Frequently Asked Questions |
Other recommended forums for discussion (albeit these Facebook formats are not as readily searchable in search engines) For Questions & Answers not found here, please reference this excellent resource:Aquarium Information</a> IMPORTANT! If you have been helped by our extensive and unique articles, as well as the many hours Carl & Devon put into helping others in several online forums, please consider using AAP for your product purchases or at least a donation. Updated 11/26/18 A Little American Aquarium History
*FRESHWATER FISHUES·Sick Fish Place (Facebook)
*The Aquatic University (Facebook)
*Southern Oregon Aquarium & Pond Club (Facebook)
Our statistics show that in 2017, we had more traffic to our articles than ever, while Carl & especially Devon have doubled the time spent in free help, YET sales are down almost 50%. Our tracking software shows many use our free information and help to purchase at Amazon, eBay, etc.
If this trend continues, our only recourse will be to cease this free forum help, and cut back considerably in updates to our articles (& maybe dump many articles too so as to lower operating costs)
American Aquarium was founded in 1978 by Carl Strohmeyer after 10 years in the hobby as a child and young adult. He started the company as one of the first aquarium design, maintenance companies in Los Angeles. He quickly specialized in fish disease treatment and prevention as well as aquarium repair and set up design.
Shortly after starting the company, he landed large contracts such as the Bahooka Restaurant account with over 100 large aquariums as well as many others.
Over the years Carl Strohmeyer was mentored by many in the industry including:
* "Prestige Aquarium" (Bill) on aquarium building and design
* Dr Herzog, a Harvard educated Endocrinologist who spent many years in the hobby, in marine aquarium care in particular.
* And many others
Over the years, Carl Strohmeyer used his time in the industry along with his mentoring to conduct many experiments as well as simply take note of his many practical experiences in aquarium and pond care. Many persons asked him to publish this information, but he did not at this time.
In 2002, Carl Strohmeyer left his maintenance and design business to his brother-in-law and moved to Oregon for personal family reasons. Shortly thereafter many contacts in the industry as well as friends asked him again to start a website to publish his vast library of information, which he finally conceded and did in 2005, but under the stipulation that he just use this as a way to sell shells and other ocean decor as a means of income. He wanted to keep his "American Aquarium" name for the online url, but it was taken by a music band, so he and others added "products" to the end, even though at the time no aquarium products were being sold.
Later however many suggested Carl Strohmeyer sell at least some aquarium/pond items via eBay, which he later did.
Slowly with time, many friends, customers, and colleagues exhorted Carl to sell what he recommended as he had done for years with his aquarium/pond maintenance business. He finally started to move past selling primarily ocean decor and sell many of the items his experience and research demonstrated worked well for both price and effectiveness/quality.
To this day, it is Carl Strohmeyer's library that drives this website as well as Aquarium Answers, now with the help of others in his research staff (primarily Steven Wright and Devon Trigg).
Please remember this when using this FREE library of information before purchasing elsewhere, as this library IS supported by sales at AAP.
For a more in depth business biography, please read this article:
American Aquarium/Carl Strohmeyer Business Bio
What is the Nitrogen Cycle?
The nitrogen cycle is the process by which organic protein based wastes are converted from toxic ammonia, to slightly less toxic nitrites, to relatively non-toxic nitrates (in some aquarium or pond systems nitrates are converted to free nitrogen or consumed by plants or algae).
For more, please see Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle FAQs or for the complete in depth article, see the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
Other recommended forums for discussion (albeit these Facebook formats are not as readily searchable in search engines)
For Questions & Answers not found here, please reference this excellent resource:Aquarium Information</a>
IMPORTANT! If you have been helped by our extensive and unique articles, as well as the many hours Carl & Devon put into helping others in several online forums, please consider using AAP for your product purchases or at least a donation.
A Little American Aquarium History
What else will help with algae control in my pond?
After determining you have the proper filtration and a UV Sterilizer for your pond, I would look at doing a veggie filter to help with algae control. Please see our Veggie Filtration Article for more information on this topic.
Also see this article: Pond Algae
I need to return my order, where do I start?
Our return policy is probably one of the easiest I have found. We do not require RMA's (Return Merchandise Authorization) and can refund up to 85% of your purchase price if Economy Shipping is chosen (a higher % with upgraded shipping). For more information as well as further exceptions (such as products purchased as "specials"), please see our Return Policy.
I need to return a product for a warranty issue. Do I have to return it to the manufacturer?
We take care of any warranty issues in house, so you don't have to deal with the hassles and long wait time of returning to the manufacturer. Please follow our Warranty Return Policy.
