Can You Grow Pothos in Betta Tank?
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Pothos are becoming more and more popular in aquarium hobby. You can find tons of pictures of Pothos in fish tanks with just one quick search.
Originally, Pothos was mainly used as a decorative house plant. But its high resistance to humidity also makes it a suitable candidate for planted aquariums, hence its sudden popularity.
This tropical vine-like plant looks especially stunning in a colorful Betta tank. It’s a tempting idea, I know.
But is it a good idea? Is this plant safe for Bettas? Does it bring any benefits? How would you plant it, and is it easy to care for?
These are the most common concerns surrounding this trend. And I’m going to cover them all in this article!
So, if you’re curious about growing Pothos in a Betta tank, keep reading!
Is Pothos Safe for Betta Fish?
You might have heard that Pothos is toxic to house pets like cats and dogs. That’s true, but don’t freak out yet!
Despite its unsafe reputation, there are no reports of harmful effects on fish. So, if added to the aquarium, your aquatic pets should be safe.
Not only that but adding Pothos to the aquarium may even prove beneficial, as you’ll see later in this article.
Bottom line is that Pothos plants aren’t a health hazard for fish. But there’s one more reason why you shouldn’t worry— Betta fish are unlikely to nibble on plants anyway.
Betta fish are naturally carnivorous, so they don’t have an appetite for greens.
They might only chew on aquarium plants out of boredom or due to a deficient diet.
If you already have plants in the aquarium and your Betta fish aren’t eating them, they won’t eat Pothos either.
And besides, Pothos plants are quite difficult for the fish to consume. The soft, thin part of the plant (aka the leaves) won’t be submerged underwater.
The fish won’t be able to nibble on these. What’s left underwater are the crisp, stringy roots. The shape and texture alone make these roots an unattractive food for your fish.
Benefits of Growing Pothos in Betta Tank
Pothos plants are a safe addition to a Betta aquarium. Apart from that, they also look amazing, are easy to add to the tank, and are low-maintenance.
They’re great if you want to enhance the look of your aquarium without much effort.
But Pothos plants don’t just offer aesthetic benefits.
They can also help your fish in multiple ways, by:
– Providing enrichment
Simulating a species’ natural environment in captivity is called “enrichment”. And there’s no better way to provide enrichment than adding plants and decorations to your aquarium.
Enrichment itself has many benefits for the health of any animal, Bettas included.
Enrichment keeps the fish entertained and encourages natural behavior. The fish will be more interested in their environment and they’ll be more motivated to interact with it.
So, you get more activity in the tank!
Plants add color and soft movement. They also create spatial separation.
All of this will spark your Bettas’ curiosity and desire to explore and play. It’s a good way to keep boredom at bay.
– Removing nitrates
All plants help keep your fish healthy because they provide a means of chemical water filtration. But Pothos plants are especially efficient at cleaning up the water.
This species is fast-growing and hungry for nitrates, so it will use more of these waste by-products in the aquarium.
In such conditions, it’s easy to get wild swings in water parameters.
But thanks to its natural filtration process, this plant helps you maintain stable water quality. This is crucial to keeping happy, healthy Bettas.
Even slight fluctuations in nitrate levels can lead to shock or poisoning. So, the more safety precautions you can take to prevent this, the better.
– Preventing algae growth
Algae are the bane of every aquarist’s existence. If you’ve had a fish tank for long enough, you know what I’m talking about.
They seem to sprout out of nowhere, they spread very quickly, they muddy up the water, and some types of algae (like blue-green algae) are even toxic to fish!
Well, here’s the good part! Adding other plants to the aquarium might help starve off these annoying algae.
You’ll no longer have to scrape the gunk off of aquarium walls and decorations. The trick is to choose resource-hungry plants. Luckily, the Pothos is perfect in this regard.
Remember Pothos plants absorb waste by-products like a sponge. Not only do they keep nitrates in check, but they can make an impressive dent in the nitrite levels as well.
A large Pothos will consume all the nitrites before the algae get any chance. Ultimately, as the Pothos keeps growing, the algae growth should slow down or stop altogether.
