in there? They seem to have a good variety of LPS, and SPS online, but little to no softies. Best of all, they are only 30 (ish) minutes away. Do you know if they have more softies in store? Maybe its worth a try this weekend.

jacksonpt
10/06/2017, 12:35 PM
Have you been in there? They seem to have a good variety of LPS, and SPS online, but little to no softies. Best of all, they are only 30 (ish) minutes away. Do you know if they have more softies in store? Maybe its worth a try this weekend.

Starting a relationship with a decent LFS is with the drive all by itself. If it does prove to be a good shop, then they can probably work with you and order certain pieces for you.

lionfish300
10/06/2017, 08:52 PM
Suggest away! I'm in Millersville and the only place around here is House of Tropicals. There has to be something better! wow I used to shop there in the late 80. What about the other place in Randalltown?

ktownhero
10/07/2017, 06:13 AM
Online, you can't beat Live Aquaria with their money back guarantee (which they stand by 100%). If you get a coral from them and it doesn't survive they give you your money back, no questions asked. For fancier stuff, seems like places like Vivid Aquariums and Unique or Battle Corals are really nice, but I'm yet to use them.

johnike
10/07/2017, 06:39 AM
Have you been in there? They seem to have a good variety of LPS, and SPS online, but little to no softies. Best of all, they are only 30 (ish) minutes away. Do you know if they have more softies in store? Maybe its worth a try this weekend.

Never been there, I live in the great midwest. :)
Ordered from them a couple times with great results.

ReefMaster48
10/07/2017, 07:49 AM
Never been there, I live in the great midwest. :)
Ordered from them a couple times with great results.

Gotcha! Well that kinda proves that they are good though too! Hard to ship corals half way across the country wit good success. Not positive on the plans today, but I'd like to stop by and check them out! :thumbsup: