Q: I'm curious, since pet store bettas are usually in horrible tiny plastic cups, the water is in poor condition and there are no covers. Why don't they jump out? 

above question submitted by Christine, Vancouver - Canada

Hello and greetings from bettaland :). It has been quite a week for me and I have been my usual busy bee self X 2. I am glad it is Friday and the week-end is at long last at hand. I could use a small breather... Wait. I have a photo shoot tonight, gotta take Baby to the vet tomorrow and have a photo shoot tomorrow night and a live show with my band. AGHHHHH... So much for taking a small breather... People often tell me: I don't know how you do it". To which I reply: "Well, that's makes two of us!" :). I have had a bunch of miscellaneous odd ball projects all converging at the same time... Add to this a partial fishroom remodeling project, spawning new pairs, redecorating my dining room, building a new Palace/cage for Baby the pigeon and well, there you have it. I am in need of a 396657774000 hour nap :).

OK, enough whining :), let me roll up my sleeves and tackle (yet) another project: Doing our weekly column :).

Christine, you ask why the pet store bettas don't jump... Well, that's a no brainer: BECAUSE THEY ARE HALF DEAD LOL.

No, but seriously, I often wonder when I walk into a pet store why the bettas are not covered. It seems to suggest to the potential buyer that bettas do not need to be covered when in deed THEY DO (and at ALL time). Here are a few of my thoughts on the topic.

  • pet stores get sloppy and negligent. Employees are either too busy, not knowledgeable enough or plain don't care.
  • pet store's main concern is profit. Profit = sales less overhead. More chores to do = more employees needed/more hours = higher payroll = less profit. Well, you don't have to be a mathematician to figure out that the more work they can cut down, the bigger the profit. So it takes time to cover and uncover betta jars daily to feed them, clean them etc... In comparison, if a few bettas jump out and perish weekly, it costs the store maybe $10 in losses. Compare with an increase of $500 for example in payroll and payroll taxes and what do you get? Uncovered betta cups.
  • pet store bettas DO JUMP. I know, I've asked someone on the "inside". But if you ask the nice sales person at the store they will deny it and say "Our bettas don't jump", yeah, right. ALL bettas jump. Granted, some more than others but they do ALL jump (sooner or later).
  • unhealthy bettas are lethargic. Lethargic bettas will have less of a tendency to jump. A large percentage of pet store bettas sold on the market are not healthy so less of them will jump.
  • home bred bettas or bettas used to living in larger bowls/ tanks are more likely to jump. If a betta is used to being confined in a small space, it will seek to escape less than one that was in a large tank and is then placed in a cup. My bettas when I get ready to ship them will be placed in cups for about 1 min (so they can be bagged). I see them when I first place them in the cup try to swim OUT, cause they are so frisky and eager to go back to their large space. I always have to be very careful.
  • younger bettas jump more. Young bettas (3 to 8 months) are full of life and very active and are the most likely to jump. Pet stores sell fully matured bettas (about 1 year old) because the common public wants the large showy fins, not knowing that those older fish are already past their prime. So an older pet store betta will be less likely to jump.

So remember my betta friends:  BETTAS DO JUMP, therefore ALWAYS cover your jars or you will find your beloved finned friend on the carpet, dried up and crispy as a potato chip :((((... Not a good thing.

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About me: I am a member of the IBC, founder and President of LABS  (Los Angeles Betta Society) 
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