TURNING YOUR KOI HOBBY INTO A FLOURISHING BUSINESS
TURNING YOUR KOI HOBBY INTO A FLOURISHING BUSINESS
Raising Koi for Profit
If you started your Koi pond with the intentions of selling Koi and making money, you must understand the koi market. Selling Koi is something like selling coins from a coin collection. Common coins sell for less than the rare ones do! Into which one of these markets do you intend to market your koi? If you choose to sell the rare and special Koi, you are going to need a lot of experience and a good sized investment in order to be able to compete with the vendors that are already selling their prized koi.
Hopefully, you are aware that you cannot take just any two Koi, put them together, and expect to get a batch of champion Koi for your efforts. You may wind up with 500,000 fry that are the color of mud, and good luck selling them! You must breed like to like in order to produce Koi that people will want to buy. It is a good idea to do some investigating, and find out what Koi variety is the most popular where you live. For example, in the United States, the metallic Koi are extremely popular. In order to breed what sells in America, you might want a trio of the Utsuri variety and the Hikarimoyo-mono variety in order to capitalize on this craving for fish bling!
In dog breeding, if you breed two poodles together, the outcome of that breeding will be poodles. The same is true with the Koi. For example, you must breed Kohaku to Kohaku in order to get that variety. There are people who enjoy crossbreeding the Koi that are of the Kawarimono variety to see what they get, but you should not depend on this idea to provide yourself with baby Koi to sell. Think of this combination more as an experiment, to be done after you have become proficient at breeding.
Sources for Quality Koi
In order to make a profit from selling Koi, you are going to need to locate a source for nice, healthy breeding Koi that are of good quality. Most of the people who sell Koi in a location other than a storefront are breeders themselves. Realize that it is going to cost you more to breed your own Koi and sell them than it would to buy quality Koi in bulk from a trusted vendor, and then resell them. Expect to pay a nice sum for the sexually mature Koi that will soon be ready to spawn.
Koi as a Package Deal
Many of the people who are interested in Koi are suppliers of pond equipment, or are so experienced in either the building of Koi ponds or equipment supply. These people have chosen to sell their Koi as part of a package deal that includes a supply of equipment for a Koi pond, or the building of a Koi pond to go along with the fish. Often, this can get you an exceptionally good price on a group of young Koi.
Learning to Ship Koi
You will also need to learn the ins and outs of shipping Koi unless you are certain that you are only going to sell them locally. You may well want to reconsider that choice as you become more experienced in all things Koi. You could also take advantage of the packing and shipping expertise that is shared by members of a Koi club in your area.
In order to become better known in the Koi world, you may want to enter your Koi into one or more Koi competitions. You would need fish that are as near to perfect an example of their type as possible. The color of the Koi must be just right, and size will also makes a difference. When it comes to a Koi show, color and size are used to classify the fish for the competition. You can find shows both hear to your home as well as far away by perusing fish magazines, or doing a search online for Koi competitions. Some shows are free, while other shows require an entry fee. You may also be asked to join a Koi organization that is sponsoring a show before you will be allowed to exhibit your fish.
A Koi competition can also give you valuable feedback on your Koi. Comparing your fish to those of others can help you to see any flaws your fish may have. On the other hand, you may see quality in your fish that you were not aware of.
Be careful of buying fish at a Koi competition. They are stressed out, and many may harbor parasites. You are taking a chance with your money and the health of your fish at home when you buy a Koi you are unsure of.
Selling Your Koi
You have probably figured out that selling Koi is not quite as simple as it looks when you see people in a pet store buying fish. You will not be standing with a smile over a holding tank of fish, netting them out as crowds of people clamor to buy their favorite! Selling Koi can take a lot of time and effort. You are going to need a good-sized holding tank for the young fish you want to sell.
Quarantine for Your Own Sake – And Your Fish
Moving fish from one setting to another can be stressful. If you purchased Koi from a dealer and plan to resell them, you will want to place these fish in quarantine before you sell them to others. Sometimes these fish will have parasites, which can cause them do develop a bacterial infection. Both of these maladies are contagious to other fish. Stress can also kill Koi. Even Koi of your own breeding can be stressed when moved from their familiar tank to another one. If you are planning on breeding Koi, you are going to need a lot of room outdoors for quarantine tanks or ponds, nursery tanks or ponds, breeding tanks or ponds, and hospital tanks or ponds. After you have been in Koi for a while, you will probably come up with a few more reasons to have multiple places at your disposal to keep Koi in.