– Providing hiding spots
Pothos plants have tangly, grass-like roots. These grow and spread rapidly, creating shrub-like structures in the upper and middle sections of the tank.
This is perfect if you have fish that swim in these areas.
Bettas and most other tropical fish often do. For them, these roots act as the perfect hiding spots.
Not to mention, providing hiding spots is important if you keep aggressive fish like Bettas. This species is a notorious bully.
They will pick fights with any fish, including other Bettas.
The weaker fish will need a safe place to retreat to when the bullies are acting up. These hiding spots will prevent injuries and further aggressive behavior.
Hiding spots can also minimize territorial tendencies, another common problem in Bettas.
Finally, these hiding spots are also useful for the Betta fry and eggs. The roots will keep the eggs and the juvenile fish safe from potential predators in the tank.
After all, most fish eat their young, Bettas included. If the fry are small enough to be mistaken for food, they’ll, unfortunately, become food.
How to Grow Pothos in Betta Tank?
Pothos don’t need to be planted in the tank. This makes the entire process a lot easier. You won’t have to worry about soil type and quality.
However, you still have to pay attention to water quality, lighting, temperature, and more.
Sounds complicated, but it isn’t! Let’s take a step-by-step look at the “planting” and growing process!
Here’s what you need to do to successfully grow Pothos in a tank:
1. Prepare your Pothos for propagation
Skip this step if you already have some sprouted cuttings.
If not, here’s what you have to do:
Take a few cuttings out of the Pothos you want to propagate. You can use scissors or any sharp knife.
Cut the stem diagonally, preferably on the left side of the leaf stem. This is the side where the new roots will sprout from.
Place the cuttings into a container filled with dechlorinated water. This is where you’ll keep the cuttings until the roots start sprouting.
A clear container is best because you can check the roots and the water without pulling the plant out every time.
Place the container under indirect sunlight or UV light. The more light your cuttings receive, the quicker they sprout.
Wait until the new roots are 4-5 inches long. Then, the Pothos will be ready for “planting”.
Note that it will take a few weeks, or up to a month for the cuttings to be ready. In the meanwhile, you’ll have to change the water in the recipient periodically.
This is to replenish the plant’s oxygen and to keep the same water quality throughout the entire process.
2. Transfer the sprouted cuttings to the tank
This part is straightforward. Once the roots have reached the ideal size, you’re ready to move the plant to the main aquarium.
Just place the Pothos in the water with only the roots and stems submerged. Find something you can use to anchor the plant and keep it in place.
Be careful about the leaves. These should stay afloat, or the plant will suffocate.
The surface agitation might accidentally sink the leaves.
3. Set up the right conditions for your new Pothos
You’ve now planted your Pothos. Great! But the work doesn’t stop here!
If you want the plant to thrive, you’ll need to pay close attention to a few important factors. These include lighting, temperature, and water quality.
Let’s take them one by one:
- Lighting: Pothos can grow even in low light settings, but the best setup would be one with medium light exposure. Low to medium light exposure encourages richer color in the Pothos plant. For aquarium-grown Pothos, artificial light works best. Avoid direct sunlight exposure; it can encourage algae bloom in the tank.
- Temperature: Pothos can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, but the ideal level is 77-86°F. This temperature is perfect for tropical plants like Pothos and it encourages growth in such species.
- Water quality: All aquarium-grown plants feed off waste by-products like nitrates and ammonia. Without enough of these compounds in the water, the Pothos can’t grow or remain healthy.
That is to say, if your aquarium water is too clean, the plant will starve. If that’s the case, you can add some liquid fertilizer or nitrogen supplements to the aquarium.
Once the Pothos gets enough nutrients in, it will grow like crazy!
Pothos is a safe addition to a Betta tank. If you’re looking for a low-effort plant to keep in your aquarium, this is a perfect choice.
Pothos cuttings don’t need planting. The leaves remain floating, while the roots and stems keep expanding in the top layers of the aquarium.
This plant also brings many benefits. It grows quickly and consumes lots of nitrates to fuel itself. This keeps the water cleaner for longer.
It also stops algae from taking over. Besides, any plant is a great way to offer enrichment and hiding spaces for fish. Your Bettas will love it!