I'll be posting a separate page for updates so you don't have to look through this entire article to find out what's new. Most will be very useful information on saving money or other must have items, I'll be starting with cool packs for summer shipping. Click here to visit the shrimp farming update page now. If you have a question or suggestion email me and I'll add what I can at that page for everyone to use.
If you're looking for the online shrimp store, Click Here.
This is a long article and you may want to bookmark it to find and finish it later.
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So you've visited "Tadege Land" and said to yourself if only I had the room. Well let me tell you about a little side business that has exploded for me. It's so small you can even make it a reality in a very small apartment. If you already have fish tanks this will be a walk in the park for you and you'll have most of the hardware you'll need. I would guess the entire start up cost to be less than $100, not to many businesses you can start for that kind of money and expect a great return on and a long run. There are a lot of desirable shrimp for the hobbyist, but the red cherry shrimp are the least expensive and the very easiest to keep going, no special water treatment or anything. I suspect the easiest to sell also since they are a beginners shrimp and inexpensive. I keep them outside year round here in S. Florida. I've since expanded to the yellow and blue shrimp and am on the verge of going to high end shrimp, yes some types demand some very healthy money when they are even available. I'm not going to get into telling you about all the shrimp or water condition in this thread, click this link to get some good info on them, http://www.planetinverts.com/
If red cherry shrimp are new to you click here for more information. At the end of this thread I'll list everything I stock to get started, I'll sell in smaller amounts so you don't have to get in deep to get started.
It all started here with 6 red cherry shrimp ($18 with shipping) I bought to see if they would breed as a live food source for the small wakin and koi fry. Little did I know at that time they would breed like rabbits and end up being worth thousands of dollars per pound, sound like a get rich quick deal, doesn't it, well it's not. It won't happen over night, it will take a couple months and there is some work involved, but it's a lot easier than the other stuff I deal with. I just tossed mine into a lily display pond I sell water lilies out of and forgot about them, until walk in customers spotted them and staring asking "how much?". No pumps, filters or even air supply and to top that off all the lilies are planted in containers with cow compost, I don't recommend doing this! Hey I'm afraid to even test the water I'm sure the results would scare me. But my customers rave about the quality, color, and health of the shrimp I sell. Click here to see my feed backs.
You'll not only have to set up housing for the little beast, that's the easy part, you'll have to set up a paypal account so you can get paid online for the orders, I have all these sites you'll need at the bottom of my "Links to good sites" page. A web site would be nice but not a must, I'll get into that later, not as tough as you think and very inexpensive. The website you're reading this at right now cost $20 a year to register, that's it.
I found a great place online that let's you build and host your own website for free. You can sign up for an account at this link http://www.webstarts.com/?aff=tadege, it's free and easy.
You'll need a computer, but I can tell by my mistic powers that you already have one, I also knew you were going to say I spelled that wrong .. Of coarse you'll need boxes for shipping, they're free at USPS and you'll need plastic bags, I think breather bags are a must for the shrimp. The boxes will have to be insulated with a styrofoam box, you'll be making these yourself. You still with me? You'll make a $3+ profit on just the shipping cost you charge the customers, not to mention the shrimp will almost be free for you when you get this going, red cherry shrimp at this time (09) sell for $1 - $7.50 each (up to 30 per bag) and $10 shipping. All of this can be started at a very small scale and the start up is inexpensive and not complicated at all, so lets get started.
You'll need shrimp needless to say (think of me when the time comes) and a tank as small as 10 gallons. Rather than spend your start up money on glass tanks I would suggest just starting with plastic tubs, $6 - $7, Home Depot, Lowe's, Kmart, where ever you can find them the cheapest. Even better the concrete mixing tubs will offer a lot more bottom surface if you are doing this inside, outside something would probably eat or just drink your shrimp. I'll show you later how to make a very cheap sponge filter, or you can purchase a very good and inexpensive sponge filter, Click Here. I really recommend 2 tanks at the least, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket.
As I expanded into the garage I was given the container below, it's maybe 3' x 5' and about 10" deep and is working out perfect. They are not very choosy about their container and you may well find better things in bulk trash than you can buy. I may switch the round tanks over to concrete mixing containers as time go on to give them more bottom surface with about the same amount of water. I don't think the depth is that important, although with the cement tray you'll have to modify the filter for the 8" depth. My main reason moving inside was for more warmth, they will not breed when the water gets below 70 degrees. I even use tank heaters inside to keep them happy.
