How to Breed Aquarium Fish for Profit
Fish keeping can be an expensive hobby, so many aquarists wonder if it’s possible to make money by breeding aquarium fish. We have collected all the information you need about how to sell fish, the best breeds, and what supplies they require.
Can you make money by breeding fish?
Fish farming isn’t a lucrative venture. There are many other career options that can earn you more for the same time and effort. Fish farms are a great way to make a lot of money selling fish for as little as $1 per piece. They produce millions upon millions of fish. That being said, breeding fish as a side gig is a great way to pay for your aquarium hobby expenses. Our #1 tip is not to invest too much money in this endeavor. The goal is to make it profitable, not lose. Don’t purchase too many tanks or expensive equipment. You will need to identify any problems early on, such as how to breed your fish and whether people will purchase your fish.
What are the Best Fish to Breed to Make a Profit?
It is important to choose the most profitable fish, which are easy to breed and unload. So visit a major pet shop to see what types of fish they have in large quantities. Although they might be more expensive than other fish, you shouldn’t breed discus, rare African cichlids, or stingrays. You’ll have a lot of fish if not enough people buy them. Instead, breed a variety of guppies that are cheaper but always in high demand.
Fish shops are a popular place to shop for beginners. To help you choose the right fish, read articles about the best fish for beginners. Nano species are better than oscars and goldfish for beginners. They can be kept in smaller aquariums than the monster fish, and are therefore more popular.
Small, colorful, and hardy fish that breed frequently are usually great options to breed for profit.
Don’t forget that what you think is cool might not be the best for the market. Although many shrimp lovers like the striped pattern on rili, most people will prefer the solid red cherries shrimp. This is because the rili shrimp has a lack of color in the midsection. Profitability is important if you want to keep unique fish for enjoyment and sell the ones that are most popular.
What do I need to buy in order to breed fish?
Most small, profitable fish can be easily bred in a 10- or 20-gallon tank, so let’s say you start with a 20-gallon tank, heater, filter, and some assorted guppies. each. How can you increase your profit? Let’s not buy another tank and more equipment to raise more guppies. Instead, let us find a way that we can make more money with the same tank.
You could add a plant to your sale list. Java moss is a great candidate because not only is it easy to grow, but it serves double duty by providing cover for your guppy fry and increasing their survival rate. Due to its slow growth, javamoss is often out of stock at local fish shops. However, you might be able to sell a bucketful for as low as $20 per month. By adding java moss to the breeding tank, you can also breed another species like red cherry shrimp. If you start with a high-quality stock, you might be able to sell 25 shrimp each monthly at $1 per head. This will increase your monthly revenue to $70 per month, or $840 per year, if you have only one aquarium.
If you breed complementary species in one tank, others can create an aquarium and purchase more products from your company. There are many combinations that can be made with one breeding tank: Apistogramma and corydora angelfishes, or Apistogramma cichlids and java moss Apistogramma cichlids. Diversifying your products allows you to keep making money every month, even though there isn’t much demand for your species. For example, if your local fish store can’t take any more guppies, you can still give them cherry shrimp and java moss.
Cherry shrimp or moss can reproduce in one tank, increasing the amount of revenue that you can get from a single set-up.
What are the operational costs of breeding fish?
You don’t want to add more aquariums, even if the equipment is free. Each tank costs money to operate each month. Let’s forget about costs such as the mortgage and rent for your house, or gas to transport fish. Find out how much electricity and water it costs to get your bill. Keep track of how long it takes you for the aquarium to be maintained. Also, overestimate the cost of maintaining each tank.
For example, let’s pretend every month you are paying $10 for power, water, and food for one fish tank. You also spend 2 hours a month working with the tank (at a rate of $15 an hour), so you put in $30 a month of labor. By working with the tank every month, you’re almost doubling your money. Your $40 investment is now worth $70. Also, since you have already paid yourself the costs of maintaining the tanks, it means you can eventually hire someone to do the same. You can then focus your efforts on growing your business. You can calculate your operating expenses to see if your fish breeding side gig is profitable or losing.
How do I sell my fish to fish stores?
Going to your local fish market is the best and easiest way to sell fish. Many pet shops don’t want to buy fish from local breeders, as they already have contracts with large fish farm owners. While you might be able make a little more by selling your fish to people online or locally, it will cost you a lot to provide customer service and cater to every person who has a problem or special request. The store manager is your only customer in fish shops, so you can devote all of your attention to that customer.
You can only work with one fish store if there are multiple nearby. The fish store nearest you will usually be the closest because it is closer. The reason for this is to avoid market competition. If you sell your angelfish to four different stores in the same area, inevitably one store will set the angelfish at the cheapest price and win all the sales, souring your relationship with the other three stores. Also, don’t sell the remainder of your angelfish in your local fish club auction or on classified ad websites, or else you are directly competing with the fish stores and they won’t be as likely to work with you again.
Start small, and establish a strong, long-term relationship at one local fish market to sell your fish.
Once you have chosen a fish store to work with, bring them a sample bag of fish, as well as a cover letter with your contact information and a pricing list labeled by species name. You can give the fish sample to the store to sell to their customers. This is a gesture of goodwill to the store so they can determine whether your fish will sell at a specific price. The store won’t be mad if the fish aren’t sold because they didn’t make any loss. Remember that you’re handing them $30 of free fish for a potential $840 per year in return.
