Many people do not know that plants are an essential component of a healthy betta fish tank.
Because Betta fish are known for their fiery personalities and need to stay entertained. They also tend to be skittish and need a place to hide – this is where plants come in.
In this article, we will cover whether plants are good for Betta or not, which plants are best to use with bettas, how many you should have in your tank, and what type of environment they need to grow.
Are Plants good for Betta Fish?
Yes, plants are good for Betta fish in the tank.
Betta fish are one of the most popular pets in America, but not many people know that they need a plant or two to call home.
A small number of plants in your aquarium can provide your betta with shelter and security as well as an oxygen supply. Plus, these plants will help keep the water clean and clear!
A number of studies have shown that adding plants to your tank can help keep it cleaner and healthier for your Betta fish.
Plants provide natural filtration, they offer hiding places for territorial fish like Bettas and they even serve as a food source for some species of the fish you may want to keep!
Benefits of Keeping Plants in a Betta Fish Tank
Here are some benefits of plants for betta fish along with the best options.
1. Plants Fight Off Algae
The widespread growth of algal matter in tanks is annoying to fish. Plants can compete with algae for nutrients. These nutrients are iron, potassium, and nitrates.
Plants consume these nutrients, thereby starving algae and staving off their growth.
In more ways than one, this is the most effective way of slowing down algae. If this is your reason for buying aquatic plants, don’t go for slow varieties. For example, the slow-growing Anubias struggles to keep up with algae.
Either way, the most important step in fighting algae is to look for clumps. Always scrape algae from the glass regularly.
2. Oxygenation of the Water in the Tank
Plants in tanks also provide oxygenation to the water. They do this with the help of photosynthesis, releasing oxygen into the tank.
In exchange, they consume the carbon dioxide from the betta fish. Oxygenation of your tank is vital to the survivability of your bettas.
You could just as easily use pumps and air stones. However, these devices only increase the surface area of the plants. Aquatic plants can provide the aquarium with oxygen, which is essential to life.
There is a myth that the carbon dioxide released by plants is hazardous to fish. This is false because carbon dioxide isn’t dangerous to your fish. In reality, plants don’t release lethal amounts of CO2.
3. Mimics Their Natural Environment
Despite being bred in farms, betta fish do prefer to live in their natural habitat. You can do this by introducing more plants into the aquarium to mimic their environment. This will improve the aquarium’s beauty.
If you think about it carefully, isn’t that the purpose of your aquarium? To mimic the same habitat as your fish so they feel at home?
You don’t want to lock them up in a glasshouse filled with water. Look up more about the wild habitat of bettas and find suitable plants for them.
Don’t know where to look? Try your local fish store and they’ll tell you more about compatible plants.
4. Plants Provide a Comfortable Place to Hide
Betta fish can be very aggressive to their tank mates. At times, they may feel threatened and feel the need to hide. For this reason, you may want to provide them with plants as a safe refuge.
Without plants, your betta may become stressed out to the point of exhaustion. In addition to promoting a more peaceful environment for bettas, plants also encourage breeding.
In fact, if you want to create a mating pair, plants are a must. Live plants such as java fern and java moss are perfect for this purpose.
Pro tip: If you want to breed bettas, make sure your tank is fully cycled.
In the wild, most fish seek the protection of plants. They lay their eggs in plants, knowing that their young will be protected.
5. Plants Stabilize Substrate
This point is particularly important if your betta has multiple tank mates.
Plants have powerful root systems that can hold the substrate in a single place. This ensures that the substrate is more stable against aggressive fish.
Substrate stability is important for aesthetics as well as anaerobic processes in the tank.
If this is something you’re after, avoid plants that attach to rocks. Instead, look toward plants such as java ferns and Anubias. More importantly, these plants are also good at cleaning liquid excrements and nitrates.
Compatible Plants for Betta Fish Tank
Now that you’re convinced about the importance of plants, let’s find compatible species for bettas.
First up on our list is Java Ferns that are native to Southeast Asia.
This plant is exceptionally tough and can grow both in and out of water. All you need is to split their rhizome and plant it in the substrate.
