Trade those fry!

Supplies acquired on trade from LFS. Photo by author.

If you’ve had luck breeding cichlids and you’re having trouble getting rid of the fry, trade them at your local fish store (LFS). If you have a community fish store that you like, see if they will take your fry and give you a store credit. Not everyone in the hobby has an LFS, which I distinguish from the U.S. big box stores like PetSmart, Petco, etc.

You may have to build up some trust with your LFS, until they’re convinced that your cichlid fry are healthy, etc. Some will happily accept your fry but give you nothing in return. This is fine if you’re just looking to unload some fry. But why not see if they’ll give you something in return? Many LFSs will work with you. Mine does.

However, don’t expect the store to give you anywhere close to what they’re going to sell your babies for. I won’t get into business economics, but you can expect many fish stores to sell fish for as much as 5 times what they actually paid for them. In other words, that cichlid you want that costs $16 at the store? The store probably paid around $3-3.50 for it. That margin will vary depending on several factors, but a 4-5x markup is pretty normal for a community store.

I pretty regularly take fry to my LFS, usually 40-60 at a time. I get store credit in one of two forms – a credit toward fish from their fishroom or a credit toward hard goods (they give me more in fish credit, btw). Since I have plenty of fish already, I usually trade the fry for hardware and such.

The photo above shows my latest haul from my LFS. This is what I left the store with this past Friday…at no charge to me. This is a great way to finance the hobby, and I would encourage you to see what your LFS is willing to do. It can’t hurt to ask them. If you’re breeding something they don’t carry very often, they may well make a deal with you. You get store credit and they get fish they don’t usually have, at a cheaper cost to them than if they order them from a wholesaler.

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