Beta or Betta Fish and Bamboo Living Together

Beta or Betta fish also known as Siamese fighting fish come from a tropical area in Thailand. They are very colorful antisocial fish that breathe air. They do not have gills like most other fish so they can’t breathe under water. It’s important they have plenty of room at the top so they can get air. A lot of people don’t know this and inadvertently smother their Beta after getting them home.

I found my bowl at Target, it looks like a large brandy snifter and holds about two and a half gallons of water; plenty of room for one male Beta and four bamboo plants. My plants have about eight or nine inch stems, eighteen inches long counting the leaves.

My rocks also came from Target. I like the black ones because they give a pretty contrast with the bright color of the fish and the nice green of the plants. Make sure you clean your rocks really well before placing them in your fish’s home. I don’t use soap but if you do be sure to rinse very well.

I keep my bowl on a ledge above my kitchen sink that is between my living room and kitchen. My back wall is all glass, one large window and a patio door. Bamboo don’t need a lot of sunlight, in fact I’ve seen them growing fine in office buildings with only fluorescent lighting. Beta shouldn’t be in direct light mostly due to algae growing more quickly in their tank.

I put black river stones in the bottom because I like the look of them and to help hold the bamboo in place. My fish enjoys having the plants to hide behind and it gives a more natural feel to his home. Bamboo and Beta come from the same region and live happily in the same environment. Bamboo and Beta need their water replaced and their homes cleaned routinely so they do well together.

Do not put two Betas in a container, as they will fight to the death; hence the name Siamese fighting fish. In the wild they are loners and keep to themselves unless mating and they are only together for a short time. They are pretty aggressive even when mating and sometimes accidentally squeeze the female to death so I don’t advice it unless you know what you are doing. One is plenty for me.

They live to be about two years old if taken care of and fed a good diet. I don’t recommend buying the cheap pellets at Walmart, this is comparable to buying cheap dog food that is full of fillers. They eat so little it isn’t much more expensive to buy a good food that is mostly fish and better for them. Any good pet store will carry the better variety. Give them one flake a day and crumble it between your thumb and forefinger. If you drop the flake in the tank whole, it will float and as he tries to eat, most of it will fall below in the rocks where he can’t get to it and it will dirty the water more quickly. Crumbled, he has a better chance to eat it all. He has a tiny tummy and doesn’t need very much.

About every three to four weeks you will need to clean out his water and put in new. Bottled water that is free of chlorine is best. If you have well water you don’t have to worry about that. Make sure the water is room temperature, not too cold or too warm.

Take a fish net and scoop out your Beta putting him in a temporary vase until you have cleaned his home. I like a vase because some fish will jump and I wouldn’t want to put him in a shallow bowl taking that risk.

You will need to rub the bamboo with your fingers under running water to remove any algae that has built up on the plants; be careful with tender roots.

Take a scrubber sponge and clean any residue on the sides of the bowl and clean the rocks thoroughly to clean away any algae or dirt.

Replace your stones and bamboo arranging the rocks to hold the plants in place. Refill with water and lastly pour in your fish.

Beta fish are tropical animals so if you may need to put in a small heater. You can also buy stick on thermometers to monitor the temperature in your fish bowl. Keeping them warm enough is important.

Bamboo and betas live well together. The droppings from the fish feed the plant and the fish enjoys having natural plants to hide and play in. I've noticed my bamboo that are in my fish tank are more healthy than the ones just growing in a container.

You can add ornaments just don't go overboard. You want your beta to have plenty of room to swim around. They aren't as active as other fish but still need exercise.

Remember, this is a live animal and needs care so if you don't have time to feed your fish or clean his tank you should reconsider getting a beta. They are less work than a dog but still need attention. Mine enjoys watching me almost as much as I like looking at him.

Comments 106 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

I really appreciate the great information on this. We are talking about getting a fish or two.

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Is the Beta a mammal?Enjoyable read Pamela.;)

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 5 years ago from Central Georgia

This is a great hub. I have enjoyed betas for years but when I got one I could never get them to last longer than 6 months, now I know why. I don't shop at Target but will look for a bowl like you recommend in other places. I enjoy bamboo. It will be cool to combine a beta with bamboo, very cool.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great hub on a subject I know nothing about ( or didn't)and it was so interesting.

