Bettas, commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most popular types of tropical fish kept by hobbyists. This is because of their ability to survive in very small amounts of water with very little oxygen content. In addition to their ease of care, male Bettas are very colorful and often have long flowing fins. One way to spice up the typical Betta's fish bowl is to plant live plant bulbs and create a small underwater jungle for the fish. Aponogeton bulbs are fast growers, easy to care for and are often considered one of the easiest aquatic plants.
Rinse the fishbowl with warm, but not hot tap water. Do not use soap.
Rinse the gravel with tap water. Do not use soap. This removes any small dust particles that would cloud the water.
Fill the bottom of the fishbowl with gravel about 2 inches deep and spread it evenly over the bottom.
Fill the bowl half way with water.
Add a tap water conditioner that is available inexpensively from all pet stores. This eliminates chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals from the water. How much you need depends on your local water supply and how concentrated the product is, but it usually requires only a drop or two. Most local fish stores will test a water sample for free and recommend the correct product for the area. Be sure to add enough to condition a full bowl of water according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Plant the bulbs in the center of the bowl 2 to 3 inches apart from each other. They should be buried in the gravel only deep enough to keep them from moving around or floating to the surface. If any are already sprouted, dig a small hole and bury the roots. Most of each bulb should be above the level of the gravel. The top of the bulbs where the leaves sprout is the more narrow end. Sometimes it can be tough to tell top from bottom; these bulbs can be planted on their side buried about halfway into the gravel.
Fill the bowl the rest of the way up with water.
Remove 25 percent of the water from the bowl after one week and replace it with fresh water of the same temperature. Be sure to add the appropriate amount of water conditioner to the volume of new tap water. By this time the bulbs will have started to show signs of life and new shoots will be sprouting from the tops.
Remove and replace 25 percent of the water with conditioner after another week. This water-change process helps cycle the bowl and builds up beneficial bacteria the fish needs to survive. Now a Betta fish can be added to the bowl.
Provide a bright light source. This can easily be done with a screw-in daylight-spectrum compact fluorescent light bulb in a fixture immediately above the bowl or a manufactured fish bowl canopy with a plant light. A very bright window would also work, but avoid direct sunlight because it will cause the water temperature to fluctuate too rapidly. Normal overhead lighting in the home will usually not be enough to sustain the Aponogeton plant over time and needs to be supplemented.