13 Best Fish You Can Actually Breed For Profit 

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For over 30 years, I’ve been keeping and breeding tropical fish. During that time, I’ve bred a dozen different fish species to sell at my local fish store. My earnings have paid for the majority of the tanks and equipment in my fish room. Fish breeding can be very profitable!

13 Best Fish To Breed For Profit

Choosing the right species to breed for profit is the most important aspect of breeding for profit. You must choose a fish species that you can both breed and raise a large number of young in a relatively short period of time. Subject to your own skill levels, the list below checks both boxes.

  • Guppies
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Angelfish
  • German Blue Rams
  • Discus
  • Black Mollies
  • Platy
  • Ricefish
  • Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Shell Dwellers
  • Goldfish
  • Panda Corydoras
  • Kribensis

Guppies

Guppies are, without a doubt, THE fish to breed for profit. They are probably the most popular fish in the world, and they come in a rainbow of colors.

If you intend to breed guppies for profit, you must first set up a dedicated breeding tank. Guppies will breed in a community aquarium, but almost every fish in the hobby, including guppies, seem to find guppy babies delicious!

Install a simple sponge filter, a heater, and plenty of live plants in your breeding tank. Java moss is an excellent plant for a guppy aquarium because it provides a safe haven for baby guppies.

Choose 1 male for every 3 to 4 females when purchasing breeder guppies. This ratio will result in a large number of babies, but more importantly, it will spread the male’s constant desire to spawn across more than one female. If you keep a pair of guppies together, the male can literally harass the female to death.

Guppies, like many other fish, can be conditioned to spawn by feeding them a variety of live or frozen foods. If you have the space (and patience), separate your females from your males for at least 6 months.

During this six-month period, the females will grow and gain weight without the stress of childbirth. When it comes to spawning, the female will reward your patience with large broods of babies.

Guppy larvae grow quickly. Feed the fry newly hatched brine shrimp, frozen cyclops, and crushed flake, gradually progressing to mini pellets as the fry grow.

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco is number two on my list. When it comes to breeding Bristlenose Plecos, there is an old adage that goes, ‘Add water, will breed.’ It really can be that simple; all you have to do is set up your aquarium and leave the Bristlenose to its own devices.

Bristlenose Plecos can be bred for profit in a community aquarium because they lay their eggs and care for their young in a cave away from other fish.

If you decide to breed your Bristlenose Plecos in a dedicated aquarium, make sure it has plenty of caves. Ideally, each fish should have more than one cave. Put 5 caves in the aquarium if you have a breeding trio, for example. As a result, everyone has their own cave and can choose which cave works best for them.

If you can find a variety of caves of varying sizes and shapes, that’s even better. Place the caves at different angles as well.

In contrast to many of the other livebearers on this list, you should keep more males than females. A breeding trio consisting of one female and two males would be ideal. Because of the way Bristlenose Plecos spawn and care for their young, you want this ‘backwards’ ratio.

Feed your Bristlenose Plecos plenty of live or frozen bloodworms before spawning. If you put in the effort now with the conditioning feeding, the female will reward you with an abundance of eggs.

When the male of your Bristlenose Plecos is ready to spawn, he will attract the female to his cave. He will trap her there until she lays her eggs if she goes in. When she’s finished, he’ll kick her out and fertilize and protect the eggs. The female will then leave for a few days before returning to the cave of another male in the aquarium to lay more eggs.

It can be difficult to tell if your Bristlenose Plecos have spawned because males guarding eggs can be difficult to see in the cave. If you see your male sitting at the entrance of his cave, ‘fanning’ water in, you’ll know he’s guarding eggs.

Bristlenose Plecos will continue to care for their young until they are old enough to leave the cave. When the fry leave the cave, they are essentially on their own, and the male will take little to no care of them.

Angelfish

Angelfish, like the other members of the Cichlid family on this list, are fantastic parents who will take excellent care of their offspring.

Although Angelfish will happily spawn in a community aquarium, setting up a dedicated breeding tank for maximum profit is recommended. For a pair of Angelfish, a 20-gallon tank will suffice. A simple sponge filter will do the trick.

Provide your Angelfish pair with a variety of spawning locations. A terracotta flower pot and a piece of slate set at about 45° will both make excellent spawning sites.

