Betta fish bowl with plant

June 27, 2002

I'm thinking about buying a Betta fish this weekend and I heard the vases with the plants are harmful has anyone heard this?

Comments (94)

  • victoriaamazonia

    i have been recently doing a lot of research on the best way to keep betta fish. i agree that an aquarium is the best method, however i do not have the space for an aquarium. i would like to do the best i can with a fairly large vase or a bowl. im aware of the need for cultured gravel, de-chlorinated water, and an area for the fish to breathe air. i was also thinking of investing in aquatic snails to clean the bowl as well as aquatic plants that are non-toxic to the fish. however, i still have a question that hasnt been answered by my research. ive read that water temperature that is below 75degrees can make the betta listless, but is it possible to raise the water temperature in a bowl? people have emphasized the importance of have a warm temperature for the water, but no one has said how to do it exactly. amu other helpful hints or suggestions are welcome!

  • Lillie1441

    I am surprised this thread is still active after such a long time. LOL
    Rayna-My Betta Okie is two years old. He is and has been in the same container all his life,or at least as long as he has lived with me. The container is a very large brandy snifter shaped bowl that holds a little more than half a gallon of water. I have about a cup full of clear and colored half marbles in the bottom of the bowl,mostly for looks.No plants or other creatures in the container. I tried a plant when I first got him but found that I had to change the water more often so I disposed of it. I change the water in the bowl about every 2 weeks,or when it begins to look cloudy. I use room temperature RO (reverse osmosis) water. When I change the water I place him in a small container with fresh RO water then empty the big bowl and scrub it with dish soap and hot water and rinse very well.I put the marbles in a collander and rinse them off well with hot water. I then refill the container with RO water,replace the marbles and put him back in. His bowl sits on the bar between my kitchen and living room and has been there since I got him. I keep the temperature in my home very cool in the summer,usually around 68 to 70 and about the same temp in the winter so I know the water temperature is nowhere near 75. I feed him a regular commercial food for Bettas and an occasional fly or gnat. He loves them! Anyway,he has never had any fungus or fin disease and seems to be healthy. Of course I'm saying this now and he may die tomorrow! LOL Anyway,I don't think a larger tank or filtering system should make that much difference and I think they are more enjoyable in a smaller container with nothing to detract from their beauty. Bettas are not a very active fish and do well in small containers as long as the surface of the water is sufficent for them to get air.
    Ashley-If you are using the lily with every one of your Bettas that have died,maybe the lily is the problem??? I would take out everything but the fish and see what happens. You can over feed them. Bettas will eat as long as there is food available. I feed mine once a day and sometimes forget and skip a day and as I said,he is thriving.....Lillie

  • Related Discussions

    Which window treatment should I use over the kitchen sink?


    Comments (7)
    Choose something washable or that you can clean splatters off of. You might try a single or double tier of Ripplefold curtains which have a very thin stackback compared to gathered or pencil pleated curtains. Or try Roman shades in a sheer, washable fabric. In the long run, strategically planted trees or a trellis near the property line can block the line of sight to your window from theirs.
    ...See More

    need help w/ plants for more curb appeal


    Comments (13)
    you would be surprised by what a nice concrete driveway would do for curb appeal. Instant clean edges, and a foundation to base the rest of your hardscape, such as sidewalks. Your entry is beautiful, and the trees are a must. You can consult a certified arborist to trim your trees to make them tidy, and could let you know if any of the trees are a danger. The stone wall looks great from the road the bushes need to be shaped. The entry planting bed can be awesome if you plant small boxwoods around the circle and along the path to your porch. sort of knot garden look, and a fountain in the center would be a great touch
    ...See More

    Do you have a pond?


    Comments (29)
    There will be no compromise that gives you gin clear all the time. It just doesn't happen where you have a bioload and sunlight. Algae is a way of life with a pond. Best you can hope for is a healthy pond; with fairly clear water and happy fish and healthy growing plants. Filter maintenance is a way of life, as is cleaning hair algae (the curse of ponding). If my water is not bright opaque green other than that week in the spring; I'm doing good; if my fish show up amongst the lily leaves and I can see them for six inches or so below the water, the water is fairly clean. A scooped handful of water I can see the lines in my palm, if I scooped a drinking glassful it would not be clear but fairly close to it. If I have constantly murky water I have a) overzealous koi making a mess in the potted plants I just put in the water and no they won't stop it if you put big ragged boulders on top the pot dirt. b) big duststorm. c) filter needs a major clean. d) leaf-fall just happened and I need to get scooping e) time for the couple times a year get in there and suction the mulm off the bottom or run the bottom drain is needed for same reason f) too many fish or not enough filter or both; need to up the filtration capacity and/or decrease the fish population. One ten inch fish puts out a lot more bioload than ten one inch fish. g) overfeeding fish h) using too much or the wrong kind of fertilizer for the water plants. I) water PH screw-ups (this is not common but common enough to mention--usually caused by f, g, h) Koiphen is wonderful. If you have a pond you should join.
    ...See More

    Need help with an indoor atrium please


    Comments (21)
    I love the concept of bringing the outdoors in. I love the fish. Love the skyliight although part of me thinks about reopening it. Won't happen though. We are in the islands. Hurricanes always a worry. It was cool having it open but absolutely not practical. Original plans missing. We came in at the transition. The help I've gotten here has made me enthusiastic about seeing how I can salvage it. If it doesn't work we'll have to figure something else out. I just don't want to spend any more unnecessary money on this house. I'm optimistic :)
    ...See More
  • alicep_2006

    I have a betta in a vase with a plant at the top. I feed it daily and it has air OK. Today I see a circle of small bubbles on the surface of the water. Anyone know what that is and whether it is bad?

  • connie_bird_lady

    A couple things - first if your betta is making a bubble nest then he is HAPPY!!!

    Keep the Betta (not Bata, not Beta, BETTA, the "E" is short, not an "A" sound) and his plant near a neonydium plant bulb for 6-8 hours a day. This will help the plant to thrive and also provide good light for the fish. My peace lily went from looking yellowed when bought to BLOOMING in about three months. You can use the kind that goes into a regular table lamp. A "hidey place" should be provided for your Betta's comfort - the plant helps but is not truely a hiding place. Keep the roots trimmed too so the betta has room to stretch his fins. Your bowl should reall be no smaller than a one-gallon size. At this size or bigger, you could even keep a small catfish with him for company and to keep the bottom a little cleaner.

