Buying Bettas in 2018
Buying bettas can be a interesting and either a great thing or a time consuming bad thing, that can make you hate computers and the people behind them.
Once upon a time when buying bettas (your gonna love this) the internet was a safe place to know friends, a time when AOL was the in thing, only a few dozen breeders sold on the internet. Or even offered bettas for sale. Everyone knew who they were and trusted them.
Now the internet and cell phone craze has made it possible for no less than millions of breeders and breeders love to post PM for price or be to advertise their stock and try to sell it. Betta sites pop up daily and names change like underwear on Facebook.
In this jungle of betta sites, betta photos and betta sellers, how is one to know who to pick as a betta supplier when buying bettas?
Breeder groups target competitor’s other sellers target other sellers and some play both sides. Betta sellers get one Facebook account shut down for a fake profile and the next day under a new name and again no contact info, they are back up and selling. Do you really know who you are dealing with or what the real price is for fish in the country you are buying from?
There are some very vital facts and advice designed to help you make sound choices.
“About The Seller”
You know how picky you are about selecting a doctor or a cell phone, right? Well, you should think of your betta supplier as you would a doctor. You must trust him/her when buying betas. Betta sellers must have a good reputation and EXPERIENCE. Breeders or sellers must be available and willing to help you or others with health questions or genetics if you need help. They must know their stuff. They must be able to save your @ss when you need it most on a health issue (you know what I mean) LOL.
People rarely pick a doctor because they are “cheap”. Instead they look for one that they know is going to help them and be there for them in their time of need and be a life saver (literally, when it comes to a doctor, right? (LOL). One with which you can build a long-term relationship and fell open to ask any questions. One that is going to be around for a long time. All the above are qualities you must look for in a betta supplier, too.
Below you are going to see the following criteria you should go by (and a few things to meditate upon) when looking for a betta seller:
Sell and Breeder Criteria
|Accomplishments. Has this seller accomplished anything worthwhile? (for example, helped a betta keeper with a heath issue, created new betta strains, wrote articles for fish magazines, been featured on television LOL etc.)|
|Longevity. How long has this person been in the hobby and breeding? If only a couple of years or less chances are they might not (yet) know what they are doing and may not even be around tomorrow. Betta hobbyist are notorious for getting heavy into the hobby and then quitting within the first 2 to 3 years. Only those who pass that 3-year or longer mark will stick with the hobby.|
|Experience. How many years has this person been breeding bettas or collecting wild bettas? Anything less than 2 years is not worth mentioning. Years of hands on experience are usually necessary before someone knows what they are doing when it comes to bettas.|
|Knowledge. Does the seller appear to be very well versed in all aspect of betta breeding/keeping? Remember that they will be your customer support person should issues arise, so make sure they have the extensive knowledge to back it up. It might make the difference between all your stock dying on you (because they were unable to help you) and your stock being saved (because they promptly and accurately assessed your specific problem and provided the solution to it).|
|Professionalism. Is this seller professional, organized and efficient? If not, I would pass. After all you are going to trust this person with your money. You want to make sure they do not lose your payment, send you the wrong fish, type the wrong address on your betta’s shipping label and send the fish to the Bermuda triangle!!! As you see professionalism can make the difference between a smooth transaction and one that turns into sheer HELL for the buyer!|
|Society affiliation. Is this seller a Betta society member? Here is a rule of thumb: All reputable breeders are members of some group or club or society. OK some on is going to say IBC here so I am going to say this, IBC members are not all reputable breeders or show supporters. Every group has it’s good and bad so no one is better than the other. Many novices who have never bred bettas do sign up and become IBC members. So be careful cause an IBC logo does not in itself constitute any guaranty. However, IBC has great people working there and you could just ask them some questions ;).|
