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Bill's Fish Pages

Breeding and Selling Guppys

Home | About Me and My Hobby | BETTAS pg-1 | BETTAS pg-2 | Guppys | Breeding and Selling Guppys | Hatching Brine Shrimp

If you are interested in breeding and selling guppys I would suggest going back to the previous guppy page and reading it over. I will move forward with the assumption that you are familiar with the guppy disease problem and how guppys reproduce.
Guppys are among the top three best selling freshwater fish from a retail point of view. Bettas are the number one selling aquarium fish and guppys and neon tetras are the next two best sellers.
Why then is it so hard to find guppys at your local store? It is of course the quality which is very lacking. This is where you the breeder will come in. It is easy to sell healthy guppys to a store that cannot get healthy ones.
I will be coming out with a book soon that teaches you how to make money selling home grown fish. Because of that I will only be skimming the surface here to guide you.
First you must breed the fish and have a constant supply. If you have a plan that you follow carefully you can produce alot of guppys in a small area. 10 gallon tanks are the best ones to raise guppys in. You can raise 50 fish to adult size in a 10 gallon tank with frequent water changes and good feedings. First you must aquire good broodstock. Go to my last page for that.
Once you get your first brood from store bought females, discard the moms and raise out the babies,,these will be your brood stock. After 10 days to 2 weeks you should be able to sex the babies. You will need to move the males to one tank and the females to another. This is for many reasons. One, guppys grow faster when the boys are kept from the girls,,second, once the babies have grown out you can pick the best breeders out depending on what qualities you are looking for. Growing guppys for sale is not the exact science that growing them for shows is. For a guppy to be sellable it merely needs to be colorful and healthy. If you can get good quality show guppys then you will get a better price. Once your broodstock is breeder size, about 4 to 5 months,,,you will set up a breeding tank.
Simply set up a 10 gallon tank with about 6-10 females and two good looking males. Once fertilization takes place, the fish will produce fry every 30-40 days,,even without the males. Guppys can have up to 5-6 broods without being fertilized again by a male. Once the females start showing signs of being pregnant I move them to a 2 gallon birthing tank. I let her give birth in there till I can sex the babies then I move them to a 10 gallon tank. All of my tanks are gravel free,,,no gravel. I do not use a filter either, you could use a sponge filter if you want,,but with proper maintenance it just isn't nescessary. The birthing tanks are packed with java moss and floating water sprite. The grow out tanks are bare with no plants. The breeding tank with the males and females have plants in them,,but not as dense as the breeding tank.
Once you figure out how many guppys you want to produce you can work out a plan with the right amount of tanks and female guppys. If you are going to be successful at selling them you need to have babies being born with regularity. You must have a constant supply of fish if you want to be considered a reputable breeder.
I feed adult and newborn guppys primarily newly hatched brine shrimp. You can feed any live food you wish,,micro worms, mosquito larvae, or daphnia, but brine shrimp are the easiest food to produce in quantity without using alot of space. I supplement the brineshrimp feedings with a little crushed flake food daily.
Tanks must have a partial water change as often as you can do it,,,daily is good, but a minimum of twice a week. I do 2 gallons out of each ten gallon tank. Fry tanks are siphoned along the bottom to pick up uneaten food or any dead fry.
You can bank on 20 babies out of each female guppy. I bank on 20 because alot of females will produce more,,but a few will produce less. If you bank on 20 you will always come out a bit ahead,,which allows for non sellable fish,,ones with birth defects or bad color.
Once you have sellable fish,,4-5 months after birth, you can start approaching stores.
Here is a partial list of rules to live by.
A. Never approach a store till you actually HAVE fish to sell.
B. Do not attempt to sell fish unless you will have a regular supply.
C. NEVER accept store credit for fish,,always demand monetary payment,,you deserve it and the store doesn't give store credit to the fish wholesalers.
D. Always sell healthy fish. Fish that are fed well and with good tank maintenance will be healthy. Guppys ARE inherently healthy fish but have been rendered unhealthy by breeding methods used by the breeders and bad maintenance by the wholesalers. Homebred guppys will always be healthy.

