The Easiest Way to Make a Betta Fish & Peace Lily Aquarium in a Vase!

The Easiest Way to Make a Betta Fish & Peace Lily Aquarium in a Vase!

Today’s blog embodies the main reason I blog…..It involves the two things that sometimes get in my way when I get one of my ideas…….1. When I research it on the internet, sometimes I can’t find anyone who will give me a “concise” set of directions that includes ALL I need to know. 2. There are folks out their who are super serious about the topic & can only give me the “rich man’s version” or the “I only feed my carnivorous plants organic bugs I pick from my own bug sanctuary” lecture (in a snooty tone, no doubt). Finally – 3. After I get my research together, certain things were left out – like the difficulty of one of the steps. Here’s how my Betta Fish/Peace Lily Aquarium in a Vase project went!


Betta Fish = $3-12… Maurice was “on sale.” 🙂

Conditioner & food are very inexpensive at the pet store.

Colored rocks/stones available; You can even use marbles!

What You need:

~A Vase – You know you have a bunch from the florist that you aren’t using or you know someone who does..…. Find a big one… preferable clear – without ridges/frosting – so you can see your fish!

~A Clear Plastic Cup – Something Clear to Keep your plant grouped closely at the base & your roots suspended in the water. Play around with it & get one that is a good fit & doesn’t fall into your vase. Look around your house – you might have something besides a cup. I used the top of a disposable water lily container.

~Tap Water – is FINE. (See next item…)

~Conditioner – to De-Tap your Tap Water. The pet store can help you with this. You’ll need to treat your water before the fish goes in there.

~Betta Fish Food Pellets – Fun times. You’ll have to watch him/her eat the first time, and it’s possible your pre-disposed finicky fish with spit it up. This means he doesn’t like your food, and you might have to get a different kind. We are waiting it out…..

~A Peace Lily – This is the only plant you can put in there. They sell them at some pet stores. If you have a small vase – get one from there. It will actually be ready to go & have separate instruction. If you have a bigger one like I did – you can go get a plant from any nursery. You don’t want the BIG “floor” plant.

~Accessories – like Rocks and/or a figurine: I am finally finding a home for the rocks and sea glass I found in Italy! I also got a small figurine from the aquarium department of the pet store (columns).

~5 gallon bucket – or something you can get dirty

~A Betta Fish – I got a male, crowntail fish. He’s cornflower blue with a red fin/strip thing on his side. Insert snooty joke here. Take some time & get one that’s lively. If it never gets off the bottom of it’s cup in the store while you’re there…… it’ll do the same at your house. It might have Bettafish-itis. Ha! I had bad luck with one in a regular pet store. Consider going online with an actual breeder. You never know how old the ones are in the store.

~Cup Measure – for transferring your new friend into the vase with less trauma.


NOTE: Do this during daylight – outside – when you’ve got some time. Depending on your peace lily, you may have to use up some extra time/patience to get everything just right.



1. Place your rocks/accessories in a strainer & rinse well.

2. Wash the vase & rinse it ….. reaaaaalllllllyyy well.

3. The hardest part of this super-easy project…Be Patient…Take the peace lily & the bucket outside to your hose. Fill the bucket – put the peace lily in there – & start gently moving your fingers around it to get the soil to fall off, releasing the roots. This is going to take a bit of time. You want to get ALL the soil off there. The black thing underneath the root base is not soil & should not be picked at. If you’re like me & you worry that plants are fragile….. This project helped me get over that. If you break a root, it’s okay. We are going to trim them…. Now feed the roots through the whole of that cup. Roots should be sticking out the bottom of the cup. Put your plant roots/cup barrier in some water until you’re ready for transfer. You can skip all this…. And get a lily from the pet store near the betta section.(may require a smaller case)

Peace Lily with Soil (before)

Peace Lily without soil (after)








4. Once clean of soil – grab your scissors. Trim the roots so they are about the size/shape of a softball or baseball – depending on the size of your vase.

