Monday, May 19, 2008

Aquatic Plants Suitable for Betta

Plants form the basis of all ecosystem. In aquariums, aquatic plants serve more than just aesthetic purposes. They have been known to reduce nitrates, promotes growth of beneficial bacteria, aerate the tank, control algea and filter/absorb certain hard metals.

Even with all these advantages, aquatic plants are not extremely popular in today's Betta hobbyists. Aquatic plants are usually used during breeding and that's it, the Betta will spend the rest of their life in surgical environment. Several factors deter hobbyists from having plants in their tanks.
  • Aquatic compost/soil are usually required to sustain aquatic plants. But breeding tank's floor should be kept free from soil and debris.
  • Bad experience with plant use, aquatic plant dies within a week. Rotting plant material fouls the water.
  • Unable to shift tank or install aquarium lights to receive ample sunlight for the aquatic plants.
From my experience, this does not have to be the case. By choosing the correct type of aquatic plants, your Betta and you will enjoy the benefits of a planted aquarium. Betta do not eat aquatic plants, but they do enjoy the cover plants provide. Bettas in grow-out tanks seemed to be less aggressive when aquatic plants are added, nipped fins are reduced and given a chance to heal as a Betta can find cover to hide.

This article will recommend a few aquatic plants that are beneficial and very easy to grow and maintain.

Anubias barteri var. nana

Commonly called "Nana", this plant's hardiness is second to algae, so you can rest assure that this plant will grow no matter how bad you are with aquatic plants. It's a dwarf version of the Anubias species and can provide cover for small fry. Its rhizome must not be covered because it tends to rot, thus Nana is best growth on a rock, driftwood or on top of other plants (excellent for breeding tanks). Nana does not require much sunlight, in fact they will grow well in shady area or room lighting. Although a very slow grower, their robust leaves last for 3-4 weeks and it produces a new leaf around every month.

I have had good experience with this aquatic plant. Left undisturbed, its roots will attach to the drift wood. Even though a slow grower, its robust leaves are also slow rotter (leaf rots a little at a time, until the whole leaf is gone) thus it will not foul your water. Expect one leaf to grow and another one to rot at any one time.
  • Price: $4-$11
  • Known to LFS as: Mini Nana, Small Nana
  • LFS: Darwin Aquarium, C328
  • Maintenance: Minimum to None. Best left undisturbed. Very easy to grow and propagate.
  • Notes: Usually sold attached to driftwood with nylon lines.
Anubias barteri var. barteri

The bigger brother of "Nana", this aquatic plant has all the characteristic of "Nana" with just one difference, it's bigger. Like all Anubias, this plant can grow partially or fully submerged. Great for breeding tanks as the first 2 weeks only contain about 5 inches of water. My Bettas enjoy taking a nap on top of its leaves and males can be seen building nest beneath it. Like it's dwarf brother, its a slow grower and rotter, a new leaf around every month. This is my preferred plant for breeding and keeping betta.
  • Price: $7-$18
  • Known to LFS as: Nana
  • LFS: Darwin Aquarium, C328
  • Maintenance: Minimum to None. Best left undisturbed. Very easy to grow and propagate.
  • Notes: Usually sold attached to driftwood with nylon lines.
Taxiphyllum barbieri

Commonly known as Java Moss. The Java Moss one of the easiest and fastest growing moss available to hobbyist. It can thrive in all forms of water condition and minimum amount of sunlight. The Java Moss is excellent for spawning and fry love the cover a thriving Java Moss provides. Because the Java Moss is small, fast growing and hardy, it can be added into jarring tanks/container to sooth the environment of the residing lone Betta. It is best grown attached to a driftwood or stone; the Java Moss is not picky on where it attach itself onto, there are cases where it attach itself to silicone lining of the tank.
  • Price: $3-$5
  • Known to LFS as: Java Moss
  • LFS: Darwin Aquarium, C328
  • Maintenance: Minimum. Trimming might be required to control growth. Very easy to grow and propagate.

Adding the right kind of aquatic plant to your spawning/grow out tanks do wonders to your Bettas and you. You will notice an immediate change in behaviour of your fry and the condition of the water. Aquatic plants will improve the living condition and reduce water change, saving you time and money. The aesthetic values of aquatic plants is priceless especially when the selected plant is hardy and require minimum maintenances.


Isaac said...

Thanks so much for this great blog. Its good to know that you take so much passion in your fishes. I am getting my new tank ready with plants, about 2 weeks. I may get my betta from you, but bedok is too far! =)

Keep up the good work with this blog!

Rav Tan said...

Hi Isaac,
Thank you for your compliments and support!