I thought this fad had died out, but it is back. The local Kmart is selling betta vases this holiday season as "fish ponds" for $20, with little red or green bows and gravel and a pathetic little peace lily plant on top. They've been there since the beginning of October at least and as far as I can tell the fish have been neither fed nor the water changed. They would only hold maybe a half gallon full, and the water was already gray and the plants were blackened with cold damage. Some were on sale in the foyer between doors where it is only maybe 55 degrees. All of the bettas were very emaciated but none had died yet, somehow but on many their fins had rotten away. The water in some has evaporated to about an inch, drying up the plants roots and leaving the fish laying on its side. These were the care instructions included. I took a picture so I could rewrite them word-for-word just to show the ridiculousness of this product:
"This a self-sustaining ecosystem, one that can flourish with little care anywhere in the home. Simply place your fish pond in a brightly lit area and replace the water that evaporates as needed using distilled or bottled water. Do not change the water entirely as the plant will use up the waste material from the fish to grow.
The fish in your pond is a male Siamese Fighting Fish. The males of this species must not be kept together as they will fight, but if desired a female Siamese Fighting Fish may be purchased separately and added with the male. These fish do not require any supplementary feeding as they get all that they require from the algae that grows on the plants roots but if desired the fish may be fed a commercial betta pellet food two to three times daily.
Do not allow the temperature in your fish pond to drop below 60 degrees as Siamese Fighting Fish are tropical fish and do not do well in cold temperatures."
These care instructions have to be the most inaccurate I have ever seen and this product one of the cruelest. These stores should not be selling these animals and I will not be shopping there again.