    Air is important as has already been discussed. Make sure there is sufficient ventilation around the plant by adding holes in the bottom of the plastic tray or by placing several plastic straw pieces around the plant to get air down to the fish.

  • bouquet_kansas

    ive had my beta over a year now......a pretty red and teal color.......son got me a beta fish tank that plugs in and has a light and bubbles to keep air in the water.....i fill it with gallon of spring water every other month or so..and feed the fish 4 granulars of food every morning.my fishy is very lively compared to some that ive seen in the bowl with plants on top...i put aquarium rocks on the bottom and a few fake plants in....the fish will sleep behind them.....

  • takebacktonight

    It is inhumane to keep a betta in a vase with a plant. Although bettas can *survive* in a small space, they will not be very happy and will be more prone to disease and death.


    In reality, Bettas CAN be housed with other Bettas so long as they are female. They are very social animals and can be place in an aquarium with most other varieties of fish without causing problems.

    A betta needs at least a 1/2 gallon of water, with a wide opening so as to provide enough surface area for oxygen exchange. They also breath at the surface using a labryinth lung. This surface breathing and oxygen exchange would be inhibited by the plant covering the top of the vase. The roots of the plant can also contain dangerous bacteria that may cause disease in the fish.

    Most people believe that a Betta fish in a vase with a plant mimics the ecosystem that the betta is accustomed to. However, ecosystems are very complex entities that simply cannot be mimicked outside of nature.

    You CANNOT just plunk a betta into plain tap water. The chlorine is very toxic to their systems. The water must be aged either naturally or with a water conditioner. It is not advisable to use bottled water and especially not distilled water they do not contain the proper minerals that tap water provides.

    Only approved aquarium gravel should be used as other decorative rocks may leach harmful chemicals in the water.

    Bettas ARE in fact picky eaters and should not be fed tropical fish flakes as they have different nutritional needs. Betta flakes and pellets are often refused. The best food to feed betta fish are live or frozen food, specifically brine shrimp or bloodworms.

    If you were to be so cruel as to keep a Betta in a vase the water would have to be changed (remember to de-chlorinate!) every 2 days.

    Bettas are not disposable.

  • eyssa

    Yeah, I did mention that...bettas *can* be housed together. I have two males in a ten gallon...BUT they are separated. One male has free "run" and the other is kept in a "betta breeder net". They are switched every so often. But other than that, you should generally not keep them together (besides females...but then again, females can be snippy too).

    Also, a 1/2 gallon really isn't that suitable. It's a little...small. The generally accepted minimum is 2.5 gallons. I'm not saying that you absolutely can't keep a betta in a 1/2 gallon, because I did until I learned my lesson. I'm just saying that the fish won't have a quality life. Everyone says that bettas aren't active. Well, some may not be...but almost every one of mine are more active than some other fish I've seen. So, they need room. Plus, like I said about the ammonia...


  • Lillie1441

    "It is not advisable to use bottled water and especially not distilled water they do not contain the proper minerals that tap water provides."
    I think with everything there are many variables.What might work in one instance may not in another.My Betta is almost 3 years old,very healthy and active and I use nothing but Reverse osmosis water and he eats only Betta food purchased at Wal-Mart,plus an occasional gnat.He loves gnats!
    "a 1/2 gallon really isn't that suitable"
    My Betta has lived in the same container,sometimes one a little smaller,since I brought him home and as I said is very active and healthy.I do change his water frequently.
    I really think everyone just needs to know the basics,try different things and see what works for your fish.My DGS just brought his Betta here for me to keep while he is in National Guard training.It is in a 20 gallon aquarium with 3 turtles and other assorted scavenger fish and about 4 inches of water and no filtering system.He has had him for over a year and he seems to be thriving in that enviornment.So,I guess to each his own! LOL......Lillie

  • eyssa

    That's pretty good for a betta-3 years. About the 1/2 gallon...it depends on the fish. Sometimes you *can* keep a betta in 1/2 gallon, if they don't produce a lot of ammonia. It's good to get a test kit...Some bettas just behave differently (some may not swim as much while others do) and some produce more ammonia. It all depends on the fish.

    Hmmm...It's been about two weeks since I changed their water...I'd better get on it :) I'm lazy.

  • sebastian_roy

    Hey guys, Im an experienced aquarist having kept various tank configurations in the past, well as numerous Bettas and other labyrinth fish.

    OK, a few things I would like to point out.

    ***** A bit of background info *****

    The fish in question, "Betta Splendens" is whats called a labyrinth fish, meaning it has a labyrinth organ, which it uses to breathe air from the surface.

    The fish should always have adequate space at the top of the bowl or tank to breath fresh air, and if the plant prevents this, remove or trim it.

    The reason vases are unpopular among aquarists is because Betta Splendens is a top dwelling fish, and much of the vase's room goes to waste. It is important to have adequate surface area when keeping this fish, as it breaths air from the surface.

    ***** Plants with Bettas *****

    Plants may introduce diseases and even toxins into the water, and you should consult your local fish shop about any plant you plan to introduce into your Betta's environment. Having said that, many freshwater aquatic plants are actually good for water quality, as they aerate the water and maintain a helpful culture of good bacteria in biomatter, accelerating the nitrogen cycle.

    ***** Cleaning the bowl *****

    Betta's should not be kept in leaded glass crystal bowls, as the lead within the glass will leach into the bowl and poison the fish. If you keep your Betta in a vase, try to stick to the same procedure when cleaning it (yes, you have to clean vases too).

    To clean the bowl, firstly fill a small container with water from the bowl, and put the fish and plant in it (try not to use a container that been exposed to detergent, soap or chemicals). Remove 2/3 of the water from the bowl, and scrub the glass using your hand. If there is gravel in the bowl, remove the gravel and rinse it in cold water. There is no need to scrub the gravel, as that would remove the good bacteria living in the gravel, impacting on the nitrogen cycle. Simply stir it up and poor the detritus out.

