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View Full Version : Tired of seeing Betta's suffer!



ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 03:21 AM
For now on I am going to try to stay out of these stores that keep 50-100 betta's in these little cups. It is pretty bad to see them lying there helpless. I almost walked out of there with a few of them, but that is just contributing to the cause the more we buy and support this the more will be replaced with new ones to suffer. Dont you think that there are better ways to do this. What can people do to help? You can tell that their water is filthy. pretty sad...does anyone work at pet stores? how often is their water changed? Do alot of them die, or are most sold?

Lab_Rat
06-04-2010, 04:18 AM
Good luck with that...that's how most LFS keep their bettas for sale. I think every store that I've been to in my area sells bettas like that. And I've got some good fish stores here too.

ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 04:26 AM
No kidding. Two fish stores around me keep them in split tanks probably a gallon each. But they also dont stock 100 of them either like the pet stores do.

rothenb1
06-04-2010, 04:37 AM
Almost everywhere I have gone, bettas are in little cups or bowls, at best in those divided things where you can put four in a row. I've seen females together in a 10g at the LFS.

At the PetSmart where I work the betta water gets changed twice a week. Can't say the same for other places, though. At my old place of employment, betta water was changed "as needed"; every 10-14 days or so. That's why it is a former place of employment (among other reasons).

ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 04:54 AM
The place I was in today the bettas had to lay on their sides because there wasnt even an inch of water in their cups. The big tank with the goldfish had about 15 dead fish in it. Parts of fish floating around. Out of the 40 or so tanks at least 15-20 had a dead fish in them and im not exaggerating. Pretty nasty, definately wont be buying fish from there.

rothenb1
06-04-2010, 05:00 AM
Are you sure that tank wasn't a feeder goldfish tank? Was it a tank of goldfish meant to be kept in aquariums?
Just asking because feeder goldfish have this high propensity to just... die. And speaking from experience you really can't grab every dead fish as soon as it dies. We make a sweep for deads in the early AM (7 or 8am), around 3pm, and around 8pm. But there's no excuse for keeping bettas in an inch of water. I'd say our bettas are kept in 5 inches (give or take) of water.

jaysee
06-04-2010, 06:23 AM
For now on I am going to try to stay out of these stores that keep 50-100 betta's in these little cups. It is pretty bad to see them lying there helpless.

Don't go to the dog wall.....

SunSchein89
06-04-2010, 06:34 AM
At the petco I'm at, we change water weekly or sooner if needed and it starts to look bad.

ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 06:43 AM
Don't go to the dog wall.....
Dogs dont bother me much cause im not really a dog person. All im saying is at least give the thing enough water to float for crying out loud. Its bad enough being in those little containers, but when the fish has to lay on its side to stay wet, thats pretty bad.

Lady Hobbs
06-04-2010, 12:52 PM
That's the only way these fish can be shipped because they fight if together. They are shipped in medicated water and most stores change the water regularly. I don't know as I would call it suffering. Fish do not have a brain that registers emotions and I suspect it bothers us more than them. In nature, these fish swim in shallow rice paddie ditches. They only need a very small amount of water.

Some ship in larger contains than others but indeed those containers are small.

VoidParadigm
06-04-2010, 01:53 PM
Very happy to hear you're boycotting instead of supporting the cause, in any case. If enough people would do that instead of going in and "rescueing" a new betta every month we could get the demand for them cut way down.

I only buy from stores who have them set up at least a little better. One near here for example, instead of keeping them in tiny cups, puts one betta to every tank of peaceful community species. (Ie. A ten gallon tank full of Neons, instead of a 1/2 cup worth of water.) Now granted, that store also uses the in-tank glass betta houses and breeding nets when their betta stock numbers are up, but it's filtered at least, so it is better off than the smallest of the containers/bags bettas are often shipped it.

Sasquatch
06-04-2010, 02:15 PM
Even as a guy who works in a pet store, I can't condone keeping betta is 1" of water changing it every 1.5 weeks.

In many cases it'll depend on the size of the pet shop. Ironically, smaller stores are more capable of keeping them in better conditions. Since they stock relatively few bettas, they don't require as much space/maintenance.

