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3 Common Betta Cup Questions Answered!

As the number of photographs of rare looking betta fish going viral on social media continues to increase, the number of people looking to purchase their very first betta fish also increases at a correlating pace.

In turn this then results in more and more people reaching out for advice on purchasing their very first betta fish with these questions ranging from what they should feed their betta, how they should house their betta, and what they should do to care for their betta fish.

One of the more commonly asked questions that we have noticed people from the community asking recently is based around if you can keep a betta fish in a “betta cup” and we really can see why so many people as reaching out to ask this.

You can often see betta fish for sale in pet stores that are kept in these tiny little cups so many people new to the fish keeping hobby can easily presume that these are totally fine but thankfully, there are a ton of responsible potential betta fish owners reaching out each month to double check.

This is why we have decided to publish our own article going over the three most commonly asked questions that we see from the community about keeping betta fish in cups.

Our hope is that we will be able to help you improve the quality of care that you can offer your pet betta fish as well as help you avoid making some very common mistakes that people make time and time again.

Can You Keep Betta In Cup?

You should never keep a betta fish in a cup as it doesn’t offer the space available to offer a betta fish a high quality of life.

The water parameters are also very hard to manage in such a small volume of water too so it becomes problematic for people to keep the water that their betta fish is in within the parameters that a betta fish can survive in too.

As we covered in our article going over betta fish being kept in small tanks, you really should be trying to keep your pet betta fish in a 5 gallon tank if possible with most people opting to get a 10 gallon tank.

If you are looking to get one of those beautiful, rare colored or patterns betta fish then keeping it a betta cup will cause the color of your fish to fade while also drastically reducing its life span.

Depending on if you want to keep tank mates in the tank with your pet betta fish or keep a betta sorority tank you may even need a larger tank than those to keep your betta fish happy as angry betta fish are common to new fish keepers due to their tanks being too small or overstocked.

Why Are Bettas Sold In Cups?

Betta fish are commonly held and sold in cups in pet stores due to the pet store staff being uneducated on the space requirements for betta fish or as a way for pet stores to cram more fish into smaller spaces to try and increase profit margins.

Thankfully, the practice of selling betta fish in cups is decreasing rapidly but there are still some pet stores that do it and often tell their customers that the practice is fine.

As we mentioned above though, a betta fish should never be kept in these tiny little cups as they just don’t offer the space required for the fish to have any quality of life.

Although there was a common belief that betta fish lived in puddles in their native countries around two decades ago, this has changed as people have realized that betta fish usually live in large ponds and streams in Asia.

We understand why there was so much misinformation around betta fish when they first made it popular in western countries but times have changes and a quick Google search is able to inform a pet store owner that this keeping betta fish in cups is cruel.

There have also been a number of “name and shame” videos on YouTube of people from the fish keeping community going in to pet stores who keep their betta fish in cups and trying to better educate the staff on the practices of keeping betta fish.

Although this may sound like a drastic measure, it does seem to be working with more and more pet stores cleaning up their act when it comes to betta fish.

Are Betta Cups Illegal?

Unfortunately, selling betta fish in those tiny little betta cups is not illegal and although some areas do have independent governing bodies for how pet stores have to care for their animals, fish are rarely covered.

This means that technically, the majority of pet stores could choose to sell betta fish in those betta cups if the wanted but thankfully, the vast majority choose not to.

If you are about to go off and look for your very first betta fish, this can be a quick and easy way to work out if the pet store that you are considering purchasing your pet betta fish from cares for their animals correctly or not and if you do see bettas kept in cups for sale, go to another pet store.

There are a number of reputable betta fish breeders online that sell beautiful looking betta fish and have excellent reputations amongst the competition though so we would highly recommend that you check some of them out.

We know that some people may have to purchase their betta fish from a local pet store but if the pet store staff try to tell you that it is fine for you to keep your new pet betta fish in a betta cup, ignore them.

This may be a sales tactic to try and get them the sale as many people will be fine paying for the fish but may have problems about wanting to pay for a suitable tank and the pet store staff may try to sell you a $1 cup to keep your betta in to secure the sale.


That brings our article going over keeping betta fish in cups to an end. We would never recommend that you keep your pet betta fish in these small cups as it is cruel and a betta fish should be kept in a tank that is a minimum of 5 gallons. As we mentioned earlier in the article, depending on exactly what you want to do with your betta fish tank, you may actually end up having to go with a larger tank to meet your needs though.