Thank you for sharing.

Take care


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

MT, we love Betas. They are beautiful and add color to your home as well as soothing to watch.

lol No, Mentalist, they aren't a mammal but are one of the rare fish that breath air like an amphibian but still considered a fish.

Georgiakevin, a lot of people don't realize they breath air and accidentally kill them. Once you understand this they are easy to keep. You may have more resources for pretty containers than I have here. Look around and you'll be surprised what you'll find.

Yes, Joe, soap and fish don't mix well so we must make sure all residue is rinsed away.

Thanks for reading, Eiddwen. They are an inexpensive pet that are enjoyable to watch.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

When I was 14 I tried to breed Beta fish, but the male always bid off the female's fins and I had to remove her to recover in another tank. I enjoyed reading this Hub... Very important info for anyone who wants to have a Beta or two. I voted up.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Glenn, from what I have read you are supposed to put her near his home in her own tank but where he can see her. He will make bubbles at the top and then you add her for a short while to his bowl. It is tricky and often times the female dies. There are YouTube videos showing how to do it but I think I'll just stick with my one little friend.

Thanks for reading.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

Pamela, I waited for the male to finish building the bubble nest and then put her in with him. But the thing I missed was letting him get to recognize her first by leaving her in a tank next to him. That makes sense. Thanks for that extra bit of info.

marellen 5 years ago

Had a beta and bamboo too...did everything you did and my beta Oscar lived for two years. He was beautiful and friendly.

BTW: Your bowl looks great.

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wow, very interesting! Although I am somewhat familiar with Betas, I did not know that they don't breath under water. Very cool. Thanks!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Very cool set up. I loved it!

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Pamela, great information and a very interesting and enjoyable read .

Awesome hub !!!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Marellen, they are fun pets. Thanks for reading.

J.S. a lot people don't know that and it's an important piece of information to know if you are going to keep one.

Thanks, A.A. My daughter took the pictures for me and they aren't great but I needed to show each step.

Thanks, Kashmir56. I probably could have added more information but it was already long with all the pictures.

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Pamela. Wow! I learn something every day. beta fish don't have gills, bur breathe with lungs. Now I'm looking it up and the spelling changes (Betta) and also the breathing methods... fascinating!

Marked up

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

People spell it both ways, beta or betta. I'm not sure what the difference is but I'm thinking about putting Betta in my title.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Very well done Hub, the cats and I will discuss the idea of bringing one in. Thanks for the information.

Charlu profile image

Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

Awesome hub and you really did your research. I never realized that certain tropical fish don't have gills and need air. Up and awesome Thanks for a great hub

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

mckbirdbks, they are an inexpensive pet that doesn't take much room and they don't eat much either.

Charlu, Thanks for reading.

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

This makes me want to go get another betta or two! I love the look of the betta in with the bamboo.. it looks neat. Great hub and informative, too!

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Great hub with some great photos that make it look very easy...voted up and useful

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Jamie. They are really easy to keep. Just keep them fed and clean and they'll be happy.

Thanks, Cogerson. My pictures are very low tech but at least I do own them. :o)

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Pamela, this brought back memories. I had a blue male beta that I brought home from the grocery store! Goodness knows why they were selling them! I figured I could save one. He lived for two years, first in a goldfish bowl and eventually a little tank. If I ever got a fish again, I would get one beta, they are very beautiful and graceful and yes, only one in it's own tank! Great Hub!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for stopping by, Scribenet. I think they are beautiful too.

tsmog profile image

tsmog 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

cool , , ,I have bamboo on my desk at work. I want to have fish. I have fish at home. Now I have a solution for the spot where my other plant is dying - wrong lighting. I'll take it home. Totally awesome idea , , ,next pay check home depot & Petco here I come , , ,Thank you Pamela N Red , , ,remember to have fun, fun, fun :)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, tsmog. Just make sure you get a large enough bowl for your fish to swim around and get exercise.

