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hobbyist frag prices


InAtTheDeepEnd

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InAtTheDeepEnd

Perusing ebay recently for frags I was looking at prices and generally the cost from other hobbyists is a lot less than from the LFS. Obviously hobbyists don't have the same outgoings as businesses on rent, business rates, employees' wages, so I was just wondering how you know you're getting a fair price and which people prefer to use (lfs vs other hobbyists). I've had some pretty poor frags from my LFS that weren't cheap and have had aiptasia etc. but I suppose that is a risk with hobbyist frags too; the difference being LFS frags start at £25 and hobbyist ones seem to start at £10 for small ones. But LFS purchases also support important niche small businesses and keep the hobby going, plus tend to be better on aftercare: if I get a frag on ebay I probably won't be contacting the seller two months later for care advice, but my LFS I would do that quite happily, and advice is part of the service. 

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I prefer to use local shops simply because I've had some horrible experiences having stuff shipped to me before.  As in I think I've gotten one package with coral that hadn't been damaged somehow ending with me losing everything.  Plus since I usually pick up 1-2 frags at a time, shopping ebay (unless I could find some super duper low prices from someone who had tons and tons of frags) means I'd be paying more for shipping than I would have paid if I had just bought equivalent frags from the local stores, but at a slightly higher price.  Of course with that in mind, I work in an area of Florida with a trio of pretty good stores pretty close to me, so I don't need to worry that I'm only going to be seeing crummy half-dead stuff like all the petcos I've been to either.  If that was all I had nearby (same quality as they are in my area at least) I'd probably be a lot more willing to risk it.  There's also that I am seeing the frag in person so I can pass ones that are in iffy shape or which have pests on them, versus getting one shipped to me that may have picked something up since the photo was taken.

 

For pricing, I have no idea.  Online I tend to see the super designer frags of stuff that I couldn't afford.  In the stores I go to, I tend to see bins starting at cheapie $10 pieces up, and I know at least one of the stores gets colonies/frags them up and has at least one growout for SPS so they can just pull bits off to save some cost.  Tends to be the sort I shop at most since even if I can't always find something I like, I can always find something in the price range I can afford, if that makes sense?  I tend to go more for "is it healthy?  Is it more than 3 polyps of SPS for less than $500?" than "if I found a place online selling that same species, would I be able to get it for cheaper than I can today?"

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less than bread

I don’t think I’ll ever buy online again. It’s too much of a risk, shipping is usually more than the coral itself, and you really have no idea what you’re getting since pretty much everyone (store or individual seller) enhance their photos to make corals look way more colorful than what they are.

 

I understand where many don’t have a reliable store within driving distance but if you have a store or hobbyist close by, the best way is always to see the thing you’re buying in person first. Regardless of the price, seeing in person is the way to go if possible

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Reefkid88

See I want to give local stores my business ,but I only have 1 that actually has fair prices. I am 20 minutes north of Orlando so I have Top Shelf Aquatics,WWC and Living Reef Orlando at my disposal. Out of those 3 LRO is the cheapest. They have a $5,$10,$20,$30 that has awesome pieces and even awesome sps. 

 

 There are a lot of locals to,so I have options but honestly haven't gotten any from any locals. 

 

 Ocean's Direct is the cheapest,small store,ran by a guy thats been in the hobby for probably 30yrs has like 3 people that work for him. Doesn't have a HUGE selection but he isn't backed like the other 3 are so he has to fight for orders or pay a premium that other companies have caused the prices to go up,or the past 2 yrs have driven up si its harder for him to get super nice pieces. Which sucks but I shop their solely because its cheap,he is a great dude and will give you awesome deals if you are a frequent shopper. 

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@Reefkid88  Thank you!  I've been considering looking around some of the aquarium stores next time I'm sort-of close to Orlando, and it's nice to know of a couple places to check out.  Of course that many places (and my habit of over-staring in tanks) I might need to make a day trip out of it 😆

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Reefkid88

There a bunch,its just finding them. After digging on google for a little you will learn there is a good variety of places. Like Oceans Direct is in Longwood on 434,small but nit terrible depending on what you are looking for. 

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Jakesaw

I think alot has to do with your location and competition within the area.