If you want a very fast start up look for berried red cherry shrimp, a berried is a shrimp that is already with eggs, 25 - 50 eggs on each one. This will get you to the point of having selling size shrimp in less than 6 weeks. They have young every 6 to 8 weeks when the water is warm and grow to breeding size within 10 weeks. I sell berried shrimp for $5 and at auction sometime for much more. I always have red cherry shrimp and berried at my location for sale, but it's possible for me to reach tons of people by selling at an online auction or even Craig's list and shipping is easy after the first couple times, the biggest deal is carting them to the post office 1 or 2 days a week and you can even get USPS to pick them up and save the trip.
Tanks, Pumps, And Filters, Everything You'll Need.
As I said I just started mine in an outside pond, this is probably not for everyone, you won't be able to have fish of any kind with the shrimp, they are incredibly small when they first hatch, even guppies will feast on the young. Dragon fly larva will attack them and I've even had problems with turtles. The plus part is that they don't eat their own young so there is no need to separate the new hatched. That pond is where I started and since have expanded to the tubs in the next picture and recently moved more into the garage.
A 20 gallon tub like these will house some 300 - 400 shrimp each with no problems just put in a few branches for them to climb on. I move 4 or 5 berried shrimp to a clean tub to start a new clan, save the best and reddest berried you have for this, sell the others. You'll also spot some special ones, I have been collecting the very large females for some time and am just waiting to see if this trait is passed on, some are almost 2" long, double the size of the standard, in the world of dwarf shrimp unique can pull down some very serious money at auction. There are actually dwarf shrimp that sell upward of $250 each buying 4 at a time. Get some experience before jumping to something like that, there are a lot of middle cost shrimp that consistently sell for $10 or $12 each and you won't have the family jewels in hock to start up. The red cherry shrimp are the very easiest to work with.
I don't sell the flea size shrimp, this will only tick off your customers, if they get in the bag while packaging they are just extras and not part of the count. It will take the new hatched shrimp 4 to 5 weeks to grow to the size I sell, at that point they are bigger and showing more color. You'll see a lot of ads saying they ship small shrimp because they ship better, yeah right and the world is flat also, they just don't want to give up larger shrimp so they send fleas, this will not work out in the long run. Click on any one of the auctions I have going right now and then click seller feed back, that's me. Customers love the larger shrimp, I sell mine as mixed sizes, from juveniles to adults but never include the very small in the count. If it's for berried (with eggs), then they are all full grown. Keep in mind but don't remind people that red cherry shrimp like most other dwarf shrimp only live for 2 years or so.
You'll need a filter, if you already have one use it, just slip a sponge over the intake so the small shrimp don't get sucked in, they are incredibly small when they first hatch. Here is a very easy sponge filter you can make yourself, It's just a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe with a pipe cap and holes drilled every 1/4". I use an air stone on the end of the air pump hose that will fit right into the 1/2" pipe, it seems to be the standard size of small air stones. Rather than fool around with making a sponge filter you may just want to buy a very good and inexpensive one, Click Here.
Depending on the size of your sponge you may also have to add some weight into the tube to keep it on the bottom. A friend of mine Mary, found these sponges in the dollar store, they were actually small footballs for kids to play with in the pool, I ripped the covers off and drilled a 1/2" hole down the center to put the PVC through. A little tip here, dip the sponge under water and toss it in the freezer over night, makes them a lot easier to drill the hole, other wise they will just wrap up on the drill. You can also just buy sponge filters either at the pet store, auctions or from me.
Fill the tanks and drop in the filter a week or so before you intend to get the shrimp so the whole thing has some time to season in a little, if you have another tank or pond put in some of the water from it to get this going faster, just make sure the water contains no medicines . Do not put in any medicines or other junk, shrimp are very sensitive to additives. Start a little guppy grass or some type of algae for a food source, you'll also be feeding these, there are a lot of shrimp foods on the market. I use shrimp wafers, high protein for fast growth and color. I use 1/2 wafer every 2 days per 20 gallon container for each 100 shrimp in it.
They will also need some added calcium, I use oyster shell calcium tablets that are for snails and turtles, when you drop one of these calcium tablets in you'll see how important it is, they rush it like it was food, I add one per week to each container. Most of this junk I sell at the online shrimp store and I'll put a list at the end so you can get it all in one trip, like that's ever possible. Shrimp will not breed when the water gets below 65 so you may want to find a tank heater if it's winter, even here in January you'll need a heater to keep them breeding, they really like it between 75 and 80 and you want to keep them happy. Under $15 for a 100 watt at ebey delivered.
You'll have to do a 25% water change at least every 2 weeks, a pain, but is a must, I use a small power head, about 100 gallons an hour with a sponge rubber banded over it. When adding water it is very important to gas out the chlorine, this is easy to do, use a mist spray on the end of your hose and spray it through the air, never put the hose end under the water or you'll trap the chlorine and kill everything in the water.
