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Dellop5

How Do Fish Stores Do It?

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Ive always wondered how fish stores get their fish. is it from breeders who sell them to the store? or do the stores breed their own fish ive always wondered :doh11: ive also wondered do people make alot breeding fish? do fish stores even profit much?

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I know the LFS near my parents gets theirs from a UK source, but I think some of the fish the UK source imports from China. I think a lot of fish stores just get the culls from breeders, which is why the quality is not usually very high and if you look you can usually spot why they were culled. So I think overall it's a mixture of both, and it probably also depends on who's breeding what in the local area.

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The big chain stores don't get culls from breeders though, that would be too irregular unreliable. They need to have the "product" stocked fully at all times for the customer, so they receive fish (goldfish at least) that are bred for quantity and not quality so that they can make a bigger profit. The koi from the Pet*smart near me are from China, and I'm pretty sure the goldfish are too. But there are some fish (like otocinclus) that they actually catch from the wild to sell in stores because they're more difficult to breed in captivity. :( So wild-caught fish would be caught in the areas they're native to and shipped to the stores around the world. The smaller fish stores in my area get their goldfish from Florida, and they're usually medium-fair quality. Perhaps those ones are breeder culls, who knows. But their shipments are extremely unreliable! I've been waiting on a shipment of telescopes that was "coming in any day now!" for about a month. pff

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I don't think there are many stores at all that breed their own fish, it wouldn't be worth it - when they can probably import a batch of them for next to nothing. As for making money breeding fish, I imagine it is generally profitable but most people who do it have huge set ups (outdoor containers, thousands of fish)and mass produce fish. There are also breeders who produce show quality fish and can get quite a lot for a single fish.

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I wrote a nice answer a bit ago, but it disappeared into the ether.... wonder where all those go???

Anyway, in the US, chain stores get their fish from one of three large breeding facilities. The fish are bred and grown out according to a stock requirement from the set of buying stores. They are bred, grown out and produced using as little water volume, little food, little care, little human interaction as possibly needed - so the "product" (fish) is produced with as little expense as possible. This allows the breeders to sell the product to the stores cheaply - and allows the stores to sell the fish rather cheaply. REmember - everyone along the way needs to make a profit. For the fish breeder, the profit is in VOLUME - they produce TONS of fish with very little money being put into parent fish, food, water volume and care.

Some Mom&Pop type, independant owned stores can and do occasionally stock more high-end fish - for a more "discriminating" customer. These, too, generally, are gotten from the same 3 distributers of fish in the US, but they have been raised for longer with slightly better living arrangements. If done well, the breeder will actually select fish that have better conformation, etc. Usually, it simply means that the "hogs" of a spawning are selected out to grow in "better" conditions for longer, for they are usually the ones that will grow faster in size than others. The fish are grown larger - and this naturally culls out the "weaker" or "less-than" fishes - and then sold at a larger, "fancier" size.

Independant store owners will often also take in or buy local breeder's "culls". These fish can be all along the range of "quality". They could be mixbreeds or fry from less than great parents or they could be fry that were improperly raised - at 1 inch they have reached maximum growth because of poor care. Or they could be EXCELLENT show fish - just not quite what an experienced breeder was looking for - and you get a GREAT bargin. You have to keep your eyes open, and, in many cases have luck in your gamble when you buy.

By and large, no local breeder will be able to make money on breeding goldfish. The volume breeders have contracts - and can beat anyone on costs. The high quality fish do not sell for NEARLY what they cost to produce them. THe Asian breeders can bring high-quality fish to market for several reasons. They, too, have a HIGH VOLUME business in low-end fish - all the fish that are not selected for something better - as well as simply lines that are used for the "pet shop" sales. These suppport the breeding of higher quality fish. Remember - it takes at least 1000 fry to get ONE fish worth growing out (otehr than your "pet quality" fish). OF those, it takes 1000 to get one that may be "show quality". Of those, you may be 1 in 1000 that will be a winner. Those are the ones that need to be bred - and can sell for the hundreds of dollars you see when you look at the "RAinGarden" fish or somesuch.