After you’ve added your pair to the spawning tank, feed them high-quality food, such as live or frozen bloodworms, for a week or two. When your pair is ready to spawn, they will spend a few days cleaning their preferred location. If you see your Angelfish ‘biting’ the slate or flower pot, it’s because they’re cleaning it in preparation for laying their eggs.

When spawning begins, the female will swim slowly up to the spawning site of choice. With each pass, she will lay a line of eggs. As soon as she completes a line, the male will follow suit, fertilizing the eggs.

This egg-laying can last several hours or more. Both parents will take turns guarding the egg once they have finished laying their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the adults will care for the fry. The parents will pick up any eggs or fry that fall off the slate and replace them.

When the fry are old enough to swim on their own, the adults will continue to protect them and actively lead them around the tank in search of food. Angelfish fry prefer newly hatched brine shrimp, which are gradually replaced by cyclops, crushed flake, and micro pellets as the fry grow.

After 6 to 8 weeks, the parents will consider spawning again, and the fry should be relocated to a separate tank.

Angelfish can be extremely profitable if you have the necessary skills and space. Angelfish are without a doubt one of the most popular fish in the world. Angelfish can be found in any store worth visiting on a regular basis.

German Blue Rams

German Blue Rams, like Discus, can be extremely profitable, but you will need a certain level of skill and access to high-quality breeding stock. The temperature of the water is the most important factor in breeding German Blue Rams. The aquarium temperature for rams should be between 84°F and 86°F.

Breeding German Blue Rams can be done in two ways: as a pair or as a hareem.

Select a male and female Ram for the ‘pair’ method and place them in a 10-gallon aquarium. The fish do not care about decoration; however, they will require a place to lay their eggs. A small terracotta saucer or a very flat pebble will suffice.

If you use the ‘hareem’ method, you should have one male for every two or three females. You’ll need a few pebbles or saucers to give each female her own spawning location. All of his females will be serviced by the male.

The German Blue Rams will take good care of their eggs and developing young after spawning. The fry will need to be fed very small food, such as microworms or vinegar eels, before progressing to newly hatched brine shrimp as they grow.

You can make a lot of money if you can crack the German Blue Ram breeding code.

Discus

Profitable Discus breeding is not for everyone. You’ll need good breeding stock, a moderately sized setup for raising fry, and a good, dependable outlet to sell the Discus fry to. Discus can be very profitable if you can check all of those boxes.

To begin breeding your Discus, you must first obtain a pair. Unfortunately, you cannot force Discus to pair up; they must choose their partners on their own. Put your Discus in a 40-gallon aquarium with a breeding cone or two and possibly a piece of slate against the glass.

By giving the Discus a selection of spawning locations, they are less likely to spawn in an unsuitable location, such as on the aquarium heater or filter intake pipe.

Discus make excellent parents. They will tend to their eggs while they develop, and then they will guard the fry for several weeks after they hatch. One of the benefits of breeding Discus is that the parents do the majority of the work for you.

Discus make excellent parents. They will tend to their eggs while they develop, and then they will guard the fry for several weeks after they hatch. One of the benefits of breeding Discus is that the parents do the majority of the work for you.

Discus can be extremely profitable, but you must have the necessary skills as well as outlets to sell your fry to.

Black Mollies

Black Mollies, like Platies, are a live-bearing species of fish that reproduces quickly.

Set up a 30 or 40-gallon aquarium to breed Black Mollies for profit. Fill the tank with 3 to 4 females and a single male. The decoration is unimportant in this breeding setup, but adding live plants will help process some of the fish waste and give the females a place to hide from the male, who will want to spawn all the time.

Given that Black Mollies spawn constantly and females are essentially pregnant for the rest of their lives, feed your Black Mollies a high-quality diet that includes plenty of live or frozen foods.

Because Black Mollies do not show parental care for their young, consider moving the females to a dedicated fry rearing tank just before she gives birth to maximize production. You should relocate her once she has given birth.

From birth, the fry will eat crushed flakes or a dedicated fry food. They will also enjoy newly hatched brine shrimp or frozen cyclops added to their diet.

Black Molly babies grow quickly and will be ready to sell in a matter of months.

Platies

Platies are an excellent choice for profit breeding because they are a live-bearing species of fish. Platies are always popular in local fish stores, and any reputable retailer should be eager to purchase your Platies. Choose a Platy that is bright and colorful to breed from. Platies in bright orange, yellow, or red tend to sell better and will therefore be in higher demand at your local fish store.

To spawn Platies, gather a group of one male and three or four females. Feed the Platies well to help the females produce a large number of healthy fry.

Your Platies will continuously breed, and the females will produce fry every month for years. Prior to birthing, move the heavily pregnant females to a dedicated fry raising tank to maximize Platy production. When the female gives birth, return her to the main tank and raise the fry.

Platy fry mature quickly and should be ready to sell in a few months.

Ricefish

At the moment, ricefish are severely underappreciated in the hobby. They appear to be relatively dull at first glance, but they are surprisingly colorful, and their color ‘pops’ against the bright greens of a planted tank. If your local store does not yet sell them, they will almost certainly begin selling them once you bring the first batch in to sell to them.

Ricefish will spawn for several months of the year. During this time, they may spawn on a daily basis. When you’re ready to spawn your Ricefish, put one or more pairs in a 10 or 20-gallon aquarium with fine-leafed plants, Java moss, or spawning mops.

Ricefish use an unusual method of spawning. The females will swim around the aquarium with the eggs dangling from their mouths. The eggs dangle from the ceiling like a string of grapes. Depending on the species, she may keep the eggs attached for several hours or several days. When she is ready, the female will deposit the eggs in the spawning plants or mops.

The eggs will hatch in a few days, and the young should be fed micro worms or vinegar eels for a week or so before transitioning to newly hatched brine shrimp. Ricefish mature quickly. This is most likely an evolutionary adaptation to their short wild lives.

Despite the fact that ricefish do not show maternal care for their young, they do not eat the eggs or fry. The real issue with raising ricefish is that as the young ricefish mature, they eat the next batch of developing fry. As a result, different batches should be raised in different aquariums.

Ricefish spawn frequently and grow rapidly. As a result, you may need to find two or three local outlets to sell your Ricefish to.

Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Cloud of Gold and White Mountain Minnows are a color variation of White Clouds. They are just as easy to spawn as regular White Clouds, but due to their scarcity, they are likely to sell for more money.

Set up a dedicated aquarium to breed Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows. A tank of 10 or 20 gallons should suffice. A large clump of Java Moss or some homemade spawning mops can be added. When your White Clouds spawn, they will deposit their eggs in the moss or mops.

Feed your White Clouds a lot of live or frozen foods for a couple of weeks to get them ready to spawn. Move your White Clouds to the spawning tank when your females are plump and the males can be seen ‘dancing’ in front of the females. After being moved to the spawning tank, your Gold White Clouds will most likely spawn quickly.

You will notice your Gold White Clouds swimming in and out of the moss or spawning mops as they spawn. With each pass, more and more eggs are deposited. When the spawning period is over, prepare to remove the adults and return them to their original tank. White Clouds will happily consume any egg or developing fry they come across.

Mount White Cloud Minnow eggs hatch in about 2 to 3 days, and the fry are free swimming a few days later. Feed the fry freshly hatched brine shrimp before progressing to good commercial fry food or crushed flakes.

Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows are always in high demand, and you should have no trouble finding a local fish store willing to buy them from you.

Shell Dwellers

There are a variety of’shell dwellers’ in the hobby at the moment. Shell Dwellers are a group of fish that, despite being among the smallest Cichlids on the planet, have a lot of personality. The shell dwellers Neolamprologus multifasciatus are probably the most popular.

Neolamprologus multifasciatus, or Neos for short, are known as shell dwellers because they spend the majority of their lives in shells. They hide in shells, spawn in shells, and raise their young in shells!

To create a Neo tank, start with a deep layer of fine sand, such as pool filter sand, and layer a variety of shells directly onto the substrate. A bag of shells can be purchased from Amazon. Make sure you have at least two to three shells for each adult fish you add to your aquarium. The Neos will choose a shell and personalize it. They will defend their shell against anyone who comes too close.

A group of Neos will easily pair off and spawn. Feed the adults a high-quality diet to condition them, then let them be. The first sign of a successful spawn will be when the fry emerge from the shell.

Spawning and raising Neos is extremely simple. The most difficult part will be catching the babies in order to sell them. Every fish will vanish into their shells the moment you approach the tank with a net.

Fancy Goldfish

Seriously, you can make money by breeding goldfish. To breed goldfish for profit, you must first accept that it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Unless you have massive ponds, you won’t be able to churn our goldfish.

Begin with a pair of high-quality fancy goldfish to breed for profit. Lionheads, Fantails, and Ranchus are always popular. Set up a large clump of Java Moss or homemade spawning mops in an aquarium.

