Livestock Shipping Information

We do everything possible to ensure that your new livestock arrives healthy and in good condition.  We have less than 1% DOA on the corals that we ship.  We use the best packaging and shipping possible which is very expensive, but we pass less than half that cost through to our customers and charge a flat rate of $39 per shipment with no box charge.  For this reason, we require a minimum order of $99 for livestock not including the shipping charge.  If you order $299 or more of livestock, shipping is free.

How to Order Livestock

  1. Select your specimens, ensuring that you reach the $99 minimum order amount.
  2. Complete your checkout within 2 hours.  If you leave items in your cart, they will be deleted after 2 hours and someone else may order them.
  3. In the shopping cart, once your state is entered, the cart will show a $39 Livestock Flat Rate Shipping charge unless you live in Oregon or S. Washington and Seattle area in which case the shipping is $16 shipping.  If your order totals $299 or more, you receive Free Shipping.
  4. If  you want your items delivered on Saturday, select the Saturday Delivery option which adds $16 to the cost of the shipping.
  5. Select the desired delivery date on the calendar
  6. Provide any additional comments in the comments box.
  7. Pay for your order using PayPal or credit card.
  8. When your order ships, the tracking number will be emailed to you.

 Please note:  You cannot add dry goods to a livestock order because the shipping requirements are different and the system will not allow you to complete the order until the dry goods are removed.

PackagingMedium Coral Ship Kit

  • We use new top quality fully insulated cooler boxes with 1.5″ thick foam and a white exterior cardboard box marked with the appropriate shipping caution labels.
  • Delicate frags are attached to Styrofoam floats to minimize the risk of shipping damage from abrading against the inside of the bag.
  • Depending on the coral, a bag saver may be placed over the coral to help cushion the coral during shipment.
  • Each coral is put into a heavy-duty 4-mil or 6-mil bag, filled with plenty of water and pure oxygen and then double heat sealed to guard against leaks.
  • The bags are then all enclosed in a larger bag to contain any leaks that might occur and to make the shipping companies happy.
  • Packing peanuts may be added to provide additional cushioning.
  • Long lasting hot or cold packs are attached to the underside of the lid depending on weather conditions to help maintain acceptable temperature conditions within the shipping container.  The lid may have a ventilation hole added to keep the heat pack operating under some conditions.
  • The lid is then taped on to seal the entire container.


Please note that we ship livestock to the contiguous 48 states only.

When you order livestock, once you enter your state, the shipping charges will be calculated for you.  Flat Rate Shipping is $39.

If you  live in Oregon or S. Washington or Seattle area, our shipping cost is less so the shipping is $16 to that area.

If  your order is for $299 or more, you will receive Free Shipping.

If you want Saturday delivery for any of the above, then select the Saturday delivery option that adds $16 to the shipping cost to pay for the additional charges that UPS charges for Saturday delivery.

If you also want to order LED lighting or other dry goods, they must be ordered separately from livestock as those items will be shipped separately using UPS Ground and do not count toward the minimum livestock purchase amounts.

We ship Monday through Thursday and can ship on Friday if you elect to pay the $16 extra Saturday delivery fee charged by UPS if it is an overnight express shipment.  Please note that some rural areas do not have Saturday UPS service available.  Check with us or UPS if you are unsure about your area.

Order Day First Possible Ship Day First Possible Arrival Day Ship Cost (Order $99-$298) Ship Cost (Order = $299+)
Saturday Monday Tuesday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0
Sunday Monday Tuesday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0
Monday Tuesday Wednesday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0
Wednesday Thursday Friday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0
Thursday Friday Saturday $55 ($32 for Oregon / S. Washington) $16
Friday Monday Tuesday $39 ($16 for Oregon / S. Washington) $0


We typically do not ship the same day as we receive the order as noted in the table above to ensure that there is plenty of time to properly inspect and process the livestock before shipment.  If something doesn’t look 100%, we will not ship it without contacting you first or we will automatically issue you a credit or provide a 30 day extended arrive alive guarantee on the coral.

Orders can be held for up to 1 week before shipping out.  While an order is being held for shipment, you can add to that order without paying any additional costs.  Just order the additional items through the website and enter the code “rcfreeship” in the coupon box to remove any additional shipping cost since that has already been paid for and we will consolidate the orders on our end.  If the order is being held due to inclement weather, we will hold the order as long as necessary to ensure that it is safe to ship.

We ship using UPS Next Day to get your livestock to you as soon as possible.  This usually ensures that you receive the shipment no later than 10:30AM on the day of delivery (unless you live out in the sticks in which case it may not reach you until later in the day).

We package the shipment late in the day and hand deliver your shipment to the UPS shipping center around 4:00 PM PST to further minimize the time that the livestock is in the shipping container and to minimize the chance of rough handling or exposure to extreme temperatures.  Once the order is packaged, we email you the tracking information.

