View Full Version : coral prices

08-17-2012, 10:36 PM
Why do we let people/LFS stores overcharge for corals? Just because somebody gives it a fancy name it is $50 more. I looked at a coral spec today about 1/4in x 1/4in, it was to small to be called a frag and it was $40. I was told it had a lineage to a person. So now corals come with a petigree and paperwork? To me it is just crazy to pay that much for something that I would not be able to see in my tank for the next 6-8 months.

08-17-2012, 11:11 PM
Just keep doing what you did, walk away. This stuff is only worth what someone is willing to pay. And someone is always willing to pay

08-17-2012, 11:51 PM
I'm sorry but that Limited Edition Hyper Psychedelic Super Soaker Tyree-Fox Chalice is a steal. That's less than $5 a word....

If your patient you can find the same coral from a fellow hobbyist. It will be at least twice the size, and many more times if it truly was 1/4" square, and half the price. I might have got scammed though, none of my corals came with papers.

08-18-2012, 08:49 AM
To be fair some coral is so slow growing 1/4" frag is all they can produce a year so then it drives the prices through the roof and yes people are willing to pay for it. If you look at some other forums you can see people have paid 1500$+ for a small frag of something thats hot.

Just like anything else with other items its supply and demand, and if you wait you can get it for pretty cheap. I refuse to buy into the special naming because the same coral can have 5 names and 99% of its just made up crap, and unless you run a totally blue tank it will never look like it does in the pictures.

If you see a piece you like give it a few months and it will be normally priced most of the time

08-18-2012, 01:40 PM
The coral I was looking at was a chalice. It was a single eye in the center of a 1" square plug. The mother colony was sitting there and was about 4-6 inches around.

My point is those people/LFS/internet are charging designer prices for corals that may have come from a certain person’s colony. Most people/LFS/internet cannot even trace the lineage (coral) back to the original colony. From what I understand how all these designer corals originate is that select individuals have connections with wholesalers and cherry pick corals then frag, attach a name, attach their name then sell, and then the wholesaler gets a cut (let me know it true or not). Then all other corals that look like the original all are now labeled as XXX coral and sold as XXX coral weather from original coral colony or not. I do understand that some corals are very slow growers making them less common and more expensive but 99% of the corals in the trade have a decent growth rate. From the corals I have seen in the area there are none of these in the LFS but I am sure somebody has some in their tank.

If you get a pedigree dog it is registered with paperwork that is traceable back through it bloodlines and origin. You can then expect pay the prices for said dog.

I do not mind paying a reasonable price for livestock for my aquarium and even a little extra for a specimen that is exceptional. To pay extra because of a fancy name or because it may be fragment from a certain person is crazy. We are our own enemy when it is coming down to price.

Sorry if this is hard to read but I am not a grammar wiz.

Please add you opinion to the thread!!!


08-19-2012, 07:05 PM
We are probably one of the few LFS in the area that carries Jason Fox/Tyree etc, corals. We do carry them, because I myself am a vivid collector and there is a very small market for them in Pittsburgh. We do have customers that only come in to purchase designer corals. However I do agree that they are not everyone's cup of tea. There are people that like Hondas, then there are people that like Ferraris. Yes, they both get you from point A-B and one may look better to some then others.

Having had experience with "Designer" corals/frags for the past 9 years, It is safe to say that there is a huge dominant market for them. The supply and demand for them are unlike any other readily available corals. Jason Fox stops in our store once or twice a year and we purchase hundreds of frags off him at a time, 75% of them are generally sold within the first few days. Jason was in the store about 3 months ago, we had purchased about 150 frags. 125 of them were sold within the first 2 days to multiple people both online and locally. These frags were all priced competitively for the market respective to the coral's demand. They ranged anywhere from $50 per frag, to $300 per frag, and anything in between.

Prices? This is based on a few factors (Which Dave went over some)
-Supply and Demand. As with most things on the market, as demand raises and supply goes down, higher prices sometimes follow. An example, when the new Camaros came out, the demand was much larger than the supply. What did all the dealers across the USA do? they charged a "Dealer Fee", which had bumped the price of the car from say respectively $38,000 to $41,000. They did this because of supply and demand. (I know this from experience because I was going to purchase a Camaro when they had first hit the market)

Another example.. iPhones, the first release of the iPhone back in 2007. People had waited in line in front of the apple stores to obtain this phone. Shortly thereafter they were all sold out across the USA within the first day. People had posted some for sale as a private party on sites like Ebay. Most of these prices were inflated 50-100%, at which were still being re-sold rather quickly.

To give an example of this in our hobby, when Blue Planet Corals released the BPC Flame Thrower Chalice it had sold for $400/ Eye. Since this coral literally grows 2mm* a month the demand beats the supply. 3+ years later this same coral is being sold by HOBBYISTS in the neighborhood of $300-350/tiny pencil eraser sized frag.

