Our Method

Why choose Marine Collectors?

We are known for being the best at what we do!


This is what you're paying for; it's what we do better than anyone else.  Every fish we quarantine is hand picked, slowly acclimated, meticulously treated, and packed with care by our small elite team. Our eye for detail, as well as ability to pick fish, has been fine tuned for quality and is always improving. 

Over the years, Marine Collectors' founder and owner, Elliot Lim, has run an exponential number of tests, brainstormed with some of the best marine biologists in the industry, and has designed a proven and practically impenetrable quarantine procedure. While some fish may require a more catered quarantine style, the results don’t lie. The process begins with the fish; we hand pick the very best specimens with educated decisions. This is based on the particular livestock supplier, region of collection, and of course how the fish itself looks. From there, fish are brought back to the shop and then drip acclimated for 3-4 hours before going into the quarantine systems. The methodology behind the way we operate is to always continue progressive quarantine. Everyday that passes, the fish will become healthier. 
After acclimation, fish are given a freshwater dip dosed with Praziquentel for 3-5 minutes. This does two things: 1.) It removes all water from our suppliers that may contain pathogens or undesirable medications. 2.) It will kill any external flukes prior to being added to our systems. From there, the fish go into an interim bath of 50/50 fresh/saltwater solution. Not many people know this, but saltwater fish can be moved to lower salinity water without acclimation. This is done with minimal to practically zero stress and can actually alleviate some strain on the fish’s body. However, the same cannot be said for the other way around. A saltwater fish’s body has the function to maintain osmotic pressure while in solution. What this means is that the fish is constantly working to keep salt out of its' body. By moving a fish from low salinity back up to regular levels, the fish can go into shock and on rare occasion even die. This interim bath helps to mitigate that shock.​
Once added to the QT systems, the fish are treated with Chelated Copper Sulfate and Nitrofurazone 24/7. Copper is run at a concentration of 2.5ppm to 2.8ppm, gravitating more towards 2.8ppm. The typical recommended dosage for chelated copper sulfate is between 1.5ppm to 2ppm. The copper levels are maintained at high concentrations to continue the methodology of progressive quarantine. At that level, which is beyond therapeutic, the protozoan parasites we are treating for(ich and velvet) die once they exit the body of the fish. There's a nonexistent chance for reinfection. There's a running theme in hobbyist level quarantine: 30 days or more is the duration for sufficient quarantine. However, we don’t believe this is true. Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) has the longest infectious stage out of either parasite (maximum of 8 days on the body of the fish). Therefore, why would we need to subject our fish to prolonged exposure to poison(copper based medication)? In most cases, hobbyist level quarantine procedures aren’t performed with enough competency; this results in a wider margin for error. That being said, our quarantine is a minimum of 14 days. To be clear, we perform a 14 day clean quarantine; as in, for 14 consecutive days the fish has to be clean and not show any signs of infection. Nitrofurazone is a mild antibiotic, and it's present in our QT systems at all times to counteract any potential secondary infections that commonly afflict fish. These infections can be caused by irritation in the gills from the copper or any breaks in the slime coat barrier caused by uronema or ammonia burn.

Moving forward, the fish will periodically receive freshwater dips (usually every other day for the first week). This is to ensure that flukes cannot take hold. If necessary, on alternating days fish will be given a 30-60 minute bath in formalin to treat or prevent uronema and brooklynella. This is usually based off of the livestock supplier, or if we know we're treating an especially susceptible species. To keep the QT systems clean, on alternating nights we dose Formalin and Prazi directly into the QT systems. This is to ensure that nothing is given the chance to take hold and potentially reinfect our fish. Moreover, it's a secondary precaution to further solidify our biosecurity protocols. 

In addition to the process listed above, the foods are also medicated. All fish we sell are weaned onto PE Mysis. This ensures that we can properly administer medication to clean out the intestinal tracts of fish. This is done by dosing the foods with Prazi, Kanamycin, and Metronidazole. Once fish are on this, we keep them on it till the full 14days of clean quarantine are over.