 

I have a place near my home that is very convenient but caters to larger tanks mostly.  I like the owner, but prices on coral are a bit steep.  Frags - when they are available at this store are a bit more grown out but you pay for it.  Corals are not the specialty here, it's more fish and large system focused store.

 

If I drive 20 - 25 minutes, I have a coral specialty store that has all kinds of single head frags ranging from 10-15 dollars for quick growing frags like GSP or single head of candycane - up to several hundred or 1,000 for a one off coral.  Prices are generally based on color / rarity or availability / and how fast the frags grow out in their own tanks. 

 

They have occasional holiday sales that I can plan for ( black friday 40 percent everything in store ) if I want to stock up.  I prefer to give this store my business, because the owner when not busy with other customers is willing to help me with problems I have even though I have a tiny tank and am not currently a big spender.  He wants me to be successful in hobby and willing to help with good advice.  Everything they recommend has been tested on the owner's tanks or he would not recommend.  

 

 

 

 

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DevilDuck

If you have a facebook account check for local reefing groups close it you. You can be on the lookout then for people posting about frags or PM someone who posted a brag picture of their tank that is just over flowing with overgrowth.

Note that facebook outlaws the sale of "animals" this includes coral, so most of coral will be listed as aquarium decorations or some other code word.

You'll find GSP, xenia, chaeto, plating montipora, candy cane or other fast growing stuff for free or very cheap. Bubble tip anemones are always cheaper and healthier from fellow hobbies with a tank full of clones than from the stores.
Obviously, you'll have more luck if you live close to a larger metro area.

 

If you're looking for something really specific or rare, then sometimes online coral vendors are the only way to go. 

 

 

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Just fun stuff, really.  I'd like some B. merletti, which not many people seem to carry.  I think I've got most of the rest of my wishlist, though?  I mean, besides a bigger tank, but I've got no room for one, and upgrading my lights would probably kill my budget for the next decade, haha.

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Reefkid88
2 hours ago, Riona said:

Just fun stuff, really.  I'd like some B. merletti, which not many people seem to carry.  I think I've got most of the rest of my wishlist, though?  I mean, besides a bigger tank, but I've got no room for one, and upgrading my lights would probably kill my budget for the next decade, haha.

 

 Depending on how close you are to Orlando and which are you are coming from will depend on which stores to hit up as they are kind of spread out. 

 

 WWC -(Orlando and a location in Winter Park off of Aloma Ave) will not be budget friendly if you are cheap like me. 

 

 Top Shelf - dedinitely not budget friendly but they do have a $10-$50 section where there is the middle tier stuff. TSA is mainly a high end acropora shop but you can find a little bit of something but it will cost you. 

 

 Living Reef Orlando is in Waterford Lakes off of Alafaya Trail and you will have a vetter time finding something there as their $10-$30 section holds some REALLY nice but affordable pieces. 

 

 Oceans Direct in Longwood on 434 is smaller,a small selection but also has affordable pieces. 

 

 There are a few others like Ocean Blue,Sea In The City and somethingFishy all within probably 20-30 minutes from eachother in the Orlando-Oveido area. 

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I live in Sebring and work in Ybor.  It'd mostly be the next time I get towards that part of the state (ish.  Winter Haven, which has nothing open on the day I can get there.) to get some knitting mistakes fixed.  Figure I can go a touch bit more inland since I'd already be sort of in the area.   Just depends on how early I can skip out of work, and how traffic is I guess.  

 

I don't really mind middle-end stuff.  I think the only expensive piece I've got in the tank now is a monti digitata which was $50 (expensive tester coral ^^' ) and the rest are $30 and under.  No, wait, the fox was $60, which kinda sucks because the same store has had them for $30-40 ever since, and I snagged the pricey one because it was the first I'd seen in years.  Ah well.  It's still my fave ❤️ Do you happen to know off hand if any of them have live foods like brine?  Only one that seems to have it here anymore is the one way out that is obnoxious to get to.

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I'll have to keep looking around to see if I can find one.  Thanks!

 

Also, sorry I derailed your topic so much, DeepEnd.

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aclman88

Looks cool.  Wondering if there is a cheaper way to DIY one.  $26 seems a little steep for some small pieces of plastic and brine shrimp eggs.  That being said, all the other options that are available are generally messy and require aeration.  

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