Look for activeness and any loss of fins or torn fins. There are some things you'll be able to see right off the bat, and some things that might not show up until later. I would just make sure the betta looks healthy, swims well, maybe try to have it follow your finger.
When looking for a new betta, keep an eye out for signs of illnesses-
abnormally large eyes
white, cottony patches on body/fins
red patches on body (not part of coloring!)
white dots (look like grains of salt)
Fins that have brown edges and look to be fading away
white poop (trust me, these are so hard to deal with)
external parasites (you'll know them when you see them) ...
Anything that looks abnormal, basically...
What you DO want-
Lively, colorful betta that flares at its neighbour or a mirror
healthy fins, eyes, etc.
Last edited by Betta Slave; 12-31-2010 at 12:41 AM.
Reason: spelling error
Definitely look for the above, the last thing you want to do is bring home a sick betta, especially if it's your first.
I usually go with the one that catches my eye. You know, like when you look at a large group of the same thing but for some reason you can't explain one of them just stands out. That's the one I grab, never steered me wrong yet.
One more thing, if the betta it not moving but is still alive, it might be asleep. You could try picking up the container the betta is in (if it's in a container) and see if the betta awakens. But try not to startle it. :)
this, totally. the fella in my avatar did that to me. the moment i saw him, i was interested(i thought he was a girl), but then, he turned and we literally locked eyes as best as a fish and human could, and i knew he was the one i had to have. i wish our time together could have been longer, but i don't regret getting him.
but, i do have to agree. as a first-time betta owner, stay away from the ones who don't move much unless you tap their cups, stay away from any that have funky eyes, or white cottony stuff on them. get the ones that wiggle at you, flare at you, or flare when you put them next to another cup. :3