Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock Review
Providing your betta fish with an aquarium full of clean and warm water, plenty of space to swim around and a good high-quality betta specific fish food is more or less all that you really need to keep a betta fish healthy. But you don’t really want to keep your betta fish just healthy right? I mean, you want your betta fish not just to survive, but thrive and be happy! Providing your betta fish with plenty of places to hide and snuggle up against or on will turn your betta fishes plain old bucket of water into an interesting and exciting themepark full of possibilities! Okay, that part might’ve been overdone just a bit. But you do want to give your betta fish a few tank accessories to rest on or hide in. The betta leaf hammock made by zoo med is probably the most popular in tank accessories people purchase for their betta buddy. And honestly, it’s popular for a reason. It’s a fantastic tank accessory!
I personally spoil every single one of my Betta Fishy’s and everybody in the town that I live in knows that. After raising betta fish for as long as I have in gaining a reputation as “that betta guy” I’ve amassed a fairly large collection (read drawer full) of these leaf hammocks for betta fish. This is not a bad thing, I am not complaining! You see, as far as I can figure when people go out shopping they see these betta AMEX listed for sale (generally under five dollars) and see the word betta fish printed on the packaging, immediately think of me, and are nice enough to pick one up for me. Be nice to your neighbors people. They can be nice back!
So with more than a few of these betta leaf hammocks in my inventory, I’ve had more than a typical person’s share of experience in their use and how betta fish react to them, use them, play with them and occasionally try to fight them. I don’t really think any of my betta fish have actually ever tried to really “fight” one of these leaf hammocks before, but I do have a couple “spaz” betta fish that tend to get a little bit more than exuberant around new aquarium furniture… I love them all, even the weird ones.
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• Made by betta fish enthusiasts themselves, Zoo Med Labs
• A natural looking leaf hammock for your Betta to chillax on
• Affixes to your betta’s aquarium by way of magical suction cup (included)
(Really) Detailed Review
Regardless if you have a planted tank or not, the suction cupped fake leaves look real enough that you wouldn’t consider them out of place in your aquarium. They actually look quite natural. They even have a little bit of flex, a little bit to give to them. My betta fish goes to sit on top of it, more towards the pointed end of the leaf that is, you can actually see the leaf sway down a bit. To me that’s actually kind of important because betta fish tend to swim around rapidly at times in their aquarium and the fewer rigid components there are that comprise the accessories and your tank, the less likely your fish is to injure. That’s not to say that your ceramic Heidi holes, or fake pineapple houses (yes there’s a real product like that for betta fish) or anything like that should be in the tank because the rigid. I do tend to like to minimize the things that are overly hard and sturdy to take up the space in the water column of the aquarium. Zoo meds leaf hammock is just one of those things that’s flexible enough to pass that test.
The leaf itself is made out of a very soft plastic. It’s definitely not made out of the same material as silk plants are. The leaf of this hammock is certainly not completely flat as it is actually slightly textured to look like a real leaf. The texture of the leaf has more to do with the imprinted veins on the body of the leaf itself. The veins I’m referencing are not the typical kind of plastic veins that you would see on a silk plant, but rather they are hard pressed into the leaf itself to make it have that appearance as if it is ribbed with veins.
As for betta leaf hammock placement, my bettas seem to enjoy the single suction cup leaf in their tank when it’s placed about 2 to 3 inches from the top of the water line.
The most important aspect of this betta hammock for me as a betta fish owner is that the edges of the leaf itself are not sharp or hard. The edges of the leaf will not pose a risk to your betta fish’s fins. As I’m holding one in my hands right now as I write this review, I see nothing on it that could even possibly be conceived as something that would potentially snag on a betta fish. This zoo med betta fish leaf hammock looks to be a very safe product in general for betta fish. I like I’ve said elsewhere in this review I’ve had these leaf hammocks installed in several of my betta fish tanks for about five years. I think they came out just over six years ago. I may be wrong about that they may have been on the market for longer.
As for betta leaf hammock placement, my bettas seem to enjoy the single suction cup leaf in their tank when it’s placed about 2 to 3 inches from the top of the water line. You don’t want to place the betta hammock too high. If you place it too close to the top of the water line in your aquarium you may end up seeing bits of betta fin cresting the top of the water as he/she rests on it. I’ve seen my betta fish resting on it and then watch me as I come close to the aquarium and use the leaf as a sort of launchpad. Betta fish are fast swimmers with or without accessories to help them along. Giving them an extra potential boost to jump out of the water and bang their heads up on the lid of the aquarium (you should make sure you have a lid on your aquarium) is something I don’t want to do and I would recommend you not do either.
