#103 – Home Breeding Business

FEAT. ANTHONY ARMATA OF DAKU AQUATICS

2 months ago
Transcript
Dalton

Hey, fellow aquarium enthusiasts, ever dreamt of creating an underwater utopia right in your living room? Dive into Daku Aquatics, where their aquatic wonders will make your fish tank the talk of the town. Daku aquatics aren't just breeders, they're underwater matchmakers. Yes, they pair you with the perfect finned. Friends. Want a school of fish that's more colorful. In your aunt Gertrude's knit sweaters, daku aquatics has got you covered. Their shrimp are so lively, you'll think they're staging an underwater ballet in your aquarium. And their plants, they're greener than a leprechaun on St. Patty's day. But wait, there's more. You're not just buying a fish, you're adopting new family members. Each gill bearing budy comes with a personality bigger than a whale. Meet bubbles, the comedic gold ram or snowball, the mysterious neocaradina shrimp with a love for hide and seek. Concerned about shipping? Fear not. Daku aquatics delivers faster than a penguin on a waterslide with temperature control so precise it would make a polar bear jealous. So swim on over to Daku Aquatics. Whether you're a seasoned aquarist or just dipping your toes in the water, they promise you a whale of a time. Use promo code aquarium guys at checkout for 10% off your order@dakuaquatics.com, where every splash tells a story. Welcome to the aquarium guys podcast.

Robbz

We're live, guys. I can't believe we have a good editor. Now, Jimmy, we're going to start pumping these out. We're going to get back on some sort of schedule. Maybe not weekly, but certainly it's going to be better.

Jimmy

I think we should go back to weekly because we suck so much that we probably get one every two weeks.

Jimmy

Robbz

You know what? What? Fluke you. We're doing two this week.

Jimmy

Fluke fluke you. I'm not going to be around.

Robbz

Yeah, you are. You're always going to be around. Nope, you can't stop that. Jenny craig didn't come in.

Jimmy

That's true.

Robbz

That's not till next month.

Jimmy

I got a concert on Friday, so I will not be around.

Robbz

What's the concert?

Jimmy

It's an old band you've never heard of.

Robbz

Guaranteed.

Jimmy

April wine.

Robbz

Definitely never heard of that.

Jimmy

There you go.

Robbz

All right, in order here, we'll first let you know. I've been told that we need to host the podcast better for new listeners. For those are listening, this podcast is a podcast for the aquarium enthusiasts of adult matter only, that is. We are nothing but cheeky men sitting together around microphones that like to make dick jokes and appreciate our aquariums. So if that's for you, sign up. If it isn't, this is going to be a rough ride, and trust me. It's not going to get better.

Robbz

So I'm your host, Robbz Olson.

Jimmy

I'm Jim Colby.

Adam

And I'm Adam El-Nashaar.

Robbz

Today we are pleasured to have Anthony with us from Daku aquatics. That's dakuaquatics.com. And your last name, because I continually butcher people's last names. Armata. Did I say that correctly?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, that's right. Dude, you got it.

Jimmy

That is the first time Robbie's ever got it freaking right. Freaking every last name you screw up.

Robbz

That one had six characters.

Jimmy

I know.

Robbz

I deserve a gold star.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Jimmy

Robbz

Jimmy

Robbz

Jimmy

Normally Robbie has to sound it out on the computer, which is funnier than heck.

Robbz

Well, Anthony, thank you, budy, for coming on the podcast. We can't wait to hear from you.

Adam

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Cheers, dude.

Robbz

For sure.

Robbz

Well, before we get into the deep dive that we have today, I would like to go over a bit of details. When we had episode 100, I was hoping that's going to be a culmination of 100 episodes of us, what this podcast means to us and reminiscing of days past. But the only thing that people can keep noting is Adam's fantastic 20 minutes rants on episode 100. He lost his mind. It was so funny. I got direct messages from all different types of fans that literally they said that they spit liquids out of their mouth, laughing so hard that it was the perfect culmination rant from Adam. So number one, thank you from those people. But there were a handful of people that weren't as happy with it. And apparently episode 100 is where they began the podcast, which is why we changed the opening this episode. So my apologies to you. And one of them decided to leave us a review. They say two stars, which that's far too much.

Jimmy

Well, that's one for me and one for you because Adam lost his mind.

Robbz

Right?

Robbz

Once a month is far too often for this show. If you like this show, you can have it every day. Just go to the food Court mall, find a table with full of high school age boys that are giggling and punching each other in the arm a lot, and that brilliant conversation and baseless opinions will wash over your ears.

Jimmy

I love it.

Robbz

So that's our comparison. So from that, I'm like, oh, boy.

Robbz

I just clipped that put in our Discord and apparently a bunch of our actual fans in discord decided to throw in a bunch of nice reviews.

Robbz

Jimmy

Did you refund his money?

Robbz

I did. He got his free podcast money back.

Jimmy

Good deal.

Jimmy

He did. He really did.

Robbz

So thank you for the flood of positive feedback from The One Negative Feedback. We really do appreciate it. Just to go over some titles, we are now the one Fish cast to rule them all.

Robbz

Jimmy the word.

Jimmy

What?

Robbz

We are the One Fish cast to rule them all.

Jimmy

Really?

Robbz

Apparently Yoshi 5127 said that on Apple reviews.

Jimmy

Wow.

Adam

That's what your mom goes by now?

Jimmy

Yoshi no. Okay.

Robbz

These are real people.

Jimmy

Oh, okay.

Jimmy

These are real people indeed. So thank you.

Robbz

And any notes since we last talked?

Jimmy

Adam's rant?

Jimmy

My wife and I were in the car and we put on episode 100. I personally haven't listened to an episode in months. And I said, you should listen to Adam go off, and we know more than we're driving down the road and Adam called and we were pissing ourselves.

Jimmy

So hard because we're laughing.

Jimmy

And then Adam then on the phone went off a little bit too, telling my wife and I about particular thing that happened at the big box store. Oh, and then the same thing just recently happened to me about a week ago. And I called up Adam and I.

Robbz

Wait, you yelled at a kid? He gave you a lecture of what you can't do with a Beta?

Jimmy

Not quite, but close.

Jimmy

All right, so I called you.

Jimmy

I do tank maintenance for a hospital in a nearby community, and it's a 220 gallon tank. It's very deep, and I was looking for a long gravel vac. And I called you and you said you didn't have one. I called Dan, and he said he didn't have one.

Robbz

I found out they sold out at these fish cove, all vacuums. Apparently there was a lot of filthy tanks in a one week period.

Jimmy

So on the way up to Fargo to pick up my fish, I brought an order in of Angel Fish. And I'm driving up to Fargo, I thought, I'm going to call our local big box store. And here's exactly how the conversation went. First of all, I called and was put on hold for about six or seven minutes trying to find the aquatics department. And finally this young bubbly girl answered the phone and I said, hey, are you an aquatic? She goes, yes, I am. She goes, what are you looking for?

Jimmy

I said, I need a gravel vac.

Jimmy

But I need a big one. She goes, oh, I've got one for a 75 gallon tank. I said, no, this is a 220 gallon tank. I need a pretty empty she goes, oh, no, we don't have that. She goes, but Amazon, let me get you the number on Amazon. And she went on and on about Amazon. She'd look it up on her phone and she told me which one to buy in Amazon and how good it was because she bought one. And she gets all done. And I go, do you know who signs your paycheck?

Jimmy

And she goes, what do you mean? I said, doesn't Petco pay you? I said, why are you giving me.

Jimmy

All this information from Amazon? She goes Amazon's.

Jimmy

Great.

Jimmy

And I called up Adam, I called.

Jimmy

Up Adam and I go, man, this is a good person to have on the phone. As I'm talking to the big box store, as they're telling me to call and get it from Amazon.

Jimmy

Anyway, I finally got one and I.

Jimmy

Got a used one from Derek over at Dee's Fish.

Robbz

All right, fun idea, quick idea. We should on the podcast dial in to was that the Petco or PetSmart?

Jimmy

Petco.

Robbz

We should dial into Petco sometime, see if they have some Amazon crapplebacks for us.

Dan

That guy's got water moisturizer.

Robbz

That will make us some friends for sure.

Jimmy

Yes.

Robbz

Well, Adam, thank you for your rants, even though apparently Adam disconnected and isn't here anymore. Well, know that you're in our hearts and may your comcast Internet come back. I have one quick story. There was a fish swap that we.

Jimmy

Did up here in our neck of.

Robbz

The woods by Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and that brought up quite a few people from the Twin Cities area.

Jimmy

Correct.

Robbz

So those people saw what fun we.

Jimmy

Were having and decided, hey, let's do it.

Robbz

So shout out to Tong's Fish Room. He put together a wonderful fish swap in the Twin Cities. I think it was actually in St. Paul, but I never know where I'm at when I'm down there.

Jimmy

It was at the Frogtown Auditorium.

Robbz

It was a fun. So you say frogtown. Auditorium frogtown. We go to this community center to do this fish swap. And I was the first one there. Tong did this on his own by himself and rented out this community center. And he charged something petty like $20 a table just so he could cover some of the community center cost. We get this room with all the tables and whatnot. So me and the fellers that went with me set up the place because he didn't get there on time.

Adam

He's got a lot more kids than I do.

Robbz

Get the whole place set up. And I was so mesmerized there's. Frogs everywhere. Frogs imbued in the floor, frog designs everywhere. Lily Pad Concepts. It was like it was meant to.

Jimmy

Be a fish swap place in Frogtown.

Robbz

In Frogtown.

Jimmy

Frogtown. So we did it.

Robbz

And in the first hour and a half, we had lines going out the community center because we couldn't fit enough people in. It was that busy. We literally sold out in a little over an hour and a half. We had just literally picked up our table and left. Other people were starting to sell out. It was a wonderful time. Everybody came in a big batch. And I love how people do fish swaps. They all quickly make an assessment across all tables and then after they've done their assessment, they go to the tables where they have their favorite things. So it's basically how fast can you look at all the tables and then quickly snipe out your purchases.

Jimmy

That's right.

Jimmy

Because you want to get the good stuff.

Jimmy

Yes.

Robbz

So Greed dragon plecos that we brought along from my buddy Dean sold out within the first few minutes.

Robbz

All of them, the entire table.

Robbz

So super success.

Robbz

Glad we had it.

Robbz

And if you guys are in the Twin Cities area, certainly just follow along to our discord or our Facebook page. And we will always post the information on the fish swaps that we know.

Robbz

About in our area to come join. But I had a blast and we.

Robbz

Had a lot of fans there, actually, that wanted to say hi to you.

Adam

But you were unable to make it no, I was unavailable starting.

Jimmy

Has he got another one going on coming up anytime soon?

Robbz

There's going to be, but I mean it's literally since we're on the podcast here less than a full week, the.

Jimmy

What we find up here in Minnesota is as we go into winter, we have a lot better attendance at these things. And we've had just a absolutely beautiful fall and last weekend was very warm. And to have such a great attendance over there was just phenomenal.

Adam

So hats off. Yeah, it's a party.

Robbz

You guys should do a party in your area. If you're shy and don't know how to do it, send us an email at aquariumguyspodcast@gmail.com. We'll help you out. Maybe we know someone in the area that can help assist you.

Adam

Trust me.

Robbz

Get it done and keep it as cheap as possible for people, if not free. We do ours in Detroit Lakes for free. And we as the club, pay the space fees. So just to cover it, to have a great time. Well, normally this is where we would have Adam tell us another piece of the government stuff that he's pissed in.

Jimmy

But Adam fell off the piece of earth.

Adam

He did.

Robbz

Let's get into our topic. Anthony, are you ready to have some fun?

Adam

Oh, that's me. Yeah, let's do it.

Robbz

Well, Anthony, we've been trying to get you on the podcast for a while.

Adam

We've known each other.

Robbz

Now we are making comments to the podcast probably easily three years now.

Adam

Yeah.

Robbz

So before we get too far, we want to know more about you, at least to tell the audience. So how did you get into the hobby?

Adam

What do you do and how well.

Robbz

Do you do it?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I got into the hobby like everybody did.

Adam

Just got a couple of tanks.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Actually one tank when I was a kid. Your grandma forced you your life stuff. Yeah. And then you come back to it. Right, and I came back to it in a big way.

Adam

I think six years ago I started it back up and I think I.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Had 50 tanks in probably like six months. Not too crazy. And now I'm sitting at about 130 tanks and like 1500 gallons outside in stock tanks.

Jimmy

Damn.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And yeah, I breed a lot of fish. I breed a lot of shrimp. I specialize in dwarf cichlids, mainly rams and neocaradina shrimp. And I'm a huge plant nerd. That's really what drives my hobby, is planted tanks and everything else kind of came around that the shrimp cleans the plants, the plants look prettier. I sell the plants for more money. Everybody's happy. So that's me in a nutshell.

Robbz

Our most demanded episodes are, of course, basic podcasts so people can get into the hobby. But more importantly, people want to know, number one, how to build a fish room and how to start turning that.

Adam

Breeding project at home into money.

Robbz

And that's why we're having you on the podcast, brother. You give a great perspective. I think that you did it in the right way, in the right amount of time. Right now, you're sitting in your office space and it's wall to wall tanks the long way. It's beautiful.

Adam

Thank you.

Robbz

If you're not checking this out, you need to check this guy on Instagram. We'll have a social media in the show notes, so definitely like subscribe. I think it's instagram. It'd be Facebook. What the kids do. Now, I'm not as in touch of social media as I should be. I'm trying, but you are kicking ass on social media. All the kudos, brother. So what was the moment where you started this hobby and just clicked that this is what I want to do?

Adam

Did it just three tanks?

Robbz

Suddenly you had easy success in breeding, and now suddenly I can proliferate. Let's make cash.

Adam

Yeah.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So the biggest thing was doing the research early. Started with a couple of nanodesktop aquariums, five gallon, three gallon, ten gallon. Was really interested in CO2 injection and high tech tanks. So that's all I did. At first. I was trying to grow rare plants, learn as much as I could about rare plants, and then I wanted to bring the shrimp on. And what really started the business was A, growing too many plants, and B.

Adam

Making too many shrimp.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And I started off just selling on reddit shout out aqua swap, and it snowballed from there. I mean, the biggest thing for me, and I don't want to go off on a tangent, I'm sure you're going to ask all these questions, but the social media aspect is huge because it got my name out there and I was able to show people what I'm doing. And that's the biggest thing is people want to see what they're going to get, A, and they want to make.

Adam

Sure they're not buying something that are.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Getting scammed or whatever it might be. So I try and be as transparent as possible. My customer service is big, and that's it for me, man. I'm an open book.

Robbz

So what I think is different is I got to watch through a lot of this process of how you kicked it off, how you got your fish room going. I was lucky enough to get you on the ground floor, so much so that we said, hey, you need more. Advertisement we'll help sponsor and we'll get the name out. You got a great product and you've been a fan of the podcast since near the beginning, so much so you reached out, you bought some merch, and I don't even remember. It was a hoodie. We all signed it and then we sent some gag gifts. Is that the one we did? That is the one we did.

Adam

That was great.

Jimmy

Oh, my God.

Adam

Yeah.

Robbz

So I feel like I apologize. I can confess some details. When we sent you the gift, we put that dried up playcone we sent to you in that ornate box that just came up.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Okay? We were cleaning out the fish room closet, me and my fiance and my mom, and she's going through all this stuff in the closet, and she pulls out this little wooden box, and she opens it up, and she screams, and I mean belts. And she drops it. She's like, what is this? And I'm like, oh, that's just a dried pleco in a box. And she was so confused and probably concerned. She already thinks I'm nuts, right? But I had to explain. It was from the podcast dudes that I'm always listening to in the background.

Adam

And I don't know if that bought me any Leniency.

Robbz

No, it just got weirder, that's all. There's a bunch of is to sit there and have this radio show, and now they send you dead, dead fish specimens in an ornate box.

Adam

Well, we're sitting there. We got this hoodie.

Robbz

You sent it to my place. We all signed it. I sent it down to Adam. He signed it. We got it sent to you. But we wanted to add more in the package since the package is going to be in there. So we sent you, I think, an aquarium dildo as a wonderful joke. We sent you that I found I had that perfectly preserved blonde bristle nose pleco that I put in the box. Horrible story. After all these years, I can finally confess that box is what they put from a Catholic hospital. When you have a dead fetus that.

Adam

Dies and you want to bury it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Get out of here.

Robbz

That is a fetus.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Why do you have one of those? Why do I have one of those?

Adam

Because you're a lucky man.

Robbz

Because it's not as a fun story. Me and my wife tried to have a kid.

Adam

That didn't happen.

Robbz

My wife went in for the whole procedure, and she came out so angry.

Adam

She's like, what in the world?

Robbz

Number one on the paperwork, they're putting abortion. She lost the baby before she ever made that decision. And then they're giving her all of these. I'm not kidding you. They gave her paperwork, the box. They gave her a coupon to go to see her funeral home. I mean, all kinds of stuff, because it's a Catholic hospital, and that's what they're required to do by their policy. So she kept it, and she kept, like, her, if she take a ring off to go for a shower, she put it in there. And whatnot? I'm looking around the house for this perfect thing. She hates the box, and she is the one that came up with that idea, so we can blame my wife. She offered the box as part of the joke to hold the pleco because.

Jimmy

She wanted the hell out of her house, is what it was.

Adam

Yeah.

Robbz

She said, this is a better funeral.

Adam

Than what it was intended for. That's awful. It is.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Thanks for that.

Robbz

It is. I couldn't tell you up till now.

