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Peaceful Pair©
There are many products similar to the one shown above. It consists of a vase or small container (even sometimes a large one) with a male Betta Splenden inside and a plants of some kind (most often a Peace Lily) on top. The worst part about these setups is that the persons selling them most often then not, tell the buyer that the betta does NOT need to be fed and can live off the roots or tells them to feed him VERY little. To add insult to injury, they also tell you that the water does not need to be changed. They claim that this is a mini ecosystem where the plant lives off the excrement of the betta and the betta lives off the roots of the plants. This is entirely not true. Here are a few important facts :

1) Bettas a carnivorous fish, meaning they eat meat. This blows the whole idea of them living off the roots. You may see your betta nibbling at the roots, but if you were hungry enough, you would nibble too :( They need to be fed a supplement DAILY, twice a day is good too. A few choices are Hikari Betta Bio Gold (Hikari Cichlid Gold, baby size is the same thing, but more economical), HBH Betta Bytes or AquaCultures Bettas (which I recommend). Bettas do not generally care for flake food. Many people who have bought these vases have found that their betta will not survive without food and immediately go out and buy them some. This is why when I see one of these for sale, I urge the business to tell their customers the truth. The customer would rather keep their fish alive. Sometimes, the business themselves is ignorant to the facts and knows no better than what THEY were told,. 

2) Fish waste produces a chemical called Ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to fish, therefore regular water changes are necessary. The plant cannot take care of this problem entirely. Weekly water changes are the best way to ensure you have a healthy happy fish. I also urge businesses to tell their customers this as well. When changing their water use either bottled SPRING water (not distilled, it lacks essential elements) or use can use tap water treated with a dechlorinator such as Novaqua/Amquel, Stress Coat or AquaSafe.

3) Bettas breathe the oxygen from the surface of the water. This can pose a problem if the roots are left to over take the surface area. It is really better for them to get to the surface to breathe. they do have gills and can breathe from the water, but their preferred method is the surface. I have seen bettas 'drown' with lack of surface area to breathe from.

I have found that most people/businesses selling these products, do so without the knowledge that this does not work. As far as they know, what they were told is the truth. Almost everyone I have spoken with about these was more than willing to change the way they marketed this product by informing their customers that the bettas do in fact need to be fed and that frequent water changes are necessary. If we approach everyone we see/hear of selling these in a polite and informative way, we may be able to make a difference.

If you have bought one of these products, don't hesitate to buy your betta some food, it can take 2-4 weeks for a betta to starve to death and sometimes longer. That is why these products sell, they seem to work for that period of time :(

Read a first hand experience with what can happen when these are sold.

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Last update:
  March 23, 2009 10:27 PM CST Pet Sites

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