The Business Of Aquariums/fishkeeping

BryanSOFLA

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Hi All,

As I’ve gotten into fishkeeping more and more I find myself more interested in the business aspect of the industry. I’m an entrepreneur and I’m always exploring new things. So...my general question regarding the the industry is...is there money to be made? Owning a retail pet store isn’t the most profitable business from what I understand. Breeding seems to be a saturated market and there are many overseas breeders to compete with. I hear consulting, installation and service is where the most profitable areas are outside of inventing novel technologies. Also, I have distribution experience in the medical industry, so distribution and supply chain comes naturally. Is there opportunity here? Interested in everyone’s thoughts. Thanks! B
 

Coradee

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Hi & welcome to Fishlore.
This is a question that seems to come up quite often, we all at one time or another flirt with the idea of owning our own shop/fish business & generally the answer is that it’s a lot of work for little reward.
You seem to be coming at it from a different angle though so it will be interesting seeing everyone’s opinions
 

AJE

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Aquarium coop did a video series on how to make money in the fish industry, but by his plan you’ll make like $300 bucks a month(not sure about the actual amount he guessed), also you can make money at selling thing online, not just at a fish store. You could probably make more money working somewhere else for the amount of work breeding take but I enjoy breeding and if I can make a little money on the side, great!! I would suggest build up, start small and see how big you can get.
 

Donthemon

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As far as supplies and equipment, so hard to compete with Amazon......maybe a maintenance and setup business targeting businesses that have tanks.
 

AJE

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As far as supplies and equipment, so hard to compete with Amazon......maybe a maintenance and setup business targeting businesses that have tanks.
That’s a good idea
 

BryanSOFLA

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All of your comments seem to be resounding theme in what I’ve been hearing. Of course everyone can’t have a business like “Tanked” haha, but I seem to think there’s a need somewhere in the industry. It all starts there solving a common problem for those in the hobby or those in the retail or commercial business end. I used to think finding ways to make water changes and tank maintenance easier was the key, but interestingly enough maybe that takes the “hobby” out of it for the true enthusiast. Targeting businesses with tanks! Absolutely!! I live in south Florida, so I’m in a prime location for aquamarine life. Most are into the “aqua life” in one way or another; however business is competitive down here...I must see an installation service truck at every other red light. Listen...if nothing else it’s a great hobby and I’m happy with that...I was just curious on the business side to see what everyone thought. Keep the comments coming! Maybe at best it’s a retirement business .
 

AJE

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I’m saying you can at least make enough money off the hobby for it to pay for its self
 

ystrout

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I work in finance and always put together mach business estimates in industries I'm interested in (scuba, fish keeping, snowboarding, etc) just out of curiosity.

From what I can tell, it's really hard to make money with a fish retail store. That would explain the turnover.

The two ways to make money seem to be in the services side (tank maintenance, water changes for rich people, koi pond maintenance, etc). But that's a lot of tough, physical work for some side cash.

Where the real money seems to be is specialty breeding. If you can figure out how to breed a rare fish or perfect fish (think contest bettas), you can make money.

Puffers have been growing in popularity yet most people want freshwater puffers about 4 inches big. Breeders who can figure this out can make a killing.
 

Lacey D

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All of your comments seem to be resounding theme in what I’ve been hearing. Of course everyone can’t have a business like “Tanked” haha, but I seem to think there’s a need somewhere in the industry. It all starts there solving a common problem for those in the hobby or those in the retail or commercial business end. I used to think finding ways to make water changes and tank maintenance easier was the key, but interestingly enough maybe that takes the “hobby” out of it for the true enthusiast. Targeting businesses with tanks! Absolutely!! I live in south Florida, so I’m in a prime location for aquamarine life. Most are into the “aqua life” in one way or another; however business is competitive down here...I must see an installation service truck at every other red light. Listen...if nothing else it’s a great hobby and I’m happy with that...I was just curious on the business side to see what everyone thought. Keep the comments coming! Maybe at best it’s a retirement business .
Although, speaking of retirement, you could always sound out some local retirement facilities on setting up and maintaining tanks for their residents They might have a large tank or a koi pond, but I think you could pitch the benefits of residents having modest, individual betta setups *starts plotting*
 

BryanSOFLA

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Although, speaking of retirement, you could always sound out some local retirement facilities on setting up and maintaining tanks for their residents They might have a large tank or a koi pond, but I think you could pitch the benefits of residents having modest, individual betta setups *starts plotting*
That’s a pretty good idea Lacey! This could provide a therapeutic benefit for patients!!
 

WildType

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It sounds like everyone has sort of brought your attention to setup, maintenance, breeding as a foot in the door, etc. And that is a promising avenue! But if only because you are in Florida I thought I might bring your attention to what they call "fish-farming" (it's not food aquaculture). Maybe you already know about what I'm talking about but it's a thing I'm interested in myself and thought to bring up.

It seems like A LOT of the people that have big money operations breeding fish like African Cichlids, rare catfish, etc in greenhouses and ponds do it in Florida. It's one of the few climates that allows those more natural setups. They'll dig many ponds and/or have huge concrete or fiberglass vats. You can check out the uber successful ones like Imperial Tropicals (he's in Lakeland) on YouTube, if nothing else it's something to check out. I know that place actually buys common fish from local breeders and will do tours for the public. There's also bioaquatiX in FL, Goliad farms in TX, and many others.

Two facility tours:
 

BryanSOFLA

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WildType sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I read your message and then intended to write you back later in the day and got distracted. This is quite interesting and something to explore further. There is also one in Miami called Neighborhood Fish Farm (), which I was going to check out last week, but couldn't make it down. It seems the more "fish store" owners I talk to say that there's very little money in owning a typical shop, as the margins have thinned out. One owner told me " In the 1980s and early 90's it was a gravy train, but it's slowly declined based on the competition, overhead and skilled labor to take care of the fish." I believe the next wave will be using aquaponics for the cultivation of medical marijuana. I'm always interested to bounce ideas back and forth. I'll let you know what I find out on the fish farming...and please if you come across any other interesting industry-related ideas feel free to reach out. Take Care! B
 

MD_Plants

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I can tell you are new here. Everyone has that idea of making money and the truth is, it’s very hard to. I have 5 tanks i sell things from and can maybe make 10 a month after net costs.

because you’re in flordis you really need a pretty big setup/ investment to make much back. Best of luck!

What about starting a aquarium brand?
Not the person, but you would need a pretty big investment, able to sell for cheap, and able to sell something people actuslly want.
 
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AJE

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If I were you, I would breed for fun and if you make money great! And maybe do the maintenance thing to make a little money
 

MD_Plants

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In my experience, i suggest plants. That is at least my most reliable source of income. Fish breeding usually only comes in waves, and some people don’t like to wait for fish
 
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emeraldking

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I'm keeping and breeding livebearers ever since the 1970's hobbywise. This century I've been participating relevant vivaristic events where I offer my fish. Most participants (with the exceptions of bigger companies) do have a regular job besides this. For also overhere, it's not easy to maintain a full business in vivaristics.
But yes, you could make a decent buck out of it at an vivaristic event. But such events aren't around the corner every single week.

Overhere, a lot of people that do start a small lfs, the majority of them will end their business within an average period of 2-5 years. Think of the rent (if it's not kept at your own place), assurance, tax, food costs, electrical and water bill. All being paid from your sales. Provid won't cover it in the beginning. And you need to re-invest.
 

emeraldking

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I was just looking for some pics of such an event. Maybe such an event would be something for you to do as well. And it's the perfect spot to do some networking to enhance your business.
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You can start off small. So, no need to cover the whole floor with your merchandise at once.
 
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