Stop small betta tanks that do not meet livable size requirements and better inform public
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There is a shocking amount of misinformation about betta fish care. When I first purchased my betta fish, I noticed after a few months that he showed serious signs of depression. At the time, I had him in a bowl, which I kept clean and well decorated, but he was still distant, unlively, and unresponsive, unlike how he was when I first purchased him. Fish depression is a very real thing; according to a New York Times article about fish depression, "It turns out that not only can our gilled friends become depressed, but some scientists consider fish to be a promising animal model for developing anti-depressants. New research, I would learn, has been radically shifting the way that scientists think about fish cognition, building a case that pet and owner are not nearly as different as many assume." I then started doing extensive research about how to resolve fish depression and found that, contrary to the popular belief, bettas need a lot more room than the size of the commercialized "betta tanks." I immediately bought him a 3.5 gallon tank with a filter and also purchased a heater. There was a significant improvement in his health and, months later, he is still very happy, lively and hasn't showed any more signs of depression.
Since betta fish are sold out of small containers, many customers automatically assume that these fish should be kept in a small environment. In their natural habitat, betta fish are often found in small bodies of water, such as rice paddies. Though betta fish are capable of surviving in such limited space, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should have to. Like all fish, bettas require space to move and grow – the smaller the water capacity in the tank, the less those toxins will be diluted and the worse the water quality will be. In order for a betta to thrive, it should be kept in a tank of at least 3-5 gallons+ in capacity (2.5 gallons is the ABSOLUTE minimum). The tank should also be equipped with an aquarium heater to maintain a stable water temperature and a filter to help keep the water clean. Many of the "betta tanks" sold in the pet stores are often split tanks and are less than a gallon, which is not a good quality of life for your betta. It is upsetting that this is how bettas are being merchandised, when it will lead to a sad, shorter life span for the animal.
I petition that stores like PetCo INFORM their customers about this proper betta care, possibly with a revised printed handout or a given link to a viable betta fish care website prior to purchase. I would also like to see a decreased, if not end, to the sale of these small, improperly advertised "betta tanks," and have them be discouraged as an option when talking to customers. Also, on the PetCo website explaining betta fish care, under "minimum aquarium size," it says "1/4+ gallons," which is very misleading. It should AT THE VERY LEAST say 3-5+ gallons, but preferably bigger. This is something pet store salesmen and women need to make very clear and apparent to those purchasing these intelligent, beautiful animals. Animals are more than just a sale; if someone decides to not buy a betta because the care qualifications are not as easy or cheap as they thought, then they have no business owning one anyway. Bettas are more than a pretty aesthetic to have around the office or home and deserve quality lives.
EXAMPLE OF ONE OF MANY UNSUITABLE TANKS CURRENTLY SOLD BY PETCO: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/fish/fish-aquariums-kits/betta-fish-tanks/aqueon-betta-falls-aquarium-kit-in-white
As you can see here, tanks like this are advertised as being specific living habitats for bettas, but they are NOT actually a suitable living condition for them. There is virtually no room for the bettas to swim around, and it is obviously purely sold for aesthetic and looks rather than true functionality. Selling tanks like this to customers is unjust and needs to end. Do NOT fall victim to buying tanks like this, and please join me in the effort to fight back.
Link to New York Times article on fish depression:
Link to credible Betta Fish Care article:
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