Ok, so it's official! I have Betta fever! It took me five and a half months to go for Betta #2, but only fourteen days to go from two Bettas to three. Here’s how it happened:
On Monday evening, having posted about how I was having an ammonia issue in the baby Betta’s tank, I had to go to the store to get some Prime, as recommended. The only store nearby that carries any sort of variety of fish or aquatic supplies is either Petco or Petsmart, and I have found that Petco in general does a better job not just of caring for their fish, but their animals in general, and they have a better selection of quality foods for dogs and cats, so in the event I have to go to a big box store, I generally always go to Petco. As is now my habit, I always have to look at the Bettas when I go in, and on Monday I noticed a beautiful male double tail in his little cup near the fish sink (not in the regular display) who was in obvious distress. He was alive, but was swimming sideways, when he was swimming at all. His cup was reasonably clean but something was wrong. I called over one of the aquatics “experts” and showed him what was going on, so at first he was helpful and did a water change, added Stress Coat, and said, well, we’ll watch him and see what happens. Against my better judgment, I said, well, if you want to let me take him, I can see if there is anything I can do to help him at home. He said he couldn’t do that, so then I said, well, ok, can you give me a discount since clearly there was only a vanishing chance of him surviving. It wasn’t the money I objected to … it was the principle, but in a few minutes he was back saying that this wasn’t possible. So I asked to speak to the manager myself. He took a little bit more advanced action – putting the poor little guy under a heater and putting some BettaFix in with him, which I questioned since I’d read it often did more harm than good. I asked if he had Epsom salts, since I often see them recommended for sick fish. He said no. I asked again if he was sure that he didn’t want me to take him at a reduced price. He said no.
So last night I went in and spoke to the same manager, and asked him how the double tail was. He remembered me and walked over to the fish sink to look, and the double tail wasn’t there. He shrugged and said “Well, I guess he either died or we sold him. Is there anything else I can help you with?” I was speechless! Then as I was standing there, he peered over at the other Bettas, picked one up, and said “Well, this one’s a goner!” tossed the cup in the air, caught it, and went and dumped him in the trash. At this point it was all I could do to contain myself, so I just thanked him (apparently for being a complete moron and heartless to boot) and walked away. In that moment, I was seized with the impulse to get a Betta out of there, and I found a little crowntail girl whose water was filthy and who looked pretty lethargic, but not as though she was on her last fins. I bought her, and a 2 gallon Kritter Keeper, and got her set up in it last night. Then I went to Wal-Mart and got a 10 gallon tank with a hood and filter, and today I’m ordering a 10 gallon divider and hopefully by middle of next week I’ll be able to set the baby and the new girl, Sumalee (Thai for beautiful flower) in separate halves of the 10 gallon and then that will probably be it for me for awhile.
I also will be ordering all my fish supplies online from now on. I will not say I won’t buy any more Bettas from Petco, because I know I probably will, but I also know that the way they make their real money is on all the supplies, and I know that in the five or six months since I’ve had Murray, and then the baby, I have conservatively spend upwards of five or six hundred dollars on plants, accessories, water conditioners, food, etc., but no more. Plus, I have two dogs and three cats, and I shop there for them as well, but again … no more. I can’t in good conscience support a company who treats its live animals so heartlessly.
Here are a few pictures of the new girl. She’s really lovely, and I think that with some good care and feeding, she will really blossom.
I can't believe he would throw her in the trash like that, poor thing! She certainly is beautiful, I love her markings. I bet she's happy to have gotten a good owner like you!
As for Betta fever.. It just gets worse and worse from what I've heard. I bought one of my first (aside from ones I had as a kid) bettas a few weeks ago and am already itching for more!
If someone comes up with a cure, please let me know!
My local Petco doesn't take great care of their fish. I went tonight and there was a poor veil tail whose tail was so eaten up by fin rot that it was almost gone. I felt so bad for the little guy. There was also a beautiful blue and black halfmoon that I saw a few days ago, who was looking a little worse for the wear. But I've already got 3 divided 10g tanks (divided 3 ways) and one 5 gallon. I could technically afford another tank, I just don't have the space.
Of course there were also FOUR dead bettas in the display area and more than one with very faded colors, shredded/tattered tails or other signs of sickness. It breaks my heart every time I go in there and look at those sweet faces in those cups and can't bring another one home!
If you read the fish that was a goner stayed in the trash but I suspect there would have had an issue trying to get him out. I guess one fish was saved anyway. Please go back get the employees name write to Petco corporate about this. His behavior was appalling. Petco may not care about the fish but I am pretty sure they would not want a manager behaving this way with customer. At least he may be punished for something. Be sure to tell them that they have lost your business due to his disrespectful appalling behavior toward the fish and his customer.
@ Nook, he didn't throw her in the trash, he threw another Betta that he had discovered dead in his cup in the trash. I don't know what they usually do with them, maybe it is just to throw them away, but what I hated was the nonchalant attitude he had about the whole thing. As though that poor Betta's life meant nothing at all. I found it disgusting.
@ jadaBlu, I definitely will be writing to corporate about this, and I will also be telling them about the cashier who rang up the baby Betta a couple of weeks ago and was basically all but upending the cup and sloshing the poor baby all over the place just so he could find the bar code on the cup to ring up the fish. I gasped and grabbed for it, and the kid did apologize, he said something like "oops, I forgot!" but that's exactly the issue, as I see it. How do you just "forget" that you are holding a living creature in your hands.
@ Myates, thank you, I am very happy to have her ... she's beautiful, and I think she's starting to settle in a bit now, and then of course this weekend I'll be uprooting her again to get her installed in her half of the ten gallon tank I got the other day, as soon as the tank divider comes in the mail. I think she'll be pleased, though!
I can thankfully say the pet store near me doesn't treat their fish that way. Honestly every time I have been in there one of their tanks at least is being cleaned, their betta water bowls while small are crystal clear and their fish are nice and responsive.
Of course I have never seen an australian pet store use cups, they always take the fish out the back and carefully coax it into a strong plastic bag filled with water and a big air pocket to breathe. In a way this might be better as even young brash employees get a strong reminder they are handling a live animal instead of a can of goods to sell.
I buy all my pet supplies from a small family owned store. They keep the store hot because of the fish, puppies, kittens, etc. & all the bettas are in small glass bowls with anacharis clippings. They have room to actually swim while on display. Never once did I go in there & see dirty water with any of their fish. I even see sale associates picking up, hugging, & playing with the animals every time I'm in there. I've rescued fish from chain stores, but all of their supplies come from the family owned store. ;)
I know that at Petsmart, they leagally have to freeze any pets that die there, then take them to be "processed" at the local vet on the last day of the month. After that, they have them recorded in the stores record system. It was started when PETA threw a fit about them tossing animals in the trash.
If Petco is anything like Petsmart, this man probably broke a law. You should probably report them.