I was interested to read your debate about buying fish mail order.
I bought four small Discus from a prominent website. They arrived on Friday morning and were all alive. In the evening I noticed one had died.
I emailed the dealer the next day, requesting a replacement or refund. The dealer refused a refund because he said I had waited two days (untrue). He also blamed my tank water quality. I did a 30% water change and a water test two days before.
I sent a photo showing the surviving fish feeding at the surface. He stated Discus are bottom feeders and were at the top due to bad water conditions and lack of an airstone! He also suggested I allowed the fish to jump out of the tank. He has threatened to blacklist me with other dealers.
I include a photo of the three remaining healthy fish alongside my existing large Discus, which I’ve had for a number of years. Two of the Discus have poor colour, nothing like the vibrant colours on the website. I hope these will improve as they grow.
The terms and conditions on the website state they do not guarantee live fish sent by post, stating this is ‘industry standard’, which is not true.
So if buying fish by post, check the terms and conditions first. Better still, make the journey to a dealer’s premises and buy larger fish that have developed their final colours.
The email exchanges between me and the dealer are akin to the Monty Python ‘dead parrot’ sketch. It was also pointed out to me that my ‘existing large Discus’ was a Severum. David Webster, via email
NATHAN REPLIES: Well, that sounds like an unhelpful seller indeed! While livestock guarantees are a little vague, you’d do well to speak to either trading standards or Citizens Advice to see where you stand on a loss in such a short space of time.
On the flipside, on this occasion the retailer is denied the usual course of action too – when a fish dies, a retailer will almost always request a water sample to test before a replacement will be given. In absence of that, I can see why they might be stand-offish. I’ll confess, this isn’t an angle I’d thought about during the original magazine discussion.
Admittedly, when it comes to Discus suppliers, there are only a couple I trust unconditionally – Devotedly Discus in Polegate and Chen’s Discus in Doddington. Having seen fish from both, I can vouch for their outstanding condition.