Monday, March 3, 2014

Fish in a Vase or My Non-YGP Post

Since the Yard, Garden and Patio show was this weekend at the Oregon Convention Center and I know many of the local garden bloggers went and are going to blog about it - I'm not!

I went Sunday with a friend and had a great time and got out with only one shrub - Hakea lissosperma and two cactus - Edithcolea grandis (Persian Carpet Flower) and a Huernia species.

Since I am really not talking about the YGP Show, I wanted to introduce some of the other critters at The Lents Farmer. And it's not pigs, cows or chickens!

There are several male Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish) that live in my living room. They were particularly inspiring last Friday when it was sunny and the light was streaming in the window illuminating their little homes.

Bettas are freshwater fish from Thailand and Cambodia. They are hardy, living just a few years, and eat almost anything from pelleted food, frozen brine shrimp, live blood worms, and flake fish food. 

They can breath atmospheric air using an organ called a labyrinth, so they don't require an aerator in their home and generally room temperature is warm enough for them. 

Male Betta fish will fight if they are put together, so my boys live in a collection of leftover random flower vases. Clear glass vases are easy to find around the house or at junk shops. In each vase, I use a small amount (about a cup) of stones, colored gravel or smooth glass at the bottom along with an aquatic plant.

If their individual homes are too close together, they will give each other "the stink eye" and flare their fins, but they can't harm each other.

Females are also easy to raise and can be kept in groups as they don't fight like their male counterparts. But they lack the long fins the males have.

Apple and Pixie snails help to keep the algae in check in the bachelor pads and a variety of aquatic plants give the boys places for lounging. Male Bettas are lazy. The plants also help aerate the water.

Please don't buy one of those silly vases with a Peace Lily growing out of the top. Bettas don't eat plant roots. They will be happier with a real aquatic plant.

The bachelor pads have partial water changes about every two weeks to keep their abodes clean and tidy.

It is best to purchase a Betta at a quality purveyor of tropical fish and they cost between $1.99 to $18 typically depending on the variety. Start with a basic variety (Veil Tail or Crown Tail) and once you get the hang of them, buy a fancy finned one (like Half-Moon, Dragon Scale, Double-Tail).

Freckles say "What you looking at?"
Romeo the Half Moon Betta with Water Sprite and Water Lettuce

Stanley on the move. Blanche, the snail, lives here too.
Lots of little floating plants at the top keep the "leaping to your death" suicides to a minimum.
Freckles the Half Moon Betta
Moe with Java Moss and Water Lettuce


  1. Handsome fellas...especially Bernard.

  2. I love Betta Fish! Wonderful idea on setting up the fishy's in front of the window and great non-YGP show post!

  3. You, sir, are a great shepherd--to flora and fauna alike. I wish I were more like you.