Sharing so you learn from my mistake

Discussion in 'Coral' started by ofzakaria, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    Hello all,
    Am new to this forum and from the bay area hence I am posting on this forum.
    I been in to reefing for 12 years now and as involve ad I can be in the hobby.

    I wanted to share an experience I went through recently so maybe I save someone from the pain I went through.
    Be very careful dealing with freelancers buissnesses and services. Make sure you vet the capability and experince very well first.

    I recently dealt with someone, Let's call him Mr.D, to host my coral while I transition to my new home.

    I own a well maintained aquarium. Many master scolys, high end and some rare sps colonies, high end chalices...etc

    I knew the guy through my local fish store. And he been running small services buissness on his own.
    We agreed that he host my coral and fish with him for couple of months.
    He positioned himself as experinced, have multiple systems at his place and keep many fish across multiple systems, so all should be good. We also agreed that he will decide the payment ammount and I will oblige.

    After we transferred all the coral and fish to his place, ever time I ask about the live stocks he tells me all good and coral are growing and doing great.

    When I was ready to take my stuff back. For 2 months whenever I ask for my live stocks I get execuses that let's do it next week and week after..etc.

    I started getting worried so I pressured the guy in to giving me my stuff and asked for pictures of how my coral doing.

    He suddenly started saying he lost some pieces..I asked which one, he goes...ALL.
    He claimed that he lost all my coral a week ago during one day.
    I am experienced enough to know it's very hard to lose all this coral and fish in one day event especially if you have back up systems as he have claimed.

    Needless to say I was shocked because a day earlier he was pretending that all is going well and fake planning with me on the transfer.

    After another day the guy also claimed that he lost all my fish as well.

    Then he gave me some dead skeletons of my coral which looked old and covered in green and caroline algae which indicate it is an old dead skeletons not something that died recently.

    In any event, I have no idea if my stuff really died or not, it doesn't matter anyway. As I recognize there is nothing I can do.
    I am posting this so others learn and avoid my mistakes.

    Here is where I think I messed up:

    1- I trusted a guy just because he talked nice and he used to work at my local fish store.
    When things went south and all the lying got uncovered the fish stor owner himself was shocked.

    2- I did not demand to see the guy home setup. Just believed the experienced he sold me.
    I should have demanded to see the setup and demanded regular pictures.

    3- I did not ask around about the guy reputation.
    After what transpire, I came to know that other ppl have had the same issue where they trusted this person with their coral, just to be told it all died just before pick up days.

    I hope you learn something from this post and avoid what I went through.

    Here are some pictures of what the system was and what is jt now.[​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  2. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    More pics[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
  3. glee

    glee BOD

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is a very sad outcome. There are many members here, if you get to know them, that have more credibility in helping you keep your corals alive. If you are starting over, I suggest getting a tank thread going here:

    It's one of my favorite things about BAR.

    What are your plans?
  4. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    Yeh I did not know about BAR until recently. I am on R2R and some other forums.
    I already have the new setup. I moved to my new home and needed to host my coral until the new system is up.
    I run mainly zeovit, now I need to start stocking ad my system is up and running...
    Journey starting now..

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
  5. LordHelmet

    LordHelmet Supporting Member

    That is about the worst thing I have heard in this hobby. Sorry for your loss, hopefully it will help someone else out.
  6. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I feel that posts like this need to specific. Names need to be posted. That way, he will not be able to do this to someone else. If I were you and genuinely have this bad experience with this person, I would want to make sure his name gets out there so that others are aware.
  7. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    Hi Omar, very sorry about everything you have lost. The pictures you shared are of a very very nice set up.

    I honestly thing that he has cheated you. In my opinion he might have made quite some money with your high end stuff and keep things for himself.
    It is possible to suddenly lose everything (sadly I'm an example of it), but having back up systems and being experienced in the hobby (I have been in reef only for a bit over a year) is not so easy to happen. And the fact that he had been giving you excuses and suddenly "everything" is lost, and first all coral and the next day all fish, it doesn't smell good.

    Also if he have not let you see the tanks, give you a thorough explanation of what has happened, etc... I honestly think that there are hidden motives.

    By the way, why don't you say openly the name of this person and the LFS? So we are all careful with this in the future.
  8. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Dang. Major sympathies!!

    It is key to check out the system, but even then, you never know.
    All it takes is one decent size fish or coral to die, and things get out of hand so quickly.
    Ammonia spikes are wicked.

