Betta Bulbs: Do You Really Need Them?

There comes the time when setting up the tank needs some improvement and somehow plants come up as a good choice. Good thing is that aquatic plants not only enrich the sight but also come really helpful in purifying water. These plants have other useful sides and serve not only to make your tank more beautiful but to provide hiding places, resting places and even obstacles if your Betta becomes territorial. Betta bulbs take place among the top ten plants for Bettas.  

What Kind Of Plant Is A Betta Bulb?

betta bulbs

Betta bulb or Aponogeton plant is a kind of aquatic plant where from large bulbs grow narrow leaves. The color is light green and the leaves are wavy or rippled. If you are wondering what bulbs are and what they are used for, here is your answer. Bulbs are actually stemmed and are basically used for storing food. And why does a plant need to store food? It is necessary for the dormant time for the plant to feed on. During those times the plant uses stored nutrients and food to feed and survive. Each bulb planted in ideal conditions will grow fast and produce one flower. 

Betta Bulbs In A Betta tank: Advantages And Disadvantages

If you are wondering about the positive and negative sides of Betta bulbs we can with certainty say that there are a lot of positive things and there aren’t many downsides. 

Bettas need plants to enjoy and when it comes to Betta bulbs the maintenance is not that difficult and doesn’t require much effort. Another thing is that Betta bulbs do a great job in cleaning the tank and keeping the water chemistry at a satisfying level. There are other benefits from these plants and they directly influence Bettas. They provide hiding places that Bettas adore and if planted in the right place in the tank they leave enough open space too. Bettas use them to rest or to sleep because the leaves are large and convenient for Bettas to enjoy. 

As for disadvantages, sometimes a bulb can turn into a semi aquatic plant which needs to go out of the water to survive. This would leave the top of the tank open and an option for a Betta to jump out of the tank, get injured or die. It would also spread around the tank on the outside so you wouldn’t want that. If that is the case with the bulb, simply take it out. In rare cases, bulbs can be unpredictable when it comes to water chemistry so you need to check the parameters from time to time.  And this would be pretty much it about disadvantages. 

Do Bettas Like Betta Bulbs?

If you are considering Betta bulbs you should know that Bettas love them. Betta bulbs are a great solution to your tank and your Betta too. There are many reasons why Bettas enjoy Betta bulbs and we will tell you the common ones. 

The first reason is hiding and relaxing. When you arrange the tank and plant thick Betta bulbs in the back, they will form a perfect place for your Betta to hide around or relax on top of leaves and they love it. It will look like a lovely green curtain in the back and still the front of the tank will be open for swimming. 

Secondly, Betta bulbs will absorb the waste from the tank and use it as fuel. For their fast growth, they need a lot of lights and a lot of nutrients that are all provided and taken from the tank. That way you will have fewer nitrates and it will prevent algae from growing.

Thirdly, Betta bulbs need the same conditions as Bettas so you won’t bother with adjusting the conditions needed for each. 

And finally, it will make your tank more interesting and there will be less chance that your Betta becomes bored, depressed and ill in the end. 

How To Grow Betta Bulbs?

Even though it seems difficult to grow live plants, many experienced aquarists claim that Betta bulbs are the easiest to grow. We will tell you the steps you need to follow if you intend to grow Betta bulbs successfully.  

Certain water parameters need to be satisfied in order to grow Betta bulbs. It is ideal to keep the water between 72 and 82 F with a neutral PH between 6.5 and 7.5. If the lightning is stronger, it grows rapidly but it will still grow in a timid light too. As you can notice and the name implies, water parameters suit Bettas too. 

The first step is to plant it. You need to identify which part is the root which is not that easy to distinguish so you need to choose the thicker end as the root of a bulb. The thicker part should be planted in a substrate and do not go too deep or you will kill the bulb. Bury it just enough to hold into place but not too shallow either or it will float. 

The second thing you need to do is to feed it since it is a root feeder. It receives all the nutrients absorbing them through the root. So, what you need to do is use a rich substrate or add fertilizers or tablets to enrich the substrate. The more fertile substrate you provide the faster will grow. 

The third thing you should do is to keep an eye and remove the dead leaves unless there are fish in the tank that feeds on detritus. In this case, leave it.

There is another common mistake that people tend to make and that is throwing out the plan thinking it is dead. There is a time of the year when Betta bulbs go through dormancy. It usually lasts for a couple of months every year. During that period the plant looks dead and the leaves drop so people are often misled about the appearance. Until you are sure that it rots and there are other signs on the bulb such as mold or spots you should leave it. After the time of dormancy, the plant will begin growing again. 

What you should keep in mind is that you should rest your bulbs. What does that mean? This plant should not grow all year. And the other reason is that you need to give time to the tank to regrow nutrients. So, if you decide to go with resting your bulbs simply take them out of the tank and remove the leaves. Then put it in the soil or sand in a plastic bag and wrap it. Leave it some time, for up to six months and then you can plant it in your tank again and let it grow. 

Final Words

Finally, Betta bulbs are definitely something that we would recommend to any beginner who wants to make a change and enrich his tank. They are easy to take care of, they do not need frequent trimming and they will certainly make your tank more beautiful. With their appearance, they can make a difference and satisfy the need for a change at least temporarily. 

If you decide to go with Betta bulbs just pay attention to several things:

  • The thicker end of the bulb is the one that goes in the substrate
  • Do not put the bulb too deep in the substrate, just enough that it can’t float
  • If you go with strong light the plant will grow fast and you will have to trim it more often
  • The best choice is to use semi-strong light, enough for the plant and good for your Betta
  • If the base is sand or gravel you need to use fertilizers that provide nutrients needed for a bulb to grow
  • If you decide to go with resting, you need to remove the plant from the tank, cut the leaves, and place it in a plastic bag filled with wet sand or soil. Leave it for a few months, some prefer 6 but even 2 is OK. When the resting period is completed plant it back in the tank, as you did before and let it grow. 

Betta bulbs can be a nice and fun decoration to your Betta’s environment and after all the information provided, we think that you should go for it. 

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