BAMA a.k.a. K~E~G asked in PetsFish · 8 years ago

If bettas can't be kept in a bowl why do they sell them that way?

I answered a question and got 7 thumbs down about this subject and everytime I go to the fish department no matter if it is Wal-Mart or Petco the bettas are in these teeny tiny plastic bowls with maybe an inch of water (not even half full). I said I did not recommend keeping fish in a bowl but I have seen people successfully keep both small comet goldfish and bettas in bowls sometimes with plants and sometimes not if the water was changed and kept clean.

I decided to let my son pick one out from Wal-Mart because I felt like saving a fish and we named him Lucky and he is in a 10 gallon tank with an African clawed frog and some guppies, snails and a lace catfish and absolutely loves his new home. It's just silly to me how people act with certain things like you are hurting a fish! I feed my fish live fish & insects!!! That's what they eat in the

If it's so inhumane to keep a betta in a bowl then isn't it really inhumane to have an aquarium in the first place where they are contained and not in their natural wild habitat? Isn't our "hobby" of keeping fish in a tank the main cause of alot of certain tropical species becoming almost extinct? Would you same people think it is inhumane for human beings to eat fish?

opinions & feedback greatly appreciated.


My African Clawed frog is still a baby and the guppies were bought as feeders so when he starts becoming aggressive I will just buy Lucky another fish tank. :)

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9 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well there's a lot to cover here...

    Bettas are sold in bowls because people buy them and the stores make money. It's really that simple. Stores like Wal-Mart and PetSmart don't give a dang about the general welfare of the fish they sell. If they did, they also wouldn't sell painted/dyed/tattooed fish, (ahem, Wal-Mart,) nor would the sell such monsters like Iridescent Sharks/Pangasius Catfish (ahem PetSmart,) which have the potential to grow over 4 bulky feet and which require a minimum of a 15 foot/4,000 gallon aquarium.

    They sell what sells, and improperly housed Bettas and Iridescent Sharks sell.

    Bettas need 5+ gallons. They're active fish if they're allowed to be, and they need the room to swim. Plus, you can't easily heat anything less than 5 gallons, they're difficult to impossible to cycle, and filtration is going to be a joke.

    They're high end tropical fish, so they need a heater to maintain the temperature above 78 degrees.

    They need a filter so that they're not stewing in their own waste.

    Of course, you COULD keep a Betta in a bowl and keep it healthy for its expected lifespan. But, you'd need to keep this Betta/bowl in a room that was kept at a steady 80 degrees at ALL times, and you'd need to perform 50% water changes EVERY DAY. This is what breeders do. Most people aren't going to.

    "Saving" a fish from Wal-Mart is only further encouraging them to continue selling them. While I understand the temptation, that fish will just be replaced by another, and another, and...

    IMO, stores that care so little for the fish they sell should be boycotted entirely. At the very least, they should not be encouraged by purchasing these poor creatures.

    "Lucky" is in trouble unless you get him out of that tank in the very near future. (Your Guppies are in trouble unless you get him out too.)

    - ACFs will happily munch on Betta fins when young. Not just Betta fins, all fish fins. Smaller fish that can fit in their mouths... will.

    Yours must still be very small. It won't be long until you find you're missing fish and/or parts of them.

    - Bettas are lousy tank mates with Guppies, as they see their bright colors and long fins as those belonging to mini Bettas. Sometimes female Guppies work OK with Bettas.

    - Lace Catfish grow to be 7" long, tend to become territorial as they age, and require a minimum of 29 gallons.

    I strongly urge you to remove/rehome all but your Betta, OR the Guppies from the 10 gallon.

    Besides being incompatible, those fish/critters drastically overstock the volume.

    5 same sex Guppies, (ten gallons is too small to accommodate breeding,) FULLY stock a 10 gallon.

    FYI, good fish profiles that include minimum aquarium size, grouping needs, and compatibility:

    By species/kind:



    Some fish eat live insects in the wild. Some, like your guppies and Catfish are omnivores and as such require much more diversity than a diet strictly of live insects would allow.

    It is inhumane to keep a Betta in a bowl because the bowl can not support life for any decent amount of time.

    Some people consider keeping fish in any sort of confinement to be cruel. Some people also consider keeping cats, dogs, horses, etc. to be cruel.

    Bettas as we know them don't exist in the wild. Nor do our Fancy Goldfish.

    IMO, keeping fish PROPERLY is not cruel.

    Keeping them in insufficient housing, and or with incompatible tank mates is.

    That's my two cents. Now please, work out your housing issues.

    Source(s): Experience.
  • Sibyl
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    1. I work in a pet store, so each Wednesday our fish shipments arrive and the bettas come in those tiny plastic cups. A couple may have died in transit, and maybe 6 will die within the week. They die of bacterial or fungal infections mostly. This is actually why you often see that the water is blue- it is medicated because pet stores are entirely aware of how stressful these conditions are.

    The ones that are sold? Some of them get returned mere days later dead because they were housed in bowls. But they are marketed as cheap, easy pets and so ignorant people buy them. They may die months or a couple years down the road, and people believe they have done well, completely unaware that they can live 5-7 years.

    Small, unfiltered, unheated environments kill bettas.