5. Use those scissors to cut a Silver Dollar sized or vanilla wafer-sized hole in the base. (depending on the size of your vase…..)

6. Place the rocks in the bottom. Place the accessory in the bottom, if applicable.

7. Fill vase 2/3 with water. Follow instructions on conditioner, and treat your water accordingly with the correct dose.

8. Scoop some of that new water out with your cup measure – filling it about 1/3 full. Over the sink, slowly empty your fish’s cup water until just barely over his/her body. Slowly, transfer him (with some of his old water) into the cup measure. Then slowly – release him into the vase.

9. You might feed him 3 pellets now before adding the plant. If he doesn’t eat something – get it out. If he spits it up…. You’ll know he’s finicky. Once you find a good food – he/she needs food everyday – according to the instructions on your food. He will also munch on the roots of that plant occasionally, but that isn’t enough – make sure you feed him/her!

10. Add your plant/cup barrier!


Maintenance: Once a week or every two weeks, depending on how the water is looking, you need to carefully take your fish out so you can clean out the tank & put in fresh water.

Snacks/treats: Apparently, they like dried bloodworms. You can get these at the pet store. You can also get little shrimps…. Visit the pet store & they’ll direct you to the right stuff if that’s what you want to get into.

Happy, relaxed, & well betta fish have strong, bright color. They also feed readily and exhibit active, smooth swimming.











When crowntails do this “pose,” it is the equivalent of what we do as humans when we see a bear – make ourselves as big as possible. This is because the fish sees what it thinks is another male …. or a potential girlfriend. 🙂

If you’re like me & it’s been a while since you fed a fish…. drop 3 pellets & monitor him/her. Spit up? You might have to get different food.

This is Maurice’s new home. 🙂


  1. Terri
    Jul 25, 2012

    Looks like Rupert food to me!

  2. frances vaughn
    Sep 21, 2012

    Thank you so very much I am making my ggrandchildren one of these and Iam so exited. You answered all my things I need to know. Thanks again from South Carolina.

    • Kami
      Oct 15, 2012

      How wonderful! Good Luck! I had the biggest time with my nieces shopping for fish stuff! 🙂 Remember – experiment with the food to determine what he/she requires. Also – don’t forget to change out the tank every 1-2 weeks!

  3. Sophia
    Oct 13, 2012

    I’m confused about the regular feeding of pellets , bloodworms, be my cousing has a beta in Peace Lily vase and seldom feeds it. It thrives on the roots or some parts of the lily. What happens to the waste matter from the fish? Is that what needs to be cleaned out?

    • Kami
      Oct 15, 2012

      Hello! I had a fish die once, because I didn’t feed it enough. Some pet stores say you can bring in a cup of your aquarium water & they can tell you what caused your fish’s death. Afterwards, I offered my fish (& ever fish is different) a pellet once a day. I make sure my fish eats his food, and if he doesn’t, I get it out with a spoon. I have a friend who had to do 3 pellets a day, because the roots weren’t enough. Yes, the excrement is the reason why you have to clean it out 1-2 weeks. There isn’t a filter in the aquarium…Good luck!

    • karen
      Feb 11, 2013

      I’m a bit concerned about the rocks and decorative glass. I bought colored rocks that are beautiful but I’m afraid of paint and chemicals. Also have type of sea glass. The corners can be angular. Would the fish hurt himself

      • Sarah
        Feb 17, 2014

        I would stick to gravel or rocks that you get at the pet store, or anything that looks natural or like it won’t emit any chemicals into the water. Betta’s are really hardy fish and can live in conditions most other fish can’t, but that doesn’t always mean you should put them in those conditions. Betta’s can very easily tear their fins on ornaments, many people will do a panty hose test with objects they put in their tank. If you rub the object with a panty hose and the hose doesn’t catch, it should be safe for your betta.