In larger stores, like where I work, keeping bettas even is small betta cubes (which I don't like at all by the way) is not possible. After a big shipment we'll stock 500-600 bettas. We keep them in "betta cups" that hold about half a cup of water and change it every week. We keep them with methylene blue to keep disease down and feed them every two days (to keep polution down). With all that, we'll loose maybe 0.5% of our bettas per day. FYI, it takes me a whole 8 hour shift to change the water after an importation.

Rue
06-04-2010, 02:46 PM
There is nothing wrong with keeping the bettas in the little cups while the fish are for sale in the pet store. What workable options are there (and be practical)?

However, the water in the cups should be changed every 2-3 days and the cups kept 3/4 full. If not, then the situation becomes abusive.

Those cups are not meant to be permanent housing...they are only for holding.

Lady Hobbs
06-04-2010, 04:13 PM
Agree. They are not like others than can be stuffed in bags and boxed up for shipping. Since fighting is their aim in life, separation is the only solution.

jaysee
06-04-2010, 04:24 PM
Dogs dont bother me much cause im not really a dog person.

I don't think you need to be a dog person to recognize the horrid conditions they are kept in. As an animal lover, which you appear to be, it OUGHT to bother you.

rothenb1
06-04-2010, 04:30 PM
I don't think you need to be a dog person to recognize the horrid conditions they are kept in. As an animal lover, which you appear to be, it OUGHT to bother you.

100% agreed. If you're going to boycott a store because of how they treat betta fish, boycott a store because they sell puppies and kittens that 99.99% of the time come from mills. You don't need to be a dog person to know that mills are cruel.

ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 04:50 PM
[QUOTE=rothenb1]100% agreed. If you're going to boycott a store because of how they treat betta fish, boycott a store because they sell puppies and kittens that 99.99% of the time come from mills. You don't need to be a dog person to know that mills are cruel.[/QUOTe
Any of the pet stores I visit dont even sell dogs. And if they did stock dogs and treated them wrongly I would boycott them as well. My only point in this is at least keep the cups full of water like I said there was an inch of water in these cups the fish had to lay side ways to stay wet. As far as dogs go, I dont see them being treated poorly because I dont get to see them because the pet stores I visit dont carry dogs. I am not a dog person In fact I dont like dogs, but I wouldnt want to see them suffer either. Hey I hate bugs, hate them and I dont even kill them when thet are in my house. I catch them in a cup and set them free. Dont want to see anything suffer!

ohmikeosh
06-04-2010, 04:58 PM
Dogs dont bother me much cause im not really a dog person. All im saying is at least give the thing enough water to float for crying out loud. Its bad enough being in those little containers, but when the fish has to lay on its side to stay wet, thats pretty bad.
I worded that wrong. It's not that a suffering dog doesnt bother me, its just that I dont see dogs suffering because none of my pet stores even carry dogs. Had to clear that up before someone called peta on me..lol.. my bad... the wording did sound harsh.

jaysee
06-04-2010, 06:58 PM
I worded that wrong. It's not that a suffering dog doesnt bother me, its just that I dont see dogs suffering because none of my pet stores even carry dogs. Had to clear that up before someone called peta on me..lol.. my bad... the wording did sound harsh.

I understand :)

Wild Turkey
06-04-2010, 07:11 PM
A betta in a cup the size that I typically see is being burned by the ammonia unless the water is changed at least daily imo. Its not enough water in that respect, whether the betta can swim around or not is irrelevant imo. Not to mention they usually just dump out half the water, leaving waste in the bottom of the cup to continue rotting. The evidence is quite apparent when you pick up the cup and it looks like a snowglobe.

You could certainly use a "row" system with filtration and los precautions so the bettas could live in filtered containers and as part of a larger system. The problem is convincing anyone to spend the money on it when they get cups for free.

Shipping is another story, its very temporary. I dont consider the cups at the stores to be temporary in the same way, since a large chunk of the bettas die there.

jaysee
06-05-2010, 06:13 AM
WT, I'm not looking to argue, but I am curious what the death rates are for bettas.

Perhaps someone who works at a petstore can enlighten us? How often do they die in the cup? How many a day?

