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Under the spotlight
25th March 2019

By Sandra Pearce

Robert Woods is a third-generation fishkeeper and has raised freshwater fish since childhood. He currently has a 150-gallon freshwater tank and has educated more than 250,000 people through his blog Fishkeeping World. He assesses popular ornamentals and their breeding potential.

‘Designer’ clownfish

At Fishkeeping World, we have recently seen a huge surge in the popularity of so-called designer clownfish in a number of different colors, for example the black and white clownfish ‘Black Storm’.

Where regular clownfish sell for between $15 and $20 (£13-17.50), a unique color variant such as the ‘Goldflake Maroon Clown’ have achieved figures upwards of $160 (£140). Breeding clownfish isn’t particularly difficult, but raising the fry does require quite a lot of time and effort.

Discus

These beautiful fish have remained a constant in the aquarium world for the last few decades. They have held their value because of their beauty, but also because they are quite tricky to breed.

The initial outlay can be expensive – you’ll need a few tanks, one for your brood stock, a breeding tank, growing tanks, and a brineshrimp hatching set up. They also require high-quality water conditions, so you’ll likely need an RO unit, and your water bill will be high because they require lots of water changes.

However, holding a decent price tag, you can turn over a steady and reliable income due to the longstanding presence they’ve had in the industry.

Zebra plecs

These are possibly one of the most lucrative fish and highly sought after in the industry today. The set-up for breeding zebra plecs is much smaller than the initial outlay for discus, but they are harder to breed and raise the young.

They also don’t lay huge amounts of eggs, typically around 15 eggs per spawn. But with a high re-sale price, they’ll give you a good return on your time and money.

Dwarf cichlids

Llet’s go back to basics with this relatively easy-to-breed fish. You’ll only need a simple tank with leaf litter, some plants and a few caves to start breeding. You might want to hatch your own brineshrimp to feed the fry once they’ve hatched, and you’ll need to wait until the fry have grown to a reasonable size and are showing colours before you can sell them.

However, once they are ready for sale they’re worth anywhere from $10-100 (£9-90). Considering they can lay anywhere from 50 to 1,000 eggs per spawn, depending on the species, and that they are already very popular and in demand, they can be quite a profitable fish to breed.