Aquatic Guru profile image

Aquatic Guru 5 years ago from Goodspring, Tennessee

I enjoy keeping Bettas too. They are indeed very colorful! Nice Hub and a very pretty setup!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Aquatic Guru. I love to look at them, they have such beautiful colors.

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub Pamela. Bettas are quite easy to keep



Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Yes, John they are. Much easier than tropical fish.

Crobin28 profile image

Crobin28 5 years ago from Pelham, Alabama

I have a King Beta and he is absolutely gorgeous!! I love your tank set up! Mine is in a small square tank with an opening at the top. I actually didn't know they breathe air so I learned something completely new today! Luckily for my fish I have left plenty of breathing room for him everytime I clean the tank out! Would you be able to tell me why he randomly wiggles in the water?? Normally near the top.

Manic!@thedisco profile image

Manic!@thedisco 5 years ago from Beautiful Arkansas Ozarks

Great hub! I've had a couple of Bettas (not at the same time!) and they never lived very long. Great tips for long, happy lives! The bamboo is beautiful, and I bet they do enjoy it. Voted up!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Crobin, they love to strut and fan their fins. I'm guessing they are showing us how beautiful they are. Not really sure but it's good exercise. Glad you left room for your friend to breathe.

Thanks for reading, Manic. Sorry your bettas didn't live long, I hope my tips help you with future pets.

SealBeach profile image

SealBeach 5 years ago

One beta can be very entertaining if you place a mirror facing the bowl.The beta will endlessly

maintain an aggressive postor until you remove the mirror.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Seal, that is true but it can cause stress to the fish so I don't recommend it. I'd rather keep mine in a calm serene atmosphere.

SealBeach profile image

SealBeach 5 years ago

I find them more assertive (scavenge food at the bottom) in playing out their natural instincts...even though a little exercise does not diminish the quality of life. Maybe try it a few minutes and watch the colorful display.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Seal, my Betta fans his fins daily without making him feel there is a threat to his territory. They fight when necessary but I don't think encouraging that behavior is a good idea.

SealBeach profile image

SealBeach 5 years ago

Pamela, I believe my Beta (Sam) gets a little restless if he's not living out his natural instincts. Imagine having a pit bull in a confine space without "exercise." Too much nurturing can be detrimental to anyone or anything. However, I felt a connection with you when I read your Hub on Betas; because I too--mimic the same care that you provide to your Beta(s). They are fascinating little creatures to say the least!

rwelton profile image

rwelton 5 years ago from Sacramento CA

Very cool hub - have had fish and have bamboo - never thought to "co-mingle" them.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

They look good together, rwelton and it give the Betta a place to hide.

Fishlover 5 years ago

Hi, just wanted to point a couple of things out...

unfortuneately, betta fish need five plus gallons of water, as well as a heater. They also need a cycled tank (as any other fish) and cannot be kept in a bowl. You need to do partial water changes every week, as they require very clean water. You would also need to test the water, and watch out for diseases, as well as other elements.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Fishlover, I've heard they need more water but the ones I've had seem to do okay in a 2 gallon bowl. As far as a heater, I live in the south so it doesn't get that cold here plus I have central heat and air. Keeping the water clean is very important. Thanks for your input.

MarkMAllen15 profile image

MarkMAllen15 5 years ago

I'm glad I took a dropped here. Interesting hub!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Mark.

fashion 5 years ago

Awesome hub and you really did your research.Well done

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, fashion.

RalphGreene profile image

RalphGreene 5 years ago

Wow! That's really interesting having bamboos and Betta together.Great hub, Pamela.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, RalphGreene.

santos88 profile image

santos88 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

I liked this article, but I did find something that didn't sound right. You mentioned their water should be cleaned every 3-4 weeks. Bettas, while hardy, can still be sensitive to the ammonia build up. In a 2 gallon, the water should be changed at least twice a week. Ammonia builds up fast in something that small, because it comes from their waste and decaying food. Also, I am not sure of you forgot to mention this or not, but when you do a water change you need to acclimate them to the water. Putting the betta in totally new water can shock and sometimes kill them, either from the difference in temperature, ph, other chemical levels, etc. Please don't take any offense, just trying to help. :)

@Fishlover, 2-2.5 gallons is the minimum size for bettas. While 5 gallons is great, it isn't totally necessary. A betta will do just fine in a 2.5.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Santos, the man at the aquarium store told me that was too often to clean the bowl. The bowl I bought is the same size as the betta bowl they sell at the pet store. My fish is healthy, seems happy and lives to the full extent of their lives so I think I'm doing okay.

