Unless you just happened to come across a Betta fish, or were given the fish as a gift, you’ll need to consider buying your Betta fish. This page deals with where you can buy yours and what to look for when buying Betta fish so that your Betta fish can live happily and provide you with what you’re looking for in the hobby.
Choosing a Betta fish to buy
Not all Betta fish were born equal and some are brighter, more aggressive and larger than others. Some may even be very old when you see them in the shop or perhaps carrying underlying health problems.
When buying Betta fish we all look at their colour and their fins and many of us go for the biggest fish in the store. This is rarely a wise move as the most value for money can more often be derived from purchasing younger fish, Bettas that will grow in your tank and live longer after you buy them than older fish. Young Betta fish tend to be smaller and are more aggressive, often swimming more than older fish. They are also much better for breeding than grandpa Betta. The shop assistant or seller should know the age of their fish. Also look for fish that are swimming near the glass separating them from their neighbour, as this is a good sign of aggression and youth, sure signs that you are buying the right Betta fish.
Body to fins ratio
All body an no fins seems to defeat the object of buying a Betta fish. Some males can even resemble females, a mistake that could produce some interesting breeding attempts. A Betta fish with a large body and small fins isn’t necessarily unhealthy and can still display very vibrant colours however you should avoid Bettas with a thin body as this would suggest a weaker and potentially diseased specimen.
A Betta fish should ideally have full fins with no breaks or changes in bone direction which would suggest injury or disease. Slightly darkened or lighter fin tips are a good indication that the fish is set to grow longer fins over the next few months. The caudal (tail) fin should have a nice curve and contain no jagged edges.
Where to buy Betta fish
The best place to buy live Betta fish is from a breeder although these can be difficult to find. If you can find a Betta breeder and you are willing to either travel to pick them up or pay for postage, then this is a good way of getting good quality fish that are appropriate for breeding. However, you must be careful if you buy live Betta fish online or from a breeder that (a) they are sent via a courier service that will handle live fish deliveries – Royal Mail will not and (b) you have an honest description of the fish you are being sent.
Buying Betta fish online is a possible option as is using popular auction sites such as eBay. Classified ads are ok too if you spend a little while looking through them. If you do choose to buy live Betta fish online, you must ensure they are coming from a good, reputable breeder and always verify the age and condition of the fish.
The last option is to buy a Betta fish from an ordinary pet shop or aquatic store. This is perhaps the cheapest option as you can collect the fish yourself buy do beware that many fish shops don’t sell Bettas that are overly suitable for breeding and many simply stock a very limited selection.