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I was wondering about professional opinion about glow bettas. They are recently showing on market. I know Pet Smart already has them.
I am really sceptical about it and I do not intend to purchase one. But what do you guys think about it?
 

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On the one hand, the GloFish process manipulates their genes, it doesn't add physical dyes like "painted" fish, so it's not inherently bad for the fish themselves. On the other hand... Oof.

I don't mind the fish themselves, I mind how the company markets them and pushes tiny tanks that are wildly overstocked. And now with their bettas they're also selling on their website a six-betta sorority, which grinds my gears because I don't recommend sororities in 99% of situations anymore, especially not to the kinds of beginners who are going to be drawn to wanting a tank of glowing bettas.

There's also no telling how well their bettas are bred, if they're genetically diverse, if there are any health problems in their lines or even just if they're well-formed enough to be "pretty"... Which of course any breeder can fumble (and many suppliers for pet stores are pretty awful), but this isn't a small company so they're going to be churning out thousands of bettas from whatever their foundation stock is.

I'm also curious if these bettas have been sterilized (and how), because otherwise I know people are going to start breeding them with regular bettas and that could have some very interesting consequences for the species.

Personally? I will not buy one. I can't say I won't for certain- heaven knows I've been suckered into a betta I didn't intend to buy before- but I don't plan to support this new venture of theirs, definitely not if this new strain of betta hasn't been handled with care. Maybe after a couple of years at market these glow bettas will prove to be exceptionally healthy & hardy and I will change my mind! But I'm not counting on it.
 

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It seems sketchy, yet I don't know much about how they make them glow. But don't fish need darkness to sleep since they can't close their eyes?
 

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Well, I went looking to reassure myself that at least the bettas would be sterile and we wouldn't have potential glowing hybrids running around... And found plenty of evidence that actually no, they may not be sterile. In some places the company's other fish (tetras & danios) are treated somehow to become sterile, but in plenty of other areas they're not and you can easily end up with a tank full of hybrids. It is supposedly illegal to sell any hybrid fry you create, but I doubt that's going to stop many people especially when betta breeding is considered practically an art form.

Which means there's a decent chance that these "glow" bettas will be able to breed with each other & regular bettas, which is frankly pretty concerning. I personally don't mind ethical genetic engineering, and I am willing to believe that the genes added are not harmful in an of themselves, but I don't really know if these bettas qualify as "ethically made".

And that's not even touching the question of whether the glow bettas have any genetic disadvantages in their bloodlines because we don't know what their stock is, or what will happen if the glow genes get introduced into the population at large. I'm very concerned that if the florescent glow genes become widespread, they might get crossed into the wild species, which are already in trouble from hybridization...
 

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@CosmicSyringe just to answer your question, they only glow under a black light.

This effect is accomplished via gene splicing - originally with Zebra fish.

Since humans have tinkered so much with Betta genetics, I'm not necessarily opposed to glowing Betta, tho I wouldn't buy one because blacklights can't grow plants.

If we can manufacture a pug from a wolf (try cramming 42 teeth into that flat face) then who knows maybe glowing dogs are next, LoL.

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I’m still a new fish keeper, so I’m not the most experienced, but when I saw the glow bettas at PetSmart they looked pretty horrible. Most of the bettas don’t look great in their cups, but several of these guys were floating, or swimming at odd angles. I don’t know if that’s a glow betta thing or a PetSmart doesn’t take good care of their fish thing, but for someone who was already cautious about these guys, it was a big turn off. Also, the ridiculously tiny tanks they’re being sold with were horrendous to imagine keeping a fish in long term.
 

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I had no idea about glow Bettas up until a few days ago when I stopped into Petsmart to buy dog toys. Gimmicky, still promoting improper care and marketing is terrible.
 

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I am borderline on selective breeding and definitely not a supporter of gene manipulation.
I could go on, but it might be controversial so I'll leave it at that.
 

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@Phish Head they already breed glowing rabbits so glowing dogs should be possible too

Back on topic, i am not a fan of glowfish in general. Doing gene manipulation just for looks is also considered unethical where i live so i could even buy them if i wanted to.
 

