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NLS bucket prices


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I'd like to get some feed back on NLS prices in general, but particularly NLS buckets..

1. How much do you think is a reasonable price for a bucket of NLS?

2. Do you think the current pricing available is reasonable compared with other premium brands?

NLS Cichlid bucket 2.27kg $139.95 (AOA)

Sear Flora bucket 2kg $159.95, cheapest i could find online (http://www.aquariumproductswholesale.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=78)

Tetra Min Tropical flake 2kg $160

Tetra Fin GoldFish flake 2kg $150

Tetra Color bits 300g (total 3.6kg) x 12 $260 Compared with 2 x 2.27kg buckets of Spectrum (4.54kg) $279.90

Tetra Cichlid Sticks 320g $36.00 Compared with NLS Cichlid 300g $33.00

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this is my personal opinion, and not an opinion based on me being a moderator.

for comparisons, hikari cichlid gold can be easily obtained at around $45 per kg, or 102.15 for a 2.27kg comparison. hikari sinking gold is 135.75 for the same comparison. i would rate NLS at a similar level to this.

what I feel is that it is expensive. I have been using it since it got to australia, and i feel that while i rarely pay retail price, i have still seen a 33% increase in the price I pay in 8 or so years. thats over 4% per year. in that time, the australian dollar has gone from 70 odd cents to around 1.07 US. this is effectively reducing the real cost of the food by over 30%. this in turn means a real price increase of over 60% in 8 years. to me, it seems like price increases when the real cost of the food is going down, is a bit much.

so what is it worth? less than we currently pay given the changes in real cost.

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Hi Gav,

what I feel is that it is expensive. I have been using it since it got to australia, and i feel that while i rarely pay retail price, i have still seen a 33% increase in the price I pay in 8 or so years.

NLS has been available in AUS for close to 13 years now. I have been distributing NLS for just over 7 years. 7 Years ago AOA sold a bucket of NLS for $120.00, today you could buy a bucket for $139.95, which is a 16.5% increase in almost 8 years.

AUD/USD historical data:

Statistic: 1/1/2005 - 02/23/2012











# In Calc



In 2009 when the AUD bottomed at .60c we still ordered from the US, no price increases. At that time should we have increased the wholesale price by 45%? As a matter of fact i have never put our wholesale price up since we started importing NLS in to AUS. Pablo has been manufacturing the food for over 16 years now, he increased his prices 10% once in this time (2010) which we had no choice but to pass on. Global freight charges on the other hand have doubled in the past seven years, yet we have NOT passed this on to the end customer.

I'm not sure how you came to this 33% price increase of our food..?

this is effectively reducing the real cost of the food by over 30%. this in turn means a real price increase of over 60% in 8 years.

Have you taken in to consideration the increase in ingredients, freight charges etc etc for the past 8 years?

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the way i see it is that if a consumer brings up an issue, and a business can explain valid reasons for those issues, then its a case of there isnt really an issue.

in this case i stated about exchange, you outlined the reasons that hasnt been reflected in price. issue solved.

i expressed my differences in cost (which is closer to wholesale than retail) yet you showed the changes in cost at retail level are far less.

so based on that, those two reasons are not a valid basis for me being able to expect to pay less for NLS. my only other comparison would be that it seems like hikari foods have not increased in price as much, but that could just as easily be a matter of perception as opposed to a matter of fact. the reality is i still buy NLS. I am just frugal and want to pay as little as possible, like any sensible consumer.

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Ah the wonderful world of consumerism...

If you can't afford an item don't buy it.

If you think something is too expensive and always opt for a cheaper version, don't be surprised if the quality continues to fall

as the quality company bails out and more cheaper/lower grade products come on board.

Don't expect businesses to drop a price because you think it's too expensive - they are there to make money (hopefully in a sustainable way too) -

Would you be happy if your job got outsourced because no-one was willing to pay a price they could afford but wanted to skimp out on for a cheaper


Obviously everyone has budgets, but the simple answer is don't get into something you can't support or afford

in a good manner. Everyone should be smart in their purchasing decisions, taking note of what consequences

their chosen product/service will have on other companies and jobs.

I hope I've made that clear in a positive manner.


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I think more important issue is the price the "bricks and mortar" have to charge to make a good margin. Internet retailing has become more popular and accessable over the last 13 years, increasing turn-over therefore gaining the ability to cut the profit margin of each bucket.

I have regularly seen the price in the $160-$180 range at LFS... This is a real issue......

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I used to get NLS for $100 a bucket but the person I got them off no longer does them.

At my local I can get it for $130.....which isn't bad at all.

I like Flora better than NLS but I can't get a well priced supply here and once you factor in shipping from online it works out better just to buy NLS locally

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Every time NLS buckets are mentioned you quote 2.27 kg have you actually weighed the contents you find 2kg of food and 270 grams of plastic bucket and lid costing $16.64 .( 139.95 / 8.40 )

Im sure most fish breeders would like an extra .250grams of food and a 20 gram resealable ziplock bag for the sane price.

