Bamboo Betta Tank: A Not-So-Unlucky Plant For Happy Bettas

bamboo betta tank
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Lucky Bamboo is one of the most versatile aquatic plants you can add to your Betta tank, thanks to how it supports the tank’s ecosystem.

However…

It isn’t entirely clear whether you can safely add it to a Betta tank due to some misconceptions.

This article aims to dispel misunderstandings and answer once and for all whether a Lucky Bamboo Betta tank is safe for your aquatic organisms.

About Lucky Bamboo

fish tank with live plants and betta

Lucky Bamboo, which traces its origins to Central Africa, is scientifically referred to as Dracaena Sanderiana and is a hardy aquatic plant that provides good resistance to floods. Several thousand years ago, the plant became popular in Chinese culture, and, to this day, it goes by the name of Money Tree, Dragon Tree, or Ribbon Plant.

This plant can thrive even when submerged in water, so you’ll commonly see it used in fish tanks. In addition, Lucky Bamboo will survive in water temperatures between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which falls in the same water temperature conditions that Betta fish can tolerate.

Here are some common myths about Bamboo plants you should be aware of:

Lucky Bamboo is Toxic

The reason why this myth exists is because of the confusion between Lucky Bamboo and real Bamboo. However, the two plants are entirely different species, and the latter won’t survive but will rot in water.

True Bamboo is Dangerous for Tank Life

Not all real Bamboo plants are harmful to tank life. You can safely add dried real Bamboo to your tank. Once you boil it for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria on it, put it in acrylic resin, and conduct a 24-hour water test to determine whether it’ll contaminate the water. Most of the steps outlined above are followed when cooking Bamboo.

What It Looks Like

lucky bamboo with roots picture

Lucky Bamboo looks just like regular Bamboo, making it hard to notice the subtle differences between the two plants. However, you can tell it apart from regular Bamboo by paying attention to its fleshy stalks. It has waxy tops, which makes it tolerant to wet conditions, unlike regular Bamboo.

Additionally, many leaves grow from the plant’s sides, and these leaves may be the exact color of the stem. These plants grow in all directions, and a straight and sturdy stem supports these branches. Lucky Bamboo can grow more than 4 feet in height, so don’t let its diminutive appearance fool you when you initially buy it.

Note that the amount of space Lucky Bamboo has to grow in a tank determines its growth rate and eventual height at maturity.

Conducive Conditions for Lucky Bamboo Growth

To encourage your Lucky Bamboo to thrive, provide it with the following environmental conditions:

Water

betta in aquarium with live plants

Ideally, it’d help if you kept Lucky Bamboo in water with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. These plants aren’t affected by water hardness, but you shouldn’t keep them in tap water as the chlorine inside will stress the plant’s roots. Additionally, fluoride can kill Lucky Bamboo, so include it in conditioned water free of such chemicals.

Usually, fish keepers concentrate on creating favorable water parameters for the Betta fish, not the Lucky Bamboo, which is a testament to how flexible this Bamboo plant is.

Substrate

It’s possible to get away with planting Lucky Bamboo without substrate. However, you’ll likely have to include the substrate to benefit the other organisms and aquatic creatures in the tank.

You should plant Lucky Bamboo deeply in the substrate so that its roots are well-hidden from omnivorous fish species like goldfish.

Light

Good lighting will hasten the growth of Lucky Bamboo, but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you.Not only will harsh lighting cause algae to grow in the tank, but it’ll also result in discolored Lucky Bamboo leaves. We’ll discuss how to rectify the issue in another section below.

Including Lucky Bamboo in a Fish Tank – Is It Safe?

lucky bamboo in fish tank with betta

As with other aquatic plants, you can safely introduce a Lucky Bamboo plant into your Betta tank. Whether partially or fully submerged in the water and given proper care and nutrients, Lucky Bamboo will thrive, becoming a valuable member of your tank’s ecosystem.

Notably, Lucky Bamboo isn’t an aquatic plant, even if it’ll survive in water for many years.

However, it’ll grow, leaves and all, in a freshwater environment when planted well.
Factoid: Know what aquatic plants to avoid for your betta tank by reading our article about Toxic Plants For Betta Fish: 7 Poisonous Aquatic Vegetation.

Why You Should Include Lucky Bamboo in Fish Tank Water

Your Betta tank will benefit from hosting some Lucky Bamboo in the following ways:

Natural Habitat

Betta fish live in well-planted waters in the wild, with the plants providing many hiding places for these tropical fish. Therefore, including Lucky Bamboo and other plants is an excellent way to mimic your Betta’s natural habitat, which will make the fish feel more comfortable swimming out in the open.

Oxygen

If you grow Lucky Bamboo alongside other plants in your Betta tank, you’ll create an ecosystem that produces plenty of oxygen, excellent for your Betta’s health. Additionally, the Betta fish will produce more CO2, which the tank’s plants will consume.

Water Quality Booster

Like other aquarium plants, Lucky Bamboo may help boost water quality in the tank. A Lucky Bamboo Betta aquarium will have fewer algae due to the plant processing nutrients in fish waste and uneaten food.

Tank Mates

Lucky Bamboo is highly compatible with most aquatic creatures, being an incredibly durable plant, so you won’t need to worry about the plant getting damaged by herbivorous tank mates like snails.

The exception to the above benefit (as previously mentioned) is when you leave the roots exposed, in which case, burrowing fish and goldfish may nibble on them.

