I just received my first Betta from Aquabid Wednesday and he was shipped in less than a cup of water. I'm not trying to scare you, but he looked to be very weak and near death upon arrival.
Please do not take any of my advice until it has been approved or seconded by an expert on here, as this is only what I have done in one circumstance, and may not be suitable for all situations, but this should get you through your initial shock of "Yay, my betta is here! Oh no, is he alive?!"
What to do:
Take a step back and relax, your fish will be Ok. Don't panic and attempt to get him into "good" water as soon as possible. This step seems to be key (according to my research) and it has worked for me. Take your time, let his shipping bag sit in his new home unopened for about about a half hour for the temperature of his shipping bag and water to equalize to the temperature of his new home. Next, slowly begin mixing new water into his bag. About a teaspoon or tablespoon at a time - about every 5 minutes until you can be fairly sure that the tank water and his shipping water have been thoroughly mixed. At this time, it should be safe to release him into his new home.
Let him rest after putting him in the tank. His behavior may not be normal for the first day, so do not panic and attempt to treat whatever you may think he has. Also, make sure your water conditions are at prime conditions before you attempt the process above.
What not to do:
DO NOT open his shipping bag before you can verify that he is alive. Your seller will not refund you without photo evidence of a dead fish in an unopened bag. You may need to remove opaque packing tape from the shipping bag in order to check the status of your Betta. As long as you do not tear or open the bag during this step, you should be ok.
DO NOT panic and pour him right into his new home in an effort to save him from his horrible looking conditions. Do things right, and take your time - he will thank you.
DO NOT feed him for 24 hours. He most likely will be very stressed and not interested in food during this time, so any food will likely rot in his tank. Give him the best start possible, and eliminate this risk of rotting food in his new home.
Also, If your Betta seems to have received some fin damage during shipment, you can treat his new home (or preferably a hospital tank) with 1/2 of the recommended dosage of Bettafix, leave him in there for about a half hour, and do a PWC (partial water change) daily until you can no longer smell the Bettafix. I did this, and my Betta is fine, and was building a bubble nest within his first 24 hours of being in his new home. If anyone doesn't like the Bettafix idea, as tea tree oil may damage his labyrinth organ, take their advice, but as I said, it did work for me.
Please verify this information before acting on it.
Last edited by JAGalletta; 11-09-2012 at 12:44 PM.