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Plant prices & mail order companies

Robert H. wrote (about Red Flame Swords):

<< The $28 is ridiculously over priced. I sell them for $7 to $12 depending on
 size. >>

Ah, you forgot to mention, they were on sale for $18. They've got lace plants 
for $17.99, crinum calamistratum for $24.99, aponogeton crispus for $6.99 or 
$7.99, and large swords for like $15.99 (amazonicus or bleheri), and crinum 
thianum for $7.99. You get the idea.

I was out at That Fish Place (quite a distance away) a few weekends ago and 
picked up a lace plant for $6.99. They had crinum calamistratum for $6.99 or 
$7.99. Unfortunately, I didn't pick the c. calamistratum up, thinking I was 
getting one through m/o for a similar price (I wasn't totally pleased with 
the appearance either). It was inundated with hair algae and a flimsy root 
system. If I'd only known. I recently got one from a different m/o company 
for $12.99 (the other m/o company didn't send it) and it had virtually NO 
leaves (okay, 1 which was white) and NO roots. I'd have done better to pick 
up the other and done a light bleaching. So, I stick it in the tank anyway, 
and just pray. Certainly, that plant didn't leave <company not mentioned> 
fully intact and rooted, did it?

Someone suggested it was a better idea to get the plant locally than resort 
to mail order, though you pay a bit more. As you can see, one could easily go 
bankrupt planting a few tanks, in this area. So rather than spend thousands 
of dollars to plant my rather humble tanks, and patronize this overpriced 
lfs, I tend to depend on mail order companies. In an earlier post someone 
defended the state that plants arrive in from these places. They claim that 
plants will go through some deterioration in shipping, and we should expect 
this. I would have to say this is not true. After having traded/received 
plants from other subscribers, I have to say that plants probably look close 
to what they did when removed from the tank, if packaged properly, and sent 

I think there must be some point of *maximum stress*. And the healthier the 
plant initially, the more it can handle. This seems like common sense. 
Basically, you wind up with what they sent. 

Frustrated in Allentown,