Should You Breed Betta Fish? [Ethical Considerations]

Betta Fry Dying

Betta fish, with their vibrant colors and elegant fins, have captivated the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. However, beneath their beauty lies a complex ethical dilemma that challenges even the most seasoned fish hobbyists.

I want to start the article with a quote from a betta expert, Mary McCauley. She runs Mary’s Magic Bettas, an Arizona-based betta fish rescue center. She has rescued 60 betta fish since March 2023 alone!

Here’s the question I asked her along with her reply:

If someone wants to breed betta fish or take care of the fries, what are the 5 most important things he/she should do for success?

” I never recommend breeding bettas. These are one of the most abused fish in the industry, and they are already over-bred. The bettas you often find in pet stores are so over-bred that they have poor genetics and immune systems, get sick easily and often, and have shorter life-spans.

Breeding is also dangerous for the fish, often ending in permanent injury or death, and most people aren’t equipped to manage hundreds of fry, individually house them, sell or rehome them, or cull fry that show signs of genetic abnormalities.

If someone is determined to try breeding, it requires an extensive amount of research, and should never be done with two common pet store bettas, whose genetics are already questionable.

There are plenty of reputable and responsible betta breeders on the market, and I personally don’t think we need more. For example, in the U.S. alone, more than 100,000 bettas are shipped per WEEK to big box pet stores, with thousands dying before they even reach distributors, and thousands more dying while they are housed in in appropriate ammonia-poisoned cups, and countless more dying after being purchased due to poor education about how to properly care for a betta fish.

My dream come true would be to have to shut down my betta fish rescue because there are no more bettas that need saving.”

I want to expand on her answer in this article.

my betta top view

The Over-Breeding Issue of Betta fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are victims of excessive breeding. This rampant over-breeding results in poor genetics and weakened immune systems.

See also  How To Cool Down Betta Fish Tank?

The bettas found in pet stores are often frail, prone to sickness, and have a significantly reduced lifespan.

This trend not only compromises the health of individual fish but also undermines the species’ overall quality.

The Risks of Breeding betta fish

Breeding Betta fish is fraught with risks. The process can end in permanent injury or even death for the fish. The ethical implications are significant: is it justifiable to put these creatures at risk for the sake of breeding?

Furthermore, the responsibility of managing hundreds of fry, including housing and rehoming, is a task that most enthusiasts are unprepared for. The practice of culling fry with genetic abnormalities raises additional moral questions.

Challenges in Betta Fish Care

Properly caring for Betta fish is not a simple task. After breeding, the challenge of housing each fry individually becomes daunting. Many breeders are ill-equipped to handle this, leading to inadequate care or unethical practices.

Moreover, educating Betta fish owners about their proper care is crucial but often overlooked, leading to a high mortality rate among these pets.

betta fish Market Saturation and Its Consequences

The market for Betta fish is alarmingly saturated. In the U.S. alone, over 100,000 bettas are shipped weekly to pet stores. Many of these fish do not survive the journey, and thousands more perish in poorly maintained cups in stores.

This over-saturation not only leads to unnecessary deaths but also devalues the life of each individual Betta.

Ethical betta fish Breeding Practices

For those determined to breed Betta fish, extensive research and responsible practices are non-negotiable. Breeding should never involve common pet store Bettas, whose genetics are already compromised.

See also  Betta Fish Genetics 101: Science Behind Breeding Colorful Bettas

It’s crucial to understand and respect the genetic integrity of these creatures to prevent further degradation of the species.

Alternatives to Breeding betta fish

Instead of contributing to the over-breeding problem, enthusiasts are encouraged to support ethical, reputable Betta breeders. These breeders adhere to practices that prioritize the health and well-being of the fish.

Additionally, fish lovers can engage in other aspects of Betta fish care, such as rescue and rehabilitation, rather than breeding.

A Vision for the Future

The expert Mary McCauley dreams of a future where Betta fish rescues are obsolete, a future where these creatures no longer need saving from the consequences of human actions.

This vision compels us to reconsider our practices and to treat these magnificent creatures with the respect and care they deserve.

It’s a call to action for every Betta fish enthusiast to contribute to a more ethical and sustainable future for these beloved aquatic pets.

Sharing is caring!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.