I am looking for a (fill in the blank) and can't find it on your website, do you carry this item?
If you have looked on the web page and tried the search bar on our website, chances are we do not carry that specific item. We only sell products we believe in and have tried and/ or used ourselves. For instance, in the past, we have sold a lot of Via Aqua pumps, but there are some pumps in their line we did not carry due to poor results (currently most Via Aqua Pumps are no longer available).
This policy of "cherry picking" what we know will work based on science and experience has led a few manufacturers to not allow us to sell any of their products as they have insisted we sell most of their line, even products we do not feel comfortable selling just to sell the few we like!!!
You can read more about this on our Business Bio Page.
As a further note, Carl's mentor for aquarium treatments and chemistry was very adamant as to knowing the ingredients of any product and how these ingredients work..
This resulted in Carl refusing to sell products that make claims that go against the science of the listed ingredients or worse, products that refuse to publish their ingredients! This despite often popular Internet claims for certain products that would never hold up to scientific testing scrutiny and likely positive results likely could be scientifically explained away if only by the "placebo effect".
I am trying to build my own (fill in the blank), can you help me?
We help by providing a lot of FREE resources and information throughout our entire website. We truly do like to help, however a lack of time prevents us from answering these types of questions. Please read all information and hyper links as your question is likely answered in one of our extensive articles.
Is there a discount if I order in bulk?
Sorry, but due to our already low prices we are unable to offer any further discounts. We do cap our shipping and large shipments in the lower 48 states often cost more than the customer paid. This combined with the low prices are where the discount is. For more information on this please see our Shipping Page.
Why have my products been opened?
We open and test/ check all lights, bulbs, filters etc. We do this as a customer courtesy, to ensure you get a working product that has all the parts included. Please see our mission statement for more information.
I need to change my order/ address! What do I do?
If you need to change your order, there will be a $4 Fee if Economy Shipping is used. This is to cover the time spent and fees charged to us, which usually exceed $4 (this does not apply to any upgraded shipping). In most cases orders canceled prior to shipping/processing can be refunded in full with no fees charged. If an order has been shipped there is no practical way to get a package back from USPS or FedEx so normal return policies apply. Please Contact Us Here.
Why are our shipping rates higher than some other websites?
Actually we have not raised our shipping rates as fast as they have been raised to us, often resulting in our subsidizing the cost of shipping for most larger purchases.
This said, we have now changed our pricing structure for products, and we are now utilizing UPS SurePost in more shipments where it is the lowest cost option, although this method is also not as quick as other methods we have used in the past.
This will result in lower shipping charges for orders under $50 and free shipping for orders over 49.99 in the lower 48 USA. As well, all other locations will have lower cost shipping too, but since SurePost cannot be utilized in these other locations, the shipping decreases are not as dramatic.
We are also subsidizing shipping costs more than ever since we still do not get the rates that the Discounters/"Big Boys" get, so this may cut into what we can pay for staff to help out in outside forums and other means of Aquatic education.
We at American Aquarium Products (AAP) utilize many shipping methods from USPS First Class, Priority Mail, UPS, as well as SurePost (by UPS & USPS).
Even when expedited shipping is NOT paid for, we often ship via Priority Mail for packages under 1-3 lbs..
We also ship on Saturday where most of our competition does not!!
The result is many customers ordering late on Friday a package weighing 2 lbs receiving their purchases on Monday or Tuesday for Standard Shipping.
Even with Economy, if the cost is no higher for First Class, or even Priority Mail or Standard UPS, we often upgrade for no charge if the cost to us is the same!!
Our competition from BRS to Amazon, do not do this, rather most economy (free shipping) from others is strictly FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost, Monday through Friday only which will take often 7-8 business days!
We have even made special request USPS Express Mail drop offs at our regional USPS facility on Saturdays, service you will not get from the big discounters.
Complete AAP Shipping Policy
Why AAP does not use popular Magento E-commerce Platform?
We chose to use a platform designed by web and computer tech guru Mitch Cohen which is based on eBay and the PayPal e-commerce platforms.
We continue to use this as we believe it lends itself to our content rich website much better then the popular Magento ecommerce platforms.
As well it is also much more secure, while this platform does not allow for storing lists and customization of customer profiles, it also keeps all critical private customer information away from where it can be more easily hacked. This was borne out by recent hacks of customer private information at Bulk Reef Supply and others that use the Magento selling platform (this point is about the web site platform, not a condemnation of the web sites using it).
Reference: Bulk Reef Supply Security Breach
In fact the SiteRightNow tech guru provides one of the most secure sites for AAP, which includes blocking pinging of AAP to prevent DoS attacks.
