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.