    When the bowl is satisfactorily clean (it does not have to be crystal clear, most algae is not harmful for the fish), put the gravel back in. Remember to keep about 1/3 of the old water in the bowl. For the remaining 2/3, take cold tap water and treat it with a de-chlorination agent. These agents are inexpensive and are available from all fish and pet shops.

    Never clean the bowl using soap or detergent. This is extremely dangerous for the fish, and will poison them.

    ***** Feeding your Betta *****

    You should feed your Betta daily or every 2 days. I would certainly not recommend prolonging feeding for any longer than this, despite the fact that the fish can survive for weeks at a time without food. The amount you should feed the fish is the amount it can eat in about 20 seconds, without letting any go to waste.

    Use special Betta pellets, and brine shrimp or bloodworms as a treat. Bettas are carnivores and will not live healthily on a purely vegetarian diet.

    If the fish cant eat the food as you drop it in, you are over-feeding it. Fish naturally eat any food that is presented to them in the wild, as they never know when the next meal is going to come along. Because of this, a Betta will eat itself to death if you try to feed it until its full.

    I think Ive covered just about everything

    I hope this clears things up. E-mail me with any questions and Ill be sure to reply.


    P.S. If theres an excess of bubbles appearing at the top of the bowl or vasedont worry. Your Betta is simply making a bubble-nest in which to breed. They even do this sometimes when no females are present.

  • pjb51

    All this info here has been so helpful to my new betta....
    One question...when I feed my guy...he grabs the pellet and spits it out...then grabs it again and spits it out...like he is playing...very strange...is he not hungry? I feed him every day...but very little...unless he does this...otherwise he is very happy...making bubbles and very active....thanks

  • Lillie1441

    I think it's just a "fish" thing! LOL I have noticed that most all fish do that.

  • eyssa

    Lol, yeah, bettas can be crazy when it comes to food. Once I had a couple of bettas that wouldn't eat for, like, a few weeks! I tried to feed them Hikari Betta Bio Gold, Wardely Betta Premium Pellets, Sun Dried Gamarus Shrimp, Freeze-Dried Blood worms, etc. etc... Finally the picky little thing ate...but unfortunately the one died of Ich...ugh. I hate that stuff. Anyway, yeah, bettas out of all of the fish that I've ever had are nuts :)

    Oh, and does anyone happen to know about unusual betta behaviors? I have about 8 bettas (and even more than that in the past) but none have acted like Forest has. There's this air-tube in the center of his two gallon globe tank as well as a small castle. For some reason, I have found him inside of the tube...yes, swimming up and down inside a cramped air tube and curled up inside the castle. Does anyone know why he does those things?...over and over again? I guess he's just weird, but has anyone ever had that happen to them? lol

  • pjb51

    I read that they like to find hiding places...like in the vines of plants....and in the rocks...maybe yours thinks he a prince....
    I drop pellets down the straw airway...and he waits there for the food...all I have to do is wiggle the straw...and he knows it's feeding time.....

  • tighebettalover

    Hey, I just got a betta fish named Tighe (he's TIE-dye colored). I have him in a nice vase with some of those fish pebbles and a bamboo. Is bamboo ok for them?

  • sebastian_roy

    Bamboo may leech poison, im not 100% sure. If you see him behaving unusually i would remove the bamboo and do a 50% water change, then the same thing the next day.

    By the way, you know how they dye colour fish? They inject them with the dye and the immune system fights what it thinks is an infection. Dye colouring is a cruel process and significantly weakens the fish.

    Just thought i'd let you know, as you probably didn't already.

  • eyssa

    To my knowledge, they don't dye bettas. They do, however, use injection and dipping methods to 'paint' other types of fish such as white skirt tetras, tiger oscars, catfish, and several other types of fish. Bettas don't need to be dyed because of their naturally unique colors due to selective breeding. Bettas are one of the more unique fish out there that come with such a variety of colors. I just think it's so neat how we got so many different colors of bettas out of the green and brown 'ordinary' ones in the wild...and so many different tail types...weird, but cool :-)

    But, yeah, I hate it when they do that to any fish...any fish at all...grrrr, it just makes me angry that anyone would want to take away the natural beauty of fish.


  • izzardite_hotmail_com

    This has been a very good thread!! I peaked in as my neighbors who were about to dispose of their two "vase" Bettas gave them to me...I would have NONE of that. Pets of any sort should not be purchased for sake of a fad! I have a duck that is a rescue as well...found her at a park abandoned 2 Easters ago...someone thought she was cute UNTIL they needed to care for her apparently!
    Only get a pet if you INTEND to take care of it for the LONG haul. They are living creatures and deserve no less than the BEST we can give them.
    Bettas are beautiful and can give one years of enjoyment if taken care of properly.
    I thought this poem would be appropriate:

    A Cheap Birds Plea

    By Joyce Glass

    What is it that my life is worth

    How much will you pay

    to what extent would you go if

    if I got ill today?

    I know I am not an expensive bird

    My cost is fairly cheap

    But what is the price you put on life

    For something that you keep?

    My wings still spread out the same

    My heart still has a beat

    So why is it that my cousins

    Are the ones you hold so sweet?

    I cannot help that I was born

    Without a golden egg

    Will you still take care of me

    Or make me plead and beg?

    I rely on you to help me

    As I can't do it for myself

    Will you take the steps needed

    Or just put me on a shelf?

    So when you walk by me

    Please look me in the eye

    If it would come down to it

    Would I live or die?

  • buyorsell888

    Neither bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana which is often called "Lucky Bamboo" are poisonous to fish.

    Callas aren't either. Callas are grown in many a fish pond. If fish bowls with callas in them were dying at a wedding it wasn't from the callas. BTW, neither "peace lilies" (Spathiphyllums) or "calla lilies" (Zantedeschias) are really lillies which CAN be poisonous to animals, especially cats. Don't let your cats eat your Easter Lilies!

    I can't believe the fish in a vase with a plant on top trend is still going on. Wonder how many thousand Bettas have died because of it.

    They are tropical fish which need to have a heated aquarium to really thrive. They are carnivorous and must be fed proper foods. They should not be tormented with another fish or a mirror constantly. There is nothing wrong with keeping aquatic plants in aquariums with fish but having the roots only in the water isn't a natural situation for the plant or the fish. Spathiphyllums aren't aquatic plants and may live in water but not truly thrive.

