I am a teaching assistant for two lab sections of a 100-level animal biology course. The head TA is in charge of getting all the specimens and live examples for the class, and at today's lab meeting, she was talking about getting a classroom betta (we are going over fish anatomy next week). Of course, she wanted to put it in a bowl. Fortunately, I talked her out of it, saying they need a heater and a filter, at the very least.
She is still intent on getting a goldfish, but at least it will have a better chance of surviving in cooler water (I hope). Poor fish just get used and abused. It makes me so sad that they are less valued than other animals! Heck, even the insects get proper care (granted, the class and each lab section are all taught by the entomology department, but still).
I feel like a betta would have stood a better chance than a goldfish personally. A 2.5 gallon tank is pretty small and affordable, and the smaller heaters are cheaper as well, at least more affordable than the 20-50 gallon a goldfish would need as it grows.
I hate seeing bettas in small bowls too. It makes me so mad that people don't care about their fish. A betta would have done better than a goldfish which needs at least 30 gallons. Personally, I don't think pet stores should sell anything smaller than 2.5 gallons so that all bettas can get a proper home.
Well, Goldfish aren't coldwater fish, really. I think the comets prefer the temperature in the low 70s or high 60s, but the fancies really need warm temperatures such as 78F. The Betta also produces less ammonia so it would've died later on than a Goldfish. I'm not saying a Betta should be in a bowl, I'm just saying the Goldfish would've died quicker if it was in the bowl. The TA really need to start doing more research.
The goldfish will do much worse than the betta. Honestly the betta will be fine in an unheated tank for a little while even, heaters and kritter keeper are way cheaper than the massive amounts of resources goldfish require. As a slave to both species, I say go betta. Posted via Mobile Device
Ugh, those poor bettas they brought in for my senior year advanced biology class :( First they put them in those tiny divided contraptions, then we were encouraged to remove the divider to see them fight for a few seconds. OF COURSE some of the stupid guys in the class decided "a few seconds" meant "15 minutes" and tried to get the bettas to kill each other. After this lesson was over the bettas were offered up to anyone who wanted them, and I just had to grab 2 because I was worried the boys would take them and fight them after school. I ran to the lost and found for some Nalgene bottles and took the two home. Sadly they both jumped out of their tanks soon after that (at the time I didn't know bettas were so good at jumping ) and they died, but at least they both had a week or two of living in a nice place before they died.
My biology teacher wasn't an idiot, I really don't think he had much say over this lesson. He kept huge goldfish in the tanks in the classroom over the winter (the tanks were big enough, don't worry) and kept them in his pond over the summer, so I know he cared about fish.
We also had a unit on imprinting and the yearly project was to take 2 baby ducks home o.O I decided to decline the whole duck project because I had already seen what a mess the baby ducks made in previous years. I ended up working with some rats instead. They were much cleaner and quieter.
Bettas can be for the classroom if kept properly. My friend and former co-worker had a beautiful betta in her pre-k room. She had him in a 3 gallon tank with a heater. Unfortunately, she didn't know much about betta diseases and didn't know how to help him when he got sick, but before he fell ill, he lived quite happily in her class.
Hm... Dunno about the school you teach at, but my school has some pretty strict legal guidelines for all animals in the classroom, ESPECIALLY those used in labs. We have to be careful how we used the captive termite colony and the pill bugs, so I see no reason why it would be different for fish. Check out this site, you may find some stuff that helps convince the head TA to keep the fish in a more humane fashion: Animal Welfare Act | Animal Welfare Information Center