The majority of local fish stores are independent, small businesses that have limited cash. They may be willing to offer credit for your purchase. It is best to be paid in cash. This allows you to create a paper trail that documents all income and expenses. You can get a smartphone credit card reader if the fish store is unable pay you in cash. You can now accept credit cards, cash, and checks, making your business more professional.
In order to build a strong, lasting relationship with your local fish store, only breed the species that match what the store sells. If they don’t sell African cichlids then don’t make yellow labs or Labidochromis Caeruleus. You should also make sure that your fish are healthy, strong, and happy. If your fish are constantly dying at the fish market, you can try solving the problem by feeding them the same foods and keeping them at the right temperature. You also need to change your water every few days as the fish store. The fish store is looking for long-term breeders that provide the same species of fish and don’t switch up their offerings. It is important to have red bristlenose plecos available at all times if you want to be the best. When your local market is flooded with them and no one wants to buy right now, just scale down the number of tanks dedicated to bristlenose plecos but keep them around because eventually people will come back asking for them and you want to be ready for that opportunity.
How Much Should I Sell My Fish For?
Pricing is a tricky subject because you are competing against the wholesaler that the local fish store buys from and they can sell at very cheap prices. You must offer the fish shop a lower price or better quality than the wholesaler. If your fish are priced right, look fantastic, and never die, then the customer develops a great impression of the fish store, and the fish store wants to work with you more. Everyone benefits.
Before you approach the fish store, do your research to find out how much fish cost, depending on their size, quantity, and quality. You can then make your first offer, rather than asking the fish retailer how much they will give you. The store manager can share market data with you and determine the best price for your fish. The store will sell their fish faster if the price is lower. (Remember, guppy lovers may pay $50 in an online auction for a pair of specialty guppies, but the general public may only pay $20 in a store for those same guppies.) You can then negotiate your price to approximately 25% of the total customer cost. If the store does not agree with your assessment, they may offer to sell the sample fish at a lower price and then calculate your cut.
The supply and demand for different aquarium fish species is a constantly moving target. Sometimes one fish is the hottest, but then half a decade later everyone has them. The market is saturated and everyone breeds them. One day, someone might buy your marbled angelfish and breed a lot of them. Fish breeding is a long-term endeavor. If your pricing is right and the other breeder’s price too low, then eventually their business won’t be sustainable. Or they may lose interest and quit breeding your species. You can wait for the market bubble to burst and then rise again. You need to be that stable person who controls the market and always has marbled angelfish available at the same constant cost.
What should I do if I have too many fish?
Fish keep breeding all the time, and just because you made a fish doesn’t mean you can sell it. To avoid holding excess inventory, don’t raise up more fish than you can sell. One spawn of angelfish can produce enough fish to sell for an entire calendar year. Let any subsequent spawns go naturally or separate the adults. It is important to determine the right size for each species. A 2-inch oscar is adorable and everyone wants to take one home, but a 12-inch oscar is difficult to rehome even for free. It might be more beneficial to keep a few smaller spawns that have different hatch dates to ensure you have the perfect size fish for your fish store.
Talk to your local fish shop about selling excess fish to their wholesaler, selling it at a distant fish store (thereby decreasing the chance of them being a direct rival), or selling the fish online via auction sites. You may have to look for another shop to partner with if the store refuses to accept any of these options.
If you have an excess of fish, talk to your fish store before making any decisions so that you won’t break the trust you’ve built up with them.
What can I do to sell fish if I don’t have a local fish store?
Selling fish online and shipping them is one of the hardest ways to make money breeding fish. While you may be able get them for a lower price, it is important to remember that shipping costs will increase and you cannot guarantee that your shipment will arrive in good time. We have found that 1 out 5 orders are subject to problems such as incorrect addresses, delays in shipping, diverted flights to hot areas, missing or damaged packages, and boxes being left unattended for hours due to customer work. You can only make sure your customer is completely satisfied by sending replacement fish at their expense or refunded the entire order. For more details on how to safely ship live animals, read the full article.
Craigslist, a classified advertisement website, is the second most difficult way to sell. Clients are likely to miss scheduled meetings or to lower your price. If you let them come to your home to pick up the fish, be prepared to spend a lot of time with each customer because they will want to see all your tanks and talk shop about the aquarium hobby. That being said, an at-home visit is also a good opportunity to upsell them on additional fish or small add-on purchases. Microworm cultures, ramshorn snails and ramshorn snails are all good options for value-added selling. This is another reason to have someone who can read credit cards in case they don’t have exact change. You may be able to earn a repeat customer if they are satisfied with what you offer.
Because the online community is made up of fish keepers with more serious interests, local fish clubs and their social media groups are great. It’s easier to establish relationships and meet up with them in person. To avoid appearing spammy and violating rules, your fish club’s online forum will limit the number of times you post your available fish listings. People will also compare your prices to other sellers’ listings if they are publicly posted. Instead, use private messages or direct messaging to communicate with interested buyers. Eventually, you will build up a good reputation among the local hobbyists so that they start recommending your name to others who are looking for certain fish.
Good luck with your fish breeding ventures. If you enjoyed this article, sign up to our weekly newsletter to keep up-to-date on the latest blog posts and products.