|Availability. Does this person update their site or FB once a month or less with just fancy pictures and for sale fish? If so they are not focused on their betta business and it is likely they will not be available to help you when you will need them most. A happening popular seller updates his/her FB or web site very often and replies within 1 to 7 days to their vital PM’s.|
|Reputation. Does everybody know about this breeder? Good breeders are usually widely known.|
|Popularity. How fast does this breeder sell their bettas? Do they have a lot of orders under their belt? These are two sure indications of a seller’s level of success.|
|Track Record. Look at numbers. They should speak for themselves. How long has the seller been selling, how much does he/she sell’s, etc…|
|Shipping Experience. A very important detail never to be overlooked. An inexperienced betta shipper can kill or hurt the bettas you have ordered! This has always been our biggest complaint. Not only do beginners not know how to ship, but many seasoned breeders do a very poor job, too! Some may be very negligent in the way they go about things (ship without letting you know, not use a heat pack when necessary, send your fish priority mail etc…).|
|Shipping Track Record. Find out if sellers have a lot of DOA (Dead On Arrival) on their record. Most sellers will have at least 1 to 20 a year on small orders and a few more on bulk orders. The lower the number, the more highly it speaks of the seller’s shipping savvy. But remember you must ask how many bettas they have shipped and then ask how many died during or right after shipping. Just asking for a DOA number means nothing. For example, if a novice only sold 4 bettas that year and 2 arrived dead, it means he/she has a 50% DOA record (BAAAAD). But if a breeder shipped 2000 bettas and 2 arrived dead, then he/she has a 0.1% DOA record (good).|
|Cleanliness. That is an important issue but also a difficult one to assess, since you will not have the opportunity to visit the sellers’ set-up. Some breeders are notorious for being “filthy” and having very poor set-ups. Dirty tanks, overcrowded tanks and careless handling will quickly spread diseases to all the stock they sell. So, if a seller’s fish room does not look ‘clean’ I would pass in a heartbeat. Many fish rooms I have visited in Asia over the years were very musky and had a lot of mold everywhere. Breeders only had 1 to 5 nets for all their fish. I’ll spare you all the details. For that reason, photos of a very clean, organized, well stocked fish room are always a plus in my book.|
|Shared Water. If a breeder relies on a system with shared water to spawn bettas or keep their stock, I would pass too. There are too many diseases that are HIGHLY contagious and deadly and will wipe out an entire fish room in less time it took you to load this page! One fish or live food carries it in, the system (with its shared water) will quickly spread it from tank to tank, from jar to jar and from betta to betta. Soon all the fish are contaminated. So, beware and be warned!!|
|References. Make sure your seller has a LOT of references. 1 is not enough. 5 or 10 and up starts painting a more accurate picture. Read the references and see what others have to say.|
|Age. You might take this factor for granted but I would not if I were you. Many of the sellers that have websites or auction their bettas out there are no more than teenagers. Websites described the breeder as a ‘top professional betta hatchery aiming to provide show quality stock to betta hobbyists across the nation, etc etc.” is fake. For all you know the bettas were bred in a toilet (and the breeder had only bred bettas for a few months). Just looking at the FB or website and not knowing them personally I would not judge a breeder by looking at his/her website or FB that says ‘I was a top seasoned breeder”, So be very careful! I would personally favor a breeder between 30 and 60 years of age. There are, of course, exceptions to this broad rule of thumb but not often.|
|Attitude. Does this breeder have a good, positive attitude? Does he/she feel the need to flame or put down another seller or try to prove everything or post of other breeders in order to steal business away from them? Do they feel the need to trim fins or groom bad genetic fish with hormones or color enhancer. A successful seller does not need to resort to such sordid practices to build his/her business. So, if a seller flames another seller on a forum or bans other breeders or sellers or on his/her website or FB, I would not select this person as my supplier. Flaming other sellers shows a great lack of professionalism and a negative attitude that usually will reflect in the seller’s dealing with their own customers, especially if a dispute should arise. This kind of seller is in it for the fame and money. This hobby is notorious for attracting a lot of mean people (petty, jealous, God complex, negative, gossipy etc). Trust me, you do not want to have dealings with that type of betta people or groups and should stay as far away from them as you possibly can. There shows will be just a setup and fake as they are and you might even find they show their own fish at their own shows. So, pass on the @ss (if you want to preserve your sanity, that is LOL). I have been flamed and attacked so many times on forums and have read some of the most delusional lies about me on occasion LOL. I just go about my business and let the ugly people waste their time saying ugly things. While these people are busy doing their little petty betta warfare, I am busy becoming better at simply doing bettas and genetics. Well after having said all that above, there are also some wonderful, awesome, friendly, kind betta breeders out there (which I am honored to have as friends). These positive people should be your aim and who you should buy from.|
