Aquatic Art

Holiday Hassles

Beta fish or Japanese fighting fish are aggressive fish that like to live alone. If you put two together in a bowl, they'll fight with each other. You can feed your fish prepared fish pellets from a pet shop, and give it shrimp brine and dried blood worms for a treat. Change about 25 percent of the fish's water each week by adding bottled water that is the same temperature as the water the fish is residing in. If necessary, trim the roots of the plant if they become too long.

If you're into tropical fish and plants, then this project is perfect for you. The aquatic garden is easy to assemble, and it makes a beautiful decoration for a den or an office.

Level: Moderately easy

Time involved: One to two hours


  • One 10 34 inch vase (Crafts stores sell these vases, and some will include the saucer for free. I found all the necessary ingredients for this project at a garden shop.)
  • One 4-inch plastic saucer
  • One pack of decorative rocks or marbles
  • One water-loving plant (such as a peace lily)
  • Scissors
  • One gallon bottled water
  • One Beta fish (or Japanese fighting fish)
  • One yard of red, white, and blue ribbon
  1. Rinse off the vase, saucer, and rocks or marbles with water and set them aside.

  2. Remove the plant from the pot and thoroughly rinse all the roots. You may have to soak them to get them clean. Trim the ends of the roots so that they are about four inches long.

  3. Using scissors, cut a 2-inch hole in the bottom of the plastic saucer. Work the roots through the hole. Place a 2-inch layer of rocks or marbles in the bottom of the vase. Fill the vase with bottled water to about 3 inches below the neck of the vase.

  4. Place the plastic bag containing the fish in the vase for about an hour to acclimate it to the temperature of the water. The water should be around room temperature. Carefully float the fish out of the bag and fill the vase to about 1 inch from the top with more bottled water. There should be about a 1-inch space between the bottom of the saucer and the water level for the fish to breathe. Do not use tap water as it contains chlorine that is harmful to the fish.

  5. Work the roots from the saucer into the vase and allow the saucer to rest on the lip of the vase. Add decorative rocks to the saucer to hold it in place.

  6. Tie a red, white, and blue bow around the top of the vase.

Place the vase in indirect sunlight and keep it in a warm spot (room temperature), out of drafts. Carefully lift the saucer from the vase to feed the fish.

More on: Crafts for Kids


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Holiday Crafts © 2002 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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