It’s important to know what to look for when choosing your Betta fish. Here are a few basic guidelines and some factors to consider.

Color
Bettas come in many colors and types. Dark colors—blue and red—are the most common, but you might find some unique colors as well. A healthy Betta is brightly colored with no apparent discoloration, though stress can sometimes cause a Betta to temporarily lose some vibrancy in their color. Once you bring your Betta home and it has acclimated to its new surroundings, the color should return to full strength.

Receptiveness
Bettas can be very social with their owners. When you approach, do they swim around? Or do they back up and sulk at the bottom? Do not tap at the container, as this will agitate them and cause them stress. Gently put your finger on its container and slowly move it around. The more social the Betta, the more it will play along and follow your finger. However, if the Betta seems calm, that’s not a bad thing. They can sometimes be tired and resting.

Health
Purchasing an unhealthy Betta can be disastrous. These fragile fish do not recover easily from malnourishment or maltreatment. Choose a Betta whose fins are in good condition and are not torn or damaged. Check for lumps—a healthy Betta has scales that are flat and smooth. They should have clear eyes, flat and smooth gills, and be shiny in appearance.