How do you fund your hobby? (Breeding, selling plant clippings, extra job, paying out of pocket, etc.)

EmmGood

Member
I have a dozen aquariums, now. :B

When I started this hobby over the summer, I didn't anticipate having this much fun. I wish I could extend into experimenting with brackish setups and eventually dabble with marine setups... dabble a bit more with breeding, dabble with different aquascapes. The whole nine yards of dabbling. Realistically however, I've reached a position where unless I make some extra income, its going to be challenging to keep expanding. (that hydro bill isn't gonna pay itself, haha. Got student loans to pay off, rent, groceries, bus passes, etc...).

I work fulltime during the day, thinking of picking up some extra work though ideally, I've love to create a way that my setup could help itself financially, even just a bit to take some edge off.

So my question to you folks; how do you fund your hobby? Do you have a system in place where its self-sufficient (for example, selling plant clippings to cover some part of the hydro bill), have a couple tanks dedicated to a breeding colony and sell some of those off once mature, or bust out your own funds from your day job to cover it all?

What would you recommend to support this madness? :- )

Attached are my wee little 1" striped raphael catfish.


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FitSoldier

Member
I've saved a ton of money purchasing most of my livestock second hand or from breeders. African Cichlids and American Cichlids are not cheap, especially when they are at a big size. Now that I look back, I haven't spent much money on this hobby at all......
 
  • Thread Starter

EmmGood

Member
FitSoldier said:
I've saved a ton of money purchasing most of my livestock second hand or from breeders. African Cichlids and American Cichlids are not cheap, especially when they are at a big size. Now that I look back, I haven't spent much money on this hobby at all......
That's fantastic! What sort of cichlids do you keep? :- )

I tried my best with doing craigslist / facebook market runs to get cheaper tanks compared to the store. Latest I got was a 36 gallon for $50.
 

Fishgirl11

Member
I pay by myself. But maybe you could start a YouTube channel put a camera so people could see your tank 24/7. Get the funds. Maybe
 
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EmmGood

Member
Fishgirl11 said:
I pay by myself. But maybe you could start a YouTube channel put a camera so people could see your tank 24/7. Get the funds. Maybe
Oh, huh! I didn't consider having a sort of live cam, only for an aquarium setup. I've seen those for puppies and kittens, that's an interesting idea. :- )
 

FitSoldier

Member
My Aquarium Details tab is pretty much updated with all the fish I currently have. :)

I've seen someone near where I live listing their giant Jaguar Cichlid for free because it got too aggressive for his tank and he's not gonna get rid of his other fish just for that one Jag. I wanted him so bad but I don't have room nor time to get a second tank unless I trade in my current setup.

Just a quick search online can save one tons of money. :)
 
  • Thread Starter

EmmGood

Member
FitSoldier said:
My Aquarium Details tab is pretty much updated with all the fish I currently have. :)

I've seen someone near where I live listing their giant Jaguar Cichlid for free because it got too aggressive for his tank and he's not gonna get rid of his other fish just for that one Jag. I wanted him so bad but I don't have room nor time to get a second tank unless I trade in my current setup.

Just a quick search online can save one tons of money. :)
I just discovered you van view others' aquarium details if you hover your mouse arrow over it. :"D

Dig your collection, really cool assortment of colours. I have a juvenile blood parrot as well, he's still a sheet of gray -- the hospital intake had about 6 adults in a 75 gallon in the lobby, every time I went there I'd see those doofy faces. Had to get one myself, eventually.

They have such character.. didn't expect how messy as all heck when they eat, haha. My guy doesn't like pellets for some reason! He only takes flakes. The couple of raphael catfish I have up there are to help sweep up the leftovers. :- )
 

FitSoldier

Member
Here's a picture of my guy. He bites my hand when I try to rearrange the rocks in the tank because he claimed a part of the tank to himself. Hurts a little because he bites and then tugs hard, but it's not enough to draw blood. :)


IMG_7379.JPG
 

Fishgirl11

Member
Beautiful!!
 