So you've been farming your shrimp for a few months, have hundreds and hundreds of the little beast. So lets get the the important part, lets make some money.
First of all if you don't have a PayPal account go there and get one started, as soon as you register and add a funding source, bank or credit/debit card up grade that account to a business account, you can do all this at my "Links to Good Sites" page, Click here when you are ready to start this, it will take an hour to get this all together but it is a must, you'll instantly be able to take PayPal, credit cards, debit cards and bank transfers, none of that crap your bank will put your through, no DBA or license required. Apply for a PayPal debit card, takes about a week to get it through snail mail, but this is also a must have. Why? You can spend money from your PayPal account just like a debit or credit care and if you buy anything online or at a store and say it's a credit card you get a 1% kick back on your purchase, paid every month to your account no matter how little it is, you'll get real use to plastic money very fast. Don't tap all the money out of the account, the postage is going to cost about $6 for each package, but remember you charged $10 to your customer, takes some of the bite out of paying it. You'll also be printing your postage at PayPal, no standing in lines at the post office for us, plus you also get a discount online for your postage.
Tomorrow go to ebay (very easy to use, but expensive) and what ever other auctions you can find and register to buy and sell. Make an ad for Craig's list and keep a copy on your hard drive or clip board, you'll be listing this every week, be sure to say you can ship. Don't bother even trying to sell to pet stores, since all the mom and pop places have been pushed out of business with ever increasing property taxes every year or large rent increases there is just no one left to sell to. The chain stores will not buy from you.
When you first start at any auction it is best to sell by auction and not "Buy Now", sure a lot of your auctions will sell low, after all no one knows you or if you'll even send the order. Ship when you say you're going to and always include a few extra. After you get 25 or so good feed backs switch some of your listings to buy now, they sell faster than the auctions and you can put the same listing in a couple times without them working against each other. The exception to this is the adult berried female shrimp, they can sometimes pull very nice money at the auctions and are seldom offered. There will be no shortage of product after 6 months, trust me.
OK, you're ready to sell something, not quite yet. You'll need packaging. I ship USPS, for no reason other than it's what I started with, so enter a search for USPS, there is probably a link on one of the ads here, just click it. You think PayPal and ebay were boring to register at, they'll seem like a wild party compared to the USPS. All these places have a user name and password you'll need each time you use them so write'em down or use the same everywhere, USPS service password must have at least 1 number in it and 1 upper case letter, maybe start there and use the same everywhere. Now that you're registered with USPS lets order something, yehaa.
The boxes are free at USPS, they even deliver them right to your door, I use the 7x7x6 inch priority boxes for shrimp. The box number is O-box #4. Order 2 packages of 25, they take 7 to 10 days to get delivered so watch your supply. At this same time order some of the middle size flat rate boxes, 25 should be plenty, you can ship multiple orders with unlimited weight to a customer putting in a larger order for about $10 to anywhere.
You are going to need packing tape, and a scale, don't get them from USPS, they are making up on the free boxes with this stuff way over priced. Go to ebay and look for a vender call "just pounds and ounces" listed under scales, he did me really great on my scale, under $20 total and delivered fast. I got the smallest weight I could, I think it only goes to 35 pounds, never been that far, lol. While at ebay look for packing tape, the USPS and local stores will kill you with their price, I can't remember the name of the last outfit I ordered from but I just go with the cheapest, 18 rolls of 2" for $19 delivered, ground shipping so it takes about a week. Buy the package with the tape dispenser the first time, suppose to be free but the order will be a few dollars extra, but you'll need it. Don't even think of office depot or staples, you'll end up paying $4 or more for a roll of even their crummy store brand and almost $6 a roll for 3M. Is it any better tape? Don't ask me, I would never give that kind of money for tape, you use it once and throw it away, kind of like beer. I don't know how long you can store this stuff so you may want to start with a 6 pack, I still only buy the 18 pack and it last me 2 - 3 months till I need to order more, this goes a long way on these small boxes.
Another item for shipping that is nice but not a must is the peel and stick shipping labels. On ebay you can find the full sheets that have a split down the center for about a dime apiece, USPS shipping labels take a half page. You can just print these on paper and tape them to the box, but when you get to the point of 30 boxes a day you'll be looking for some ways to speed up this part and that extra $3 cost for 30 boxes will be well worth it.
