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How to Decorate Betta Fish Bowls Using Plants

By Mary Lougee | Updated September 26, 2017


Live plants for a betta fish bowl or aquarium provides oxygen to the water, a hiding place for your fish and a soft place to sleep in addition to beautifying your habitat. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends a 20-gallon tank to start so your betta have adequate room to swim. The size makes it easier to maintain water conditions than a smaller fish habitat.

Choose Healthy Plants


Popular types of betta fish plants include java fern, java moss and water sprite. These types of plants do not have rough or pointed edges or stiff foliage that can damage your betta's flowing fins. Look at the plants growing in an aquarium when you buy them to choose bright green healthy plants. If fish are in the tank with the growing greenery, examine the fish to determine if they are healthy.

Resting the Plants


Place your new plants in a separate aquarium from your fish for one week. This allows any parasites or diseases to appear. Discard any diseased plants rather than add them to your aquarium where they could make your betta sick.

Disinfecting Plants


Remove your new plants from the temporary aquarium and trim off any soggy or brown leaves or roots. Disinfect them by placing them in a bucket half full of water with enough potassium permanganate to color the water dark pink. Allow the plants to sit in the solution for 10 to 20 minutes and rinse them thoroughly under a gentle stream of cool water before planting them in your aquarium.

Planting Methods


Plant your aquarium greenery in the same manner as you found it in the tank when you purchased it. Place java fern in the water with the long roots facing downward and a rock or piece of wood underneath the roots for it to attach. Plant a thin layer of java moss over driftwood or a rock near the air pump to keep debris from depositing on the moss. Bury water sprite roots under the gravel. When this plant grows, it floats to the top of the water and the roots leave the gravel.

Pruning and Replacing Plants


Remove all plants from your betta aquarium when you do a water change. Rinse them thoroughly under a weak stream of cool water and trim any brown or soft spots off the plants. Prune plants that grow too large and leave little room for your betta to swim by trimming some of the leaves and the roots at the same percentage. If any plants turn brown or soggy, remove them from your aquarium and replace them. Rotting plants produce high nitrate levels and can poison your betta.

Photo Credits

  • POHIAN KHOUW/Demand Media


Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.