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EmmGood

Member
FitSoldier said:
Here's a picture of my guy. He bites my hand when I try to rearrange the rocks in the tank because he claimed a part of the tank to himself. Hurts a little because he bites and then tugs hard, but it's not enough to draw blood. :)


IMG_7379.JPG
What a handsome orange cookie. <3 Also lovely black backdrop, really pops their colours out.

Here's my lil cookie, his (or her, not actually sure) stripes throw me off sometimes because he has them when he's stressed, then when he's super excited. When I feed him, he looks like a zebra. x'D


20191124_075859.jpg
 

DragonMage

Member
FitSoldier said:
Here's a picture of my guy. He bites my hand when I try to rearrange the rocks in the tank because he claimed a part of the tank to himself. Hurts a little because he bites and then tugs hard, but it's not enough to draw blood. :)


IMG_7379.JPG
Beautiful photo! Would you mind sharing how you shot this photo with the fish so well lit and the background all blacked out? Great work sir!
 

KingJamal2

Member
I breed cherry shrimp, grow java moss, and sell them to LFS. I also do a little landscaping service for my neighbors. (I’m in high school) I get new tanks for Christmas so that I don’t have to buy them myself.
 

FinalFins

Member
I work over the summer, save some and spend some and use the money over the year with my b-day money and christmas money and I can't get really expensive stuff this way but I seem fine doing it this way.
 

coralbandit

Member
I started trading common swordtails to my # 1 LFS maybe 15-20 years ago ..
I have a good relationship with owner for long time [decades] . Be nice at stores and introduce yourself if you plan on being a regular .
When I started to breed rams it was my good relationship with my LFS again that made it possible for me to know if I was doing good or wasting time .It was the owner who said I had good rams first to me .. I eventually started to sell fish I breed on aquabid and forums like this and today my fish support themselves . They actually spoil themselves ! I don't use any money from fish for anything but fish expenses !
I am very lucky and grateful now .
I still invest a lot of my time and this hobby was never cheap for me before ..I have spent way too much money over my life ,yea 30+ years keeping fish .
I can't really measure the fun the same as the money ? I know I have had way more fun then money alone could have bought ..That is why I still spend lots of time and money on fish ..They are fun !
Last 10 swordtails I bought cost over $300 total !:D
 

FinalFins

Member
What LFS do you trade to coral?
 

coralbandit

Member
I take my fish to Eddies . I get store credit from him so what ever I need is paid for so to speak ..I brought him $675 worth of rams last weekend ! That was 25 of each color ,hybrid and 3 pairs of dark ..That's a lot of frozen blood worms or fancy discus or whatever ! My reef tank was built off store credit years ago ..

I brought 6 of 3 different color rams to BFR last Sunday and all but a couple golds are sold already but they have not asked for more ??
BFR is only a couple miles from my house so it would be nice but ?
All good things fish take time ..
 

FinalFins

Member
Thank you!
 

angelcraze

Member
I used to have a "fish fund". I've sold fish and plants on both online like KijijI and traded for credit at my LFS. Any cash went to the fund. The fund was for things I can't skimp on or buy used like LEDs. Then I got most of my stuff used for dirt cheap.

I buy Pool Filter Sand instead of gravel, driftwood from my apple trees, use potting soil for a plant substrate and DIY where I can.

Currently I have a clear tote container for growing plants out. I refill with old tank water and remineralize/fertilize.

I found specialty neocaridina shrimp can be easy quick money markers. Think small things that reproduce quickly.
 
  • Thread Starter

EmmGood

Member
KingJamal2 said:
I breed cherry shrimp, grow java moss, and sell them to LFS. I also do a little landscaping service for my neighbors. (I’m in high school) I get new tanks for Christmas so that I don’t have to buy them myself.
Ohh, nice! I just got some neo blue shrimp, hoping to start a colony. What do you feel is the most important thing to consider when you raise shrimp, from what you've raised? What do you look for? :- )

The java moss is a good idea. Do you put them in their own separate jars and fertilize them, or have a handful in every aquarium you have and let 'em go from there?

