There are many good reasons to keep your betta in a naturally planted fish tank. Not only your planted betta tank can look awesome, but your betta fish will truly enjoy its time in it.
Most people, especially beginners, think that there is too much work maintaining a naturally planted betta tank but the truth is that in most cases there is not too much work when you know the benefits. Unfortunately, this opinion turns them down from enjoying a beautiful planted betta tank.
What are the benefits of a planted betta tank?
Bettas are very curious fish that love to explore their territory. If you put them in a tank with no plants or hiding places you will soon notice they are stressed and unhappy. They can even damage their own tails because of that and this can often result in getting an infection and even death. Adding hiding spots and plants in the tank successfully solves this tail-biting problem.
Having live plants in your betta tank will help maintaining the optimal water conditions. They practically act as a natural filter against chemicals that may harm your betta. Another good thing is that plants turn these chemicals into oxygen. Practically with more plants you can expect better water quality.
The live plants in the tank will provide natural hideouts for your betta making them feel safe and protected. Being a solitary fish, the betta will appreciate a planted tank where it can hide and rest whenever it wants.
Bettas love shade and living plants are doing a great job here. At the same time, they will make it more difficult for algae to grow inside the tank.
Plastic plants can damage the sensitive betta fish fins and cause an infection. However, if you ever decide to use artificial aquatic plants then we highly recommend getting silk aquarium plants.
Bettas are even more beautiful in planted tanks. Their colors become more intense against the dark background of the living plants. You practically have your own piece of nature in the comfort of your home which is wonderful if you are living in a city surrounded with buildings and concrete.
Planted Betta Tank: What you need to know before the setup?
Having a beautiful planted betta tank will require some research from your side. Here are some factors you need to take into consideration before you setup your planted betta tank.
Keeping an eye on the water parameters like pH, temperature, water quality is pretty important if you want to create a healthy environment for your betta. When it comes to water parameters it is good to know that they will easily change in a smaller betta tank.
Everything that’s left behind your betta like food, waste and other will release ammonia. Ammonia is toxic for your betta and other fish as well. However, if the tank is cycled this ammonia should turn into nitrates.
We keep the nitrates low by changing the water when needed and live plants act like a filter and help keeping these under control. Plants practically feed with ammonia and nitrates, which increases the water quality stabilize all the parameters.
Any level of ammonia is toxic for your betta. Nitrifying bacteria will turn this ammonia into nitrite, and then the nitrite into nitrates. These are acceptable in your planted betta tank and you can control them to be at optimal levels by conducting scheduled water changes.
Ideally the pH value for your betta should be 7 which is practically neutral. It is also recommended to find plants that llike this pH and choose them for your planted betta tank.
When we speak about water hardness, we have KH – carbonate hardness and GH – general hardness.
KH represents the amount of dissolved carbonate and bicarbonate salts. When we speak about plants it is more important to pay attention to KH than on GH. Carbonate salts prevent sudden pH changes which can be fatal to your betta and plants.
GH represents the amount of dissolved salts in water. They are necessary for a healthy fish tank.
Ideally both GH and KH haveto be at 70-100ppm level and it’s pretty important to monitor them regularly. Just as we have said about pH it is important to select plants that match the water hardness the best.
The substrate for your planted betta tank is pretty important because it offers support for the plant’s roots and provides the necessary nutrition of the plants.
If your substrate is low on nutrients or doesn’t provide adequate support for the plants’ roots you won’t get the desired results.
Before you decide which substrate to get you should know what the roots of your plants need. A good substrate is the key element of a successful planted betta tank.
There are many different substrates on the market today so it can be pretty difficult to get the best one. Here are the most commonly used substrates:
- GRAVEL – We would recommend pea-sized gravel here. It allows plants to root properly. It is also easily available and easy to clean.
- AQUARIUM SAND – No sharp edges and any debris will stay on the surface. However, it can be a bit difficult for some plants to root properly.
- CORAL SAND – We don’t recommend this type of substrate for betta tank because it dissolves and changes the pH value of the water making it more alkaline.
Using a fertilizer is a must if you want your plants to grow happily. Plants need their macro and micro nutrients to grow properly and using a good fertilizer will help them get everything they need.
What you need to avoid here is using too much fertilizers. If your substrate is already enriched, you won’t need too much fertilizers.
When deciding which plants to buy for your planted betta tank can be delicate. You shouldn’t buy plants just by the way they look, but choose them according to the amount of light they need to grow properly. During the research phase you will be able to figure out (based on the plants you are going to get) whether you need high, medium or low lighting.
Final thoughts before you get started
Now when you know the benefits and basics of a planted betta tank you can decide whether you are going to go that way. Your betta will definitely have a better life in a maintained and quality planted tank. The increased water quality thanks to the plants in the tank will have a much positive effect on your betta’s health. However, in order to achieve all of this you will have to do your homework and conduct a serious research and some investment. As a result, you will have the pleasure of creating a spectacular planted betta tank.