    Sure, some people may have success keeping their Betta alive in a vase with a plant on top, but they are fooling themselves that this set up is the best possible for the fish and that the fish is thriving or will live as long as really possible.

    Get an aquarium with a filter and a heater and see how rewarding fish keeping can really be.

  • stephaniearsenault

    I have had my betta in a large vase, it is a 5 gallon vase, with a peace lily stuck in the top of it, for over a year now. I think anyone with a heart that buys the betta and peace lily combo from a store can see that the bettas are not in a good environment. I don't know of anybody who keeps the fish in the orginal cup, bowl, or vase that it came in. I have a pleco that also lives in my vase. The two of them are very funny fish. The betta used to attack the pleco, but the pleco swatted him a few times with his huge prickly tail, and the betta left him alone after that. I don't have to change my water more than monthly in my tank, and having a live plant is very good because the plant puts in oxygen for the fish, and the fish put in carbon dioxide for the plant. I feed my fish, betta pellets. The pleco loves them, and I also feed him algae tablets. I have actually seen my betta nibble on these pellets. They are great friends, and I have a great tank for them. Lots of room for swimming and chasing. I also have a treasure chest in the middle of the vase for decoration, but it collects good stuff for the pleco. I suggest everyone read about keeping live plant tanks, it saves time, money, and everyone is happier!

  • jen35

    I have had my beta in a large glass vase for over a year now. I also have a lucky bamboo and clear blue glass marbles in there with it. I feed it in the morning. Once a week I change the water and use a bottle brush and hot water to clean the vase. I stick my finger in the old water to check the temp. and fill the vase up with water as close to the same temp. from my kitchen tap and then put the marbles, plant and fish back. It seems quite happy.

  • eyssa

    Actually, filling your betta's vase up with tap water right from the faucet isn't the best thing. The tap water usually has some, well, bad stuff in it and you should use a dechlorinator to remove it. What I do is fill some jugs up with water from the sink and add 10 drops of a dechlorinator (I use StartRight) and let it sit so it gets to the correct temperature. Also, with filling the tank up right from the sink, the water temperature isn't going to be completely correct. If the temp of the water you are putting in the tank is 2-3 degrees off the temp the fish is in, your fish could get stressed and die. Stress is a major problem because if you don't keep your fish in the best conditions you can provide, it's immune system gets weaker and it will get sick easier and eventually die.

    I realize that your betta may be okay in those conditions, but bettas really thrive when you give them your best. Fish can do okay in certain conditions, but that doesn't mean that they are happy and healty. A healthy betta has bright, non-fading colors, active habits, good eating behavior, and usually blows bubble nests.


  • tinap

    I have seen the betta vases with plants for several years and I have asked for one (for Mother's Day the last two years - still haven't gotten one). So, I began thinking of putting one together myself. I wanted to have as much info as possible so that the fish and plant are both kept healthy. I have read this thread which dates back to 2002 and it seems there is a lot of controversy and opinions over whether or not these vases are good or appropriate for the betta fish. No where did I see any credentials for anyone who replied to this thread, so I figure - do a Google search and see what I come up with. I found a site called "Ask a Scientist" that discussed a Fish Bowl Ecosystem in Dec. 2004. Here is the link:


    If this educator and scientist are ok with the plant/fish bowl combo, why are so many people not ok with it? I agree that supplemental food and cleanings are necessary to ensure the health of the fish. But I am not a scientist so I for one will not say that it is a bad idea. Does anyone know how far a betta swims in the wild? In the wild does it like to hide in the roots of plants? Maybe it keeps to a small habitat and hides in the roots for safety reasons.... if so, then the vase with a plant (roots) sounds like an ok alternative to being in the wild and like it was pointed out in this thread, pet store bettas were never in the wild, they were breed in captivity for captivity and they would not survive if released into the wild.

    I for one, will be setting up such a system for my desk. It will help to relieve my stress and give me much needed company. :)

  • boxbeast

    It sounds like the people who are so opposed to the plant/betta thing might not be familiar with the containers that are typically used. Someone says "It is inhumane to keep a betta in a vase with a plant . . . A betta needs at least a 1/2 gallon of water . . . " The vases I have seen used are about 1 to 3 gallons, and the roots don't take up very much space.

    ". . . oxygen exchange would be inhibited by the plant covering the top of the vase . . ." I thought plants produced oxygen?

    It's common sense that you would use a very large vase, change the water frequently, feed the fish, and keep the plant and its roots trimmed so that the fish had plenty of room at the surface to breathe. I have seen some at a florist where the roots were overgrown and the fish did not look well, but I think the basic idea is sound. It is certainly a huge improvement over those little bowls I see them in at pet stores that hold about 16 ounces of water.

  • eyssa

    I'm not sure that I get what you're saying, boxbeast, but if you mean that you think that bettas have enough air exchange with the roots because they produce oxygen?...well, that's wrong. I'm sorry.

    A betta is a LABRYNTH breather (sp?). That means that they have an organ in their bodies that allows them to surface when oxygen is depleted in the water. They MUST be able to have a clear space at the top of their container to breath or else they will DIE!!! Bettas can live in oxygen depleted water because of that organ, and how can they breathe if the surface of the water is covered? I have heard story after story that involved bettas "drowning" because there was no way for them to reach the top of the water and breathe. So yes, you must have a clear space at the top of the water.

    Oh, and here's a little "study" that I have done...

    One of my bettas, Fishie, has been living in a 1 1/2 gal. betta vase with a plant at the top...and, mind you, the plant was always kept trimmed. Well, as most of you know, bettas blow bubbles because they are healthy and happy (and for breeding purposes). Well, Fishie never blew very many bubbles at all. I would see a couple floating around here and there, but not many. Well, I took the plant out and..... what do you know?...

    He blew more bubbles than ever...WOW! So, that just goes to show you that maybe vases aren't the best thing. Now, I understand that some bettas are okay with them...but those ones must have pretty good water conditions to be liking it.

    So...no, vases aren't the best.


  • sumc

    What is the name of the plant which the betta fish live in? All I know is that they have long roots.

