ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Start A Tropical Ornamental Fish Farming Unit

Updated on October 11, 2012

Rearing Ornamental Fish For profit

Rearing tropical fish is a satisfying hobby. You are able to watch life develop from what seems to be nothing as a result of the effort and care that you put in. It can become even more rewarding if you are able to breed fish successfully as a small business opportunity and sell the offspring to other enthusiasts.

Setting up a tropical fish rearing unit on a scale that can be profitable is not as difficult as you may imagine. There are however some areas that need special attention if you are to succeed. This article will look at the example of rearing freshwater discus fish. These are in fact moderately tricky but the resulting young fish can fetch high prices and so the effort can be well worth while.

Discus with young

The Equipment Needed

The system being described here utilises eight glass aquariaplumbed to a central filtration system. A central system reduces the amount ofwork needed to look after each tank but means that you must ensure that yourfish husbandry and hygiene procedures are top notch.

Each tank is 15 inches deep by 18 inches high by 24 incheswide and contains around 80 litres of water. The water is continually flowinginto each tank and drains out to a plastic collecting tank filled with biofiltration media. The water passes through the media and up to another smallerheader tank from which it flows by gravity back into each of the eight tanks.

Thermostatically controlled heaters are placed in thecentral collecting tank such that all water is fed to the individual tanks ataround 29 degrees centigrade. The fish room stays at not far below thistemperature and so only little power is used heating the water. Airstones areplaced in each tank and in the central collecting tank.

Stocking The Tanks

Three month old discuss are stocked into a couple of the tanks to grow on for at least nine months to become mature adults. In practice the growing fish often start pairing up and getting ready to spawn after only six months of growing on. When the fish do pair up you will need to remove them to their own tank so that they can spawn in peace. Aim to get the best five spawning pairs into their own tanks leaving a tank for the remaining fish, a tank to take juveniles and a spare tank.

Feed the adolescent fish at least twice per day and clean the bottoms of the bare tanks shortly after feeding, thus keeping the system spotlessly clean. The best food is proprietary frozen discus food or your own recipe made from beef-heart, added vitamins and other ingredients.

Soon the fish will start to demonstrate spawning behaviour. One of the benefits of the central filtration system is that the stimulating hormones secreted by maturing fish mean that when one pair begins to establish itself into a spawning ritual the other pairs will all follow suit shortly afterwards.

Eggs will be laid on the glass wall or on spawning substrate such as an inverted plant pot that you have added to the tank. It is possible to remove the fertile eggs and rear them artificially. However, to begin it is best to learn sequence by allowing the parent fish to rear their young naturally. The eggs will hatch and the little fish will slowly absorb their egg sack. Eventually they will be ready to feed and this will first be from the mucus on the parents flanks. It is an amazing sight, seeing hundreds of baby discuss swarming from one parent to the other as they feed.

Weaning The Juveniles

After around three to four weeks it will be necessary to addfood for the babies. This should initially be live food that can includerotifers and artemia. Live culture of these will need to be kept in your minihatchery and kits can be obtained from your local aquarium supplies. As thelittle fish grow, you can introduce them to fine pellet food and eventually to the same food as the parents cut very finely.

Within six to eight weeks it may be time to remove thebabies to a separate tank where they can be looked after better than when withtheir parents. The adults can also be given a rest, fed plenty of food andallowed to recover before they start all over again!

Selling The Juveniles

A breeding pair of discus may lay between 300 to 500 eggs each time but you will be lucky to rear 20 to 30 of these to juvenile stages. However, by the time they are three months old they may be worth several pounds each. You can advertise in one of the several tropical fish hobbyist magazines available, through your local aquatic stores or through a tropical fish group. Having your own web site with photos of the adults and the juveniles together with your rearing system (which must be seen to be spotless) can be a good selling forum.

In Conclusion

This article has explained the fundamental stages of setting up a small home based discus fish hatchery. A portion of a garage (so long as it is warm) or a small room can be used to house eight or more tanks easily. A unit like this can be run part time while you are working, though it is useful if there is somebody at home during the day when little juveniles are being weaned.

I have made the process sound simple. It is – but there is also a lot more to learn if you are serious about giving it a go. A good way to start would be to keep an indoor tank of six or eight discuss for a year or so to learn about their care. This time would also be spent maturing the fish into breeding pairs.

There is a lot to go wrong also. For example, at my first attempt I was able to get four breeding pairs from my first batch of bought in baby discuss. They were all laying eggs and I was getting to grips with rearing the babies – when the local water authority flushed their pipes with disinfectant. When I topped up the recirculation unit the discus unfortunately succumbed. I learned from this mistake that all water introduced to a discus recirculation system should be filtered using a combination of filters (reverse osmosis, carbon, UV etc.). A valuable lesson!

To be honest, successfully rearing baby discuss is reward in itself. However as a small business opportunity this small hatchery can both pay for itself and bring in a handy second income. Selling a couple of hundred babies every year can earn you a £1000 to £2000 ($1500 to $3000). If you are able to succeed at this scale you could consider a fully commercial unit of fifty tanks that can generate a useful income for the full time operator.However for me this will remain a hobby!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Excellent weblog here! Additionally your website rather a lot up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate link for your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    • profile image


      7 years ago



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)