Jimmy

Anyways, that got really dark from that.

Robbz

It got really dark.

Jimmy

I'll tell you a quick story. I moved my fish room out of.

Adam

My basement into a place that I.

Jimmy

Found out later on was an old crematorium. And down in the basement there was actually little caskets, and I thought they were like caskets for being on display.

Robbz

No, there were children's caskets, like little demo ones.

Jimmy

Yeah. And anyway, so I rented this place, and it was a big, massive place, very nice. And I cannot tell you how many times we got freaked out because the.

Adam

Place was so freaking haunted that I.

Jimmy

Actually moved because it was so haunted I couldn't stand it. I had an old lady that would keep pulling back. I thought it was somebody that there was two apartments upstairs, and I had the whole main floor, and it used to be a crematorium back in the day. And I kept having this little lady pull back the curtain that had glass.

Adam

Doors and found out that it wasn't.

Jimmy

Somebody that lived upstairs. It was just somebody that was the.

Adam

Boss is not haunted.

Robbz

It's just the pleco haunting.

Jimmy

I was so freaked out, I moved 600 aquariums out of there.

Adam

Thank you.

Robbz

Thank you for adding more creepy stories to this.

Jimmy

Oh, God.

Robbz

Moving on. So we thought you do it from the beginning. You've been a fan of the podcast and friends of ours for a while, and you decided that, hey, I'm building this great fish room, and you walked us through the process. So for the listeners, walk them through the process. One, I'm good at this breeding project. I'm good at plants I want to proliferate. Then you did all kinds of research and walk us through you building your.

Adam

Rooms, your fish rooms.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Okay, sure.

Adam

So I have two fish rooms now.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

They're both automated. As far as water changes go, I did was just go on YouTube, look at all the DIY videos and kind of every fish room is different. Every space you're going to build a fish room in is different. So really you have to learn the plumbing aspect, the linear piston air pumps to filter the whole room. And then once you have the basis down, you have to start learning some skills like drilling fish tanks, because you need to install bulkheads and overflows if you're going to automatically change water. You got to do maybe not as crazy as I do, but I put a three inch hole through the cinder blocks and the stucco in my house and installed a floor drain because we don't have those in South Florida.

Adam

There's no basements or know.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Basically I learned everything online, and I just did my best and the first room came out great. But there was a couple of things that I wanted to change, like my water in system. I attached it with clips with Ro tubing to the rims of the tanks, and over time, those kind of get clogged up and they get cruddy and you can't close the lids all the way. So when I built the second fish room, I really dialed in. And that's what you see behind me in my office. I know the podcast listeners can't see it, but I took them out of the tanks and everything's a lot more clean and dialed in. If you're going to build a fish room, there's a wealth of knowledge on YouTube, and you need to go on there. You need to look at your space, see what your budget is. You can do metal racks, you can do cinder blocks with two X fours. There's a ton of guides for everything you can do in a fish room.

Adam

And just figure out what you want.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

To do and go for it.

Robbz

So, a little bit more on the auto top off. We've had a few questions on this before. Let's specifically go off of your auto top off because there's a lot of ways to skin a cat, so to speak. Yours use a single drum that you prep the water in, and then you simply flip a switch.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

That's for the shrimp.

Adam

Yeah.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So in the shrimp room, I have a shrimp room, and I have a fish room where I breed all my fish. And the shrimp pull from 32 gallon Ro reservoirs, which are just brute trash cans. So I have a pump on the wall. It's not a submersible pump. I forgot what you call it when it's immersed. Pump? I don't know. Whatever. So I have an Ro tube going.

Adam

Into the reservoirs, and I flip the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Pump on and it automatically fills the tanks. And because all my tanks are drilled with overflows and bulkheads, as the water.

Adam

Raises up, it drains out of the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Bulkheads in the back so that they never overflow.

Adam

Right?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So that's for the shrimp room.

Adam

For the fish room in here, I.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Ran hot and cold water to this room from my garage, from the water heater, basically, and we ran the cold and hot water through the ceiling here, and then popped a hole through the ceiling. And then I put a shower valve on the wall, just the same one you would have in a shower. And from there I built a manifold on the top part where the shower is. And that's just basically an apparatus of PVC tubing and ball valves so I can have different zones. So if you see behind me, there's six tanks per row, and each zone does twelve tanks, right? So I flip the ball valve and.

Adam

Twelve tanks get a water change.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And you figure out how much water flows. I know that in about an hour I get a 20% water change. And I just do depending on the stocking and the different zones, I'll do anywhere from an hour a week to an hour or 2 hours a day on some of my fry tanks and grow out tanks.

Robbz

Now how do you choose? Because you can do all the water changes at once, but sometimes you want more control. So then if you want manual water change, you just manually change the water. You don't use the automated system for.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

One specific sure, I do that all the time, especially when I'm deep cleaning a tank. These fry tanks, you need to reset them after you move the fish into a bigger tank or you sell out of that tank. You want to give it a good clean before you put the new batch in to grow out. And that's just as simply as pulling it out with a regular siphon, giving it the tank a good cleaning. And then on that same shower valve, the top part is the manifold for the auto water change. The bottom part, which would go to a tub, is actually a quick fill hose. So I can just turn like I'm turning a tub on and that'll turn my quick fill hose up and then I just have one of those hang on tank PVC setups with another ball valve and I can go around and quick fill tanks individually that way.

Adam

Hell yeah.

Robbz

So how do you regulate the ball valves? Do you just leave them set and then know that they're going to get about the same water? You don't need to be completely exact or do you have to keep dicking with the ball valves?

Adam

No.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So you're never going to be completely exact. But when you set the system up and I recommend every six months, double checking that the flow is the same, because each tank has a ball valve and the pressure will be different in the line right as it goes down the line to the individual tanks. Further away from that shower valve, you can turn the ones closer to the shower valve down a little bit so it'll restrict that water flow, and more will get to the later ball valves in line. So adjust that when you set it up.

Adam

And then every six months I take.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

A look and everybody's still filling at roughly the same rate. In the old fish room or the shrimp room, I touched on this, a mistake I made was putting those ball valves basically in the water. So when the water was filling up it would start getting touched by water.

Adam

And that causes a lot of issues.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Because eventually you get algae growing on it. You have some flow issues because it's physically obstructed with gunk and algae and buildup. So this new room, and I wish.

Adam

I can show you guys on the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Podcast here, but I put the water in system on the wall and the only thing going to the tank is a piece of ro tubing and it's not touching the water, it's just sitting on the rim.

Adam

So, so far so good. And.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

It's been working beautifully since I did this second fish room.

Robbz

Now I see a mix of wood and steel stands, which is you prefer?

Adam

I like them both.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I love steel stands better.

Adam

A, they will stand up forever.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

They're all like powder coated. You're never going to get rust. You can upgrade the shelving with like a piece of PVC and paint it with like a latex paint the wood stand. The only reason I built this wood stand, and this is just the regular lag bolt on two x four wood stand, is because this room, I wanted my desk in here. This is like my fulfillment station for the business. And if I put another deep rack in or even a smaller metal stand, I wouldn't have been able to maximize this space with another twelve tanks here. So that's the only reason I built this one. And then I painted it black to match. But if I had all the space in the world and I had my choice, I'd always go metal. Steel racks, they come painted. The assembly is a fraction of the.

Adam

Time, little bit more money.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

But if you're crazy enough to set.

Adam

Up a 48 tank rack in your.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Fish room, I think you can spend the extra dollars to do it right the first time.

Jimmy

The amount of money being spent on.

Adam

Metal racks for me is, I don't know about you, but six months from.

Jimmy

Now going, this isn't working, I'm going to put in another row of tanks, or I'm going to put in different size tanks. And just the availability to be able to pop those shelves off and move stuff and not have to interrupt the top tanks or the bottom tanks. I completely change mine all the time. And then every once in a while I find, I'm sure like you where.

Adam

You have a little bit of space.

Jimmy

And you're going, I can put 355 gallon tanks in there. You can go usually find something that has a 17 inch depth for 55 and stick up 355s in there. That's what I've been personally doing with my discus and my angel fish.

Adam

Every time.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

You for sure, yeah.

Jimmy

So I really like the metal racks. I've had the wooden racks before.

Adam

And what I find out, that the.

Jimmy

Wooden racks sometimes have to be tightened up. Have you ever had that where they've loosened up a little bit and all of a sudden you kind of look why is everything kind of leaning a little bit? Because I was using three and a half inch leg bolts and stuff and didn't get them tight enough or I've moved it enough times where it's loosened up on its own.

Adam

Whereas the metal racks behind you continuously don't move.

Jimmy

I mean, you can drag them around.

Adam

No? Yeah, for sure.

Jimmy

At our house, we went to our local Harbor Freight, and they have those huge furniture moving pads about six inches.

Adam

Square, and we actually can drain all the tanks down to about halfway and.

Jimmy

Slide the entire rack without having to.

