Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What it Means to Truly Rescue a Betta Fish (Editorial)

Rescue- to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.

A male mustard gas veiltail for sale at Walmart. Photo by Betta Fish Awareness Day.

What it Means to Truly Rescue a Betta Fish

Rescue is a word that gets thrown around a lot amongst betta fish enthusiasts. Some betta fish lovers start a rescue and adoption group, others expand their personal collection of fish by going to stores and taking in the most neglected fish. No matter the intention, many betta hobbyists see taking a neglected fish from a store as rescuing it from death either from its condition or euthanization for no longer being a desirable product. However, “rescue” is a much heavier word than most people realise and has many implications. Unfortunately, many of these so-called rescue missions contribute to the cycle of betta fish abuse and neglect within local and chain stores.

The word "rescue" itself is an easily understood; to rescue something is to save it from an undesirable or dangerous situation. However, when it comes to rescuing living animals from poor situations created in stores, there is a harsher side to this word. To truly rescue an animal, whether it is a betta fish, cat, gerbil, or dog, the seller must not receive any compensation or profit from the condition of the animal. Essentially, the rescued creature must be given to the rescuer for free.

Why this is the case is simple: The seller exists solely to make a profit and no matter the intent behind buying an animal, a final sale is a final sale. While a good Samaritan may save one betta fish from Walmart, for example, by purchasing the fish the store will only see a successful product even if complaints are made. Thus, a continued cycle of abuse will occur. For every betta fish “rescued” through payment, another is replaced and forced into the same poor living conditions. Similarly, the no-pay policy is strongly advocated for puppies. Puppy mills have been strongly voiced against because of their horrible and abusive treatment of dogs, leading to many boycotts of store-bought puppies and emphasis on adopting instead of encouraging the cruel condition. If a puppy lover decided to “rescue” a puppy from a store by purchasing it, despite the intention behind the purchase the store will flourish from such as sale and order in a new puppy from a mill. The same scenario goes for betta fish. As kind-hearted and caring as it may seem to buy a sick fish, it is much better to draw attention to the fish and demand it for free because of its sickly state. This way, the store does not profit off of bad treatment, loses a sale knowingly over said treatment, and the fish is saved without contributing to the mistreatment of its successor.

Photos taken from Google image search and Tumblr. Created by Betta Fish Awareness Day.

While the store may continue to treat the betta fish poorly, it would not profit off a truly rescued betta. Some stores may not even be aware that their conditions are bad for fish and need it to be pointed out to them. Offering advice on the care of betta fish with supported facts and sources, such as an SPCA organization, show stores that a person is a true betta advocate and not somebody who is demanding change based on hearsay. Many stores have changed their treatment of betta fish because of concerned and knowledgeable customers. Many times, this information is spread through a true betta rescue, which is most valuable type of rescue of all. A rescue that stops profit from abuse and initiates change is every betta saver’s ideal scenario.

Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Ask to speak with a manager when wanting to rescue a betta and explain, kindly and patiently, how the fish is sick and how it got this way. Because of its condition, it must be emphasized for a successful rescue, it will NOT sell and most likely die from its ailment. Offer then to take it, to rescue it, and nurse it back to health. The store would not profit off a dead fish and often managers agree to this sort of arrangement.

Stop betta cruelty by not rescuing through payment.


  1. I tried this at Petco. The manager insisted he could not give me the fish for free. He said they have a "dead fish return policy" and that's all he could offer me but I HAD to pay for the fish. They are HORRIBLE to their betta fish. I despise that store.

  2. I hate that store as well and the stupid kids they get working for them . None of them give a shit about any of the creatures in the store. Now I know why I was never hired by a pet store ... because I stated I love animals, definately not a candidate...I would be a major pain in the ass constantly reportng to my boss all the evil shit. greety f-in people!

  3. Creature makes me smile every time he follows and watches me from his tank. But is it worth it? The claims on the bottle are true, “super oxygenated”, “perfect for desktop,”, "dead fish return policy". I would be a major pain in the ass constantly reporting to my boss all the evil stuff. Betta Fish Awareness Day is held on June 21 each year! Please, falsely advertise Betta Fish Awareness Day! I am slamming pet store employees! I CARE about and LOVE them as I do my cat! الخزانات من الاشياء التى اثبتت الدراسات انها من اكثر الاماكن التى تتجمع بيها الجراثيم والفطريات والاوبئة والامراض فاذا كنت تعانى من وجود الكثير من التغيرات التى تحدث فى الخزانات نتيجه لاعمال التنظيف. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP And I think it's because a change but after 2 and a half weeks he is back at my moms(we brought him back tonight ). Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is 10ppm and PH stays at 8.2. I delight in the content on your site!

  4. Petsmart is a good store for rescues and they will give them for free if you point something wrong with them and offer to heal them . Although I much prefer petsmart over petco any day . And I have rarely ever had to rescue Bettas but sometimes the one in the back corner every now and then is miss cared for . But if you want a place that believes in rescue if fishies . Petsmart has good standards for that

  5. betta fish care Betta Care Sheet ; Minimum Aquarium Size, 1 gallon or larger ; Water Temperature: 72-82°F ; Daily - Check filter, water temperature and other equipment (if used)