If you buy a betta fish, you’re falling for capitalistic schemes


If you’ve ever bought a betta fish on a whim, you are a pawn to capitalism. Bettas are very attractive fish, so it’s no wonder they’re very popular among both beginner and advanced fish keepers. However, their beauty proves to be a curse when companies start to market unideal products and spread disinformation about the fish to sell more of them.


A popular piece of misinformation you may have heard is that betta fish live in “rice puddles” or “mud puddles”. Rice puddles do not exist, however, rice paddies do. They are usually around 0.5-2 hectares in size. This makes sense because bettas are very territorial. The word paddy has transformed over time to puddle, which gives the false impression that fish can live in small and dirty environments.  This makes people comfortable with keeping them in tiny bowls, vases and “betta cubes”. It also implies that the owner isn’t obligated to clean their tank or have a filter, which can be very harmful to the fish. 


People who are unaware of the ins-and-outs of fishkeeping are the most vulnerable to these ideas. It’s common to see half-gallon “betta cubes” specifically marketed for the fish. This size is generally considered unsuitable for bettas by the fish-keeping community. There is an ongoing debate on whether the proper size is 2.5, 5, or 10 gallons, but it’s generally acknowledged that 0.5 is not sufficient or proper. Unfortunately, these long-held misconceptions have undermined any correct information on what equipment the fish require. 


Companies promote and take advantage of these ideas to produce cheaply made and unsuitable products targeted towards betta fish keeping.  Marina and Aqueon both have their own versions of betta tanks. Since their care appears so simple, more fish are sold with the idea that they are great beginner pets. Due to the supply and demand rules we follow under capitalism, the more products sold the more will be produced. Companies fuel this process by tricking consumers into buying products that they believe are suitable for their fish. These misconceptions have effectively reduced a beautiful tropical fish to a decorative role. Its purpose among many households is to look nice as a centerpiece or be a brief pet for a child. Betta are supposed to live for 3-5 years, Under this unsuitable care, the fish may only live for a few months, further promoting the idea that they are short-lived, disposable creatures. 


Unfortunately, the majority of people are not educated on this topic and by no fault of their own get swept up in the misinformation. You may come across a trend of videos on social media showing creators spontaneously buying a betta fish to make content for their viewers. These creators are also reinforcing these false ideas. Since some of them have a large social platform, this misinformation can spread to many viewers. 


Here is a link to some videos that participate in this trend:





So, if you’ve ever bought a betta fish on impulse and cared for it in these unsuitable ways, you have fallen prey to companies looking to make quick money off of you. Companies who popularize having a betta fish with the mindset that it will be temporary and disposable makes buying them one of the worst trends in existence. 


Check out these sources for more information about betta care: