How to Grow Aquarium Plants For Profit

How to Grow Aquarium Plants for Profit

It can be difficult to care for aquatic plants. But once the tank starts flourishing, how do you deal with the excess? It is possible to make additional income by selling your trimmings. Like most side hustles you will need to consider how much time, effort, and money you are willing to put into it. While some people are just looking for a hobby, others want to make enough money to pay their expenses. Some are serious entrepreneurs hoping to be able to compete against large plant farms. To address these different levels of commitment, let’s discuss three approaches for selling aquarium plants, in order of increasing effort and potential revenue.


Easy Mode: Selling Plants to Fish Stores

If your fish tanks are growing well and you need a place to offload your excess floating plants or stem plants, then your local fish store is the good place to start. There isn’t a lot of competition (besides the wholesalers), and the store takes care of all the customer support. Many stores are reluctant to purchase from hobbyists. They don’t like it when they have to sort through the trimmings and cut the plants to the right length.

In the general manager’s eyes, it’s a lot simpler dealing with a wholesaler because they can order whatever they want from a list and it shows up packaged in a box. Therefore, if you want to compete with the wholesaler, you need to supply the fish store with an alternative that saves them time and effort. You can prepackage your stem plants into bunches of 4 to 5 stems measuring between 12 and 15 cm in length. They are easy to kill in large quantities so they are often sold at very low prices. If you want to raise the price, invest the extra effort to place the plants in pots of rock wool with a 1/2 inch (1 cm) of space between each stem. This helps prevent the stems from becoming rotten and encourages roots to develop, which will help customers grow their plants more successfully at home.

You can increase the value of your plants with rock wool plastic pots. They look professional and are ready for you to sell.

You can also make it easier for the store manager to drop off plants during non-peak hours, which is usually on weekdays. You may find these times difficult if you work full-time or have children, but it is best to not bring your goods in during peak hours when they are busy and won’t be able to help. Usually stores want a fresh stock of plants ready to sell right before the weekend rush when sales are the highest, so talk to the manager to find out the best time to stop by each week.

Not only should you find out when the store wants to buy plants, but also what kind of plants they need. Stop selling plants that they aren’t interested in. Do not pressure them to purchase all of your stock. If you become too difficult, it will endanger the relationship and they will cease buying from you.

Intermediate Mode: Selling Aquarium Plants Online

If you are producing more than your store wants to sell, the next step may be to try selling live plants through AquaBid, eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, or other e-commerce websites. Yes, there are a lot more buyers on the internet than store customers, but prices may sometimes be cheaper because there’s also a lot of supply from other hobbyists and importers.

When you sold to your local fish store, they made things easier because they managed all the customer interactions. However, as an online seller, you must put on the new role of salesperson. Listings should have attractive descriptions, plant photos, detailed explanations about shipping costs, and live arrival guarantees. If something goes wrong, customer support will be another responsibility. You should be prepared to answer any questions about the lighting, why your plants are not doing well, and how to request a refund.

Make sure you know what you’re selling and that your expectations are met. Establish a reputation as a supplier of high-quality plants. Customers will return to you for repeat business if you do your job well.

Many plant farms that grow submersed crops cannot guarantee that the plants will be free of snails. Make sure to inform your customers in advance to avoid disappointment.


Expert Mode: Increasing Aquatic Plant Production

Scale is what makes a professional seller different from a casual one. You are now selling more than just plants you have in your aquariums. There are many large plant farms out there that grow plants in water, so you will be competing with them. Your main benefit to fish stores and online customers is that your plants are grown submersed or underwater, so you are saving the customer the time of having to convert their plants from emersed to submersed. This advantage allows you to charge more than the farms because (a) submersed plants have a higher likelihood of surviving in the customers’ aquariums and (b) stores don’t have to waste time cleaning out all the melted leaves that fall off emersed plants.

The key point when buying supplies is to spend the least amount of money as possible where it makes sense. You must remember that you will be competing with smaller farms, which may have some advantages such as outdoor ponds and great weather. They already have a leg up in terms of cost of production, so you need to save expenses in other areas if possible. Some items to purchase include:

Water containers: You don’t have to just use aquariums to grow plants, so consider cheaper, bigger options like plastic tubs, hydroponic racks, and outdoor cement bins. For stem plants that are 6-8 inches tall (15-20 cm), taller tanks will need stronger lighting. Shallow tanks can be outfitted with lower lighting, which might be a good choice for small plants such as anubias petite. – Carbon dioxide (CO2): When combined with appropriate levels of lighting and nutrients, CO2 gas is an important building block that helps plants to grow faster, which means you can sell them sooner. There are many ways to inject CO2, depending on how much you have and how many tanks you have. Each method has its pros and cons. The most expensive but reliable technique is pressurized CO2 injection using cylinders of CO2 gas, regulators, and manifolds to spread to multiple tanks. – Fertilizer Using an automated dosing machine, we add Easy Green all in one liquid fertilizer to water to ensure that our plants have sufficient nutrients and food. If you are experienced with plant keeping, measure your water to determine if certain nutrients are lacking and find the fertilizer that is most appropriate for your water.

Commercial farm farms prefer to have their aquariums emersed. This allows the leaves to grow higher and faster, but they can’t do as well if the plants are submerged in water.

As for which plants to buy and cultivate, this depends on which market you want to go after, what people in that market want to buy, and what kind of plants you are good at growing. If you want to sell to beginners, they usually look for easy and hardy plants like Anubias barteri, java fern, and java moss (which is hard to find as a submersed-grown product). The beginner market has many buyers but plants are more affordable. The high-end market, on the other hand, is interested in rare specimens like Anubias nana ‘Pangolino’ or newly discovered Bucephalandra species. These plants will sell at higher prices, so you’ll have fewer customers to care for and fewer tanks. However, be aware that rare plants eventually get picked up by the commercial plant farms that can produce them in much higher volume than you can, so you will constantly need to be hunting for the next new species to add to your inventory.

Our last tip for plant sellers: Avoid being “outof stock” as much possible. You might be better off not selling a rare or endangered plant if you’re only able sell it once every six to eight months. It is not a good idea to have your website full of out-of stock products. This could cause customers to become dissatisfied or make assumptions about whether you are still in business. Stick to a handful of species and categories of plants you can mass-produce and are able to specialize in. If you do decide to expand your business, be sure that you can keep your existing products in stock. Otherwise, buyers will search for a reliable supplier.

If you are interested in selling aquarium fish and invertebrates as well, check out our article on breeding aquatic species for profit for more information on the best fish to breed, what supplies to buy, and how to sell them.