So, you have fish,,,,how do you get stores to pay real money for your fish?????????????
When I began selling fish to the retail outlets in Orlando I had no idea how difficult it would be to break the store credit wall. After all, I was a breeder,,I had all of my business and wildlife liscenses,,,I was a business and I had no problem selling mass quantities of fish to the wholesalers. I couldn't understand why stores didn't want to pay for fish.
This is why I always tell people not to take store credit,,,it creates a trend that hurts reputable breeders of quality fish. This is what I did,,,
I made up bags of guppys,,,I used the standard size bag that you get in a fish store,,,I put six pair of guppys in each bag,,,
I had business cards made,,nowadays it is easy to do that on any PC.
I found out what day and time the owner of the shop would be on the premises.
I dressed myself nicely,,that is,,I didn't go into the stores in blue jeans and an old t-shirt,,,I wore what I would wear on a nice golf course.
I walked into the store and approached the owners with confidence,,and respect.
My spiel was something like this,,,,,,,
"Hello sir/ma'am,,,,My name is Bill,,,,listen,,I noticed you do not have any guppys in your tank." If they had guppys in the tank I would go, "I noticed you have fancy guppys there,,,let me ask you,,,do you have a problem with them holding up?" In either case you have gotten the owner to acknowledged that they either do not carry guppys because of health issues or the ones they do carry fall apart and die.
At that point I would pull up the bag of guppys and tell them that I lived locally and bred guppys. Before they could give me any objections or before they could start with the boring policy of trade I would tell them the following.
"Listen, I am a breeder and I can supply you with pretty and healthy guppys. Here,,take this bag of guppys free,,that's right no charge,,,no obligation,,,let's put them in this tank here,,," I would try to place the bag into a tank of my choice,,my choice being any tank that did not have sick guppys in it. It usually worked.
I would then tell them, "Take these and here is my card,,I am a professional breeder. If you lose these you haven't lost anything. If they don't die and you sell them then all I ask is that you give me the chance to sell you local healthy guppys. I deliver to you whenever you need them. And my price is competitive with anything you are used to paying. "
I would then leave the guppys with them with as little chit chat as possible. I usually gave them 5-7 days and I would discreetly visit the store to see if the guppys were sold yet,,,more often than not they were. I would then seal the deal by going to the owner and saying,,,"Hi,,,I'm Bill,,I see you sold my guppys,,shall I bring you twenty pair today or tomorrow? They all said yes.
So what do I charge for my guppys??????
Pricing your guppys requires you to come to terms with a few facts. You should try to find someone who will show you a wholesale price list,,,you will be shocked at how little stores actually pay for fish. If they are buying direct from fish farms in florida then the prices are very low. In the midwest and up north alot of stores are buying fish from wholesalers and jobbers that are buying from the farms,,if the stores are buying from these suppliers then the stores' cost is higher.
Alot depends on your part of the country. I had the luxury of having a good relationship with many of the farmers here in florida so I knew what the stores in central florida were paying. If you cannot get a price list,,then try to visit the stores well in advance of your sales pitch,,,try to make friends with anyone in a retail shop,,just casually bring up cost and just ask someone,,,"just out of curiosity,,what does a store pay for a pair of guppys?" DON'T ever ask this just before you attempt to sell a store fish. Don't tell the person that you are asking this question to that you are planning on breeding and selling fish
Remember one of my rules,,NEVER tell anyone that you are PLANNING on breeding or selling fish UNTIL you have fish to sell. It will kill your reputation before you have a chance to prove yourself.
So what do you charge? Here in florida, retail shops pay alot less for fish than they do in Pennsylvania,,or Illinois. Alot has to do with economy and cost of shipping. The farms here in florida work very hard not to cut each other's throat,,and you shouldn't cut theirs either.
Stores here in florida pay anywhere from a dollar a pair to a dollar seventy five a pair,,depending on where the fish come from and what quality they are. I would charge 75 cents a pair when they were just mixed fancy guppys. I would ask a dollar a pair for delta tail guppys that were all of the same,,, such as the red tuxedos. If the fish that I was selling were a large show type guppy then I would ask $1.25 to $1.50 per pair. I tried to offer multiple price levels,,,in other words,,I wouldn't sell a store 75 cent pairs of fancy guppys for three months and then tell them all I had was $1.50 ones. I would always have the cheaper ones and then give them the option to buy more expensive ones.
These prices may have made you fall out of your chair. That is why I said you needed to come to terms with a few things. If you live in the northern states, you should be able to get considerably more per pair,,the northern stores pay alot more per pair.
You will be the best judge of where you need to go with your pricing. Just remember BE FAIR, DON'T undercut the wholesalers by too much,,,,,AND ALWAYS SELL HEALTHY FISH!!!!!!