The Infamous Betta Vase
How to Set Up a Betta Vase - An Inappropriate Home for a Betta
(The First Tank Guide)
There are a variety of ways to make Betta vases, however, all of them are cruel and none of them can be recommended by anyone interested in the health and well-being of the animals in question. Therefore, I cannot recommend a Betta Vase under any circumstances.
What's Wrong with a Betta Vase?
Generally, the vase is not large enough to house a Betta in good condition. Remember, the Betta should have at least 3-4 gallons (that's abotu 12-16 liters) of space in a tank no smaller than ten gallons.
In the past decade, as the popularity of the Betta vase has grown, Betta sales have skyrocketed - not because so many people are setting up Betta vases, but because people are replacing their Bettas every few months when the old one dies due to poor conditions. Though some people do have long term success with Bettas in a vase, and although Bettas are very tolerant of water conditions, this is not an ideal or even healthy environment.
What Do I Need to Set Up a Betta Vase if I Still Want One?
If you decide to set up a Betta vase, select a large glass vase (as with any container for a fish, the larger the better), a flower pot underliner or tray that will fit nicely into the neck of the vase, a Peace Lily or other Spathiphyllum plant that you would like to have in the top of the vase, and some aquarium gravel or small stones or marbles that you know to be aquarium safe (your best bet here is buying stones from a pet shot that are being sold as aquarium decorations) - you will want enough marbles or stones to provide a nice layer at the bottom of the vase as well as filling the tray for the top. You will also want a ribbon or small scarf to loop around the neck of the vase.
How Do I Set Up My Betta Vase Once I Have the Supplies?
- Rinse the rocks or marbles and the vase thoroughly with cool running tap water.
- Place some of the rocks in the bottom of the vase, being sure to leave enough to fill the tray you have selected for the top.
- Remove the plant from its pot and remove the soil from its roots, and then rinse the remaining soil off of the roots.
- Cut a hole in the middle of the tray so that you can slide the roots of the plant through, but so that the plant will not slip through when upright and so that the stones you have selected will not slip past the plant and fall into the vase.
- Trim the roots of the plant so that you can feed them through the hole you have cut in the saucer, but leave them long enough that they can reach down into the water at the widest point in the vase.
- Hold the plants roots together and slide them gently through the hole so that the plant's leaves come up from the top side of the tray.
- Fill the vase with tap water and dechlorinate the water using a chlorine remover available from your local pet store. You should only fill the vase to a wide point below the neck to maximize the surface area of the water (the more surface area you can provide, the better gas exchange you will get with the air and the easier your fish will breathe. you will need to compromise between maximizing water volume to dilute the fish's waste and maximizing the surface area to provide better oxygenation.
- Place the tray with the plant through it root-side-down into the neck of the vase. The roots should reach into the water
- Fill the tray with the remaining rocks or marbles.
- Take your ribbon or scarf and tie it around the neck of the vase to hide the water surface and the bottom of the tray.
What Do I Do When I Get My Betta for My Betta Vase?
When you get your Betta, you should acclimate him to the water in the vase. To do this, let him sit beside the vase in the bag from the pet store for 15 minutes without opening the bag. This will let the temperature in the vase and the bag become similar. Then take the plant-marble-tray stopper out of your vase, open the bag, and scoop some of the water from the vase into the bag - be careful not to get any water from the bag into the vase! Then let the bag float in the vase, or close it again and let it sit for another 15 minutes so that the fish can begin to get used to the different water chemistry. Then net the Betta out of the bag and gently place him in the vase and replace the tray with the plant and rocks.
Caring for Your Betta in Your Betta Vase
You will want to feed your Betta 5 or 6 times a week with a variety of high protein foods, like a Betta pellet or flake.
In any bowl or vase, I recommend a 50% or larger water change every day or every other day to prevent the fish's waste from building up too much. Though large water changes like this are stressful on the fish, they are usually less of a problem than the waste buildup that occurs after as little as a few hours in unfiltered water.