Ok so this Saturday, my dad and I are going to PetSmart to get a new Betta fish! Can anyone give me some ways to tell If It's healthy, some names (female and male please), pretty colors that look nice once I get him/her out of that horrible plastic cup(I'm thinking that pretty forest green, gaah It's lovely!), and any other tips! Everything Is appreciated!
A healthy fish will respond when picked up. You might want to tap the side of the cup (ONE OR TWO TIMES!!! No more!!) as well. If they don't respond and start swimming around, they're unhealthy. Most fish won't just be swimming all happy-like without some kind of interaction. They won't have cotton-like patches on their head or other parts of their body, a (thin) black outline of their fins, or appear bloated. If their scales point out, DON'T buy the fish. If they can't seem to swim straight, they're unhealthy. Their fins will be smooth and not jagged.
Names come with the fish. I personally don't like the name "Donald", but it fits one of my fish perfectly, so that's his name.
Some oranges/purples turn out red, black may turn blue or purple, and pink may turn red. They usually darken a bit when you get them out of the cup. One of my fish, who I bought as white, turned BLUE, so you never know!
Get the fish that speaks to you (not literally... if they do, you might want to get some help). If you don't find one that you connect with, don't be afraid to just leave and come back in a week's time. They usually get a new shipment once a week.
Make sure you have good supplies! A 5 gallon tank is preferable, but 1 gallon is okay (but you must clean it once a day). A heater/thermometer is ESSENTIAL. Filters are pretty much optional, but if you want to get one to cut back on water changes, make sure you get an adjustable or low-flow one. Shells can mess with the pH balance, but most decorations in Petsmart are going to be okay. Gravel is porous and can old in bacteria, but it's okay if you rinse it really well with hot water. ALL decor must be rinsed with hot water before you put it into the tank. Plastic plants are a no-no. They tear the fins of your fish. Silk plants are okay if there are no metal pieces. Make SURE you get a water conditioner! I recommend Tetra's Safe Balance. Don't get anything with additives like aloe vera or "color enhancer". They can dirty up your tank. Tap water with conditioner is the very best water you can use, so don't waste your time with bottled "fish water". A water test kit is preferable, and can help you if your fish fall mysteriously ill. Do NOT buy fish flakes or pellets that do not say "betta" on the front. Betta pellets are a must, and buying frozen brine shrimp/bloodworms is preferable. Freeze-dried foods can tear the digestive tract. They will probably have a freezer with these foods near the fish aisle. DO NOT GET A NET. Use the cup if you need to catch your fish.
Make sure to acclimate your fish. You can't just dump your new fish into new water.
1. Put your fish into a zip-able bag (a sandwich bag is fine) along with all of their original water. Some people use the cup, but it's much easier to acclimate with a bag. You can (and probably should) leave the bag open. If you need to close it for a bit, you can. You fish could survive a few hours like this.
2. Fill your tank with enough (conditioned) water to be about even with the water level in the bag. Make sure that it's at least deep enough for your fish to swim straight. Set the bag into the water. This is where I usually open the bag, when I'm sure that it's stable. Wait 30-45 minutes at least. An hour is best.
3. Use a cup or turkey baister or whatever you have and put about 1/8-1/4 of a cup (you can eyeball it, it won't hurt your fish if it's a bit much) of the new water into the bag every 15 minutes. At first, use a VERY small amount, but you can work your way up.
4. Once it's been about 2-4 hours, or the bag is getting hard to stay up straight, you can put your fish into the new water. You don't need to raise the water level. Your fish has probably been in the cup for a very, very long time and isn't used to being in deep water, so he might feel uncomfortable or frightened.
5. The next day, do a full water change (the little floaty bits from the cup is in that water... ew) by catching him with the (rinsed) cup that you bought him in and pouring/siphoning out all of the water. Put new water in and condition it. You can fill it up completely now. Let it sit until it's the same temperature as the cup water. Release your fish into the new water.
And... you're done!!
Good luck! It is VERY exciting and fun to buy a new betta! (Lucky...) :D
Wow thanks a lot! I have had to bettas when i was lil (1 for about a week and died of a sickness and the 2nd was for about 5 months keep in mind i was 9 at the time) wow also im getting a 5.5 gallon tank i think that will be good for one betta
I agree with Purple in regards to signs to look for in picking a healthy betta and acclimating them. Regarding a name it will come to you once you see him/her. I just brought another betta last weekend and his color is a dark & vibrant blue and he is as friendly as the days are long. I named him Blue Jay. What ever fish and color you pick just know your saving his/her life by getting them into a home and out of a tiny plastic cup.
I should clarify. Petsmart has started selling crowntails, and I didn't mean to exclude them. By "jagged" I mean that they should not look like this. A crowntail looks like this. If it's a crowntail, you WILL die from the sheer beauty of the fish. ;3
I also forgot the NUMBER ONE most important rule to buying a betta: don't listen to the store people. (For the most part)
If you absolutely must ask a question, first come up to a worker who looks like they care. Apathetic workers are BAD. Ask them, "What is a good sized tank for my betta?" If they say "1 gallon is okay, 5 gallon is best" then they're knowledgeable (at least somewhat), if they say "The smaller the better!" or "1/2 gallon is fine" or "They like small bowls" then STAY AWAYYYYY!! Don't even listen to them if they tell you that the sky is blue!! If they say, "100 gallons is the best" they're just trying to sell you something. :P
With Petsmart, it's hit or miss. My Petsmart is AMAZING and I would ask the fish keepers there anything. Some people say that Petsmart has dead/dying fish and such. Odds are, if the fish are healthy, the keepers are at least somewhat okay.
(Note: The other fish tanks WILL be overstocked. Don't feel bad for the fish. Their tank systems are made for their tanks to be overstocked. Unless you see a bunch of dead fish, there's no need for concern.)
Have fun, I spent over half an hour choosing my newbie over the weekend, there were so many lovely ones and I had gone with the intention of buying a crown tail but came home with what I think is a super delta
I actually found the Petsmart staff in my area to be friendly, helpful and pretty knowledgeable. I now go there for supplies bigger selection and cheaper prices.
Petland Discounts employees rarely move to help you and give one word answers. If anyone else has had better experiences at Petland your lucky.