  • eyssa

    In the wild, bettas live in rice paddies...which are rather small (and which is where people get the idea that you can keep bettas in a small container...a vase isn't an ecosystem, rice paddies are)...but usually people use peace lilies. If you are going to keep a plant with a betta, be sure to trim the roots every week, or the betta will have no room left to move.


  • marissaj

    I can't believe this debate is still going on!

    I've had many an aquarium in my life, raised numerous fish, and one of my best friends used to be a Betta breeder. She and I are both completely opposed to this Betta-in-a-vase nonsense, because it's just not what's best for the fish. Sure, people get lucky and their fish survive in these setups, but that doesn't mean it's ideal. Just because we can't be sure that the fish is "happy" doesn't mean that we shouldn't make our best attempt to give it decent care. Once you've seen a Betta thriving in a full aquarium with proper heating, tankmates, and food... you'd never stuff them into a bowl again. Bettas don't just "sit there", guys... they love to swim, if they have the room! Properly cared for, they can live 5+ years. My friend has had them live up to 7 years!

    I must stress a few things:
    1. Never put straight tap water in your Betta's tank or bowl. Please get some dechlorinator at the pet store... it's only a few dollars and it lasts a long time. Even better to get one that helps stimulate or simulate their slime coat. They get jostled around a lot during water changes, and it will help protect their skin and scales.
    2. Without enough room, a male Betta will likely kill a female. Only attempt it in an aquarium, and preferably keep more than one female with the male so he doesn't run one girl ragged. Never ever house males together, ever ever! Even having a divider in your tank is unfair, because the males will stress themselves out flaring at each other all day.
    3. Bettas can jump, so keep some sort of ventilated cover on the tank/bowl.
    4. If you insist on keeping them in a bowl/vase/whatever, make sure you change the water every few days (with room temperature water), don't clean the container with soap or bleach, always dechlorinate the water, always make sure that he has some way of getting to the surface to get air, feed them at least every other day, keep the bowl out of the sun and away from cold.
    5. If you do make the wonderful decision to house them properly, keep the water around 80F, no strong water currents, house them with mild-mannered tropical fish that DON'T have flowing fins. Other than that, basic tropical fish care is all that's required.

    And yes, they are tropical fish that like even warmer water than a lot of other tropicals, so why people think they're comfortable in an unheated bowl is beyond me!

  • carpe

    What is RO water???

  • toms_sillygirl

    Ok, I have been reading this thread. BOY Is it ever a long one! But I just wanted to let everyone here know a little bit about me and these vases. When the vases first began, I was making them. I NEVER let anyone take one home without knowing that they need to feed the fish. I gave care instructions with each one. Then I set up at a craft shows with them. I was told that I needed and fish and a greenhouse license to make and sell these. I had to inform them that I had both. Since for the past 26years my husband and I have grown and raise plants and fish. At this time I have a large greenhouse and a building with over 100 tanks of fish. Plus I have a large pond with Koi, and two large ponds of pond plants. One of these plant ponds is filtering the koi pond. I have always taken the happiness and health of my fish and plants first.
    I have never told anyone that they don't need to feed the fish. And when someone INSISTs that the fish eats off of the plant. This is my re-ply. Well, if that is true then would u like to eat LETTUCE for the rest of your life? I don't think we could survive on that. And I really don't think the fish can or would be happy either. And I must say that they do walk away with none. Because I then refuse to sell them one. I sell the food and de-chor also. I give instructions on how to care for the fish and the plant. I have had several customers to come back for one for a friend and for their office. And I have to say I have heard alot of little names for these beautiful little guys. LOL And not one person has came back and said that they are not happy. I make these with and without the plants, just to give people a choice. Plus these vases make a great gift for someone in a hospital for long term or a nursing home, where TANK space is just not an option. I used to raise betta's. But I just can't raise enough. So I do order mine. And at this time I am a mother of 3, Grandmother to 5,and a mother of 5 dogs,1 cat, 35 cockatiels and the tanks of fish. Our youngest son is 21years old and a father of a 19month old son. We have a fulltime, lifetime commitment. And I love everyone of them. At this time I have aver 100 betta's And each one of them are in different containers. They can be very happy in a tank of other fish. As long as someone else had stated,there is no fin nippers. I hope I have not stepped on any toes here. I posted not to make anyone mad. But just to say. Before u make one of these vases, think in your head. "If I was a Betta, would I enjoy living the rest of my life in that?" I too have a Peace Lilly vase with the betta. This vase sits on my livingroom end table. And holds about 5gallon of water. Both are doing very well. Please, think about the fish first. Thank You all for reading this,,,, God Bless all of u and God's creatures, Great and small.......

  • amythystmoon

    What other fish can be used in situation like this?

  • nates

    betas do not live in rice paddies. rice paddies are used by asians to grow rice, not betas. the rice paddies are flooded (intentionally) to fertilize the crops. then, they are drained, asians don't care if they're betas or not, to plant rice so that they can eat.that leaves betas in swamps since they aren't good swimmers. I say this because i decided to test this long argument myself and found that male, female, or any beta did NOT like the current and could almost always be found close to the bottom, or hiding in the corner. the swamps in asia are 3 to 12 inches deep which shrink and grow annually because of the dry season/monsoon cycle going on. betas are perfectly happy in vases, provided that they have clean water, enough room to swim in (root trimming rquired), and food DAILY. the vase HAS to be a fat squatty one allowing ample air space. betas also like this because they are territorial and are more intrested in width, not height (kinda like humans prefer living on the ground to living on a cliff). plant should be non toxic. other fishes that work are any labyrinth fish (gourami) but keep in mind that the bigger the fish, the bigger the bowl. 1 inch to 1 gallon.AT LEAST common tank setup standard.

