Aquatic Outlet

Remember when you were a kid and you had your first gold fish? Some of them lived for days, some for months, and some for hours. Regardless of the gold fish's life span, the death of a fish was always a traumatic experience, and a small funeral would always take place in the bathroom. Fast forward twenty years and now you have upgraded your gold fish bowl to a salt water aquarium, see what happens when people sell bad fish to the friends of!


Hi -

I have been a member at your store for some time now.  I have enjoyed good customer service, knowledgeable staff and quality livestock from you during that time.  Last Saturday I was at your store for part of your "customer appreciation month" sales.  I picked up a nice Rose BTA which is thriving, several inverts, and two fish:  Pinattus Batfish, Red "YellowTail" Coris.  I have two complaints about these fish:

1.  The batfish is dead (in my otherwise thriving tank) -- After taking this fish home and researching it further I discovered that this is not a surprise.  Apparently 99% of these fish die in captivity (See  This really wouldn't have been something to complain about had the salesperson warned me of this.  But he didn't.  I called your store today and spoke with Chris.  He explained to me that $1000's worth of fish die in your store every day (a concerning fact) and that there's nothing I can do.  I don't know if you are trying pass this cost on to me by selling me a fish that is doomed to die as well, but it is unethical at the very least to sell such a fish.  The fact is that fish deaths are avoidable in this hobby.  I myself have only had 2 fish die in over 2 years of reef keeping and the batfish's sad demise could have been avoided had it been left in the ocean where it belongs.  He said that your guarantee extends only 24hrs and that I must bring in the fish -- as if suggesting that I might lie about it really being dead.  It is apparent that you do not care about your fish, but it is even more apparent that you do not care about your customers.

2.  The wrasse is killing my reef --  Again, this simply could have been avoided with the salesperson advising against this fish selection.  As customer I expect to be informed by your staff that a certain fish is or is not reefsafe -- as I made it clear that my tank is a reef.  But it either this salesperson might have been a fish-school dropout or else he doesn't care about his customers -- I'm not sure which is worse.  When I asked Chris if I could bring this perfectly healthy wasse in for a credit he said I could but I would not receive what I paid for it.  Again I am being forced to pay for your staff's error.  Mistakes happen and they can be remedied but not with poor customer service like this.

This experience has seriously hurt my future relationship with your store.  It is sad to have been treated this way during "Customer Appreciation Month" of all times.  I'd hate to have made this mistake during any other month -- then again maybe in other months you could have just killed the fish for me before I left and saved me some time.  The lesson I have learned is that I cannot trust your staff to sell appropriate species for my tank.  I already do attempt to research things as much as possible before making a purchase but I'd like to be able to rely on my store's staff for help in this.  Apparently I cannot. 

I'd to think that this is one-time incident that can still be remedied but until I see otherwise I am going to post this letter on a website so that when people search for "Aquatic Outlet" they might come across this example of how a loyal customer gets treated by your staff.  I am also going forward this to various reef keeping discussion boards, the California Better Business Bureau and my local P.E.T.A. office.  Thank you very much for your time.

Best Regards,




Aquatic Outlet sent our friend a $50 gift certificate, however our friend and the staff at will no longer shop at Aquatic Outlet.

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