Shipping Questions:

How will I know when to expect my package to arrive?

We will send you an email when we print your shipping label, and that will be the day we ship your order out. This email will include your tracking number as well. Your package will take 1-2 days depending on your choice of shipping service at checkout.

You can also sign up for text or email alerts from UPS, or enroll in UPS MyChoice (highly recommended!). That way, you won't have to keep checking the UPS website for tracking updates.

My Tracking Number is not working, did my order actually ship  or is this the correct tracking number?

The day we send you the confirmation of shipment notice is the day we did ship the order out. The tracking number is correct. This does not happen very often but sometimes a package may get missed being scanned in at the UPS facility in Indianapolis. When this does happen the order is still shipped out and once it reaches a new destination the tracking should update. It should still arrive in the 1-2 day time frame. If it does not or if the tracking has not updated after that please let us know and we will help you. Our Live Arrival Guarantee will cover this kind of incident.

If I order more than one item from you, do I have to pay the full shipping cost for each item?

Certainly not! We offer a combined shipping discount for multiple orders. Shipping costs are variable and are based on total weight of the order and where it is being shipped to.

Can you ship outside of the United States?

Unfortunately, we cannot ship outside of the United States at this time. This is because we do not know the restrictions on live animals that other countries have, and because our packages would likely be delayed a long time in customs, which would likely affect and possibly kill the animals or plants inside. .

Do you have a retail location and/or do you offer local pick-up?

We do not have a storefront, though this is something we would love to have sometime in the future when we grow large enough. We operate out of our home, but we do take local pickups on occasion for orders of $40 or more. We also offer a 10% discount for local pickup.

We generally offer local pickup on Mondays through Saturdays from noon until 6:00 PM EST. We meet customers on our front porch to conduct transactions. Cash is preferred, but we can also send you a Paypal invoice for the purchase before the local pick-up occurs.

Why is your shipping so expensive?

We understand that the shipping charges involved with shipping live animals and plants can seem pricey.  We do not overcharge for shipping, and we do not make any money from shipping charges - it actually costs us this much to ship our products.  Our website takes many factors into account when calculating your shipping cost, including the weight of your package and the distance your order will have to travel.  The shipping cost also covers the cost of packaging materials and insulation that are necessary to protect the animals and plants from the weather.

Our standard shipping prices reflect the expense of UPS 2nd Day Air, a premium service from UPS. It is dangerous for them to be in a package for more than that amount of time.

Our expedited (overnight) shipping costs reflect the expense of UPS Next Day Air.  We now use UPS exclusively for all overnight shipments. 

Our shipping costs are actually one of the cheaper ones online. If you look at the shipping prices of other aquatics sellers online, you will likely find that the majority of them are significantly more expensive than we are. And remember; if someone offers free shipping, you're just paying for it in cost of their products. After the recent changes made by USPS, it is now inhumane and irresponsible to ship live animals via Priority Mail, which many sellers still do because it is much cheaper than UPS or Fedex. Additionally, we offer a 10% discount on your order if your order is over $200.

How does shipping live animals and plants work when the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold? OR Why is there such a long shipping/handling time during some parts of the year?

The weather in the winters and summers puts us in an ethical predicament every year. We often have to make a choice between shipping quickly and protecting the animals. We take the health and safety of all of our animals very seriously, so we will not ship them when the temperatures outside are likely to harm them. Even our highly effective methods of insulation cannot always prevent the elements from affecting the animals inside the packages. We do use heat packs in all packages during the winter, but these are no longer as effective when temperatures dip below freezing.

During the winter, we will not ship packages with live animals if the temperature in your location or ours is below freezing (around 30° F). During the summer, we will not ship live animals if the temperature is 90° F or higher. These restrictions do not always apply to plants-only packages, but we still advise all customers with plant orders to make arrangements for their incoming packages so that the plants will not freeze or melt while waiting to be brought inside.

During the times of year when the weather is most extreme, we usually maintain a one to three week handling time. If there is a situation in which the extreme weather persists for longer than this amount of time, there may be longer delays. We are vigilant about keeping a close eye on the weather in all of our shipping locations at all times of the year, so as soon as the temperature in your area returns to a safe level, we will know to ship your order out as soon as possible.

We advise customers to refrain from ordering during periods when the weather in their location is the most extreme, if at all possible.

Why do you ship snails or crayfish the way that you do? Is this the best method of shipping them?