Adam

Take the tanks out.

Jimmy

And that's what I really like about it. So I actually have all mine on sliding racks. I have carpet in my fish room and I just find it so much easier to move stuff around if something.

Adam

Happens or you have to get behind.

Jimmy

There for some reason.

Adam

Don't smell the carpet, that's a rule. No.

Robbz

So in doing any type of fish room, everybody has lessons they learn and stuff they would do. That's why you have the first version. The second version, you did some changes. What's the top three things that you learned a lesson with that's just going to change how you do this fish keeping going forward?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Top three lessons, I would say saving money on lid handles, right? I make my own lids. That's a huge cost saving.

Adam

How do you make your so there's.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Actually a great tutorial on YouTube from Steve Poland. He's one of the OG fish tube content creators. You can get the glass cut or cut it yourself. I like glass personally over plastics because you're always especially running air driven sponge filters, you're always going to get algae on the glass and you can use a razor blade and it cleans it up in 2 seconds. So glass last stands the test of time. So I would look up if you want a tutorial on how to make my lid specifically, I used the foundation from Steve Poland's DIY lid, so check that out.

Adam

But the tip for these lids is.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

For some reason, when COVID hit well, not for some reason. We all know the logistical issues that.

Adam

Happened during COVID but the stick on.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Handles got really expensive on ebay. You used to be able to get a pack of twelve for like $15. They were about a dollar apiece, no problem, you buy those. But when I looked when I was building this second room, the lid handles were crazy expensive. So what I ended up buying were one inch glass marbles and siliconing them to the dude. And I love the look of it too.

Adam

It's so clean, you know what mean?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So that's that's my first tip for sure.

Robbz

Jimmy Lightbulb went off just now. He just thought to himself, I finally have a purpose for those uranium made marbles that's right for me, my childhood.

Jimmy

He and I have had this conversation before. The other thing I like about yeah, I like about that, too, is if you ever had glass and you've not had a good handle on it, and you lay the glass back on the.

Adam

Glass and it's wet becomes a suction between it, it sticks.

Jimmy

And with that marble, it actually keeps it up or a little aquian handle will keep it off the glass.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, with these specific lids, that's not even an issue because the frame for the glass portion actually sits in a plastic piece. It's called outside corner molding. You can buy it at Home Depot or Lowe's or whatever. And I just spray painted with Krylon Fusion Black. And the first piece, it's two piece glass, right? Because I want them to slide so I can easily get in them. The stationary piece that sits more towards the back sits inside of that outside Corner Molding. And then the top part sits on top. So the glass never physically touches, which is amazing. You're only sliding glass on your it's a great system.

Adam

I love that.

Jimmy

And after I talked to you last summer, I did that with several of my tanks, and I bought everything they had out at my local menards to do all that. And I've still got about half of my tanks to do in that. But the tanks are so much easier to keep closed because they so easily just slide back and forth. And you also can save a lot of room. If you're really short on room and you want to stack your tanks and they're tight, you don't have to worry about it leaving five inches. So your lid will flip up, it will slide back and forth.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Absolutely.

Jimmy

And you can get another row of tanks in there. And for somebody like you and me and Robbie, one more row of tanks could be 10, 12, 15 more tanks on a row.

Robbz

That's just more addiction. That's more to rub your nipples on the morning.

Jimmy

No, I don't do that.

Robbz

Anyways, number two he's confused, too.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Oh, yeah, sorry. All right. Number two, it's definitely got to be getting your water change system set up. If you're going to scale a fish room, the last thing you want to do is have 45 tanks and have to manually change water. And I know a lot of people dedicate their lives to that, and you get to be in your tanks more. And there is something to say about being more hands on every day when you're doing that stuff. But my solution to that is not make it automated. With a solenoid valve, I manually come in, turn the ball valves on for each zone, and then I make sure I give all those tanks a look every day or once every two days. So automate your water changes is probably the biggest tip that I would say, because it's paramount when you're talking about scaling your fish room.

Adam

Yeah, you're only one guy.

Robbz

You don't actually have to hire people to do this.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Right. And that goes into the profitability thing with actually breeding for profit.

Adam

Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Like, you can only be successful if you keep your costs down. That's why I'm doing this in my house. That's why I'm a one man operation. The more things I can automate, I will. And that's just scalability is profitability in that sense.

Robbz

You had a question, Dalton?

Adam

No, I was just going to say.

Jimmy

I think even not talking about scalability water changes suck. If you've got two tanks, water changes know, on all of my tanks, I've already got a pump in the water, so I just run a splitter with.

Adam

A ball valve off of it.

Jimmy

So when I want to do a water change, I don't have an automated system, but I can just split it.

Adam

To the discharge hose and then run.

Jimmy

It down the drain with the pump that's already running in the tank.

Adam

And it makes it a heck of a lot easier. I've only got eight or nine tanks.

Robbz

But it's a lifesaver now I'm going to go on limit and say to people that are wanting to put this system out, I don't need to do an overflow, I don't need to set up over the edge overflow, drill a tank, I don't need to do any of it. All I can do is just top off the water. I'll watch it. I guarantee you, setting the system up without an overflow is the best way to make a water claim on your homeowner's insurance. I promise you there will be no.

Adam

More unique method of doing it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

One other method sorry, Jim, I was just going to say you can actually make the siphons and the overflows without drilling the tanks. I think Gary Sage from Select Aquatics in Colorado, I think his system has no drilling involved. It's pretty ugly, like aesthetically, you're not going to get the same look with everything behind the tanks, but it is possible if you're just looking to scale up without learning how to drill tanks and break 15 tanks while you're learning and stuff like that. So there are ways to do it.

Robbz

We make them here. We've done a few fish rooms for the people in the club. I know Dean is one of the most recent persons I've done it with. He's actually building a fish cistern for his basement. He's got an old school Catholic cistern and he's flooded the bottom, kind of like you saw, everybody saw on the social media.

Adam

They had that eel basement where this.

Robbz

Guy was having full size eels and a massive cistern. In the basement, he's got a small cistern, he flooded the basement, the base part of the cistern, about a foot and a half deep, and then he's put pallet racks up with racks above the water. So his whole thing is he pumps the water from the lower pond, quote unquote, into the tanks above as a continual flow system, and they have overflows going straight back to the bottom of the cistern. So we made overflows using PVC, we used the old, old school Joey King of DIY YouTube video before he became a social media guy and was just doing the DIY stuff. And it works really well. We haven't had a single siphon. Be you know, there's a lot to be said that Krylon solves a lot of problems, like you were saying before about those sliders.

Adam

Yeah, I have a friend over in.

Jimmy

North Dakota, and he has a piece of PVC coming down. And once you have that initial vacuum going, he has like, a regular garden hose valve on it. And he goes up there, and he turns it on and turns it off, and it automatically starts draining, and he has automatic system to start filling it. But he didn't want to drill anything because he's in a really nice house and he didn't want to drill anything, so he thought that would be more safe. So there's a hundred ways to do it. It's just whatever you feel comfortable doing. And with us here in Minnesota, everybody's got their fish down in their basement. But if you've got stuff on a main floor and you flood your main floor and it goes down or heaven.

Robbz

Forbid, your neighbors below you, right.

Adam

And that could be a whole bunch of trouble.

Robbz

Wait, number three, he's got to get through them. We got one and two.

Adam

I got a question. Okay, tell me about number three. All right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So number three, when you're buying lights, make sure they come with integrated dimmers.

Adam

And timers, all right?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Because if you're going to have all these lights in a fish room, the last thing you want to do is.

Adam

Have to pair them either with the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Wi Fi timers, the Wi Fi plugs, or have to turn them on manually every day. So having like, beams work, for instance, has all these lights in this room. Are beams work? I love them. They're cheap on ebay relative to other lights. Anyway, they come with dimmers and timers. I can adjust them as needed. That's my lighting hack, I would say, and then just zip tie them to the bottom of the shelf above. And that's all I did. They're super easy to install on these.

Adam

Racks, I was going to say, because.

Jimmy

I do the same thing where I zip tie them to the rack. The reason I like the zip ties is because if you take and mount them to a board and for some reason your top tank starts to overflow, then it will follow the board and take out your lights.

Adam

Yeah, fry out a light.

Jimmy

And so I like just having the zip ties because it's less ways for water to get to your light. If you have a leak or a.

Robbz

Broken tank, that and taking a pair of scissors, cutting it off and moving them quick beats having to drill or bolt anything to what you're trying to do.

Jimmy

And it's quick and easy for replacement when they crap out on you.

Robbz

So you built this fantastic fish room. You got a second one done. Your mother in law thinks you're crazy. She found your dried up fish.

Adam

You can't live it down, but you're.

Robbz

Disproving her theory because now you're starting to have your supply ready, and you're about to make money. So you got your fish room done. What was the next steps in your process. Did you start a website? Did you do more? I feel like you did more homework.

