You can layer the top with almond leaves if you are absolutely, for whatever reason, against substrate, but I've already said I'm all for planted tanks and you need substrate for that. And yes, that *does* exist in the wild.
That and I have witnessed my betta playing around with the rocks that I have on the bottom of my tank. When I add in anything shiny down there he likes to toy around with it too.
Last edited by Haikuhug; 06-18-2013 at 11:23 AM.
Well...Hamsters don't have wheels in the wild, but they need them in captivity...Although that is apples to oranges....But I digress...
I wasn't asking about plants lol...I mean, for example, Oscars are pit spawners, meaning that digging is a natural behavior for them...Also goldfish are bottom feeders, meaning digging around is natural for them too, although many advanced aquarists keep goldfish in bare bottoms with great success, but that's not my point....anyway I was asking if a major part of the bettas natural behavior involves looking through/digging the substrate...
Might I also add that these are domesticated fish, bred in captivity for centuries....But all I am asking is the simple question above :)
If our purpose (mine is) to mimic a Betta's natural environment as closely as possible, then substrate is necessary. It all depends on what you mean by "need." And, actually, it's a very complex and thought-provoking question. So congrats! It's started an interesting and civil debate.
Do they need it to live? No.
Do they need it to thrive? No
Do they need it to breed? No
Do they need it to imitate their natural environment? Yes
Do they need it to alleviate boredom? Yes (at least for mine)
Perhaps a better question would have been: Do they benefit from having substrate? The answer would have to be "yes" for all of the reasons lissienen and haikuhug and others have listed.
My dog training mentor said the best training methods are the ones with which you disagree as they make you think about why you disagree and why you use the method you do. You've made me think and cemented (pun intended) my decision to have substrate.
Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 06-18-2013 at 04:14 PM.
Thank you for your interesting insight, Russell :)
By needed, I meant to make them thrive. I'm sure some bettas use it to alleviate boredom, but all mine does is lie on it, which he could just as easily do on a barebottom lol. So I think the answer to: do they need it to alleviate boredom? Is no, IMO. Just because it is not the only way a betta can entertain itself, although it can be a way.
ETA: Also, if you really want to mimmic the bettas natural habitat, you should have an outside, temperature controlled pond that you grow rice in...There are no glass walls in nature lol
Last edited by finnfinnfriend; 06-18-2013 at 04:23 PM.
Note: After proof reading my post it seems a bit meaner than it really is. Since tone doesn't travel well through typed words (and I think I failed to make it nice ^_^;), I want to make it known that I'm not mad at any body.
I voted yes because it seems like substrate doesn't become optional until it's a betta in the tank. I have never owned any other type of fish, but I've only seen bettas in substrate less set ups. Maybe I see the tanks of poeple who go as overboard on their fish as me. But it seems like all the other fish get to have something on the bottom of their tank without question. Let bettas have their sand/gravel even if they don't need it.
I know, I know. My "let bettas have cool stuff like other fish" mindset doesn't work for "cool stuff" like filters and air stones. I know that some tanks have to be adjusted to make them more comfortable for bettas. Some stuff does have to be removed/baffled/created to make a betta more comfortable. But are we really going to start leaving out the sand/gravel because bettas aren't bottom feeders and most BB is in the filter cartridge? Let them lay on sand/gravel even if it adds 10-15 minutes of work to cleaning time. XD
I'm not trying to bash anyone who has bare bottom tanks. I also have no idea if other fish are kept in bare bottom tanks (honestly....I have no idea). I'm just tired of "betta tank" meaning a tank that can keep a betta alive without X, Y, or Z component. -_-
Actually, before I ever even heard of the possibility of keeping a betta in a bare bottom, I was discovering that it has been becoming more and more popular to keep goldfish in bare bottom tanks, and people have been keeping discus that way for years.
My wild bettas like the peat moss I put on the bottom. I cover this also with a massive amount of leaf litter. This emulates their natural habitat and I find they often spend a lot of time moving through the leaf litter hunting down food.
My wilds don't like bare bottom tanks. I never get a rich a colouring as when I use a dark substrate like peat moss.