Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are quite beautiful and come in a variety of striking colors, so they are often sold as “decorations” or party favors. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell bettas in tiny cups or flower vases to consumers who are often uneducated about proper betta care.
Petco and Petsmart typically keep bettas in unsuitable containers that are no bigger than the ones your deli uses for a small portion of potato salad. As you may notice on a trip to Petco and Petsmart, many of the bettas in these containers are already dead. Those bettas who are still alive are being sentenced to cramped, cold, lonely lives amid their own waste, and to slow deaths by starvation.
Store personnel, who also may be ignorant of proper care, may advise consumers that bettas can live in a small amount of tepid water. Wrong! Bettas are native to Asia, where they live in the warm, shallow water of rice paddies, ponds, or slow-moving streams. In captivity, they require a minimum of 10 gallons of water that is aerated and heated to between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similarly, many people mistakenly believe that bettas must be kept in “solitary confinement” because males are extremely territorial with each other. Some people intentionally buy bettas to watch them fight to the death. However, male bettas can be placed singly in a “community” aquarium containing other species of fish, and females can live together peacefully.
Please sign my petition to help persuade Petco and Petsmart to provide humane care for bettas or to stop selling them. Thank you!