Sasquatch
06-05-2010, 11:04 AM
WT, I'm not looking to argue, but I am curious what the death rates are for bettas.

Perhaps someone who works at a petstore can enlighten us? How often do they die in the cup? How many a day?

I can't speak for all pet shops, but as mentionned in my post, where I work the death rates are about 0.5% per day. It's worst right after an importation and then tapers off. Right now we've got between 300-400 betta's and we'll pick up maybe 1-2 per day.

Lady Hobbs
06-05-2010, 01:00 PM
Isn't that about equal to other stock that has been delivered? I think a certain percentage of all stock dies shortly after transport, don't they? I would also expect to see more imports die right away than those farm raised.

jaysee
06-05-2010, 03:44 PM
I can't speak for all pet shops, but as mentionned in my post, where I work the death rates are about 0.5% per day. It's worst right after an importation and then tapers off. Right now we've got between 300-400 betta's and we'll pick up maybe 1-2 per day.

Thats pretty low.......

Wild Turkey
06-05-2010, 06:54 PM
Whenever I go to any store that sells bettas there are dead and dying ones all over. No betta is swimming, they all just lay on the bottom like any fish would be with the ammonia... But, an accurate death to import rate would be a great thing to have. I would bet my bottom dollar for the 3 stores closest to me its a lot higher than that.. usually at least 5% of the bettas on the shelf are dead or lifeless. Not all stores are the same though.




Im also not looking for any arguments, I just dont feel like advocating bettas in cups is something I want to be a part of, its just my opinion and no guff to anyone who disagrees, but this was my train of thought:

Most people here would not recommend weekly water changes on an uncycled 2.5g tank with a betta as adequate, why is it okay for an uncycled cup thats 1 or 2 pints?



I feel like supporting bettas in cups (with that ammonia) would be hypocritical for me and a step backwards considering how hard I recommend fishless cycling and the like.

Again, thats just my point of view, and I think it has some merit, but im not sharing my opinion to be critical of anyone except the chain stores that allow this stuff to go on; not any workers in the petstores, nor anyone here on ac, but the corporate fatcats that make these decisions.

ohmikeosh
06-05-2010, 07:28 PM
I totally agree with what wild turkey says. My original intent wasnt poked at anyone except the store itself and because of it they lost me as a customer. As wild turkey stated even in an unfiltered 2.5 gallon tank once a week partial water changes wouldnt suffice; let alone in a little cup with an inch of water. I dont know how much waste a fish can make in a week, but in a little cup its got to be alot of stuff. It's not like the cup is cycled...lol.. that waste sits there...oh well hopefully other stores are better than mine. This wasnt a knock at any pet store employees here. I understand you have to do what your boss tells you too.

rothenb1
06-05-2010, 09:23 PM
I definitely don't agree with bettas being kept in cups, but I can't see going about any other way. Maybe a tank divided into cubes or something. But either way, where I work the entirety of the water is changed on Monday and Thursday, and they are fed on those days. The most recorded dead (that I have seen) between Monday and Sunday was 3 (we keep about 100). The water conditioner used is a Methylene blue solution.

ohmikeosh
06-05-2010, 10:36 PM
I definitely don't agree with bettas being kept in cups, but I can't see going about any other way. Maybe a tank divided into cubes or something. But either way, where I work the entirety of the water is changed on Monday and Thursday, and they are fed on those days. The most recorded dead (that I have seen) between Monday and Sunday was 3 (we keep about 100). The water conditioner used is a Methylene blue solution.
Wow.. 3 out of 100 not too bad.

Sursion
06-06-2010, 12:12 AM
You're forgetting that these are only temporary. A lot of people buy betta's, and they end up going to a nice new home. And how else would you go about storing them? Is it more humane to put them all in the same tank and let them kill each other?

rothenb1
06-06-2010, 01:16 AM
Wow.. 3 out of 100 not too bad.
And most of the time it's none! We have to write any "pet loss" down on a sheet that's collected weekly, and I glance at it every time I'm there. I actually haven't seen a betta on the list in over a month. Unless people aren't recording them, which is definitely a possibility.

aquariums+me=happy
06-06-2010, 04:11 AM
Not meaning to fire anybody up but:
http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?client=mv-google&v=Kynho2kOI1I
nooooooo

rothenb1
06-06-2010, 04:17 AM
Not meaning to fire anybody up but:
http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?client=mv-google&v=Kynho2kOI1I
nooooooo

Hmm the link isn't working. What's it of?