Water temperature is important and why I make sure it is room temp. There are ph testers you can get if you are concerned about the water you use. I have well water which comes from an underground stream.

santos88 profile image

santos88 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

I usually dont trust store employees, they don't always know what they are talking about even if they work at an aquarium store. You would be surprised how fast the ammonia will build up, it is basically swimming in your own "stuff" for a month.

I wasn't concerned about the water, I just meant after you clean the bowl, when you out the betta back in do you acclimate him first? Because going from dirty water to clean water can be a big shock. The ph and other chemical levels will be different. Also, bettas are tropical, and should be at about 76-80 degrees, room temp can be too cold sometimes.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Santo, he wasn't just an employee, he owns an aquarium store. I took his advice and have been raising bettas for years. They live to be two years old (full life expectancy) so I must be doing something right.

SanXuary 4 years ago

Another great idea for Bettas. Instead purchase a large sun tea jar with a spout at the bottom. Place gravel above the spout area inside the jar. Let water sit in a jar overnight to remove chlorine and to reach room temperature. Open spout and remove water, being below the gravel it will also remove waste build up much like a ground filter in an aquarium. Replace removed water, weekly exchanges should keep your aquarium cleaner. I have seen many very nice sun tea and even punch containers that can be purchased and achieve such a need.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

SanXuary, that is a good idea for people who have Country décor in their homes. The spout would be great for getting rid of some of the waste.

John 4 years ago

Before writing an article on this fish, please learn something about it as simple as it's proper name! It's name is Betta Splendens or Betta (Bed-tah) for short. There is no Beta(bay-tah)Fish or Betta Fish. The only time you use fish is to describe it i.e. Siamese Fighting Fish. Really people this is getting out of control!

santos88 profile image

santos88 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

*Bettas DO have gills. The reason they can breathe from the air as well is because they are Anabantoids. This means they have a special organ called a Labyrinth that allows them to use air for oxygen. That is why wild bettas thrive in low oxygen bodies of water like rice patties and ponds.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

John, you have to understand online writing and keyword classification for this title to make sense. Thanks for reading.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Santo, all I know is that the aquarium store told me they cannot breathe under water and if the top is completely closed off they will drown. I've seen some containers with plastic holding a plant and have heard those fish can't get enough air. With my set up my fish gets plenty of oxygen.

RetailRich profile image

RetailRich 4 years ago

Nice idea, but i disagree with fishlover. I was in the tropical fish business for years. They do not need 5+gallons of water to live in. A small bowl is just fine. Have you ever seen how they're shipped or sold for that matter?

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

RetailRich, yes I have, they live in tiny little bowls until someone buys them. Mine seem very happy and get good quality food. They live to be two to three years old so I think I'm doing okay. Thanks for reading.

baileygenine profile image

baileygenine 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Great idea!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading Baileygenine.

CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

I've seen several people do this and it is a nice look. I have a tank full of cichlids but I think a betta bamboo set up would be interesting in another part of the house.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

czczcz, I have enjoyed mine. Your tank sounds lovely, I used to have a tank full of fish but it was too much to take care of. My small bowl is just enough for me.

wonderingwoolley profile image

wonderingwoolley 4 years ago from Madison, WI

This is a really cute idea. I've had several wonderful beta fish, but none of them have ever had such a nice little home as this (only plastic plants for them) This is really unique and i love that you shared it with us!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, wonderingwoolley. I like the look of betas and bamboo together.

Erin 4 years ago

I was just curious- do you need to feed the bamboo plant at all? I remember having bamboo a long time ago and they gave me a little bottle of stuff to give it like once a week. Would that harm the fish?