- These coral originally are not cheap from the wholesaler. I know this from experience having spent over half a million dollars on these from the wholesalers the past several years. When wholesalers bring a shipment in say 2000 corals there may only be 3-4 "designer" worthy corals in this mix. These wholesalers do not let them go easily.

There are 2 ways to obtain these cream of the crop from them. One way is that you have a large profile with the wholesaler (Spending over $10k/month with them just in coral orders), or you pay a premium for them. So for example, Wholesaler A has this chalice that is cream of the crop. Say i was a high profile retailer. I order 100 chalices, they will include that gem in with the mix as a regular Ultra chalice. They generally will not allow you to order all ultra or designer chalices. The ratio is usually 30:15:5:1 GradeB:GradeA:Ultra:Designer. As a retailer I will go sell this designer chalice to other stores or keep it for awhile and make frags.

The other way to obtain them if you are not a high profile retailer is paying the premium. If I was a low profile retailer and wanted to obtain the gem stated above. They will sell it to me without making large orders. But... instead of paying $200 for the chalice I will have to pay say $1000+++ to obtain it without a large accompanying order.

There are at times cream of the crop chalices on ebay, which at most times are auctioned without a reserve price. You will see these chalices start between $1-$150. These easily and quickly get bid up to high dollar values.

Why do I personally like Designer corals?

-They generally hold their colors well. I have never had a Tyree or Jason Fox coral morph into another coloration.
-Profitable, I know of a several people who's tanks are self generating. These people pay for their tank, equipment, anything they need for the tank by trading or selling frags of their designer collection.
-Coloration. After been in the hobby for 9 years, the only corals that keep me interested in the hobby are the designer corals. The regular bread and butter corals just do not amaze me as much anymore. (not to sound naive.)

Sorry if this post sounds offensive, as it was not my intentions. I just wanted to be informative..


P.S. Papers usually mean original receipt or proof of lineage. When you pay a premium you want to know you are getting the real deal.

08-19-2012, 07:14 PM
^ Excuse my grammar as well.

08-19-2012, 10:08 PM
In the end it all comes down to what each of us gets out of the hobby. I think the whole "super duper big dan's flying dutchman blue eyed acan devil" is silly, even if it is pretty. I laugh when I see $8,000 worth of wheels and tires on a 4 cylinder scion. But who am I to judge what somebody else finds appealing or valuable? Those folks likely think I am out of my mind for spending $1,000 on a DIY electrical control panel for my aquarium and $8,000 on a new kitchen.

Are those coral frags worth $300 each? That can only be answered by the person buying them. As Jeff and Dave have pointed out, where there is demand (and/or limited supply) the price is dictated by what the market accepts. Voting with your wallet is certainly an option but be prepared for the wallets of others to cancel your "vote". :)

There are quite a few of our club members who enjoy collecting, trading and purchasing the designer corals. It is where they derive enjoyment in the hobby.

08-19-2012, 10:28 PM
Ohh... and even though I pick on those crazy designer coral names and balk at the prices, the longer I am in the hobby the more appealing the "rare" stuff becomes. While I may scoff at buying a $300 frag today, I used to scoff at $300 fish and I am now looking at one...

08-20-2012, 10:18 PM
I like the fact that we are having a real converastion about pricing that includes retail stores and hobbiest without anybody putting anybody down or fighting.

I understand that some corals will just be more expensive but just do not understand why we as hobbiest seem to be doing it to ourselves. I do understand why retailers are charging higher prices because people are willing to pay. I have to say that I am willing to pay a fair price for a coral and would love to be able to obtain a $300-$400 or even more but that is just not in my budget. I will just enjoy the livestock that works for my budget and maybe someday the right coral will come my way for the right price.

Aquaworld stated that papers would be original receipt. How many retail stores would be willing to share their bills/order form that are going to show all the items that they ordered and the prices? My bet is none. Is there another form that would be like a certificate of authenticity?

PMASI - Maybe we could coordinate with Aquaworld to have a meeting with Jason Foxx as a speaker on the topic of how designer corals enter the trade and how they farm/frag and what they use to determine a corals meets X standard, name, price, ect

08-22-2012, 02:24 AM
We are all civil people on here, I don't see any reason for anybody to engage in an argument. I'm sure others will find this thread interesting.

There are some stores that offer a COA but most do not go through the trouble, since the original receipt to lineage will appease anybody who questions the authenticity of the coral. Lucky for most retailers there is a short lineage trail from them to people like Steve Tyree, Jason Fox, or other reputable retailers. There is a lot of trading between vendors and retailers. Usually you will see longer lineage strings buying through hobbyists.

For us, when "Paperwork" is on file the copy for general release has blacked out prices and blacked out items that do not pertain to that coral.

