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The Problem With Bettas And Peace Lillies

By Clint Norwood
Betta in a vase
This Betta is perfectly happy in his home. Keeping Bettas in this set-up is easy if you follow some basic easy rules. He gets fed once a day, but not a lot, Bettas don't need a lot of food, just a small pinch a day. Notice that there is a lot of surface area for him, Bettas breathe air, and need plenty of open surface space. I don't use the plastic cup for the Peace Lilly, they don't really need it and the plant finds it's own equalibrium. This is my wifes Betta and it shares shelf space with her other plants. It makes a fine display. Bettas normally live at least 1 and a half to 2 years, and some even live to 4 years old, but that is rare.
Bettas can become real pets and have personalities. They will know you as their friend. Notice Jambo has come to the front for his portrait.
The only problem I have with the "Betta and Peacelilly" craze is the fact that it's sometimes being sold as a maintenance free system. According to what I'm hearing the sellers and promoters of this fad tell unknowing hobbyists that the Betta will feed off of the Peace Lilly roots and doesn't need any additional food. This is totally incorrect. Bettas are carnivorous fish and need fish flakes or frozen fish food to survive. Bettas do not eat roots! Also I'm hearing that there's no need for water changes, again this is incorrect, partial water changes are needed to maintain a healthy plant and fish.
The fact is that it takes a Betta about a month to starve to death, maybe that's why this thing has been so successful so far. And though I applaud the basic idea of a beautiful Betta and a Peace Lilly Bowl, I think the ommission of stating that water changes and fish food are needed will cause grief for a great number of people who will unknowingly starve a fish to death.
So if anyone who happens to be looking for more information about the Betta / Peace Lilly Bowl please be advised that you do need to feed the Betta at least 4 times a week, just a small pinch of fish flakes will suffice. Replace about 25 % of the water with fresh water that has been dechlorinated, but do not use distilled water, it is sterile and lacks the normal properties of natural water. Spring water is ok, but normal tapwater treated for chlorine and/or chloramines will work fine. If you will do these simple deeds you'll get a much better and longer lasting friendship with your new pet.

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