Now you are going to need insulated boxes, does this crap ever end? I get styrofoam sheet insulation at Lowe's, you get 6 sheets 18" x 48" for under $10. Look these over very good before you buy, they are easy to damage and you'll want every inch in good condition. I have looked everywhere for this stuff being trashed and had no luck, someone is getting it in orders with their incoming shipments but I can't find them, let me know if you find a source.
It is a lot easier if you make templates for the 2 parts you'll need to cut. After you make your templates assemble one of the USPS boxes and use a steak knife to cut out the styrofoam and try fitting into the box before you cut up any more foam. Do this to make sure you measured your templates right and not screw up a bunch of foam. I don't tape these or glue them or anything, they fit in there very snug. Once you are sure everything fits, get crazy and make a bunch of the foam insulation cut to size. Tape up a bunch of USPS boxes and install the foam so you're ready to ship. You're going to need all the time you can get on shipping day to count the shrimp out, package them and add postage.
Don't quite on me now, we're almost there. When you receive an order from either an auction, your website or ebay you'll receive a email saying you've made a sale. The email will contain the auction number and buyers information, unfortunately it is seldom the same as they have listed at PayPal so this is what I do: After I have opened the email I go to PayPal and hit the request money button, when that page opens I click the invoice button, here I insert the customers email address at the top box. On the invoice itself, I fill in the quantity which is usually 1 order per item, next I use the item number from the auction as the item number and bidders ID in the same box, this is where you can get lost if not careful, they may call them self "mister great" at the auction and then "jetsetter" at PayPal. Then I just copy the item description and paste it to item description on the invoice then enter the buying price from the email and add shipping at the bottom. Some of my auctions are shipping included and some are $10 shipping for a single shrimp order no matter how many that is. In the note section of the invoice I enter the customers real name, the auction will include this information in the email along with their listed address, but be careful here also some of these people think they are James Bond and list a fake address at the auctions, who knows why, idiots, but go by the one listed at PayPal, actually when you print the PayPal USPS shipping label they will already have a confirmed address, nothing to change unless the buyer wants the package sent to a different address as a gift or whatever, but they should of notified you when they bought that auction.
When they send the payment you'll get an email from PayPal, then I go back to PayPal and print a copy of the invoice I sent them and put it in a file for upcoming shipping. They won't have a print button but you can just press key "Ctrl and P" at the same time and your computer will send it to your printer, make sure you choose to print only 1 page or you'll get an extra page with PayPal junk on it, doesn't sound important? I go through a ream of paper every 2 weeks! You may want to think about getting a black only laser printer, inexpensive and will save a ton on ink, I was refilling my ink printer every week. Keep these in order as you receive them and they will be listed in the same order at PayPal with the print shipping label button there, there will never be a print label button if you have not been paid yet (if you don't get paid, PayPal doesn't get paid, that will never happen), but I also offer to take mailed in money orders at my auctions and if you do this you'll have to enter their mailing information in yourself, I email them and ask for a return email with their verified address, then I just copy and past it when making a shipping label. I know this all sound very confusing, at least to me, but I just want you to be aware of what can happen. By putting their auction name and real name along with the auction number you can usually figure it out. The really confusing ones I just set aside and I print the shipping labels for the rest and work just to eliminate the ones that are easy.
Even if you are local to me you may want to order your start up herd by mail from me. Not only will you get the shrimp, you'll also see how they are packaged, you can even use the foam liner to make your templates, I include the printed invoice and you'll also have your first box already made for you to ship in. That's a lot of extras for the $10 shipping cost. If you want to pick them up bring a 6 pack of Bud bottles and I'll give you a box, lol.
I print my shipping labels the day before I ship and staple them to the invoice that I printed at the time the customer paid. So the first thing I do is stack the insulated boxes where they are handy and separate the label and invoice and cut the shipping label to fit the box and stick them both in the box. I also mark the inside flap on the box with a marker as to what is going in the box, saves some time when counting and bagging. After I do all these for the days shipping it's time to bag up the little monsters and send them out into the world.
This is not my favorite part, my hands don't work as well as they use to and the eyes are not any better. I count and bag outside for the better light. You'll need a measuring cup so you don't have to weigh each box after it's filled with the order.
First fill your measuring cup with clean filtered water or water from the tank will do. With my packaging and junk it's just a little less than 1 cup of water, your weight may be different so you'll have to check your first complete package to make sure you're under a pound, the postage for over a pound is a big jump in cost, just use less water if you are over and mark the measuring cup. Anyway after you have your count in the cup for the order take one of the Kordon 5" X 8" bags and put a little piece of plant in it for the shrimp to have something to hang onto for the ride, then I just pour the water and shrimp from the cup into the bag, make sure none of them stick to the cup, if this happens just pour some of the water from the bag back into the cup and give it another try. With the Kordon bags you don't want any air in the bag, so squeeze out the air and twist the extra bag like a rope till its all tight then simply tie an overhand knot in the bag at the water level, no rubber bands to mess with, I have never had one leak.
