We understand that buying fish online, sight unseen can be daunting. At Reef Beauties, we guarantee live arrival and survival of most* livestock items up to 15 days beginning with timely delivery of your order. The guarantee policy exists to give you confidence in the specimens we select to ship to you. If we select wrong, it's our loss.
Our experts hand-pick the specimens that we ship for their health and quality. As long as your specimens are acclimated properly and promptly (please refer to our Acclimation Guide), arrive on time, and are compatible with your system/other fish, your fish will do very well in your tank.
*We cannot guarantee "expert" care level and other sensitive items. Please see below for what is NOT part of the 15-day guarantee.
Below are details on what is/isn't covered by the 15-day guarantee, and tons of info on how to ensure you achieve a favorable resolution. Please note that all claims are handled on a case-by-case basis, and in some cases we make exceptions to these restrictions as long as you communicate well.
How to Submit a Livestock Claim:
While we have this guarantee in place to give you confidence in purchasing, it is important that we are able to verify that the item in question is actually deceased, and that it did not perish due to unstable water parameters, incompatibility with tank mates, improper acclimation, and other signs of negligence.
Basically, we just need to confirm that you are doing your part by maintaining a proper environment for the item in question. Sadly there is quite a bit of fraud, negligence, and abuse of such a guarantee program, so every claim must be handled on a case by case basis.
To file a claim, simply fill out the form at the following link: Guarantee Claim Form
If you have multiple specimens of one fish/invert that die (i.e. 5 Copperband Butterflies, 5 Grn Chromis, 3 Cleaner Shrimps), it is important to preserve ALL deceased bodies. In order to receive credit for multiple specimens, we require ALL deceased specimens to be in the same picture.
If you lost an expensive item (over $150), preserve the deceased specimen by placing it in a plastic bag, sprinkling 1 TSP of salt over it, and then freezing it, in the event that we ask for the return of the specimen or additional documentation. This may occur for higher-value items. Once your claim and credit have been processed, you may discard the specimen.
We will review your claim and issue store credit, or email you requesting additional information, such as video, picture of the tank with tank mates, or water parameters.
Please note that we require responses to any requests for additional information to be sent WITHIN 3 days of the request. After that point, we will NOT be able to process your guarantee claim, as that info will no longer be relevant to the conditions of the tank at the time of loss.
Like other stores, our guarantee policy does NOT cover items lost as a result of shipping delays. However, we are unique in that we offer Delay Insurance for only $10, which is a shipping option when checking out. Please see the section below on Delay Insurance for more details.
Taking a clear photo or video and providing as much information as possible (e.g. perfect tank parameters, picture of leaking bag, record of water temp on arrival, photo of an otherwise thriving tank) will result in the quickest resolution and save time for both parties. Claim processing can take 1-3 business days, usually sooner.
Achieving a Favorable Resolution
The most important thing you can do to ensure a favorable resolution is to maintain communication with us. If something did not arrive well but is still alive, please email us. We will give suggestions on how to save it. If nothing can be done, at the very least you are establishing a paper trail. We can only resolve claims based on the information you give us. Particularly when several fish die from one order, there is often some reason that we need to uncover.
While this may seem like extra work, all we ask in the case that something isn't doing well, is that you let us know that "X fish" isn't doing well, with a brief description and whether you are treating it or need help with treatment recommendations. This will establish a paper trail, and leave you with few questions if the specimen unfortunately ends up passing.
On the other hand, if you do not communicate with us at all, and send us a guarantee claim on the 15th day, we will have quite a few questions to ask, in order to determine that the fish did not die due to an issue with your tank. Ultimately, this ends up being a much more difficult claim to process, and will take more time than it would had we established a paper trail.
Here is an example of how you might establish a paper trail:
Sadly, we deal with a significant amount of fraud and negligence in this business, which is the reason behind all of the policies and rules. From customers putting saltwater fish into a freshwater tank to sending us DOA fish in bags that we do not even ship with, we unfortunately are wary of every trick in the book at this point. As a small business with such a policy, we have to protect ourselves from paying out fraudulent or negligent claims.
As with all guarantee programs with other online stores, each claim is handled on a case-by-case basis. However, we are here for you and will always resolve claims in your favor AS LONG AS YOU COMMUNICATE WITH US and the below requirements are satisfied.
