How Much are Betta Fish?

How Much are Betta Fish?

How much is a Betta fish? This is the first question that comes to mind after making up your mind to keep one. Of course, every planner must consider the cost of an underlying project before embarking on it, so it is with keeping a Betta fish. The cost of Betta fish varies according to the seller,  place of purchase, and the type of Betta fish. Thus, expect different prices from a local pet store, a local fish store (LFS), an online breeder, a local breeder, and even an owner who wishes to sell.

So, now how much are Betta fish? If you want a classic domesticated betta, you may pay anywhere from $3-$300 depending on the quality, size, and age. There are many price options to choose from when it comes to buying bettas, which means there is something for any category of individual when it comes to cost.

Most fish Betta fish keepers choose their pet based on which they could easily afford. Seeking out true cost of Betta fish takes proper market survey as represented on this page. Therefore, there is no need going for speculations and unverified costs.

Cost of Betta Fish Based on Place of Purchase

Cost in Local Pet Store

A local pet store is any chain or commercialized pet store near you. Most of them will have some sort of aquatics section. They are notorious for having bettas in small cups, and the cups shorten their lives and kill them outright.

The cups do not get water changes, heaters or filters, meaning lethal levels of ammonia and nitrite build up. They are also often starving and range from $7-25. The more expensive ones are normally “butterfly” bettas, which is a specialty color.

Some stores sell baby bettas for $3, and while they are labeled male or female, the labels can be incorrect due to the young age of the bettas. While it is entirely acceptable to get a betta from these areas, you will have to accept a shorter lifespan and the possibility of a sick fish.

This is not to say that all local pet stores are bad. The primary issue with local pet stores is that they sell many kinds of pets, so they must hire people with basic knowledge of all the pets.

This means they typically do not have people with in-depth knowledge about fish, so the people giving out fish have no idea what ammonia or nitrite or nitrate is. However, some have started to hire “aquatics managers”, and these stores tend to have much nicer aquatic displays, they have pamphlets on the nitrogen cycle, and there are fewer dead fish.

Cost in LFS

An LFS is a local fish store. These are individually owned stores and tend to be mom and pop stores. They usually have higher quality fish due to the fact that fish are quarantined before being put on the sale floor, so fish weak from shipping or sick fish are not available for sale, unlike local pet stores.

There are always exceptions, and there are a good handful of LFS stores that are significantly worse than the local pet store. However, they normally have a wider selection of fish, such as massive blue based Flowerhorns, black Arowanas, wild bettas, specialty Neocaridina shrimp, and better-quality stock overall.

When it comes to bettas, there are generally two routes that LFS’s take, though there are exceptions. Some have several betta tanks between .25 and 1 gallon each that are all connected by a sump that heats and filters every tank.

The other method is to take a vase or other container between 0.25 and 1 gallon, fill it with water, plants, and one betta. In these setups, you will normally notice that the rooms are very warm in order to keep the bettas warm. These bettas do get daily water changes in most cases.

The bettas at these stores tend to be more expensive, but they are normally bred by local breeders, meaning they are accustomed to the water near you and will live longer. While they are more expensive, they are also healthier, which means they will be displayed better and fuller colors.

Cost of Betta Fish Based on Individual Seller

Cost from a Local Breeder

If you find a local breeder, the prices will be cheaper than an LFS (since they would be buying from the local breeders and selling at a higher price) and the quality would be better than local pet stores.

However, if you have a local breeder who sells to a local fish store, you may be unable to buy from them directly. They probably have some sort of contract with the LFS that they will only sell to them, otherwise, everyone would just buy from the breeder since it is cheaper.

The price will be anywhere from $1 for deformed or undesirable bettas and up to $50 for high-quality ones. The price will vary depending on the type of betta being sold and the area that they are being sold in.

Cost from Online Breeder/ Transhipper

You can obtain very high-quality bettas from Asia, generally from India, Thailand, and the Philippines. These bettas are normally bred outside in high temperatures which can help prevent diseases and will increase the fish’s hardiness.

These bettas must be shipped out through a transhipper. The transhipper holds at least one permit that allows them to export and import fish to multiple countries. The fish typically cost $5 to be shipped out of Thailand, but the shipping price will be much more for a transhipper.