Adam

You're very thorough.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah. So before you do anything, you have to do the research. And I actually made my website early on because you can only sell so much locally and on message boards and on the internet. As long as you figure out shipping, which, again, is a whole nother process, you need to really study and figure out the best way for you to accomplish that. In whatever climate you're in, you got to do the research. So I made my website early on. I started adding my shrimp and my plants. And what was the other part of the question, Rob?

Adam

I'm sorry.

Robbz

I'm just trying to walk through the bouncing ball. You made the fish room.

Adam

What was next?

Robbz

So you had to figure out shipping was the next tackle. How did you figure out shipping?

Jimmy

How do you ship?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So you learn through trial and error, depending on what I'm shipping. It really depends on the type of shipping I'm doing. Fish. I ship through ups. Mostly. They're the most reliable. I individually bag all my fish unless it's rice fish. I'm really hot on rice fish right now. I'm breeding millions of them. Outside those, you can put more to.

Adam

A bag because they're smaller fish, but.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Making sure you're shipping with plenty of air, going through a reliable carrier, heat packs, insulation, learning when to use heat packs. Because I'm in South Florida, so it's hot year round for the most part. I don't want to throw in two heat packs and drop it off in the morning, and then it's cooking on the tarmac at 04:00 p.m.. Or 05:00 p.m.. When they get picked up at the drop off location. So you really got to learn the intricacies of your area and where you're going to ship. But that was a big hurdle early on. You really do lose things. You lose plants, you lose fish. But after a while, that percentage goes down when you kind of pick up the skill better. And now I'm happy to report that 99.5% of my shipments have zero DOAS. So it's just learning how to ship is huge. That was tested step.

Robbz

You got to get your toe wet. How did you jump in? Did you find a few friends in, like, a Minnesota and give them trading?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, sure. Trading fish. I'm big into genetics with the Rams. I'd ship fish to I shipped fish to Jim not too long ago. That's a little bit later in my process. But, yeah, shipping fish around the country, you just got to jump in and do it, obviously. Learn as much as you can. There's tutorials for everything online. We live in the information age, you know what I mean? I'll say it again, siri. We live in the information age. There's a tutorial for everything, you know what I mean? So go online and learn, because if you're going to ship live animals, you better have your shit together, because you don't want to be killing things and you don't want customers pissed off at you. I've had the same DOA policy since day one. And if something arrives dead that I sell you, I reship it for free, and I ship it in the same way that the shipping that you purchase and I get it there to you alive. And that's why it's so important to.

Adam

Learn how to ship, because you don't.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Want the customer experience. After coming home from work, they get their box or excited. This is a hobby for most people, and they sit down with their fish and boom, this thing's floating. It's fish soup. Why is it cooked in a bag?

Adam

Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So learn how to ship. That was a huge thing that I did, and then yeah, honestly, to further that, getting your name out there is the hardest thing in the world. And unless you're extremely passionate about what you're doing, you might as well stop now, because for me, I have 75,000 followers across all of my social platforms at this point. And before I got anywhere, it was two and a half years of grinding social media, talking to myself, showing my small but growing follower base, everything that I'm working on, the fish that I'm breeding, the genetic lines that I'm trying to create myself, interesting ways to make my plants look nice online. You're in an echo chamber for the first year, and then you slowly start to pick up. And I think it took me almost two and a half years to get to 10,000 followers. Now I'm five years in, I'm at 75,000.

Adam

So that's really the next step, was.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Getting people to look at what I'm doing.

Adam

Right.

Robbz

So let's pick on the same question. Top three things that you did to make yourself known on social media. Number one, sponsor yourself with the Aquarium Guys podcast. You can reach us out with your business questions to.

Jimmy

Even that wasn't even smooth.

Robbz

Okay.

Adam

No, for real, though, start with quality.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And make sure that you're passionate about it.

Adam

Right?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Because if you don't love what you're doing and you're not producing something that.

Adam

People want to look at, what's the point? Right?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So I'm super passionate about this. As you can see, I have 120 fish tanks inside of my home. I have ponds lining my fence outside. This is a passion project that I was able to turn into a business. Right? Yeah.

Adam

Okay, so that's the first thing.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I mean, second and third thing, they're all wrapped up into each other. Honestly, I can't really say. One, two, three. Here's the magic sauce, because it kind of progressively snowballs on each other.

Robbz

I was looking more like a specific post. I had this one video where something happened. That's what I was looking for. What was your magic moment? Or is it just a slow progression of consistency.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

There's no magic moment. I've had a couple of videos go viral, 2 million views and stuff. And sure, that's good for your immediate follower count increase. But being passionate, people are going to see that, right? They know that you care. You show people what you're doing. You're excited about it. That's step one. Step two is when they start buying from you. Make sure your customer service is top notch. Make sure you're there. Make sure you take care of any issues. That goes back to my day one shipping policy. In the beginning, I was making 40, $50 a week. And if something died, that's ten extra dollars in shipping, plus the product that I had to reship. You can bury yourself early, but you have to have that customer service.

Adam

Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

That's huge. And then I guess my third tip is stick with it. Because if you put enough time and energy into anything that you're passionate or you care about, you're going to gain some modicum of success.

Adam

And that's where I'm at now.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I feel like only five years in, I'm starting to really reap the benefits of the work I've put in up to this point.

Jimmy

One thing I think that you're not saying for yourself, you and I have had this conversation. You've said it to me personally, but.

Adam

It hasn't come up yet that you.

Jimmy

Do something and you do it very well, but you don't try to do 100 varieties. You're doing three, four varieties of rams. You're doing three, four varieties of shrimp, and you do a really goddamn good job with it.

Robbz

I remember when you got off the phone with him, actually, you came over and you had like this Anthony guy. Where'd you find him? I'm like, he's been our fan for a while. This guy's sharp. He's taken those, as you said, the Gordon Ramsey aspect of cutting down the menu and doing what he does and do it right.

Adam

Right. And I tell you what, the only.

Jimmy

Mistake that I made when I ordered from this dude is I didn't order enough damn black rams. Because everybody wants the black rams, and they are absolutely black. More black.

Robbz

This is what we get for living in the state with the most mung in it.

Jimmy

Oh, man, that is funny because it's absolutely, 100% correct. Because every time we have a fish show and the mong population come out and they love their black angel fish, they love the black rams.

Adam

Yeah.

Jimmy

They love the dark shrimp.

Robbz

Anything that they can call a black orchid is sold out.

Jimmy

Black bettas. Oh, God.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

But Jim, thank you for bringing that up, first of all, because that is.

Adam

A pillar of why I'm becoming successful.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Really dialing into a couple of things and doing them good, better than everybody else, or at least comparable to the best, is so important, especially when you're limited on real estate. You can't breed fish without water.

Adam

You need tanks.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

You can't breed shrimp without shrimp tanks. What's the point of having everything if they all suck? For a business standpoint, collectoritis is real. I have plenty of tanks kicking around here that make me no money, but.

Adam

I love them, right?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So I have that too. But hyper focused on what you want to provide to the hobby. And for me that was from the beginning. Dwarf cichlids, which culminated in me making awesome black rams and other color rams. My GBRs are awesome. My golds have super orange heads on the males, right. My shrimp, I'd make sure they're super high grade. I'm always culling and easy plants. The plants are huge. Actually, I probably am doing more plant sales than shrimp sales at this point. In the beginning that was reversed. Now I'm having trouble keeping up with breeding enough shrimp because I home breed everything here. I do supplement with some plants that I bring in for resale, but the majority of everything I do is done.

Adam

Here in my home facility.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

But, yeah, thank you for bringing that up because that is so important is to pick something and get better than everybody at it. That's how you're going to get people to pay attention.

Robbz

I see two different people that are in what I'd like to call your genre of the breed at home business that do two different ways of success. One, they like you keep the menu small and they do it right and they do it top tier. You get a name in the game that, hey, when you want sweet rams, guess what?

Adam

I know Anthony.

Robbz

Anthony's had quality. He's had quality for years. He's my de facto guy. I'm going to get shit from. Then you have the what's the word I'm looking for? Not out of pocket guy, but you have the mixed bag guy where people.

Adam

Will we're actually going to be having.

Robbz

Another guy on the podcast we're going.

Adam

To be doing another interview with and.

Robbz

This particular gentleman brings in a random assortment of rarities. He goes in, he talks to different breeders, and he's known for having the fish of the week. It's only odballs. That's the only really two successes I've seen. If you're going to, like you said, half ass something, try to keep a long list of something all the time that you're trying to be known for.

Adam

And guess what?

Robbz

The guppies aren't so good. But my rams are fantastic. It doesn't help you and it's distracting from what you could be doing better.

Jimmy

Well, the thing is, too, is that's.

Adam

Right, is you can find a lot.

Jimmy

Of really good angelfish breeders. You can find a lot of good guppy breeders. But I tell you what, there's very few people who are doing good rams. And I've bought enough rams to flush down toilets.