The method we use to ship snails and crayfish (in a well-insulated styrofoam cup with wet paper towels) has proven to be MUCH more successful than our previous method (shipping them in a breather bag full of water). The minimal water method is how most aquatic companies ship their snails and crayfish, so it is something we learned from companies much larger and older than us. We also inject all of our snail and crayfish cups with medical grade oxygen before we send them out, so they have the cleanest oxygen available while they are in transit.

What are those tiny, white dots in the breather bag(s) that I received? Are they eggs?

No, these are not eggs. This is Seachem Purigen®, which helps to control ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in the water. These are harmful compounds that are released when aquatic animals produce waste.

You can read more about Seachem Purigen® here: http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Purigen.html

What carrier do you use for shipping orders?

If you purchase our standard shipping option, we will use UPS Second Day Air to ship your order, which has guaranteed two-day delivery to nearly every location in the United States after we ship it out.

If you purchase our expedited shipping option, we will use UPS Next Day Air to ship your order.  If you choose this option, your order is guaranteed to arrive the day after we ship it out.  The only exception to this is shipments to Alaska.  We recommend using UPS Next Day Air shipping if the temperature in your area is consistently below 30 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

After shipping thousands upon thousands of packages out, we have found that two days is a short enough time for our animals and plants to arrive safely at most destinations.  However, if the weather is a factor in your area, please consider purchasing UPS Next Day Air shipping. After the recent changes made by USPS, it is now inhumane and irresponsible to ship live animals via Priority Mail, which many sellers still do because it is much cheaper than UPS or Fedex.

Please keep in mind that no matter which shipping option you choose, we typically have a two to 5 business day handling time on all orders.  For instance, if you place an order on a Monday with UPS Second Day Air, this does not mean your order will arrive on Wednesday or Thursday.  UPS Next Day Air shipments have priority since they can be shipped any day of the week with no risk of delay.



DOA Questions:

What happens if the animals or plants I ordered arrive dead?

All of our animals and plants come with a Live Arrival Guarantee. Please contact us if you receive DOAs, and we will replace them free of charge! 

My snails arrived, but they are not moving!

It can take up to 24 hours or longer (sometimes as long as two days) for snails to come to life after the stress of shipping. You could try putting some food in the tank to see if that gets them going. An algae wafer, invertebrate food, or a blanched vegetable should do the trick.

If the snails still do not move after two days, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss sending replacements as per our live arrival guarantee.

One or two out of all the shrimp/fish/snails I ordered was DOA. Does your Live Arrival Guarantee cover a replacement for just one or two shrimp/fish/snails?

Yes, our Live Arrival Guarantee covers any and all DOAs, as long as the number of shrimp, fish, or snails that arrived alive are less than the number you ordered. We send extras with every order of three small animals or more, so those often cover a loss of one or two animals. If the replacements are DOA as well and you receive less live animals than you ordered, we will send replacements if you make a future order with us. Alternatively, if you do not plan to order from us again or do not know yet if you will, we will grant you a refund for the DOA animals. The shipping costs for one or two animals would be very expensive, so we would prefer to send such a small number of replacements with some other items to make the shipment worthwhile regarding cost and risk.


Animal/Plant Questions:

How do I acclimate my new animals to my tank?

Acclimation instructions for all of our animals are included in every package we ship out. These instructions are located on the back of the letter that comes with your package.

Here are those instructions for your convenience:


Acclimation Guide:

For shrimp, fish, and other animals bagged in water:

1. Carefully unpack the bags containing the animals WITHOUT opening them, then QUICKLY rinse the dust off of the bag(s) with lukewarm water.

2. Drip acclimate if possible. If drip acclimating, this is the last step before introduction to tank.

3. If drip acclimation is not possible due to missing equipment or you don't know how, float the bag(s) in your aquarium for 5 minutes.After 5 minutes, poke a 1/4” hole (pea-sized) in the bag and continue to let it float for 20 minutes. This will let the water slowly exchange with your tank. Do not squeeze or agitate the bag(s) during this step.

4. After 20 minutes have passed, you can release your new aquatic animals into their new home!



For snails, crayfish, and other animals sent in damp paper packing:


1. Carefully unpack the plastic container(s) which contain the animals WITHOUT opening them, then QUICKLY rinse the dust off of the plastic container(s) with lukewarm water.

2. Slowly drip acclimate water into the container if possible. If drip acclimating, this is the last step before introduction to tank.

3. If drip acclimation is not possible due to missing equipment or you don't know how, float the container(s) in your aquarium for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes have passed, start adding approximately 1 oz of water every 3 to 5 minutes until the cup is almost full. At this point, CAREFULLY dump out the water and carefully unpack the animal(s). They can now be introduced to their new home!