Little Embers
06-06-2010, 04:19 AM
which one are we supposed to be looking at?

Brhino
06-06-2010, 04:22 AM
I think perhaps he was trying to post this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kynho2kOI1I

rothenb1
06-06-2010, 04:47 AM
I think perhaps he was trying to post this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kynho2kOI1I

Holy moly. They aren't even trying!

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 05:48 AM
That's pretty similar to what I saw in my old store in the regular tanks. Dead fish everywhere. Pretty nasty.

Little Embers
06-06-2010, 05:57 AM
That's just so sad.............I'm glad we don't have Walmart here, but I have seen LFS' in my area that are just as bad.

With all shops, you get the good and bad ones, you just need to find the good ones and stick with them.

My LFS' don't use the cups anymore but still keep them in the tiny Betta divider tanks. They can see each other and are either constantly flaring or are to worn out to do anything. Sometimes I have seen a betta in the guppy tank...UGH!

tori.lock
06-06-2010, 06:23 AM
I don't think the issue is keeping bettas in cups at pet stores. They really have no other option to keep them, short of divided tanks, which really isn't much better, if better at all. The issue lies with the information the stores provide to the future owners, and the care the bettas receive while at the store.

Basically, if bettas are kept in the little cups and get daily water changes, that's not so bad for a temporary home. It's not ideal, but it's not bad. Letting them sit in a little pint of water for a week is not ideal, and can be easily fixed. Since the housing for them cannot be altered, the state of it can be.

It's also obvious and pretty well known, at least on a forum like this, that pet store folk will tell you that all you need is a bowl, some pretty pebbles and a plastic plant, and of course patented "betta water" to keep your fish happy. Really, that's no different than a less-than fung shei version of their temporary housing.

Chances are, if pet stores advertised that bettas needed a real tank, with a filter and heater, fewer people would be interested in them, but still a lot of people would invest in the fish, and the proper supplies, so they would probably make just as much money, and in the end carry less bettas, and so have less work in keeping them happy and healthy.

I've gone to a few pet stores where the betta section is absolute horror. Very depressing with a handful of dead ones, and only a few select ones that look like they could make it to the surface for air. But I've also gone to some that have a beautiful collection, with either none or only a rare one or two dead ones, and most of them looking bright and chipper. There is a Petco near where I am that I got my betta from, and they have not only a huge variety of fin and color selections, but they are all so well taken care of. I never see the mat of waste at the bottom, and the water is never cloudy.

Personally, it's enough evidence that it's not the cups, it's the amount of care and investment the stores will put into the bettas. It's good business for them, too. I always see people going in there and heading directly to the betta section. The whole fish section they have is stunning, with few amazing salt water display tanks, and always well decorated, nicely stocked, happy, healthy fish. I rarely ever see a dead one. It's a shame that so many people get into the fish/pet trade for money, instead of the passion for educating people about the animals and ensuring a happy life for the creature.

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 03:48 PM
Some good points tori.

FishGirl-Seattle
06-06-2010, 05:03 PM
I have several LFS in my area that house them in these small containers but they are always full to the top with water and in these stores the water is replaced every two days. It is not cruel to house the fish for a short time this way - as long as the water is clean and frequently changed and the fish has enough room to move and turn around comfortably it will be fine for short periods of time. It would be a poor existence if they had to spend years this way, but a week or two while they wait to be adopted and moved into a larger and richer environment is no more torture than you staying in an economy hotel for a week. Just because a store sells them in these containers doesn't mean the store is bad. If the cups are full of clean water and kept this way then the store is taking care of the bettas and the fish are fine!