Adam

I've imported them.

Jimmy

I bought them from Florida, from different farms and stuff and had no luck in my water that's how we had the conversation.

Robbz

You were so sick of it and you're bitching to me. I'm like, Robbie, where the can we find some rams? I'm like, haven't you talked to Anthony?

Adam

We sent him a hoodie.

Jimmy

Yep, and then some got some rams from him. And like I said, I wish I'd ordered more black rams, and I probably.

Adam

Will next time, but just they live.

Jimmy

And live and live and live, and.

Adam

The stuff I was importing or bringing.

Jimmy

In from different companies, they would be good for three, four, five days start deteriorating. And day eight, day nine, they start tipping over. And no rhyme, no reason. And I didn't have to do anything with your fish other than freaking feed them, just add water and keep them more.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I get that a lot. I get that a lot from people that are hesitant, that have gone into.

Adam

Fish stores and bought wholesale. Rams that have just been, from the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Day they were hatched to the day that they landed in that fish store.

Adam

Have been basically abused.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And they get to this point where they're on their last legs when you buy them, but they're still colorful enough, they look fine in the store tanks. You bring them home, you don't set them up perfectly, they're gone. And then they get the reputation that.

Adam

They'Re a hard fish to keep when.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

In reality, they're the easiest fish in my fish room that I've kept. I never have problem with rams, ever. And it's because I started with quality. I breed quality and I keep and before you get them from me, they are the healthiest they can possibly be. And they're going from my water to your water.

Adam

That's it.

Jimmy

Now, where did you get your breeding stock? Did you find somebody local that was doing it? I can't believe that you called somebody over the Philippines and said, hey, send me your best.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

No, I reached out to a couple of old time breeders that I found.

Adam

On message boards, and I took in as many rams as I could that.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I can bring in.

Adam

And I selected out of all the.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Ones that I received, I grew them up, right? You buy batches of babies, right? They're juveniles. And I grew them all up and I said, this fish, this male is beautiful, this female over here is beautiful. And I put them together and that was my first spawn. And that started my line. My line for my black rams, anyway, is I breed for maximum black on the fish and maximum blue on the sides and on the fins. And that's kind of my calling card. Like, you can see it all over my social media. I'm always posting my genetic makeup and my lines and yeah, I just started with nice looking fish and continued to make them nicer, or at least what I wanted, right? Nicer is subjective. It's what I wanted to breed and what I thought. People would be interested in.

Robbz

So what's your hardest lessons that you can share with the group here of doing the business and getting into it.

Adam

That you just learned from the school.

Robbz

Of hard knocks exclusively?

Adam

Man, I think I've really limited my.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Hard lessons by the copious amounts of research that I do. I don't mean to say that, like, I've never had a hardship in this hobby or business.

Adam

I would say the shipping hurdle, especially.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Learning to ship in the winter from.

Adam

A warm state, huge and almost impossible.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I actually limit my temperatures if you're not doing overnight shipping with me. And it's two day shipping because of all the trials and tribulations that I had learning how to ship. I won't even ship it if it's under 40 degrees, you know what I mean? So there's just no point. There's no amount of heat packs that's going to keep a ram above freezing and that's for rams, obviously, other things can go a lot colder. But the school of hard knocks was.

Adam

Learning how to ship year round.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

You don't want to go into a business and say, I'm going to make all my money in the summer. First of all, all, you crazy mother effers in the winter states are locked in all winter long and all you want to do is play with your fish tanks. I have so many winter northern winter fish orders. These people just come out of the woodwork. It's crazy. So you can't just be like, oh, it's too hard, I'm done so hard knock number one, learn how to ship to the frozen tundra. And then I guess hard knock number two is let me think.

Robbz

Take your time, brother.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Okay, you know what, this is a big one and we're really breeding fish focused here. But I do so much but I'll stick with this because it's the hardest thing. The hardest thing here for me and was learning how to raise ram fry and actually getting a decent amount of.

Adam

Them to sellable size the first month.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Of a ram's life, if you look at them wrong, they will die in their fry tray and there's nothing you can do besides really dial in your process. So becoming profitable and learning how to.

Adam

Breed fish, learning how to feed babies.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Is so incredibly important. I took a lot of l's because I had a lot of success right off the bat. I don't know if it was because I was super focused on research and I was studying exactly how much brine shrimp to put in the tray with that amount of fish specifically. But there came a time where I was it I could do anything and I slowly stopped focusing on the baby fish and I had a lot of die off in that period a couple of years ago and you really have to stay focused on that. So yeah, that's a huge thing that just came to my mind right there.

Jimmy

Now there's a lot of people listening.

Adam

Right now and they're thinking in their.

Jimmy

Head, I'm going to make a million bucks at this and stuff. How many babies would you say you average in a clutch and how often are they breeding for you?

Adam

Because there's a lot of people that.

Jimmy

Are listening that aren't familiar with how you breed. Rams, can you give us how about this 32nd tutorial of how you breeding them and how many you're cranking out?

Robbz

We'll also pause this and do another episode on German rams with this fine gentleman. I think he has a lot more. We can put in one podcast to share.

Adam

Sure.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

All right. But okay, 32nd deep dive. So they breed on something in your aquarium. So I use little two inch terracotta saucers, they're called. You can buy them in bulk on Amazon or go to a hobby store. They're going to lay their eggs on that. You're going to pull the eggs or you're going to see if the parents will raise them. That takes a lot of time, right? So I always pull the eggs. I'm looking for maximum to adulthood for sale. I pull the eggs, I raise them artificially. You have to be hatching brine shrimp every day. There's no way around that. I don't like worms and all that stuff. And to answer your question, how many do I get out of a batch? If the fish is the first time it can breed, let's say six months to eight months, when it starts giving me clutches, I'll probably get 150 eggs from that fish. I've had some females in their prime roughly 18 months to two years that will drop 500 eggs on that little terracotta saucer and it will not only fill the entire top of the saucer, but she will line the rim with eggs, too. And out of that, let's say that mega batch, 500, there's videos on my social media. I've been as successful of raising 90% of those to sellable size. So let's say 450. And then there's some big L's where I'll have 400 fish in a fry tray and it overloaded the fry tray and I'll lose them all or I'll only end up with 100 or 50. So it's really all over the place. So there you go.

Adam

That's the non ram podcast.

Robbz

We'll get deep into it on another one, we promise you. So if you're listening in, we're going to get another one with Anthony. And there's people right now with Calculators slide rules.

Jimmy

They're figuring out.

Robbz

I'm going to be counting.

Adam

They're trying to figure it out.

Robbz

We do have some questions from the listeners. Listeners want to know how you're doing your tanks. Most of the time when people see that they're doing breeding and growouts, they don't see ten gallon tanks. They don't see an array of small tanks. So explain to them not necessarily with rams, but all of your species selections just go around your room, how do you do the process? So if I'm sitting at home and I want to pick n species, I got the breeding tank and I have the grow out tanks. What does this all look like?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Don't do ten gallon tanks. If you're starting out, you need to really know what's going to happen in a ten gallon tank when you put.

Adam

200 fish in there. Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

But if you do go my route, I went with the maximum amount of tanks that I can have all on a separate system. So that limits my exposure to any potential diseases. That means I can bring new stock in and put them in a tank in the fish room. And there's no way to get a disease to my growouts that could affect my sales. So here, I know what I'm doing. I can do it in tens. I know how much water that I need to run through my 200 fish fry tanks that I feed three times a day to make sure I don't stunt their growth.

Adam

Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Because water and fresh water plays a big part on the growth of a fish. I think that's something that we can.

Adam

Dive in a little bit about when.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

We do the Ram podcast.

Robbz

Let's pick on a couple of different let's pick on shrimp. So shrimp, you have a colony tank. How do you grow those out? Is it a grow out and a breeding how's that work in your room?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So I start with in a ten gallon shrimp breeding tank. I always start it with moss because it has a lot of surface area for biofilm, which the babies are going to need.

Robbz

And that's what you're doing is ten gallon tanks for breeding?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I do ten gallon tanks for everything. My entire operation is ten gallon tank.

Adam

Okay, continue everything.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So I start with a ten gallon tank. I only breed neocaradina, by the way. I love caradina. I have them kicking around here. But I'm hyper focused on quality and low amount of SKUs. Right. I want to make sure that I'm breeding quality. Okay, so ten gallon tank, 20 shrimp to start a colony.

Adam

Okay.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Make sure they're the prettiest shrimp that I can find around the fish room. Start with all one color, make sure they're fed well.

Adam

I do spinach once a week, I.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Do pellet food every day, but I make sure to not overfeed. You overfeed a shrimp that grow too big in their exoskeleton, all of a sudden you have dead shrimp.

