AAP/CARL STROHMEYER BUSINESS BIO & MISSION STATEMENT
We strive to sell products and provide information in this manner:
- Unique Website with Unique Content:
The following points will expand on this... however, we have NO intention of being like every other cookie cutter aquarium/pond/fish website. We are unique in our set-up, information, and mostly professionally used products.
Our articles are unique with content, which is regularly updated. With both research and professional experience behind much of the information. This also includes our sister website- "Aquarium & Pond Answers".
Our mission has been and will be to push our information first and any products recommendations second. Even then, the majority of the products we recommend are based on our researched articles and experience.
For those who ask us to sponsor their forums, clubs, etc. If we elect to do so, please understand our mission statement of information first will also be carried over to any sponsorship. Please do not ask us to sponsor and then ask that we not follow our Mission Statement as one forum has.
- Quality products based on our often unique information and experience:
At a great value that we or our aquarium maintenance partners would use.
If you explore our website from products to information, you will find a unique mix of products and information not found anywhere else. We don't carry just what sells. We sell products that are often only marketed to aquarium professionals, where cool gimmicky features are not often the priority.
An example would be many of TMC products, such as their LED controllers, which doesn't have a lot of "flash", but more makes up for it in science based electronics. As another example, we do not sell UV sterilizers with baffles (twists), wipers, or other features, which our research has found to be simply gimmicks, which can leads to short life span of a product.
Longevity of products (including lights that will last more than a year or two in an aquarium environment) is also very important to what we promote, as this was important with our 1000s of contract aquarium clients in that products that did not last at the very least incurred free house/business calls to correct the problem (which is simply not a a good business model)
This means, you will likely not find this website to sell everything you need for your aquarium or pond, as our mission is not to be everything to every aquarium or pond keeper.
As well we do not mean to ever imply that we too are not continuing to learn from others, and ongoing experience and that our products fit every application, as they most certainly do not! We also do not want to ever imply that we are the end all of aquarium research & information (we certainly are not), but we do revise our article on a daily ongoing basis, which you will not find with most Internet articles or social media based information
Our goal is NOT to be a one stop store for all aquatic needs. Our hope is support of local aquarium/pet stores. However, we also do hope we are one place for aquatic information and do hope there's support for this information by purchasing at least a few of our helpful or unique products, if the information is found to be helpful.
This includes products, which are easy to find elsewhere such as API (Mars Fish Care) Filstar, Smart & SuperClean Filters, or Furan 2 where we provide information about their use not found elsewhere.
This is especially true of late, since Mars Fish Care has essentially thrown aquarium professionals "under the bus" that helped promote their brand in favor of discounters, by selling to these discounters at lower prices than what a professional can purchase. Even in large quantities and then not answering letters professionals and others send asking for similar deals.
We often do not sell some products from companies where we find the majority of their products excellent. We do this, because we or our professional maintenance partners have not found these particular products satisfactory. A good example would be the Via Aqua 4900 and stainless steel heater. The vast majority of Via Aqua heaters and especially pumps are of good quality and value, but not these.
Other companies such as API, we do not sell all their products, or recommend their use for all applications the manufacturer (or others) may, so please read our extensive library of Aquatic Information (such as Aquarium Medications) if there is questions prior to use.
- An example of a product we thought was an excellent idea, but failed in testing was the JBJ Internal UV Sterilizer (which is also sold under alternative names).
- Another example are the Hydro Sponge PRO filters in small sizes, such as the #2. While the #5 PRO is an excellent filter for the environment and flow rates for they were designed, we have found the Hydro Sponge #2 PRO to not work as well in both flow rates and bacterial loads for the smaller tanks a #2 are designed for, thus in the end the #2 Standard out performed the #2 PRO!
- Most products we sell have a background in our decades of experience. This often includes, science based testing and ALWAYS includes only selling products that have known ingredients, which agree with the known science of aquarium keeping.
Even in selling many of the best quality products at competitive prices, we also realize that nothing is perfect and with many of our products such as the UV-C bulbs, aquarium light fixtures, UV sterilizers, and many, many more we open and test before shipping to help our customers avoid the hassles of receiving defective merchandise.
This is a time consuming process, which few of our competitors take the time to perform! The bottom line is, if the product package is open and the product looks "fired" as in the case of a UV bulb or other light fixture, this is because it was opened and tested, by us to ensure a non-defective product. Not because we sell used products!
Since we test many of the products we sell, we also may make improvements based on our experience. This is to insure our customers, that even with an item, which can be purchased elsewhere, our customers may be getting a better product. As an example, the SunSun Canister Filter where we include a Return Elbow, which we strengthen and retrofit with an outer layer of 5/8" vinyl tubing to provide the best possible product for our customer.