Thanks for the input :D
 
  • Thread Starter

EmmGood

Member
angelcraze said:
I used to have a "fish fund". I've sold fish and plants on both online like KijijI and traded for credit at my LFS. Any cash went to the fund. The find was for things I can't skimp on or buy used like LEDs. Then I got most of my stuff used for dirt cheap.

I buy Pool Filter Sand instead of gravel, driftwood from my apple tree, potting soil for a plant substrate and DIY where I can.

I found specialty neocaridina shrimp can be easy quick money markers. Think small things that reproduce quickly.
A dedicated fish fund is a great idea, in the beginnings of starting one myself - you guys on the forum have great ideas. I've heard of the pool filter alternative, I'm going to have to check that out -- I'm interested in making an amazon biotope at some point, calls for muddy-ish substrate. When I manage to get a decently sized breeder tank, interested to see if I can figure out how to get striped raphael cats to spawn. :- ) (that's awhiles away, certainly in the bucket list though). The whole potting soil idea is ingenius! Do you make sure to get something like organic, or generic potting soil has worked just as fine? (I'm not toooo familiar with laymans terms in gardening, just started reading up on aquaponics and things, gardening included since I'm interested in some herbs)

Did you find a certain neo sell more than others? (From example, red cherries vs. blue). Got myself six blue sapphires, I've had armano and ghost shrimp in the past so this will be my first dedicated shrimp tank. Also most colourful, love the deep blues.

Thanks for the two cents. :- )
 
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EmmGood

Member
coralbandit said:
I take my fish to Eddies . I get store credit from him so what ever I need is paid for so to speak ..I brought him $675 worth of rams last weekend ! That was 25 of each color ,hybrid and 3 pairs of dark ..That's a lot of frozen blood worms or fancy discus or whatever ! My reef tank was built off store credit years ago ..

I brought 6 of 3 different color rams to BFR last Sunday and all but a couple golds are sold already but they have not asked for more ??
BFR is only a couple miles from my house so it would be nice but ?
All good things fish take time ..
Wow, that's fantastic! You've definitely built a name/system for yourself, if I can reach even a fraction of that in the next several years I'd be happy. :"D

And yeah, I've heard how long it can take to really settle and start up, its a hobby that I've really fallen in love so I hope in years to come I can commit to getting more skilled in terms of having a good eye for quality stock, water parameter husbandry, so forth. Right now if I can take the edge of the costs to maintain and expand, I'd be super happy. The rest is a bonus.

I love rams! They were my endgame freshwater fish that "I Wanted", haha. Its on my list of egg-layers I'd love to try when I get around to it. Right now I'm trying to go slow and start with the basics, guppies so far have been my first in terms of anything breeding. Have yet to take them to the LFS and sell them / trade for credit. Have you sold things online in the past, or prefer to keep strictly local?

Thanks for the two cents. :- )
 

angelcraze

Member
I keep South American fish too! My 'showtank' is SA inspired for plants as well with swords, brazilian pennywort, reneiki, stargrass, vallisneria.... trying to name SA plants now....staurogyne, cabomba.....

Anyway, my fish breed and I haven't had to buy fish for years (although I've just recently bought new stock), you can keep this hobby fairly self sufficient. Can't say I ever made money, but that wasn't my plan anyway.

I too have really enjoyed working with my fish, watching them grow, learning about all the aquarium topics (still learning everyday!), learning about and watching the silly things my fish do, I just love it!

For soil, I used to use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil, but I can't find it anymore so I last bought a huge bag of black earth for 5$ and plan to add a bit of root tab. I haven't used it yet though, so can't tell you how it works. I'll vouch for the organic potting soil though, I have a tank going for 5 years and it's so easy to take care of and booming with plant growth. I was hesitant to throw dirt in my tank, but once I did, I saw such a difference with my fish cuz of the plants, I never looked back.
 

FitSoldier

Member
EmmGood said:
What a handsome orange cookie. <3 Also lovely black backdrop, really pops their colours out.

