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The Controversy About Betta Fish and Vases

Ever notice that many modern stylish homes are into betta fish keeping? And who wouldn’t be impressed by seeing such a trendy decorating element? Which if done right can make for a stunning display of living color that’s a great compliment to any decor.

Only problem is some of these would be betta keepers put the diminutive Siamese fighting fish in peace lily vases. What’s not to like? The elegant peace lily plant, the splashy betta fish, and the glittering gems on the bottom of the vase – you could say it must be the perfect combination. Or is it?

Now this idea of suitability is something worth exploring because we tend to get mixed reviews on whether betta fish and vases are a good match. Without taking sides we’ll lay out four issues that jump out at you and then it’s for you to decide as to whether this is suitable for fish like this or not.

Issue #1: Confining spaces or is that all there is?
As you know, when it comes to bettas the larger the tank the better. Vases and bowls are too small for most to swim around happily. Not that you can actually see them smiling but you will notice that they become surprisingly active when placed in a larger tank. Does small space stress them out? Perhaps. Especially when some would insist that the ideal tank size for a healthy betta fish set up is a 5 gallon tank at the least. Now if you could secure a vase with such capacity then you might be able to pull it off successfully. Otherwise, it might be a bit iffy.

Issue #2: The water’s fine – or is it?
When you really push the issue of placing bettas in vases, well you should at least be prepared for the worst possible scenario in terms of its water condition. Two come to mind. Number 1 is temperature. These guys thrive in warm temperatures which is why installing a heater in any tank housing them is a must. Unfortunately, it is impossible to install a heater in a tiny bowl much less a narrow necked vase. Number 2 is toxins. When you have a small container, pretty much there will be a quicker buildup of ammonia and other toxins in the water there inside the vase. So don’t be surprised if your betta gets sick out of the blue due in large part to questionable water conditions.

Issue #3: What’s left to breathe?
Bettas are endowed with specialized breathing organs that allow them to breathe atmospheric air, basically the same air which we humans breathe. Now allowing them to breathe such air is very important for them to thrive. Otherwise, why would they be having such body part in the first place? And seeing a peace lily plant being inserted into the vase, how then is this really optimal when it comes to air for them to breathe?

Issue #4: What’s for dinner?
The guy at the pet store selling you on the idea of a betta in a vase would most likely say it’s okay not to give any food directly since the roots of the peace lily plant are enough to satisfy their appetite. Baloney! Fighting fish are carnivores. They eat meat. And the last time I checked, the roots of plant are still not found under the category of “meat.”

However, despite these issues there are still some who insist that keeping bettas in a vase may in fact be feasible. Some have devised a way to punch a hole through the planting tray to allow air to pass through to supply more surface oxygen. Others would just lift the plant whenever they feed them betta pellets and live food as well as during water changes. But come on. Who is willing to commit to going through this much hassle when you can easily get a low maintenance set up?

Taking a look at these issues, certainly any sensible person could say that vases are far from ideal for bettas. Basically if you want your pet to achieve a lifespan that can last for years, then you would have to provide them with enough space to roam around, complete with adequate nutrition as well as the best water quality they can get. But like was said. It’s up to you to decide if something less than that is the humane thing to do or not.

The Controversy About Betta Fish and Vases

2 Responses to The Controversy About Betta Fish and Vases

  1. Santo says:

    Hi,

    I just want to know how many pairs of betta fish can be put in one 25 gallon aquarium?

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