Can Betta Fish Live With Pothos Plant? (Solved!)

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One of the joys of keeping Betta fish is that we can keep them in small aquariums. Having a 5 gallon (19 liters) tank on the kitchen countertop is a real pleasure.  

The main downside of keeping such small aquariums is the problem of controlling the nitrate levels in a small volume of water.  Pothos could be the solution, but can Betta fish live with the pothos plant? 

Betta fish CAN live in the same aquarium as the pothos plant is growing. Pothos plants will happily grow out the top of the Bettas tank and the Betta will benefit from the pothos removing nitrates from the water.

Can Betta Fish Live With Pothos Plant?​

Pothos plant, which is also known as Epipremnum aureum, is widely grown in the aquarium hobby thanks to its ability to grow out the top of an aquarium.

The most common way to grow pothos is with the roots in the aquarium, underwater, and the foliage growing out the top of the tank.

When I need more pieces of Pothos I either take a cutting and wait for that to root, or I order a new piece from Amazon, like this one.

In my own fish room, I currently have pothos growing in dozens of the tanks.  Some of the tanks it is growing in house my Bettas.  I have never had an issue with any of my Bettas that are living in aquariums with pothos growing out the top.

Why Grow Pothos in a Betta Tank?​

There is one reason that the pothos plant is so popular among aquarists. Pothos literally sucks nitrates out of the aquarium, making the water cleaner and safer for the Betta to live in.

When a Betta goes to the bathroom, their waste is very high in ammonia. Luckily, the bacteria that live in our filters convert the very toxic ammonia into less toxic nitrate.  Unfortunately, nitrate is also toxic to Bettas if the levels get too high.  Pothos plant is very efficient at sucking nitrates out of the aquarium water. By growing pothos out the top of the Bettas aquarium, the nitrate levels are kept low.

Pothos can act as an extra component in our filtration system.

How to Grow Pothos in a Betta Tank?​

Pothos is super easy to grow, providing you follow one rule, the roots must be in the water and the foliage must be out of the water!

Quite often pothos is purchased as a small root cutting, usually with a few roots attached to a pair of leaves.  It looks very unpromising. However, pothos is very fast growing.

Place the pothos in the top of the aquarium so the roots are submerged, but the leaves aren’t. 

A small piece of styrofoam can be used as a raft to poke the pothos through if necessary.

Is Pothos Toxic To Betta Fish?​

Pothos has high levels of calcium oxalate and is listed by the ASPCA as being toxic to cats and dogs.  In my experience, I have never had a Betta poisoned by Pothos.  

At this point, I have grown pothos in dozens of aquariums, many of which contained Bettas, and as far as I am aware I have never had any fish suffer as a result of pothos in their aquarium.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Can A Betta Fish Live With Pothos?’​

My answer to this question is yes, Betta fish can live in an aquarium that has pothos growing in it.  Pothos is a great addition to any tank as it is so good at removing nitrates from the water, making the aquarium a cleaner, safer place for the Betta to live.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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