Of course, all Betta owning adventures begin with buying your fish.
Where did I get my Betta you ask…well, I’m not a conventional person, and sometimes I have a tendency to go all out when buying something or starting a hobby. I also have a tendency to do things more complicated then they need, or should be.
So no, I couldn’t have done something as simple as going my local pet store to buy a $5 Betta. Instead, I had to go on Aquabid and buy a high end, Rolls Royce version of a Betta fish, that is living in Thailand. Thailand is after all the Mecca of the Betta fish world. Not only have they been breeding fish for hundreds of years, they have the best water condition for their Betta’s because this region is where Betta’s originally came from. So the quality, selection and colors are just mind blowing.
Don’t get me wrong, their personalities are equally as adorable! It just depends on how much you are willing to invest.
The place I bought my Betta from is Betta Akapes. When I was shopping around, his Betta’s were of the best quality and variety. He was very nice, and responsive to emails. The shipping was the biggest headache.
- Find a breeder you like. A nice fish will cost anywhere from $15 to $40.
- Each breeder will have a list of transhippers (people who will receive your fish from Thailand and ship it to you). They are sorted by regions (UK, Canada, etc), or states.
- Find out how much the transhipper nearest to you will charge you for shipping. You can ship next day, or 2nd day. I highly recommend next day no matter what. Pay transhipper and get next shipping receive date.
- Find the fish you want. You will purchase the fish, and the breeder will charge you around $5-7 to deliver your fish to the person in Thailand that is shipping a mass box of fish to your local Transhipper. Give breeder the date the next shipment is going to your transhipper.
- Transhipper receives fish. He/she should keep the fish for about a week to restore Betta from shipping shock.
- Verify with transhipper the day your fish will be delivered so you can be home to get him out of that box, and open the bag up right away so he/she can breathe.
Getting the transhipper verified is the first step. This is all on you, all the breeder does is get your fish to the person who will ship to your particular transhipper. This was my biggest hassle. I live in San Diego, there was a transhipper in California, but she refused to return my calls or emails. The breeder even sent her a couple of emails. Finally I had enough, I contacted the transhipper in Arizona which was fairly close. He at least responded via phone and email. Over the phone he told me it would cost $15 to ship Betta to me 2nd day, and $30 next day. But two weeks later, when I finally got a confirmation shipping date, I verified cost, and he told me he no longer used USPS cause too many fish died because they took more than 2 days last time, so now he uses UPS and shipping will be $25 2nd day and $35 next day! WHAT?! At this point I was fed up, and could only afford the 2nd day shipping.
I waited all day for UPS, nothing came. WHERE’S MY FISH??? He was gonna die if he is not going to come till the 3rd day. I checked my regular mail just in case at 9pm. There he was. I emailed the transhipper right away and was mad that he charged me more for UPS when the fish came USPS, so he refunded me the difference. This was sketchy and left a bad taste in my mouth.
Trandshippers charge the shipping cost of $15-$30 plus a handling fee of about $10 (box, bag, warm pack if in winter, etc).
Got my fish, opened the box right away, there he was, hardly any water (bettas ship in very little water to save on shipping weight, this is normal) and he was gasping cause most of his air was depleted. He was colorless and basically looked like he was on his last fin. This is that gorgeous fish I ordered…he looked like poop!
Opened the bag, folded down the top, sat the folded topped bag to float in the tank water and doubled his bag water by filling it with his tank water. This is so he gets used to tank temperature and water quality before he goes in the water. Waited about an hour, scooped him out with a net, and put him in the water. He sank to the bottom, still gasping, but his color was coming back right away, but he kept laying at bottom of tank, on his side; he would struggle to swim up to the surface for air. It was like this for 2 days, but he ate the next day which is a great sign, and he eventually recovered completely after about a week.
This is why I recommend doing next day shipping, because shipping is so stressful for your fish, and the shorter shipping time is, the healthier your fish will be. If you do next day shipping, your transhipper should guarantee your fish in case he comes dead, or dies shortly after.
If you are getting heart palpitations from reading this story, maybe going to your local fish store sounds a lot better of a deal. Here are some pointers. Get a list of Aquarium stores in your area (just sell fish, not a pet store), and visit them to check out their Bettas. Are they in good condition? Do they have the type you want? Also, you can call Petco (they have fancier ones, halfmoons, crowntails and doubletails) and find out when their next shipment of “fancy” Bettas are coming so you can get one when it’s in its best quality. All the stores I’ve been to that carry Betta’s are not taken care of at all, and kept in those little containers for a week or so, without changing the water. They typically will develop a disease after a week from stress if they aren’t already belly up from the horrid water. It’s best to get them when they just come in to get best selection and best health.
If you have any questions, or would like to share your stories, please feel free to comment.