We will not be finding excuses to not honor your claim, especially if you communicate issues with us early on and leave a paper trail leading to the death. Filing a claim with us is no different from filing an insurance claim during a car accident. We can only work with the information you give us. If you do not give us enough information to adequately investigate the claim, chances are slim that your claim will be approved.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Unclear photos of the deceased item
- Refusal to provide water parameters and/or tank photos
Applying Store Credit
Once your store credit is issued, you will receive a confirmation email with your code and you will be able to use it right away.
Your credit code works almost like a pre-paid debit card; for example, if you have $100 worth of credit, and only order $50 worth of items on your next order, you will still have a balance of $50 remaining to use on the next order after that.
To apply your credit, simply enter the code emailed to you in the "Discount Code" box when checking out on your next order, and it will discount your order by the credit value.
Please note, we CANNOT apply your credit for you retroactively after your order has been placed. Your credit MUST be applied to your order when placing it.
Shipping Delays and Delay Insurance
Unfortunately, carriers (including UPS) are no longer issuing refunds for delays in transit caused by weather or mechanical issues. Shipping delays are rare, and we do pack with delays in mind; especially when the weather is not extremely cold, most of the time everything makes it alive and well despite a full day delay.
However, in some unfortunate cases, something you ordered may not make it due to a shipping delay. These shipping delays are outside of our control, and of course, yours as well, but they may happen in rare cases.
We still want you to be covered in these cases, so we are offering Delay Insurance at a cost of $10, which can be selected when checking out.
Delay Insurance will cover any items lost due to shipping delays, for the full 15 days after the delayed delivery. In addition, delay insurance will allow for a full refund of lost items if requested, in lieu of store credit, if your package is delayed in transit...this way, you are not obligated to place a new order with your store credit, because of something that was lost for reasons outside of your control.
Please note, an item lost as a result of a UPS shipping delay due to weather or mechanical issue, where delay insurance is purchased, is the only instance where a refund can be issued once an order has been shipped.
Our guarantee policy does not cover items lost due to shipping delays caused by weather or mechanical issues, so if you do not select the option for delay insurance and a delay occurs, unfortunately any items lost as a result of the delay will not be covered by the guarantee.
Livestock Guarantee Details and Exclusions
- Please DO NOT file a guarantee claim demanding a refund or replacement, as this policy of store credit is an inherent part of our business model and contributes to how we price our livestock.
- We cannot retroactively process incomplete guarantee claims, or guarantee claims weeks after death. (for example, we requested additional info for your claim, we did not hear back, and you are looking to proceed with the claim weeks later). We understand you may be busy and may make exceptions in some instances, but only if you have a time-stamped photo. Otherwise, we will not be able to process your guarantee claim.
- You are responsible for taking care with the weather in your area. If it is above 90F or below 16F in the mornings and you still decide to order, we will ship, but your guarantee will be void. Even though we will ship with heat or ice packs as necessary, we cannot confidently guarantee that these measures will adequately combat such extreme temperatures. Shipping to the nearest UPS Access Point may help reduce exposure to the weather.
- We require photos of the body if claiming hermit crabs or snails.
- We cannot guarantee items that arrived due to a delay caused by weather, unless delay insurance is purchased.
- By not following proper acclimation procedures or receiving the package on arrival, all warranties can be voided.
- Shipping costs and related packaging fees are NOT covered by any guarantee and are non-refundable.
- There are no guarantees on livestock that is free.
- As we are shipping live animals, someone must be available to receive the shipment on the first delivery attempt -- even if the carrier delivers the package late. You will be provided with a tracking number on all shipments. If we find that the package was left outdoors for a period of time, your guarantee will be void.
- If your order is delayed by the carrier, you are still required to be available to accept the shipment and acclimate all contents before contacting us. Delayed orders are handled on a case-by-case basis.
- If a delivery is refused or returned for any reason, the customer will be held liable for the full cost of the invoice and voids all guarantees and warranties with no recourse.
- If you are not present when your order is delivered, AKA "Delivery Attempted," your guarantee will be voided.
- If you are aware of any potential weather issues, please email us and we will make arrangements to ship another day.
- Please be mindful of shipping in hot or cold weather. We always check the weather and pack with ice packs when needed, but it is your responsibility to be home to bring the package indoors right away. Even a few minutes exposed to a hot driveway, the direct sunlight, or other elements can be problematic.
