TOPIC: bettas resting on plant leaves

Q: Hello. I have a fabric plant that I placed in my Betta, Nolan's, bowl and sometimes late at night he'll rest up on top of it. Is that normal or unhealthy?

above question submitted by Larissa, Saint Louis - Missouri

Bettas are very regal creatures (well except for when they THROW themselves on their food and chew with their mouth open and talk with their mouth full, that is ;) ). Elegant, majestic, picky, regal finned creatures. There's more: Bettas are also very intelligent and inquisitive.

So combine regal with intelligent and you can clearly see how a betta would explore anything new placed in his tank/kingdom and figure out promptly how he can best make use of it. For example, a leave floating at the surface of his bowl will be turned into a bubble nest in no time. A nice, large horizontal leaf below the surface, into a royal hammock. 

Bettas, jus like most kings, can be a bit lazy, so they like comfortable sleeping arrangements. Nothing like a little nap after a big meal! A betta will pick a place of his choice and will remember to come back to it to "lay" on it. He may stay there for long periods of time, staring into the void, snoozing, day dreaming or doing whatever it is bettas do. I once had a betta on my desk at work ("Spiky") who loved to lay on top of the Amazon sword plant I had put in there with him. Every morning, I would find Spiky laying sideways on top of the same top leave, despite the fact that his body was barely submerged in water (for that leave laid almost at the very top of the surface). But it didn't seem to bother him. Perhaps he wanted to see what my non-aquatic life was like (get a taste of it, if you will)... In no time he started helping me with trivial office tasks, such as adding up deposits for me and even doing some light filing.... Wait. No, come to think about it I don't think he ever did help me with my office work. He was not very good at arithmetic's, and his organizational skills left much to be desired LOL. ;P

So you ask: "Is it normal"? You BET. (that bettas lay on top of leaves, not that bettas are not good with arithmetic, silly!). You also ask is it unhealthy? Well I was never that great with math and look how well I turned out! LOLOL. Wait. I actually was GREAT with math. (And we are actually answering your question "My betta lays on a leaf is it normal or unhealthy?). So NO< it is not unhealthy for you betta to lay on his leaf, (not unless you see your betta courting the leaf LOL!): There is nothing wrong with your betta finding himself a suitable hammock.

However I do have a few things to say about plants (and nothing more to add about arithmetic ;P ):

  • live plants that you get from the pet store may carry diseases! Hence only get your live plants from a reputable store, (a very clean one with zero dead/sick fish). Also pick only plants that have been kept in a tank with NO fish in it (duh).

  • plastic plants are to me the best option because they are low maintenance, can be sanitized and are sterile when purchased brand new. However if you get an old plastic plant (used, say from a garage sale) it may be contaminated and usually stinks (a weird awful plastic-gone-bad odor >8{ ). I recommend you stay away from used plastic plants. Also they become brittle when old and will break (as in FALL APART). So for a few dollars more you can get a nice, soft, sterile, pretty, new and non-smelly plant (geese, what a hard choice to make!!! LOL)

  • Fabric plants - well you called your plant a "fabric plant" and I am not sure exactly what it is and where you got it at, but I am going to guess and say it is a silk plant. WARNING: Silk plants from arts and crafts stores often have metal rods inside them to help give them the desired shape. That is true of both stems and sometimes leaves. METAL IS BAD FOR FISH!!! Why? Cause metal will corrode / rust and either way you look at it, it turns into betta poison. So they are NOT safe to use with fish or any aquatic environment. What I need you to do is to examine your plant and find out what it is made out of. Even if there are no metal in your plant, you also need to make sure there is no dye that will bleed and also poison your betta!! My advice is to only get brand new plants directly from the fishtore (plants that are specifically designed for tanks/water and that are proven to be safe for the fish). And yes, fishtores carry fish safe silk plants, too.

Other than the risk of poisoning your betta if using the wrong type of plant, I can see nothing wrong (and as a matter of fact, I only see everything right) in providing a plant/hammock for your betta king. After all, his Highness must be worshipped and pampered and catered to and not only is a throne for his royal bottom acceptable: Any thing less would be unconceivable. ;). (and might cost you your head!)