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 05:08 PM
I have several LFS in my area that house them in these small containers but they are always full to the top with water and in these stores the water is replaced every two days. It is not cruel to house the fish for a short time this way - as long as the water is clean and frequently changed and the fish has enough room to move and turn around comfortably it will be fine for short periods of time. It would be a poor existence if they had to spend years this way, but a week or two while they wait to be adopted and moved into a larger and richer environment is no more torture than you staying in an economy hotel for a week. Just because a store sells them in these containers doesn't mean the store is bad. If the cups are full of clean water and kept this way then the store is taking care of the bettas and the fish are fine!
Nobody said that a store that keeps them in cups is bad as long as they keep the water changed and fresh. This is pretty much what I saw at my pet store.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3WhrGPqOac
not to mention the water was filthy with lots of waste. If this isnt cruel then I have no idea.

MCHRKiller
06-06-2010, 07:05 PM
My old LFS had a 20G long with 9 compartments for bettas. It honestly wasnt hard to do...removed the top trim and just had to silicone in 9 pieces of 1/8" glass then replace the trim. Didnt worry about filtration but did keep a few twigs of moneywort in the compartments with a fine sandy substrate. Kept a few male bettas in the main fish rack with compatible species since we had a minimum order of a dozen males, most people were floored you could keep bettas in regular aquariums. Alot of noobs actually think bettas need to live in these tiny containers. I also dont know why most small mom and pop LFS order so many bettas, I know the dozen my shop ordered lasted pretty much all week until the next lot came.

tori.lock
06-06-2010, 09:47 PM
I will say that when I got to store that sell bettas, it always crosses my mind to write up a real, accurate care sheet and put them there. Makes me curious if the store would get mad, and how long it would take for them to notice.

Sasquatch
06-06-2010, 10:08 PM
I don't think the issue is keeping bettas in cups at pet stores. They really have no other option to keep them, short of divided tanks, which really isn't much better, if better at all. The issue lies with the information the stores provide to the future owners, and the care the bettas receive while at the store.

...

Chances are, if pet stores advertised that bettas needed a real tank, with a filter and heater, fewer people would be interested in them, but still a lot of people would invest in the fish, and the proper supplies, so they would probably make just as much money, and in the end carry less bettas, and so have less work in keeping them happy and healthy.

As a guy who works in a pet store ... that's very utopian. I inform almost all of my clients that buy bettas that they should be kept in warm water (26-28C) and in small aquariums (not "betta kits").

I have yet to have a single client folow that advice. I've sold hundreds of bettas since I've started working ... not a single one has bought anything larger than a 1/2 gallon unheated tank!

I don't mean to "throw the ball in the other court" and I certainly don't feel guilty about how the betta are kept ... but a lot of the blame goes to the buyers too.

And don't get me started on goldfish ... :sniperdark:


Isn't that about equal to other stock that has been delivered? I think a certain percentage of all stock dies shortly after transport, don't they? I would also expect to see more imports die right away than those farm raised.

It depends on the supplier and the type of fish. On the whole though, I'd say that bettas survive shipping better than many. Most of our bettas are imports and compared to what they get imported with, the survival rates for bettas are actually much better than the other fish.

If it were up to me, I'd ban the importation of anything over 4" ... just too big to survive 24H in a bag, an international flight and trucking to the store.

wolf_eyes
06-06-2010, 10:58 PM
Nobody said that a store that keeps them in cups is bad as long as they keep the water changed and fresh. This is pretty much what I saw at my pet store.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3WhrGPqOac
not to mention the water was filthy with lots of waste. If this isnt cruel then I have no idea.

In my opinion, if you can buy some oil for your car, a piece of furniture, and clothing in the same store, then you shouldn't be buying fish from such a place. Wallmart is NOT a petstore, it's a general needs store, and as such the fish are cared for just like everything else in the store. The only problem is nothing else in the store is living. Walmart is the lowest of the low in my opinion for fish buying. I have seen some local places that are almost as bad, but there is no other place that disgusts me as much as wallmart's fish section. I've seen cories and africans sharing the same small tank. As you can imagine, all the cories had injuries, most of them so bad that I was surprised that the fish were even alive. There's dead fish everywhere, most of the bettas are dead or dying, it's just bad. Honestly, just do yourself a favor and stay out of that section of the store. I have never seen a wallmart with a good fish area so just avoid them all.

