How To Start A Small Scale Ornamental Fish Farming Business

A small-scale ornamental fish farming is a profitable business. And any individual can start this business as home-based. Here in this article, we intend to explore how to start a small-scale ornamental fish farming business.

Ornamental fish farming is a financially lucrative project and also self-rewarding. In addition, keeping aquarium fishes is one of the oldest and most popular hobbies in the world. However, you must have some basic skill and knowledge about the breeding and rearing. Broadly, we can find 2 categories according to the breeding behaviour. These are egg layers (oviparous) and livebearers (ovo-viviparous).The growing interest in aquarium fishes has resulted in a steady increase in aquarium fish trade globally.

The growing interest in aquarium fishes has resulted in a steady increase in aquarium fish trade globally. The top exporting country is Singapore followed by Honking, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Srilanka, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. However, the largest importer of Ornamental fish is the USA followed by Europe and Japan. The growth of ornamental fish trade globally is very much encouraging. Most of the ornamental fishes cultured and marketed are exotic species.

Basic Requirement To Start Ornamental Fish Farming Business


The tanks can be of RCC or brick masonry work having flat bottoms with inlet and outlet pipes. Also, you can use clay, cement, fibreglass or plastic tanks. However, you must perform rearing of fishes in large tanks. The size of the tanks varies according to space, the number, and type of fish culture.


Glass tanks of varying size are required for breeding. You can use small glass bottles of 250 ml for keeping individual male fighter fishes. Number and size of the glass tanks depend on the specific breeding/spawning behavior of the species selected.

Overhead tank 

An overhead tank of suitable size for storing and to enable sedimentation of water is required.

Water Supply 

Deep tube wells are the best source of water. Also, you can try recycling of water through bio-filters or another sort of filtering mechanism. Other sources like dug wells, municipal water if available can also be used. Furthermore, you must have a small pump to lift the water to the overhead tank and a network of pipes to feed the culture tanks.

Work Shed 

Work shed should be designed in such a way that the tanks get filtered sunlight. Translucent HDPE sheets can be used. This also protects the culture tanks from falling debris and bird dropping etc.

Aeration equipment 

A blower pump with a network of tubes for aeration is a must. Additionally, you must ensure continuous power supply through generator set or UPS or inverter.

How To Start Ornamental Fish Farming Business

Like any other livestock farming, ornamental fish farming may attract financial losses because of poor management, and disease attack. So it is very important to handle the farm carefully. The basic requirements for successful breeding and rearing of ornamental fish are adequate space, quality water, and sufficient feed.

Business Plan

This is the first of any business. And it is applicable here also. There are several factors you must determine before writing the business plan. Determine whether you want to initiate a breeding and rearing farm or only rearing farm. Because you will need to put the other things on the basis of this. Then select the fish species. It is advisable to start with small. Craft a financial projection. And of course, determine your marketing plan. Where to sell the fishes. How you would going to compete with other sellers.

Select Farm Location

First of all, you must fix a location. You can start from your backyard. You can also initiate the business from a rental location. However, try to ensure a location nearby market. So you can access easily the market and transportation facility both.

Prepare Fish Tank or Pond

You can start ornamental fish farming with the tank. And you can use plastic, cement or glass tank. If you want to offer retail sale from your farm, then it advisable to use glass tank. However, you can also use the pond. You will need to procure small and big tanks. Generally, small tanks are used for growing fish fingerlings. And you can use large tank or pond for rearing big fishes.

Select Fishes

According to the local market demand select the fishes carefully. However, you can also initiate a fully export-oriented fish farm. And for that, you must depend on the international market demand. However, some of the most popular aquarium fish species are Molly, Guppy, Platy, Swordtail, Blue Gourami, Pearl Gourami, Rosy Barb, Gold Fish, S Fighter, Angel etc.

Fish Rearing

In ornamental fish farming, you must manage the farm efficiently. Generally, you can use cement tanks.  Cement tanks are easy to maintain and durable. You can sock one species in one tank. However, in the case of compatible species, two or three species can occupy the same tank. Ground water from dug wells / deep tube wells/ borewells is the best for rearing fish. The fishes reach marketable size in around 4 to 6 months. You can harvest eight to ten crops in a year.


Young fish are fed mainly with Infusoria, Artemia, Daphnia, Mosquito larvae Tubifex and Blood worms. For rearing, you can use formulated artificial or prepared feed. However, try to develop a feed that has a low polluting effect, cheap to prepare and easy to store.

Also Read: 15 Most Profitable Cut Flower Production Business Ideas

Promote Your Ornamental Fish Farming Business

Proper promotion of the product is important. Aquarium shop is a very good option. You can sell you fishes from your own shop. In addition, you can also distribute the fishes to the other retail outlets. Register your business with local b2b directories. Create your business website. Join the fish farming associations. Finally, try to build a wide and strong distribution channel to promote your ornamental fish farming business.

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