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Getting rich with bettas
29-10-2013, 12:08 PM
Post: #1
Tongue Getting rich with bettas
Getting rich with bettas

By Jit Sin (first posted in old BSM Forum)

I am sorry. The title may have misled you. This article isn't about how you can strike it rich with bettas. It's about why you can't.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to be pessimistic or cynical. Neither am I trying to put you away from the hobby so that I can get rich. The truth of the matter is: it's not going to happen. You're not going to get rich.

To the hobbyists who have been keeping show bettas for years, I pose this question: How much have you been making from selling your show bettas? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

The truth of the matter is, it's probably closer to zero. Even if you manage to sell a few pairs from a spawn, there isn't much left from that “profit” after you deduct the cost of water, electricity, food, containers, and various chemicals such as salt or medication. Don't forget, all the man-hours you put in for water change and feeding. Assuming you took another job, the time spent on your fishes would have made you money instead of spending money.

I have been in the show betta scene for only 1.5 years and yet I have seen a number of people disappointed and leaving the hobby. The reason? It's not lucrative.

Well, my retort to them has always been, if you're looking for something lucrative, go keep arowanas or flowerhorns. Bettas have never been something to make you rich. You can make a living out of it, yes. But please do not expect to suddenly be able to afford big cars and flashy cellphones. It's not going to happen.

I try to dispel any myth about growing rich with bettas amongst the new hobbyists. The first thing I tell them when I meet someone new is this: Keep it a hobby and you won't be disappointed. It's so easy to think that just because you bought your pair of show bettas for a large sum of money, you should be able to sell their offspring for bucket-loads of money.

Well, wake up and smell the microworms, buddy!

Let's see here. You have to cull. You have to take into account the ones that never make it. You have to keep a few for breeders and you have to take time to stabilize your line. Let's be fair here. You won't sell your best female and neither will the person who sold you your pair. At the end of the day, you have, at most, 6 to 7 pairs of really acceptable fish. Are you going to sell all of them? Of course not. At the most, you will sell a couple of pairs.

So you've made back the money you spent on the original pair. Congratulations. Have you factored in the money and time you spent to grow them up? Probably not.

Keeping it as a hobby
Why do I tell people to keep it as a hobby? Simply because we cannot compete with the Thais. J This may seem defeatist but it is true. They have daphnia for the fry and bloodworms for the adults, both of which are caught from their own earthen ponds. This means food is free for the breeders. They get food for free while we have to pay huge amounts.

Over here in Malaysia, a slab of bloodworms cost USD0.45 depending on quality. Over in Thailand, a bucket probably costs less than 10 cents. Let's also not forget that the home breeders have to drive back and forth to the supply shop. Petrol costs money. Factor in the wear and tear that goes into your car. The numbers get scary.

Don't forget that workers' wages are also extremely cheap over in Thailand. Water costs are almost negligible and the weather there is perfect. After all, splendens came from Thailand originally. Hobbyists over in Europe and America may need to install heaters and water softeners. Some of us even heat the entire fish room. Think about these uncalculated costs.

At the end of the day, we lose out in terms of cost efficiency. When the thai sellers sell for USD10 or 15, it is almost entirely profit. For the rest of us, we probably would have made a dollar or two. Big deal. I sometimes pick up more than that from the roadside.

Breeding of show bettas should not be for money. It should be for the passion. It should be because of appreciation of their beauty. When making money becomes your prime reason for being in the scene, you lose perspective of what it means. Ask yourself, are you keeping them because you hope they will make you money or because you like them personally?

I will be truthful in telling you something. Those of us with contacts will be able to get show grade shortfin plakats (HMPK) at USD5 to 8 per pair. You don't even have to buy in bulk. How are we going to compete? Well, actually, we can, but not in terms of cost. For now, we are merely talking about bettas and moneymaking.

Recently, I overheard someone who said he was quitting the hobby. The reason was because he tried to sell his fish for RM120 a pair (that works out to be about USD35). His potential customer said he could get it for much less from other places. And hence, in a fit of rage, he declared he would quit the hobby. Looking at this scenario, if the person had been breeding for the love of the hobby and not for profit, do you think he would have quit? Obviously not.