- For extreme weather (over 96F or below 17F before 12 PM), we cannot guarantee items in the shipment. Even though we use insulated boxes and ship with ice/heat packs, there is no way to predict how such extreme temperatures can affect the livestock in the box. We can't pack with the perfect amount of ice or heat packs for such weather as it would be too cold/hot for the first leg of the journey, so there's a chance those temperatures may affect ambient water temperature too much during shipping.
EXPERT and Other Sensitive Items
We can only guarantee LIVE ARRIVAL for "EXPERT" and other sensitive items listed below because some of these species do not handle stress from environmental conditions (such as water quality, landscape of your tank, other fish) well, or because they have specialized feeding requirements. Some fish are simply difficult to care for and have too many factors that we cannot guarantee.
We require a photo to be taken immediately after delivery (within up to a 1 hour grace period), and communication that the item arrived dead or unwell. The live arrival guarantee will expire after that one hour grace period, and we would not be able to retroactively issue credit for it.
Such items include: Copperband Butterfly, Melon Butterfly, Achilles Tang, Gem Tang, Black Tang, Antennata Lion, Radiata Lion, and other well-known sensitive items that MAY OR MAY NOT be labeled accordingly. Please see the following list for species exclusions:
- We can only guarantee live arrival for Cold-water species, such as rays, sharks, and others.
- We can only guarantee live arrival for Puffers, due to their sensitivity to stress events that can puff them up too far beyond recovery.
- We can only guarantee live arrival for ANGLERS, due to their need for live food.
- We can only guarantee live arrival for EELS as they are prone to making their way out of the tank and can be highly sensitive to their environment.
- We can only guarantee live arrival for PIPEFISH, as they are known to be picky/difficult to get eating.
- We can only guarantee live arrival for CORAL and CLAMS due to their sensitivity to their environment. These items require optimal conditions to maintain color and health, we can only promise to send beautiful, healthy specimens that arrive in great shape and ready to color your tank up. If you ordered a WYSIWYG item, we of course guarantee that that is the item you will receive, but please remember that lighting conditions can greatly change the colors you see.
- We do NOT guarantee replacement items beyond live arrival; there is a good chance that if 2/2 of the same fish do not make it that it may not be a compatible species with your tank.
- Starfish: Please do not handle them by hand, as our natural oils can cause decay and even kill starfish. We will ONLY ACCEPT photos of a starfish that is decaying as proof that it is dead/dying, as this is the only way to know that a starfish has died. A starfish that you claim has not moved, but is still fully intact, may still be alive and will not be accepted for a guarantee claim.
- We will NOT guarantee items introduced into a bare tank with no saltwater fish already inhabiting the tank. Unfortunately there is no way for us to verify that the tank was properly cycled and ready to receive fish without visible proof that a fish can survive and thrive in there.
Claims are NOT covered for livestock that has died as a result of TANK ENVIRONMENT, including the following scenarios:
- Physical trauma and/or evidence of fighting with, aggression from, or getting eaten by tank mates.
- Incompatible size with existing tank-mates (for example, ordering small Tangs to be kept together with established, larger Tangs)
- You refused or were unable to follow recommended procedures to treat fish that developed illnesses or other issues during the guarantee period
- Tank not of recommended size
- Animal jumped from tank or injured/died from getting sucked into pumps or swimming into rocks/glass.
- You cannot find the animal or get it out of the tank to provide a video
- Lack of a sand bed for a sand-burrowing fish
- You have a new and bare tank. Unfortunately there is no way for us to verify that the tank was properly cycled and ready to receive fish without proof that there is anything else living and thriving in there.
- Tank water chemistry MUST BE within the following parameters: Temp between 75-83 F and constant, Ammonia 0.0 ppm, Nitrite 0.0-30 ppm, pH 8.1-8.4, Specific Gravity 1.020-1.026.
We reserve the right to refuse guarantees in cases where numerous deaths keep occurring, indicating a possible environmental issue with the tank or a serious issue with delivery in your area.
We reserve the right to ask for additional photo, video or water samples in certain cases before issuing credit.
Ich and Marine Velvet
With nearly 30 years' experience in this hobby, we pride ourselves with maintaining an extremely clean system that benefits from industrial-level filtration and fresh saltwater deliveries every week. We maintain a strict 3 day minimum (with current arrival schedules, most fish get 5 or more days) semi-quarantine period for all fish that we receive (in a separate, treated system running hyposalinity and a small amount of copper), and ensure that two separate individuals are checking each order before it ships out.