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I, personally, feel that it'll just encourage children, or even adults, to purchase these bettas without knowing the proper care for them. They'll seem like toys for show. I feel sad as is for the poor bettas in their tiny cups, and now for the chances of the regular pretty bettas being out-bought by their artificially shinier counterparts.
But heck, even the glowy bettas deserve good homes regardless.
 

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Glow rabbits? Wow.

May I ask what enlightened place you reside that it's unethical to manipulate genes merely to increase sales of fish?!

I saw a YouTube video of a LFS in, I think Germany (not sure, may have been Netherlands) but it's unethical in that country to keep betta in tiny cups - in the video all the betta were in gallon compartments.
(apologies for thread drift).

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FWIW, these animals were genetically engineered for medical purposes and not to see them "glow" to sell to the general public.

The rabbits, for instance, are part of experiments to find ways to get medicines in animal milk to make them more accessible and cheaper in underdeveloped countries.
 

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@Phish Head genetically manipulated pets are illegal in the whole of the european union
I used to live in Greece Norway and Ireland where i never saw one of these in shops same in Germany where I live now.
It could be Germany. As s seller you have to use tanks with a specific size in order to display fish. I think it has to be a minimum of 55liters. There are some exception for example you can put bettas in 10l tanks to keep them separated, but fish in cups on display are absolutely prohibited.
These kind of laws differ vastly from country to country for example you cant buy dogs or cats at a pet store in Germany but in France you could.
@RussellTheShihTzu you are absolutely right. The intention for making these animals were created for scientific purposes which is a good thing since they are used to help people advance in one way or the other.
But after glofish acquired them and started selling them as pets and also made new ones in other colours it was deemed unethical here.
So in our understanding over here creating a glowing dog for any scientific process is deemed ethical using it as a pet is not.
 

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@GeorgeIzmael: I was referring to just rabbits. Yorktown Technologies, IMO, should never have been given the patent to create these aquatic creatures.

I hope the scientific community has learned its lesson as I Googled all sorts of ways and could not find any "glowing" mammals for sale. Whew!
 

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I will say one more time that this practice of creating a genetic product out to enhance the pockets of a breeder that is totally unethical. Just because we can does not mean that we should. Betta have been bred for hundreds of years many times to enhance their beauty. There have been failures along the way and those, even though enhancements have spun more interest there was always a study of what defects were bred in to these failures and those practices were ended. Yes Betta are bred for their finnage and color. Their tail types. But ethical breeders know their limits and don't cross them. All these new people coming into this hobby seem to think breeding is something easy. You breed two betta that you have no idea of any problems with that fish or the other and the span happens and they don't like the results or the fish form problems like tumors and unknown and UN thought of failures. Ethical breeders choose their stock for what the market will accept and the choices are of healthy stock that they know the linage of. But new people that are trying this don't think about this. I'm not saying Don't breed to the new people but what I am saying is Don't breed stock that you don't know is healthy until you are sure they are and no problems will occur.

As far as this genetic splicing of any animal unless it is for science and ethical treatment will occur after the fact, Than the reason must be defined as it was for the Rabbits in trying to find a way to help children with a medical problem. they were not created and sold as pets They were created to enhance human life. Glow Betta were genetically spliced to create a product to sell to enhance someones pockets. This is totally wrong.
Unfortunately there are those out there that will enable this practice and ruin a great hobby with fish that will end up dead or dying in the pet store shelve.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I am at Petco at Union Square Manhattan every week to get food for my dog. I see there shelfs fully loaded with bettas. They must have 100 of them or more. Hard to count them. I often see them.changing water for the fish and they usually doesn't look malnourished. I also often see parents with small kids buying those Bettas and really small containers to house them. The fish is treated as a toy not leaving creature with demanding needs. I just feel that glow bettas are design exactly for this purpose. To be fancy toys for kids without any knowledge about their needs. It is totally wrong. Thoes kids often under age of 10 won't search for advice and information how to improve their betta life.
 

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No matter if they are Glow betta or regular betta if a parent buying a pet for a child is the one responsible for seeing the right care is given to the animal ( or fish in this case. ) It is not up to child to do the research it is up to the parent. The store has a responsibility to inform the person (if any questions are even asked ) to give the right information. This goes to any pet but the stores do not do this in case there could be a law suit for wrong information.