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 11:05 PM
I agree that some people are just ignorant and buy the smallest bowl or tank they can find. That's good that you are knowledgable and try to inform the customer; that's all you that you can do as an employee and once the person is informed and decides to do otherwise, than that's just ignorance on their part. Nowaday's; information is at just about everyone's fingertips, so people should do some research before getting any kind of pet; just as employees should know the facts and do what you try to do and that's inform the customer.

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 11:07 PM
In my opinion, if you can buy some oil for your car, a piece of furniture, and clothing in the same store, then you shouldn't be buying fish from such a place. Wallmart is NOT a petstore, it's a general needs store, and as such the fish are cared for just like everything else in the store. The only problem is nothing else in the store is living. Walmart is the lowest of the low in my opinion for fish buying. I have seen some local places that are almost as bad, but there is no other place that disgusts me as much as wallmart's fish section. I've seen cories and africans sharing the same small tank. As you can imagine, all the cories had injuries, most of them so bad that I was surprised that the fish were even alive. There's dead fish everywhere, most of the bettas are dead or dying, it's just bad. Honestly, just do yourself a favor and stay out of that section of the store. I have never seen a wallmart with a good fish area so just avoid them all.
I agree completely walmart is very bad. I dont shop there anyways, but I saw something just like that in a pet store.

ohmikeosh
06-06-2010, 11:17 PM
I will say that when I got to store that sell bettas, it always crosses my mind to write up a real, accurate care sheet and put them there. Makes me curious if the store would get mad, and how long it would take for them to notice.
lol....thats a good idea.

Sasquatch
06-06-2010, 11:53 PM
I will say that when I got to store that sell bettas, it always crosses my mind to write up a real, accurate care sheet and put them there. Makes me curious if the store would get mad, and how long it would take for them to notice.

You mean like the one that we have at our store? The one that nobody looks at, not even the employees?

I don't mean to beat up on you, I know it comes from good intentions. It's the same with me, I try to do what I can ... but it just gets frustrating. You spend time educating a client, trying to convince them to take the best care of their pets ... and they still walk out of the store with a $10 betta kit.

HeatherB
06-06-2010, 11:59 PM
I guess it really depends on where you buy!

My walmart has a small fish section, they have bettas and tropical fish/goldfish. I have never had much of a problem with anything I have gotten there.

I usually buy my betta's from Petco, they seem to take better care of their bettas. I did actually buy one recently from Petsmart, but I saw him when I cam in and just couldn't say no, especially when he was on sale.

I must say that much of the problem lays in the owners, not the sellers. All of my petstores have care sheets, and from what I have seen they are pretty accurate concerning care. Some people don't care that the fish has certian needs, they just get it to get it.

james20
06-07-2010, 12:13 AM
Where elese can they really put them? It would be very expensive to put them all in 2 gallon heated sponge-filtered tanks. At a Petco, I've seen bettas in main tanks withi other fish.

tori.lock
06-07-2010, 01:29 AM
You mean like the one that we have at our store? The one that nobody looks at, not even the employees?

I don't mean to beat up on you, I know it comes from good intentions. It's the same with me, I try to do what I can ... but it just gets frustrating. You spend time educating a client, trying to convince them to take the best care of their pets ... and they still walk out of the store with a $10 betta kit.

Hah, no, I understand. I mean more like... a big poster that's hung in front of the bettas that it is cruel to keep them in unheated, tiny bowls.

It all makes me wish that ASCPA and all of those organizations would do more for fish. I guess it's hard, since they are kept entirely indoors, so it would be hard to get a complaint on them.

Lindsey
06-11-2010, 09:08 PM
WT, I'm not looking to argue, but I am curious what the death rates are for bettas.

Perhaps someone who works at a petstore can enlighten us? How often do they die in the cup? How many a day?

We keep maybe 30 bettas in our store on a once-a-week water change. Sometimes we'll go a week or two without seeing any dead ones, and then we'll have a few bad weeks where we're losing 2-7 a day, which is pretty bad. We see ich and fin rot often despite keeping them in methylene blue.

Sadly that's not comparable to our overall tropical fish loss, which is much higher - not that our customers would ever know, as we're instructed to do "dead sweeps" on a constant basis to keep the tanks looking nice and healthy.