Q: Can you give me a discount or deal if I buy xx many?
A: The prices I have listed are not random and follow an industry wide pricing formula. This formula keeps the entire industry relatively close on pricing within a few dollars of each other on exact same species. Of course regional costs and even species specifics will also play a roll in pricing. An example of species specifics that affect pricing differences from one vendor to another can be: exact known collection provenance, filial generation(WC, F1, F2 or CB), gender specifics, etc.. So when comparing prices be sure to compare exact same information. A fish listed as wild with no specific information other than the country it may have come from is not comparative to one with an exact known wild collection provenance listed. When I have room to work on pricing and can still be in line with competitors it will reflect on the stock list as quantity break prices (i.e. $12.50 ea. or 5 @ $10 ea.). No other commercial vender offers this quantity discount. If a species I have listed does not have this quantity break than it likely priced correctly and I will not be offering any discounts. This will be especially true on wild imported fish and rare or popular species that often sell out very quickly.
Importing is an expensive and exhaustive occupation. It is not as simple as place an order and they show up between 9-5 on a weekday. Communications are always during bizarre hours due to time zone differences and my collectors & exporters are often in the field collecting. Organizing and finalizing orders can take days or weeks before they are collected, once collected booking same day cargo flights from one country to another is tricky. The collectors and exporters often have a minimum amount of either dollars or full boxes that need to be ordered before they will start collecting. Besides the price paid per fish, importers have huge same-day cargo shipping bills in the thousands of dollars range, airline import fees, US Fish and Wildlife inspection/clearance fees, importers need permits & licenses, sometimes a broker is needed at an extra fee, fuel to drive to and wait at airport(s) for hours at a time. That is all before the fish even can leave an airport and make it into a facility. Once here, it is not uncommon for multiple if not dozens of fish to have arrived dead (yes, we deal with DOA's). Incorrectly identified fish were shipped, species shipped were subbed with another without notice, etc. All of which we have already paid for and are likely not refunded or credited for. These are the risks importers take to offer you these rare fish that we have made available and often that cannot be found in your local big box pet shop. Once here, I run multiple rounds of different medications on all new stock that is taking up tank space for quarantine time, I need to feed them, they use water, electricity (heat and filters), etc., etc., etc. All of these factors are how I and all other reputable importers determine the final prices of the fish while trying to stay competitive with each other.
Those that are importing and then selling the fish at near cost are ultimately destroying the trade and directly putting themselves out of business. Your local fish store, pet store, wholesaler, or importer needs to pay overhead like rent(or mortgage), insurance, utilities, and employees. Selling at near cost they cannot make enough to stay open for you to shop at. If they go out of business, then that is less for the collectors to collect, and less for exporters ship preventing them from make a living which then puts them out of business making some species completely unavailable. This then ultimately puts the person selling them cheap for a quick profit and his/her competitors out of business due to lack or sources for inventory.
Of course, someone at your local fish club/online group/etc. might be breeding and selling something at half the price that myself or a competitor is selling, that is fine and is understandable. Many of us have started out in just that way. Keep in mind, they are likely growing out fish they have bred (possibly even originally from me) and are looking to move them along. The overhead costs they have has a hobbyist and the inventory availability they have is certainly far less than I or other importers that operate in a much larger scale incur and therefore allows them do sell at much lower prices.