  • Adam Harbeck

    I have never seen these setups for sale in Aus but I can understand why they would be popular (but they sound like they come with some inherent problems). If you really want to have a betta and a plant I reccomend buying a large, shallow glass bowl (I have a salad bowl) which holds a gallon or two of water, puting some stones or crystals in the bottom and placing a few devils ivy or syngonium cuttings in there. They root readily in water but dont overcrowd the tank and can be easily trimmed back if they get out of hand, also the leaf cover discourages fish from jumping out. We have a setup like this with a small heater on top of our fridge and the betta is doing great. I often worry about the bettas in tiny tanks that are being sold today. Most are doomed to die of cold. If people really want fishbowls they need a bigger bowl and should opt for the hardier paradise fish (I have these in large vases too and they do very well unheated with devils ivy growing out the top)


  • gusler

    hi i have a betta fish that i just got and he is doing fine in the vase with the lilly plant i have a very large brandy sniffer glass and i want to get another betta what kind of plant should i put in this i want something that will fit because the top of the glass is very large any suggestions thanks for the help

  • Adam Harbeck

    Pothos/devils ivy(Epipremnum aureum) or white butterfly vine (syngonium) would be good. Ive seen some of betta bowls with chinese evergreens and they look pretty nice.Just make sure that the bettas welfare comes first and dont let the plant take over (root pruning shouldnt set them back too much). Also, i've been collecting live mosquito larvae for my bettas and I have noticed a great improvement in colour and activity so make sure to treat them to a live feed every once in a while.


  • jhosta

    i was given a betta in a vase by a friend who was tired of messing with it.i have pond gold fish.i have them in a cattle water tank in my green house.
    i decided to float the vase in the pond so the betta could see the gold fish.i had read the betta would chew tails of other fish and i have 9 year old gold fish that have beautiful tails.well that is the history. now to what happened with the betta.i cleaned the vase and added water from the tank.filled the vase to full and it tipped over spilling the betta into the tank with the goldies.best thing that could have happened. betta seems very happy.does not seem to be bothering the gold fish.when i feed the goldies in the morning betta gets his share of betta food.it has been interesting to watch him become braver.he does not hide under the plant leaves so much now and is swimming throughout the tank.i'm not sure i will put him out in the pond when i move them all out next month.the shock may be to much unless i float the vase again.i'm afraid the outside cats may make a feast of him.
    i should tell you i have a veggie filter on the tank that keeps the water very clear.

  • aquasweet

    i have a baby boy betta ~ named Puddle.... and i have been doing some research on getting him a live plant vs. a silk one & came across this (very long) thread starting at first to being downright appalled with the naive posts about the lack of knowledge of these betta owners to then just disgusted with everyone trying to sound so much smarter than everyone before them uggh anyway i think theres not much more to add about the care of bettas so im not gonna go there
    ****but i did want to comment to Jhosta (nana5111) that i went to your link originally to look for a pic of your adopted betta swimming with the gold fish and found the pics of your pond and the remodel and its very beautiful, you have a lovely & charming garden!! ive always wanted to do something like that :) The last pic with the snow was shocking, i wasnt expecting snow when you have a pond with fish....wanted to ask you what do you do with them when it snows? they're so big, do they go into your greenhouse or are they ok with the cold? do you have any pics of your betta with the goldfish?

  • helotesscribe

    A lot of the questions posed here could be easily answered by consulting a book on tropical fish or visiting a tropical website. Suffice to say there is nothing wrong with keeping a betta in a vase or bowl and there is certainly nothing cruel about it. First of all, a betta is a fish with a nervous system only slightly more sophisticated than a grasshopper. It does not sit and think morose thoughts about open spaces and lost freedoms. To claim it does is to engage in extreme anthropomorphism, which is simply imposing human thoughts and emotions on non-human subjects. Bettas survive nicely in small bowls because they are adapted to do so. They are mouth breathing fish which survive the dry season in their native SE Asia by happily hunkering down in an ox hoof print filled with muddy water. When seasonal rains come and flood the rice fields they swim away and breed, and then hunker back down in a hoof print once the rain water dries up. They can easily live in a vase and plant arrangement, although it is a pain to clean. I've kept bettas in such an arrangement for as long as five years, which is pretty long-lived for a small fish. You do need to feed them betta food once a day, although they won't starve if you forget one feeding or need to be away for a weekend. Water should be partially changed every couple of weeks, and if the plant roots get too big, simply trim them. Do remember to leave some air space between the water and the plant so the fish can gulf air from the surface. Temperatures should be kept from 68-78 degrees, with 75 about perfect, but consistency is more important than any particular temperature in the aforementioned range. In other words, no sudden changes. As for cleaning, stick to coarse salt. Someone may be getting by using soap, but any residue will kill fish, so why take the chance since salt works just as well and is safe? Adding a couple of small aquatic snails to the vase will also help keep it clean. Also, male bettas can be kept in a community tank with other similar sized tropical fish since they are only aggressive to other male bettas. That's about it. I've been raising tropical fish for 40 years so I speak from some experience. Just follow these basic guidelines and you should be fine. If something does go wrong, be analytical, figure out the problem and start over. Bettas cost less than $5, and whatever fate they find with you won't be any worse than living in a muddy hoof print, dodging the beaks of shore birds looking for an easy lunch.

  • ricstutor

    I heard betta fish usually do much better in a large fish bowl than in a vase.

  • amylu1982

    I would like to add an experience that I had with one of my beloved Bettas. I almost killed him by putting him in too LARGE a tank. You see, when I was moving, I broke his tank. I put him in my 29 gallon tropical, community tank. (Live bearers and a few assorted tetras.) Poor Magellan became listless and his beautiful fins started deteriorating. I put him into his new replacement tank (2 1/2 gallon) and gave him lots of stress coat and careful attention. He recovered, but poor little guy's fins never were the same.* As it turns out, even just 16" below the surface, the water pressure is too great for these long flowing fins, and they loose circulation. Just like frostbite! Don't keep your Betta in too large a tank. Never had a problem with 10 gallon or smaller though.

    Oh, and to the person with the beta and goldfish, put your pretty little guy inside and keep him warm, please!

    *Side Note: This incident happened in 2002, when Magellan was 3 years old, and the little guy lived to be 6 years old, and second to another beta I had at the same time, Gallaleo, who lived about 6 months longer, was the oldest Beta I ever had.

  • cheynne

    I just recently bought two beta fishes. Along with it I got a small plastic tank that had a divider in the middle of it. Now, I just cleaned out their tanks and separated them. One is in a big vase and the other is in the small plastic tank without the divider. I cut off two stem off my moms house plant and stuck one stem in both tanks. Is that ok to do?