We do not mark the shipment to require a signature upon delivery (unless you request us to) to make it as convenient as possible for you, but please ensure that you acclimate your livestock as soon as possible.  These are delicate live animals that will die if left in very hot or cold temperatures for very long.  Shipping to a work address works well for some people so that they can keep the box in an office environment until they go home.

If the weather in your area is extreme, consider scheduling the shipment of your order accordingly to avoid the chance of weather delays or excessively hot or cold temperatures.  For instance, if it is scheduled to snow in your area that day, you should plan to receive your shipment on another day to avoid the chance of a delay in delivery and loss of the livestock.  We also check the weather and will hold shipment if delays look likely.


Holding Your Order For Pickup at UPS

The absolute best way to receive your order if it is an option for you is to have it delivered to your local UPS Customer Center if you have one nearby.  The shipment is typically available for pickup as soon as the facility opens in the morning usually at 9:00am and the shipping box is kept indoors where the temperature is not too extreme rather than bouncing around in a cold or hot truck.  If this is an option for you, just make a note in the comments section of your order form and provide the address of the UPS facility that you want us to ship to.

You can find your closest UPS Customer Center by clicking this button  UPS Location Finder

Enter your Zip Code and then ensure that only the UPS Customer Center checkbox is selected and then press the Find button.  This will bring up all possible locations to have your order held for pickup that are close to your home.

Please note that you cannot have the packaged shipped to a UPS Store or other authorized shipping outlet.  It must be a UPS Customer Center.

Receiving Your Order

Once you have received your order, you should acclimate your livestock as soon as possible.

Open the box, remove the bags and float them in your system for about 20-30 minutes to allow the temperature of the water in the bags to slowly adjust to your tank temperature.

Open each bag and add some tank water to the bag to acclimate your new livestock to your water parameters.  Add enough tank water to increase the water in the bag by about 1/3.   If needed, remove some of the shipping water first to make room for the tank water.

After about 15 minutes, do this again so that the bag now contains about 2/3 tank water.  Don’t worry about being exact on these measurements.  Ball park is fine.

After another 15 minutes, remove the livestock from the bag and discard the water in the bag.  During shipment, this water can get fouled and should not be added to your tank.

If the livestock is coral, place it according to its light and water flow needs.  If your tank has high intensity lighting installed, you should always slowly acclimate your corals to the lighting in the tank either by placing them lower in the tank or other lower light location for a couple of days or by reducing the lighting intensity of your light fixture if it is dimmable or can be raised.  You can’t kill a coral by giving it too little light for a couple of days, but you can kill a coral by shocking it with too much light for a couple of days and causing it to bleach.  For that reason always error on the side of too little light rather than too much when you first receive your livestock.

Livestock Live Arrival Guarantee

We do everything in our power to ensure that your livestock arrives in good condition and will thrive in your tank, but sometimes stuff happens outside of our control.  By the same token, you have the responsibility to quickly acclimate your new livestock and provide the correct lighting and water parameters for the livestock that you order.

Many places provide a guarantee that the livestock will not be dead upon arrival, but unfortunately many shipping related deaths of corals don’t become apparent as soon as you open the bag, but they usually do become apparent within about 24 hours of receiving the shipment.  Also, if the livestock looks marginal, we want you to still acclimate it and see if it can be saved since we are dealing with live animals.

For that reason we provide a 48 hour live arrival guarantee.  If within 48 hours of the delivery of your shipment you have a death, just take a digital picture of the casualty and email it to us within that 48-hour window.  If you receive a coral that isn’t DOA but also does not look very healthy, notify us within that 48-hours and we will give you up to a 30 day guarantee on that coral to allow plenty of time to see if it can be saved.

We will issue you a store credit for 105% of the cost of the lost livestock, not including shipping.  That credit is in the form of a coupon code that can be used on your next order when you check out.  We don’t automatically ship a replacement due to the fact that each specimen is unique to some extent and sometimes truly one-of-a-kind.  In addition the box and shipping costs to ship a replacement $20 frag (as an example) are simply too high to make sense.  If the loss is large, such as an entire shipment, we can also credit back your PayPal or other payment method if you would prefer.

Breakage:  We package the coral to the best of our ability, but during shipment some breakage may occur especially of thinner branched SPS corals or frags may become dislodged from their frag plugs if they have not encrusted completely.  This can’t be avoided completely, so we ship a bottle of our coral glue with new customer orders so that if it does occur, the broken branches can be attached to live rock or or reef plugs if it is desired to start new corals.

Please Note:  If you receive your order and there has been a complete or major loss of livestock when you open the box, you must notify us within 2 hours of delivery by UPS either by email or phone.  If the package is delivered by 10:30am and you don’t notify us of a major loss of coral until that evening or the next day, we have to assume that you left the box on the doorstep until you came home that evening rather than acclimating your coral promptly as is required to ensure their safety.  This is especially important when the temperatures are above 80 degrees in your area.  In that case the live arrival guarantee will not be honored.