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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I stopped in at Petco to get a moss ball and a piece of driftwood planted with anubias. In the process I ended up chatting with their aquatics specialist while I was waiting for it to be bagged and priced. I mentioned that it was for my 5 gallon betta tank, at which point the "specialist" told me that 5 gallons is much too much room for a betta and it will cause him to get stressed, I should look into a smaller aquarium. Fred didn't get the memo that 5 gallons is too much room.

He went from this when I bought him:



To this in my 5 gallon in rather short order. This is a 3 day difference, he just came home on the 29th april. :lol:


Excuse the cloudy water in the second picture, I had just finished rearranging the tank and the water hadn't settled yet.
 

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I've noticed (both) of my petcos doing a similar thing. I went there about 3 weeks ago to buy some plants and a spare heater since I had some extra cash and a spare heater is always something good to have on hand. While I was looking around the aquatics section, I noticed a young girl and her mom there looking for their first betta fish. I witnessed as the "aquatics specialist" told the mother that all she needed was a small .5 gallon tank. When the mother asked about water changes the "specialist" said to just "top off" the water when it looked low.
After he walked off and the young girl was looking at the bettas, I approached the mother and told her that he had given her wrong information. I told her i've kept healthy and happy bettas for years. I pointed over to the Aqueon Bowl 2.5 gallon and said that tank would be okay and to do one 50% and one 100% per week. I also pointed to the 5 gallon ones and said those would require less water changes. I also told her to get a heater since the fish is a tropical fish and needs warm water. Also (i had some OO pellets in my hand cause I was planning to pick up extra) I handed her the OO pellets and said these are good food for your fish. She thanked me and went with her daughter to grab the tank and such.

I also went up to the "specialist" and told him this information too and he basically shrugged me off and said to pay and leave.
 

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You'd think they would promote the biggest tanks possible for each customer - then you need more stuff to buy for it!
The poor bettas' amazing ability to live in the worst conditions really works against them at these places.
 

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I had the same thing at PetCo specifically. They must tell their aquatics people that bettas can't do anything more than 5 gallons.

I heard a kid ask what tank to get for a betta and the person said anything up to 5 gallons. When the kid walked away I talked to him and his mother a bit and told him my betta loved his 20 gallon and now has friends in that tank. They were astonished!
 

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My local Petco people are funny to me. On occasion I ask questions I already know the answer to just to see what they know. It helps me decide who to deal with, and often where I shop. The amusing part is when I not only get wrong answers, but the answers are delivered in such a manner as to make me out to be the idiot. It takes skill to pull that off :)

The one thing I can say about the local Petco is they get in some really beautiful Bettas. Unfortunately, they curl in on themselves after a couple of days from very poor care. There's only one girl there who cares about them. The rest are just like the people you described above. "Oh they're fine. They live in mud puddles." Not a big fan of that myth.

Gorgeous Betta BTW. I am not a fan of Crowntails, but yours has really filled in and perked up nicely. Really nice proportions to him. Digging the color, too.
 

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wow, they don't do well in 5 gallons? My 3 bettas in the divided 29 gallon must HATE having almost 10 gallons each. I wonder if THEY know that? (and by they, i mean the bettas of course). I don't understand why a petstore would encourage SMALLER tanks. A) they cost less, B) one has to buy less accessories, and C) they are more work!
 

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Gee, my betta seems much happier (by this I mean better color, more active, and more interactive with me) since I moved him from his 1 gallon unheated bowl to a heated and filtered 5 gallon tank. Yeah, same experience here. When I went to Petco to get a 5 gallon tank, heater, and filter and said it was for my betta, I was told this was "overkill" for a betta, and all they needed was a little bowl.
 

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I don't have a petco, but same thing at the chain in my area (petvalu), they told me I was nuts when I was putting a betta into a 10 gallon aquarium; what on earth are they going to do with all that room?! Look at this one, he's in a cup! (Ugh)

I agree they would make more money per fish if they gave the correct information....

My thought is they probably would sell less fish - because the incorrect popular belief about their living conditions makes them desirable to people who don't know any better and just want something pretty on their coffee table... (Put flowers in a vase - they're pretty too...and belong in vases)

Maybe they think if they push the bigger set ups, it would deter people from buying them in the first place? I dunno...

Unfortunate either way.
 

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I don't have a petco, but same thing at the chain in my area (petvalu), they told me I was nuts when I was putting a betta into a 10 gallon aquarium; what on earth are they going to do with all that room?! Look at this one, he's in a cup! (Ugh)

I agree they would make more money per fish if they gave the correct information....

My thought is they probably would sell less fish - because the incorrect popular belief about their living conditions makes them desirable to people who don't know any better and just want something pretty on their coffee table... (Put flowers in a vase - they're pretty too...and belong in vases)

Maybe they think if they push the bigger set ups, it would deter people from buying them in the first place? I dunno...

Unfortunate either way.
Im almost positive that is why stores push smaller tanks. Sure they would make more money if they told people bettas needed a larger tank, filter and heater but the assumption is that bettas are hassle free pets to own, also that they are suitable for kids who just want a pretty fish pet. Much of their business comes in from uninformed parents coming in, buying a small tank and a fish, and going home to their small children and showing them what they got.

