I had to run into both Petco and PetSmart yesterday to pick up some medication for Calvin… and I decided to pick up Betta care pamphlets from both, just for shits and giggles. I was appalled by what I read.
According to PetSmart:
- Females can be kept together without ever fighting (sometimes true, sometimes not)
- Bettas can thrive in bowls
- When placing a Betta in a bowl, remember to use a one-quart bowl
- Feed your Betta as much food as it will consume in three minutes, twice a day
- Keeping an aquarium for a Betta takes minimal effort
According to Petco:
- Bettas only live up to 3 years
- Feed sparingly 3 times a week and no more than fish can eat in 3-5 minutes
- Minimum aquarium size is 1/4 gallon
- Male Bettas do best in containers of one liter
- Bettas in bowls require 25% water changes once a month
As you would expect, I furiously approached a PetSmart employee to point out all of the inaccuracies in their pamphlets. But to my surprise, he laughed. He was, in fact, a Betta lover and enthusiast himself! He told me how he guided customers to disregard certain aspects of their pamphlets, and a few horror stories. One was about a man who came in regularly to not only purchase Bettas to fight and bet on, but to boast about his winnings! Of course, this Betta loving PetSmart employee does not allow this man to purchase any Bettas. What was even worse was the story about what happened the previous night. A little backstory:
Before coming to PetSmart, I went to Petco. As I came in, I saw a customer speaking with a Petco representative about what to do with their ill Betta fish. The employee had the audacity to suggest flushing the fish, or letting it die naturally. I was utterly disgusted. Then, as I was walking toward the fish medicine isle, I overheard him say, “You could always give him away,” in a small voice.
Flash back to PetSmart. The GOOD employee told me that that same Petco that I had visited had left a bunch of little Bettas, overnight – in the cold – in front of the PetSmart opening doors. They were, of course, all sick. When this employee saw the fish, miraculously all still alive, he took them all home and is currently nursing them to health.
My PetSmart just stacks the Bettas and leaves the poor ones in the back of the shelf where no one can see them, and it’s almost impossible (unless you move all the front Bettas to the floor) to even reach them! This PetSmart associate also told me he takes these unwanted Bettas home after a while so that they can have proper maintenance, rather than living in a cup for so long. I have to say, I was THOROUGHLY impressed. If there were more Petco/PetSmart/fish store employees like this, I would be far more satisfied with their services. I am glad to see that there are people out there working for the well-being of fish, and not just trying to carelessly sell them for a profit.
Kudos to this kind person, and good luck and good thoughts for his new rescues!