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  1. Does ExoticFrags ship on Thursday for Friday arrival, or Friday for Saturday arrival?
  2. Why do a very few select pieces not have an arrive alive guarantee?
  3. What is a "Growout Frag"?
  4. Do we ship outside the Continental United States?

1. Does ExoticFrags ship on Thursday for Friday arrival, or Friday for Saturday arrival?
We primarily use FedEx Priority Overnight shipping for our corals. (If you are on the west coast, we may opt to use OnTrac which has a great track record but limited availability.) Typically, FedEx does a great job! But on occasion, a package will be delayed, for whatever reason, and not get there until the following day. Thus, we prefer to ship Monday-Wednesday. If an overnight FedEx delay occurs, at least the recipient will get the package in two days.

But - if we ship out on a Thursday and a FedEx delay occurs, this means that the package would have to be received on a Saturday. It is difficult to make this happen as Saturdays are not fully staffed at FedEx. Thus, it is quite possible that a delayed Thursday shipment would not arrive until Monday. Yikes!

If we ship on a Friday for Saturday delivery, this incurs an additional cost and now the package would definitely not arrive until Monday in the event of a delay.

So - we are willing to ship on a Thursday for Friday arrival or a Friday for Saturday arrival as long as the recipient is willing to accept this risk: If a FedEx delay occurs and the recipient does not receive the package within 2 days, we at ExoticFrags.us are not liable. Note that this means in the case of a Thursday shipment for Friday arrival, and that there is a FedEx delay, but the package is received on Saturday, we will still accept the risk. However, if the package in that scenario doesn't arrive until Monday, we cannot be held liable. (In the event of a Friday shipment for Saturday arrival, it is up to the customer to pay the additional shipping offset.)

Having said that, this really sounds a lot more scarey than it really is! In the hundreds of packages that we have shipped, we have never experienced a delay longer than 1 additional day totaling a 2-day arrival. And of course most packages get there on the scheduled next-day delivery date. If weather is good, the chances are even slimmer of a delay.

2. Why do a very few select pieces not have an arrive alive guarantee?
For the most part, we back our corals with an arrive alive policy. We have an excellent shipping record as we spend the extra dollars on more expensive (and significantly more stable) shipping techniques. But sometimes things happen. Typically, any issues we have are due to a shipping delay. On occasion, a frag doesn't make it for other reasons. We're here to take care of you and will make the situation right.

However, there are a few pieces that do not have an arrive alive guarantee. We will always tell you ahead of time of any pieces that fall into this category that may be on your order. In fact, most of the time, we will not even list these pieces on the site due to their fragility. But we understand, customers seek fragile pieces and often times we have them or can get them. Two prime examples are Armageddon Palys and Red Wine Palys. These two palys have a reputation to 'melt' away in even the best-of-the-best hobbyist tanks. We've lost our fair share ourselves in the past many moons ago. Don't get us wrong - some people can keep them with no problems. Today, we keep them with fairly good success ourselves. But, there is a reason they have this infamous reputation.

As such, on these few select pieces, we do not offer any guarantee. If you like, we are happy to take a picture of your frag open and healthy IMMEDIATLY before it goes into the bag to be shipped to you. Then again in the bag, then again in the box with markings on the tape to indicate CoC integrity. (Please mention to us if you want us to go through these extra hoops. We do not by default and rely on our excellent reputation throughout the marine reef hobbyist world as an indication of our performance.) We're not here to try and deceive anyone with these pieces, but just cannot afford to guarantee them due to their fragility.

Do you still want these pieces that do not have a guarantee? We're happy to ship them to you. If after reading this you do not want these few pieces, we totally understand as this would cause second thoughts for ourselves as well.

3. What is a "Growout Frag"?
There are several pieces that we have a hard time keeping in stock. Their popularity far exceeds growth rate. We do not keep waiting lists as we have found that they are too hard to manage. As such, we have come up with a new technique for certain pieces on our site called: Growout Frags.

Let's jump right into an example to explain how a Growout Frag works. Some of our Zoanthids fall into this category where we just cannot keep them in stock. A frag becomes available, and 10 people want it. So the next time a frag is made, we'll make it a Growout Frag. Suppose the initial frag is 2 polyps. We will attach a price to it that is higher than what we would normally sell a 2 polyp frag for had growth been able to keep up with demand. Suppose a normal price is $60/polyp for this popular morph. On this 2 polyp Growout Frag, we will attach a price of $200, or $100/polyp.

