Aquarium facility license

This is a one year license that is issued to owners of wholesale and retail aquarium facilities (pet stores) that sell fish (aquatic life) that are species of aquatic life which are present in the waters of the state, or species of aquatic life that are not present in Minnesota but can survive in waters of the state. An aquarium facility license is not required to sell tropical, subtropical, and saltwater fish, and goldfish. Each aquarium facility owner or store must have their own license. If you have several retail outlet stores as part of your aquarium business, each store needs a separate license. The county code and legal description, including township, range, and section where your store is located, should be listed on the approved waters list for indigenous species. A county plat book is useful in finding your township, range, and section (please contact your area fisheries office if you need assistance). All renewals will have the location listed for you. All DNR-regulated species that you sell at your facility must be listed on your approved waters list. Do not bring any fish into your facility until they have been approved on your license.

DNR Regulated Fish Species for Aquarium Facilities

The DNR may require aquarium facilities to be licensed if they sell species, which fall into one of the following categories:

  • Species of aquatic life, which are present in the waters of the state.
  • Species of aquatic life that are not present in Minnesota but can survive in waters of the state.

If you want to bring a species of aquatic life that is not on your approved list into your facility, and you are unsure if the species is regulated by the DNR, contact the Aquaculture and Fish Health Consultant, before bringing that species into your facility.

Non-regulated Fish Species for Aquarium Facilities

The DNR does not require pet stores to be licensed for tropical, sub-tropical, saltwater species, fish that cannot survive in Minnesota waters, or goldfish.

Report Forms

As part of your aquarium facility license renewal, you must complete and return an Aquarium Facility Report even if no production or sales occurred during the previous licensing period.

Additional Information

The following information relates to the importation, possession, purchase, and sale of amphibians, reptiles, minnows, and crayfish.

  • Frogs The following frogs are regulated by the DNR: northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans); Cope's gray tree frog (Hyla chrysoscelis); gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor); spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer); chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata); bull frog (Rana catesbeiana); green frog (Rana clamitans); pickerel frog (Rana palustris); northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens); mink frog (Rana septentrionalis); wood frog (Rana sylvatica); American toad (Bufo americanus); great plains toad (Bufo cognatus); Canadian toad (Bufo hemiophrys); plains leopard frog (Rana blain); southern leopard frog (Rana utricularia); pig frog (Rana grylio); and river frog (Rana becksheri). A frog dealer license is required to sell any of the frogs listed above for purposes other than bait. A permit issued by the DNR is required to import any of the above frog species live. Licenses or permits are not required for frogs or toads that are not listed.
  • Turtles A license is not required for the retail sale of turtles greater than 4 inches. All federal laws and regulations must be followed.
  • Minnows Live minnows cannot be imported for retail sale.
  • Crayfish Live crayfish may not be sold for bait use. Live crayfish that cannot survive in waters of the state may be sold for aquarium use. A permit issued by the DNR is required to import live crayfish or crayfish eggs into the state.

Fish Sales and Shipping Documents

You are required to provide a receipt or shipping document to customers if they purchase fish that are regulated by the DNR. Shipping documents or receipts provided to your customers must contain the following information:

  1. place of origin (your facility name and aquarium facility license number)
  2. destination (customers name and address)
  3. number and species of fish sold

Disposition of Fish

Aquarium fish may not be stocked in any waters of the state. A frequent question asked by customers who purchase fish is “What should I do with my fish now that it has outgrown my aquarium?” The fish may be returned to an aquarium facility for resale or destroyed. It is illegal and potentially harmful to release live fish into public waters without a permit from the DNR.

Importation of fish and permits

If you purchase fish from out of state that are listed on your license, you are required to obtain a Live Fish Importation, Transportation, and Stocking Permit issued by the DNR.


$90 – Aquarium Facility License

Request an Application

Click here to request a license application

License Renewal Information

License renewal packets will be mailed out to all current Aquarium Facility licensees in January. You can renew your license by completing and returning the enclosed license application.

Applications and Forms

Live Fish Importation, Transportation, and Stocking Permit

Questions? Contact us!

Sean Sisler, fisheries program consultant

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