|Personability. Just as you would with your own doctor, you will want to build a relationship with your betta seller. It is important to have a good rapport. Is the seller personable, friendly and likeable? If not, I would have reservations about purchasing stock from them. A friendly person is more likely to help you and to be patient with you. Also, you are more likely to become friends with them. This friendship may save your betta @ss one day ;).|
Although you may get lucky and get nice bettas from a young unknown or fake breeder, it is usually a GREAT gamble that none of us can really afford to take. You might think you are saving money by finding a cheaper pair of bettas out there, but if you buy low end bettas (poor gene pool) you have lost not only the money spent on the pair (and the shipping fee) but more importantly PRECIOUS BREEDING TIME!!
You see, once you spawn that low-end betta junk genetics pair, it will be another 4-6 months before the spawn grows, the offspring mature and you can see what you got (more junk). If all you get is junk then you have to cull or should cull the spawn, start again from scratch and go back to square ONE. RIGHT!
Now you have to buy a new breeding pair (again because you did not do your research and listened to that hate group of show people) and pay for its shipping (again) and in the end you did not save money when buying bettas, you threw money (and a lot of time) into the trash can.
You will want to complain to the seller only to find their FB is no longer valid and their website vanished. These are but a few of the things you must consider when buying bettas or going to whomever has the cheapest prices around or the best pictures with fish to good to be true (thinking you are getting a bargain LOL). Also remember that you get what you pay for.
When a seller is giving away their fish at super low price that means that there is no demand for their stock (hence they can’t sell them unless their prices are super low) or they are a wholesale large scale breeder (lots of good genetics and lots of fish).
If there is no demand on the fake FB guy or their stock is too good to be true, it means is that the seller is not successful. If the seller is not successful it means they are not good at what they do. And if they are not good at breeding bettas, then how good can the bettas they have bred really be?? So, you probably should pass on buying bettas from them. (duh)
Last but not least on my post, at the risk of being redundant or sounding like I have a better than all complex for buying bettas, I must remind you again that you are not buying bettas, you are buying genes, genetics, guarantees AND customer support AND most of all a service.
So, expect to pay a bit more for a smaller seller that excels in all above three and a little less for very large-scale bulk breeders.
If a seller has
1)- great gene pools 2)- can provide great support (if ever needed) and 3)- is very good at selling, collecting funds with a true visa or PayPal business account, coordinating, explaining things, packing and safely shipping THEN such seller is worth money themselves. Expect the prices to be a bit higher on smaller sellers, but you will be glad you spend the extra $1 or $2. Remember that in the big picture, that is truly money well invested.
I Have to Say This
There are some good sellers who are professional, honest, competent and have worthy stock and they make buying bettas a fun and rewarding time. Many of us know each other and are great friends :).
So, apply the above advice to select a good breeder/seller, whomever they might be, may they be me or someone else worthy :).
There is more than one seller out there who combines all the above qualities in a nice package. There is also a billion others who combine only a few or none of above qualities. So, it is up to you to do your homework and to choose VERY WISELY…..
The seller you just flamed or the seller who got banned for talking about breeding or asking questions from other breeders might be the true good seller…..
So, before the fake sellers and God complex groups PM me with group death threats and ban me their groups, understand that people after reading this will have the same questions for you I would as a buyer……..
The truth is out!