Why Buy From Us

Why should you buy from AquaticArts.com?

Hi everyone! This is David, the founder and owner of Aquatic Arts. This page hadn't been updated in a long time, so I wanted to provide some updates here (as of 2021) about why you should choose Aquatic Arts as your primary aquatics supplier. A lot has changed for us in the last several years, and for the aquarium business landscape in general.


1. Every one of our holding tanks is an individual, closed system. We don't circulate preventative pesticides in our systems.

Fish pests and hitchhikers suck. In our business, it's a never-ending balancing act between ensuring clean, healthy fauna are delivered to our customers and not harming or weakening our fauna with unnecessary pesticides, antibiotics, or other chemicals. Despite the hugely increased cost, our solution to this problem is having every single tank be a closed system with its own filtration sterilization practices. This requires about 60 extra hours per week of work compared to sump/shared systems, and the equipment and electricity costs are far more expensive. Why do we do this? Because everything is contained. If we have an outbreak of a pest from one of the farms we buy directly from, it is contained to a single tank. It allows us to maintain completely individualized water parameters for every species we sell. It allows treatment for any potential pests to be contained to a specific tank and not unnecessarily stress other animals in the system. It limits a "crash" to only one tank on the rare occasion it happens.

Why is all this important? All else being equal, our fauna will usually have better survival rates than our competitors. A lot of factors can influence that; shipping issues//temperature/different parameters in your tank than our holding tank/acclimation technique/etc. However, our advantage is always going to be that our animals haven't been continually exposed to pesticides/etc during their stay with us. For example, various forms of copper are great for preventing pests (which is why most larger suppliers use them in their non-invert systems), but they are also pretty bad and stressful for, well, any living thing.

So, despite the heavy cost of accomplishing this, every one of our tanks is a closed system. It's better for the fauna, the water supply, the environment, and most of all, our customers.


2. The vast majority of our species are captive bred, despite having cheaper wild-collected specimens available.

I probably don't need to explain why this matters to any serious aquarium keeper. Almost without exception, captive-bred animals are healthier, generally have better color/markings, carry less risk of parasites and disease, and live longer. It's certainly true that some species are not available as captive bred, and we offer some of those. However, we carefully make those decisions based on the status of wild populations, whether or not wild-collected specimens are good candidates to survive in home aquariums, and how the specimens are collected. For example, we do not buy fauna that are collected with the aid of chemicals, period.

Unfortunately, the big problem with captive-bred fauna is generally cost. While there are a few exceptions, captive-bred specimens are almost always several times the price of wild-collected. Despite the margins being worse, we try to price our captive-bred fauna to be competitive even against other companies that are selling that species as wild-collected. We believe it is important to promote captive-bred species whenever possible for all of the reasons mentioned here, as well as the environment itself. Wild-collected fish are STILL often collected with chemicals or by piercing swim bladders to allow collectors to speed up the collection process. It's unbelievable to me that suppliers and the retailers that buy from them are not held accountable for this type of behavior, and the reason for that is probably just that most hobbyists simply don't know. In my experience, suppliers in the industry do their best to maintain plausible deniability about this kind of thing. They don't ask those questions because they probably already know the answer, and they'll just tell us that isn't happening if we ask (even when we know it IS happening).

This issue is certainly another balancing act. After all, we wouldn't have ANY captive-bred fauna if they weren't wild-collected in the first place. However, it is up to people like us to make sure we don't use suppliers with these types of practices when we do buy wild-collected fauna, and people like you to ask those questions before you make purchases from wild-collected fauna. Be extra vigilant with wild-collected marine fish, especially when sold by large outlets that have too much demand or prices too low to simply sell captive-bred specimens.


3. Our staff cares about continually improving, and our business does not have a revolving door or minimum wages for our employees.

One of the things I am most proud of as a business owner is our employee retention rate. Aquatic Arts LLC has about 25 employees (as of October 2019). The core group of people in the company have been here since almost the beginning, and we've only had a few people quit or be fired in 7 years. We have never had a layoff, even though there have been some very lean times back in 2015 and 2016. We pay substantially better than any other aquatics store in our state (possibly the entire country), and many of our employees plan on making their career at Aquatic Arts.

Why is all this important? It's because almost all of our staff has had the opportunity to gain years of experience in the aquatics field in addition to of some of their previous experience as hobbyists. They know the intricacies of caring for the species we carry, how our systems operate, and how to excel at their job in general. While many other businesses hire the cheapest labor they can and continually have to train new employees, ours are steadily becoming masters of their art. Almost everyone that works at Aquatic Arts has made a significant contribution to improving our systems and practices, and rewards are continuously offered for innovative new ideas. We take constructive (and sometimes non-constructive) criticism from our customers very seriously, and longtime customers reading this would agree that Aquatic Arts has drastically improved compared to the days when it was just a hobby business. I can't take credit for too much of that, because we have an awesome team that has brought more combined innovation to this business than I have on my own. I have to give some of the best credit to Matt, Preston, and Crystal; the three of them have been with the company since the beginning, and we couldn't have done it without them.


That's it for now. I hope you found this article informative even if you don't choose us as your supplier. If you have any questions, a request for us to stock something, or a suggestion on how we can improve, please contact us so we can help you and improve our service!



Owner and Founder - Aquatic Arts