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Erin, don't put any plant food in the water as that would probably kill your beta. The feces from the fish feeds the plant. My bamboo that are in with my fish are healthier than the ones that are only in rocks and water or the ones in soil. I'm thinking the fish droppings add nutrients to the plants.

santos88 profile image

santos88 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

You can also use any old fish tank water to water your other plants.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

True, Santos, it is really good for plants.

cortney 4 years ago

this was very helpful for me becouse i have already killed one of my beta because i didn't have the plant i wasn't sure wat to do with the bamboo after i got and i found this it was very helpful hopfully this keeps my fish alive :)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

They don't have to have plants, Cortney. Make sure the water doesn't have chlorine in it and feed him everyday. Thanks for reading.

jonny and andi 4 years ago

Thanks, Pamela - great tips! I, too was told by a guy from a pet-store, to not too (!) often clean the fish-bowl. I also use pH measurement equipment to check on the water softness. I also do deep-water fishing, using more advanced equpment like fishfinders. Currently, I use the Lowrance hds7

So deep-water fishing is definitely also pretty demanding, trust me ;)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Jonny.

Valentino 4 years ago

Wow, thanks a lot. Your instructions are very thorough and well done. Thank you very much!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Valentino. Good luck with your Beta.

Seal Beach 4 years ago

I missed my Beta--Sam! The power-outage was a bit overwhelming!

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Maybe you can get another one. They are a lot of fun.

MagicSnow 4 years ago

Hi.I like the idea about the bamboo but most bettas really shouldn't live in a bowl.My betta lived in a bowl for a while and really did not do well even though it was four gallons and not really a bowl(it had a flat top and bottom with curved sides like a BiUbe)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

MagicSnow, I've raised several betas this way without any problem. They lived to their full life expectancy.

MagicSnow 4 years ago

Are you sure that is a fair way to raise them?I have had many bettas and I have only kept one in a bowl which did not do well.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Beta bowls you buy in the pet store are smaller than the bowl I use. Yes, it is a great place for them to live. I've talked to aquarium experts and they said it is plenty of room for one fish.

anusujith profile image

anusujith 4 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

Hi Pamela good hub. from where we can by this beta fish?

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Anusujith, here in America they have them at pet stores and aquarium shops. Outside the US I'm not sure.

Marcella Santos 4 years ago

You can buy bettas with really good breeding on

Lorraine Burrage 4 years ago

I'm preparing for my first beta/bamboo set up. I have the container and I have the bamboo. The bamboo has orange roots. Is that what they should be? Could I put in some pretty colored stones that I have that I bought at Michael's? Do I feed the fish some special food or does it just live off the roots? I would be so grateful if you could answer these questions. This document was exactly what I was looking for. I saw a nice beta/bamboo where I have my nails done and I wanted one. Thank you. Lorraine Burrage

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Beta fish must have special food. I've read some articles that said they can live on water lily roots but that isn't true. They are meat eaters and in the wild have a wide diet of insects and water life. Beta food has all the nutrients he will need to stay healthy.

Beta food is not very much and they eat so little it doesn't cost much to feed them. I got my fish and food at PetSmart.

You can use any rocks or glass stones (Use only smooth glass so they can't cut themselves) just make sure you wash them thoroughly and if you use soap rinse all of the residue before putting it in your bowl.

Yes, bamboo roots are a pretty orange color.

bluebird profile image

bluebird 4 years ago

Great hub. I've learned alot about Betas from our son who has three. Using bamboo for foliage is a wonderful idea. I like bamboo in the house also.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Bamboo are very attractive in the home and look nice with beta fish. Mind seems to enjoy them. Thanks for reading, Bluebird.

