Balia Aquarium has a very interesting web site; especially when I clicked the "info" tab, LOL
I'm finding the whole thing very interesting, actually, and am highly curious.
On the home page, they say they are a retailer, but on the "About us page" they call themselves a wholesaler. If they are indeed a wholesaler, they should only be able to ship to people who hold a CITES permit. Roger and Jodi, I'm wondering if you ever ran across this in any of your communications with them?
As far as shipping times, it's got to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 hours just to LA. Then you have to figure possible inspections by Fish and Wildife as well as flight transfer time and flight times to final destination.
If Bali Aquarium has a wholesaler mindset, you have to realize that 30-50% die-off is an acceptable loss. I know they have an "Arrive Alive Guarantee" but you have to pay the shipping back on the dead animals to be credited, as well as pay shipping on the replacements. Who's going to do that for $2.00 fish? This can pay off if you are dealing with large amounts of animals when you are shipping in wholesale, but not on the retail level.
The prices are cheap though, even for a wholesaler, so I can see where exploring this option is extremely appealling. I just worry that the loss factor may be too high for hobbyists and for the animals involved.
I noticed several oddities on their web page; to be fair though, some of them may be problems with the language:
*contradictory statements regarding them being aquaculturists and collectors
*odd listing of animals-under fish, ie, one category for "surgeonfish" and one for "tangs" ("Shrimp" are listed under fish too)
*you can get a Powder Brown for $2.00 but a Powder Blue is $55.00
* they have the leopard blenny for sale, an obligater coral feeder (I've seen it for sale on retail websites, too, and it always bothers the heck out of me; I've emailed those retail sites and they've either pulled the animal from their listings or listed a species requirement along with it)
TDWyatt has done some work for Paul Holthus, the president of MAC, in the past and I've asked him if he could email Paul, to see if he can find out anything regarding Bali Aquarium. I'm going to email Bali Aqaurium directly and see what info they can give me. It never hurts to see what you're dealing with, and hopefully, all will be positive. I'm not trying to sling mud, flame anyone or over react and maybe I'm being over cynical but there's the old saying "If it looks to good to be true..."
Roger, I'd really appreciate hearing how your experience with them played out.