It is worth pointing out that Java ferns can grow to be very big. A fully grown Java Fern can grow up to 13 inches. Therefore, it isn’t advisable to put them in tanks smaller than 10 gallons.
Tank Conditions for Java Ferns
Java Ferns best survive in neutral pH and require temperatures between 69-83°F. They are best suited for low-light tanks.
Java Moss is known for being the best plant for beta fish. Much like the Java Fern, it has adapted to survive all kinds of conditions.
You don’t need to root java moss into your substrate. Instead, it can latch onto driftwood, rocks, and decorations in the tank.
For this reason, java moss is best suited for carpeting your aquarium. It has the ability to latch onto anything.
Tank Conditions for Java Moss
Java moss thrives in temperature ranges between 70-86°F. The pH range is 5 to 8. They can survive in both low light and high light conditions.
Hornwort looks stellar in any tank, but they can be a stubborn species.
These plants are aggressive growers. If allowed to grow, they can reach a height of 10 feet. That is just massive – and also threatening.
The best thing is to keep these plants in a large tank, ideally, 15 gallons.
Tank Conditions for Hornwort
Hornwort plants have adapted to survive a variety of temperature conditions between 69-85°F. In terms of pH, 7 is good. This plant species is well suited to high-light tanks.
The Anacharis is ideal for betta fish because it provides them with places to hide.
These plants are also good at reducing the growth of algae.
Before buying Anacharis, make sure to look for green plants. Healthy plants do not have signs of blackening or browning.
Tank Conditions for Anacharis
The temperature and pH range for Anacharis overlaps with betta fish. The ideal temperature is 60-78°F. Just make sure to keep the pH as close to neutral as possible.
For best results, provide them with moderate lighting (preferably 2 watts per gallon).
If you have a large aquarium, then go with the Amazon sword.
This hulking plant can grow up to 20-inches and provides the perfect backdrop to tanks.
It is not recommended to add the Amazon Sword to tanks under 60 gallons.
Tank Conditions for Amazon Sword
This plant is very hardy and can grow practically anywhere. Just make sure to keep the pH between 6.5 to 7.5. The temperature should be kept between 71-83°F. Make sure to provide your Amazon Sword with strong lighting.
Betta bulbs originate from Asia, Australasia, and Africa. They are named after bettas due to their fondness for the plant. Betta bulbs will also make your plant look great.
Betta bulbs grow thick leaves that provide perfect coverage to betta fish. Bettas also rest over the leaves, as a type of makeshift bed.
Tank Conditions for Betta Bulbs
Betta bulbs don’t need much care. Just make sure that the pH is between 6.5 to 7.6. The temperature range should be between 73-83°F. At these conditions, your betta and betta bulbs will live happily together!
You can use low light to curb the growth of betta bulbs.
Marimo Moss Balls
Marimo Moss Balls are special spherical balls that are a type of algae. They’re not harmful to your betta fish and tank. These plants live on lake beds in Northern Europe and Japan. Their unique shape comes from the ocean current.
These plants require special care and attention. They also need high-quality water with a low pollution load. Make sure to install an efficient filter to keep them healthy.
Betta fish prefer Marimo balls. In fact, you’ll see them rolling them like toys or even resting on them. It’s worth noting that due to the lack of ocean currents, Marimo balls will become flattened.
Tank Conditions for Marimo Moss Balls
Keep the temperature at around 75 degrees (which shouldn’t be hard to do). The pH condition for these plants is around 6 to 8. Marimo Moss Balls appreciate low to medium light, so install a small bulb.
Water sprites are very good with Betta fish tanks. They’re often referred to as a ‘betta fish playground’ because bettas hang out here.
You can choose to root them or let them float freely on the surface. This opens up your options for the tank.
You could use water sprite to create an aesthetic covering. Did you know that this coverage can also promote breeding among betta fish?
Tank Conditions for Water Sprites
Water sprites best live in temperatures between 68 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH range for these plants is between 6.0 to 7.5. Water sprite does best under medium to high light.
It can also grow in low light conditions but at a slower pace.
So there you have it, a quick guide to why plants are a good choice for bettas! Did you agree with our reasons and list?
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