Demystifying Buying Betta’s From Overseas

Share This With Friends

If you’ve ever ooh’d and ahhh’d over some pure white platinum crowntail betta online it likely has it’s genetic origins overseas.

Thailand and Malaysia are breeding hotbeds. Some of the best fish come from Thailand. Singapore too turns out stunning dragon HMPK, halfmoons and other awesome bettas left and right.

Which is why it may be tempting to take a stroll down the betta auctions on Aquabid to see what you might find. Be forewarned. There are plenty of GORGEOUS fish that will tempt you. Fish anyone would love to get their hands on. Fish that will turn your betta keeping friends green with envy.

Before you succumb to the siren call of a pretty tail that turned your head, it might pay to do a bit of research first however.

Getting fish bred outside the country can be a bit of a crap shoot. There are players involved besides the seller. You’ll be required to use a trans shipper. Plus you’re dealing with governmental agencies (USPS) who probably don’t care so much if your fish arrives dead or alive.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell.

  • You buy your betta often through
  • You tell the seller who your trans-shipper is.
  • The seller sends them your fish and you pay them to send it to you.

Seems simple enough. Let’s dig deeper into the details.

  • The price you pay for the fish is just the start. You’ll have to pay the cost of shipping from the seller to your trans shipper. That’s seller dependent and usually less than $10.
  • Fish are shipped out in bunches to a given trans-shipper. Often from different sellers. The shipment is made maybe once a month or bi monthly. You should be told when the next shipping date is. If you aren’t told be sure you try to find out.
  • You may also be alerted by the seller when your fish has shipped. That’s usually how it works but it’s not an always thing.
  • Your trans-shipper will pick the fish up at the airport, unpack them, check them over, provide them a place for the night, pack your fish in your box, take it to the post office and get it off and usually let you know it’s coming.
  • You will be paying the trans shipper a fee for import ($1.20), handling ($2.00) and the cost of overnight shipping ($25 on up) to you. You’ll also have to cover the cost of the box, heat pack, etc. You cover this upfront and it’s certainly not cheap.

The trans shipper is pretty much the under-appreciated middle man. They are licensed to accept the fish into this country from overseas. They deal with all the paperwork. Some are more reliable than others. Some communicate better. Most care about the fish. Most importantly all fish come through them.

How to Get the Most Bang For Your Buck

  • Communication is the key. You want to work with sellers/trans-shippers who are responsive to email or text questions.
  • It’s smart to touch base with your trans shipper ASAP to let them know what you’ve bought and who you’ve bought it from.
  • It can’t hurt to let the shipper know what your weather is like. That way he or she can use a heat pack or a cool pack as needed.
  • It’s also smart to order all your fish at once. Cheaper.
  • Even though bettas are tough the trip can still be hard on them. Expect them to be a tad stressed out when you unpack them. Most will bounce back and be fine.
  • Some will tell you that imported fish don’t adjust well and won’t live as long as a domestic fish. Maybe. Still you will find most will arrive well packed and in great condition – considering.
  • The biggest problem is if your fish is DOA.
  • If it’s dead when the trans shipper gets it they will send both you and the seller photographic evidence. You will then need to work with the seller to get the fish replaced.

    If it’s dead when you get it you want to follow up immediately to see what you need to do. Most of the time you’ll need photos of the unopened bag with the fish floating inside. Just realized the fish may be replaced gratis but you’ll cover the shipping charges, fees etc all over again. Which as you may have noticed is the biggest expense involved here.

Some forums offer the opportunity for members to share their buying experiences with this sort of thing. Like anything of this sort, keep in mind the ones with bad experiences will tend to post more than those for whom everything went smooth. And for every bad post you will just as often as not find an offsetting good post. Which is to say such reviews may not be all that enlightening.

Finally if you’d like to see the business from the side of the trans-shipper you might check out Unfortunately it’s a site built in such a way that individual pages are not easily identified. But I hope this link gets you to the page about trans-shipping. If not you can browse the site yourself. It is eye opening.

You can get a feel what a day in the life of a trans shipper is like.

Clearly being one isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Nor is it a way to retire early either.

All things to keep in mind should you fall under the spell of a betta fish you see for sale online from outside the country.

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.

Share This With Friends

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2012