Here's my lil cookie, his (or her, not actually sure) stripes throw me off sometimes because he has them when he's stressed, then when he's super excited. When I feed him, he looks like a zebra. x'D


20191124_075859.jpg

Whoa...! That is a unique colour pattern I've not seen before on a Blood Parrot. How big is he?

The background is black bristle board from the dollar store :p I really think if anyone is not going to do a complicated background, a plain black background is a must for all aquariums. Doesn't matter what type of tank it is, it will look really nice with the contrast.

DragonMage said:
Beautiful photo! Would you mind sharing how you shot this photo with the fish so well lit and the background all blacked out? Great work sir!
Honestly, it was just the luck of the draw. He was conveniently not moving much and the other fish weren't swimming around him. I tried to get a good shot of my Jack Dempsey, but I can never do it cause he moves too much and there's too much activity with the other fish.

I have no skill; I just got lucky. :p

angelcraze said:
I used to have a "fish fund". I've sold fish and plants on both online like KijijI and traded for credit at my LFS. Any cash went to the fund. The fund was for things I can't skimp on or buy used like LEDs. Then I got most of my stuff used for dirt cheap.

I buy Pool Filter Sand instead of gravel, driftwood from my apple trees, use potting soil for a plant substrate and DIY where I can.

Currently I have a clear tote container for growing plants out. I refill with old tank water and remineralize/fertilize.

I found specialty neocaridina shrimp can be easy quick money markers. Think small things that reproduce quickly.

+2.
 

angelcraze

Member
Oops forgot to comment about the shrimp. It's been 5 years since I've had shrimp, but at the time, blue was very popular. I had red cherries too and I love them but they are so common, better to go with something that's not if your focus is making a bit of cash.
 

FishGirly

Member
I mainly fund it myself. I don’t breed or sell my fish. Payday means a small inexpensive surprise to add to my tanks. I also resell a lot which helps with the costs. I resell old aquarium supplies and equipment I no longer use. I get ahold of a lot of aquarium supplies for free through friends and family members and from people throwing out (in my area in Florida, I see people throwing out aquariums almost daily). A lot of times I pickup what I need and resell what I don’t and so on.

I’ve also have found some aquarium plants and rocks on lakes an such.
 

coralbandit

Member
EmmGood said:
I love rams! They were my endgame freshwater fish that "I Wanted", haha. Its on my list of egg-layers I'd love to try when I get around to it. Right now I'm trying to go slow and start with the basics, guppies so far have been my first in terms of anything breeding. Have yet to take them to the LFS and sell them / trade for credit. Have you sold things online in the past, or prefer to keep strictly local?

Thanks for the two cents. :- )
Have passion ! Love your fish and have fun !
I sell on a international fish selling site called AquaBid .I use the same name everywhere I go .I have not changed my phone number in over 30 years ! If you do right you want people to find you ?
So here is how you start ; as mentioned establish a good relationship with your LFS . Breed fish you see are 'popular ' and sell well.Guppies sound great .I still breed swordtails !
When you have 'enough' take some to your LFS for free! Say these are fish I breed and if you and your customers like them I would like to offer you more ..Expect to get 1/4 to 1/3 what they sell them for ..I get $1 per swordtail as they sell for $6.99 a pair . I get $3 per ram and $5 for fancier rams [EBR/Black/Hybrids ]..They take bulk ..25 is least of one type now ..
See how that goes ..Store credit is what most will offer and should be fine ?
Selling on a site you need to know how to ship and have even a little more invested ..
I order heat packs and bags in bulk ,I use USPS boxes that are free . I have O2 and now a couple years of good experience shipping ..
There is no real trick just dedication and passion .Anyone with no life could do it !;)
I remember my LFS owner saying bring me 75 swordtails and I would bring him 200 and make a better offer then usual .. First 75 for agreed price other 125 for half ?:)
You need many tanks to really breed and benefit from it
 