At this point I roll the bag up in a full sheet of newspaper and then roll that ball up in a second full sheet of newspaper.
This fits very snugly into the insulated box and will help with the way the post office will treat your package. Drop the invoice and label on the top of the package and pop it on the scale to make sure you are 1 pound or less. Then put the foam lid on, fold the invoice and put it in, close the box flaps, tape'em and put on the label, you're ready to go to the post office. When you walk into the post office the first time ask anyone behind the desk where to put prepaid shipping and they'll point to a place on the counter, no standing in lines. I have found the best way to carry a large number of these boxes is with draw string very large garbage bags.
You can also have them picked up but I don't want to wait around to see if they will ever show up, I'm to the post office and done in less than 15 minutes, then it's Miller time. By the way, when you are signing up at the post office web site also check where the nearest post office is and when the packages actually leave there each day, you don't want to drop them off 5 minutes after the days shipping is gone, they will just sit in the post office til tomorrow, they don't offer this information, just check when express shipping has to be there for the guaranteed next day delivery. Mondays are when I ship, unless it's a holiday then Tuesday. If you ship late in the week there is a good chance that the package will sit around a post office hub over the weekend.
Click Here to visit the online shrimp store.
Try to order all your supplies at one time and I can give you the best combined shipping cost. I can shove a lot of stuff in a flat rate priority box.
You don't need to buy from me and you can probably get things cheaper if you buy large volume, but for your start up I'll sell you short orders to keep your start up cost low. These are the same products I use every week in this business. All items are available for pick up on weekends or I can ship, just email and I'll invoice you with the total cost for which ever way you want to do this.
I started using shrimp wafers for their food, they are much higher protein (37% verses 17%) than the alfalfa pellets but cost more, they go a long way and are not a major expense, half a wafer every 2 or 3 days per tub. Faster growth and better color, even the new hatched take right to them, which can be a problem, sometimes I had to feed fish flakes to the new hatched and it is expensive. Pick up 1/4 pound for just $7.99 and when you're ready for larger orders a full pound for just $16.99. This is very inexpensive compared to the pet stores, mine won't be in a fancy plastic jar with a flashy label but it doesn't cost $4 an oz either. For more info on this very good shrimp wafer Click Here.
Adult female shrimp are $3 each and berried shrimp are $7.50 each, depending on how much tank space you have 4 or 5 will do the job, you can always stop by for more when you get more tanks ready. I'll kick in a free male if you buy 5 females. I do ship berried shrimp, but you have to except responssabilty if the eggs hatch during transit.. I'll need notice before the weekend days to get these ready for pick up. Shipping is $12.50 USPS Priority, insulated box, breather bag and a smalI plant, I ship on Mondays.
Oyster calcium tablets for snails, turtles and shrimp, 20 for $3, available at the Online Shrimp Store. To much? You can also just use rinsed egg shells or pick up some snail calcium at your local pet store. 1/2 tablet each week for a 20 gallon tank, you can't overdose as long as there is still room for the shrimp. I prefer the tablets over the liquid so I can see when its all gone and it doesn't cloud the water. Shipping would be more than the tablets unless you include it with other items when you order. When you order from me try to order everything you need at one time, I can combine shipping to save you money.
I carry the silicone air tubing, 50' for $6.99, availiable at the online shrimp store with shipping. Silicone tubing is a little more expensive but will hold up much better in the sun, it also won't turn hard with age. When I switched to it I had no idea how much better it is, but it is expensive in stores in small amounts, so I got a large spool of it and can pass the savings on.
If you are interested in what I discovered while building this website Click Here. This is my first and only website so far. Easy and Free.
It was a must for me to build a web site with all the junk I sell on the weekends, but for the shrimp at auctions or Craigs and shipping it's an extra, take your time building it and it will be a real plus to your business and income.
I found a great place online that let's you build and host your own website for free. You can sign up for a FREE account, Click Here. This is where my site was made, published and is updated every week.
All our information is free for anyone to use. You are welcome to copy and print this information for future reference but not for resale. If you enjoyed the Shrimp Farming page or pond and filter builds here at our site you may want to help keep the information on new project coming with a small donation. All information is always free at Tadege.com but it does take considerable time and expense to list it. You are always welcome to watch for new DIY projects for free. Thanks and enjoy, Tom at Tadege Koi
If you arrived here from a different web site or link Click Here to see all that is available at my home page.
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