Livestock quality

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by 459b, 19 Oct 2010.

  1. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hope this isnt throwing a cat amongst the pigeons....

    There are alot of new marine shops opening up all over the place, even existing pet shops are starting to stock marines. I understand that competition amongst shops does/should lead to competitive prices that favour the consumer.
    However, alot of my friends have recently had disasters with livestock purchases. (proper quarantining has come up in other threads so dont want to discuss that here). So this is what i was wondering....are shops having to source livestock from cheaper dodgy places in order to remain competitive thus leading to the importing of inferior/sick/dying/diseased livestock?
     
    Last edited: 19 Oct 2010
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  3. SIMS

    SIMS

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    Not many shops do their own importing AFAIK - most buy from the 2 or 3 wholesalers. Thats why you get alot of the same stock in alot of shops at the same time. The few that do import themselves offer better quality fish IME. You will ALWAYS get the dodgy shops...that goes for anything you buy.
     
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  4. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    i purchased a stunning colony of zoas that has come up with white fungus the day after purchase, whose fault is it?
     
  5. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    to keep up with growing demand, would the wholesaler then be the one importing from dodgy sources?
     
  6. SIMS

    SIMS

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    depends how they run their businesses. IME you get 3 types of business owners -
    1. those that do what they love to make money - very lucky few
    2. those that just do whatever to make money.
    3. those that do a honest job to make money - we can't all do what we love
     
  7. SIMS

    SIMS

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    no ones fault really.
     
  8. Mr_G

    Mr_G

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    Like I bought my angel, a few hours later, he is dead, my fault or theirs?
     
  9. Marlin Fischer

    Marlin Fischer Mutantfish

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    Unfortunately, in this hobby, it's up to the person purchasing the livestock to determine the general health of the animal……. And this is IMO why:

    SIMS is correct in saying that most buy from 2 or 3 LOCAL IMPORTERS. The local importers source from various FOREIGN SUPPLIERS around the globe. Local importers manage, among many things, local licensing (CITES) and supplier relationships. Some LFS in SA are both Importers and LFS owners.

    In most cases the Importers receive Foreign Supplier livestock availability lists and then forward these to the LFS owners who then place their orders.

    Naturally IMPORTERS would try to get lists with the best prices and greatest availability of live stock. Simply put, any one of us would race at 200km/h to our LFS if we heard that just this morning they received Cross-Hatch Triggers or Achilles tangs which are now selling at only R200 a pop. Thus Importers will often test a new cheaper supplier. And sometimes you will be that person to buy that tested suppliers stock.

    Basic economics..... LFS owners are trying their best to keep up with the demand of rare and beautiful specimens while trying to create interest amongst us with an affordable price.

    Often the suppliers list is great for something like yellow tangs that can be retailed to us at R400 each, however the clownfish from the same supplier end up being cyanide caught.

    Many an occasion I have heard of situations where the LFS owner doesn’t receive all the livestock he initially ordered and instead gets so called ‘filler fish’ to fill the shipment which, yes you guessed it, are below average health fish. Clowns are common candidates for this.

    Worse still, often foreign suppliers will even withhold some of the initial payment of the Local Importer’s first order by only sending say 80% of the initial pro-forma invoice, leveraging themselves, so that the importer will have to order again to get the remaining value back.

    Often the shipment takes very long to ship. This added strain will adversely affect the fish or coral’s health. An example of this is some American shipments that first fly to a middleman in another country before it reaches us in SA. Often livestock destined for Cape Town is first shipped via Johannesburg. On one occasion I heard of livestock that landed at CPT International where customs first wanted to take their hour lunch break before clearing the shipment! Customs alone has allegedly been responsible for many DOA’s, of which the LFS is liable! On some occasions Dao’s are only replaced if more than 20% of the entire Importer’s shipment is DOA.

    I have seen where shop owners, that I have met, get very despondent with shipments where livestock is of inferior quality. Many cases one could calculate that the entire shipment was a loss as the stock acquired dies before you or I even take it from the shop. For example, one imported Achilles Tang and Two Flame angels dying in a shipment can mean a loss on the shipment for some LFS owners. It goes without saying that selling rare cyanide caught or ill specimens is bad for the LFS business in the long term as many reefers will just not purchase from there again.

    What I intend to highlight above is that one cannot always demonize the LFS owners or the Importers as there are often many reasons for varying livestock quality.

    Considering the current state of the economy one should actually cut them some slack. J

    IMO the responsibility of the LFS is to ensure their own tanks are healthy (bear in mind they holding tanks and not mature systems!), acclimatize imported fish properly (PH and salinity diff of bags vs. their own tanks etc.), dip corals before putting them in the LFS tanks and not import from foreign supplier lists provided by Importers where they have had bad experiences with those supplier lists in past shipments.

    The marine aquarists’ responsibility is to read up on what a healthy fish or coral should look like and make an informed decision on whether to purchase it. Find out where the fish/coral you interested in has been shipped from and if the LFS has ordered from there many times before. If one wanted to put added pressure on LFS to order from reliable suppliers then it would be best to not buy the fish until there is proof that it is eating or healthy, thus putting the financial liability on the LFS.

    Many of us however don’t always have the restraint to wait and this virtue comes at an expensive price. J


    PS if you read all of this …. Thank you and well done, I had fun writing it!
     