If someone wants to purchase it for $200, great, the frag is sold and this ends that particular Growout Frag.

If nobody desires to own the frag for $200, then it will sit in our grow out tanks. As it grows a third polyp, the price stays the same. It is now a $200 frag, but with 3 polyps. If someone buys it now, great! They are the proud owner of a $200 frag with 3 polyps.

If still nobody desires to own the frag for $200, which is now 3 polyps, then it sits in our grow out tanks longer. Time passes with no buyer, now it grows to 9 polyps plus a baby polyp. The price stays the same, it is still $200.

And that's how our Growout Frags work! The price will always stay the same, the frag just grows bigger and bigger until someone would like to purchase it for the initially set price.

For a current list of our Growout Frags, please visit our Growout Frag page.

4. Do we ship outside the Continental United States?
UPDATE 2013-03-26
We are now 90% capable (just have a little logistics to work out) of international shipping to countries capable of receiving USA corals! Non-CITES corals (i.e. Zoanthids, mushrooms) on man-made plugs (i.e. ceramic plugs with no live rock) are much easier than CITES corals (i.e. LPS, SPS). However, we can even do CITES corals as well. To anyone unfamiliar with the import/export process, the fee schedule below will seem outrageous. To anyone familiar with the import/export process, you'll see that these fees are right inline and very reasonable. The approximate fee breakdown is as follows:
(all prices below are estimates in US dollars)
  • Flat Fees per shipment of non-CITES corals (i.e. Zoanthids on man-made frag plugs) to be able to get corals on a plane out of the USA (no matter if 1 coral is ordered, or 50 boxes of corals are ordered): $494 - $603.
    • Export Inspection fee: $279 for DFW inspection fee if done during normal business hours. If after hours, $350. Just depends on what time the plane leaves.
    • Export fee w/ coral broker to fill out paperwork w/ DFW and facilitate inspection: $65
    • $150 basic health certificate form required in most countries. Some countries (most in European Union) additionally require endorsement form by USDA which is an additional $38.
  • Additional per-shipment fees for CITES corals to be able to get them on a plane out of the USA (no matter if 1 coral is ordered, or 50 boxes of corals are ordered): $125
    • $125 for CITES permit. Lead time is 4-6 weeks in the USA. Much quicker in other countries that export corals all the time. I.e. Indonesia CITES permit would only take 2-3 days.
  • Variable fees: ~$100
    • Transhipper fee to be paid to our transhipper to get the corals from us to LAX to do all of the above: yet to be determined. Presumably around $100.

At this point, we've paid all the fees in the USA to be able to get the corals on to a plane leaving the USA. But now there are more:
  • Transportation charges: basically, the actual shipping fee. $100-500? Guessing... This varies dramatically by weight/quantity being shipped and the carrier being used.
Now the corals are 100% out of the USA and beyond our control. You can see that this will vary in cost from $800-$1,300 per shipment before any fees you incur on your side. When they land to you in the destination country, they are your responsibility to accept them. At the very least, most countries have to pay to have an inspection fee and have an import license. It is probably best to solicit the services of someone in your country that is already equipped to do so. In the USA, we basically pay the above mentioned costs as a recipient too. DFW inspection, coral broker, etc.. We have no idea what the cost is.

So a real example:
  • Example 1: Customer buys 1 Zoa for $50
    • Coral Cost: $50
    • Cost to get it out of the USA and landed into customer's country: $800-$1,300
    • Total: $850-$1,350
  • Example 1: Customer buys 5 Zoas at $40 each
    • Coral Cost: $200
    • Cost to get it out of the USA and landed into customer's country: $800-$1,300
    • Total: $1,000-$1,500
Addtitionally: we cannot be held responsible for DOA on international orders. It is a risk, and that risk is 100% on the customer. If after reading all of this you are still interested, please just let us know. We realize it is a ton of money to export corals from the USA to another country, but it is the only option we at ExoticFrags can do unless you happen to be stateside at some point (read on).

Other questions we have been asked related to the topic:
  • How much is the minimun order? -- No minimum order.
  • How much experience do you have shipping internationally? -- To date, zero. :) We have yet to ship internationally.
  • What coral type recommended for the transit time? -- I'd think Zoas/Palys would have the best survivial rate. Just a guess though.

At this time, we cannot ship to Hawaii.

If you are ever stateside, we may be able to ship to you at your hotel if your country and airlines allow corals to be brought back. Inquire for more details.

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