Would you buy this for your bettas?

  • #1
Hello all

So - time to confess a little secret. Over the past few months, i've been keenly researching an idea for a little home business to keep myself entertained and have a little extra money coming in while i'm at home with my baby (though I hope to return to work next year, I still think this is something manageable).

I realize how frustrating it can be to find decor for betta tanks for all of us. Almost every item is rough, pointy or has an edge/seam that a betta can injure it's fins on, leaving us to do the pantyhose test (if we don't look ridiculous in store), or returning it when we get it home, test it and realize it is unacceptable. The same goes for driftwood, with many of us left to sanding back rough bits to make it suitable for our betta kids. Even many silk plants have plastic stems which are not ok for betta tanks.

This leaves us with real plants, smooth rocks, and that's about it.

Given bettas are second only to goldfish in popularity, I thought this is a big market hole which could easily be filled. So i'm planning to obtain and market smooth, betta safe decor!

It could also be used for fancy goldfish which have similar issues (bubble eyes!), or any long finned fish.

I've even begun sourcing product. I hope to start with quality ceramic (glazed and smooth) decor in tasteful designs to fit bettas like asian pagodas, dragons, buddahs, caves and of course a bridge and castle or two. I'm also thinking Easter Is heads, Tikis (island sculptures) etc would also look very nice. No neon mermaids or nemo fish i'm afraid guys . I'm also considering ordering sandblasted driftwood which I can hand sand to meet my criterion here, and some specific silk plants which meet my standards.

I'll sell online and through local pet stores, who are interested in stocking it.

I'd also plan on writing accurate betta care info booklets to accompany each piece, to help bust betta myths, advise on correct betta care and tank cycling. Indeed, NO decor I plan to sell will fit into a betta bowl, just to be sure . I'll also include links to forums (if I may admins ), and my RSPCA betta care info.

If it goes well, i've even located 5 gallon tank kits I could re-brand with an ornament or two inside them, marketed specifically as a REAL ethical betta tank.

I am also hoping to include several pics of healthy bettas swimming amongst plants etc for the back of the box along with my product blurb to demonstrate how beautiful bettas are when they are able to swim freely amongst plants in a larger tank, not confined to a tiny glass bowl. So anyone wishing to make their boys/girls famous i'd love to have some pics donated! I'm just starting out so budget is tight, but i'm happy to return the favor with some free decor .

So, betta lovers, what do you think? Am I dreaming, or do you think it could be a feasible business plan? I'm not plannn on making a fortune, just a 'hobby business' which will turn a bit of extra cash for petrol/gas money.

Would you buy it if it were available?

I am yet to actually register the business yet and do the paperwork/call lawyers, so now's the time to know if i'd have a market or not!

Also any ideas or suggestions are very welcome! More than for me, I really want to do this to educate the public and provide an alternative and solution to other cheap and nasty decor, as well as bust myths and encourage PROPER tanks for bettas.

I have spoken to TM lawyers too and am working though that paperwork now, so no stealing my idea friends

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

All the best

BTW, I just got my goldfish FAQs published on the RSPCA website too, hooray for fish welfare! Check them out (plus the nitrogen cycle and betta info are mine too )
diy guy
  • #2
Think if your determined. enough you will be successful. which it seems you are. I think you will do well. I wish you luck.
  • #3
For my own tanks, I might not, just because I want a more natural look for my tanks, however I know that lots of people would want those items for their tanks. I agree with diy guy that if you are determined enough, you will succeed.

Though, major pet stores usually have a contract with other companies who supply their stock. You can always sell in aqua bidding sites like aquabid. You may have to list the materials made and even get a patten on your desings. At first, everything is going to cost a lot.

If you go for it, you will succeed. You can also try networking and advertising on facebook!!!

  • Thread Starter
  • #4

I plan to sell online (hubby can make me a pro website, plus classifieds and aquabid), and the LPS's i've contacted (to guage interest) were all very interested bar one large chain store, for precisely the reason you mention Scotty. So i've researched and the market seems good.

I actually prefer the 'natural' look too - but most who buy bettas/goldies aren't interested in planted tank maintenence, and are usually just after a bowl(or cup ), a fish and a neon castle or sunken ship for the middle (or hardly that in case of tiny betta 'tanks'). This will be aimed at newbies who want an easy solution to a beautiful tank - and hopefully stressing the safety option on the packaging will also help persuade buyers to choose this product and set it up correctly. As items will be ceramic and nicely designed, it should be more mature and appealing over tackier plastic ornaments also.

I have sources companies who already make ceramic ornaments which will be smooth after glazing (and use an aquarium safe glaze and technique), and i've also found a place to provide the silk plants which they can modify slightly at little cost which I can also buy in bulk and brand as I choose. As i'm getting them done by large factories which regularly make similar items, it will actually work out very cheap . If I only do small quantities at a time, store them and work from home, the overheads will be low. The books are looking good so far .

Scotty - hehe that's why i'm floating the idea here - networking . FB is another good idea.

Any ideas are also very welcome.
  • #5
My concern would be shipping costs to the US from Australia, which is where you are? What are those like?
  • #6
I love the idea. You have certainly put a lot of thought into it And I'm sure lots of us would be willing to donate some pictures to the cause... after all, we seem obsessed with taking them (and showing them off) around here....

