Choosing your little water warrior
Ok, this is a no-brainer - choose the healthiest fighter you can see. Ask your dad to ask around about a certain breeder or pet shop, because his reputation for selling healthy fish will reassure you about the kind of pet you're going to get.
The pet store you buy from should have the most space for fighting fish, and they should be kept with other fish, and not in tiny jars and cups. Check the other fish for signs of illness or sluggishness, and make sure the water they're kept in is very clean. Murky or yellowish water is a red signal, because it could mean that it carries disease. Look for a fighter with a straight spine, regularly-shaped fins without missing pieces or tears, no cottony patches, no white spots, smooth-looking scales, and no golden dust.
Don't buy a fighter that is parked at the bottom of the tank, breathing heavily. A healthy fighting fish is always willing to fight, and will be flaring at his neighbours and prancing about in the water with his fins spread when you try to pick on him.
Next: Care and feeding
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