I do agree that lineage is a touchy subject. It's great when you can say oh, I got it from AquaWorld whom got it directly from Jfox. It get's very confusing and complicated when lineage goes like this, "I got it from joe, who bought it from sam, who traded it with jim, who bought it from vendor 2, who bought it from jay who got it from AquaWorld whom then got it directly from Mike who originated the coral as seen on Tyree's site.

Once the coral passes through that many hands the validity of the lineage has a higher risk of being compromised. We had a customer last year try to sell us some Purple Hornet Zoas and I could tell right off the bat they were not the real deal. He swore up and down that the coral was "authentic" since it had the lineage. We traced the lineage, which was a similar situation stated above. We had uncovered that the 2nd to last person who was on that string of lineage was passing fake Purple Hornet frags out which he obtained from a "fresh off the boat" colony that he had found in a LFS in CA (He used the lineage that he got from the real ones growing in his main tank and used it to gain substantial profit on the fake ones. Needless to say the customer who had payed fair market price for them was pretty angry.


08-22-2012, 12:04 PM
This is why I buy the coral independent of the name. Most named corals are particularly nice specimens, in which case I will pay more because I like that coral. If/When my frags are big enough to frag I will be selling a red Setosa, a tri-color acro, sunset monti, rainbow monti, etc... If someone inquires I will be glad to tell them the proper name, if I remember. I have no interest in tracing lineage and keeping paperwork. I just like nice corals. I have no problem with there being outlets for those who value that lineage and the price is set by the market. If I like it enough I will buy it.

I actually waffled about buying an ORA Blue Tort, if I recall correctly, from your store. It was a beautiful coral but I couldn't justify the price(to my wife...), which to be fair was not bad at all compared to other retailers. I held no ill will towards the store and if I can't find it anywhere else I will probably ending up paying that if not more.

08-24-2012, 12:07 PM
^ 99.9% people do buy corals regardless of the name. Collectors are usually looking for certain characteristics in corals. Some characteristics are far more sought after than others, these include Rainbow Rims on chalices, Multi-Color Pigmentation in the Corallites, Red Rims and etc.

If I call this brown chalice super sexy chocolate dream, I charge $5 for a huge frag, no one would buy it even though it has a "cool" name (so to speak), it is just undesired colors.

For the lineage, you will generally see the hardcore collectors retain lineage as well as the stores and vendors. When we are mainstream selling it is a must. As a buyer you wouldn't want to buy a "look-a-like" Watermelon chalice, and pay the designer price for it. You don't know how long the "look-a-like" watermelon chalice has been in captivity, how the color will hold up long term and many other factors.

Usually when the market price of it drops very low, no one retains lineage anymore. At this point Work/Time outweighs Reward.

Man, that ORA Blue Tort was really nice! ORA hasn't offered any frags of that coral for over 3-4 years. It is still very sought after since it grows slow. I think we sold the last frag we had a couple months ago. I wish I had kept one for the display tank. Maybe when one of those frags grow big enough we will buy some back for the display tank.

Fun Fact: Your rainbow monti used to go for $100/ 1/4"-1/2" when it first was offered for sale in the market. It grows so quick.

08-24-2012, 12:14 PM
All this talk and no pics yet!?

This is a really desired coloration, to me it's the perfect chalice.
(Yes it does look even better in person! I have one)


08-26-2012, 08:06 PM
Nice. Whats the "name" on that one?

08-26-2012, 08:13 PM
Looks like the atom bomb or dynamite chalice.

08-26-2012, 10:08 PM
I would post a picture but I have nothing even close to that picture!! Maybe someday!! That chalice is awsome. That frag has to be $400!

08-26-2012, 10:33 PM
Nice. Whats the "name" on that one?

Looks like the atom bomb or dynamite chalice.

Right on hybridazn! It is the SC Dynamite Chalice. The SC Atom bomb is a nice one too, I have a frag of it coming next week.

I would post a picture but I have nothing even close to that picture!! Maybe someday!! That chalice is awsome. That frag has to be $400!

c'mon post a pic!

I bought my frag of it off SC for $1500.00, and all I can say is WOWZA!

08-26-2012, 11:02 PM
$1500 for a frag, you are going to have to charge $5 just to look at it. Glad I am seeing it for free. LOL

08-27-2012, 02:49 PM
My newest coral. Can I get a positive ID on the what beleive is a Favia. it is about 2.5 inches around.

08-27-2012, 03:25 PM
Favia is correct. A little bleached but it should color up nicely

08-30-2012, 08:10 PM
Nice Coral! It should color up nicely. Feed it a mixture of cyclopeze and PE mysis!

08-30-2012, 11:14 PM
Glad that rescued coral found a good home!

08-31-2012, 02:37 AM
Wish I could have taken more, maybe the next time out if you still got some.