To get this process to be profitable, you need to have a very large facility - one that can raise literally millions of fry to sort. Your workers need to work very little - and/or be paid VERY little. There are no treatments, large volume food made (no processed foods), no heaters, no huge water changes, natural sun (color and health), etc. IT is not a business that will survive with only 10000 fish a year - it needs greater volume.

Sure - if you LOVE the fish and wish to breed and sell what you breed, you will make a bit a money. Do not look at what it cost you to feed, house and treat all the fish, and you may be pleased by what you have. But shops will only buy when they have room. They do not give you much money (they have to mark up the fish for at least twice what they pay you for them to make a profit - so look at what they may want to sell it for and see if 1/2 half of that is what you would be willing to take.

IT is a bit like breeding puppies or kittens. Do it for the love of the animal. But do not expect to make much money in the business unless you are prepared to do it in a HUGE volume. In the US, the big Three pretty much have a contractual monopoly on that....

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That is fascinating Daryl.

This sounds much like the chicken and beef industry in the US. Efficiency wins out over the quality of life of the animals or even the quality and health of the end product:(

Cows are fed cheap corn instead of grasses. I also heard fish farms (for human consumption) are feeding fish cheap corn.

Edited by Texana

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omg we just learned about how they feed corn to cows and other animals in school and what harm it causes i never knew it was with fish too!! =(( wow thats a shame =( so fish stores usually buy fish cheap from big sources? does this mean anyone can do it? hmm if every fish is sold for "about" double the price you think LFS make a pretty good yearly profit? being that there are a steady amount of customers. hmm im just really curious about fish stores b.c some i see have lots of employes and nice layouts and it clearly looks like they make some decent cash but then again theres places with crappy set ups and junky fish soo im so confused :blink:

Edited by awesomegold

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i wonder to LFS make more profit or do big places like Pet smrt?

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My best guess is that big places like Pet*smart make more profit. Try buying a Python from a small LFS and it will cost you around $80.00. Try buying the same product at a big chain store and it will cost you about half that. The small LFS's just can't sell it at a lower price because it cost them more to obtain it and operate their business. :( However, the LFS near me has some huge koi that are very expensive and of a higher quality than chain stores, so I bet they have their niche in things like that. :idont

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My best guess is that big places like Pet*smart make more profit. Try buying a Python from a small LFS and it will cost you around $80.00. Try buying the same product at a big chain store and it will cost you about half that. The small LFS's just can't sell it at a lower price because it cost them more to obtain it and operate their business. :( However, the LFS near me has some huge koi that are very expensive and of a higher quality than chain stores, so I bet they have their niche in things like that. :idont

hmm thats intresting and it also really sucks for the places who actually care about the fish (most of the time) so would u say its not a smart idea to start and own a LFS?

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hmm thats intresting and it also really sucks for the places who actually care about the fish (most of the time) so would u say its not a smart idea to start and own a LFS?

Hmm I'm not really sure. They must make some profit, otherwise I don't see how they would want to stay in business. But my guess is it's probably not something that would make you 6 figures a year or anything. But the kind of people who open small LFS's like that probably find it to be enjoyable, so that makes up for the medium/low wages. It might be fun to have a chat with the owner of your LFS and get the inside scoop. Scoop... that makes me want ice cream. I think I will go have some. :rofl

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hmm thats intresting and it also really sucks for the places who actually care about the fish (most of the time) so would u say its not a smart idea to start and own a LFS?

Hmm I'm not really sure. They must make some profit, otherwise I don't see how they would want to stay in business. But my guess is it's probably not something that would make you 6 figures a year or anything. But the kind of people who open small LFS's like that probably find it to be enjoyable, so that makes up for the medium/low wages. It might be fun to have a chat with the owner of your LFS and get the inside scoop. Scoop... that makes me want ice cream. I think I will go have some. :rofl

hahahaha i hope you enjoyed your icecream =)

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