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WATCH: This Is Where Betta Fish Come From

Written by PETA | August 14, 2013

After a Reddit user posted photos of betta fish online, the community was shocked to see the conditions of the colorful fish. They had been transported in tiny plastic bags that had been stuffed into a cardboard box. This is standard procedure for the pet-trade industry.

Most fish are cruelly transported from dealers to pet stores in tiny, cramped bags and containers that bear no resemblance to their natural habitats. Because of this, their water often contains a blue-tinted tranquilizing agent meant to reduce their agitation while they’re jostled about in bumpy often days-long rides and hauled from one end of the country to the other. In 2006 and 2007, a PETA undercover investigation revealed similar practices.

Caring for Betta Fish

It’s a common misconception that betta fish can survive in tiny bowls or vases. In nature, bettas eat mostly insects and insect larvae, and they die slow, painful deaths from starvation if they are given only plant roots for food. Being kept in a vase with a plant also restricts their access to oxygen, which they take mainly from the surface of the water. It’s a myth that bettas must be housed singly—female bettas can be housed together, and male bettas can live with other species of fish.

What You Can Do

The best solution is to let fish live in peace in their wild homes and never to support pet stores that sell them. If you already have fish, please check out our guide for caring for fish.

Commenting is closed.
  • Betta-keeper says:

    Quick warning – Male bettas can NOT be housed with all kinds of other fish.

    Many fish types will nip at the long, flowing fins of a betta, attack it due to its bright coloration or fight it over territory.

  • Jaycey Padro says:

    I find this amusing and saddening Because the few times I entered a pet store i was shocked to find beautiful, living creatures, Bettas, being held captive in small paper cups, with the water not even half way filled. If you tap the cup, the fish go crazy. You see the mental roll it takes on these poor creatures. When my mother and I complained to the store clerk, they really had no explanation. And the same is true at Walmart stores, they do the same to the fish. I find myself in the fish aile, cleaning the bowls, giving fresh water and new food to them. It is so sad. I want to buy them all. Jaycey

  • G says:

    Walk into any Petco and look at their betta display. They are in tiny cups, some dead, some very thin because they haven’t been fed.

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