Unheard of only a few years ago, it's becoming quite common for hobbyists to shop online rather than at their local pet shop when looking for that perfect addition to their aquarium. The wide selection of guaranteed healthy fish, the variety of vivid colors and species . . . it's tempting to try your first online aquatic purchase, but you still have questions. Why pass up the chance to point out the exact fish you want through the glass tank at the pet store? How will you know if your internet fish will arrive healthy and safe?
Point & Purchase vs. Click & Buy
It's becoming more common, especially with marine life, to search for websites offering "WYSIWYG" (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) or "Eye & Buy" selections online. Simply click on a picture to see the fish, coral, or invertebrate for sale in its holding aquarium.
In most other cases, the hobbyist views a general photo of the species and has to trust that the fish they purchase online look as good as promised. Your best security is to find a website with an expert staff, a good reputation, and a risk free guarantee.
How much stress will shipping cause the fish?
Also, consider this: the fish in your local pet shop have shipped from location to location, distribution point to distribution point around the world, before finally reaching the store. However, when you buy online, your fish ship directly from the importer to your doorstep. Less travel means less stress, and less stress means your aquatic purchase is in better health.
Selection, selection, selection
You're also going to find a much wider variety online. Take Tetras for example. A pet store may have enough room for a few aquariums holding the most popular Neon Tetras and perhaps Rummynose or Black Phantom Tetras. But visit an online fish store and you'll discover a seemingly limitless selection of hard-to-find species like Green Fire, Diamond Head, Red Tail Mirror Blue, Albino Buenos Aires, Congo, and Splashing Tetras!
Online buying tips
If you've been reluctant to buy fish online, it's never been easier, safer, or more rewarding than it's become in the past few years. For the hobbyist living far away from a big city selection of freshwater or saltwater fish, buying aquatic life online is probably the best way to stock your aquarium with uncommonly beautiful species from around the world.
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