Adam

You have no idea why, right? So that shrimp are really easy.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Set up a tank, sponge filter, throw in some moss. Make sure your water is at least in an acceptable range for the species that you have that you want to breed and give it time. Don't overfeed. Make sure they have plenty of available biofilm on the plants. You need plants with shrimp. I'm sorry. There's plenty of people that do shrimp without plants, but you're never going to have the success unless you have some type of hardscape for the babies to retreat to or the pregnant females. And you need plants for those babies to hide in. The adult shrimp don't predate on the.

Adam

Young, but they still are fragile and.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

They need a place to just relax and eat for the first couple of days they're alive, facilitating those needs.

Robbz

You got 20 shrimp in a colony, you just let them breed on their own, and then how do you harvest from them? I'm assuming that's the same breeding and grow out tank in one.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, right. You don't have separate grow out tanks for shrimp. The only time I pull shrimp out of a tank is either for sale or to restart a new colony.

Adam

Right.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

So, for instance, I just added 36 new shrimp tanks to my original fish shrimp room, right? So I took all my best shrimp out of each tank and seeded the new tanks. And I'm not even done with that, but that's what I'm currently in the process of doing. I'm picking out my best shrimps and I'm putting them in the new tanks, and then I just do exactly what I listed. It's a big old mound of moss.

Adam

And make sure it's clean.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Not clean like you don't clean it, but make sure it doesn't have any crazy pests. And also make sure you know how to control pests like hydra and stuff like that. You don't want baby shrimp being eaten by hydra or planaria. So I'm very selective, especially in the shrimp room bringing in new stuff. I do not want to bring in.

Adam

Shrimp, parasite or anything that could affect.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

A shrimp because they're so much more fragile than fish.

Robbz

So how do you harvest from this and this is again from the listener, how do you harvest from a shrimp tank? When you have going, do you go by number? How many you see? And I can take only so many from them.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, that's actually a whole nother episode, I think, but short Cliff Notes is you never want to pull out too many shrimp from a shrimp colony because you will crash the colony and then you'll be six months to be able to sell from it again. So when my colonies get up to about 150 to 200 shrimp, that's when I feel comfortable enough to sell maybe 50 to 75 of those shrimp, right. So what I do to harvest a shrimp is I take a sinking wafer or a pellet, a couple of pellets. I drop them right in front. I always leave the front of my shrimp tanks with nothing but sand, just inert regular sand. I use pool filter sand from Home Depot for white, and I use imaginarium black sand from Petco for black. Depending on the color of the shrimp.

Adam

They'Re easier to see.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Drop those pellets in, take a shrimp net and just scoop out ones for sale that look great and the customer will be happy with. Put them in a breather bag, send them on their way.

Adam

All right.

Robbz

What do you do for growouts for you? I'm trying to remember the different species.

Adam

You have rams, you have yeah, I.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Should even rice fish.

Adam

Rice fish.

Robbz

I'm assuming those outside.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Can I ask a question about shrimp.

Adam

Before we move on to the fish? Do it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Sure.

Adam

Yeah.

Jimmy

So how do you handle coals in your shrimp tank? When you've got your breeding stock and you're growing out and you've got 100 and 5200 shrimp in a tank, at.

Dalton

What point do you make sure you.

Jimmy

Cull before they start to reproduce and you've got a whole line of shrimp.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

That are low quality all the time? When I'm bagging shrimp for sale or I'm doing my daily feedings, I'll go in an hour later, I'll look to see if there's anything I don't like in that gene pool. I'll pull it out and I'll put it in one of my coal tanks. Just another ten gallon tank with a mix. Skittle tanks, I call them, with all different colors of culls and crazy stuff. And then once I get those cull tanks full, I list them on the website as a discount every so often. And then I'll just sell those as discounted shrimp from just mixed bags of shrimp. So I'm always culling those tanks and I'm always keeping my line. I'm always entering my shrimp into the shrimp contest. Every year at Aquashella. I do it twice a year. I've won first place last year. I won breeder of the year. I've won a lot of second places and third places. I've sweeped the show. It's just staying on top of it.

Jimmy

See, in my mind, I was thinking with all these calls that your rams are eating really well.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

God.

Robbz

You see that hard flex there? Oh, my God. He just threw it up there with 15 pounders on his arm there, bud, dude.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I hatch a tablespoon of brine a day every day. I never miss a day unless I'm physically gone on vacation. And the rams eat good. I give them live blackworms every so often. They eat tons of high quality pellet flakes and frozen foods. They are not missing their shrimp snacks, that's for sure.

Jimmy

Now, how are you finding blackworms these days? Is it getting any better, any easier for blackworms?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

No, it's not.

Adam

No.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

And I wouldn't want them daily anyway. I use them as a treat sometimes it helps trigger breeding. But if my rams are ever lagging on breeding, pulling the heater off and letting them go to my room temperature, which is about 75, usually does the trick, too. So good diet doesn't have to be all live, but definitely incorporate live. Like baby brine. It's a great food for all of your fish if it's not a six inch gigantor, right? But if you're talking dwarf cichlids and fish, baby brine.

Adam

That is liquid gold.

Robbz

Well, next listener question, before we get too far away from it. What's your favorite aquarium plant that you offer?

Adam

Boost, baby. I love Boosa. Philandra.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

It is just like anubius and fern. And those are probably my close seconds because they can take the higher temperature.

Adam

In my ram tanks.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

But boosts is what got me into this hobby. It's what kept me in this hobby. If you come and do a tour of my fish room one day, Rob's, you will see some of the craziest boosts you'll ever see. I import it direct. I always try and source it from farms in Indonesia, not guys that are just ripping it out of the wild. I offer it on my site, and that is my favorite plant species by a mile.

Jimmy

Now, is Boostie slow growing like Anubias.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Or is it exactly like Anubias? No, it's nice and slow.

Adam

Nice and slow.

Jimmy

And it doesn't need a whole lot of light. Anubius doesn't need it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

No. Their care requirements are virtually the same. And I put them in my shrimp tanks when I get them. They keep them beautiful and clean. I have portions here sitting next to me that I'll put on driftwood and stuff and put it on my website as little premade sections. I literally just have boosts coming out of my ears over here. But yeah, man, they're super easy. It's my favorite.

Jimmy

Yeah. The other question I had that I wanted to talk so you said you're running heaters in each individual tank?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Oh, yeah, man. Listen, I hate my electric bill. Yeah, no, it's not as bad as you would think. And I only have to run heaters in my ram tanks, and right now that's only 30 or 40 tanks. And I run 50 watt heaters. So limit the wattage. Make sure you have a tight fitting lid. My ambient temperature is only eight degrees cooler than what I keep my Rams at, roughly 82 to 84. But there's no other way I could do it in my home. I can't live in 85 degrees.

Robbz

I love it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I got Viking blood in me, man.

Robbz

The good comments are right away are only in quotations. Oh, guys, it's only 30, 40 tanks. Don't worry about it.

Jimmy

Do you find any particular heater? Are you buying some of the crazy stuff from overseas that's cheap, or are you buying something with a little brighter quality?

Adam

The best heater I've ever found, and.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I'm going to knock on wood right.

Adam

Now, are high top on Amazon. They're cheap, they're regular.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Thermostat stick glass heaters, I use them in every single one of my tanks. But the kicker is, and the reason why I don't experience failure is every.

Adam

18 months on the dot, they all.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Get ripped out, thrown in the garbage, and I put brand new ones in.

Adam

No kidding. I've done that.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I never run a heater longer than 18 months.

Jimmy

You should be selling those heaters with your funky shrimp that you're calling get like a free heater, get 20 retarded.

Adam

Shrimp and there you go.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Honestly, you can send some of those.

Robbz

Shocky things my way, you know what I'm saying?

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, I thought about that. But the last thing, going back to what I said earlier about customer experience, the last thing I want to do is sell somebody a two year old.

Adam

Heater and then it kills their fish.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Or sticks on or something. You need to take the Disney Method.

Robbz

You got to take the Disney method. Disney wanted to put out some less family friendly content, so they made touchstone entertainment, right? So you need like, instead of DACU aquatics where you sell your premiere stuff, you need like, dumpster fire, know, and then just be like, guess what? Use heater sales all day.

Jimmy

I'm drunk and confused by hell.

Adam

Yeah.

Jimmy

So what are the high top heaters running, the 50 watt? Are they running about $1112 or what?

Adam

Are you paying for those? Yeah, okay.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, last round I bought, I think they were twelve. They give you a discount if you buy like multiples, so yeah, I think.

Adam

They'Re like $13 right around there.

Jimmy

We've heard story after story on this podcast about people who have killed $1,000 worth of fish because they spent $3 on a heater and not had a grounding rod for their discus and whatnot. And I've killed more fish with bad heaters. You think about the cost of replacing them, you're going, yeah, it's an initial cost. But you think about you have a whole tank full of adult angel fish and you got 30 in there and you lose them. You could buy a hell of a lot of heaters for that.

Robbz

I tell you what, Jimmy, I live on the you shitty heater market, but I have more titanium grounding probes than.