In fact, per the SunSun Canister Filter, we open all filters and check the parts, PLUS add FREE filter material not included by the manufacturer(including high efficiency Volcanic Rock for improved Bio Filtration)!
- Unique FREE:
Articles & Information as noted earlier, about many aspects of aquarium and pond care, which are based on decades of experience, which also include our aquarium/pond maintenance partners. As well as 1000s of hours of in depth research, often outside the anecdotal aquarium community.
If you have been helped with the many articles we provide here and at Aquarium Answers, please help us by providing a link in a personal blog or website to one of your favorite articles or products here and giving a "shout out".
Our policy is to provide the BEST and most ACCURATE information possible, which our decades of hands on experience and research testifies to.
Because of this knowledge base, we do NOT allow the popular Amazon.com type feedback as we have found this to be highly inaccurate with good reviews for products, which over normal use fail or bad reviews for excellent products, which were not properly used or even sold incorrectly.
As an example we have seen pumps, filters, etc. given bad reviews (such as the Rena Smart Filter) based on incorrect set-up.
As well, we have seen a popular internal UV Sterilizer (Killing Machine) given some good reviews, while in reality, these units have mostly failed in only months of testing. More importantly, these UVs cannot even perform level 1 sterilization, yet many purchase these sterilizer and later realize a problem and blame all UV Sterilizers.
How is this accurate?
Our apologies to those who disagree with our Feedback policy. We care more about the truth so as keep our readers fish happy and healthy. We are more than happy to get feedback, including constructive and accurate criticism.
Please see our Contact Form to leave any feedback.
We add this to our email Feedback Page as time allows. If it's preferred to leave more direct feedback, the forum we sponsor now has a public location to do this as well.
See: AAP Feedback: Products, Customer Service, Information
- The lowest possible price:
This means, many products we sell often are close to cost with profit margins as low $2 on some filters & pumps (even large aquarium or pond filters have small profits).
To keep prices as low as possible, while not repeating mistakes prior to 2009 (resulting in business losses), we utilize multiple shipping methods and perform many tasks "In House" such as:
- Much of the internet SEO & advertising in house.
This includes using a website platform, which uses PayPal website Pro instead of platforms such 'Magento' shopping carts, which are NO MORE secure and would require $1000s in extra webmaster fees. There's also LACK OF ABILITY for constant updates of information to our website without even more additional costs! These constant updates and information is something we take pride in and both feedback and stat counter statistics prove most of our customers/readers appreciate.
- When time allows, we build as many of our boxes from scratch or recycle boxes and packing material. This also allows us to pay our staff more or simply not lay off staff during slow periods.
- In house webmasters and art work.
- Long trips (1600 miles) with our own trucks to pick up products (& returns). This results in better communication and product knowledge due to time spent in face to face transactions and discussion of products (including problems).
- An extensive, constantly growing, and updated information library for helping both customer and non customer alike.
- Also see our Feedback Page as to how we attempt to provide the best possible customer service, along with aquarium/pond keeping information, which is second to none!
- Because we spend 75% of our staff hours in research, customer help pictures, diagrams, and customer service (including sponsored forums), this is a cost NO other online retailer bears. So, we cannot always sell as cheaply or subsidize shipping costs as do mass merchandiser retailers, which also spend little or no time in research as their anecdotal articles show.
So, please understand why in some cases we might be a little higher in cost as the copious amounts of information provided here and in our blog websites such as Aquarium/Pond Answers simply requires a lot of employee time and good staff do not work for free!!!
- Much of the internet SEO & advertising in house.
- Shopping Cart:
We utilize a PayPal hosted shopping cart, which accepts Credit Cards without requiring a PayPal account.
We do this for the proven safety of their encrypted shopping carts. Also, this integration allows for a template where by we can provide the copious amounts of information/content unique to our website, which other "Checkout Button" templates do not allow. This requires a drop down menu type shopping cart, which may not be as simple as a single shopping cart for each item. This drop down menu cart is still one of the most popular carts for internet hosting and allows for information, which the popular "separate button" cart website templates do not allow.
It's also noteworthy that these drop down menu shopping cart buttons are the EXACT SAME ONES EMPLOYED BY eBay when multiple selections of items are needed, so this cart is not unique to AAP!
As well, we added quick "Jump to Cart" buttons to skip past information to our drop down menu carts. These are unique to our website and are not found on most others. Despite the few people these seem to confuse, feedback from our many forums, clients, customers has been 97% positive for these "Jump to Cart" buttons.
More importantly, with stat software we have installed, we show our shopping cart abandonment rate is under 30% when the average web site is 68%, this is an EXCELLENT number (the lower the better) and proves our checkout system is not a problem!!