Last but certainly not least, what really sets us apart from any other kind of vendor offering “quarantined fish” is our water quality! Water quality is EVERYTHING! Fish are incredibly resilient animals. They can overcome almost anything if provided with the correct environmental conditions. Sadly, most of the time this cannot be said about a hobbyist’s aquarium setting, especially in a quarantine tank. In the ocean, where water quality is not of any concern, fish are able to fight off infections, live with parasites, heal from significant bodily injury, and a multitude of other things. The same simply cannot be said about fish in a closed environment. It seems much more difficult in this setting for them to be as resilient. Here at Marine Collectors, we run large biological filters and skimmers, and do 100% water changes. This is not to be taken as an exaggeration, we literally perform 100% water changes. Every 3-5 days, we'll remove all the fish from the systems, put them into separate holding tanks, and drain down the systems completely. The QT systems are scrubbed, vacuumed out, and then given time to dry. For biological filtration we run trickle towers of plastic bio balls. While thought of as an outdated aquarium technology, for the purpose of a quarantine system, they are absolutely perfect. As part of the water change schedule, we clean all of the bio balls by vigorously churning them in barrels of pre-medicated saltwater to remove trapped detritus. Bio balls, in the setting of a trickle tower, are the perfect combination of ammonia and nitrite decomposition. Additionally, they lack the ability to absorb any kind of medication. This is very useful because most other porous biological media will bind with copper and cause fluctuations in concentration. For skimmers, everything is oversized. The skimmers on the QT systems are rated for 3-4 times the actual water volume. Once again, this aids in maintaining pristine water quality and keeps oxygenation high. Once the systems are cleaned and dried, we refill them with premixed, pre-medicated water. The purpose of pre-medicating the water is prevent causing a fluctuation in concentrations of medication; this high level of biosecurity is part of why we're able to produce such high quality marine life. Lastly, the fish are then re-acclimated to the QT systems to continue their quarantine. 

Not many vendors can perform this kind of quarantine, and for that reason alone it sets the fish we produce apart from anyone else's. We're not a turn and burn kind of business. We produce high quality that is conditioned to last.

Personal Communication:

Just like you, we started off as hobbyists. We know what it's like to deal with retail stores or impersonal fish sites. That's why we pride ourselves on making your experience with us as personal and positive as possible. We're here to talk with you, answer your questions, and to find you the exact fish you're looking for. All you have to do is send us a message or give us a call!​ 310-689-8215


Shipping Options:

Here at Marine Collectors, we strive to go above and beyond for our customers! We know how exciting it is to get a new member of the family for your tank, and it's important to us that they get there safely! This is why we offer more than one shipping option. Check out which option is best for you!

FedEx Priority Overnight:

FedEx Priority Overnight boxes are dropped off early at our nearest FedEx Ship Center to ensure they make it on the first truck out. We pack all of our boxes for 48-96 hours of transit just in case a delay occurs. We always include ammonia blocker in the fish bags to avoid any ammonia burn. Typically, boxes will arrive by 12:00pm the following day. Smaller cities may receive boxes towards the end of the day. Once your order is placed it can take 2-4 weeks for us to acquire and quarantine your fish. We'll contact you to schedule shipping and we'll send you the tracking information on the day the fish are scheduled to ship out!

Delta Cargo: 

Delta Cargo Collection Shipments are our recommendation for all orders over $2,000! Delta takes special care of "live animals," and when it comes to large shipments or rare fish this is the best shipping option. We pack all of our boxes to last from 48-96 hours in case a delay occurs, and we always include ammonia blocker in the fish bags to avoid any ammonia burn. Once the fish are done with QT, we'll contact you to schedule the shipment and make a booking. On the day of the scheduled flight, we'll drop the shipment off early to ensure they make it on the scheduled flight out. We will send you an Air Waybill(AWB) number which is the equivalent to a tracking number.  All Delta Cargo shipments can be tracked at www.deltacargo.com. We'll also send you specific instructions regarding how and where to pick up your box(es). If you're close to an airport, we highly recommend this shipping option and encourage you to try it out!


Local Pickup:

Curb-side Pickup is available to all of our local customers! Monday thru Thursday 12-5. If those hours don't work with your schedule, we can usually arrange an appointment.