Adam

I've seen anybody carry.

Robbz

I live and die by it. And here's the fun thing, right? One time I go over, my cat knocks the titanium grounding probe out of the tank. So you shut up, see it happening, and suddenly I see all the fish shake in the tank. Like, damn it, I knew that ten year old glass heater that was cracked is fizzing that I bought used at.

Jimmy

The firefire sales.com for a nickel.

Robbz

Yes. Anthony's not impressed with my idea?

Adam

None.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, I've actually never run any of those before. I've shot myself a couple times, but I've never experienced any because I change them out so frequently.

Adam

I don't have issues with my heaters.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

I can't stand to lose one fish.

Adam

Let alone a tank full when I.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Find a tank at 140 degrees or something. Crazy. And that's why I use 50 watts.

Adam

Too, because it takes so much longer.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

To heat up a tank. Even a ten gallon with a 50 watt heater, you'll know, before it's a real problem.

Jimmy

Now, those particular heaters, do they come with the old suction cup to keep it from banging on the glass.

Adam

There it is.

Robbz

Jimmy.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

They also have a plastic nub on the bottom, so if the suction cup fails in the tank, it won't crash onto the floor of the aquarium. Not that would do damage if it's underwater, but just an extra layer of protection.

Robbz

I thought that was for Jimmy's pleasure.

Adam

Not big enough.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, the little cat, little rubber caps for Jimmy.

Robbz

Rubber caps.

Jimmy

I actually would have to go with a 500 watt because they're much bigger. There you go.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Oh, yeah.

Jimmy

I'm sure I'm not waiting around for.

Adam

50 watts to claim me.

Robbz

Well, Dalton, do you have any follow up questions I know you've been kind of answering? You threw a couple out there for us.

Jimmy

Well, I was just wondering how long it took and what your process was. Taking this from a hobby to your business. When you started out, did you work nine jobs like Jim or just barely one like Rob? He is so dead. I love this new.

Robbz

Yeah, he's the best editor was.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

It was two solid years of what am I doing? And truly questioning what I was doing before I realized there was potential to make it a legitimate career long term. And that kind of plays into what I said about the echo chamber on social media. You're trying to sell things on message boards and people don't know who you are, and it's not going well, and then all of a sudden, you'll have a good week and a bad week. But two years was the, what am I doing? Why do I have 50 60 fix? I must be having a mental break.

Jimmy

You think about people who've been on.

Adam

Around for two years on the Internet.

Jimmy

That's kind of a long time. For a lot. I mean, there's a lot of flashing of pans that we see come and go, but once you're around for two, three years, I think people know you're legit and that you're committed.

Adam

Like this podcast.

Robbz

We've been stuck here forever.

Adam

Yeah. When are we going to get paid?

Robbz

Dalton gets paid. That's the only person that gets paid in this. I know he earned it.

Adam

We didn't. Yeah.

Robbz

Well, Anthony, thank you so much for coming on, brother. We appreciate it.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

No problem.

Robbz

Round two. We got to have the Ram Deep dive for sure.

Adam

And if you're listening yeah, let's do it.

Robbz

And if you're listening, you are a sponsor of the podcast. This is the interview that we've been trying to get for a while. Thank you for being a sponsor. And if you want any of the products that he's been talking about of his quality control, where he even rips out his heaters to get rid of to make sure he doesn't lose fish, go to Dakuaquatics.com, D-A-K-U Aquatics.

Adam

Use promo code.

Robbz

Aquarium guys at checkout for 10% off the store and I believe 20% off of Boost.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

This is where you confirm that? Yeah, no, you can't use both coupons at once, but I don't offer discounts on my fish. And the biggest value with the aquarium guys coupon is if you're buying shrimp, fish, or any of the other plants on my website, it's 10% off site wide, including the boosts. But if you want to buy, just boost. My 20% off coupon is separate from that aquarium guy code. And just to say one thing, when we started talking and you gave me the chance to sponsor your podcast here, I wasn't much of anything at that point. So I don't want the listeners to think that this is some shill interview I'm on here, because I really appreciate both of you guys for stepping in and helping me grow the business early on, too. So big shout out to you three and Adam. I don't know why Adam didn't come back, but hopefully we get him for the next podcast because I got a lot to talk about, and I'd love to talk about it with you two and Adam.

Robbz

Well, again, we've had a lot of people come and been we've been doing this for a little while now, and there are few people that actually get as far as you and get successful as you deliver a product. So we're tickled pink to have you on. We've been wanting to do this for a while. And congratulations, buddy. Not a lot of people celebrate other people's businesses, but you deserve a full round of applause. I got to see it from the beginning of being a fan. Hey, this is my idea.

Adam

And I have I'm not kidding, thousands.

Robbz

Of emails of people saying, I want to do this.

Adam

They never do.

Robbz

And you did, and you did it well.

Adam

Damn well. Good job.

Jimmy

Anybody that needs to order from him, if you think you need two pair, order six. I tell you, that's the biggest damn mistake, because, I mean, a box is a box, right? I mean, you can shove more fish in there if you have to.

Robbz

I like his measurements. You go on here and you like you got, like, for instance, blue rams. You go on here, he's got a pair or a five pack. I don't see there's got to be a new skew called the Jim Colby pack of 15.

Adam

That's what we need.

Jimmy

So the other day, I ordered some angel fish, getting back into angel fish, and I talked to this particular person that I bought them from, and he offers five, six different varieties, and they're all packed, 20 and 30 and stuff. And I said, okay, I'll take them. And he goes, which ones?

Robbz

I said, all of them, the lot.

Jimmy

And he goes, well, that's going to be like $500 plus shipping.

Robbz

Is that all? Come on now. We're here to play the game.

Jimmy

And I said to him, I said, well, how many do you think you can get in a box? And he goes, probably about $700. I said, do it. I said, because we're sending a box. I've got to go to the airport anyway.

Adam

And dollars, I've never not gotten my.

Jimmy

Money'S worth for some reason. I'll spend an extra $100 to save $20 on shipping. I'm just freaking weird.

Robbz

But you're like my wife, she'll get the five ketchups to save a dollar.

Jimmy

Type of thing, right, exactly. But anyway, Anthony, he can throw a whole lot of fish in a box for you and get it safely to you. When did I get mine? Did I get mine in the fall.

Adam

Or did I get mine the spring?

Jimmy

Early spring, I got a couple months ago.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, it was a couple months ago.

Jimmy

It was fairly cold out, and they came in and they're still all floating around downstairs in my fish room. We were moving some stuff around and around here in Minnesota, we get about, I don't know what, three weeks of good weather, and then we all stand outside and stare at the sun until we go blind. So now the fall is here, we're all spending more time in our fish room and moving stuff around. So the black rams are just beating the crap out of each other all day long. They just want to have babies and stuff. And I haven't given them anything since they lay eggs on the glass once in a while. So once I give them to give them a little potch in there and get them going and stuff. But right now my discus and my angels are all kind of taking a lot of attention away from everything else.

Robbz

Well, Anthony, any other last notes you want to tell the audience or something, you have to ask us.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

We barely scratched the tip of the iceberg here, gentlemen, so I appreciate the time and thanks for having me on. But yeah, check me out on social media. Daco Aquatics. I'm on instagram Facebook. TikTok. I will answer your questions. I will give you as much guidance as I can. I'm here for everybody. I love this hobby, I love the people in it. And rock on, guys, thanks for having me.

Robbz

We'll have all those social media links right there in the show notes, and you can join our discord and message them directly there as well. So the discord is the Aquarium Guys podcast, bottom of the website, you'll find it there.

Jimmy

And like, we'd like to tell everybody, if it's three in the morning, that's the best time to get hold of him.

Robbz

304:00 in the no, no, that's big Rich, since we gave out his cell phone number that he wasn't happy with us. No, we won't do that to you, Anthony, on purpose, anyway. Sober, we won't do it sober, no.

Jimmy

But I will put your number on bathroom walls when I go use the urinal. How about that?

Robbz

Because call for a good shrimping time.

Jimmy

Call for some hot rice.

Robbz

Call for large shrimp. There you go.

Adam

That's right. All right, guys.

Robbz

Until next time. Thanks, guys, for listening to the podcast. Please go to your favorite place where podcasts are found, whether it be Spotify, itunes, Stitcher, wherever they can be found, like subscribe. And make sure you get push notifications directly to your phone so you don't miss great content like this.

Adam

You know what? What fluke you?

Jimmy

That is the first time Robbie's ever got it frickin'right.

Robbz

I deserve a gold star. Today we are pleasured.

Jimmy

I'm drunk and confused.

Robbz

Hell, yeah. Or do you have to keep dicking with the ball? I thought that was for Jimmy's.

Adam

Pleasure not big enough.

Robbz

That's just more that's that's more to rub your nipples on the morning.

Anthony - Daku Aquatics

Yeah, you better have your shit together.

Episode Notes

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