Originally Posted by finnfinnfriend
Do betta fish naturally interact with substrate at all? Or in the wild do they mostly chill near the top?
If you're bringing the wild into it then yes it's necessary because substrate allows for plants to root and grow. There are floating plants that betta's enjoy, but the widest variety of plants that betta's get to interact with need to have places to grow a root system, especially since their natural habitat is mostly made up of shallower water systems that tend to be densely planted and they are not at all bare-bottomed. Fake plants can re-create the look, yes, but real plants can never be accurately mimicked even by silk, especially not the oxygen they kick out into the water.