  10. Marlin Fischer

    Marlin Fischer Mutantfish

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    Ciao
     
    Last edited: 19 Oct 2010
  11. Andreas

    Andreas

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    Interesting read Marlin. Thanks for sharing. What I would like to see is LFS joining their experiences of bad suppliers. This would reinforce the cause not to support them and to only buy from the suppliers that do business with honesty and integrity. I guess this is easier said than done as all LFS are in it for the money and don't want to divulge their sources.
     
  12. seank

    seank

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    :lol:
    :lol:
    :thumbup:
     
  13. 459b

    459b Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    that is exactly my point. We not dealing with mass produced plastic kitchenware here, buying for dodgy suppliers can (and im afraid to say will) at some point have a seriuosly detremental impact of this hobby.
    First and most obvious thing to notice would be massive loss of livestcok, tank crashes etc. Secondly and more importantly is the importing of dangerous diseases. Maybe its not so obvious to inland reeefers, but those along the warmer coastline, do pose a very real threat of introducing a catastrophic disease into out waters.
    At some point the aurthorities are going to sit up and notice how livestock is indiscriminately shipped in from arb sources to save money and realise the potential risk. Any guesses what will happen then?[FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    of course id read somehting that long posted in my thread! Thanks for the response.
     
  14. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    ditto
     
  15. SIMS

    SIMS

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    thing is most LFS's have birds, reptiles, fw fish, marines, dogs, cats ect in their stores. Not many can afford the time to find the suppliers, apply for permits, import in the quantaties needed, find a clearing agent. All that for some customer to walk in and say "na, too expensive I will get it down the road R20 cheaper" its far easier to get a list pay your money and get the same stuff everyone else gets.

    As an eg. I wanted to grow rics. It took me 6 months sifting through suppliers, then I found one minimum order was $5000 add in $2000 for shipping, then around R12000 for vat and clearing. How many shops can do that every week?
     
    Last edited: 19 Oct 2010
  16. Keanan

    Keanan 2time

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    :thumbup: Had fun reading it. Very interesting read and true.
     
  17. crispin

    crispin

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    well written martin.

    ive been importing into Norway a while as the main suppliers here are poor and finding good reputable companies in Indo or Fiji or Phillipines in particular is difficult. the market to export from those countries is tough with many people catching many different fish or corals often not knowing what spiecis is what. Due to that competition suppliers will over you substancial discounts on the first shipments, plus all tha aspects martin mentions such as filling orders and undersupplying on the proforma.

    But none of that is realy new to the hobbyist in SA.

    Where the problem lies in my view is with substandard quarenteen on LS by the LFS and LFS which allow you to preorder, pay and take the fish as soon as possible. Thats NOT to help keep the prices down to the hobbyist, regardless of what the lfs might say, its to save the LFS the risk that the fish will die before its adjusted to the newer environment and cause a finacial loss to the LFS.

    The next problem is LFS not knowing the background about different fish and or knowing the background but not rearly careing, simply putting collective expoerience of people around the world down to stigmas about fish. 'mandarins are easy to keep, suncorals dont need special care etc etc' there are alot of them.

    i have a very strong suspition that a very nasty parasite was imported into capetown, in a fish that is well known to have poor survival rates and is known to be a common carrier of the paasite. That lfs does not quarenteen fish and sells them as fast as possible, under the banner of good service. I havent tested any fish or seen any pictures so i havent called the lfs out on it.

    but the point is i you want healthy surviavble fish that will last years not week, get a LFS that knows what they are doing, takes things slow and pay extra for the treatment of quarenteen and feeding of fish.

    if the lfs knows what they are doing, they have already sourced propper supply, already have tanks with decent filtration and holding facilities and QT fish for an extended period, especially the higher vallue fish. If you are EVER in a situation of wanting to buy a fish from a LFS beacause you think you know more about how to look after that fish than they do WALK AWAY and never go back.
     
  18. Slummies

    Slummies

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    im disgusted how one guy dominates the market of marines in south africa with kak quality fish. he is not even a whole saler but a transshipper. to my knowledge, there is NO wholesaler in South Africa (business opportunity for guys in jhb...) . Petshops are lucky if they get what they ordered.. if you want kak, cheap quality, go to wimPY.. if you want something good, pay for it.

    my 2c....
     
  19. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    True.
    And never buy anything out of compasion. Thinking you will be able to pull it through. Be it fish or birds or dogs.

    I went around to another LFS in Pretoria last week Thursday. Not a sponsor, but I buy from there crickets for my sons bearded dragons (wel at least they always have crickets compared to other places). They just landed a shipment. Just in time for all the weekend shoppers.

    What I found "amazing" was the size of the packets. And the amount of water each fish had to survive in on their journey. All the small damsels was in like 100 to 150ml. Small packages. The small wrasses where mostly DOA or lying on the bottom breathing heavily. I wonder what the hours spend in there was since packing to unpacking.

    Yes the water add to the weight of the package and on air freight you could end up paying more for the water being transported than the fish itself.

    I must admit that I do not agree at all with their method of acclimatization. They did float all the bags. Thereafter it was simply a matter of cutting open the bags, and drop them into one of the tanks on the system. No making sure that the salt levels are the same or anything like that. They did drip the shrimps. But not the fish.
     
  20. Slummies

    Slummies

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    i found these articles very intersting when it came to wholesalers/transhippers:
    TrnsshipLvstk

    the thing about our transhippers is that they dont even check the fish.. at times, dont even open the box. just send them off.. the way these fish are treated... hayi hayi hayi.
     
  21. Yuri

    Yuri

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    There are wholesalers i know of 2
    There fish is not that nice
     
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