We the responsible Keepers and hobbyist need to get the right information out and let it be known what is right and what is wrong information. Remember there is a difference between a hobbyist and a keeper. That would be the experience each has and the time they have been involved. But than again a person who buys on impulse Is neither. So they don't care about information right or wrong. Just give me the basics and let me alone.

The ones who care do the research and find the information and care that their pet will need. that means they care. The proper information is not hard to find.
 

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The store has a responsibility to inform the person (if any questions are even asked ) to give the right information. This goes to any pet but the stores do not do this in case there could be a law suit for wrong information. .

I laughed at this. These are RETAIL ASSOCIATES. Their one sole job is to sell pets and products, to make money for the company. Any petstore associate that raises their hand in defense of selling a pet is bound to get fired, which is why petstores typically don't have good fish keepers or pet lovers as their employees.

If there was a lawsuit, it would probably be forced to arbitrate, which is why you've never heard of any lawsuits. Arbitration is a secretive way of protecting a company from lawsuits, and essentially stops consumers from suing. That means you can't get a company to change from something they are doing wrong. Watch your rights fly out the window when an Arbitration agreement is in a TOS.

Petsmart Arbitration agreement
 

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I can personally attest that I have not yet seen any glo-bettas (or any glo-fish for that matter) on the shelves on either small LFS or the large franchise Pets at Home here in the UK. Then again, I have barely seen any Bettas at any pet store here in the UK, and when I do, usually no more than two or three divided up among larger community tanks with other fish (guppies, tetras ect.) The cup phenomena I think, is limited to stores in North America. All the fish here seem to be decently treated, although perhaps with the filter output a bit too strong for some of the bettas in the community tanks-tanks clean of debris or dead fish, healthy plants ect. I am actually quite impressed. It is also a lot harder to order livestock fish online here than in North America. Again I'm not sure if thats because the fish industry is a lot smaller here in Europe/UK, or if animal welfare guidelines are better enforced and kept.

I doubt I will ever acquire a glo-fish betta for the sole reason that I never cared for them when they were other species of fish...the ones I saw back in Canada looked pretty enough I suppose, when they were all lit up in their tank, but I don't personally like the artificial/decorative appeal and prefer more natural scapes more generally-for any kind of fish. I also don't like the black light-although I'm not a fan of artificial lighting much either, a blacklight can't be used to grow plants or even fully "display" the fish, only highlights the tacky fluorescent colours and cheap plastic decorations. Also, I'm not sure how it would disrupt the natural sleep cycle of the fish, especially betta, which are diurnal like us-and thus sleep at the same time as we do (at least on nights where I'm not awake with all the lights on doing homework haha-poor Sisyphus is probably as sleep deprived as me some mornings).
 

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Interesting. I think the tiny cup must be a U.S.
thing - I'd say North American but I don't know how Canada or Mexico sell Betta.

I know the grass isn't necessarily greener, but the EU does seem to be more evolved in many aspects; the treatment of fish just a tiny example.

I once contracted a wicked case of food poisoning in England. The doctor came to the house where I was staying on New Year's Day. Showed up at 9 p.m. with a black bag and very nice doctor. He said I needed to go to the hospital. Neither the doctor nor the hospital charged me 10 cents. I was in too much pain to ask questions about how they worked it out - I didn't have travel insurance and no one asked. I'm still amazed by the experiencnce. Unfortunately that wouldn't happen here (U.S.) ever.

So along the lines of "it's all about the money" the glofish and glo betta are a money making gimmick probably targeted for kids. However since the process of genetic manipulation isn't hurting the glo fish per say, I still don't have a problem with it from a moral perspective. I think the things we've done to dogs are worse - for example creating a flat faced pug from a wolf. Routinely docking tails for cosmetic purposes. I personally wouldn't buy a glo betta because I'm not into gimmicks.

A concern I have is you can't see them glo without a black light, so live planted tanks are out. But how many people go to the trouble of a planted tank for their betta? I don't know.

OT but coincidentally my father was from Greece and I lived there for a while as a kid. I'd love to get to know Ireland (land of my mother's ancestors).




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