I feel that I can call myself an expert on Betta splendens, the betta fish you can find at nearly any pet store. I once had fifty, and that was from buying them from said pet stores what were taking really shitty care of them. I would nurse them back to health and obviously I had a lot of successes. I lost a few, but that number was very small. Usually they were too far gone when I got them and I mostly just gave them a little comfort in their last days. Generally I can fix almost anything wrong with a betta, and most of the problems they have can be avoided by 1) keeping their water clean, 2)keeping the good bacteria balance in the water, 3) not putting them in the window, on the tv, or on a speaker, and 4) learning about fish before you buy them.
Fang, my prettiest betta I owned.
Yes, I soapbox about this. I see people at pet stores picking out fish as if they were simply choosing decor for their home :”Oh, I’ll take that one, he’s pretty, and three of those, they’re cute”. They have no idea, no clue, about what animal they are getting and what it needs to survive and thrive. If all the great zoos and aquariums in charge of aquatic animals took this attitude with the animals you see behind glass when you take your kids to their facilities, every creature in their care would be dead and floating on the surface. Many of the fish you see in public aquariums are actually the same fish in pet stores, but because they were actually taken care of, they grew to their full size. The bala “shark” for example, is usually sold in pet stores and is a few inches long. People buy them and put them in tiny starter tanks of only around ten gallons, where they eventually die of stress because of lack of room to swim, or just general lack of care. A bala shark is supposed to reach 14 inches, and needs much more room. Many aquarists believe the fish is simply too large and too active to be kept in residential aquaria at all; only enormous, custom-built tanks are acceptable, if any tank at all is.
When I was a kid, I wanted an aquarium badly, because I was a nerdy kid who was interested in fish. My parents made me check out books at the library and talk to the owner of our local pet store to learn about what to do. And I got my little tank for Christmas and I had a very small population of fish who lived well for years. I had some screw-ups, yes, but I think had I been able to drive and rush to the pet store for advice and supplies I could have saved those mishaps.
Nowadays I occasionally run into parents looking at aquarium stuff, planning to buy their kid a tank to “teach him responsibility”. The kid has no interest in the fish themselves, but takes more of an attitude toward the setup that it is a new toy, not something that houses actual living animals that need looking after properly. The parents have no intention of learning about the fish either, to step in if things aren’t going well. The parents then inform me that if the fish die then they can just get new ones, or, it then shows the kid isn’t responsible and he can’t have anything else for a while.
I was not brought up to treat living creatures that way, I tell them. They often counter with the age-old reply of “Well, it’s just fish”.
THEN WHY DO YOU WANT THEM??
Why do they appeal to you to the point of purchasing them if they are “just fish”? I can never understand this attitude and if I worked in a pet store there would be little to no fish sales because I won’t tolerate this inconsiderate attitude toward them.
Okay, I’ve had my two cents. Now, at PetSmart, they have a lovely display that I covet immensely, and of course cannot have because stores always have to trash their cool cardboard holiday decor, dammit. So, I made sure I took a nice pic.
Bettas do come in this lovely color variety but you won’t find them in pet stores. Some will be white, but not this pure snowy shade.
I have four bettas now–three males named Champ, Moony and Ghost, and a female just called Red. I’ll post pics sometime.