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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I joined my school paper as the monthly animal article writer and it starts in September. Because I have a betta, I was asked to write about bettas for the paper.
I haven't written it yet, but basically I just was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on specific things I should write about, and also when I write it I am going to post it here and if you guys could help critique it that'd be amazing!
 

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Betta Myths?

I would write about all the myths and misconceptions people have around Bettas.

IE they need a filter, ideally 2G+ of space, a heater, silk plants, they can 'drown', they DON'T live in "puddles" in the wild, they are very smart... pet stores shouldn't keep them in those cups longer than maybe a day or 2 but sadly some Bettas are kept in 3/4 of water or less for MONTHS at a time and develop all kinds of problems and diseases or just die.

My new little Betta was kept in his cup for over 4 months at the pet store.

Goodluck with your story!!
 

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That sounds somewhat similar to something I'm doing in September. Coincidence! lol I would write down the proper care of bettas, myths, as suggested above, and some cool facts, like how they breathe air, the fact that they were bred to fight for entertainment (and the fact that it is cruel and you should never put two male bettas together!) how different they are from the wild specimens, etc. If you want to get more in-depth you could write about proper tank maintenance and the nitrogen cycle, but I don't know how long and boring you want your article to be. Just kidding! I'm sure it won't be boring, and all the science nerds would love the nitrogen cycle explained. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
GREAT IDEAS, GUYS!!!!!!!!!

I also thought I'd include the sad story of my first betta, and explain how I was wrong and didn't do my research and it ended up costing my boys life...
 

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Real life examples are a great way to get the point across. Good idea! Will you post the paper once you've finished?
 

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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.
 

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I would focus an essay about how much fun keeping a Betta can be and the enjoyment of creating the tank decor. I wouldn't start with horror stories or disasters. Talk about proper equipment, accessories, and water conditions.

One of the things we all enjoy about our fish is their personalities. They're different than other fish and become true pets. That's a big plus for keeping them. Also, can anyone name another freshwater fish which is so flat out gorgeous?

Like with all pets, remind your readers of the responsibilities that come with ownership.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So far so good!

I still have a couple more weeks before I need to send it in :)

This is the first paragraph... I'm not a very god writer/speller so plz read and critique it!

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, a known for their long, flowing fins and elabrant colors. They are a common household pet, as many pet stores portray them as easy ‘dump in a bowl and feed them once in awhile’ pets. This is not the case. Bettas need a minimum of 2.5 gallons per fish (don’t buy a 2.5 gallon and divide it), a filter and a heater. Bettas are tropical fish need to have their tanks kept around 78ºF. Just like human children, bettas get bored. In their tanks they should have a variety of ‘toys’ to entertain them. These can be ping-pong balls, plants, various tank decorations, and a nice cave to hide in. Before putting anything in the tank, make sure there’s nothing that could tear their delicate fins or release chemicals into the water that could harm the betta.

Will post more later! Doing this one bit at a time XD
 

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I like it! I just noticed a few typos, I will list them and this constructive criticism, I'm not trying to nitpick or anything!
In the first sentence, I think you meant 'are known' instead of 'a known' (I'm sure it's just a typo!) and 'elaborant' is actually spelled 'elaborate'. I think the parenthesis is probably unnecessary, as you already stated that bettas need 2.5 'per fish.' It will flow better without the added statement and you've already stated the needed info. In the sentence after, you just need an 'and' between 'fish' and 'need.' In the last sentence or the next one you write, I would describe briefly how to make sure your decor is safe. Overall, I think It's a great start to your article and I can't wait to see the rest!
 
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