    2. It is inhumane to keep fish in environments that stunt their growth, cause sickness, and shorten their lifespan. T

    his is obvious. You cannot keep a goldfish successfully in a bowl- a comet goldfish should grow 12 inches long at least, and live over 25 years- Not gonna happen in a bowl. If you speak with an educated pet store associate, they should advise against the use of bowls.

    But people don't view fish as they do a puppy or kitten. Their abuse goes largely unnoticed.

    3. While some types of tropical fish for sale are wild caught, most are the product of breeding facilities. The purpose of my hobby is to keep animals in a way that allows them to live to their potential, and hopefully beyond. I feed my fish specially formulated commercial diets because I know that they are healthy- feeding their insects is not a complete, nutritious diet. I cannot keep a fish and be aware that I could be doing it better, so if you bring a pet into your home, you should have a habitat set up to give them ideal conditions.

    I do not eat fish. Smells disgusting and has no taste.

    4. Say goodbye to your fish. ACFs eat fish (Lucky isn't so lucky) and a single frog fully stocks a 10 gallon. When you "saved" "Lucky", you created a demand for more. Because stores order more supplies based on demand, you created the demand, so another fish arrived shortly after to take his place. Avoid "rescuing" poorly fish because you are rewarding the pet stores.

  • 8 years ago

    Well, Walmart and Petco are not the epitome of good fish care, to start with. If you go to a very good, locally owned and operated fish specialty store, you will often find the male Bettas will be in full-sized tanks with appropriate community fish. Other places keep them in cups because a) they don't know any better, or b) it's just easier that way. So many people believe the myth that Bettas cannot be kept with any other fish, and keeping them in little cups saves space.

    All fish need filters, and Bettas need heat, they are tropical. Little bowls don't allow for heaters and filters, and don't give the fish any room to swim. And swim they will, if they are properly kept!

    How long have you seen someone "successfully" keep a Comet Goldfish in a bowl? Surely not long, as these fish can reach 18" long at maturity! They should live 20+ years, when properly cared for. They are waste factories, and will soon die of their own waste, if the tank isn't maintained constantly. Without filtration, and constant cleaning, they won't live very long.

    I am surprised that you can keep a ACF with Guppies. Mine is in a tank by himself, cause he tried to eat my Cories. They will eat anything they can stuff in their mouths. An African Dwarf Frog is a different story, though. They are very peaceful.

    Keeping fish in tanks is cruel if the tanks are too small, or not properly kept. However, well kept fish are not being mistreated in the slightest. They don't have to hunt for food, are not poisoned by pollution, and don't have to hide or run from predators, as they do in their "natural habitat." Wild caught fish sold as pets are a problem, and are having detrimental effects to ocean reefs. However, fish bred in captivity, if anything, contribute to non-extinction.

    The debate over whether it is humane to eat fish (or meat) or not has been going on forever. Everybody has to decide what is right for them. I don't eat fish, because I just don't like it. I don't criticize those who do, however.

    This is my opinion, and what I know. Hope it helps.

    Source(s): Hobbyist for many years.
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    People sell them in bowls because they don't care about the health and well being of the Betta. The only care money so they don't setup tanks for the Betta. That's why people think it's okay for a Betta to live in a bowl they. They say "This Betta can live in a bowl. Look at what we bought them in." This goes the same for other fish too. They have multiple oscars living in a 15 gallon tank. So people think they will adapt like in the Petstore and not grow. Isn't that stupid!!!

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  • John B
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    They don't live their lives in bowls. They sell them for the money. The water in bowls are not healthy for them. You are constantly changing it and changing the components of it. Here is a site explaining how to set up for Bettas.

    Keeping fish is not inhumane. With experience we duplicate the wild for the fish. Our care is much more better and controlled unlike nature. Also, if it wasn't for our zoos and wildlife conservation, many animals would be extinct by now. Man does have a purpose, but on the other hand, man can do so much bad. Such is life as we know it.

    In Thailand, Betta keepers do not ad "tap" water to the containers. It is seasoned cleaned water which the fish need, if not the keepers would loose money.....

    Source(s): experienced 50+ yrs
  • Emily
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Honestly, people are pretty hypocritical about it.

    They say no, it's bad, only bad fish owners do that. But go look up the massive betta farms in Thailand, where the top quality bettas come from. They keep them in plastic containers full of almond leaves.

    In my opinion, bowls are okay as long as the fish has adequate swimming room, and it is cleaned frequently. Waste just builds up exponentially in a bowl, as there is no biological filter in the bowls to keep ammonia down. 2-3 cleans weekly can make bowls okay. However, I typically see the fish store bettas in dirty cups (blue does not mean dirty, it means medicated). The cups have a lot of air in them because bettas do breathe air, and having more air than water is usually a good thing when transporting fish etc. (that's why they usually fill fish bags with like 1/3 water, 2/3 air). It's more important to have more oxygen in the water than more unoxygenated water.

  • 8 years ago

    You can debate the humanity of keeping an aquarium and yes, there's some truth to your idea. Personally I feel that if you do intend to keep an aquarium you should do your very best to make it a good home. That ranges from keeping a tank big enough to water conditions to proper tank mates.

  • 8 years ago

    many people in petshops are uneducated about bettas and they think they are happy in tiny cups. also not many shops want to spend money on 5-10 gallon tanks for each betta, especially when they could have more than 20 bettas in stock

  • Gary C
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Because people buy them.

    Why do they sell cigarettes, even though they kill people?

    Because people buy them.

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