To be honest, bettas aren’t easy pets to keep. These curious fish are very much capable of being happy and unhappy. That’s why they need more than just a tank and food. At some point, we’re all guilty of buying and treating these creatures as decorations. But this time around, why not get your betta some decorations and toys to play with? I’ve made a list of 5 best betta decorations and toys, purely based on what my betta loves.
5 Best Betta Decorations
- Marimo Moss Balls
- Driftwood/Aquarium Wood
- Zoo Med Laboratories Sinking Ceramic Betta Log
- Penn-Plex Wizard’s Castle Aquarium Decoration
- Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock
While all the decorations added here to make great additions to your betta tank, my favorite has to be the Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock.
I bought it after reading volumes of positive reviews on Amazon, and I must say it’s impressed me too.
The design itself is very simple, consisting of one large leaf. However, as soon as set it up in my tank, my curious betta started exploring it—often swimming beneath and above it.
He also loves to rest and sleep on it—it is his favorite resting spot.
Detailed Review of Betta Decorations
Now, let’s move on to the fun stuff aka our list of 5 best betta decorations and toys.
Marimo Moss Balls
Moss ball often pops up in our list of aquarium essentials, but we simply can’t stress enough how good of a plant it is.
Marimo moss balls are extremely light and can float at all water levels. Your betta will love to play with moss balls, tossing it around across the tank.
Actually, it’s a win-win situation. When your bettas push these seaweed balls around, it’ll help the balls retain their round shape
Many betta owners have also reported that their bettas love sleeping on top of these fluffy balls.
Marimo balls don’t only make great playmates for your bettas but also have an array of other benefits to offer. For instance, it helps retain good tank bacteria, eat up algae and emit oxygen.
Moreover, it helps to keep nitrate level in check, which if is found in excess in tanks, will severely stress the bettas.
How Can I Take Care of Marimo Moss Balls?
Marimo balls are supremely easy to take care of.
These hardy plants can live up to 100 years and don’t die easily.
They don’t need any kind of special lighting as they can photosynthesize quite easily. Water changes don’t have to be frequent too—you can replace the water every 2-3 weeks.
Note: Marimo balls will turn brown when exposed to excess light. They’ll turn green once again after you move them to shade. If they don’t, add a pinch of aquarium ocean salt.
Bonus: These uniquely shaped plants will also make your aquarium look really pretty.
Alongside Marimo moss balls, these plants, too, make special addition to your betta aquarium. They’ll love swimming in and out of them and having some foliage to hide in.
If there’s one piece of decoration that will help your betta tank emulate the natural underwater look, it’s definitely driftwood. Driftwoods come in different size, shapes, and colors.
Driftwoods by EmoursTM has pretty great reviews. The pieces they offer are made with high-quality, durable driftwood.
On top of that, EmoursTM offer a lot of flexibility regarding the size.
Small size: Approx. 5-inch length or less
Medium size: 5-9 inches
Large: 9-12 inches
Extra Large: 11-14 inches
To make sure the driftwood sinks to the bottom, you have to pretreat it first.
Step 1: Boil the driftwood in for 1-2 hours with salt or soda. The water will become dark as the wood releases tannin
Step 2: Repeat the aforementioned step for 2-3 times, until all of the tannins is released
There are a few things to keep in mind in order to select the right pieces as your betta decorations.
Toxicity: Some driftwoods can raise the acidity of the tank. Make sure the one you get is from a reliable seller, and don’t forget to follow all the steps of pretreatment.
Sharpness: A sharp driftwood only increase the chances of injuring your betta. You can chop and sand the sharp and jagged edges.
Zoo Med Laboratories Sinking Ceramic Betta Log
Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.8 x 2 inches; 0.32 ounces
If you’re not too sure about a driftwood, here’s a viable, next best option for you—a ceramic betta log.
Suitable for all age groups, this sinking betta decoration will give your beloved pet a sweet spot to hide and sleep.
Its textured brown color lends it a very naturalistic look, so you don’t have to worry about it looking out of place or fake.
Several buyers of this product have shared that their bettas loved this ceramic log and immediately grew fond of it. They added that their bettas enjoyed swimming through it and sleeping in its privacy.
Based on hundreds of reviews we analyzed, here are some pros and cons of Zoo Med Laboratories’ Sinking Ceramic Betta Log that you need to know.
Bettas absolutely love to swim through it or sleep inside
Its miniature size makes in great for even small tanks
Looks very natural due to its jagged, textured style
There may be sharp and protruding points inside the log. You have to run your finger through it before gifting it to your betta
The paint may chip a little after a prolonged use
Penn-Plex Wizard’s Castle Aquarium Decoration
If you want to create a mystical look for your betta’s tank, this beautiful, gothic-style castle is perfect. It adds a deep character to your tank’s overall experience and also doubles as a perfect hideaway for your betta.