  4. Gayle Cooper
    Jun 26, 2013

    My sister, a beta fancier, is presently dealing with Kmart – which sells these peace lily vases with instructions to NOT feed the betas which are inserted. Asking all of you to realize these fish must be fed …..KMarts ‘ peace lily vases are from a growing company in Florida –

    • Kami
      Jun 27, 2013

      Thanks! I updated the food info in the entry!

  5. Michael
    Aug 3, 2013

    bought my first male betta, could i use room temperature bottled water for him. after the second day he ate betta flake food, any suggestions that might help. He looks kind of nervous, but looks like really healthy fish. Any suggestions please send to my email, any help would be great and any ideas other than a peace lily? Possible a water lily?

  6. Sara
    Sep 26, 2013

    By the way, I’d been looking all over for good info on converting a potted peace lily into a plant for my aquarium, and your article was the best by far, and very informative.

  7. Karie Shuster
    Nov 23, 2013

    Thank you the best information on the web your site helped me so much was not sure what to do and making this for my granddaughter

  8. Goldfish bowl
    Dec 6, 2013

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing the easiest way to make a betta fish peace lily aquarium in a vase post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.

  9. Karla
    Jul 1, 2014

    Thanks so much for the step by step instructions. I am setting one of these up in my classroom this fall!

  10. Barbara Schmitt
    Jul 11, 2014

    I have made these as centerpieces for birthday parties. One was for a sweet 16, the other was for an 80th. Both groups went wild over who was going to get them to take home. The worst part about this project is cleaning the peace lily plants…a true mess. But the end result is beautiful. I never knew about using a cup to hold the plant up( I used small craft clothespins and clipped a leaf to the edge of the vase on each side). I placed a beautiful bow around the neck of the vase for decoration and found that the fish liked to sleep in the shadow of that bow against the glass. Interesting to watch. My teacher daughters all have one on their desks. They are interesting, colorful and fairly hardy. I had one that lasted for 3 years.Does anyone know what the life span of the betta really is?

  11. Lucy
    Jul 20, 2014

    Thanks for the help! Just a couple of variations that helped me were that I used the garden hose on a medium spray and cleaned the dirt off the plant roots in a jiffy. Also I picked a wider mouth jar (big cookie size) because I wanted to give the fish more space and air, so I used a 6″ clear plastic plant tray and cut a hole in it for the plant and it fit nicely over the jar. Also cut some air/feeding holes.

  12. Denise
    Jul 22, 2014

    Thank you so mu h for all the helpful information. I hope my fish lives a long time .

  13. Candy Alexander
    Aug 7, 2014

    Fab instructions! I’m using my husbands grandmothers vase that her husband gave to her for her 85th birthday, she passed at 92 and she was a hell cat. miss her!!

  14. KayLynn
    Aug 15, 2014

    Thank you so very much. I have a beta that doesn’t seem very happy at the moment. But after your wonderful post it enspired me to change his environ ment. I already have a peace plant but didn’t know what to do with it until I read your blog. I love your vase idea

  15. Norma OHanlon
    Sep 10, 2014

    Can any other plants besides a Peace Lilly plant be used?? I have a friend who just made two for her grandchildren and she used other plants. I would like to let her know before something happens to both Bettas. Thank you, Norma

    • Kami
      Sep 11, 2014

      I read on multiple sites that the lily was okay – so that is the only “above vase” plant I have used. As far as I know – this is the only “above vase/common house plant” plant that won’t poison the fish. However – a college friend of mine used lucky bamboo & had no problems. Philodendrons are super-deadly. That being said – you can put plants “inside/underneath” the water. Acceptable plants from your local aquarium store are: vallisneria (eel grass), amazon sword, foxtail, java ferns, elodea. REMEMBER – they need to breathe – which is why I used a wide-mouthed vase. I wanted a large lily plant for decoration, but the fish needs to get plenty of air or it will die. Prune a lot! Also – Feed them and change the water out as if the plant wasn’t there.

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