Betta fish are extremely popular pets, coming second only to the traditional goldfish. In fact, over the last couple of decades, a whole commercial betta breeding industry has evolved as a result of the tropical fish’s appeal to hobbyists and enthusiasts.
You can usually find bettas of various colors and forms for sale in your local fish or pet store. But if you want a fish that’s a little more “out there,” where can you find it?
Well, thanks to the development of e-commerce, it’s easy to buy and sell betta fish online, and in this guide, we’re taking a look at the popular online auction platform, Aquabid.
What Is Aquabid?
Aquabid.com is essentially just like eBay but for all things related to the fishkeeping hobby — basically, a dedicated aquarium hobbyist is in heaven on this website!
On this site, you can buy pretty much anything having to do with the fishkeeping hobby, including aquatic plants, tropical and coldwater fish, invertebrates, tank decorations, filters, lighting units, collectibles and ornaments for your home, books and magazines, fish food, aquariums, and corals.
Like other auction sites, most of the items on Aquabid are included in auction sales, whereas others are simply advertised for sale.
How Does Aquabid Work?
First of all, you need to set yourself up with an Aquabid account, which is completely free of charge.
To set up your account, all you need to do is supply Aquabid with your email address and choose a password. Once you’ve set up your account, you can log in and peruse the listings of fish and other stuff that’s for sale on that particular date.
If you want to buy a fish, you’ll find pictures and descriptions of the fish that are provided by the breeder, as well as comments left by previous buyers.
Some items on Aquabid have a “Buy Now” option.
That means that the seller has multiple items for sale rather than one single fish, for example. So, rather than entering an auction to get the item you want, you simply opt to buy it immediately for the price listed by the seller.
The Bidding Process
Many of the fish for sale on Aquabid go through the auction. Using a betta fish as an example, the bidding process works as follows:
- The seller enters the minimum bid he will accept for his betta fish.
- Bidders enter the maximum amount they are prepared to pay for the betta.
- The bidder’s figure is not disclosed to the seller. Aquabid only tells the seller that their lowest bid price has been matched.
- If someone makes a higher bid than yours, the website automatically increments your bid up to the maximum amount that you’ve set.
- If no one outbids you during the auction period, the betta fish is yours.
Making Your Purchase
The second phase of buying the betta begins with you contacting the seller through the Aquabid website.
Most sellers accept payment via PayPal, so you’ll need to set up a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.
Warning: Shipping costs can mount up!
If you’re thinking of buying a fish or other stuff on Aquabid, you must be prepared for “shipping shock.” Since fish cannot remain in transit for long, you’ll need to pay for same-day express shipping, and that can be very expensive, depending on where you live relative to the seller’s location. The shipping cost covers the amount the seller needs to send your fish to the transshipper.
You’re also expected to pay for packing, which further pushes up the price of your purchase.
- Betta fish – $15.00
- Packing – $7.00
- Shipping – $35.00
So, the total cost of your betta fish (so far) is $57.00!
That’s just an example. Shipping and handling costs vary tremendously between sellers, so do double-check how much you’ll be paying for that before you start bidding on anything.
Another important thing to check before you buy a fish online is the seller’s policy when it comes to non-live arrival. In other words, what compensation can you expect from the seller if your fish arrives dead?
Generally, reputable breeders will be happy to refund you the price you paid for the fish. However, you won’t necessarily get any of the packing and shipping costs back. So, be sure to check the seller’s and transshipper’s policy on that before you part with your cash.
Once you’ve paid for your fish, the breeder ships it to the transshipper. From that point on, the seller’s work is done. Now, you need to liaise with the transshipper, who is essentially an import agent.
Generally, you can choose the transshipper you want to use, and it makes sense to pick one that’s close to your home or a major shipping hub or city. Breeders usually include transshipper information at the bottom of their auction listing.
Once you’ve paid for the fish, the packing costs, and the breeder’s shipping fee, your chosen transshipper will contact you and inform you of their shipping fee. Usually, the fish will be unboxed, given time to rest in a small tank, and then re-boxed and sent on to you.
You’ll then need to pay the transshipper’s fees, usually via PayPal. Check the transshipper’s website for details of their charges, delivery times, arrangements, and more.
A Record Aquabid Purchase!
Some breeders strike gold when selling their fish on Aquabid!
For example, a record price was set for a betta fish a few years ago, when a betta in the colors of the Thai national flag was sold for 53,500 baht ($1,700). The red, white, and blue striped fish is thought to have sold for more than twice the previous record.
Beware of Illegal Imports!
According to Practical Fishkeeping Magazine, some sellers on Aquabid, typically in Thailand, are illegally importing fish into some countries, including the United Kingdom.
Some countries and states require import licenses or health documentation for any livestock entering their jurisdiction. However, some Aquabid sellers are attempting to send fish via the regular postal system to avoid the authorities and potential import fees. Unfortunately, that means that the fish are often in transit for prolonged periods, and many arrive dead or in very poor condition.
You will be prosecuted and fined if you get caught, so do your due diligence and research the seller via other buyer feedback before you buy.
Aquabid.com is a very popular international auction site where you can buy all things related to the fishkeeping hobby, including live fish.
Simply set up a free Aquabid account, and you’re ready to begin bidding on fish, plants, aquarium equipment, and pretty much anything else you need for your fish tank. Be aware that you can end up paying a lot more than the price of the actual fish when you buy through Aquabid because you will also have to cover the cost of packing and shipping your fish.