I bought both my Bettas at Petsmart and although I don't like the way they keep them in tiny cups, I think Petsmart as a whole cares about animals. They just need enough people telling them that Bettas are NOT happier in tiny bowls. Maybe they just don't know any better. I will NEVER shop at smaller pet store chains that sell puppies bought from puppy mills! These are people who truly don't care about animals since they support puppy mills and regardless of how they display their Bettas I will not give them a penny of my money.
Other than the first of my bettas who was purchased at Walmart and ended up being an older betta and unfortunately did not stay with me for more than 6 months, I have purchased all of my bettas from breeders online. Other than one who I pretty sure has a problem with inbreeding in his stock, I have been very satisfied with every one of them. One of them as far as I know, no longer sells individual bettas but only breeding pairs, but they are gorgeous. The others are very good but it depends a lot on the price you want to pay as to which ones I would be suggesting. I got a gorgeous fish in Alexander but he cost me a lot and the postage was not cheap. Marty on the other hand was no more expensive than you would pay probably at PetSmart and the postage was very reasonable for shipping a fish and the quality of packaging was not that different. In fact, I really thought the fish I received from the dealer I bought Noel and Marty from was perhaps superior and they both arrived during the middle of the winter although he will no longer ship fish during cold weather.
I would have to say that if you want to shop online, I have a couple of excellent references for you.
Thanks for the responses so far, yeah I'd love those references, although at the moment I'm not 100% sure a Betta is the way I'm goiing to end up going. I'm kinda weighing a few different combinations of stock for my 12 gallon, and it doesn't even arrive until wed so it'll be a while before I'm ready for fish to move in.
PS: If anyone happens on any breeders/etc in the Seattle/WA area, send em my way...
Seriously, at Petsmart, both times. I find that they are good/bad in that you have to make sure the person you're talking to actually knows fish, but if they do they know them pretty well. Mine doesn't sell the nastier kinds of betta containers except for the little tiny one gallon plastic things and the betta bowls--which to be honest are not quite the torture they could be but still dont' let a betta thrive.
I bought both of mine from Petsmart (now Pets At Home) - Taro was my first - he was being eaten alive by some other fish in the tank and I just felt so awful for him so I rescued him. I paid £5 for him thinking he would die because he had no fins left but he survived! And Marmaduke was my second - he was just such a show-off I had to buy him! He was in good health, as were a few others in the surrounding tanks. Petsmart are definitely getting better these days. They used to sell any fish to anyone without question but I've noticed they now habitually ask if your tank is cycled and what fish you already have; so thumbs up to Petsmart UK! ;D
I have contacted the following vendors to find out if they are currently doing a betta business and if they are willing to do a "forum" business.
I have heard from the vendor that sold me Marty and he is most willing to sell Bettas to those on the forum but does not ship fish during cold weather due to the chance of them having trouble if the mail is held up anywhere if the weather is bad.
His e-mail is: His name is Mike. He does the best he can to fill your order to your specifications and is VERY good to the fish he sells. He sold me the naughty Marty and my precious Noel and is the nicest man I have ever dealt with. He also sells off of ebay (plants and other stuff) under mikeswetpets He may start to sell fish in the spring on ebay as well.
The other vendor that I bought from that I would recommend is the one that sold me Alexander. They sell on ebay under the handle of miamiaquariums. They have bettas for sale all year round and have some for sale right now. They also publish a newsletter with additional fish in it. Their fish are very good quality but the prices are of a much higher nature than those of Mike's. Most of their fish are of near show quality or better but you are going to pay for that quality. Occasionally you will find Bettas for as little as $10.00 but the postage is high. I have not heard back from them but I am willing to bet that they will sell to as many as offer to buy as they are a volume dealer. They do sell some products for Bettas that I do not approve but their fish are well taken care of and packed and shipped with care so I do not care that the other items are offered. I do not have to buy them and they are not pushed off as desirable items or have-to-have.