Profitable Fish To Breed

Breeding fish can be a profitable business, particularly with aquariums’ enduring popularity in homes, schools, and offices.

Think of it as a business complete with the sales, operating costs, and net profits, and you’re well on your way to success.

Being in business also means making a wide range of decisions that can make your bottom line red (loss) or black (profit).

What is the most profitable fish to breed? Your knowledge and skills, as well as your available resources, determines the most profitable fish to breed. The market demand for certain fish species in your projected target area will determine the best fish to breed for profit.

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Let us take a closer view of these factors that affect the most profitable fish’s choice to breed and a few examples of said fish.

Afterward, you will be able to make a more informed decision that will hopefully become the start of your thriving fish breeding business.

Consider the Breeding Characteristics of the Fish

In theory, every aquarium-suitable fish is the right candidate for breeding and, thus, for making a profit. But all of us don’t live in an ideal world, so it’s crucial to choose fish with the right characteristics for breeding. 

You have to ask these questions to determine which fish will bring in your business’s most profit.

How Easy is the Fish to Breed?

Keep in mind that each fish species breeds differently. Livebearers, for example, nurture their young in their bodies and provide nutrition for them.

Egg layers may or may not look after their young when released from their bodies, perhaps even eat them.

The easier the fish is to breed, the faster your turnover will likely be. Guppies, platies, and mollies are recommended for beginners because of the ease with which they reproduce.

Number of Spawn Produced And Their Survival Rate

The more spawn that fish can reproduce in a single pregnancy, the more income generated since there will be more fish to sell. Of course, the survival rate of the spawn should also be considered.

Even if a fish can reproduce a hundred spawns but have a low survival rate, it isn’t a good breeding candidate.

The environment in which the parent and its fry are placed also affects the latter’s survival rate.

For example, parent platies should be separated from their fry as soon as possible to avoid the former from eating the latter.

Mollies can survive to adulthood for as long as they are kept in a tank without other species and well-fed adults and dense aquatic plants.

How Many Times Does The Fish Spawn?

A fish species that breed more frequently will produce more juvenile fish and, thus, likely bring in more profits.

Additionally, you will have a steady supply of fish to sell the whole year-round, a must if you’re looking to maximize profits.

What’s The Value of the Fish?

Since you’re breeding fish for profit, it makes sense to choose fish that will fetch a reasonable price in the market! You don’t want to select a fish just because it’s easy to breed, and it breeds often, but it isn’t sought after by buyers.

The fish’s value will depend on several factors, such as their beauty, cultural importance, and uniqueness.

Today’s most valuable ornamental fish include the platinum Arowana, peppermint angelfish, and freshwater polka dot stingray. These fish can fetch prices as high as $400,000 and above!

Don’t forget that your knowledge and skills in fish breeding are also vital to your business success. While it’s easy enough to breed guppies, platies, and mollies, you should still read books, ask the experts and get hands-on experience.

You can start by reading The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes, a paperback book with comprehensive breeding guides.

Consider These Fish For Your Breeding Business

We suggest looking into the viability of breeding these fish species first. You will likely find one or two, perhaps more, species that meet the abovementioned breeding characteristics and your knowledge and skills.

You’re looking for the sweet spot, a fish species that you can breed and sell for a nice profit.

Koi fish are elegant fish popular in outdoor ponds, water gardens, and Japanese gardens. Their bright colorations, combined with their fascinating scale patterns and graceful movements, make them beautiful to look at. 

Depending on the size and appearance, koi can sell for 5 to 15 dollars in pet stores. (Read the Koi (Complete Pet Owner’s Manual) if you’re new to breeding it.)

Fancy guppies are easy to breed, give birth to about 20 to 40 juveniles in a litter, and breed frequently, thanks to their ultra-short spawning cycle. 

Their stunning coloration, fins, and patterns make them attractive to aquarium lovers, and they can be sold for $40 to $100.

Dwarf cichlids are easy to breed and costs less money to raise. They are happy to breed in a good-sized tank with air-run sponge filters, terracotta flower pots, and a heater-stat.

Platys are great for beginner breeders because of their peaceful attitude and tendency to take care of their breeding independently.

Being livebearers, their fry is more likely to survive for as long as they are kept in a species only tank, not a community tank.

While they aren’t an expensive fish per se, they are popular among aquarium owners, so the profits keep rolling in. 

Other fish species that you may want to consider breeding for profit are discus, convict cichlids, and rosy red minnows.


To conclude, breeding fish for profit should be approached as a business decision. You should then be informed about the why, how, and when to breed fish from the tank conditions to the care for the parent and fry.

You must have the knowledge and skills and the manpower, capital, and equipment for it, too.

The readier you are for the challenges of the business, the better you will be as a businessman in the fish breeding industry.