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Breeding fish for profit?

15944 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Wookiellmonster
what freshwater fish would be the best to breed for at least a semi decent profit. Also how much $$ would you need to get it started up. i was thinking about African cichlids and or fancy gippies, but am open to other options. I'm from toronto canada
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Hey, I'm from TO too.

I thought about the feasability of starting a fish breeding business in Toronto. Not very likely it'll be successful if it's done full time, at least in the short run. It'll take a lot of hardwork and dedication to make it. But you never know. If you do it on the side and get a good rep, I'm sure there's good money to be made. Here's my $0.02.

If you want to be price competitive, your competition is PetSmart, PetValue, Wal-mart, Big Als. It is not likely you will have lower prices than them. If you want to go specialized, high-end, there tons of established LFSs in Toronto already. On top of that you have some serious hobbyists who like to breed on the side--not for pure profit but to simply support their own hobby. I guess you fall into this category?

Most of breeders do the fish thing on the side, they have their own full time jobs, or are not dependent on the breeding thing for main income. A lot of fish hobbyists in Toronto sell their fry to LFSs--but it's not like you can make a living of off that. You can also sell to other hobbyists--that could work really well.

There are also online breeders who already have most of the niches covered. Equipment and discus especially. Kois and pond fish--covered. Marine fish--covered. Guppies--covered.

On top of that, the overhead cost for maintaining a decent sized operation is quite high. You want a nice location--rent goes up. Too far from traffic--no customer turnover. Even if customers do come, they're usually coming in to check it out, not buy anything. Customers are usually pretty stubborn when it comes to the stores they buy from. You can start at home though--that's always a smart move.

I guess if you want to have a semi-decent profit, it depends on what you personally like keeping for fun. Your experience, knowledge, and business smarts all come into play.

If you want to start a plant nursery--I've talked to other planted tank enthusiasts in Toronto about it--it's not very profitable. Personally, I just give away my all my plant trimmings for free. I'm trying to spread the hobby.

I guess you can experiment with what works or not. There's always room for money to be made.

A good article that's slightly relevant is:

Hope I helped.
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I have also thought about this.

My plan would be to start small.

I have seen many businesses in my area start small and slowly buy out their neighbors.

I thought about breeding fish in my backyard by making above ground ponds.

If you start thinking about overheads and licensing and permits and all of that other crap. Oh, I forgot employees. You will never get off the couch and do it.

An ideal situation would be to start small and do it as a PT fun gig.

Sell fish out of your house, online etc. and have fun with it.

I have friends that sell pure crap online and they still manage to pay their mortgages without the redundancy of a 9 to 5.

They take mediocre products and market them very, very effectively.

I have to get back to my 9 to 5 now :(
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If you have the money, L-046 zebra plecos always seem to be in demand. They are the most common "rare" fish on demand. No matter how many people seem to breed them, the demand for them is always high. The setup would be easy. BB tank with good filtration and lots of rocks and/or caves. Just be prepared to spend about $125 (USD) for a juvenile that is about 1" or less. You need to buy a group to start with and hopefully, you will get a mated pair with the group once they become adults (ETA about 3-4 years).
I would say discus are probably something that are always in demand, breed willingly (but require a lot of maintenance), and sell for fairly high prices. It will end up being a full time job though.
I would have to second the discus are a full time job in them selfs.
I like dwarf cichlids like apistogramma myself. They are not very easy to find at LFS.

One thing you need to keep in mind is once "money" is involved, you may not enjoy the hobby as much. This is purely my opinion.

There are some differences between taking care of some pets and trying to raise animals for profit. You might spend $5 for some fish medication to save your $1 fish, but from a business standpoint, it may not be wise to do that. Or, when you are a hobbyist, you might keep your deformed fish in a separate tank because you care for them, but if you were running a business, it might not be wise to keep them around since it will cost your business. Just few things to keep in mind.
i guess it also depends on what your idea of a "decent" profit is. Are you talking about a set amount a month or looking for a ROI (return on investment) type of profit?
thanks for the replies.
I would do it from the celler in my basement, i would have it made into a room just for that.
i would not be doing it out of a store, but still want to be able to make money back. lets say I had 15 to $20, 000 to put into it, what would my best bets be.
True discus are on demand, but most people buy from reputable breeders and look for quality discus parents.
If it was "easy" or "profitable" we all would have done it by now... LOL

Simple answer is that any fish that you cannot buy locally in good health or reasonably priced, is a good fish to do. Shrimp are easiest.
Doing it Locally though is the trick, the same thing with your plants. If you have to ship, it costs... if you can do it locally then any plant or fish is easy for the average hobbyist.
After that , you are in a whole new category especially with fish. I personally will not buy any livestock from an amateur "shipper". I will have my LFS special order me the fish I want and deal with them, not the breeder...thats their job.
Like with my plants, the LFS's always looked forward to my trimmings and I would trade off my goods normally for their goods OR take a small cash amount.

By no means " profiable but fun and it also offset my hobby costs. If there was a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow I would have done it 20 years ago... :icon_smil
You might make a little profit per month if you're lucky taking your scale (cellar) into account. Don't forget there will be cost of business as well like light & heating bills, food etc...

If you're going this route, raise hard to find fish & plants... Don't worry about raising the money makers like goldfish, neons, guppies etc.. That's what petSmart is for.

There's a guy out of columbus Ohio that's doing just this..( i forgot the site )
It's hard raising any kind of fish for a profit! You would have to have a huge hatchery and ship nationally. Anything less than this you will be just making money to cover the cost of the hobby.

I know several discus breeders. One is local. He has around 50 tanks in his basement 12 pair of breeders and trying to pair more up. I have actually bought discus from him. He spends at least 14 hours a day in his fishroom an has stated more than once he doesnt make a profit. Its just for the love of the fish. Taking care of close to 1000 discus, including fry, would be a full time job for sure.

High electric bills, water bills, fish food bills, never mind the time it takes to raise fry in order to sell them.

what is the website of your friend that makes no money from it.
if people on this forum wanted to buy from him how would we go about it?
These days you need a website to sell anything, so maybe your friend needs to do more to make more money. I'm still not put off, most stores ive been to have ugly discus, so i think if i started with some really nice looking fish that people would buy them online and pay a little more for them then the average lfs discus.
you don't have the space or facility to make a profit.. You can start with rare quality fish...
check out these fishes
You could try your luck on AquaBid. It seems like Bristle Nose Plecos are always in high demand on there. And, I believe they are pretty easy to breed.
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