  • donnamarienj

    I was just shopping and saw a very small rectangular "bowl" with plants, rocks, etc. and a live beta. It saddened me to see him swimming listlessly in such a small place. It was probably only 1 1/2 cups of water. The container was glass, rectangular, and sealed with a small plug on top with a small air hole. It was beautiful, costly, and I wanted to buy them all just to put them in bigger containers!

  • darkruler

    Just for anyone thinking about getting a betta.

    1.Bettas "CAN" live in a small space doesn't mean they like it.It would be like you living in one space the size of a bathroom with everything you need.Sure you could live but would you be happy?If you say well there just fish.Then you are the type of person who shouldn't own a fish.I have a female betta living in a 29G aquarium with some companions.She doesn't just sit on the bottom all day.She explores every nook and cranny.The reason your fish just sits on the bottom is because you probably don't have a filter which in turn means you don't have a cycled tank.So then there is a build up of ammonia which will stress your fish out to death.Even if you said "Oh my fish has been in a small tank for years"That doesn't make it right.Ammonia burns the fishes gills when breathing and stresses it out badly.I could go on about neglectful fish keepers but i won't.This isn't to single out anyone but to let you know these fish need filtered,heated and cycled tanks.

    Just my .02

  • jlmatson75_embarqmail_com

    My husband and i have 6 Betta's we had 8 and 2 of our males died recently and no we dont fight them. we had had the 2 that died for about 3years or so.

    anyways right now we have 4 male and 2 female. 2 of the male are in a devided Betta tank one on each side. each with a air pump and vines and black gravel. My husbands is a dark deep red/maroon color and mine is a 2tone blue pearlized . they dont mind one another they dont mind that they can see one another. they dont flair at one another . they do play they swim along the devider together like they are racing. but dont get me wrong im sure if we removed the devider they would fight. but that aint gonna happen.

    now in a vase on my desk is a male yellow irridescent Betta with vines and Medium glass marbles. the vines were my moms plant before she died and i wanted to add them to my fish vases/tanks and it seems to be going well.

    in another vase on my desk are 2 female bettas one red and one blue . they have vines and small glass stones . now i have read that females do not fight.. what a huge myth!!! THEY DO at first. until they establish a pecking order. you know... they have to figure out whose the alpha female. i read that 9 out of 10 times if you have a red female she will be the alpha .. my husband red female is not the alpha my blue one is.. when we first put them together they fought and fought and we seperated them. then i read up some more on females and asked around about the fighting. they dont fight to the death like males do. but do expect some torn fins and tales. but no blood shed. now if after you have them calmed down and acting civilized and you decide to add another female into the mix.. expect it to start all over agian because the new female will have to figure out where she fits into things and the alpha will want to make it clear shes "TOP FISH"

    in a lava lamp betta tank on my desk is bluish/tealish metalic looking crowntail betta HES GORGEOUS. in his tank there is an air pump and small glass stones . he loves the bubbles. .

    the 2 in the deviding tank love the freeze dried blood worms.. and hate the color enhancing betta bits.
    but the other 4 Bettas love the color enhancing betta bits and hate the blood worms . they are all fed twice daily and are happy as can be. the males are all building nests and are swimming about playing and being happy and being active. they dont flair unlsess they see you giving more attention to one fish then to them. they let us pet them. they follow fingers and are awesome to watch. now i read that its a good thing for them to flair.. so on occasion i will put a mirror around them and let them watch themselves and watch them flair . but i think they are just so used to one antoher they dont flair because its antoher male beside them.

    i myself prefer the crowntails because they are gorgeous. they have awesome tails and fins and have brilliant colors.

    Happy "fishing"


  • club_mario

    I bought a beta fish about 6 months ago and the little guy is so cool. I did not know that you could put a plant in his tank. What I'm concerned about is that if I buy a peace lily wouldn't there be traces of fertilizer on the roots or pesticides or whatever the grower was using.?

  • daniuga_hotmail_com


    Before I got my first betta I'd been researching bettas for about a month. I read about everything that it (originally I was going to get a male) would need and compiled a list, and researched common betta problems with an eye out for pictures (so I could recognize an illness when I saw it) where applicable (if a betta has internal parasites, its not going to alter their appearance). When making a list of meds, food, or water treatment its best to see which products the breeders recommend. I'd suggest that you get more than one opinion. Because some dechlorinators remove aquarisol , some people prefer Novaqua and Amquel

    Although I would like to be accredited with being experienced/knowledgeable about bettas, the fact of the matter is that my knowledge with bettas is restricted to what I've learned from others and what I've learned from my mistakes. I've been blessed with an extremely resilient female betta, so I've been able to learn from my many mistakes. For instance, before I got Lyren I knew that I should get some aquarium salt and aquarisol as a preventative. But I was so excited about my new fish that I forgot. My best guess is that the parasites are just in the water itself. A combination of aquarium salt and aquarisol added to the water during changes will usually prevent your fish from getting parasites or fungus. Also they will kill most external parasites.

    Mistake #2, Lyren got parasites, rubbing herself against the brand new tank. . Luckily, I'd read about what the symptoms of external parasites are beforehand, so I knew what it was and how to treat it. The next day I rushed to the store for the stuff (I put the replacement water on her heating pad overnight so that it would be the same temp.) and did the water change as soon as I got back. You'll want to do a complete water change (to remove some of the parasites), so move your fish into another container with some of its contaminated water (another tank is nice, but I've made do with plastic cups). After you've done the water change (a complete one!), add the dechlorinator, the salt, and the aquarisol to the clean water. The water should be at the same temperature as the water that your fish is currently in. Digital thermometers are great, but fingers can also be used to check the temp. Once it's at the same temperature use a net to transfer the fish to the clean water (you don't want to bring any parasites to the clean water that you don't have to). You should notice the results immediately. As soon as I dropped Lyren in she stopped trying to scratch herself, though she was slightly stressed out (just make sure that there are no shadows in the tank and leave them alone for a while). Keep an eye on him for any other problems. If the parasites persist, you might need something stronger like "Clout". But try aquarium salt (1tsp/2.5gal) and aquarisol (1drop/gal) first. The catch is that apparently some dechlorinators remove aquarisol, usually if they say that they remove hard minerals, they are not compatible. But I use Aquasafe (it removes hard minerals) and it works just fine. After I disposed of the parasites (just call me the terminator), I noticed that she had what appeared to be scratches on her face. I assumed that it was from her throwing herself on the gravel, but when they didn't heal after a couple of days, I became suspicious. I medicated her for a bacterial infection, and they went away. Always keep some bacterial medication handy (I use Kanacyn). Whenever your fish are stressed, there's a chance that they'll get an infection (since they're in a weakened condition).

