Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ban Betta Vases

Betta (Siamese fighting fish), who are often sold as "decorations" or party favors, are becoming more and more popular. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) in tiny cups or flower vases to consumers who are often uneducated about proper betta care.

Many people mistakenly believe that betta fish must be kept in "solitary confinement." Female bettas can live together, and while male bettas will fight with other male bettas, they can be placed singly in a "community" aquarium containing other species of fish.

Another common misconception about bettas is that they can survive without being fed in a so-called "complete ecosystem" that consists of nothing more than a vase and a plant. As a result, fish are being sentenced to dull, lonely lives and slow deaths by starvation. These tiny containers are not suitable for any fish.

Plant roots do not provide adequate food for betta fish. Bettas are carnivorous; in nature, they eat mostly insects and insect larvae. A diet consisting of plant roots may keep them alive for a while, but since it lacks the proper nutrients, the fish eventually become sick and die. A plant placed at the top of a vase may also restrict access that the fish needs to obtain oxygen, since betta (known as "labyrinth fishes") take their oxygen from the surface of the water.

Betta fish are native to Asia, where they live in the shallow water of rice paddies, ponds, or slow-moving streams. Since the water is shallow, it is also warm, which is why betta fish in captivity require a sizable amount of water in an aquarium that can be kept heated to at least 75 degrees.

Bettas require a minimum of 10 gallons of water, according to Gaddy Bergmann, formerly of the University of South Florida department of biology. Harro Hieronimus, former chair of the German Livebearer Society and the International Rainbowfish Association , believes that fish must have a minimum of 13 gallons of water in an aquarium approximately 24 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches in size. His expert opinion was made the basis for law in Germany.

Betta are our friends, not prisoners for human amusement. The germans know what's up! :) Tell that to the Betta Vase Lady!

Does this look like a happy Betta to you?
Barely any room to get air
and forget about blowing a bubble nest :(

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  1. Yes that's true, i am a fish enthusiast, i read a lot about Betta, and the shopkeeper kept it in a small cup!!!,
    I bought it and kept it in my 8 gallon planted aquarium, i feed him live morquitoes, larvae and blood worms(frozen), and now i am researching to get good tank mates. I personally believe, IF YOU CANT TAKE CARE AND GIVE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, DO NOT ADOPT!!!!

  2. So glad to hear this espoused from another fishkeeping enthusiast. I've been keeping fish since 2007 and bettas since 2008. I got into them when I wanted a small fish tank for my college dorm. I'm proud to say my vieltail male was with me all through college in his heated and cycled tank. I still keep them and have two tanks totally devoted to them. They are a beautiful and entertaining fish if kept properly. I'd like to see the US follow Germany in this regard!!!

  3. I had a betta for 5 years. We got him in a betta plant vase as a gift. I moved him to a larger vase. We had the plant on top but just for decoration. There was a lot of space for air, but I kept the plant as I was afraid the fish would jump out. I feed the fish betta food. I live in CA and never had a cycle tank or heater. I changed out about 3/4 of the water weekly with chlorinated water. Do you really think that was cruel? It seems to me that he lived a fairly long time for a fish.