Trading fish for food

Sometimes, when a hobbyist comes to my place to look at my fishes, they ask me if any of them are for sale. More often than not, my fish are usually not for sale. For one, whatever I keep are my breeders, otherwise, they are either too old or too young to be sold.

In the rare cases where I do sell my fish, I ask if they plan to keep it just for show or do they plan to spawn it. If they are entirely new and oblivious to show betta standards, I pass them some poorer quality ones AND inform them that it is by no means show grade or breed worthy. If they intend to get into the show betta-breeding scene, then I shall charge them because they will need better quality fishes to begin with.

After selling the newcomers a pair (assuming they do buy from me), we become friends and more often than not, they become my partners. We no longer talk about buying or selling fish from each other. After all, do you keep trying to make money from your friends? Maybe some do, but I don't. It really is difficult to put a price on the value of your friendship, isn't it?

At the end of the day, it is about the friends you make in the hobby. Believe it or not, I have had the chance to build a good network of friends with different backgrounds and from various fields. These are the people who may one day help you, not just in terms of the hobby but also in terms of your life.

Before I end this article, let me break down some figures for you. It may or may not be enlightening, but it sure will bring reality into view.

Cost of raising a spawn of HMPKs:
Buying a pair of breeders – USD35
Spawn tank ( I use Styrofoam boxes) USD 1.5 (I'm not sure of the prices over in the States or Europe)
Plants and water lets put it at USD1

After the eggs hatch:
Daphnia/moina- average spawn size of about 100 fry- USD 0.5 every other day for about 1 month, that's USD7.5.
Tubifex: USD2 per can/week for 2 months- USD16 at the end of 2 months.

Buying jars and containers, I use the ones that cost USD 0.50 each. Assuming you only jar males and the sex ratio is 50/50- Jars will cost you USD 25.

So the total cost for the above is USD86. Sounds like a lot yeah?

Here's more. Assuming you are a responsible breeder and do not want to spread bad genes into the community, you will cull about 50% or more of your current spawn. Leaving you with about 50 adults. From there, some will die and some will still be undesirable. At three months onwards, you have to start feeding them with bloodworms or pellets, both of which are not cheap.

Have you thought about the water? The petrol?
For me, I drive 5 km to and fro, with a mileage consumption of about USD 0.33 per trip. Per month that's USD5.
I drive about 15 km return trip to get my tubifex worms. For two months, the petrol cost is USD8.

There's more. Wear and tear on my car. My tyres. The water I use to clean the tubifex. And the list goes on. When we take all of these costs into account, is it still lucrative to breed bettas for selling? The answer is probably a big NO.

In order not to burnout or lose interest, go into the hobby with clear ideas on how it should be and not what it can be. I hope that I have not offended anyone with this article.
It is not meant to insult or to spoil anyone's dreams. It is my take on the situation of the hobby and is by no means reflective of everyone's opinion.

Take it with a pinch of salt. More often than not, we just need something to read while we slack off at work.
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29-10-2013, 01:32 PM
Post: #2
RE: Getting rich with bettas
nicethreadI agree
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01-11-2013, 04:05 PM
Post: #3
RE: Getting rich with bettas
I agree wit u jit.For a poor breeder like me,it cost rm30 for the first month just for the food.If u count on the cost it will negetive,but the fun and happiness are uncountheble.Exspecialy when your spawn get nice fish.

Think about the experience we get.Ordinary person wont get this experience.We are special when we know something that ordinary people dont know.We have a pride that other people dont have''breeder".Who knows that our idea or inovesion will useful for the future.We are different from others.

I choose this hobby bcus i realy dont have many friends .Now i know uncle randy,khai,bobby and others.Furthermore,i know how to choose,rise,spawn,feed,and keep betta.Im the first person in my family who have spawn fish.At first they think im crazy.When i show them my f1 to them,they were speechless.

Nowdays i stop this hobby bcuz of SPM.They(my family) think i quit but i wont.
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09-02-2014, 03:54 PM
Post: #4
RE: Getting rich with bettas
(29-10-2013 12:08 PM)choonminlee Wrote:  Getting rich with bettas

By Jit Sin (first posted in old BSM Forum)

I am sorry. The title may have misled you. This article isn't about how you can strike it rich with bettas. It's about why you can't.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to be pessimistic or cynical. Neither am I trying to put you away from the hobby so that I can get rich. The truth of the matter is: it's not going to happen. You're not going to get rich.

