Why Are Betta Fish Sold in Cups?

Why Are Betta Fish Sold in Cups?- 6 Top Reasons

If you have ever been into an aquarium store or pet shop, you have likely seen a section of Betta fish in tiny little cups of water. Betta fish are sold in cups for a couple of reasons, but the main reason is that they are pretty easy to sell that way.

But, why are betta fish sold in cups? The small little cups are easy for customers to pick up, bring up to the register, and transport to their homes.

Best of all, since Betta fish thrive in shallow water, these beautiful creatures don’t really require a whole lot of water. So those tiny little cups are not putting their safety or health in jeopardy.

Why Are Betta Fish Sold in Cups?

blue and red butterfly on green plant
Betta fish

Pet shops and aquarium stores sell Betta fish in cups for the following reasons:

1. Betta Fish Can Survive in a Tiny Little Container

One of the reasons Betta fish are sold in cups is because they can survive in a smaller container due to their ability to get oxygen from the air.

They can thrive even in shallow water since their oxygen supply is not limited to the water surrounding them. However, they must be kept moist to avoid drying up when trapping oxygen from the air.

red and blue beta fish
Betta fish

2. Male Betta Fish Are Quite Aggressive

Male Betta fish are popularly known as fighting fish species, and they often get aggressive when other males are around.

If kept in the same container, male Bettas will try to fight each other until only one remains. So, aquarium stores and pet stores put male Bettas in separate cups to avoid fighting.

Female Betta fish are relatively friendly to each other, but they still require an adequate-sized swimming space.

3. Helps Separate Betta Fish According to Their Colors

Of course, another reason that fish store owners like to keep Betta fish in individual cups is to separate the ones with different colors.

That way, the store staff won’t need to scoop out the fish and transfer them to another fish container. Customers will also have a better look at the pet if they want a specific color.

Each Betta fish features different fins and colors. Besides, most customers will get a pet Betta fish based on their preferences.

4. It’s Economical and Practical

Since male Betta fish require separate containers, it won’t be practical or economical for pet shops and stores to put them in different tanks.

This method makes it difficult to maintain individual tanks. Furthermore, using separate fish tanks would require more space and may cost more money to operate.

Read: Betta fish food homemade

5. How Long Can a Pet Betta Fish Live in a Cup?

In some situations, a Betta fish may require a temporary container. It could be because the fish tank broke or requires thorough cleaning after one fish from the aquarium has died.

However, if you want to keep your Betta fish in a cup temporarily, the longest it can take is two days.

Although Betta fish can get enough oxygen from the air, they still require a proper air filtering system. A suitable heating system is also essential since Bettas are tropical fish.

Keeping them in a cup for more than 48 hours can be harmful since the fish can get sick due to poor water conditions, low temperature, or stress.

6. How Long Do Aquarium Stores Keep Betta Fish in Their Cups?

There is no specific period or time frame for a store or pet shop to keep the Betta fish in their cups.

In most cases, pet Betta fish are kept in their cups for as long as possible until they get purchased or die.

Reputable stores will do regular water replacements while maintaining the water level to ensure the fish tank remains clean. However, some stores don’t do any maintenance, and that is where you will often find Betta fish sickly or dead in their cups.

Read: Will my betta be OK without a heater?

Frequently Asked Question on Why Betta Fish Are Sold in Cup

Why Do Male Betta Fish Fight Each other?

Male betta fish fight each other for various reasons. First, betta fight each other since they are naturally territorial. Betta fish have miles of space to swim around in the wild when it’s not drought.

When one male gets into another’s territory, the two may exhibit aggression, but a fight may not occur with plenty of room to retreat. In a tank with no plants or other hiding places, it’s inhumane to leave male Bettas together.

You should never keep two males together without a partition separating them and their visibility to one another.

Male Bettas will also fight each other to protect their eggs and nests. When a male is ready to mate, he will blow a bunch of bubbles on the water’s surface, forming a bubble nest.

Once his masterwork is complete, he will wait for a female to come along and see it. Any threat to his reproduction work will trigger his protective instincts. Male Betta fish will also fight for food.

Bettas will typically eat as much as you can feed them in captivity. However, they have to either hunt down or find their food to survive in the wild. In such cases, when two males come together, there is no pack mentality, but only a need to survive. 

Can Betta Fish Survive in a Fish bowl Without a Filter?

A betta fish can live and thrive in a fishbowl without a filter, provided you do frequent water changes.

However, note that a bowl is certainly on the short edge for any tropical fish, including Bettas, so consider a heated and filtered 2.5-gallon tank for better safety and health of the fish.

A filter is essential in a fish tank, but Betta fish are hardy and will survive in the bowl even without one.

What Do Pets Stores Do with Unsold Betta Fish?

Nothing happens with unsold Betta fish or any other unsold fish species.

When the number of Betta fish in a tank reduces, aquarium stores either put in new amicable fish from the next package or preferably move them to a less crowded fish tank.

This helps free up an empty fish tank to receive fresh fish.

Betta fish is a species that can live and thrive in shallow water. It can get the oxygen it requires from the air on the water’s surface. Due to their aggressive nature, male Betta fish are kept and sold in separate cups. This is a method that pet shops and stores use to save space.

However, it is only ideal for a couple of days though it can be a little longer so long as the water is well-kept and taken care of.

Read: How to save a dying betta fish


Aquatic Veterinary Services: How long do betta fish live?

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