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Can You Make Money Selling Fish To Pet Stores In Your Local Area?

It is the dream of many people in the fish keeping hobby to be able to make money selling fish to pet stores in their area to allow them to make some extra cash from their hobby.

It is very common to see people reaching out and asking a range of questions about how you are able to set up a fish breeding operation to turn a profit but it is considerably more difficult than the majority of people initially realize.

Each month we see a large number of people reaching out to ask about selling their fish to pet stores or direct to consumers so we wanted to publish our own article on breeding fish for a profit.

The majority of the advice that we see offered on social media to people looking to breed and sell their fish is offered by people who have never actually done it and most of the time, it is far from correct.

Our hope is that our article will be able to help our readers get a better idea of what to expect when getting involved in selling their fish to pet stores as well as some of the potential challenges ahead of you.

Our table of contents below should make it as easy as possible for you to skip to specific sections of the article going over the different questions that we see from the fish keeping community about selling fish to their local pet stores.

Can You Make Money By Selling Fish To Pet Stores?

Some people may be able to make money by selling fish to pet stores but it is usually a very small amount of money and nowhere near what would be required to run a profitable breeding operation.

Most local pet stores will already have supply contracts with fish wholesalers and only be interested in the rare fish that you are able to produce them but this can be limited due to such a small demand for rare fish in most towns and cities.

For example, the rare guppies and rare betta fish have been selling very well over the last year or so but the high price tags usually only come for the very rare colors and patterns and even then, you have to get them in front of the right buyer.

Trends for the rare colors and patterns change on a regular basis too and it looks like the next trend is actually going to be mystery snails rather than fish with black mystery snails, blue mystery snails, and purple mystery snails being in demand right now.

You also have to factor this in when trying to breed fish for a profit as we see people setting up a breeding operation for fish that are in demand but a year or two later, trends have changed and they struggle to sell their fish.

In the age of social media, trends are changing much quicker than they used to due to a pretty looking fish going viral on social media and pushing peoples interest to the next new hot fish species.

Will Local Pet Stores Buy Fish From You?

The majority of local pet stores will not actually purchase from a hobbies fish breeder unless you are able to supply rare fish to them.

This is due to the majority of pet stores being under contract with their main wholesaler for their fish as well as their insurance policy strictly prohibiting the purchase of fish from outside of their standard supply chain too.

The small number of fish keepers who do manage to get an agreement to sell their fish to a pet store usually have to have a registered business address to as residential addresses will not be accepted into the larger pet store supply chains.

This is due to a number of problems back in the 1990’s where diseases and breed defects we introduced into the fish supply and some pet stores were found liable and ordered to pay damages due to diseases causing havoc on a number of private tanks.

It is just easier for pet stores to stick to their current, established fish wholesalers where they can also rely on a constant supply of fish when required.

We would imagine that too many of the smaller pet stores have been burned by fish keepers thinking that they are able to consistently deliver rare looking fish to them only to find that they got lucky and are unable to consistently breed the rare looking guppies or betta fish that people want.

How Do I Sell Unwanted Fish?

The easiest way for your to sell unwanted fish or baby fish that you have bred is to sell them to fish keepers in your local area or to sell them online.

A number of fish keepers have been able to set up successful businesses via having their own online stores for their rare fish with some of them being able to consistently produce fish so rare that they actually have a waiting list with people paying a large amount of money for their fish.

Moving forward, we would recommend this path to any of our readers looking to sell their fish. Pet stores have too many hoops to jump through and may require contracts for the number of fish that you are able to supply them each month that can be difficult to reach as an amateur fish keeper.

Many online stores have banned the sale of live animals now but ebay has a thriving section for selling rare fish right now with demand only increasing.

As we mentioned earlier, the rare guppies and rare betta fish are selling well so you can check the kind of price tags that people are paying for them. The same goes for the black mystery snails, blue mystery snails, and purple mystery snails that have seen a huge spike in popularity over the last couple of months.

Do You Need A License To Breed And Sell Fish?

Some areas will require you to have a license to breed and sell fish so you will have to check the local regulations in your area.

Some pet stores will also require you to have some form of a licence to be able to supply them but this is usually due to the requirements of their insurance rather than the pet store actually wanting you to have the license.

The type of license that you require can range from state to state and country to country too. Sometimes you may require an official government license to sell fish where as in other areas you may require a license from a non-government organization that acts as the governing body for breeding and selling fish in that area.

Some states and countries have no requirements and anyone is able to breed and sell fish without having to get a license of any type.

In some situations, you may require a license to breed some types of fish but not others too. This is usually due to the various invasive species causing havoc in local water ways increasing with each year that goes by.

The regulations also change every few years so it is often more hassle than its worth for most people but you will have to check the specific laws for your local area for the most accurate information.


That brings our article going over selling fish to pet stores to an end. Although a very small number of people are able to successfully set up a business selling fish to pet stores, it is much harder than most people think and even the people who are able to get supply contracts will rarely turn much of a profit. The best option for most people is to set up their own online store or sell their fish via ebay as the demand for rare fish on ebay just keeps on getting larger with each year that goes by.