To the hobbyists who have been keeping show bettas for years, I pose this question: How much have you been making from selling your show bettas? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

The truth of the matter is, it's probably closer to zero. Even if you manage to sell a few pairs from a spawn, there isn't much left from that “profit” after you deduct the cost of water, electricity, food, containers, and various chemicals such as salt or medication. Don't forget, all the man-hours you put in for water change and feeding. Assuming you took another job, the time spent on your fishes would have made you money instead of spending money.

I have been in the show betta scene for only 1.5 years and yet I have seen a number of people disappointed and leaving the hobby. The reason? It's not lucrative.

Well, my retort to them has always been, if you're looking for something lucrative, go keep arowanas or flowerhorns. Bettas have never been something to make you rich. You can make a living out of it, yes. But please do not expect to suddenly be able to afford big cars and flashy cellphones. It's not going to happen.

I try to dispel any myth about growing rich with bettas amongst the new hobbyists. The first thing I tell them when I meet someone new is this: Keep it a hobby and you won't be disappointed. It's so easy to think that just because you bought your pair of show bettas for a large sum of money, you should be able to sell their offspring for bucket-loads of money.

Well, wake up and smell the microworms, buddy!

Let's see here. You have to cull. You have to take into account the ones that never make it. You have to keep a few for breeders and you have to take time to stabilize your line. Let's be fair here. You won't sell your best female and neither will the person who sold you your pair. At the end of the day, you have, at most, 6 to 7 pairs of really acceptable fish. Are you going to sell all of them? Of course not. At the most, you will sell a couple of pairs.

So you've made back the money you spent on the original pair. Congratulations. Have you factored in the money and time you spent to grow them up? Probably not.

Keeping it as a hobby
Why do I tell people to keep it as a hobby? Simply because we cannot compete with the Thais. J This may seem defeatist but it is true. They have daphnia for the fry and bloodworms for the adults, both of which are caught from their own earthen ponds. This means food is free for the breeders. They get food for free while we have to pay huge amounts.

Over here in Malaysia, a slab of bloodworms cost USD0.45 depending on quality. Over in Thailand, a bucket probably costs less than 10 cents. Let's also not forget that the home breeders have to drive back and forth to the supply shop. Petrol costs money. Factor in the wear and tear that goes into your car. The numbers get scary.

Don't forget that workers' wages are also extremely cheap over in Thailand. Water costs are almost negligible and the weather there is perfect. After all, splendens came from Thailand originally. Hobbyists over in Europe and America may need to install heaters and water softeners. Some of us even heat the entire fish room. Think about these uncalculated costs.

At the end of the day, we lose out in terms of cost efficiency. When the thai sellers sell for USD10 or 15, it is almost entirely profit. For the rest of us, we probably would have made a dollar or two. Big deal. I sometimes pick up more than that from the roadside.

Breeding of show bettas should not be for money. It should be for the passion. It should be because of appreciation of their beauty. When making money becomes your prime reason for being in the scene, you lose perspective of what it means. Ask yourself, are you keeping them because you hope they will make you money or because you like them personally?

I will be truthful in telling you something. Those of us with contacts will be able to get show grade shortfin plakats (HMPK) at USD5 to 8 per pair. You don't even have to buy in bulk. How are we going to compete? Well, actually, we can, but not in terms of cost. For now, we are merely talking about bettas and moneymaking.

Recently, I overheard someone who said he was quitting the hobby. The reason was because he tried to sell his fish for RM120 a pair (that works out to be about USD35). His potential customer said he could get it for much less from other places. And hence, in a fit of rage, he declared he would quit the hobby. Looking at this scenario, if the person had been breeding for the love of the hobby and not for profit, do you think he would have quit? Obviously not.

Trading fish for food

Sometimes, when a hobbyist comes to my place to look at my fishes, they ask me if any of them are for sale. More often than not, my fish are usually not for sale. For one, whatever I keep are my breeders, otherwise, they are either too old or too young to be sold.

