I actually posted a statement about this in my sponsor forum yesterday, but the mod hasn't approved it yet. I'll go ahead and copy and paste it here for now:
"First, let me say that it is true we had a recent outbreak of scutareilla japonica (commonly misidentified as vorticella). Thankfully, this infection is very easy to treat with invert-safe medication. Our policy for this situation has been a 100% refund to any affected customer (even if it was only one shrimp out of 20), and we have sent the requisite medication to treat the infection. We do rely on customers to let us know when this happens, since the infection was contained to only some species and only some holding tanks. We use closed systems for every one of our 200+ tanks, so it didn’t spread too far before we caught it. If any of our customers has been affected by this issue, we want you to contact us so we can help you fix it.
Since the scutareilla japonica is exceptionally easy to treat and that problem has been dealt with on our end, I want to move on to the “green fungus” issue. We import many of our neocaridina, and this is an extremely common problem with any imported shrimp. Because of this recent outbreak (of scutareilla japonica) and several past problems with the fungus, we have put our supplier on notice that we will be setting up our own domestic breeding facility if they cannot completely solve the problem on their end. We are their largest customer (and the largest retail shrimp supplier in the world), so they are now taking the issue very seriously. It’s been extremely frustrating (and expensive in terms of refunds and our reputation), but the silver lining to this is that our supplier is taking serious steps to resolve this once and for all, and we are working in collaboration with 2 universities (one domestic and one in Taiwan) to devise a shrimp-safe treatment for the “green fungus” that has become so common in imported neocaridina. Additionally, we have collected every forum thread we can find where people recommend not buying imported shrimp for these reasons, and will send this document to every neocaridina farm in Taiwan so they understand this is an existential threat to their business. There have been some scattered reports of treatment options, but so far none of them have been viable to use on a large scale. Because we have such an interest in resolving this issue, I have put up a $20,000 reward to the biology departments of the two aforementioned universities that will be awarded if they can help us devise a treatment for the green fungus that is viable for farms in Taiwan to implement, and there is now a concerted effort by biologists to solve this problem. This is great news for the hobby, because despite the scattered issues with infections of their shrimp, nobody will argue that Taiwan produces shrimp of incredible quality and continues to lead the hobby in the development and refinement of new color morphs.
All that aside, we understand this has also been extremely frustrating for many of our customers. Until this issue is completely resolved, we are taking several extra steps (including a mandatory quarantine period on both our supplier’s end and our end) to make sure no more of our customers are affected. We expect it won’t be long until this issue is solved not just for us, but for the hobby in general. Once we have a solution, we will be voluntarily sharing it with any farm that wants the information, as well as hobbyists in the United States. This information would be extremely valuable to the farms in Taiwan, but we will be giving it out for free as a donation of sorts to the hobby as a whole.
I do want to point out here as well that despite the increased reports of issues with our neocaridina lately, it should be kept in mind that we have over 200,000 individual customers that have bought shrimp from us, and we sell 15,000 shrimp on our website alone (about 85% of our sales) during an average month. I don’t bring this up to boast, but to give a sense of proportionality for the recent issues we have had. The vast majority of our customers have been extremely happy with our company, and we have an extremely high rate of customers that return to order again for our industry. I am fairly certain that we have introduced more people to the shrimp hobby than any other person or company worldwide. We understand that not every customer that has been affected by this has contacted us, but even if we assume that only 25% of them contacted us about this at any point in the last 2 years (very conservative), that puts our problem rate at less than 0.01% across the life of our business. Since I started the company, Aquatic Arts has grown from a 55 gallon tank I kept in my apartment to a business that employs 13 people (11 full time). I have learned a lot since I started this company 3 years ago, and despite the amount of experience I’ve amassed running this company, I still hesitate to describe myself as an expert with so much still to learn. I suppose it sounds corny, but I see these problems as an opportunity for improvement rather than a drastic setback, despite the financial impact it has had. It’s actually great in a way to think about how far we still have to go to meet our own standards, and it wouldn’t be happening this fast if not for the diligence of the shrimp-keeping community.
That being said, I do want to personally apologize for any of our customers that have been affected by this problem, and I don’t want to come across as minimizing the issue for those that have been affected. As I mentioned before, we want you to contact us about this so we can help you fix it. Although this issue started with our supplier, I take personal responsibility for this issue, as we should have caught it before this many of our customers were affected. This has certainly been a wake-up call for both myself and my supplier. I know it’s not much consolation at this point, but I hope that my contribution toward ending this problem in the hobby as a whole will provide some measure of satisfaction, and that the hobby as a whole will be better for it a few months from now. Regardless of the outcome with our supplier for neocaridina, we have accelerated our plans to move into a 15,000+ sq/ft warehouse and set up a serious breeding facility for neocaridina in the United States. That will happen sometime this summer, and I expect the breeding project to come to fruition late fall or early winter. At that point, high quality shrimp bred right here in the USA will be available at the same or lower cost than what we provide now, and we also plan to provide these shrimp at wholesale cost to local stores that are interested in carrying USA bred crustaceans. That’s exciting for me, because I certainly miss the days when every shrimp we sold was bred by myself.
In regard to the fungus issue in particular, we would love for anyone that has successfully treated it to reach out. We have collected what information was available and passed it along to the biology departments we are working with, but more information may help. We will continue to update you all about any progress that is made. We are also paying for any infected shrimp (regardless of whether or not they came from us) so that we can acquire more samples for the lab. If you have an infected colony, we will actually buy a sizeable number of visibly infected shrimp as well as pay the shipping cost.
I know this has been a long read, but thanks for getting this far. We appreciate all the feedback (both positive and negative), and the diligence of fellow hobbyists in solving this mystery for all of us.
Owner – Aquatic Arts"