How to Grow Aquarium Plants for Profit
Although caring for aquatic plants is not easy, it can be a rewarding experience. However, once your aquarium has started to flourish, and the overgrown vegetation starts to take its toll, what should you do? Is it possible to sell your extra trimmings as an extra source of income? You need to decide how much time, money and effort you are willing invest. 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. We will discuss three methods to sell aquarium plants in order to increase effort and 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. The store is the only one that offers wholesale prices and has a great customer service team. However, most stores don’t like to buy from hobbyists because people bring in a giant bag or bucket full of trimmings, and it takes too much work to separate the plants, count them, cut them to the right length, and throw away those covered in algae.
The general manager sees it as much easier dealing with a wholesaler. They can order from a list, and the product arrives 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. Prepackage stem plants in bundles of 4-5 stems, each measuring 5-6 inches (12-15cm) in length. They can quickly die in groups so stores often buy them at a low price. You can increase the price by placing the plants in rock wool pots with 1/2 inch (1 cm) space between each stem. This will prevent the stems rotting and allow them to start producing roots. Customers can then grow them more successfully at their home.
Place your plants in rock wool pots that look professional and ready for sale to increase their value.
Dropping off plants at non-peak times can help store managers. This is most commonly during weekdays. Yes, those times may be inconvenient for you if you have a full-time job or school, but you don’t want to bring in your goods during their busiest periods when they won’t have time to help you. Most shops need to have fresh stock ready to sell before weekend rushes when sales are high. So talk to the manager about the best times 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. You should not press them to buy all your stock. This can cause a strained relationship that will result in the store stopping 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. While there may be more online buyers than there are store customers, the prices of live plants can sometimes be less expensive because there is more supply from 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. Create listings that have appealing descriptions, attractive plant photos, a list of your water parameters and growing conditions, and clear explanations of shipping costs and live arrival guarantees. Customer support is another responsibility. Be prepared to promptly answer questions on what kind of lighting you use, why the plants are doing badly, and how to submit a refund.
Be clear about what you are selling and meet expectations. Establish a reputation as a supplier of high-quality plants. If you do your job well and customers have a good experience, they will come back to you for repeat sales.
Most plant farms that cultivate submerged plants can’t guarantee that their plants are free from snails.
Expert Mode: Ramping Up Production of Aquatic Plants
The main difference between being a professional versus a casual seller is scale. You are now selling more than just plants you have in your aquariums. You will be competing against large plant farms that prefer to grow their plants out of water or emersed. 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 allows you to charge higher than farms as submerged plants are more likely to survive in customers’ aquariums. Additionally, stores won’t waste time cleaning up melted leaves from emersed plants.
When buying supplies, the key is to spend as little money as possible. Remember that you are also competing with other smaller plant farms like yourself who may have certain advantages like outdoor ponds, great weather, and so forth. They already have a leg up in terms of cost of production, so you need to save expenses in other areas if possible. There are some items you can buy:
– Water container: You don’t have to use aquariums for plants. Instead, consider smaller, more affordable options such as hydroponic racks, plastic tubs, and cement bins. For stem plants that are 6-8 inches tall (15-20 cm), taller tanks will need stronger lighting. Shallower tanks may be suitable for plants smaller than anubias, nana petit. – carbon dioxide (CO2) : CO2 gas, when combined with adequate levels of nutrients and lighting, is an essential building block that allows plants to grow more quickly. It can also help you sell them faster. 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. Pressurized CO2 injection is the most reliable and expensive method. This involves using regulators, cylinders of CO2 gas, and manifolds that spread to multiple tanks. Fertilizer We add Easy Green all-in-1 liquid fertilizer (using an automatic dosing device) to our water to ensure our plants get enough nutrients. If you have experience with plant care, you can measure the water in your home to find out if there are any nutrients missing. Then choose the fertilizer that will best suit 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.
The market you’re targeting, the people who are interested in buying it, and your skills at growing plants will determine which plants you should buy or cultivate. 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 a ton of buyers, but plants tend to go for cheaper prices. 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.
The last tip we have for plant sellers is to make sure you don’t run out of stock as often as possible. It is better to not sell a rare plant if you can’t sell it for 6-8 months. You don’t want your website to be full of products that are out of stock because then customers may become frustrated or assume you are no longer in business. Stick to a handful of species and categories of plants you can mass-produce and are able to specialize in. If you decide to expand, make sure you can still keep your current offerings in stock or else buyers will look for another, more 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.