In this section I cover the betta in a vase displays, warn you about its dangers and give you tips on how to actually turn it into a safe betta home. Please read this page carefully if you currently own or are thinking about purchasing such a display. Thank you.
The latest fad
There is a new fad on the market today. It is called a "Betta in a Vase" display. Might sound like a nice thing, and the price is tempting. People figure they are getting a betta AND a plant for one somewhat low price and it seems a good deal. Well, unless you are a betta that is :((((.
What this display is
if you follow the instructions that come with many of these displays, the set-up will consist of: A vase, (filled with distilled water), a betta (pet store veil tail variety) and a plant at the top. Both the betta and the plant's roots are supposed to share the small amount of water in the vase, where Mr. Betta is supposed to live his entire existence ( get this) EATING THE ROOTS. Say WHATTTTT ???
Wait! It gets worse:
Just when you thought things just couldn't get worse for Mr. Betta, they do: The diabolic display comes with a (oh so convenient) instruction to not feed the betta nor change the water EVER.
I want to know one thing: Who came up with that one?
A)- bettas are carnivorous and although out of despair they might eat roots (hey, you would eat a cockroach if got hungry enough!), they cannot survive long that way. It is not unlikely that bettas in the wild may, on occasion, munch on some near by vegetation, including some roots, but this does not constitute their entire diet. This is what their diet consists of. It's sorta like you eat cake here and there, but could you survive on JUST CAKE ??
B)- distilled water is not adequate for fish keeping. It is lacking all the proper elements bettas need to be healthy.
C)- ecosystems only work when they are large enough to allow a safety margin for fluctuations. Meaning that if one of the components of the ecosystem fluctuates, the whole system will not come crashing down. In such a small amount of water (hey, we are talking about a BOWL people!), how does one plan on preserving the ever fragile balance between: fish eating, fish pooping, plant eating fish poop and plant then cleaning water, plant being healthy enough to grow roots just enough to feed betta the perfect amount of food daily, etc... (assuming bettas would survive in such a vegetarian diet in the first place), you can see how one small change could radically affect the system and invariably cause the betta's death. I am against such set-ups. Every time I have seen one for sale on a store shelf, the betta was sick and dying, and it broke my heart.
People have been reporting that their bettas will die within 1 to 6 weeks. In short, they starve to death or become diseased because of poor water conditions.
Boycott!!! Boycott!! Oh and did I mention: BOYCOTT ??
If you see such displays out there DO NOT BUY THEM. They are designed to make big companies big money, at the expense of your betta. If you know someone who has such a display, give them this link!
How you can make such a display betta safe