Peace Lily Betta Fish: Aquatic Plants To Complement Your Pet

Peace Lily Betta Fish
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Last Updated: February 20, 2023 by Dave Gibbins

The aquarium hobby has become very popular in recent years, and various people now enjoy aquascaping and caring for their beloved fish. 

Now, it goes without saying that…

The addition of plants to any betta tank will enhance its appearance, and many fish owners turn to peace lilies for their loveliness and ease of care. However, is it okay to place peace lilies with betta fish, and if it is, how should you go about it? Keep reading to discover all this and more.

What Are Peace Lilies?

Peace Lily House Plant.

In short, peace lilies are evergreen plants that typically grow on tropical forest floors. Since their native habitat consists of indirect sunlight and some humidity, peace lilies are quite easy to grow, making them perfect as indoor plants. 

Accordingly, you can find a peace lily plant in many homes or offices, as its white flowers and green leaves make for a beautiful decoration that’s fairly easy to take care of. 

Now, generally, peace lilies grow in soil. However, they can adapt to a water environment with time. However, can peace lilies be added to a fish bowl? Let’s see.

Are Peace Lilies Harmful to Betta Fish?

Well, yes and no. Confusing, I know, but I’ll try to break it down a bit. 

First off, you should know that a peace lily plant produces a sap that’s toxic if ingested. That’s because this sap has a high amount of calcium oxalate crystals that can cause severe intestinal problems if eaten in large enough amounts.

So, it stands to reason that placing a peace lily in your betta fish tank would be a bad idea, right? 

Well, not really. 

Why? Well, that’s because betta fish are primarily carnivores. This means that in order to keep these fish healthy, you need to provide them with a diet high in protein.

So, bettas will only look for nourishment from plants only when they’re absolutely starving. 

Therefore, as long as your bettas are well-fed, they won’t actually eat the plant.

Interestingly enough, many betta fish keepers mistakenly believe that betta fish can survive on peace lily roots. However, that’s far from the truth. While, yes, bettas can eat plants, they won’t actually live long eating vegetation alone.

Now, betta fish can sometimes be found nibbling on peace lily roots, but they’re not really eating; they’re just exploring their tank with their mouth. Accordingly, a bite or two won’t do much harm, and the betta will avoid eating the plant later on. 

So, as you can see, peace lilies are technically harmful to betta fish, but that’s only if they decide to make a full meal of the plant. That being so, you can put a peace lily inside your betta tank without worrying too much about the health of your betta.

Is It Okay to Place a Peace Lily in Your Betta Fish Tank?

Yes, though there are other plants safer and more suitable for bettas. 

Now, as we said, peace lilies can live in water. However, these are not aquatic plants. This means that if they’re not placed correctly in their container, they’ll start to rot.

Basically, the plant roots should be the only thing submerged in water. The stems, leaves, and flowers should in no way come in contact with the water as they will start decomposing with time. This leads to the release of the toxic calcium oxalate crystals, which will inadvertently be consumed by your beloved pet, leading to its illness or even death. 

Moreover, the decaying plants will also cause a rise in ammonia levels, which is another toxic chemical. And if that wasn’t enough to kill your fish, the rise in pH will certainly put an end to your betta fish’s life. 

So, unless you know how to maintain a peace lily in a fish bowl, it’s best to stay away from peace lilies and get yourself some java fern or Anubias.

Factoid: Lilies make good plants but are not suitable for aquariums. They endanger your bettas. In fact, other aquatic plants appearing to complement your tanks are big no-nos! We have a list of both poisonous and non-poisonous plants in our article, Toxic Plants For Betta Fish: 7 Poisonous Aquatic Vegetation, for you to study.

Peace Lily

Are There Benefits to Placing a Peace Lily in a Fish Bowl?

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news with peace lilies. These plants offer a variety of benefits to fish, similar to any other plant.

For one, a peace lily enhances the look of your aquarium and provides an interactive environment for your betta. Moreover, the plant roots can also act as a shelter for baby fish, where they can take cover until they’re ready to venture out on their own. 

Additionally, peace lilies can eliminate some of the nitrogenous wastes in the water tank. They can also reduce algae growth as they compete with it for nutrition.

All in all, a peace lily will be a good addition to any fish tank, be it as the sole plant or as part of a larger plant arrangement. 

Peace Lily In A Fishbowl

Can You Put a Betta in a Peace Lily Vase?

Nope. Bettas and peace lily vases are not a good match. Unfortunately, many fish wonders will put their bettas in a clear glass vase containing a peace lily in the hopes of spicing up their home décor. However, this isn’t good for the bettas in the long run.

That’s because these vases restrict the amount of oxygen that can reach the betta fish, and as you probably know, bettas will occasionally need to breathe some air. Unlike other fish species, bettas have what’s called a labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe surface air when the oxygen in the water isn’t sufficient.

This organ is a product of evolution, as bettas in the wild usually live in shallow rice paddies with low oxygen levels. As such, they developed a way to get more oxygen by rising to the water’s surface and taking a few gulps of air. 

Now, the problem with a peace lily vase is that its narrow neck won’t leave enough space for the betta to come up to the surface. Still, that’s not the only problem with peace lily vases.  

Typically, a betta vase will be quite small, say a gallon or even less. This small size will lead to the accumulation of toxic materials pretty fast, which may cause gill and fin tissue damage. 

Thankfully, this problem never occurs in the betta’s natural environment as the shallow rice paddies are fed with a much larger body of water that can dilute and break down these toxins. That’s why you should get your betta a tank that’s at least 3 gallons or so, to that the toxins don’t accumulate as fast.

Betta & Peace Lily In Vase

How to Place a Peace Lily in You Betta Fish Tank

If you’ve decided on getting a peace lily for your small tank, you should know how to place it correctly so that your fish’s health won’t be affected. 

The first thing you need to do is buy a peace lily plant that’s free of rot and disease.

These plants are commonly sold in garden centers or similar places, and you may occasionally find them in pet stores that specialize in fish. You’ll find the plants there in a pot, not in a vase. Accordingly, we’ll need to prepare the plant for its new water environment by performing the following steps.

  1. Remove the plant from the pot and be careful of accidentally damaging the roots.
  2. Rinse the roots under water to remove all the soil and dirt present on them.
  3. Trim part of the roots with a sharp knife or pair of sharp scissors. This is to allow the plant to create new roots suitable for aquatic life. 
  4. Before adding the freshly-trimmed plant to a vase or bowl, you should place a piece of driftwood underneath it. This will lift the plant stems and leaves away from the water and give the root something to hold on to. You can also place a piece of plastic to achieve the same effect.
  5. Place the vase under grow lights or in a spot with indirect sunlight for a few days before placing your fish. This is to give the roots time to develop in their new aquatic environment.
  6. Add some liquid fertilizer to the tank to help the peace lily along with its growth. 
  7. Transfer the plant to your aquarium when the plant starts flourishing, and add whatever decoration you want, be it driftwood, grave, large rocks, or houses. 
  8. Add your betta fish to the aquarium and change the water every week or so to remove any waste build-up.

Note: If you’ve got a small bowl for your betta, then you’ll only need to add a tiny piece of wood. However, the bigger your betta tank, the larger the wood should be so as to elevate your plant from the water. 

Watch This!


Betta fish and peace lilies can coexist in harmony in aquariums. The plant won’t harm your fish unless you starve them, as they’ll start seeing the plant roots as a source of nutrients and start eating its toxic sap. 

Also, remember to stay away from small bowls and betta vases, and instead look for a tank that’s large enough for your fish to swim freely without hindrance from the plant roots. 

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