It doesn't take a lot of work to come up with a great vase that has a plant and a beautiful Betta fish in it. Maintaining this set up is easy! It makes a great center piece for the dining room table or for special occasions (including weddings and showers). Or you can put it on a shelf and add to the décor of your home.
Other Betta containers can look wonderful as well, but there is something about the fish, the plant, and the easy care that makes this set up unique. After all, with just a little work you can have a fish and a plant that you don't have to remember to water!
You Will Need:
- A Large Vase
- Glass pebbles or gemstones (in your choice of colors)
- Plastic Plant tray or clear plastic cup
- Water (bottled, rested, or conditioned only)
- Betta Fish (male or female in your choice of colors)
- Plant (Peace Lily, philodendron, or dieffenbachia)
- Small fish net
- Betta pellet food
- Ribbon (optional)
- Water conditioner (optional)
Notes About Choosing Your Items
You really have a great deal of choices when picking out this set. But a few helpful hints will make it easy to figure out what you want.
The Vase-Check out the fish section and the craft section. Often times there will only be a few choices in the fish section, however you can find great vases in the craft section. You will want a vase with a neck, unless you choose not to have a plant. If you look for the "Create-A-Floral Arrangement/Create-A-Fish-Vase" 11 inch vase it will have a plastic plant tray and directions right inside.
Glass Pebbles-These little rounded, glass stones are sometimes called gemstones, glass pebbles, glass stones, or decorative stones. They can be found in the fish section, but you have more color choices in the craft section. Pick out a color that pleases you or accents your fish (either by going with your fishes colors or contrasting with your fishes colors).
Water-While you can leave your water out letting the chlorine evaporate, and you can buy bottled water, it is easiest to buy water conditioner or water prep. This is makes it so you can get water from your tap, add a little of the gel like fluid, wait a few minutes and then add your fish.
Betta Fish-It is easiest to buy male betta fish. They are usually prettier, larger, with more decorative fins. Sometimes you can find a female, and every now and again you can find a fancy female. Either one will work. Just note that you should only put one fish in a betta bowl or jar. You can add females to community tanks, but they are often beaten up. Males can be added to community tanks if you are careful. You shouldn't have fish that will pick on his fins, and you shouldn't have large finned fish in with him or he may start a fight. Bettas should never be put together (even a male and female) unless you know what you are doing for breeding them.
The Plant-You can only use a Peace Lily (spathiphyllum), a dieffenbachia, or a philodendron. Other plants have a hard time living in just water or can be deadly to your fish. The Peace Lily is fairly easy to find. It has long, somewhat slender leaves and gets a white flower with a large conelike center, and a single flower petal. The philodendron is very easy to find and it has heart shaped leaves and grows in vines. It comes in green and verigated coloring. The dieffenbachia is harder to find. It grows tall with long leaves and is white and green. Usually you can find fairly small versions for a few dollars.
The Ribbon-You can choose to add decoration to your vase by wrapping a ribbon around its neck. It adds a finishing touch. I recommend a color that goes with your arrangement (fish and pebbles) and having it a wide ribbon of 3/4" or more. You can choose how you want to tie it or wrap it around the neck several times and tuck your ends in.
*The whole set up, including fish and fish supplies, will cost you about $20.
Set up is the hardest part of having this fish/plant combo and it isn't that hard, so anyone can do it.
- Rinse the glass vase and the glass pebbles (or gemstones). This gets rid of any glass particles, dirt, or dust present and makes for a cleaner environment for you new fish.
- Soak your plant roots. It isn't easy to get them clean, but if you soak them while getting the rest of the set up ready you will have an easier time getting the dirt out of them.
- Add the stones or pebbles to the bottom of the dish. These are there to help trap leftover food, dirt, and waste. They help keep the bowl clean and are important for maintaining a good environment. They can also add beauty to your piece.
- Fill the vase with water. The water either needs to be bottled water, have set out for 24-48 hours, or be conditioned. Water conditioner can be bought in any fish store. It will either call itself water conditioner or water prep. The purpose of this is to remove chlorine, which is harmful to the fish, from the water.
- Add the fish. This can be a little tricky. It is best to scoop him gently from his little cup with a fish net. This is usually easier said then done, but what that does is keeps his old dirty water out of the new and clean water.
- Cut a whole in your plastic plant tray, or plastic cup. This should be an 1.5-2.5" depending on how big your plant is. You will be sticking the plants roots through the whole.
- Fishish rinsing the plants roots. Gently press them through the whole on your cup or plant tray. Place the plant in the water. Note: if the roots are long you can trim them. Don't take up your whole jar with the plant. You want lots of room for your fish.
- Add glass pebbles to the tray or cup if you wish for a more decorative look. You can also add ribbon or lace around the neck of the vase for a completed look.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for your new fish and his or her plant isn't hard, however there are a few things you need to do.