How to Add Lucky Bamboo to Your Betta Tank

Now, let’s see how you can add Lucky Bamboo to your Betta tank. First, get an excellent brand of soil to root the Bamboo. Then, strain the soil well to eliminate undesirable substances like stones, rocks, or wood. Make sure to avoid gravel and coral as it’ll be difficult to root the Bamboo in the former substrate.

In contrast, the latter one will raise the pH levels in the tank when it dissolves over time.

Next, add some soil to the tank. The quantity should measure about 1-2 inches in depth and should be covered with sand 2-3 inches deep. The sand prevents the soil from shifting up into the water.

After that, cut your Lucky Bamboo to your preferred height. Make sure to include the stalks when placing the Bamboo in water, so you encourage root growth.

Once the Lucky Bamboo has grown some roots, add it to the water. You should plant it firmly and deeply in the water to keep its roots under the soil and provide stability for the plant. Finally, add dechlorinated water and other plants and tank accessories.

Propagating Lucky Bamboo

During your Lucky Bamboo’s lifetime, it’ll produce a couple of offshoots. These offshoots can grow to be propagated plants. Before cutting them off, ensure your Lucky Bamboo is healthy and let the offshoot grow multiple leafy joints.

To establish a propagated plant, cut off the offshoot cleanly and embed it in water. With time, it’ll develop a root system of its own.

Lucky Bamboo Pests

Lucky Bamboo may attract mealybugs and mites and may be susceptible to fungal infections. The most apparent signs of these undesirable elements are white spots, webbing, or gray fuzz on the Lucky Bamboo. Extract and treat your plant immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Gray Fuzz and Fungal Infection Treatment

You’ll need to increase the airflow to the Lucky Bamboo to treat gray fuzz and fungal infections. You can remove the Bamboo from the water and let the stalks and leaves dry. Try opening a window in the room or turning on a fan to increase airflow.

White Spots Treatment

Mealybugs are the primary cause of white spots on Lucky Bamboo. To get rid of them, apply rubbing alcohol to the Lucky Bamboo and leave it to dry for a day to prevent any alcohol from getting into the tank water.

White Webbing and Mites Treatment

While not harmful to Lucky Bamboo, it’s still a good idea to get rid of white webbing and mites.As with the white spots treatment, apply rubbing alcohol to it and leave it to dry after removing the Bamboo from the water.

Diagnosing and Treating Yellow Leaves

You might notice your Lucky Bamboo leaves are turning yellow. The likeliest culprit is too-bright lights in the tank. Ideally, Lucky Bamboo requires medium to low light to thrive. So simply turn down the lights and trim off the yellowed leaves to solve the issue. Outside of a Betta tank, Lucky Bamboo may turn yellow because of overfertilization or chlorine in the water.

However, you can safely rule out these causes.

Because this Bamboo doesn’t require fertilizer, and your fish hasn’t been killed (by the chlorine).

Cleaning a Tank With Lucky Bamboo in It

To clean a Betta tank that has Lucky Bamboo in it, take the following steps:

  • Power the tank’s filter and heater down
  • Scrub off algae on the glass of your tank using a non-chemical sponge, razor, or scraper. Take care not to disturb the Bamboo or your Betta while doing so
  • Using a siphon, perform a 50-70% water change (the amount will depend on your tank’s size)
  • Remove dead plant matter and fish waste from substrate and Bamboo leaves, again using the siphon. Go gently to avoid disturbing the topsoil
  • Carefully add dechlorinated water to the tank and turn on the tank’s heater
  • Turn on the filter and wipe down the tank with a cloth

In a few hours, you’ll have a cleaner Betta tank where both your Betta and Lucky Bamboo can thrive.

Danger Posed to Other Pets

We’ve mentioned that Lucky Bamboo isn’t toxic to Betta fish, but what about other pets? Apparently, the plant is highly toxic to cats and dogs and will cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain when consumed in high quantities.

Therefore, ensure you consider your other pets when planning where to place your tank. Also, it’d help if your tank is out of reach or has a lid you can close to prevent your cat or dog from reaching.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Lucky Bamboo need a fertilizer?

Lucky Bamboo doesn’t require too much fertilizer to thrive while in water. If it’s planted in a community tank with a lot of fish waste, it won’t need much fertilizer. Additionally, Lucky Bamboo, like other live plants in Betta tanks, photosynthesizes and so uses CO2. Therefore, it’ll get all the nutrients it needs from the tank’s water column.

What’s the best way to trim Lucky Bamboo?

You can use gardening shears to trim off any stems with leaves when they become too overgrown. However, don’t trim them off outright. Instead, leave an inch or two so that the regrowth will be denser.

Can Co2 injections be used for Lucky Bamboo?

Absolutely! CO2 injections can help Lucky Bamboo grow faster. However, while this plant can grow without the injections, it’ll be at a slower rate.

Is it a good idea to put Lucky Bamboo in the aquarium filter?

You can. However, we wouldn’t recommend it. The Lucky Bamboo will likely outgrow the filter’s space, so keep it in the substrate instead.

Conclusion

Adding Lucky Bamboo to your tank is a great way to boost its ecosystem. Additionally, it can provide hiding spots for your Betta fish.

This plant can thrive in water, whether partially or fully submerged, and live a long time. The central myth that gives most people pause about adding Lucky Bamboo to a tank is that it’s toxic. However, that myth isn’t accurate, and people who spread it probably mistook Lucky Bamboo for regular Bamboo.

Last Updated: July 13, 2022

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