I just started into Bettas after seeing our secretaries at work kill at least 3 every 3 months, keeping them in vases. I don't know fish at all but that just seemed WRONG to me and after doing some (a lot) of research I find out I was right. Fascinated by what I found out, my kids and I went and bought 3 fish, all in 2.5 gallon tanks each (a blue delta, green and purple crown tail (in picture) and a cool black and green half moon). We put lots of nice, soft plastic plants in the aquariums but I also saw BettaBulbs at Petco and wondered:
1. How long do they take to grow?
2. Do they make cleaning the tank harder? How do you clean around them or do you pull them out???
3. Most importantly, do they harbor diseases or do they make the fish more susceptable to disease???
Betta bulbs are not worth the trouble. If you want to go with live plants I highly recommend you get plants that are already established. The bulbs are very finiky and take a while to grow... some not at all.
IMO live plants are really nice. Once planted you leave them planted. Its helpful to have a good gravel/sand substrate for the roots to grow in instead of decorative stones etc. With live plants you do not want to do full water changes, you can either cycle or put lots of plants in the tank and have them use the waste as nutrients.
Its possible to get diseases from plants but normally if you get them either in bulb form or from a reliable seller (check feedback from previous customers) you shouldn't have any problems.
Concensus here will say, "real plants are MOST always better." Personally, I always have used silk/fabric plants...and plastic with species whose fins weren't susceptible to slicing or ripping, which the bettas are, so, wouldn't use ANY plastic plants with your bettas. Real plants are more attractive and they help "naturally" with the environment of your tank. Cleaning with real plants I'll let somebody else handle...not much experience with cleaning a "planted" tank. My bettas have all done well with silk plants...real is the best, tho'!
Really, any live plant would be ideal for a betta. Not just one made for it (like the Bettabulb). There are much prettier plants out there too, so you might want to look into that as well.
Ugh- That's it. When I get a job, I'm going to take a 10 gallon, stuff a betta in there, and just smack anyone who tells me I'm doing wrong. Hehehe. Glad you did research prior to buying your bettas. If you need any help, just come here, and we'll help you. Welcome to the forum!
IMO, Real plants are always better, but only if you are able to keep them alive. Don't trouble yourself if you're not entirely up to it. No one wants dead plants, right ? There are so many advantages with live plants.
My plants are "silk" but they still seem so fake, I said "plastic". I knew about the "no sharp" rule...I think for now I will keep it simple. I am so afraid they are going to get sick and die because that's all I've seen for the poor ones kept at work...My goal is to keep them living so long that people will go, "REALLY??!!"
Thanks! I ordered the small, flat heaters everyone recommends from Amazon and they should be here soon. The temps are staying at 72 and the fish are doing fine but I want to get the temps to 74-76 I guess. I am cycling the water too. We had a cold snap a few days ago (hey, this is Alaska) and I put a heating pad in back of one of the aquariums and that got the temp up a few degrees slowly and nicely. I am having a hard time getting them to eat with any consistency but judging from the food floating in the containers when I got them, they were overfed. I am thinking it might take a few more days to get them going ...betta pellets and some freeze dried bloodworm (which they always want), some freeze dried shrimp, which they never eat. I am thinking they are like kids...they will eat candy before food that's really good for them and will hold out for bloodworms when they should have a little betta pellet every once in a while - so I need to be persistent with them? right or wrong?