Trade In Policies
Aquatics Unlimited understands that aquarists' needs and wants can change from time to time, and as such, we accept "trade-ins" on many fish and aquarium products. We look at this more of a recycling effort than a cash cow, as the time, storage, effort and other costs of dealing with used goods or unordered fish often eats the bulk of any profits. In the case of most fish, our primary goal is to give customers somewhere to go with unwanted fish, hopefully to make room for new ones. With supplies, we hope to keep some things out of the landfill, and match up a few bargain hunters with their bargains.
All trade-ins are quoted and paid in store credit for other merchandise; any credit not used during that visit will be stored in an account under your name. If cash is needed or wanted, it can usually be arranged at about half the credit rate.
All estimates on this page are subject to change; please feel free to call if you have questions.
Supplies and Equipment - As of May 2012, we typically pay up to 10% of the new value on standard tanks, stands, tops and lights in credit for other merchandise. Unusual such items or brands that we do not stock will be priced based upon items we do stock. Lower prices may be offered if items need significant cleaning; if parts or repair are required, we generally do not offer credit. Other supplies such as filters, heaters and pumps can be dropped off to be used, sold or donated, but we currently do not give credit for them.
Healthy, Common, Easy to Sell Fish - We typically pay 25% of the current price on bread & butter species in good condition when brought in small quantities (for larger quantities, see "Locally Raised Fish" below). If you are bringing in a handful of common community fishes (see other exceptions below), it is not necessary to call ahead.
Adult Piranhas, Oscars and African Cichlids - There are a few types of fish that we can never seem to catch up on; when we sell one, someone always seems to appear at the door with a bucket full. We still accept these, but the price offered may be lowered if we already have plenty on hand or if they show noticeable wear and tear. If you're primarily looking to make room, just bring them in, but call ahead if price is important.
Locally Raised Juvenile Fish - We appreciate and try to support hobbyists who enjoy not only keeping but also breeding and raising tropical fish, and are always happy to purchase whatever species we can locally. However, for some species, the entire Milwaukee market can get flooded by a single breeder, and easy species such as convicts and firemouths often attract a number of breeders. We will still accept healthy batches of fish, but the price offered may be considerably lower depending on supply and demand and how many fish you need to bring in at a time. We recommend calling ahead to see if we need your species and get an estimated current price (estimates may need to be adjusted after we actually see the fish). Be sure to mention the size and quantity of fish you'd like to trade in.
Sick, Injured or Deformed Fish - We accept, but do not issue credit on fish that are unhealthy or have some sort of injury or deformity. We usually attempt to find these a home when possible, but may eventually need to euthanize some.
Lovable Mutts - With few exceptions, the interbreeding of different species of aquarium fish is discouraged in our hobby, so there is almost no demand for hybrids or fish of unknown parentage. We generally pay very little if anything on mixed breed fish, but will accept them and try to find them a home. African cichlids fry from a mixed community tank are assumed to be hybrids, even if they resemble the likely parents.
Tankbusters and Lone Wolves - We also accept, but do not usually issue credit on fish that routinely outgrow their aquariums, including The Big Three: pacus, redtail catfish and iridescent sharks. Likewise, we accept, but pay very little on fish that routinely murder their tankmates, usually larger cichlids such as adult red devils, blackbelts and buttekoferi, as the costs of maintaining them quickly exceed their value to us. Please phone ahead on these to make sure we have a place to put them.
Saltwater Fish and Inverts, Discus and Rare Fish - the general rules for freshwater fish still apply, but we may want you to talk to our buyer to offer a fair price, and want to make sure a suitable tank is waiting, so please call ahead.
Coral frags - Coral frags are treated in the same manner as locally raised fish, with price based upon current supply and demand. Only a few of our employees can properly process coral frag trade-ins, so you will need to call ahead and make an appointment with a coral buyer.
Pond Fish - By their very nature, pond fish are very seasonal. We pay the usual 25% credit on healthy specimens during the prime selling season (April through July), but considerably less the rest of the year.
Native Fish - There are a number of DNR regulations restricting the keeping or even transporting of live fish native to Wisconsin in order to protect game fish and prevent the spread of invasive species and fish disease. In most cases, we cannot even accept fish such as bass, pike, blue gills or bullheads, and definitely cannot give credit on them.
Aquarium and Pond Plants - We also pay 25% credit on most aquarium plants, providing they are brought in bundled (where applicable) and ready to sell. Locally raised pond plants, unfortunately, are presenting us with a unique challenge: by the time they've grown big enough that customers want them, the selling season is almost over. We pay the 25% credit on pond plants already well potted and ready to sell in April and May, considerably less if we need to pot or re-pot them ourselves.. After Memorial Day, we can no longer issue credit on pond plants.