How do I care for my new animals and/or plants?

We have extensive Care Guides written for our most popular animals on our website. The link to our Care Guides is located in the top menu bar of the site. Each guide includes information on the animals' background, origins, size, recommended tank parameters, feeding, and breeding. Most Care Guides also include a list of compatible tankmates, as well as a list of incompatible tankmates.

We do not have any care guides for plants because their care requirements are very minimal, and most of what you need to know about them can be found in the descriptions on their product pages. You can find more information on how to arrange and maintain the different kinds of plants with a quick search on the Internet.

If you need to know the care requirements for animals for which we do not have care guides yet, the Internet is a wealth of information on all the aquatic animals we carry. A cursory Google search will most often yield the information you need. If you do not find the information you seek after five to ten minutes of searching, feel free to contact us. We will do our best to answer your questions within 24 hours or less (perhaps with the exception of Sundays and holidays).

I want to order snails, but I don't want them to reproduce like crazy and overrun my tank. What can I do to prevent this?

None of the snails we sell are rapid reproducers, so it is not likely that you will face an out-of-control snail population problem if you order from us. If you do find that your snails are reproducing beyond your comfort level, or if you do not want your snails to reproduce at all, it is usually easy to remove the eggs from your tank before they hatch.

Mystery Snails, for example, will lay a cluster of pinkish-colored eggs above the water line that take quite a while to hatch, so the eggs can be removed far in advance to prevent baby snails.

Sulawesi Snails (aka Golden Rabbit Snails) reproduce at an extremely slow rate, so overpopulation is usually not a concern with them. A mother snail will only expel one to three eggs at a time, which can be removed before the baby snails hatch.

You can also order one snail from a few different species of snails. That way, you will have a variety of snails in your tank that cannot mate with each other.

If you are interested in snails that are guaranteed not to reproduce, we suggest ordering Nerite Snails. They do not reproduce in freshwater at all, so several of them can be kept in the same tank without concern over them reproducing. If you see your Nerite Snails laying eggs, don't worry - the eggs will not hatch in freshwater.

I ordered plants from you, and now my tank is overrun with pest snails! What happened, and what can I do?

We do all we can to prevent these unwanted guests from traveling with our plants, but snails are tricky and can slip through the cracks. We treat our plant tanks with Fenbendazole, an anti-parasitic medication that kills snails but does not harm most other aquatic animals or plants. Unfortunately, this does not work 100% of the time. It is very common for plant sellers to unknowingly send snails with plants, because pest snails are pros at hiding their eggs inside the plants.

We have found that the best and safest solution to a snail infestation is to add assassin snails to your tank. We sell the snails in groups of one, three, five, and twelve snails. There are also many other sellers and stores online that offer assassin snails. If your snail infestation is particularly bad, the general rule is that you need about five assassin snails per ten gallons.

If you have snails in your tank that you do not want harmed by assassin snails, there is another trick that can help take care of pest snail overpopulation. We call it the “lettuce trick.” First, lightly blanch a leaf or two of lettuce for about ten to twenty seconds. Then place the lettuce in your tank and turn off the lights for a few hours, or overnight. Once you turn your lights back on, you should find that the lettuce is covered in pest snails. Simply remove the lettuce, along with all of the nuisance snails attached to it, and dispose of it. This method works best if you haven't fed your tank in a day or two, so the pest snails are good and hungry.




If you have a question that you can't easily answer with a quick Google search or you have a problem with your order, feel free to get in touch with us at the email below.

If you need aquarium advice or have questions about compatibility/etc, PLEASE do some cursory research before you ask us. We are close to being forced to hire another customer service specialist, and we will have to significantly raise prices if that happens. I know, that sounds harsh. The reality is, 80%+ of our emails are questions that could be self-answered in less time than it took to write them if the sender just did a quick internet search. We get emails like "please give me detailed instructions on how to care for my ______" MANY times per day. We ARE happy to answer your questions if you can't find the answer yourself, but if you can't do any research on your own, this probably isn't the right hobby for you. Remember, the aquarium hobby is one where you become the caretaker of your own ecosystem and all the life within it. If you take on this responsibility, you need to be able to do research yourself.

Again, feel free to email us if you can't find an answer to your question on your own. I didn't write the above paragraph to discourage people from contacting us when they actually need to, and I am sure you can understand our position here.


Email: info@AquaticArts.com

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