    Looks like you had a really nice set up.
    Hope you start a tank thread. Welcome to BAR.
  9. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    Same thing happened to a friend of mine in Vegas. Almost the exact same story.
  10. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    Thank you all. When I ask the guy for pictures of the crashed system he refuse and say he was busy trying to save the system so did not take picture.
    Clearly lies and deception.
    I told him how can you not document such catastrophic event you have with customer stuff..
    I did not add the name cause I do not want to ruin someone's career or live, again the intention is for the community to learn.
    Many of the south bay reefers know me and they know who did this to me.
    Any ways, I hope you all avoid this and learn from my mistakes. Now am trying to restock and hunt for coral:(

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well if you're worried he is pulling the wool of your eyes compare the skeletons to the pictures you posted, skeletons should look exactly like the corals, minus some tissue a little more tissue in the case of those scollies but still should be scolly shaped.

    That said, if you didn't see the guys tank how did this transaction occur? Did he simply come over and grab all your stuff and go home? Then yeah, trusting people too much is not a good thing. And you having some expensive stuff you should have drawn up some sort of contract before hand, it's one thing if it's a guy you know from a reef club holding your corals, it's another from some guy you met at a LFS who says he does stuff in the hobby.

    But yeah, sorry that happened, lesson learned I guess.
  12. Mozby

    Mozby Supporting Member

    Sorry for your loss. You had some really nice looking (and expensive) corals.... a shame that it was all destroyed or stolen (since the guy didn't provide proper proof). Welcome to BAR.... maybe consider signing up as a supporting member... I'm sure some of us have a frag or two we can give to help fill your tank a little.
  13. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    I stored a femininus wrasse in someone tank and I never got back.
    We tend to trust hobbyists because we assume that we're all in the same state of mind. Wrong.
    One rule I live by now or this year resolution, and that is I'd rather see it disintegrates in my own hands than someone else.
    ofzakaria likes this.
  14. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    Yikes! What a horrible tale. Glad to hear you are starting the tank up again. BAR members are great, so I would encourage you to join.
  15. insomniac2k2

    insomniac2k2 Supporting Member

    I can appreciate you trying to be respectful, but I would blast this POS. It is exactly what he deserves. You are ruining nothing. You are making sure this exact scumbag doesn't ruin someone else's life work and heavy expenses in their aquarium.
    Jeff Rehling and ashburn2k like this.
  16. glee

    glee BOD

    If you sign up, you can also access DBTC and back up your corals with people you trust.
    ofzakaria likes this.
  17. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    Agreed on all. That's why i am saying I made a mistake of trusting the guy.

    But believe me I did not trust just some guy I met at the the LFS. There are lots of nuances that fooled me:

    - I knew him for years working at one of the most reputable stores in south bay. One if the biggest stores also.
    - the store owner who I trust alot, recommended him.
    - the guy is absolutely a pathological liar who really looked ligit. But again it my mistakes I did not keep checking on his setups.
    - the guy run in home services to ppl and I know many who used him for service.
    - finally i was so pressured on finding a solution quick cause my move was bit sudden... so I had to find a host.

    Basically checked the credibility boxes, at least up to when I dealt with him.

    Again all my mistakes.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  18. ofzakaria

    ofzakaria Supporting Member

    Btw I am not hiding the guy. Am just not parading him online. Most of the reefers in south bay who know me have been told.
    Also I will tell his name and share my experimce with anyone who I hear about to deal with him or want to know who he is in private setting not online.
    I agree this guy do not deserve even pitty.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
  19. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Guest

    Holy shit!

    I'm not a lawyer but I have to wonder if this is worth a small claims court suit? I know it doesn't cost much to file, I think it was $40 last time I did it, and the most difficult part can be actually serving papers.

    If you have messages of him saying everything is great one week and everything is dead the next week with long term algae growth, he lied and caused the loss of thousands in livestock.

    Do not let this person get away with it, he will do it to someone else.
  20. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Guest

    You say he runs a private maintenance service business, if you had a bad experience at a local business it is expected to leave a public review or call the BBB (for what good that's worth) to make the issues known publicly.

    You are not taking malicious action to ruin someone's life, you engaged in a professional service (that you payed for, not just a favor from a friend) and that service is sub standard.

    This individual needs to be public knowledge so people know to avoid him. This isn't about the club taking up pitchforks to run him out of town or gossip about it like school girls.

    I know you're trying to be respectful of the other person's privacy and that is an honorable baseline reaction but in this case, you are enabling him to do it again to someone else since no one knows what he did.

    You don't want to name the shop, that's fair. It's not the shops fault, they may be as oblivious as you were to the individuals skill level.

    I have babysat many corals for people during transfers, moving, pest management, etc. matter of fact, a third of my frag tank is filled with someone else's corals because he needed to trim corals and doesn't have room to hold them until he finds buyers. I've had pieces melt with little reasoning, nothing is fool proof in this hobby. But if I started seeing wide spread loss you better believe I would be on the phone with someone within 30 seconds of seeing an issue.
    Kim Pattison and glee like this.

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