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cruelty to bettas

Posted by adamharbeck WA Aust (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 24, 07 at 6:32

Hi All,

I went to my local fish store to pick up some new fish and saw a "doule crowntail betta". This poor fish, beautiful though it was, could barely move around the tank and it had to make an enormous effort to get to the surface to breathe. I have a common red veiltail betta and although he deffinately wouldn't survive in the wild, he seems happy. One has to question the ethics of intentionally breeding these fancy fish varieties that are so deformed the mere act of swimming or breathing is a chore. Do other fish keepers feel this way?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: cruelty to bettas


I agree. It's sad that too many people want animals only as decorations, but they apparently do, or there wouldn't be not just fish, but dogs, cats and even horses bred so much for appearance, they can't function normally AS fish, dogs, cats or horses.

Never underestimate the power of mindless human ego to inflict misery on helpless animals.

RE: cruelty to bettas

The hybrids like double crowntails, fancy guppies and the like don't bother me as much. As long as they are kept in suitable tanks for their condition. The tatooed, died and genetically altered fish are another story. Marketing bettas as idestructable and OK to keep in bowls on a desk top with a plant on top is crap. I have seen them in flower vases on table tops in resteraunts as decoration. i have even seen pictures of them under a desert plate in a resteraunt somewhere. Bettas are the goldfish of the 90's and 2000's. Bowls are for soup, not fish.

RE: cruelty to bettas

Now if you add betting on male Betta fights to inbreeding for human pleasure....

RE: cruelty to bettas

Veil-tailed bettas (and other tail types) can survive in the wild as long as the water doesn't freeze over. There was a colony of them living wild in Florida for awhile. I'm sure there are others around the country that made it too. I've met a lot of silly folks out there who have flushed live bettas thinking them dead because they didn't know bettas sleep- my brother for one. I had one who could sleep through a water change lol!

The fish you saw in the store is what I call a survivor- thanks to a caring papa and a strong will he's beaten the odds. He more than likely ended up in the store since he 'didn't make the grade' as far as showing or breeding goes or he came from one of the 'puppy mill' type places that just supply pet stores. You also have to remember that bettas can produce large spawns, my largest was 650 fry. Most don't make it, even in the best breeding set up with the best food. They are such fragile little babies, it takes them roughly 3 days to learn to swim so life is pretty much against them from the start. Any damage done to a young fry will scar them/deform them for life.
At least he has a chance to make some one a good pet. And they do make good pet and live fine in a large bowl but you do have to interact with them since the are extremely curious fish. He could have ended up a snack for an Oscar.
If ever a critter lived up to a 'pit-bull' rep it's the betta- they won't even breed with out duking it out first and so nature has giving them an amazing ability to heal quickly. They also come with a nifty built in billboard for if they don't want to fight anymore and 'give in' to the stronger male/female.

Maybe next time you see him you will look at him in a new way, instead of feeling sorry for him say way to go little guy! He's earned his special Olympic gold metal in my book!
What I think is cruel are those cups they shove them in at pet stupid, err, pet smart. Water filled to the brim and cups stack on top of each other so the poor things end up dying a slow horrible death. I asked the petsmart I went to about that, they told me 'but there are hole in the tops'. How are the fish on the bottom suppose to breath through a hole covered by another container?

Sorry to ramble, I just love bettas :)

RE: cruelty to bettas

Hi organic_bandit,

Your not alone in your love for bettas, however after moving to a cooler climate I have since developed a greater love for thier coolwater cousins the Chinese paradise fish. This betta wasn't a deformed specimen, but a quite expensive "show quality" fish. The finnage was so over developed and ruffled that the fish had lost its streamlined shape and had to violently thrash its body in order to move foreward. Although I was impressed that it was housed in a large, heated, planted display tank.

Maybe those small cups are ok for short term storage in tropical countries but they are a deffinate no no for long term housing and even for display in the stores. I dipped my finger in one of those betta cups the other day and was horrified to feel how cold the water was. The only thing i hate more than storekeepers keeping these fish in plastic cups is store owners who sell them to people and say they are coldwater fish! I wonder how many thousands of bettas die each year as a result of being kept in cold water, that is truely saddening.


RE: cruelty to bettas

I've never had anyone tell me they were cold water however I can believe the fish getting too cold from people over zealous with the ac hehe. My house never goes below 23 C or I freeze so I've chucked the heater in most of my tanks. 23 is still a bit to cold but I am trying to be reasonable lol.

I guess there is a point to which they can go with breeding these 'ideal' type fish for showing but I think the body form must be taken into account when on the show bench. The breeding habits of the betta would prevent a lot of those really squat types from breeding. I still think if he really looks that awkward he didn't make the grade no matter how lovely his fins are. He might have been breed for showing.

To my bemusement I found a tank full of paradise fish at a little pet store, thought they were pretty. I brought 2 of them home, with in a week the invasion had started. Every tank in my house and several of my pickle jars are full of them little beauties and I have more born every 2 weeks now that its summer. In the fall through spring they spawn as soon as the young are free swimming. The pair managed to kick out every free swimming fish in the tank save a pair of angels who are pretending to be a pair. I had to get a new tank because of them! Yes, they twisted my arm, the bruise is right there... see it? hehe I really do like them, they are 'ugly bettas'. I've heard they are in the same family and I can easily see it, the only difference I can see is how they look and paradise eggs float. Well that and new born paradise fish are way better at staying on the surface of the tank. I hate trading them in but I must.

RE: cruelty to bettas

Half your luck organic bandit!

I was so excited when I spotted a female paradise in my local petshop (especially since only males are allowed into Australia!) but unfortunately for me, both my males are more interested in fighting with her than spawning. I now have her behind a plexiglass divider at the back of my wild type males tank. They display to eachother and he even maintains a lovely bubblenest but when I release her WHAM, the male makes every effort to rip her to shreds!

I think paradise are a very underestimated species, they're very beautiful when all grown up, come in a few different colours, hardier than golfish and better suited than goldfish to life in an unheated bowl (a LARGE bowl of course). At present I have 5 (the wild type pair, a blue with red fins and two young albinos which currently live in 2 two gallon vases in the lounge room) but I would really like to get a hold of a proper Chinese paradise (Macropodus chinensis), but unfortunately for me they're rarer here than regular female paradise!

Here is a link that might be useful: M. chinensis

RE: cruelty to bettas

I agree, mainly. I have a Betta but he is for the sake of owning a fish with such character, and not for ornamental use! (Though he does look rather nice, and everyone who visits falls in love with him.) I think the way they display them in pet stores doesn't show there true beauty, there fins all folded in. When I bought my Betta Marbles, he was in a tiny plastic cup; luckily a few did get to be in one gallon bowls. I think they should be kept be displayed in a container no smaller than a litre (or quart) and thats for there display homes! Still I think pet stores should keep them in good tanks so people can see what size in suitable.

Marbles lives in a one gallon tank with about an inch of gravel and a plant, and he is very happy! So Bettas can be kept well in a gallon fish bowl, but nothing smaller.

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