FitSoldier

Member
coralbandit said:
Have passion ! Love your fish and have fun !
I sell on a international fish selling site called AquaBid .I use the same name everywhere I go .I have not changed my phone number in over 30 years ! If you do right you want people to find you ?
So here is how you start ; as mentioned establish a good relationship with your LFS . Breed fish you see are 'popular ' and sell well.Guppies sound great .I still breed swordtails !
When you have 'enough' take some to your LFS for free! Say these are fish I breed and if you and your customers like them I would like to offer you more ..Expect to get 1/4 to 1/3 what they sell them for ..I get $1 per swordtail as they sell for $6.99 a pair . I get $3 per ram and $5 for fancier rams [EBR/Black/Hybrids ]..They take bulk ..25 is least of one type now ..
See how that goes ..Store credit is what most will offer and should be fine ?
Selling on a site you need to know how to ship and have even a little more invested ..
I order heat packs and bags in bulk ,I use USPS boxes that are free . I have O2 and now a couple years of good experience shipping ..
There is no real trick just dedication and passion .Anyone with no life could do it !;)
I remember my LFS owner saying bring me 75 swordtails and I would bring him 200 and make a better offer then usual .. First 75 for agreed price other 125 for half ?:)
You need many tanks to really breed and benefit from it
Hey man, I just clicked on the link in your signature to see your fish room video. Those are NICE setups you got there. The GBR and Electric Blue Acara tanks caught my attention the most.

"You can't keep so many Acaras in one tank", but I guess 400 together could work. :p
 

KingJamal2

Member
EmmGood said:
Ohh, nice! I just got some neo blue shrimp, hoping to start a colony. What do you feel is the most important thing to consider when you raise shrimp, from what you've raised? What do you look for? :- )
The java moss is a good idea. Do you put them in their own separate jars and fertilize them, or have a handful in every aquarium you have and let 'em go from there?
I grow the java moss in aplastic tub. Then I pick some out and wrap a plant weight around it. Then I sell each clump as a portion.

What to look for with shrimp? Consistency. Shrimp are sensitive, so whatever you do, make sure the water parameters are consistent. When in do water changes, I drip out the old water and drip in the new water at the same time.

Also grow lots of biofilm over every surface of the tank. As I always say, the more algae the better!

Let me know if you have anymore questions

Thanks.
 

FitSoldier

Member
DragonMage said:
Beautiful photo! Would you mind sharing how you shot this photo with the fish so well lit and the background all blacked out? Great work sir!
Here's my Jack Dempsey. I took this photo today. Not as nice as the BP photo in my opinion because he kept near the bottom of the tank, but this shot took me like 10 minutes of frustration. I think he's about 6". I'm terrible at guessing size unless I measure them. :p


IMG_7445.JPG
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
I fund it myself. It’s not cheap and I dread what I may see at the LfS hahaha.

I’m three months not smoking at the minute so I justified the big tank spend on the money saved there, plus a tax refund hahaha
 
  • Thread Starter

EmmGood

Member
FitSoldier said:
Whoa...! That is a unique colour pattern I've not seen before on a Blood Parrot. How big is he?

The background is black bristle board from the dollar store :p I really think if anyone is not going to do a complicated background, a plain black background is a must for all aquariums. Doesn't matter what type of tank it is, it will look really nice with the contrast.
He's a juvenile, I'm guessing minus his fins... he's just two inches. They're grey youngins till they mature into that nice orange, I had no idea that was the case until I passed by him. He was in petsmart all summer with three other siblings, enough time has passed by that I felt a little bad he was cooped up there (being the last one), so I took him home. And not too long later, I got a starry night juvenile for similar reasons -- she had been there all summer, was the tiniest of the polleni's there.

Here's another pic of these two! I'm crossing fingers that because they're young, they'll become good pals. The pollenI was very frightened when I had her in quarantine, the blood parrot was a complete goober for attention. When I put them together into my 36 gallon (I'll be upsizing as they continue to grow), the parrot became sort of a dither fish. She's still shy but much braver being out on the open, the two are always sticking to eachothers' side. its super cute. They're pretty much the same size. :- )


IMG_20191124_150054_017.jpg
 
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smee82

Moderator
Member
I can buy my fish directly from the wholesalers so its cheaper for me to go there and 2 or 3 times what I want and just give away what ever extra survives after the qt. I could sell them to recover my costs but its too much hassle.