Daily-Each day you should gently lift up the plant and place 4-8 pellets of food (depending on food size) on the surface of the water. You want to do this gently because the pellets will sink and then not get eaten. Also, paying attention to whether the fish eats all the food or not is important. If he or she doesn't eat all the food then you are over feeding them and this can make the water very dirty, very quickly.
Weekly-Each week lift the plant and set it aside. Stir up the stones on the bottom of the bowl (without beating the fish up). This will get the gunkies in the water. Then dump about half the water out and add fresh (that is chlorine free). This is an easy way to keep your water clean, and put the least amount of stress on your fish as possible.
Monthly-Once a month, do a complete water change instead of a partial water change. To do this, lift the plant out and set it aside. Pour some of the dirty water into a bowl (or the cup the betta originally came in). Then gently scoop the betta up and place him or her in the cup. Dump the vase. Because bacteria will grow and stick to the walls and stones it is a good idea not to wipe them down or to rinse them with water straight from the tap. The bacteria is a good thing and will help to turn the toxic waste into a more acceptable chemical. If you want to rinse the vase then use water that has either sat long enough to get rid of the chlorine or water that has water conditioner in it because the chlorine can kill your fish and the bacteria on the glass. Fill with fresh water (that is chlorine free). Replace the betta and the plant.
*Note-If you are one who likes to give treats then fresh, frozen, or freeze dried blood worms or baby brine shrimp can be given. It is best to do this right before a complete water change so as not to have leftovers floating around and dirtying up the water.
That's all it takes to have a beautiful set up. It can grace your table, decorate your events, or set lovely on a shelf or the top of a table, bookcase, or dresser. Maintaining it is easy, plus you don't have to remember to water it. A betta fish can go without eating for about a week, in case you forget you don't have to feel bad. They nibble on the roots of the plant! Now you can have all this beauty any place you desire. It also makes a great addition to your desk!
This article is very controversial because many people feel that this is a horrible thing to do to a very intellegent fish. I have a few opinions on that and it will boil down to you having to make your own choice. I will share both sides.
The arguments against it-
- Bettas are intellegent and need more to do and more swimming space then the bowl provides.
- Bettas are friendly in community tanks.
- The betta bowl or vase is toxic and bettas aren't vegetarians.
- Betta fish are intellegent. However, they don't do more in a tank then they do in the bowl. (I have had bettas in both). They will swim similar in both, hide in the plants or roots of the plant, float at the top, and rest at the bottom.
- Male betta fish can be kept in tanks with other fish as long as the other fish aren't aggressive (aggressive fish will tear up his tail) and he can't be with other fish that have decorative tails because he will fight with them. However there are some male bettas who are more aggressive than the norm. These fish will include all tank mates, even a simple snail.
- Female bettas do very well in community takes with almost any fish, though some will still beat up on her.
- Because it is common for many community tank members to pick at bettas I always felt bad for them. If they are being chased, their fins are getting torn up, or they are always hiding it just doesn't seem like a good life to me.
- I am sorry to all of those people who think that this is cruel because I just can't feel like I am some kind of cruel person because I am willing to keep a betta in a vase.
- There are some concerns about toxic wastes. This is why water changes are very important. You need to choose a plant that the betta can nibble on without it poisoning them because the plant helps to filter out the toxins. Bettas aren't vegetarians, but they will eat on the roots. You must still feed them. The toxins argument is the best one out there against this set up.
The choice is yours. Bettas live in the rice patties. Here there is a huge water system, but they tend to live in small depressions near the roots of the rice. There are also seasons where the rice patties dry up a lot and they still survive just fine. Bettas are not community fish in nature. They live by themselves and will fight to the death when they come together as long as there is no mating going on. Even during mating the male often kills the female (the male takes care of the babies and the females will eat the eggs after she is done expelling them). It is your choice to figure out if the betta bowl is a whole lot different then their natural homes.
Normally I am one who loves comments. I love that people share their opinions and their information. Even on controversial topics I feel that the freedom of speech is important. However, I am tired of being personally attacked for my opinion. I have read the information presented by both sides and am not "stupid" or "retarded". I am also not a cruel person and cannot believe that keeping a betta in a large vase is cruel. Because people can't be grown up and present their opinion without insulting me I have removed the comments. If you are against this idea go rant to someone else and call those who are willing to put fish in vases names somewhere else.
It should be noted that I think a betta is a big responsibility and takes a good deal of time. You need to feed them daily, they love interacting with people and will usually respond to them very well, and they need their jar kept clean. I don't keep one right now because I don't have the time to take care of them like they should be taken care of.
I am also one who agrees that bigger is often better. Some bettas do a lot of swimming around if allowed a large space, while others still spend most of their time laying on their piece of driftwood or the leaves or roots of a plant. The biggest reason I believe bigger is better is because it is easier to provide optimum water quality. The bigger the space the more bacteria that can grow and the more the water stays clean without as frequent of water changes. However, I can not buy into the idea that the fish is happier in one home over another. I can't buy into the idea that a fish actually feels "happy".