I went to Houston for the 4th of July, I lived there for a couple of years and like to visit old friends every now and again. I currently live in a city with a population of about 100,000 and only 2 pet stores (Petland and Petsmart) and one privately owned store "Exotic Fish".
I didn't know what a Betta was while I lived in Houston, so if I had found the pretty fish I did in my town I couldn't imagine what I might find in the 4th largest city of the US.
Long story short I spent nearly 2 whole days visiting every fish store my iPhone could throw at me. Outside of 2 smaller fish stores Petsmart and Petco were by far the best!
Outside of the 2 said shops and large pet stores all others were very very below par and just plain sad. I don't want to give the impression I'm calling anyone out here, but Houston has a large Asian population and inevitably some own fish stores - these were the worst. If you could dye the fish, they had it. Parrot fish with flag patterns, Mollys with hearts on them, glassfish the colors of rainbows, jellybean Parrots in multiple colors... again, you name it they had it.
On to the Bettas... I have never in my life walked in to so many stores with mistreated Bettas. One in particular had several dead Bettas which looked like they had been left for a couple months
. The water the dead Betta was in was basically black, moldy moosh. They were stacked 4 or 5 high on top of each other which made me wonder how they each got fed. Others stores had these insanely small cups. Some small cup pictures have been posted here, but these were so small the male Bettas couldn't lay flat - if they were straightened out they had to be at an angle. Picture a regular sized female, that is about how wide these tubes
On the other end of the spectrum one of the nice shops (I was in "awe" of their setups) had a handful of very basic blue and red Bettas for $30 - $50 dollars. Some may argue those fish were probably immaculately kept and will be healthy, hardy fishes, but out of all the breath taking 15, 20, 40 thousand
dollar tanks they had set up around the shop the Bettas were still swimming in their own nastiness. And this place was spotless!
In the end my GF found the prettiest Betta in Houston at a Petsmart. It was swimming in that awful blue water, but it's fins are solid white and it's body a deep red. I'm done with the whole searching for Bettas deal, lol... it just made me mad. The chain stores have WAY prettier fish than 90% of the small fish stores I've visited since getting into fishes. I don't care what y'all say