How to Pick a Healthy Betta

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No doubt about it, shimmering iridescent betta fish are certainly scene stealers. If you’re considering getting one, just so you know, you want a betta that is alert, active and responsive. All of which are good signs you are getting a healthy pet. One that you’ll be able to care for and enjoy for years to come.

Still there is more to selecting a healthy betta fish than that. In fact, betta fish care really starts with picking a fish with a better than fighting chance of survival. So here are some more tips to help you find the fittest one in the bunch.

The Right Pet Store: Before checking on your potential pet you may want to consider checking out the pet store first. Keeping in mind that at the big box stores (Petco, Walmart etc) the genetics are likely not knowable. And any spawn from these fish may not product fish of desirable colors. (Which is why if you’re serious about breeding you may want to buy from a private breeder like basement bettas.) Fish purchased from a local pet store may be a better bet over those pint sized big box store bettas. There you can find out where the fish came from and a bit more about their background.

Well Maintained Tanks: The tanks where you betta is kept on display tell the tale. Tiny pint sized jars are no good. The water must also be crystal clear. Otherwise, if the water looks dirty that signals it hasn’t been changed in days and has been less than betta-optimum for longer. Suggesting that the betta could already be in less than prime health because of it.

Lively Behavior: Your next step is checking out the betta itself. You should initially notice signs of alertness in the fish. You don’t want to see signs of lethargy. It should be a strong swimmer with no hint of wobbliness like it’s going to be arrested for DUI. It should also respond to its external environment. Test it by slowly touching the wall of the bowl and see if the betta reacts by either approaching towards you or flaring its fins. So when you put your finger next to the tank (please don’t tap it) how to does the fish respond? Feisty is good. Inquisitive is also good. Indifferent not so much.

Vibrant Hues: Bettas are colorful by nature and all of them exhibit bright hues. So cross out any pale or dull-colored betta from your list. Although when you get a particular fish home, with some TLC and the right food, a fish can perk up surprisingly. But are you on a rescue mission or out to get a healthy fish to begin with?

Spotless Scales: The luminous colored scales of a healthy betta should lie flat and smooth against its body. No loose scales. Preferably no missing ones either. Anything else may suggest that the fish recently faced down trauma or disease. The scales should also appear clean. No mucus, gold dust, white patches or discoloration of any kind.

Flawless Fins and Smooth Gills: The fins should have no tears and holes. You should see no ragged, frayed edges or white spots either. For sure they should be fully extended and not clamped tight close to the body. While the gills should not appear swollen.

Body Beautiful: The body of a healthy betta should be fully proportionate HTT. (That’s head-to-tail!) It should be evenly shaped without any bumps or lumps which may suggest tumor growth. Its spine should not be bent. A bent spine could only be a sign of birth defect and while this may not hinder the betta from living a normal life it’s still safer if you select a betta without any deformities.

Clear Eyed: It’s true that the eyes are the window to the soul. Or in this case another indicator of the overall health of your fish. They should be clear as opposed to cloudy. And for sure they should not be either bulging out or appear to be somewhat sunken.

Good Appetite: A healthy betta has an exceptional appetite. Ask to see the fish being fed. If it immediately gobbles up the food that’s good. If the fish simply shrugs it off, it could be a sign of problems.

Tip: Ask when new bettas are delivered. Picking from new arrivals may give you a better chance of selecting one that is going to survive.

Getting a healthy betta is just the beginning of your betta fish care adventure. Your next challenge is how to keep your betta thriving in its new home. Good luck!

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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