AAP is more secure than Amazon and most of the vastly bigger web sites, so while AAP may not be as user friendly as some sites in a few persons opinion (including Amazon), you will not find a safer place to purchase than AAP!
Reference: Wikipedia; DoS attack
Finally, why should we be like everyone else when our content is also very unique and our web site is designed to provide in depth information first?
Google was successful early on because they were different.
It is noteworthy that AAPs critics who cannot argue with our top notch information content often fall back on the "Red Herring argument" that our web site "sucks" when nothing is further from the truth, it is simply different and we are proud of this based on the "unique in the world content" there in.
Why we use email support over phone support?
We offer world class customer support/help via email, INCLUDING after hours and weekend tech support from staff not even in the office that we pay per email to offer timely customer support. Few online sellers offer this (also including our staff paid to be online @ Everything Aquatic Forum).
The FACTS are that we can provide links, diagrams and search history via email, which phone support simply cannot do.
Even for non-customers, we are more than happy to direct you to where further information can be obtained our extensive aquarium/pond keeping articles with specific links. However we do ask for more detailed specific questions and answers, as well as questions directed at the author of the articles, that these be directed to the forum we sponsor.
Everything Aquatic Forum Home Page
WE APOLOGIZE for any inconvenience not having a direct phone line may cause.
HOWEVER, the costs in employee time alone resulted in business losses. In part, because the majority of calls were not even from customers, rather people needing help with products we MAY sell, but have been purchased elsewhere. As well many of the questions from customers & non-customers were asking for detailed help with aquarium/pond builds, fish medications questions that could be asked in our forum where much more in depth and written help could be provided in a much more efficient manner.
On top of that, not having a written record for technical issues could AND DID result in fraudulent charge backs and this results in CONSIDERABLE financial losses!
Another part of the reason for no phone customer service is a considerable amount of calls we have taken went on to ask questions, which lasted 20 or more minutes for information that is already in our extensive articles and could have been linked to in an email or forum question.
In the end, our staff, including Carl spends a great deal of time in article updates (which includes new pictures/diagrams), we would have to cease maintaining our free article libraries which is the most unique aspect of our web site so as to donate this time to questions that are otherwise much better handled via our email, articles, and for specifics, our sponsored forums (where we donate a considerable amount of time for free).
If customer assistance is needed, please use our email!
For more, please read: Mission Statement - Customer Service
Does My Aquarium/Pond Product Have a UL or CE Certification/Rating?
Unless otherwise stated on our listing the answer is no.
The cost of submitting a product for testing is cost prohibitive in the highly competitive and low profit margin aquarium/pond product industry.
A couple of products that are certified include the Filstar (UL) & the TMC UV Sterilizer (CE).
This said, our very experienced founder (Carl) has NEVER witnessed a fire caused by a faulty product in his 1000s of applications of aquarium pumps, filters, UVs, and other devices.
Moreover it does not guarantee safety nor is required for a claim should their be a fire.
QUOTE: "Fire is a Covered Peril regardless of how it starts. There is only one exception, and that is if the fire starts from Faulty Wiring. I asked him to elaborate, since many commercial chargers (which lack UL/CE certification as mentioned) aren't wired by the owner or an electrician. He implied that the wiring clause applies to household wiring, and not the end-device. The example he used was "if you are using your bbq and start a fire, it's still a covered peril". So, basically, get your outlet permitted and installed correctly, and everything should be fine."
Reference: Home Insurance and non-UL listed appliance
Do I have to use PayPal to place my order?
No, we use PayPal as our primary payment option, but a credit card can still be used and PalPal only acts as the credit card processor.
Do I have to have a PayPal account to purchase?
No, you do not need a PayPal account to purchase. You can use your credit card and PayPal will process it without an account. However, if your credit card is linked to a PayPal account it will make you use the account. For a walk through, please see our Shopping Cart Tutorial.
What if I have a problem such as an order damaged or not received?
We ask that customers give us a chance to "correct" any problems, even problems that show the product has been delivered, but cannot be located (we pay for proof of delivery, which is legally ends our responsibility, but this does not mean we will not at least provide a heavily discounted product for a replacement in such a case).
By filing charge-backs or PayPal disputes, this costs us time and money (including higher future fees) as well as often tying our hands.
Due to the hassles/costs involved in such charge-backs/disputes as well as the amount of fraud we we now encounter, our policy is that we will refuse future business if such claims are filed and follow ALL procedures to the "letter of the law" as well in such cases (which will rule out any customer courtesy help on our side).
For further explanation see: AAP Mission Statement; Abuse Of Our Help
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