We guarantee that the fish that we ship out are clear of visible ich, velvet, and other illnesses when they leave our doors.
However, with wild-caught fish, illnesses like ich will always have potential to present itself if a stress event occurs, unless you complete a full 4-6 week quarantine period. "Invisible" ich may be underlying in the gills of some wild species, only to be brought out by stress events. In some rare cases, these stress events may occur during shipping, which we absolutely do cover under the guarantee policy.
In the rare case that something ARRIVES with ich or velvet, it's absolutely covered by our guarantee policy.
On the other hand, we cannot cover guarantee claims involving ich or velvet that developed on the fish while they are in your tank, likely due to environmental conditions such as improper water parameters, bullying/stress from other tank mates, or being spread from other tankmates. It is your responsibility to maintain a proper and healthy environment for the fish, whether they are being quarantined or introduced directly into your main tank.
It is up to you whether you quarantine the wild fish that you receive from us. While the precautions we take are a lot more than what other stores do, it isn't a full 4-6 week quarantine. There are of course pros and cons to whether you choose to quarantine or not, but if you choose not to do so, you must understand the potential risks if your tank is not stable. We would not recommend this if your tank is new, as more mature tanks tend to be significantly more stable.
It is crucial that you inspect your items upon delivery. Guarantee claims involving ich and velvet will ONLY be covered if you inform us and send photos of it within 4 hours of arrival, showing that the item arrived with ich or velvet. Beyond that point, any claims stating the fish came with ich or velvet, or any tank crashes that occur as a result of it, will not be accepted.
What to do if an item arrives alive but unwell:
Our goal is to ensure the items you receive thrive in your tank. If an item arrives alive but did not make the journey well, please drip acclimate it (if you are familiar and have the right equipment, this method is best when fish are stressed) and email us right away. We ask that you keep an eye on it and medicate if necessary, and you can always email us for treatment recommendations. In many cases like this, if issues persist throughout the 15 days we have extended the guarantee as necessary.
Maintaining communication with us is always best and will result in the smoothest claims processing.
In any case, as long as you maintain an open line of communication with us and ensure that we are aware of any issues with your order, it will be documented in your case, and it will help ensure a favorable resolution for you!
Example of a Perfect Guarantee Claim"I received my order (#7---) on Tuesday 11/2 at 11:07 am. All inhabitants arrived alive. I floated the bags for 30 minutes (11:15-11:45) to acclimate to my aquarium water temperature. After 30 minutes I released all fish into my aquarium and discarded the shipping water. After 24 hours all fish were swimming normal, eating frozen mysis and spirulina brine shrimp and there was no aggression amongst the fish. Everything was going great.
My aquarium is a Red Sea Reefer 350 with approximately 91 gallons. Parameters were tested at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and nitrate at 10 ppm. Specific gravity is 1.025 and temperature is 78.4 degrees.
On Thursday (11/4) when I arrived home from work, I noticed one of the Green Chromis was missing. I finally found the dead fish that was well consumed by the clean-up crew. I chalked this up to the nature of Chromis fish. I know some don’t last long or they will kill each other. I was okay with this loss.
On Friday (11/5) when I arrived home from work, I noticed my Orange Fin Tomini Tang laying on the bottom of the aquarium barely breathing. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do, and it eventually died late Friday night. I was finally able to retrieve it from the aquarium to photograph but not before the nassarius snails had done some damage.
On Sunday (11/7) I noticed another Green Chromis missing but discovered it had gone down the overflow pipe and was stuck dead in the Red Sea valve. Just bad luck. I’m not asking for credit for this fish.
So, unfortunately, I have not had a great week with fish.
Is it possible to get credit for the Orange Fin Tomini Tang? I have no idea why it perished as the day before it died it was swimming normal and eating well with no physical signs of trauma, disease, or parasites.
All my other fish are doing fine and seem well."
When we receive claims like this, it is incredibly easy to achieve a resolution in your favor. This customer included important details, including arrival time and condition of fish, details about his tank and water parameters, how the fish were doing before passing, dates, and observations of the fish prior to passing. The fins in the photo provided were slightly torn, but acceptable given the cleanup crew.
Another detail that would help even further support the claim is a photo of the rest of the tank, showing that it is in great shape and other fish are thriving. Additionally, for example if a fish arrived incredibly stressed and unhealthy from shipping, a photo and email notifying us of it is extremely helpful toward achieving a favorable resolution if the fish ends up passing.