How to Choose Your First Betta Fish: Tips For Picking One

how to choose your first betta fish
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Last Updated: July 28, 2022 by Flora Gibbins

So you have seen all the beautiful pictures, you have done the research and you have decided that a betta fish is the right pet for you! Good choice!

But what do you need to know before buying your betta fish? And what tips are there to ensure you choose a healthy betta fish?

First step: You should set up your aquarium before buying a betta fish.
Aquariums should be cycled before adding fish. Usually around two weeks. Check out our guides on choosing the best betta fish tank and how to set up a betta fish tank.

Tips on Choosing Your First Betta Fish -

Where is the best place to buy a betta fish?

The best place to buy a betta fish is nearly always a local (independent) pet store. Ask friends and family if they have any local recommendations and check a few reviews online.

Large national pet stores are often not recommended for live stock of fish. There have been too many examples of neglect (dead fish in tanks/tanks not maintained).

There are even examples of betta fish being sold in tiny little cups from large national stores – these should be avoided at all costs. This is not a healthy environment for a betta fish. The water will get dirty very quickly because there is so little of it – this leads to many betta fish illnesses.

This means you are more likely to buy an ill fish but also we believe this storage of a living animal is animal cruelty and shouldn’t be supported. Some betta fish lovers opt to buy these betta fish claiming they are ‘saving’ them – their heart is in the right place however buying these fish is only supporting the trade.

Wherever you choose to buy your fish make sure that all the tanks in the shop are well maintained and never buy a fish from an aquarium that includes a dead or a visibly ill fish.

Choosing a healthy betta fish

Tips on choosing a betta fish

The signs of a healthy betta fish

  • Look for deep vibrant colors.
  • Big flowing fins.
  • Swimming with ease.

The signs of an unhealthy betta fish

  • Check closely on the tips of its fins. Are they slightly darker or are they white – either of these could be a sign of fin rot.
  • Visible skin problems – wounds scars ulcers parasites – obviously a no.
  • Fins should not be torn or have ragged edges. Close or clamped fins are also a bad sign.
  • No swelling on the stomach.
  • Small white dots around the body of the betta could be ich. A dusty gold mist will be velvet. Both of these are parasites – avoid!
  • Lurking in the corner or not swimming in a horizontal direction.

Fun Fact: There is a saying, “First impressions last”. Complement your first betta purchase by preserving a memory of your aqua buddy through photography. Know what proper equipment to use. Read our article — Betta Fish Photography: Equipment To Capture Best Moments — and start taking pictures!

Check out this video we found on YouTube about spotting illnesses in a betta fish. You might be able to see some of these things as you shop for your betta fish, so be aware of any signs of a sick betta.

We hope this helps you choose the perfect betta fish and avoid any mistakes that could have caused distress (to you, your family and your new pet).

Choose a happy healthy betta fish and give him a happy and healthy home that’s all there is to it 🙂
Do you have any tips to share? What do you look for or where do you buy your betta fish? We would love to hear your stories.

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