The transhippers will unbox the bettas and rest them for a few days before repacking them and shipping them to their final destination: you.

Cost of Adopting a Betta

Another option, and generally the cheapest option, is to check your local craigslist, Kijiji, gumtree, or Facebook marketplace. There are always some poor little bettas living in subpar conditions that you could give a better life to.

Some of these actually come from good conditions and may already have a fully cycled tank. However, most will have fin rot or other minor issues and may come in very small, uncycled tanks without filters.

However, you may get lucky and find one that has a properly sized filter, heater, and tank, but it may be in a bad condition. For example, it may have been months since the last water change and nitrates could be through the roof.

If you get one in this condition, you need to slowly acclimate it back to normal and healthy water parameters. Do daily 5-10% water changes for one week before doing a larger 20% and slowly increasing the amount until nitrates are normal.

The same goes for bettas kept in less than ideal conditions unless ammonia or nitrite are over 1ppm. High nitrates must be dealt with slowly, otherwise, the fish could suffer from nitrate shock or just regular shock.

Either way, you may end up getting the betta, the tank, heater, filter, decorations, and substrate for only $10-50. That being said, this does mean that you will be unable to pick out your own betta.

Cost of Betta Fish Based on Type of Betta

Cost of Wild Betta Species

Wild bettas are species of bettas that are pure and unhybridized, unlike pet store bettas. Pet store bettas came from the hybridization of at least three confirmed species of bettas and possibly more.

Wild bettas are not always collected by sellers directly from their habitat, but some are. It is best to avoid purchasing these bettas because they are at risk of extinction.

These bettas can be extremely expensive depending on the species and how rare or desirable the species is. In addition, it is extremely unlikely that you will find a local breeder of wild bettas or find one at a pet store. Therefore, you will have to pay between $40-70 in shipping alone, not counting the cost of the fish.

When purchasing wild bettas, these are normally sold in pairs, as most buy them to breed them or keep them in a species only tank and want more than one. Unlike domesticated bettas, some of the wild species can live with each other in tanks as small as 5 gallons and they will not fight as long as there are not two males.

For some of the species, such as Betta macrostoma, a pair will sell for $200-350 depending on the quality, and this generally does not include the shipping cost. These are mouthbrooding bettas, which makes them more expensive due to the rarity and the fact that they cannot produce that many young at one time.

While the domesticated betta can produce 200-300 eggs at one time, getting 10 babies out of a Betta macrostoma spawn is a great accomplishment. They are also more difficult to spawn than normal bettas.

Cost of “Rare” and Specialty fish

Some betta fish coloration patterns are relatively new on the market. Since they are new, there are not as many of them. But there is more demand than there are available bettas. Therefore, the price goes up to fit the demand.

A current example of these are koi bettas. They are not as new now, but they are still going for high prices depending on the quality. The yellow and orange ones are much harder to find and are worth more than the red version.

These will cost you at least $25 and are normally online, though some PetCo’s do carry quality red and yellow koi bettas. Some of these specialty bettas often sell for over $300, despite the fact that they may have the marble gene.

The marble gene helps produce gorgeous coloration and spotted coloration, but they change the appearance of the betta at random. This means that you may buy a gorgeous solid orange betta with translucent fins and enjoy him for several months, but suddenly he could develop blue or purple or white spots that will take over and entirely change the color.

Cost of Hybrids

Hybrid bettas are a mix of any two species but are normally hybridizations of the domesticated betta and a wild species. The domesticated betta genes allow them to experience a wide range of color in their normal wild patterns.

In addition, wild blood makes them hardier and gives them different patterns than normal bettas. Some may exhibit long fins and the siblings look more similar than a typical Betta Splendens spawn.

Depending on the quality of wild betta and domesticated betta bred to produce the hybrids, they can range from $20 to over $100. In the end, their primary difference is a slightly different body shape, patterning, and they will be less likely to have serious health issues.

In conclusion

The price of betta depends on where it comes from and the type of betta. Bettas from pet stores are normally the cheapest but tend to be sick and of lower quality. Bettas shipping from Asia have high quality coloration but are expensive to ship. Local breeders are a good option for higher-grade betta without the high shipping price. But there’s nothing wrong with local pet store bettas if you are okay with a shortened life span.

Leave a Comment