Also it would reduce shipping as the load would more condensed ie round buckets in boxes as against vaccum sealed plastic bricks in boxes

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If that were actually true, it Would fracture fair trading laws and there are serious fines. That is quite a statement......

Under consumer law a single container must be with in 95% of claimed weight etc.

A sample of containers must have an average weight of that claimed on the label.

For example the weight of a carton of buckets must average out to 2.27kg. And the lightest a single bucket can be is 2.16 kg. That is contents of course not plastic.

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Hi Gav, do you think it would have been fair for me to charge people 45% more when the exchange rate dropped in 2009? If the answer to the question is yes i'm sure most here would disagre with you, and stopped buying. And every time there is a change in the currency price should i therefore change the prices of NLS.. Can you imagine how many customers we would lose when the rate is down, wholesale businesses like ours aren't cyclical... Yes we are having a bull run with the AUD, all trends come to an end, look at the share market and the property market in AUS, where are they today from the 2008 high?! And most of all can you give me a time frame for this to revert?! If you have a look at the historical data these are very very clear. What goes up comes down lol

As a matter of fact AOA was selling buckets at $125 before i was distributing, NOT $120, so in the last 8 years the prices of buckets have gone up a tiny 11.5% or $14.95, yes that's all. My intention was to have a chat about the retail price, not the wholesale price. Not only it's impossible to change the wholesale price every time the AUD move it is even impossible to place my orders with the US when the rate is up, it doesn't happen this way. I've placed my orders at the top and the bottom of the exchange rate. If Greece had defaulted i doubt we will be having this conversation.

Thanks John.

Hi Neil, no i have not, this is the first time i've heard this..!

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Hi Waruna

This has been the case with weights as I divi up half a bucket and end up with 2 x 1kg lots when I share a bucket with a freind using electronic 1 gram scales..Possibly the scales vary but not likley.


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Hi Waruna

I think your product is a little expensive But no one can question the quality as it is good

As you have quoted cichlid bucket 2.27kg = $139.95 Now if you look at it as a kilo price it works out around $70 Per kilo

But isf you measure apples for apples osi cichlid bucket on age of aquarium is 5kg for $205 that = $41 per kilo and is also a pellet food

Then if you look at osi Spirulina pellet its $249.00 for 5 kilos then it equals $50 per kilo

OSI also comes from america and has to cope with exchange rates as well

I think if you look at the distributation say of your product and the OSI there is a extra set of hands in the supply chain

as for me I dont use nls anymore but its a good product I use alternatives that are priced better , my fish still breed ,happy I cant keep up with retail outlets that are happy with the supply of my stock

Hope that helps


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Hi Neil, i will check this and get back to you, don't expect an answer over night though.. PM me your contact details :wink2:

G'day Craig, I'm not quite sure we are comparing Apples to Apples here, a bucket of flake food vs a bucket pellets, sorry i'm out on this one.. But let's compare Apples to Apples, OSI Spirulina wafers to NLS H2O wafers:

OSI wafers 2.27kg $139.00


NLS H2O wafers 2.27kg $139.95


If NLS is expensive so is OSI, don't you think..? For the record when OSI imports were distributing NLS AOA was selling NLS buckets for $150-$160!!! When i took the distributorship from them i reduced the Wholesale price by 35%. I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. OSI is a good food, there are lots of good foods out there, but i don't see any of them making the same guarantees as we do.. Well that is another topic.. Thanks for the feedback :p

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It seems from this thread that only the people who have access to "less the retail" prices are the ones commenting, are they the only ones using it?.

As for the guarantee, what happens if the user of the product disagrees?

The next bit is off topic, so I wont add to the discussion.

I only have a hand full of tanks (3). NLS is was about $30 for 150gm container ($200 a kilo) at my LFS. I have used it in the past, but we cant eat caviar every night of the week can we.

I too use OSI, on price alone its more effective. I get mine for around $15 for 250grams or $60 a kilo.

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On that example you are right But the Cichlid Example that the post was started with the osi is a lot more cheaper to purchase The apples for apples quote is I am comparing the 2 cichlid pellets

With your initial question about price are you asking this to see if the market is happy with the price , are you trying to guage how to increase more sales or are you trying to find out why you arent selling as much as you would like

If you could get larger buckets like the osi example and the price is reduced inline with the customer taking a larger purchase it might help you sell more



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Just my 2cents worth,

i agree that the NLS products are good products, but the retail price here is a little steep. Even through AOA or other sponsors with the discount. but i dont think it is isolated with just the NLS products, there has are many over priced fish food products out there, i admit i still purchase the product cause i can afford it and i believe it is a good product.

i like the idea of bigger buckets but am worried about the degradation in quality if stored longer.

All this said if there were comparable quality foods on the marked that were proven and cheaper i would explore them as an alternative.

Waruna - are their plans to manufacture the product here in Aust? and would that reduce the retail cost?

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As for the guarantee, what happens if the user of the product disagrees?

It is not about agreeing 0r disagreeing, our guarantee is based on results, please read our 10 day money back guarantee here:


Hi Gav, i did and thank you :)

Hi Craig, the larger the size of the container (buckets in this instance) the cheaper the item will be, so i'm NOT going to compare 1kg individual pricing of a 5kg bucket of OSI FLAKES with a 2.27kg bucket of NLS PELLETS.

You are ignoring my point conveniently when it suits you. So let me ask you this, what is the reason behind OSI pricing for their Spirulina wafer buckets..?

And Craig i'm going to leave all these off topic questions and accusations aside, but if you have anything else to add to NLS bucket pricing please feel free to do..

Hi Alex, no plans to manufacture the food here, setting up a world class manufacturing plant in AUS as in the US will require lots of money.. Prices today are cheaper than what it was with the previous importer 8 years ago.. Thank you for your input :)

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I'll just preface my remarks by stating that I use NLS as the primary/staple food in my fishroom and I think that says in a real and obvious way that I have a pretty high regard for the product and.. .this is your thread (as in you asked for it :-) ).

On the specific question you (Waruna) asked.

1. How much do you think is a reasonable price for a bucket of NLS?

2. Do you think the current pricing available is reasonable compared with other premium brands?

my response would be that

1) they are significantly overpriced and

2) they are not reasonably priced compared to NLS itself in the US msrket (yes I know that wasn't the questiohn you asked)

Pablo tries to market it as something serious/large-scale hobbyists can use as the primary/staple diet for their fish and in his home market the bucket sizes are priced as such (about US$50/bucket retail).

Here in Oz they are priced in the specialty, occasional-usage end of the price spectrum (about $130/bucket) so those of using it as a staple diet are behaving rather irrationally.

I could purchase 200 buckets of NLS from either jehmco.com or kensfish.com at full retail price, have them freighted here using their ordinary postal

service for a cost of about US$76 per bucket which I would guess is somewhere around the wholesale price.

Every time I work that out (pretty much every time I buy NLS) I wonder

- what's your valu-add in the equation if any reasonable sized distributor/retailer could buy it cheaper *retail* than what they're paying now,

- why on earth none of them have sourced the product directly? (Pablo might honor your import deal but as above... the US retail chain can sell it cheap enough to compete with you). (Name removed) imports sporadically but not buckets *sigh*

- why Pablo allows you to reprice the product so it is no longer viable for the market he says he designed the product for (large scale hobbyists/fishroom keepers looking for a primary/staple high quality diet) other than the fact that the previous importer was considerably 'worse'

I can't see any good reason for why Australian pricing isn't comparable to US pricing. So bucket pricing would be US$50 plus say $10/kg to cover extra freight and handling and reduced marketsize.. .so a retail price of $70/bucket would seem entirely reasonable.

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correct .... All except for AQIS or Bio security Australia (whatever their name is now) have strict rules which add further expense that doesn't apply in the US.

But you are correct in saying the price is at the premium end of the market. Good quality imported foods will always be a premium product because of red tape..... Unless importers can work with AQIS to stream line the process.

Much of the world views Australia's quarantine laws as protectionist in that they are designed to make Australian industries more competative by setting up a trade barrier. But with cheap foods coming from countries where ingredients may be processed improperly we do need some sort of protection against aquatic diseases that might be imported in dodgy fish meal.

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correct .... All except for AQIS or Bio security Australia (whatever their name is now) have strict rules which add further expense that doesn't apply in the US.

You know this or are guessing?

I haven't bothered to check but would have assumed there would have been a (presumably significant) capital cost to get a import certificate for the product but

  1. this would have been incurred by the previosu importer not waruna or at least it was once only
  2. so the additional costs on each importation woudl be just the inconvenience and time (and perhaps some charge on a cost-recovery basis for that time) while they inspect stuff as it comes in

That looks ot me more like a pricing policy based more around 'what the market will bear' than about actual costs.

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Aquis registration for importing foods is a yearly registration not cheap, plus quarentine cost each shipment.

Getting food posted usually get confiscated or heavy cost to quarentine..

The online shop you mention has it spasmodically as it often gets consfiscated as they dont have the registration to import it....

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Hi Laurie, if you want to import anything in to the country which has animal or plant products you must get an AQIS permit, which is expensive, not as expensive as bringing in some of the medications on the market, a single formula/item can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand. The permit is issued for every single formula, not for the brand, We carry 32 formulas! Permits must be renewed regularly, a change in an ingredient/label, or an adjustment in import laws will require to renew or reapply for the permit. Reapply is the correct term, importing conditions change quite regularly so you have to repeat this process, provide all the documents again and again.....!

Not only i have to pay two and a half months in advance for stock, I have to pay for GST, overseas freight, customs duty and quarantine clearance costs even before i see a single jar!! GST is again added to the retail price. International and local freight is not cheap, to insurer a container is very expensive, then there are more insurance bills locally. Warehousing, packaging, local and interstate transport costs etc etc are also added. You may not see this as a positive but all this is adding to our economy. I'm not going to give you a dollar to dollar price break down. And in the states there are no middlemen like me. Another reason is the difference in population numbers compared with the US, their retail markups are smaller compared with AUS. If you've been to US you will know how cheap food is over their. As you can see it's not as simple as it may seems.

The post above is correct.


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