Betta Fish Bowls And Vases Might Not Be The Best Choice
I’m sure you’ve seen them before. Whether in real life or on the internet, betta fish are seen as living decor forced in fashionable vases or small glass boxes. But, are these fashion statements a right choice for our betta fish? The short answer is No. But, before I go over the reasons why I don’t recommend keeping your betta friend in one of these bowls. I’d like to backtrack and talk about the origins of our bettas and help explain why a vase or bowl isn’t the right option for a betta fish.
The common betta fish, B.Splendens or Siamese fighting fish fall under a group of freshwater fish known as anabantoids. Anabantoid species are found naturally in parts of Africa and more notably in Asia. Bettas, in particular, are found in parts of southern Asia. Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia are a few examples.
These fish live in slow-flowing (Stagnant) and low oxygenated waters such as rice patties and slow moving rivers. How do they survive such a hostile environment? Bettas and other anabantoids have adapted to this by using a specialized organ known as a labyrinth which is attached to their gills to gulp atmospheric air (Our air).
While not born with this organ, as Betta Fish mature they will develop them with time. See? Already these guys are already cool! Because of this, many new fish owners and some pet associates assume that these fish are happiest in small bowls and vases.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Bettas do come from shallow waters, however, these areas stretch for many miles! In fact, male bettas have their own territories in the wild. So, why do people always associate bettas with bowls and vases? Well, these areas have a dry season where the water dries up rapidly leaving them stuck in puddles. This makes it easy for locals to catch these fish. And because of this, some people assume that's where bettas live their whole life.
While they can survive in these puddles the conditions are not ideal and more often or not wild bettas will hop from one puddle to the next hoping to find a bigger area to swim in. Many of them do end up dying if their puddle dries up and they are unable to find more hospitable waters.
So, why are there so many betta tanks on the market that resemble these “death trap puddles?”
The simple answer is Money. Many Pet Store chains know that bettas can “live” in these smaller tanks. These tanks, bowls, and vases are easy to sell and manufacture and many new betta owners are told that these tanks are perfect for their new betta fish.
I’ll admit that yes, you might have had a pet betta before and they lived in these bowls and vases and seemed to do just fine. But, that’s just it, they were just there floating around. Bettas are so much more energetic and interesting to watch when given the room to move around in a bigger aquarium. It's like night and day.
That’s why I always recommend a tank no smaller than 3 gallons at a minimum for your betta fish. Honestly, the bigger the tank the better. If you want to see some tank suggestions that will make your betta extremely happy, check out my Best Betta Tank Guide for more information.
At the end of the day, betta bowls and vases aren’t going away. And uneducated people are still likely going to buy them thinking that these products are the right choice for their fish. Hopefully, now armed with this knowledge, you can make the right choice for your betta fish and give them the properly sized tank. Trust me, your betta will thank you with years of entertainment as they swim around their new aquarium.