Give this awesome terrarium for anyone who knows how to shake a salt shaker. That’s really all it takes to take care of this little neat guy. There is no maintenance and you don’t need to walk it or groom it. Ok, you’ll need to change the water when it gets dirty but that’s it!
One of my patients gave me a Betta Terrarium when I had my day job as a Chiropractor. Among the many presents my patients used to bring me in December, that was my favorite. His name was Mr. Spine – how corny, eh? - and he happily shared his world with Peace Lillies for three years – well past hie life expectancy!
Is it inhumane?
Now, there are controversies involving keeping a Betta fish in a vase with a live plant. Some believe putting a carnivorous fish – Betta lives on insects and shrimp – in a cramped tank/vase is inhumane. From my experience, though, it was fine to keep it in a large flower vase – at least a gallon size with plant roots in the water for it to hide and hang out in. I fed the fish its fish food from the pet store and cleaned the water every 7-10 days. And I remembered to keep the water temperature warm but not hot, keeping it away from the window.
Oh, and Betta fish likes to keep to himself. He doesn’t play well with others.
So, if you remember those points and take care of Betta, you should be able to keep him happy and healthy for years.
Anyway, here is how you can make a great gift for anyone who loves nature.
How to assemble
1. I bought Mr. B for 99 cents at Petco the other day. Betta fish is usually very inexpensive so I was shocked that they were on SALE! The fish store also sells “Aqua Plants” but don’t buy from a fish store – try a nursery. It’s much cheaper. Or if you have a potted plant at home, you can take a few from the pot. More about the plant later.
2. Find your hour glass shaped flower vase – this is one time I’ll say, “bigger the better.” I know you have one saved somewhere in the house. If not, you can buy an inexpensive one from a nursery or from any craft stores. Clean it very well with non-toxic dish washer soap. Fill the vase with filtered water or spring water and leave it in room temperature for at least 2-3 hours.
Steal Borrow some marbles from your son’s marble jar. After cleaning them throughly, put them inside the vase. When they settle to the bottom of the terrarium, they will not only make the terrarium pretty and colorful, they will ‘hide’ any unsightly poop that Mr. B will produce.
4. Find a plastic container that can sit inside the mouth of the vase – like a pint size Chinese take out container shape. Remove the label completely and clean it inside and out thoroughly with non-toxic soap.
Cut along the line and a hole on the bottom, small enough for plant to sit on but big enough for air to get through.
5. From a nursery, buy an aquatic plant that can survive with its roots submerged in water. There are many varieties but the most common ones like Aglaonema or Peace Lillies will be fine. Shake the soil and debris from the roots and rinse in water. Gather a few stems and put them inside the hole of the tray. Don’t use too many to avoid closing the hole completely and keep the roots trimmed so that it doesn’t overcrowd the vase. Betta needs oxygen from air as well as from water so leave some space between the roots and the hole. And make sure to leave about 2 inches of space between the tray and the surface of the water so Mr. B can breath out of the water.
6. After about 3 hours, gently glide Mr. B into the vase. Shake a few fish food and then put the plant tray on top. And now you’ve rescued Mr. B from a plastic container in the store to his own luxury condo with a view.