Can Bettas live with Bamboo Plants? (Unexpected Answer!)

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Betta fish are now one of the most popular freshwater tropical fish in the world. Every year they are sold in their millions worldwide.  These colorful, flamboyant, and personable fish look even more stunning when kept against the green background of live plants.

Lucky Bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana to give it its scientific name, makes a great addition to a Betta aquarium. Not only does the bamboo look good, but as it grows it absorbs much of the Bettas waste, helping keep the aquarium water clean and safe for the Betta to live in.

Will Lucky Bamboo Grow In A Betta Tank​

Lucky Bamboo (like this one on Amazon) will happily grow in a Betta tank.  Providing the leaf portion of the bamboo is out of the water, and only the stem and roots are in the aquarium, the bamboo will grow.  In fact, in my experience, the bamboo will grow very well.  

I have grown Lucky Bambo in a number of my aquariums to great success.  I have found the larger the bamboo grows, the more nitrates (fish waste) the bamboo absorbs, making for a healthy aquarium for the fish.

Is Bamboo Toxic To Fish?​

I have only ever tried growing true Lucky Bamboo, which I can confirm, in my experience, is not toxic to fish.  Unfortunately, I don’t have experience with any other members of the bamboo family, so I would strongly suggest keeping to Lucky Bamboo only.

How Do You Grow Lucky Bamboo In A Betta Tank?​

To grow Lucky Bamboo in a Betta tank, you must make sure the leaves are out of the water and only the bare stem and roots are in the water.  Any leaves which are permanently submerged will rot.

If you purchase a piece of Lucky Bamboo that is too short to plant into the aquarium substrate,  consider poking a hole in a piece of styrofoam, and floating that on the aquarium surface. 

The bamboo can be passed through the hole and supported so the roots are submerged but the leafy section remains above the water.  

The bamboo will quickly grow and each week you can adjust it until it reaches down to the substrate. 

Does Lucky Bamboo Reduce Fish Waste in the Aquarium?​

As aquarium plants grow, they absorb fish waste, which can be in the form of ammonia (before the filter has treated it) or nitrates (after filtration).  

Lucky Bamboo is very efficient at absorbing fish waste from the water.  Experienced fish keepers have been using Lucky Bamboo as a way to reduce the nitrate levels in their aquariums for many years.

Personally, I have used Lucky Bamboo to reduce fish waste in aquariums where the fish living in the tank would destroy any other aquarium plants.  Fish like large goldfish or Oscars would simply tear normal aquarium plants to pieces, but Lucky Bamboo is too tough, so they leave it alone.

How Long Will Lucky Bamboo Live Underwater?​

As mentioned above, providing the leafy section is above the water line and the roots section below, Lucky Bamboo will last for many years.  The oldest pieces I have growing in one of my aquariums is nearly 5 years old at the time of writing. 

Does Bamboo Provide Oxygen to the Aquarium?​

Luck Bamboo Won’t add any extra oxygen to the aquarium. It is the leaves of the plants which absorb CO2 and give off oxygen, and in the case of Lucky Bamboo, these will be above the water and as such won’t release oxygen back into the tank.

What Other Plants Can Grow In A Betta Tank?​

Essentially, any aquatic plants for sale at your local fish store will be fine in a Betta tank. 

I have had good luck growing Java Ferncryptocoryne wendtii, and Amazon Sword plants.  

My Final Thoughts on Bettas Living With Bamboo​

Lucky Bamboo makes a great addition to a Betta tank and can be especially useful if a Betta lives in a small tank or even a bowl.

As the bamboo grows it will remove harmful ammonia or nitrates from the Bettas tank water, making the water cleaner and safer for the Betta to live in.

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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