Business of ornamental crabs and frogs as ornamental: From passion to a side job that makes a lot of money
With a unique and eye-catching appearance, many people are not afraid to spend a few hundred thousand to own a crab or frog.
The blooming trend of ornamental crab farming
“About 12 years ago, I had a business trip to Thailand. During that time, I knew that their ornamental crab farming movement was very developed. Then I bought 2 Thai ornamental crabs to try, at first. I just decided to buy and play. At that time, the cost to bring back to Vietnam was about 1.3 million VND/fish,” shared Mr. Ha Xuan Loc (34 years old, with 10 years of experience playing ornamental crabs). He is currently the owner of a chain of crab shops in Hanoi, Da Lat, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Knowing the trend of ornamental crab farming for a long time, but 6 years later, Mr. Loc began to lay the first brick in the ornamental crab business. “I found this to be a new hobby and a new direction. I focused on research on crab reproduction, at first it was very difficult because I had not tried it on a large scale. So the number of dead crabs was more than that of crabs. I had to change many models accordingly, so far I have experienced 4 successful models. Many times, I thought about giving up, but then I was determined to do it.”
2010 was a memorable time when Mr. Loc decided to transform himself from a construction engineer to raising and trading pets, mainly dogs and cats. At that time, the pet trend was booming in Vietnam. Up to now, this is still the spearhead of business and exists in parallel with Mr. Loc’s crab and ornamental fish business.
Ornamental crabs impress thanks to their pitiful appearance and eye-catching colors.Photo: NVCC.
Each month Mr. Loc sells 2,000 crabs, both retail and wholesale to aquarium shops, but not including the export quantity. Before that, the main source of export was to go abroad. Only about 2 years ago, the domestic market responded more. The pandemic made many traders difficult, and Mr. Loc was no exception. The situation of transportation restrictions, border closures caused work to stagnate and could not be sold.
Ornamental crabs (not invasive alien animals) attract players thanks to their brilliant and aggressive appearance. Each breed of crab has a different shape. For example, the Hainan Potamon Rubrum crab stands out with its large, round curved claws. Meanwhile, the vampire crab (Geosesarma dennerle) impresses with its hairy claws and legs, which look like spikes.
Currently, Mr. Loc’s shop has about 25 crab varieties belonging to 3 large genera, Tiwaripotamon, Hainan Potamon, and Indochinamon. Among them, Hainan Potamon Rubrum is the best-selling variety. The price of curved crabs ranges from 80,000-350,000 VND/head. A beautiful Hainan Potamon Rubrum needs to meet the criteria such as no scratches, enough legs and claws, impressive color.
Depending on the breed, ornamental crabs have their own distinctive shape.Photo: NVCC.
The size of ornamental crabs is measured according to the length of the shell, ranging from 3-7 cm. With each different size and color, crabs can be sold for a few tens of thousands to several hundred thousand VND/head. Mr. Loc said that buying ornamental crabs is popular with all classes, not only customers who have to pay. Many of his customers have bought crabs to raise with ornamental fish, or give up difficult fish and focus on taking care of crabs.
With 10 years of experience, Mr. Loc found that ornamental crabs are easier to care for than fish, because they can live in both water and air environments. The food of crabs is not picky, each meal is 3-5 days apart. Therefore, even busy people can take care of crabs. However, Mr. Loc noted that owners should pay attention when crabs come to the molting stage every few months.
“When the trend of ornamental crab farming exploded, many people went to the forest to exploit wild crabs to sell at a cheap price. But these crabs have the potential to spread parasites such as flukes and leeches lurking in the body. They are a great source of disease for other creatures in the tank, infecting water source parasites and players. This is the experience of many years of domesticating wild crabs for breeding and rearing that I want to share with the community.” Mr. Loc emphasized.
Frogs can also be pets
In early 2021, Van Tai (28 years old, in Ho Chi Minh City) first learned about the trend of raising ornamental frogs through social networks. Frogs with unique shapes and colorful colors have attracted Van Tai. After learning about information as well as where to sell, Van Tai decided to spend 200,000 VND to buy a blue frog of the Pacman breed. Up to now, Van Tai has more than 200 frogs with diverse varieties and colors. He said he has invested more than 20 million VND for this hobby.
By the end of 2021, Van Tai started a business of ornamental frogs to increase his income, besides his main job as a supermarket system maintenance worker. He said that on average, he sells more than 100 frogs every month, bringing in a revenue of no less than 15 million VND/month.
Thanks to posting in groups about ornamental frogs, Van Tai had his first customer. But trading at the time of the epidemic, Van Tai’s work encountered many difficulties. He had to suspend his business due to transportation and travel restrictions, and few people knew about his store. Until the middle of this year, the business began to bring profits to Van Tai.
Depending on the color, Pacman prices may vary.Photo: Van Tai.
Depending on the color, size and type, the price of frogs ranges from a few hundred thousand dong to several million dong/head. Van Tai said Pacman Frog is the best-selling breed, the lowest price for a blue baby is 200,000 VND. The more rare and unique the color, the higher the selling price.
Pacman frog or alien frog, native to South America. This frog breed features a round appearance and large mouth, reminiscent of the character from the video game Pac-Man. Adult Pacman frogs can reach a size of 11.5-16.5 cm and live 7-15 years.
Besides Pacman, “connoisseurs” also like Bullfrog. Mr. Nguyen Tuan Duc (28 years old, in Ho Chi Minh City) said that the price of this frog line ranges from 600,000 VND to 1 million VND/head, depending on “how beautiful the colonel is”.
Bullfrog is also known as the goblin frog or the African bull frog. They stand out thanks to their aggressive appearance and large size, the face looks somewhat aggressive. At maturity, Bullfrog can weigh more than 2 kg, reaching a maximum length of 24 cm for males, 12 cm for females.
This is also the first line of frogs that Duc experienced when he first heard of this trend. He shared that he spent a million dong to buy a frog like Bullfrog.
“Initially, I raised it because I liked it, then took pictures and posted it on the group. Many people saw it and offered to buy my frog back. At that time, I saw the price, so I sold it and bought other breeds to increase it. experience”, Tuan Duc shared. After about 2 years, Tuan Duc now owns more than 100 frogs and is currently one of the ornamental frog traders in Ho Chi Minh City.
Bullfrog attracts with its aggressive appearance.Photo: Tuan Duc.
For Tuan Duc, raising and trading frogs as pets is like entertainment and helps him increase his income. This side job does not take much time or affect Tuan Duc’s main job. Occasionally, he also participates in face-to-face meetings and exchanges of ornamental frog groups.
With 2 years of experience, Tuan Duc said that taking care of ornamental frogs is not too difficult or laborious. “Farmers only need to choose fresh food, keep the cage clean. In addition, I also learn and treat some minor diseases in frogs, so the care is not too difficult,” Tuan Duc said.
Meanwhile, Van Tai said he usually spends 5-6 hours a day taking care of frogs. “In order to maintain the number of frogs that live and develop, I usually raise each frog separately. This will take more time to take care of but less loss than raising them together,” Van Tai shared.
Photo: Van Tai.
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