    About the third mistake I made with Lyren was not alternating her diet. She got constipated. I fed her a tiny bit of a spinach leaf (acts as a laxative) and went to buy her some freeze-dried bloodworms and brine shrimp (my fish is spoiled, but you should alternate between at least two sources of food, even if you just give one as a treat). Oh and because bettas are carnivorous, any flake food you get should be composed of fish, preferably food made especially for bettas. Keep your options open in case your fish is picky, their tastes vary and sometimes depend on what the breeder fed them.

    I suggest two good sites that have great information on diseases and bettas in general,

    www.bettatalk.com This is where I got the information on how to treat external parasites

    www.bettastarz.com They have a betta forum that is free (always nice) though you will have to register.

    Both have pictures of bettas with common ailments; so before your fish get diseases, make sure that you check it out.

    Some parting advice: read up on ailments before your fish get sick, keep a spare tank/container as a hospital tank (for quarantined fish), and always check a fish for signs of ailments before buying it. Quarantine new fish for about a week before adding them (to check for signs of illness) and as soon as you think that one of your fish might be sick, quarantine it (remember to disinfect the net if the fish does prove ill).

    Before buying Lyren, I checked her for signs of bacterial/fungal infections, body/tail rot, and ich. I didn't have the nerve to bring a flashlight and check for velvet. She is from Petsmart and was in a little cup, so I moved her near different bettas to see if she'd flare at them (they get used to the ones that they're always around). And she did, so I figured that since she had a strong love of life and because bettas won't always flare when they're sick, that she would be a good choice. This has proved to be the case. I know that many people would probably like to rescue one of the ill ones, but if you try there's no guarantee that you'll be successful, they might be beyond help. So if you want a fish thats going to live for a good while (unless you make a really BIG mistake), you're better off to get a healthy fish and leave the ill ones to the experienced fish hobbyists.

    Lyren has vertical stripes right now, so I'm doing something right.

    Hope this helps, good luck with your fish!

  • 2cute

    Basically, are we growing plants or taking care of fish? I suppose both can be combined, but not well. If you want a peace lilly, then grow one.

    If you want a betta fish, get a minimum of a 3 gallon aquarium, (5 or 10 gallon is better), use a heater if your home is colder than 75 Farenheight, and buy food made for bettas. Also use water conditioner and aquarium salt, the betta needs it. You can mix a betta with other fish such as neon tetras, ghost shrimp, and cories. Some successfully mix them with guppies.

    I saw a posting online that said bettas don't like to swim much, so a small container is fine. Tell that to Cinnamon, my male betta whose happy in his 10 gallon heated aquarium. He zips all over the tank and is very active. They are so graceful and beautiful when they swim, you never will get to see all a betta fish has to offer if it is confined to a cramped vase, often starving, just because they are slow fish to die.

  • LAmove

    This is fine, as long as certain guidelines are followed, be sure the Betta has a good diet, I feed mine frozen brine shrimp and blood worms alternating them- (not too much on the blood worms, as they are fatty). Depending on size of the bowl, change water regularly, say, a 1 gallon size, change water every week, 1/2 gallon, every 4 days, quart size, every day, etc. using a chlorine remover and stress anecdote like Stress Coat. Be sure that any dead roots on the plant are removed promptly, as these will cause bacteria, and sour the water quickly. Clean water and good diet are all that is needed for Bettas, really, that and making sure the water temp doesn't get down under, say 68 degrees, they tend to be unhappy in cool water, but then again, nothing over 82 degrees 8- )

  • nguyenhg

    I read the previous posts with some amusement. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. As an experienced planted tank owner, I have had no problem keeping bettas in any size tank, with lots of plants. For years I kept a thickly planted 75-gallon tank (see picture), with 1 male and 2 female bettas, and they got along fine with all the other community fishes (about 20 of different types). At first the male betta would flare and try to chase after the clown loaches, but the loaches were just too fast for him. Then he got used to the loaches and everyone was happy.

    Now I'm keeping one male betta in a 1-gallon fish bowl, again fully planted using the Diana Waldstad method with 1" of organic garden soil underneath a thin layer of fine gravel. I have Pothos growing emergent and Cryptocoryne Wendtii growing submerged. I also have some Malaysian Trumpet snails and Red Ramshorn snails to keep the algae under check. He's happier now than when he first arrived home in a plain bowl. He's more active, swimming among all the plants and roots, building bubble nests, and his fins are much nicer and brighter. I feed him 2 or 3 times a day. I monitor the bowl about once a week and have found zero ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate (which could mean I'm starving the plants a little, but they are growing well enough).

    Oh yes, before I forget, I'm using a used AeroGarden base to support my fish bowl. Had one lying around and I thought, "Hey, this thing has got a light, a timer, and an air pump! What else would you need?" So I just cut out a piece of wood to exactly cover the top of the AeroGarden, put my fish bowl on it, and voila! As time goes though, I've plugged the AeroGarden into my own $3 timer because the time settings that the AeroGarden provides don't match what I want (less than 12 hours on a day with a dark period mid day). Also, the air pump is only used to provide circulation in the bowl. The plants seem to do better with it during the soil break-in period, but I may turn it off after the roots are well established and providing oxygen to the substrate.

  • pinkiemarie

    Just reiterating the point that keeping a betta, goldfish, guppy or any other animal in a tiny enclosure is cruel. The water gets dirty extremely fast, it's unhealthy, they don't have room to swim...there are plenty of safe plants to put with a fish so that's not the issue. The issue is the size of the bowl, type of water used, filtration, heat during cold weather, light and feeding. Take good care of your animals just like you would with your plants!

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268