The Negative Treatment of Betta Fish

Rya Walker, Team Editor

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the Fall 2021 print edition of The Sting.

Betta fish. Those little colorful fish displayed as mere decorations. But why are they so mistreated? Is it the small tanks, the bad transportation, or the cheap price? The answer is all of those, among other issues. 

Most Betta Fish on average cost about $10 to purchase directly from the store. But $10 isn’t nearly enough to buy the fish, feed the fish, keep the fish’s water clean, and still manage to make a profit for the pet store. While Betta Fish are hostile toward one another and need to be kept by their lonesome, they shouldn’t feel lonely. And the fish do have feelings. 

It wouldn’t be fair for a human to be in a smaller space than needed, with dirty air to breathe in, no food, and all because the human is pretty to some strange creature. As soon as the roles are reversed it’s quite easy to see how badly animals are treated.
Especially fish. Their small size and the fact humans can’t hold them, compassion is often lost and they sit in a dirty tank for life until eventually the toxins in the water become suffocating, or they die in a stressed frenzy, trying to swim freely and realizing they can’t. 

What an awful way to treat one of the earth’s most beautiful creatures. Fish do so much for our ecosystems. And suddenly, because these ones are colorful and shiny, they’re seen as birthday presents and rewards at the fair. 

So what can you do? Well, for one, educate yourself before purchasing any sort of live creature. Whether it be a plant, a bird, or a small colorful fish. Avoid buying from locations that don’t take care of their animals. If you see several dead fish in a pet store and you want to help them get to their respectful fish afterlife, write a news story. Not everyone can contribute to donation funds and such, but if we all do our part, animals and humans alike can all get along. Some of us are more colorful than others, and that’s truly the beauty of it all. And when you see a tiny, bright fish, remember that they’re just as fragile as the rest of us.



Betta fish often mistreated at pet stores and by owners, PETA says (

The Cost of Setting Up and Caring for a Betta Fish – Fish Care (

Betta Fish: Facts and Why They’re Not ‘Starter Pets’ | PETA