Betta’s In a Vase Revisted

Jefferson State Community College Pioneer Newspaper

Bettas in a Vase Need Special Care
In the past six months or so the product “Betta in a Vase” have brought the Betta fish into many homes. Stores that do not specialize in fish like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Floral Fixations and other that sell Bettas have been accused of telling customers that the Betta does not need to be fed or that they can feed the Betta if they want to. R. Hanby of Floral Fixations said in an March e-mail “We have had Bettas in bowls for over a year without providing any other food than the plant, or brochure says you may feed the fish if you like.” But what they do not say is how many of their fish die.

Freeda White a Betta owner from Chilton County said, “My grandmother got a ‘Betta in a Vase’ at the florist and they told her the fish would eat off the roots and then I saw the story on the ‘Betta in a Vase’ on Fox news and I had to correct what the florist said and tell my grandmother.” What most people and some vendors of the “Betta in a Vase” do not know is that these fish require special feeding.

Since Bettas have been hot on the market several pet stores that sell Bettas have put signs up notifying customers that Bettas must be fed and what to feed them. Bettas are carnivores; they eat meat, not herbivores, which eat plants/vegetables. Jesse Dabbs of Superpets in Wildwood knows first hand the consequences of what has been told to customers about feeding/not feeding Bettas in a Vase. “We get people coming in every day asking questions and saying they were told the Betta could live off the plant in the vase, this is not true,” Dabbs said. Dabbs is not the only one who has had to get the correct information out to new Betta owners. Joey Capps, Assistant Manager of Pets America on Valleydale Road works with Bettas and other fish and has had people come into the store with questions about Bettas, “we are having to tell people that Bettas do not eat plants, we put a sign up by our Bettas to about it to make sure that customers know.”

Bettas must be fed to live. Bettas will eat Brine Shrimp, Blood Worms, Water Fleas and Tubifex Worms to name a few. These foods come in four forms: frozen, freeze-dried, sun-dried and pellet. “We have a special Betta food that we have available, it is a pellet to prevent over feeding,” Capps said. “Tetra, a company that makes fish food makes dried Blood Worms and that is what we suggest our customers use,” Dabbs said.

Bettas can be over feed and that will kill them also. To prevent over feeding Capps says that they came up with a way to illustrate how small a Bettas stomach is, “we describe a Bettas stomach as the size of an eyeball to illustrate that they do not need to be feed a lot of food.” To keep a healthy Betta Both Superpets and Pets America suggests that people feed Bettas one to two times a week and clean bowls/tanks one to two times every other week*. So how did all this not needing to feed Bettas come from, Capps has his opinion, “I think someone saw Bettas eating bacteria on the roots of the plants and thought they could live off of that.”

*NOTE: favors feeding at least every other day for basic maintenance, feeding daily is preferable