Never Sell a Sick Fish
It would be difficult to maintain a good business if you were to sell sick fish to your customers. Some vendors do not want to take the time to wait out a quarantine period of any length. They are in a hurry to get back the money they spent on the koi they are reselling. This is why it is better to raise and sell your own Koi. Even though it may take longer for you to get started, you will be glad you waited.
If you choose to sell fish you have bred yourself, then you will need to cull the young koi. Any of them who have an off color, poor markings, or some sort of a deformity should definitely be culled. Do not feel too bad about doing this! You would not want to take the chance of one of your fish being accidently bred, and passing on its genetic defect.
When selling Koi that you have bred yourself, it is up to you to maintain an environment for them that is as stress free as possible. Keep an eye on the Koi you have for sale, and remove any of them that show one or more of the following signs –
• Sitting on the bottom of the tank or pond with its fins tightly clamped
• Sunken eyes
• Listlessness, swimming half-heartedly
• An ulcer anywhere on the fish
• Blood streaks on the fins of a fish
• Fins that have started to rot away
Most people start out selling Koi in their own town. You may have friends and family who own water gardens, and have admired your Koi. While you will not be able to sell too many Koi in this manner, people will spread the word about your fish all over town, which may very well bring you some customers.
Selling Your Koi on eBay
You may decide to concentrate on selling your Koi on the Internet. This gives you the advantage of allowing your potential customers to see photos of your koi and ask questions about them before they decide to buy them. People are able to bid on the Koi they like, and the highest bidder gets the Koi. Selling online may suit you and your schedule much better than having people come to your home at odd hours looking for Koi to buy.
Other Online Sites for Selling Koi
Other auction sites online deal in tropical fish and supplies. A little research would probably unearth an auction for nothing but Koi and Koi supplies. You can also post online want ads to tell interested people what you have for sale. If you can, choose a want ad that allows you to show photos of your fish. In the United States, Craigslist is a good place to sell young Koi. Each large city has its own Craigslist, and many of the ads can be placed for free.
Some of the online sites such as Fish.com have their own rules that the seller must follow. They usually have a “delivered alive” guarantee, which tends to make people feel more secure about buying online.
Shipping Your Koi
You must make sure that you have come up with a foolproof method of shipping as well as a couple of alternate plans before you attempt to send a live fish halfway across the country. The exact method will depend on the –
• Size of the Koi
• The season of the year
• Your climate, and the climate of the location where you are sending the Koi
• How long it will take the package with the Koi to arrive at its destination
How to Pack Koi for Shipping
Most of the time, you will want to pack the Koi in a plastic bag filled about halfway with water. A canister of aquatic oxygen should be on hand so you can place a couple of generous blasts into the bag. This insures that the Koi has enough oxygen to last it until it arrives at its new home. During the winter, there are special heat packs you can use to provide warmth to the fish. There are also ice packs to use during a hot summer.
From the outside, the box you pack the Koi in should look just like any package. It is not wise to arouse the curiosity of anyone who may come into contact with the box, for people have been known to tear into packages to see what is inside if they think it may be an item they would like to have. Seeing a fish inside a plastic bag, the majority would toss the box in the trash. This is not what you want to happen to your precious Koi.
The best thing to do when shipping Koi is to use a package delivery company that can deliver packages overnight. In the United States, you have your choice of FedEx and United Parcel Service. Both offer Next-Day Delivery, and are an excellent method for shipping Koi too far away places.
The Koi may be one of the only products that increase in value from one year to the next. You may decide to raise your young Koi for another year or so in order to be able to sell them for more money. You can also get a better idea of a young Koi’s pattern and coloration if you do not rush to sell it as soon as it becomes old enough. Letting your Koi overwinter in a pond with a mud base can reveal some lovely fish to sell come spring!
Breeding Koi can be extremely rewarding in spite of all the pitfalls that may pop up along the way. The first time you see a batch of fry from your own breeding trio, you will be amazed at their sheer number. As they grow, you will have a hard time keeping yourself from just camping out beside the Koi pond 24/7. This is just how fascinating baby Koi can be!
Author: Giovanni-Carlo P Bagayas