In the rare cases where I do sell my fish, I ask if they plan to keep it just for show or do they plan to spawn it. If they are entirely new and oblivious to show betta standards, I pass them some poorer quality ones AND inform them that it is by no means show grade or breed worthy. If they intend to get into the show betta-breeding scene, then I shall charge them because they will need better quality fishes to begin with.

After selling the newcomers a pair (assuming they do buy from me), we become friends and more often than not, they become my partners. We no longer talk about buying or selling fish from each other. After all, do you keep trying to make money from your friends? Maybe some do, but I don't. It really is difficult to put a price on the value of your friendship, isn't it?

At the end of the day, it is about the friends you make in the hobby. Believe it or not, I have had the chance to build a good network of friends with different backgrounds and from various fields. These are the people who may one day help you, not just in terms of the hobby but also in terms of your life.

Before I end this article, let me break down some figures for you. It may or may not be enlightening, but it sure will bring reality into view.

Cost of raising a spawn of HMPKs:
Buying a pair of breeders – USD35
Spawn tank ( I use Styrofoam boxes) USD 1.5 (I'm not sure of the prices over in the States or Europe)
Plants and water lets put it at USD1

After the eggs hatch:
Daphnia/moina- average spawn size of about 100 fry- USD 0.5 every other day for about 1 month, that's USD7.5.
Tubifex: USD2 per can/week for 2 months- USD16 at the end of 2 months.

Buying jars and containers, I use the ones that cost USD 0.50 each. Assuming you only jar males and the sex ratio is 50/50- Jars will cost you USD 25.

So the total cost for the above is USD86. Sounds like a lot yeah?

Here's more. Assuming you are a responsible breeder and do not want to spread bad genes into the community, you will cull about 50% or more of your current spawn. Leaving you with about 50 adults. From there, some will die and some will still be undesirable. At three months onwards, you have to start feeding them with bloodworms or pellets, both of which are not cheap.

Have you thought about the water? The petrol?
For me, I drive 5 km to and fro, with a mileage consumption of about USD 0.33 per trip. Per month that's USD5.
I drive about 15 km return trip to get my tubifex worms. For two months, the petrol cost is USD8.

There's more. Wear and tear on my car. My tyres. The water I use to clean the tubifex. And the list goes on. When we take all of these costs into account, is it still lucrative to breed bettas for selling? The answer is probably a big NO.

In order not to burnout or lose interest, go into the hobby with clear ideas on how it should be and not what it can be. I hope that I have not offended anyone with this article.
It is not meant to insult or to spoil anyone's dreams. It is my take on the situation of the hobby and is by no means reflective of everyone's opinion.

Take it with a pinch of salt. More often than not, we just need something to read while we slack off at work.

Found this great tread by Jit, could not agreed more. That sums up a lots of things in life... Bettafish keeping is one, raising kids after courtship and married etc by human beings are no dissimilar either. Price is always forgotten well after Value is long remembered, the Joy of meeting desired objectives can be very satisfying.

That is life...and it's a process that comes with lots of thrills and spills.
I have no show betta to list, but getting some excitements when the Longkang betta from Pasar Malam ah tan spawned and seeing the offsprings growing bigger by the day.
(I did raise some chooks / hens in the past, the number of breeds are plentiful (no different from betta), those different colour eggs that I collected each morning were just exceptionally fresh. Did I get into commercial farming chicken for kampong eggs and chicken - No! Did I get into Hydroponic vegetables farming after tasting the home grown veggies - No, only spent a lot of resources/time.)

One of my goals in this forum would to learn & eventually spawn and raising one good quality line, and get to know people and perhaps to have someone who can continue the line when I am off travel or sabbatical or quit the love one day for various reasons eg relocation or move to new stuff etc..

Sounded like succession planning at the starting point!
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12-02-2014, 06:38 PM
Post: #5
RE: Getting rich with bettas
Ahh I remember reding this thread at the end of 2010, 3 yrs down the line I can now say that this is completely true.....

Reds R my speciality..... But cts n fancy r also on my list
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29-11-2016, 01:24 PM
Post: #6
RE: Getting rich with bettas
you sure about this mate?
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