Ornamental fish business in Kenya is estimated to grow at a steady pace over the next 15 years. However, despite the growing domestic demand, very few of our local entrepreneurs seem to have taken up this idea.

As such, the niche-specific market has had to contend with an under-supply for many years. In fact, the vast majority of ornamental fish sold in Kenya and Africa in general are imported mostly from Israel, Eastern Europe and Far East.

And as we found out during our research, breeding of tropical ornamentals is usually a small-scale business, and there is nothing really complicated or high-tech about it.

You can therefore start your own smallholding today, and begin supplying nearby retail shops with cheaper and high-quality fish without the costs of international transport, customs clearance and the stress to the fish associated with being transported for many hours.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can produce better fish quality than the imported stock and how you can make money out of it.


Step 1: Getting Started

First, you will need to find a suitable location for your venture. An ideal ground is one that has adequate supply of water, preferably located in an environment that is neither too hot nor too cold (23 degrees to 28 degrees temperature is recommended).

As such most of Nairobi, Central Kenya, Central Rift, Western, Nyanza and Coast would be ideal places to begin your search for land. Learn more here.

Step 2: Build a Pond

A typical liner pond costs about Ksh30,000 to construct. The size of the pond will depend on the number of fish you want to keep. For instance, a 250ft X 250ft pond is adequate for 3000 ornamental fish.

You can seek help from the National Aquaculture Research Development and Training Centre in Sagana Kirinyaga County for additional advice on best practices of ornamental fish farming.

Step 3: Buy Fingerlings

You can start with as few as 60 ornamental fish fingerlings. Small gold fish fingerlings cost Ksh150 (estimate) each, Black Molly cost Ksh400 each and Orandas Ksh500 each. You can mix these three species to provide diversity to your customers.

Step 4: Manage The Farm

Ornamental fish are best fed using flakes and pellets. The water in the pond also needs to be changed at least once every month.

The fish normally reach maturity in 1-2 years, and although they can live up to 20 or more years, as a commercial farmer, you will want to begin exploring the option of selling them as early as possible.

Step 5: Build Aquarium Tanks (Optional)


You can choose to sell your fish directly to people who make aquariums or you can learn the art (of making aquarium boxes) yourself so that you can tap in even more profit. For instance, an empty aquarium box measuring one-and-half square feet currently goes for Ksh10,000.

Step 6: How To Market Your Fish

Ornamental fish are priced per inch. Hence, the longer the fish, the bigger the price tag on it. For instance, a 6 inch gold fish (priced at Ksh150/- per inch) will attract Ksh1,000.

And since an aquarium is a lovely sight to behold that uses minimal electricity power in the house, you can market your product directly to homeowners, commercial offices or even schools.

You can also look up some high-end malls in the city (such as Yaya Center and Sarit Center) for potential market. So, in other words, the market is readily available…you only need to be good at prospecting and pricing.

The Dos

*Visit the National Aquaculture Research Development and Training Centre or their agents for training and mentorship.

*Consult with farmers who are already in this business to get an idea of the challenges they encounter.

*Consult a few buyers in your area or region to get an idea of the kind of quality they are looking for.

The Don’ts

*Don’t overcrowd your fish in the pond (1 inch of fish per 4 litres of water is recommended).

*Don’t add too many new fish into your pond at one time, get a few first and see how they adjust to their new home.

*Don’t use pesticides near your pond, generally maintain high hygiene standards around the fish.

How Much To Invest

Building the pond will cost you about Ksh30,000 and buying new fingerlings will cost you about Ksh20,000. You can start with 60 fish, which if well fed and maintained, can multiply to over 10,000 in a year.

How Much To Expect

If you sell half of the fish (5,000) per year with each fish priced at Ksh500 then you can expect a sale volume of Ksh2,500,000. And since the cost of maintaining a pond isn’t that high, then you can look forward to a pretty decent profit margin of around 80%.

Final Word

There’s an old saying that goes, “opportunities are missed because they come dressed in overalls and look like work.” So today, you can make a choice whether to spot an opportunity or to fear work and continue blaming others for your misfortunes. Ornamental fish farming in Kenya presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone, young or old, to explore.

List Of Best Aquarium Shops In Nairobi

This is a list of the best aquarium shops in Nairobi. There are several aquarium shops in Nairobi that stock a variety of aquariums and accessories, fish products and also offer cleaning and maintenance services for the aquariums. This list will focus on highly rated aquarium shops that offer exceptional services.

In no particular order, here is a list of the best aquarium shops in Nairobi.

1. Nairobi Aquarium Store

Nairobi Aquarium Store is a one-stop shop for all your aquarium accessories, ornamental fish and imported aquariums.

Location: Mai Mahiu Road, 100 metres from T-mall

Contact: 0704 752 777, 0799 276 667.

2. Aquanetic Pet Shop

The shop specialises in making and repair of aquariums, cleaning services of aquariums and supply of aquariums and other fish accessories.

Location: Professor Nelson Awori Centre, 3rd Floor, Ralph Bunche Road.

Contacts: 0727 482 062, 0725 454 572.

3. The Aquarium Haven

The Aquarium Haven is a top aquarium shop that offers imported aquariums, local aquariums, inbuilt aquariums, customised aquariums, maintenance services, fish feeds and accessories, fish variety and accessories.

Location: Along Kiambu Road, Fourway Junction.

Contacts: 0739 090 025, 0722 698 360.

4. Aquapet Ltd

Aquapet is a leading pet specialty retailer that obsesses about delivering good health and happy experiences for pets and the people who love them. They specialise in a variety of pets such as rabbits, hamsters, different types of fresh and saltwater fish. They have branches in Kijabe Street, The Hub Karen, Two Rivers Mall, Westgate Mall, The Junction Mall, Prestige Plaza and Capital Centre.

Contact: 0787 026 945.

5. Smartbrand Aquariums

They offer a range of services such as repair, cleaning and maintaining aquariums. They also sell tropical fish food, filter pumps and aquarium plants.

Contacts: 0717 073 215, 0794 472 007.

6. FishPet & Aquariums Kenya

FishPet and Aquariums brings nature close to you with a wide variety of unique and customised aquariums and outdoor recreational fish ponds.

Location: Kikuyu.

Contact: 0724 111 144, 0718 237 422.

7. Aquacentury

They are dealers in custom made aquariums for offices, homes, hospitals, chemists and hotels. The aquariums are designed according to your specifications.

Contact: 0795 342 194.

Location: Star Mall, 1st Floor, Shop A12, Nairobi CBD.


8. The Royal Pets

The Royal Pets Shop offers the biggest range of fish and fish supplies. It has a huge range of exotic cold water and tropical fish to choose from, all covered by a 14-day guarantee. The shop has everything you need to maintain a healthy environment for your fish, from filters, test kits, water conditioners, solutions for aeration, heating and lighting.

Location: 1st Avenue, Kahawa Sukari.

Contact: 0110064555


9. Aquatech Aquariums

Aquatech Aquariums specialises in aquarium accessories, sales of both local and imported aquariums which are available in different sizes and prices. They do deliveries countrywide.

Location: Hazina Trade Centre, Shop 1.

Contact: 0720 785 400, 0708 320 864.

10. Oceanview Aquariums Kenya

They are specialists in the supply of complete and customised aquariums, water features, fish accessories and landscaping services.

Location: Kamulu Shopping Centre

Contact: 0726 060 782.

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