I'd probably consider buying some of the ceramic ornaments if I like the look... the plastic/garishly coloured ones the stores have don't appeal to me at all
  • #7
very good idea! Good luck!
  • #8
I really admire what your doing
Good Luck!
  • #9
Good luck with your idea !!!
  • #10
It sounds like it could really be very marketable, and you have done your homework. Good luck!! Hope we see them here in the US.
  • #11
I am not sure about the postal services that are available in Australia, so I checked Express Mail options for International shipping. The prices were a little steep. They do have flat rate shipping that is better for large orders, but smaller orders are better getting weighed. I wish I could be more helpful. Perhaps they have a discount program that gives you a monthly discount or a package service that allows you so much weight or number of packages per month due to your business.

Best bet is to compare all of the different methods available. Also I have found that if you pay online (at least in America) shipping costs are a couple bucks cheaper.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Glad to hear i've got some support - thank you all

upright&locked:Shipping should be very affordable - i'm sourcing from asia (i'd rather source locally, but there are no manufactures for those kinds of things on large scale here). Oz is closer to Asia (closer than the US!), so most of my items are still quite cheap with sea freight included - which the exporters pay. I only need pay for a customs broker and a courier from Sydney to my home city, which is still only a 2hr drive. Considering I'll only do a big import every so often as it's small scale (and items are small and take little room on a ship), it should be very economical.

Shine: Thank you! I am purposely seeking nicely designed ceramic ornaments for the more mature palate for just that reason. Ornaments are usually pretty nasty and I can see a hole in the market for quality and good design. Once I have the business running I'll PM you (and anyone interested ), my stock lists to see and order from if you wish!
  • #13
HI Lea:

I am glad that shipping will be affordable to get the items to you. I might not have clarified enough, and was wondering about shipping costs from you to the United States, where most members on this forum reside - including myself! I would purchase betta-friendly products as needed, but not if the shipping costs were astronomical.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Shipping to the US can be pricy - last time I ordered from the US I paid about$20 (Aust$, but our dollar is parity with the greenback for now).

So that would be an issue, but i'd sell online for cheaper than the LPS would charge, so that would mitigate the cost somewhat. I promise a superior and safe decor piece though, but understandable if it's too expensive for those OS to order.

I guess I just need to strike a supply deal with WalMart . Hehe, it's fun to dream....
  • #15
Best of luck, I'll buy from you! It's about time someone thought of something like this.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Hello all!

Bhlerg, been down with a cold lately (it's Autumn down here), so aaway from fishy forums, but I have been beavering away at my little business and have finally created a Facebook page.

To get a nice username for it so I can have a url as just, I need at least 25 likes. I'm still building it up and will post pics of decor soon for everyone to come and buy so apologies for it being a little sparse, but as soon as I get my likes up I can make nice business cards.

So i'd really appreciate some favor from my fellow betta fans

I have my sample decor now including heaps of silk plants, ceramic bridges, houses, pagodas, arbours (like pagodas but 1 roof), though am still awaiting dragons, shells and buddahs. Feel free to place an advanced order!

Comments welcome!


All the best
  • #17
That link is broken.
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Apologies all.

  • #19
Those are some beautiful tanks! You definitely have my like. Good luck!
  • #20
Liked and good luck
  • #21
I would buy it!
  • #22
this is a fantastic idea. I'm totally with you guys on better betta care and equipment.
Heather M
  • #23
We've already given you my ideas, but I have more for you. Maybe you could design a ceramic decoration with some sort of hole in it that comes in direct contact with the substrate. Then, you could include an aquarium plant bulb in the package. Your buyers could then place the bulb in the hole, so the plant would perfectly drape over the decoration when it grew.
Also, for your local sales, wouldn't it be cool to have a ceramic animal with moss growing out of holes in its back? Like an underwater chia pet!
Just ideas. I don't even know if they would work.
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Lovely idea heatherM - I'll certainly look into that one

Thanks for all the likes everyone, much appreciated. Stay tuned for decor pics!

Thanks again
  • #25
This looks great! I've liked it. I wish there was a service like this in my area! Good luck
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Hello all!

Well, it's all up including product pics and prices - hope you approve! More products will be coming soon, such as ceramic buddahs, dragons and various seashell designs, again all are smooth for bettas/goldies/long finned fish.

10% off for Fishlorians too. The least I can do for all the support i've had from this excellent site . I also discount further for multiple items and larger purchases (see the site for info). for orders and PM me your Fishlore name so I can ID you and offer you the discount.

FYI, all prices listed are in AUD (Australian $), but are roughly equivalent to the USD as we have very similar currency values at the moment, hovering around parity.

Shipping to the USA is about $28 by regular post, but only $16 by sea if you're willing to wait .

Thanks again all for your support
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
HI again all

Postage has gone down - and because I love you all I'll chip in the extra to make postage only $11 to the USA.

I've got some great Buddhas and seashells now too - check out the FB page!

Also, i'm opening an invite to you all for the type of decor you'd like best to see. I need more ideas!

Thanks again all for the support!
  • #28
I think there is a hole in the market and you may have found it good luck
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Thanks sharkattack - here's hoping some suppliers think so too

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