Q: WP wrote,
Hi Christie. I’m getting married this summer and want to use Siamese fighting fish as my centerpieces to give away to guests. They’re so beautiful and I can color coordinate them with my flower arrangements. Do I have to worry about them jumping out of the vases during the reception? Will the music bother them? I want to make sure they stay safe so I appreciate any advice you can give me.
A: Thanks for writing in about your plans to incorporate Betta Splendens into your wedding reception. It’s always best to ask those who know before you undergo an endeavor that involves live animals. To get right to the point, there really is no safe way to incorporate bettas into your reception. At least not one that has been thought up yet. Even if your bettas survive little cousin Bobby’s not-so-scientific experiment introducing cocktails into your betta bowls, it is unlikely that they will ever survive the first week home with their new owners. Fish care is a very complicated effort and it involves an understanding of water chemistry, aquatic ecosystems and fish biology. It’s just too much to expect from your average party guest.
Providing bettas for your guests is asking them to make both a time and financial contribution. These fish require appropriate housing (1 gallon minimum tanks), heat, food, water treatment chemicals, water testing kits and weekly if not daily maintenance. These are just the basics to give them a chance of survival. Bettas can also live up to 5 years. That’s a pretty long time to keep your guest motivated.
The most important thing to remember is that fish are live animals worthy of food, shelter and a clean environment. There is no such thing as a disposable pet and they all deserve a chance at a good home. If you’re still thinking that bettas make a cool centerpiece just rest assured that live party favors went out of style in the 80s along with fur coats and eye-liner on bunnies. The new 2006 bride is eco-aware and environmentally conscientious. Perhaps instead of buying ten $5 fish you could donate that $50 to one of your favorite animal rescue organizations like the ASPCA. Let your guests know what you did and they will be all the more appreciative that they aren’t leaving your wedding with a whole new responsibility.
Best wishes to you and congratulations on your special day.