JaKGuzi profile image

JaKGuzi 4 years ago from Plano, TX

Thank you so much Pamela! I received my betta from a coworker at school who said the children were picking on him too much. I love my little Clyde. She has a great deal of experience with betta fish, and suggested to get him pellets, instead of flakes, because flakes make the water foggy and dirty faster, in addition the betta eats the pellet better with less sinking to the bottom. I had him in those little containers they sell at the pet store. I cleaned his bowl out once a wk, but saw it stayed pretty clean because of the pellets so I did every other wk. Summer vacation came, and I brought him home. I didn't like his small container, so I did some searching and bumped into your hub! I had never heard of this site, but I read up on your info, and having already a bamboo plant, I thought this was perfect! I got a large vase, just a little taller than yours, and more smooth rocks 3 1/2 inches. I put little Clyde in there with the bamboo, right on my breakfast table that overlooks the backyard. HE LOVES IT. He always swam up to me, but now he swims more, does little flips and looks so happy! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am wondering then, you said 3-4 wks on changing water? I have read more often...but you have had fish in your vase for a while and they all did well? How do u decide between 3 or 4?

Also, one last comment, I did read on this betta site that strongly recommended NOT to use a net for the bettas b/c their fins can get damaged in the process. They recommended using a small cup to get him out along with some water for his bowl. I had just purchased a net, but afraid of hurting his fins, I am going to return it. Have you heard or searched about this before?

Again, thank you so much for posting! Clyde thanks you for his new home too! From a small container to an almost 3 gallon vase! :-)

Cybermouse profile image

Cybermouse 4 years ago from Bentonville, AR

Excellent hub, bamboo is a great idea for plants.

I can clarify a few points being discussed here: for one, betta fish do have gills. However, despite this, they will drown (as you said) if they can't reach the water surface. They get most of their oxygen from the surface, but I've seen my bettas go as long as ten minutes without breathing air from the surface - something that I don't believe is possible without gills. If you're still in any doubt, just look carefully and you'll notice two little flappy things on either side of their head that move back and forth when they breathe. One way to easily identify a bad water condition is if they are breathing very fast but don't appear scared - too much ammonia in the water. If this happens, it's time for a water change!

The fish waste actually does not directly feed the plants. Via the Nitrogen Cycle, its byproducts can feed plants, but as-is, the fish waste actually kills them. I've had every live plant I bought die from this very cause - the plant chokes on the fish waste (ammonia) and then itself decays and produces more ammonia, compounding the problem. Ammonia is a powerful cleaning agent, not a plant fertilizer. It would be a miracle of science if you could get ammonia to fertilize anything!

Instead, it is two types of bacteria (known as the biological filter) that turn the ammonia into nitrites and then nitrates, and the nitrates are what actually feed the plant. Cleaning the tank completely is bad - this kills all the bacteria, forcing the Nitrogen Cycle to start from scratch again. This lack of bacteria is known as "new tank syndrome" and can kill fish if not managed carefully - ammonia builds up quite rapidly, with nothing to break it down or make it less harmful. Thus, when cleaning the tank, never change all of the water, so the biological filter stays intact. The bacteria grow on every surface in the aquarium - plants, gravel, decorations, and the sides of the tank. When people talk about "cycling" a new tank before adding fish, this refers to building up the biological filter and thereby avoiding the new tank syndrome. You can buy some of this bacteria at pet stores to help kick start the process.

As far as plant food goes, I am guessing store-bought plant food would be a lot less harmful to the fish than ammonia. It probably doesn't affect all fish the same, but I might consider using some if it was labeled betta-safe.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

JaKGuzi, I buy the flakes because they were recommended by a man that owns an aquarium store. He said the pellets have a lot of filler that isn't good for the fish. If you over feed them the water will become dirty sooner. Sounds like you are doing fine, just read the ingredients on container and see what is in the food. They mostly eat fish in the wild.

Cybermouse, I had noticed that my bamboo that live with my beta are much more healthy than the ones in regular bamboo planters I figured the fish somehow fertilized the plants.

Thanks for reading.

T4an profile image

T4an 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

Very good hub. I never thought of adding bamboo to my tank. I used to have beta fish on my desk at work. This hub makes me want to get another one. Voted up!

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roxygurl464 4 years ago from New Jersey

Reading this Hub makes me want a Beta fish! They are so beautiful and so calming to watch. I am definitely going to add some bamboo for a little Asian flare as well! Great Hub, thumbs up & shared!

