Is it possible to be profitable?

Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:35 pm

Is it possible to be profitable as a small aquaculture hobbyist?

I started a fish aquaculture system for my kids that has now grown into a $7000 set-up - way more than I wanted, but the whole drive for over-lapping filtration systems got the better of me. Are people able to get a return for their investment? Electricity alone will cost me $1000/year. Would it be realistic to think that I could break even?

Any recommendations in regards to species of fish/inverts, etc that might provide a ROI?

I know it will not make a ton of money. At this point, I only want to break even.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Luis A M » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:55 pm

Welcome Seabreeze :D .Tell us what species you breed and where you are located.And a description of your system.
Yes,home breeding MO fish and inverts could be profitable if you choose the species the market demands. :wink:
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:52 pm

Just starting, so no fish breeding yet. I'm in the Midwest, right in the middle of the country.

System consists of a 30 gallon tall circular tank, a 20 gallon "short" circular tank, a very large Kriesel, and 3 ten gallon square tanks. I hope the circular tanks will provide for more "natural" circulation and better filtration. The filtration is overkill.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Clownfish75 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:58 pm

Im not sure it is profitable, but if you can keep electricity costs down, you migth be in with half a chance.

Breeding a boutique species might help too.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby EasterEggs » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:24 pm

I have yet to make a dime off fish (I'm getting closer everyday though!), although I have been able to make some money back selling SPS frags to hobbyists or to LFS.

I'm wondering though, how did you manage to spend $7000 on two 30-gallon and 20-gallon aquariums? Also, how do you spend $1000 per month on electricity for these two tanks? Or did I miss something?
Given sufficient thrust, pigs will fly just fine.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:39 pm

Circular, cone bottom tanks with special stands, large sumps, large skimmer, Koi pond sedimentation separator, large Koi pond bio bed filter, fluidized sand bed filter, algal scrubber, sedimentation tanks, multi-tiered stand, 2500 gph and 1000 gph pumps, heaters, auto-feeders, loads of PVC piping, 2-drain tank systems, lighting, kriesels, RO water filter system, enough vinyl tubing to wrap around the world, etc - $7000 went fast......

1000 watts 24/7

The system was designed to maximize automation, handle the large amount of food waste I expect, minimize water changes, maintain water consistency, minimize nitrates, and be able to keep the hatchery/larval system with the brood stock system to maintain consistency.

Now I just need to know if I'll ever re-coup costs and with what fish?
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby EasterEggs » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:55 am

If you're into Koi, that might be your best bet to make money! If you can afford to get into the super pricey ones, it shouldn't be difficult to make a few bucks.

What is your location? USA or somewhere else?

So, the $7000 wasn't spent on 20-gallon and 30-gallon saltwater tanks then! Haha! This is a Koi system you spent $7000 on I guess. I run about 800 watts 24/7 with another 500 watts or so that go on and off during the day, and my electricity costs about $1000 per year, not per month. We pay 11.35 cents per kWh here which is higher than most of the USA as far as I know. I am always very aware of the electrical costs of each new piece of equipment I want to use in my fish room. I look at different options for electrical savings. I also calculate how much it is going to cost me a year, and if that cost is justified. For example, I recently looked at adding an algal turf scrubber to my broodstock system, and calculated I would need to save myself 2 buckets of salt per year (assuming the ATS will lessen water changes from less nitrate buildup) in order for the ATS to be justified in its electrical usage. I also looked at using a bigger return pump to increase flow and help keep waste from settling in the tanks. I calculated that a bigger pump could not be justified for the cost of running it.
Given sufficient thrust, pigs will fly just fine.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:11 pm

Sorry...that was suppose to be $1000/year, not per month.

Any suggestions on species of fish?
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Luis A M » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:19 pm

Actually,most home breeders breed clowns and they use smaller glass tanks and hobby sized equipment.Which does not mean that using an aquaculture setup like yours couldn´t be more efficient,cost wise.If they are designed to make a profit raising Tilapia,the pound to pound price of a fancy koi,has to make a sheer difference.And what would the price of a pound of clowns be?. :shock:
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:48 pm

So would clowns be the most likely fish to earn a return? It seems that clowns are everywhere around here. Typical clowns get about $25 retail, more rare clowns get about $60 to 70 around here. We have a breeder in town who only does clowns.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby JulioC » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:14 pm

I always like to start small and grow. I´ve been raising clowns for 2 years and I always think new possible setups.

You can raise:
- Ocellaris
- B&W Ocellaris
- Other Fancy Ocellaris
- Seahorses
- Corals: SPS Frags are easy to sell but require a good aquarium.

Clowns will let yo have some income while seahorses and frags will give you profits. It is not easy rely only on clowns anymore since you can buy from tayland at 2$ each (1.5/2.5 FOB - 5 CIF??)...

If it is a part time job, or hobby I think you will break even. Just be sure to keep your variable costs low. This way everithing you sell is profit but if your variable costs are high it may take a time to recover your investment.

1000 w 24/7 seems too high. I don´t think you need 2500g and 1000g pumps. You need a turnover of 2/3 times the aquarium and add an airstone if O2 is needed.


Do you have pictures and a detail description of your system?

If you still don´t have fish just look at marketplace for breeding pairs or you will need to spend up to 3 years to make new fish to spawn.

Good luck!
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Luis A M » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:44 pm

Seabreeze wrote:So would clowns be the most likely fish to earn a return? It seems that clowns are everywhere around here. Typical clowns get about $25 retail, more rare clowns get about $60 to 70 around here. We have a breeder in town who only does clowns.

This,Seabreeze is the other side of the story :( .You can produce and sell tons of foodfish,but the ornamental market has it´s boundaries.You can sell perc./ocellaris to your LFS but only as many as they could take,minus those produced by some other breeder in town.Other species are even harder to sell,no matter how nice they look to you. :wink:
You might as well contact a wholesaler :idea:
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby Seabreeze » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:53 pm

Wow, that's pretty depressing. So even the less common varieties don't sell well? What about the flame angels? Can they be bred consistently?

Do seahorses sell well? Would I sell to a wholesaler or retail? WHich seahorse would you recommend?
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby EasterEggs » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:19 pm

Flame Angels aren't being bred by hobbyists as far as I know. Flames are only being bred successfully in laboratories so far. Seahorses don't sell overly well because they require a specialized setup.
Given sufficient thrust, pigs will fly just fine.
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Re: Is it possible to be profitable?

Postby downbydasea » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:26 am

nevermind
When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.
Chinese Proverb
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