When the goldfish spawn, the male drives the female into the moss or spawning mop, where she deposits her eggs and he fertilizes them. Spawning will most likely last an hour or two. Remove the goldfish or the spawning mops once both fish have lost interest in spawning. Goldfish will happily eat their own eggs and fry if you leave them together, so don’t leave them together.

Goldfish eggs hatch in 2 to 5 days, depending on water temperature, and the fry are free-swimming a few days later. Feed the fry newly hatched brine shrimp before transitioning to crushed flake food or dedicated fry food when the babies are big enough.

You’ll need to raise your fancy goldfish for the next 12 to 18 months if you want to make any money from them. Larger fancy goldfish are always in high demand, as are high-quality fancy goldfish. To keep nitrates low, feed your baby goldfish high-quality food and change the water on a regular basis.

Panda Corydoras

Panda Corydoras may be the easiest Corydoras species to spawn. They frequently spawn in the community aquarium.

Set up a colony of 6 or more Panda Corydoras in a dedicated breeding tank to breed Panda Corydoras for profit. Panda corydoras prefer to deposit their eggs on the aquarium glass or the underside of a plant leaf. Fill your breeding tank with a variety of broad-leaved plants. I’ve had great success with Cryptocoryne Wendetii in the past.

Spend a few weeks conditioning your Corydoras by feeding them either good quality frozen food like bloodworms or daphnia, or live blackworms. Blackworms are excellent for bulking up Corydoras, and your fish will devour them.

After two or three weeks of conditioning, you can induce breeding in your Corys by performing a large water change and refilling the tank with water that is a few degrees cooler than the tank water. This change in water temperature fools the Corys into thinking the rainy season has begun. In the wild, the rainy season is a time of abundant food and spawning for many fish species.

When your Corydoras are ready to spawn, the males can be seen pushing their snouts into the sides of the females. This is referred to as the ‘T’ position. The female is prompted to release an egg, which she will hold between her pelvic fins in the T position. The female will hold the egg, and once fertilized by the male, she will stick it to the glass or the underside of a plant leaf.

Your Corydoras may spawn for a few minutes or several hours. Once the action has ceased, you can either remove the Corydoras and leave the eggs to hatch, or you can remove the eggs and place them in a dedicated tank where they can hatch and the fry can be raised.

The eggs of Corydoras are surprisingly tough. All you have to do to get them out of the spawning aquarium is roll the egg off the glass with your finger and onto a credit card. The egg can be safely removed from the water and placed in a hatching tank.

The eggs will hatch in a few days, and the fry will be swimming freely in 4 or 5 days. Feed the babies small food, such as newly hatched brine shrimp, and they’ll be ready to sell in no time.

Kribensis

Kribensis are most likely one of the simplest Cichlid species to breed. To begin breeding Kribensis, buy a group of 5 or 6 young Kribensis. Keep them together for the next 6 to 12 months, and they will naturally begin to pair off as they mature. When they do, choose one pair and either move them to a dedicated breeding tank or remove all of the other Kribensis from the tank, leaving only the selected pair.

You must provide a variety of caves for your Kribensis pair. I usually place one terracotta flower pot on its side, one half coconut, and another cave made of rocks and slate. By giving your Kribensis a choice of caves, they will be able to choose one that they are happy with rather than having to make do with the one and only cave.

Feed your Kribensis pair high-quality live or frozen foods for two to three weeks to prepare them for spawning. When you notice your Kribensis excavating around one of the caves or blocking the entrance with substrate, you know spawning is near.

Following spawning, your Kribensis will protect the eggs, followed by the fry. When the proud parents escort their new family around the aquarium, keeping them in a tight little school, constantly looking out for predators, this is often the first sign that your Kribensis has spawned.

The parents of Kribensis will protect their young for the first 6 to 8 weeks of their lives, but after that, they will look to spawn again. At this point, the young Kribensis should be transferred to their own aquarium and raised to marketable size.

In a separate article, we address some of the most frequently asked questions about Kribensis.

To summarize

Fish breeding for profit is a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. A single tank can earn you $1,000 per year. Get three or four breeding tanks and you’ll be able to start making real money.

Whatever fish you decide to breed, make sure it’s one you’ll enjoy keeping. Breeding a fish you want to keep is always easier than breeding a fish you don’t want to keep.