Kelela 4 years ago

I want to make note to say, that when taking care of a betta fish, the best way to do this, is to have a tank, preferably with more horizontal room, rather than vertical, and bowls are really not suitable, they don't have enough room to really swim, as betta fish love to swim, and to watch them swim, is a beautiful thing, I have 5 betta fish, 3 boys, and 2 girls, and the boys have 5 gallon tanks, with all the amenities, my HM has a betta floating log, and plenty of silk, and live plants, and a filter for prestine water, and unless your tank is a "Cycled" tank, water cleaning is a must on a weekly basis. If your tank is under 5 gallons you will need to do a water change, 2x a week, 1/2 and then a full water change. Also please do not "Net" your betta fish, as it can be damaging to their fins, it is best to "Cup" them, and clean the tank thoroughly, and the best plants to have would be Silk, and Real plants..and keep your betta away from drafts, and uneven tables, and places where your tank, could drop. Also it is very important to have a heater, and keep a consistent temp of 78 degrees and a thermometer to watch for temp flucuations, as this will get your betta very sick, if the temp drops, as room temp cannot remain stable, there will be rapid flucuations, as night falls, and temps can drop 10 degrees or more.

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myawn 4 years ago from Florida

I didn't know much about taking care of the bamboo plant. Thanks for the information. Nice hub!

Chewy Mommy 3 years ago

I had no idea that Betas breathed air, although it does make sense. Every person I have met who has had a Beta has had it in an open bowl.

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jonno96 3 years ago from Australia


Monika 2 years ago

I have a Question you know how Bamboo Plants Come With A green bottle to put it as Drops, Will it affect My betta.?

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 2 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I wouldn't use the drops, they may harm the fish. Probably plant food. My bamboo did very well without any kind of food so you shouldn't need any.

Mik 2 years ago

I'm sorry but that thing about betta's only breathing air is hooey. Bettas have functioning gills and they also have a secondary "lung" system (if you can call it that) which allows them to suck in air and blow bubbles. When bettas reproduce the males create a bubble nest to keep the eggs and young fish safe. The secondary system is not their way of breathing. It's an accessory to reproduction.

Morgana 17 months ago

How can you say betta is interchangeable with beta? Betta is a genus name. You can't change it! And you really should have bettas in larger tanks. It's cruel to keep them in a bowl. I have been raising and breeding betta fish for almost 15 years now. They need heaters, filters, proper water stabilizers, etc.

Arya 15 months ago

its Betta, it is NOT interchangeable. Beta is the last version before the software is fully released to all actual customers. Last "test" release before the "released" production version.

this lady has ALOT of wrong info. The Organ in which they 'breathe air' as she says is called the Labyrinth Organ, Betta and Gouramis both have this organ alot with some other fish in the same family. This organ allows labyrinth fish to take in oxygen directly from the air, instead of taking it from the water in which they reside through use of gills. The labyrinth organ helps the inhaled oxygen to be absorbed into the bloodstream. They DO have gills, that is how they mainly get oxygen.

Also after cleaning the tank, or when you first get the fish. DO NOT just dump your fish in, let them float in the cup you put them in for about 15 to 20 minutes to let them acclimate to the water temp, before you dump them in. Don't shock them by dropping them in water that is not the same temp.

raisin 7 months ago

You are very close in saying that bettas don't have gills. But take a look at him while he is flaring- he will puff out his gills! The fact is they do have gills and CAN breath under water, but only if the surface is agitated enough (by a filter usually) to put oxygen into the water. Otherwise, they suck up surface oxygen with their LABYRNTH ORGAN, which is like lungs.

Also "BETTA" is correct, technically. "beta" is autocorrect's fault.

Luisa 7 months ago

The good thing with this page is you learn a lot, not only from the writer of this article but from the comments. I just pick-up the right stuff and smile and get entertained with the "corrections" for the wrong ones (e.g. spelling, gills vs no gills). Overall I enjoyed this page. Thanks Pamela.

thegildedswampgirl 5 months ago

the plant that you are using is not actually a true bamboo, it is in the dracena family

hkjhkj 3 days ago

bettas should NOT be in tanks this small and please please look up proper pet care before you get a fish. fish are animals too!

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