The decoration features a big grey castle perched on a rocky hill. Made with safe, durable resin, the castle is hand-painted to achieve the realistic details. Also, it’s safe for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
The castle has three swim-through holes on its base, which serve as hideaways for you fish to rest and entertain themselves.
Based on hundreds of reviews we analyzed, here are some pros and cons of Penn-Plex Wizard’s Castle Aquarium Decoration that you need to know.
Since the castle is double-sided, it can be placed anywhere in the tank
The hideaways in the bottom are perfect size for betta to glide in and out easily
Good-quality plastic resin and great craftmanship
Fish may get stuck in small openings of castle. You can seal them with water weld epoxy or polymer art clay
The paint may chip away after prolonged use.
Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock
One of the most popular betta decorations out there, Zoo Med’s Betta Bed Leaf Hammock has raving reviews.
It’s a naturalistic leaf hammock that’s perfect for your betta to rest and lounge on. Bettas love lounging on foliage in wild to relax, and this product helps them do exactly that within your aquarium.
It comes with a suction cup and needs to be attached to it before placing it in the tank.
Now, based on the hundreds of reviews we analyzed, here are a few pros and cons of Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock that you need to know.
Bettas love swimming under and above it and lounging on it (seriously, go check the reviews—bettas really love them)
Suitable for any aquarium size
Super easy to install and clean
The wire covering the lead can be rough in a few spots. You have to sand them down using a nail file
Before you go, here are some pieces of information on why your betta needs decorations and toys.
Can bettas feel emotions?
Science has long established that fish can feel emotions. They are intelligent enough to feel happy and unhappy and can even consciously choose to avoid painful stimuli.
Fish are capable of cooperating, identifying other fish, solve puzzles, and even raise their young ones.
According to a study by a researcher from Belgium’s Ghent University, bettas can become stressed if they perceive some fish as rivals in the tank—even more so if they’re confined and can’t escape.
Small tanks and lack of entertainment has continued to degrade the quality of life for many bettas, which has even led to protests by PETA on several occasions.
Do bettas love decoration and toys?
Yes, bettas are fond of decoration of toys. Let’s explore a few reasons why you should get betta decorations and toys.
Bettas are Intelligent Creatures
As far as fish go, bettas are quite intelligent. Scientists believe bettas closely related to cichlids, a very brainy fish family. And that’s demonstrated well by their high degree of parental care for the young.
As a result, they need a lot of stimulation.
If trained properly, bettas will follow your finger, eat from your hand, play with a ball and even swim through a hoop.
Bettas want to feel safe
Bettas choose their friends wisely. They enjoy companionship with fish they get along with but also need an option to avoid them.
In the wild, bettas have many options to hide when they need to feel safe or just spend some time alone. It’s even more important in the early developmental stage.
Decorations, like plants or a castle, can be your betta’s go-to place to recharge. As a result, you’ll notice them swimming freely and more than ever.
Bettas love to explore
We’ve already established that bettas are intelligent creatures. As a result, they’re naturally curious too and need to be entertained.
If your tank has a good number of plants, ornaments, and decorations, your betta will be constantly exploring. You can even create miniature tunnels and watch him swim through it endlessly.
Betta decorations and toys are even more crucial for bettas that are aggressive in nature. If there’s no other stimulation besides themselves, bettas will be too bored and anxious.
Bettas need a place to relax
In nature, bettas relax by lounging on leaves and foliage closer to the surface. It helps them protect themselves from predators.
Now while the tankmates won’t pose any threat to your betta, it’s betta’s inherent nature to hide and relax in foliage. For this, you can add betta decorations like plants and logs.
With all the reasons stated above, you are probably thinking of getting lots of betta decorations and toys. Wait a second—here’s what you need to know.
The Do Not’s of Betta Decorations and Toys
Don’t put decorations with metal
The metal will oxidize and rust, which in turn will seriously degrade the water quality.
And metal poisoning can be fatal to fish. If you have to put metal decorations, use inert and stainless metals like some stainless ones and titanium.
Don’t use ornaments with sharp edges
Don’t ever use decorations with bulging features or sharp edges. That can easily tear off your betta’s delicate fins or poke through the gills.
Especially, be careful when using fake plants as the plastic’s too often hard. Some rocks and driftwoods also have sharp edges. So, make sure you inspect thoroughly before adding these beta decorations.
Don’t make the decorations too complex
Often, a novice keeper will go overboard with the decorations. This innocent gesture from your side can be fatal to bettas.
Make sure the betta decorations you use aren’t positioned in a way that will trap, wedge, or entangle the fish. If you’re using ornaments, make sure that the areas that betta may swim through are wide enough.
As for placement, the betta should easily fit into the gaps.
Bettas are hands down the most popular fish in the fishkeeping world. The iridescent scales, flowy fins, and an attractive built easily make them standout in any pet store.
We’re often guilty of treating bettas as eye candy but never really put effort on their needs. This time around, why not do it differently.