Also think of it this way, all of us here now that bettas can live for a long time if kept under proper care. However, if they care kept in small tanks then they pass on quicker and the parents need to replace the fish. Its terrible but I think that they stores would rather sell a betta a family every month rather than a betta to a family every year or so.
 

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IMHO, the reason they push the smaller tanks is because of scale. Think about it- how many people are inclined to spend $60 outfitting a 5 gallon tank with a heater, filter, substrate, and decorations for a $2.50 fish? They're much more inclined to spend $15 on a .5 gallon tank with a few pebbles and a fake plant. They sell more fish this way, in turn, more tanks as well. They also benefit because the fish move faster and they don't get backlogged taking care of more little cups than they can handle.

It's not right, but it's a business.
 

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At my petco, it's just the opposite, they actually know what they're talking about in terms of fish...it's the PetSmart you have to watch out for around here. :p Some of them are okay, but there's this one employee who follows me (and everyone else) around and tries to force moss balls and tiny tanks on them... ;) It was funny at first, then it was just obnoxious, particularly when she got super pushy about the brown, over-priced moss balls. :p

Anyway, it's not a chain problem, it's a store problem.
 

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I agree that it's a definitely a store to store problem. My dad went into the Petco near my parents house to see look for a few things for me (for some reason both of my petcos are never fully stocked with everything) and the empolyee's there were VERY informative and knew exactly what they were talking about.
 

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A little hope. My local PetSmart is TERRIBLE about bettas, but the local PetCo is...decent? I went to PetSmart to get my community tank stocked and stupidly mentioned that I had a betta. The guy literally acted like I was committing animal abuse by putting a betta in a 10 gal with 4 cory cats and some platy. He then tried to tell me that my betta would not only kill ALL the fish "because, you know, they're fighting fish. Thats what they do, they kill everything" but that he would also commit suicide because he would attack his reflection in a square glass tank. He told me not to A. get other fish, and B. to not have a 10 gallon glass tank. He pointed me towards a .3 gallon plastic cube.

...

I literally laughed at him and just walked away.
My betta live happily in 3 gallon tanks currently. Waiting for them to grow a little before they go into the community 10 gal. :)
 

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There's hope!
Yes there is! My dad knows a little bit about bettas but not about cycling tanks. So when I told my dad to check to see if they had a freshwater master test kit he was so lost. Luckily the employee knew exactly what that was and was able to show him were to find it. My dad mentioned that it was for my bettas and the employee seemed relieved that my bettas were in large tanks with filters and heaters.

Now we just need to get EVERY petco/petsmart to see this way.
 

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One thing I can say about my local Petco is every Thursday, they get in some really beautiful Bettas. Just came from there and I had to leave behind (tank not quite setup yet) the most beautiful royal blue rose tail. The fish and fins were perfectly proportioned. Just gorgeous.

I was planning to get my boy from aquabid, but since these guys get in some really beautiful butterfly bettas and some decent HMPK's on occasion, I'll be buying locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm highly disappointed. I finally checked out our LFS and their bettas are kept in worse shape than Petco's. One fish was severely bloated and appeared to have dropsy, another had evident body rot, quite a few with fin rot, etc. They also market entirely too small of bowls, don't carry any tanks under 20 gallons and only had four different heaters, all of which were ridiculously priced. Sad sad sad.
 

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My local PetCo is very good to the bettas as it seems because I have not seen one with dirty water or any diseases that I could recognize. It's kind of sad though, that the bettas are only sold because they are beautiful (don't get me wrong- they are). I can safely say this assumption because the male bettas are in the middle, eye level to children and parents alike. However, the females are either at the very bottom or very top. I adopted my royal blue veil tail female from PetCo, and she is very active and she can learn easily (I taught her to follow my finger in a day!)

Walmart, however, is a different story. Their bettas are stacked and piled up in containers. They can die from suffocation and disease, and the ones at the bottom hardly get picked.

Overall, make sure that you go to a store where people know their stuff and bettas are treated properly. Don't feel the need to "rescue" bettas from abusive sellers, as this will encourage them to mass produce and sell bettas in terrible conditions.
 

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My petco does a similar thing. They have like a 3 sided display thing where the two sides wrap around the corn and down the isle. The front always has the healthiest (and most expensive bettas, like Elephant Ears, Half-Moons, Dragonscales), while the sides have Veiltails and Crowntails. All of these are male though, occasionally you'll find a female or two mixed in. The females however are kept in a completely seperate rack that is 5 feet away from that display and is behind a pole so no one can really see them. I actually used that rack to hide the EE HMPK i was going to come back for later that day (I went to petco on my way to class and saw him and knew i had to have him so I hid him until after my class so i could go back and get him). Also by the sink where they bag all the fish, they have a shelf that is STACKED with bettas (like in Walmart) and Im pretty sure no one ever sees those fish.
 

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The "good" Petco near me actually takes really good care of their bettas, but they also have a weird display arrangement. I know it's just to sell the most expensive ones, but it's sad for the not-fanciest ones. There's one large display on the center of one endcap that holds maybe 25 fish but then the babies, the females, and all the veil tails are on these weird hard to see hidden shelves closer to the ground down the aisles. And they also have the weird shelf that time forgot over by the sink where they seem to just put random fish. I think it might be a holding area where they swap out fish that have been sold because my last 3 bettas have come from that area.
 
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