This is the rough draft of an essay that I wrote a little while ago, maybe someday I'll edit it and send it to petsmart. You are totally welcome to steal my ideas, as long as you don't plagiarize.
Betta fish, or Siamese fighting fish, are wildly mistreated in pet stores across the nation, yet almost nobody knows this is happening. How could this be? It’s simply because of misinformation. Misinformation given by pet stores.
Betta fish are shipped in putrid conditions. First, they are packaged in tiny bags with barely any water. In fact, the fish takes up more space than the water. Is it just enough water to keep them alive. Next, the bags are shoved into larger bags, which are then crammed along with more bags into a cardboard box. The cardboard box is then shipped across the ocean from breeders in Southeast Asia to pet stores in the U.S. On this journey their water is tinted blue because they use “ShipRight”®, a kind of tranquilizer, to subdue the fish. Also, many die while being shipped and there is no law to protect them.
After this perilous journey, they are then taken out of bags and put into cups. They wait in those cups, sometimes for MONTHS in the back of the stores, not being fed enough, barely having their water changed, in other words, being taken advantage of, until they get put on display.
You would think that after all this, when the fish are purchased and brought home, they would finally be happy. But unless they are taken home by conscientious owners, they are still doomed to an early death and an unpleasant life.
They are often marketed as decorations, and nonliving things. Quoting directly from the Petsmart website, under the listing for “Crowntail Betta”:
With their long flowing tails and vibrant colors, it’s no wonder that bettas are one of the most popular fish for beginner aquarists. They are easy to care for and make a great ornamental addition to any desk, kids room or living space. While female bettas are not aggressive and can live together peacefully, male bettas are aggressive toward each other. Therefore, house only one male with smaller, peaceful fish in a community aquarium, or keep him alone in a one-quart or larger bowl.
There are so many things wrong with this description. First, bettas are actually quite difficult to care for. They are NOT “ornamental additions,” they are living creatures and deserve to be treated as such. Female bettas can be aggressive and if they don’t get along, they WILL attack each other just like males. You can house males in community tanks, but without proper experience you are putting the other fish in danger. Also, a betta cannot thrive in a tank smaller than 2.5 gallons, and there is no way a betta would be happy in a bowl.
Then, there is the subject of lies. Pet stores lie about desirable conditions for bettas so that they can keep making money from the small tank trade. They say more untrue things than I can name. But some of the most common lies they tell are that bettas do not need heaters, filters, and large tanks. That bettas will be happy in a bowl with some glass bead sand a plastic plant. Bettas need more than this. Another lie is the “betta in a vase” craze. The pet stores told everyone, “Oh, put the betta in a vase with a live plant on top. The betta will eat the plants roots and you won’t have to feed it, and the plant will eat the bettas waste. See! It’s a self-sustaining environment!” It is NOT a self-sustaining environment. First of all, and really, I think this is all I need to say, bettas are carnivores. In the wild, they eat insects. They cannot eat plant roots. If you put a betta in a “self-sustaining vase”, it will starve to death. You may have noticed that when you walk into a local petsmart, there is a sign by the bettas that says: “Betta Splendens, minimum size: 1 quart.” For those of you who don’t know, a quart is a quarter gallon. As I stated before, a betta needs to have a tank 2.5 gallons or more to thrive.
Why do the pet stores workers lie? Most often it is because they are not told the truth by their bosses. Again, sometimes their bosses do not know the truth, but more likely they are told to obscure the truth so that the store makes more money. Of course, not all pet store workers lie; some are betta enthusiasts like myself, but many do not know the truth. The issue with this is that pet store workers are viewed as “knowledgeable specialists” and it would never cross most people’s minds that they are lying.
The sad thing about it is that most people don’t know, and if they did, most of them wouldn’t care. “They are just fish,” they say. “They cannot feel pain and have no emotions.” We know that fish can feel pain and we don’t know if they have feelings like humans do, but we know that bettas can recognize their owners. That we know.
Betta mistreatment is happening, and we need to stop it. It’s as simple as that.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to read this.
I hope this helps you.
Come visit Cedar and Glenn at my journal: https://www.bettafish.com/144-journa...a-journal.html
Cedar, Pinkish-white HM male with blue streaks
Glenn, Blue-Green HM Male
Denny, Magenta Male VT (my baby)
Asteria, Black HM Female With Blue Iridescence