Water is the other bug expense so I store old water when I'm doing water changes in 2L bottles that get use for water the houseplants and the garden.

The only extra expense really is the electricity so I run the lights from 3pm to 10pm so I don't have to worry about lighting up the living room at night.
 

FitSoldier

Member
EmmGood said:
He's a juvenile, I'm guessing minus his fins... he's just two inches. They're grey youngins till they mature into that nice orange, I had no idea that was the case until I passed by him. He was in petsmart all summer with three other siblings, enough time has passed by that I felt a little bad he was cooped up there (being the last one), so I took him home. And not too long later, I got a starry night juvenile for similar reasons -- she had been there all summer, was the tiniest of the polleni's there.

Here's another pic of these two! I'm crossing fingers that because they're young, they'll become good pals. The pollenI was very frightened when I had her in quarantine, the blood parrot was a complete goober for attention. When I put them together into my 36 gallon (I'll be upsizing as they continue to grow), the parrot became sort of a dither fish. She's still shy but much braver being out on the open, the two are always sticking to eachothers' side. its super cute. They're pretty much the same size. :- )


IMG_20191124_150054_017.jpg
I didn't realize they are that colour when they are small! I got my BP around 5". I think I added another inch into mine.

My LFS has a giant Black Diamond Cichlid in a tank with a pike, couple of adult Jack Dempseys, Convict Cichlid, and an Eel I think in a 180 gallon tank. They get big but I haven't seen any aggression with that Black Diamond in the LFS. They are pretty cool in adulthood.
 

AcuarioAmazonico

Member
FitSoldier said:
Here's a picture of my guy. He bites my hand when I try to rearrange the rocks in the tank because he claimed a part of the tank to himself. Hurts a little because he bites and then tugs hard, but it's not enough to draw blood. :)


IMG_7379.JPG
I thought they had no teeth except for in their throats?
 

FitSoldier

Member
AcuarioAmazonico said:
I thought they had no teeth except for in their throats?
I guess that's why he wasn't able to draw blood. His mouth does look like he's smiling all the time though lol
 

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magnusjones

Member
Allowance and birthday money lol
 

Doomheadthebetta

Member
I should get a second job. One I can save everything I make for a car and one for spending on fish :joyful: :D I recently discovered a cichlid called starry night and I think it's one of the prettiest cichlids out there. Unfortunately I don't have big enough tanks and the next tank I get is a 50 gallon for my angel and new angels. I'll use the 20 for either a figure 8 puffer or a mudskipper. I wish I could breed geckos but my family won't let me get females. :/
 

YellowGuppy

Member
I pride myself in having all my hobbies pay for themselves—and after 4 months of owning an aquarium, this hobby has ALMOST covered it's own costs - to date, I've spent a net total of $44 CAD on the hobby.

I buy self-sustaining populations (guppies, snails, and moss don't cost money to replace—just a little more time!), buy almost everything second hand (I bought my Aqua Clear 20 new, and that's $43 of the $44 I haven't paid off yet!), and resell anything I don't want.

For example, I bought my initial setup for $25. I kept the heater, most of the decor, half the gravel, some of the plants, all the tropical fish food, and all the chemicals except for one bottle of conditioner. I then bought a second setup for another $25 (including a handful of other things and a larger tank), then sold the first tank for $30 (after keeping all the extra bits that I wanted). I later sold the extra gravel (+$10) and decor (+$10) and all of a sudden all of those expenses are covered.

I think a huge part of it is keeping track. If you don't know what you're spending on fish/food/plants/accessories/etc. in a year, you'll have no idea how to offset those costs.

I bought a $5 chunk of moss, let it triple in size in about a month, then sold half of it glued to a piece of free slate and sold that for $25.

There are definitely ways in this hobby to both SPEND LESS and make money back—you just have to have the time and desire to do so. In hindsight, I could have bought my founding guppies for $1 each (LFS sold them for about $5), but I knew less then.
 
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