So, you are interested in buying a Betta fish or another tropical fish? What makes you consider the Betta?
Are you buying the Betta simply because you see them in little tiny round bowls and you think that this seems like an easy fish to take home for a pet?
If that's the only reason, I'd like you to stop right now and reconsider your choice of pets. While most pet shops have the Betta in a tiny bowl, in real life, most Bettas probably would love a larger housing. After all, would you like to be stuck in a little bowl where you can practically touch the walls from wherever you are in the bowl? Would you like to be held prisoner in such a small place even if you did have the water to swim around in?
Take a look at the natural environment of any fish; take a good look. You've probably never seen a fish being born or raised or living its whole life in a tiny Betta bowl, except at the pet stores.
The reason they are in those bowls is because they can't let the Betta in with certain other fish, especially not their own kind of fish, the male Betta. They are called the "Siamese Fighting Fish" and that should give you a clue as to the personality of such a fish.
So, let's face it. The real reason that all those fish are in tiny bowls is because that's the cheapest way that the fish stores can keep the fish. There are no filters, and no filtration cartridges to purchase when you use a tiny bowl as a fish tank. The store wants you to believe that this fish-caring on the Betta is simple, easy and not expensive.
If the pet shops were forced to give proper housing to Betta fish, they would have to give each Betta a ten or twenty gallon fish tank. That would be too expensive, so all the shops house the Betta fish in tiny, glass bowls that are economical for the shops.
Personally, I had a Betta in a ten gallon fish tank and that Betta was the happiest fish ever.. So, be prepared, and be nice to your Betta. Give your Betta a larger living space. You can put some plants in there and some small decorations and you are all set for your new Betta's environment.
While you are at the library, pick up a few books on tropical fish and pick up a book about Bettas but read with caution. The book will tell you how to care for the Betta. It will tell you where to locate Bettas and Betta supplies.
Before you purchase your Betta, or before you purchase any fish at all, do the wise thing and purchase everything you need for the fish before you even look at fish. The idea is to have the setup all fit into the spot where you will keep it in your home or office. Set up the tank, the water, the filter, and any decorative things you want inside the tank, and then let the filter run for a day or two before you go to purchase the fish.
Consider putting in a few live plants besides the plastic ones you may have chosen. Mixing both live and plastic plants in an aquarium can give it a most interesting appearance.
Consider buying a bigger filter than necessary, just because. Most times, people look for small, inexpensive set ups for fish.
Personally, for myself, I'd always opted for just a little bit larger. You just never know. Sure you are starting out with one fish but months from now or a year from now, you just might have a whole community of fish living in that same tank. If you think larger at the beginning, that saves you time, trouble and money later on in your hobby progress.
Do your research if you are considering raising fish. Find out which fish are friendly and which are quite aggressive. There has been more than one hobbyist who has brought home a predator fish only to find his or her other fish dead after a day or so.
And then there are those fish who just like to nibble on each other. Some of the Angel Fish varieties sometimes will nibble the fins of other Angel Fish. And they will nibble and nibble till they can't nibble anymore. So you might do a lot of research on Angel Fish before buying them.
If you want to breed fish and you are a true beginning, the Guppy might be the perfect fish for you to start with. But remember, that bigger Guppy will most likely try to eat all the babies so have a separate tank ready for the baby fish OR get one of those divider particles for your tank and you can divide almost any tank into two separate tanks. If you look in the fish pet stores or aquariums, you'll see that they also make small side tanks that hang off the tops of the larger aquariums. They'll catch the fish, but them in that smaller tank and then carry the tank to the register for you to buy your fish. So, there are many options when you are thinking of buying or raising fish.
Buy the recommended foods. And if you can find a no frills brand that will work also.
You might not want to do this but I'll share a secret with you. I did run out of fish food one day, long ago, in winter and I didn't live near a pet store. I went to the cabinet and took out the box of Cheerios and proceeded to crush the Cheerios into a fine grain. Yes, I did feed this to the fish and they ate like that for ten or more days, until finally I was able to go and buy fish food. Yes they survived!
Some fish love live food. And the pet stores will sell live food for the reptiles and for some fish. They mostly always have a feeding tank, a huge tank, that has feeder fish in it. If you have a huge fish like an Oscar fish, that fish sometimes as large as 12 inches, can and will and does eat fish. I am not suggesting you feed any fish to another fish. I'm just sharing ideas here.
Do only what is healthy and safe for your own fish. Read, read, read, and do your research on topics of fish, fish diseases, and other aquatic related topics.
That's the bottom line, knowledge is power and knowledge of the fish industry, and of the details of how fish live and breed, is a wonderful thing when you are ready to really jump into your aquarium hobby.