A Trick To Make It Stick
A lot of people have frustration when attaching, or attempting to attach, their zoo med betta bed leaf hammock to the inside wall of their betta tank. When you understand how to attach it to your betta aquarium properly once, you’ll never have an issue attaching it again. It’s all about keeping an air bubble inside of the suction cup.
When you go to place your hammock leaf bed into your betta fish tank, keep a close eye on keeping air trapped inside of the suction cup as you press against the wall of the aquarium. You do want the underside of the suction cup wet. You just don’t want it 100% completely filled with water. All you need is a tiny little BB size air bubble in between the suction cup and the betta tank wall. Once you get it affixed with a little air bubble inside the suction cup, that leaf isn’t going anywhere until you make it move.
Once you get it affixed with a little air bubble inside the suction cup, that leaf isn’t going anywhere until you make it move.
If you go take a look at the reviews on any given e-commerce site that sells these betta beds, you will inevitably see an angry customers comment upset about the fact that there is wire used in the manufacture of these fake leaves. The main concern is that the wire will rust. And in some cases it does. There is a hard line of wire that runs the length of the leaf that adds rigidity and at the same time flexibility and the ability to pose it in a certain position. However! This length of wire is fully enclosed with plastic. It is watertight. Meaning that water cannot get to the wire and make it rust!
When rusting does happen, more often than not it happens because the leaf hammock was over manipulated and the plastic coating over the wire had cracked. This plastic coating covering the wire in the betta bed leaf will not crack on its own living in your bettas tank. But, when you bring it home from the store and take it out of the packaging, if you intentionally manipulate the leaf by bending it back and forth over and over again, you do stand a chance of rupturing the plastic coating over the wire.
These are all a lot of words (actually too many words and I apologize for that) for saying simply: don’t manhandle the betta bed leaf hammock! Now that’s a sentence right there I wouldn’t have imagined myself having to write out in my lifetime. All that to say, personally I would not let the negative reviews about rust occurring on these leaf bed hammocks sway you from picking one up for your betta baby. As I said before, I have countless of these leaf hammocks by zoo med (okay I counted I have 17). Over three quarters of the betta hammocks I own are in use. After taking a break from this article for 2 ½ minutes, I just checked all my tanks just to verify this, and I don’t have a single betta leaf that is rusting.
A Betta Reaction From Your Fishy
I think one of the neatest things about these suction cupped betta hammocks is the fact that you can pick them up pretty much anywhere for under five dollars. If you go to the store and find one that is selling for over five dollars, you are probably paying too much. They’re attractive looking. They actually look quite real. They last forever (I have one that is just about five years old). And best of all, they are an accessory in my tank that my betta fish actually use. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on betta aquarium accessories and have my fish be not at all interested in them.
Which actually brings me to another point. Your betta fish’s initial reaction to the leaf hammock will, more often than not, not be one of immediate affection or attraction. When I put a betta leaf hammock in one of my fish tanks, my bettas first reaction is generally not even one of extreme curiosity. Sure they swim around it for a bit, sometimes they actually try to avoid it entirely. I have a betta fish right now that I’m actually staring at as I write this who received his first betta hammock about two months ago. It must’ve taken him a good three weeks before he even wanted to try and lay on top of it. However, as I am typing this, he is resting on it snug as a betta fishy bug. Actually it kind of irritates me because he’s always, always resting on it rather than anything else in the aquarium. He’s totally ignoring the $30 castle sitting vacant at the bottom of his aquarium. It’s like kids and cardboard boxes, they go after the cheap stuff.
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Betta Leaf It At That
One last thing that I almost forgot to mention, and I don’t really think it matters too much in the long run, is that the suction cup base is detachable from the leaf itself. Now, I can see how some people would say that that “feature” would allow you to better clean the betta hammock, but I don’t see this “feature” as being truly necessary to aid in cleaning. In any case, the leaf just pops in and out of the suction cup held in by friction. Actually, it’s more than friction as it is more similar to, say, a socket I suppose. All that to say, if your betta leaf hammock accidentally “breaks”, don’t panic. Just pop it back together again. The leaf wasn’t glued in there in the first place and it doesn’t need any to reattach to the suction cup.
All things considered, I think this is a really great accessory that you can add to your betta tank. Actually, I think it’s more than really great, as evident by the amount of these little leaf hammocks I have installed all of my tanks! But if I was a first-time buyer looking at this for the very first time, after bringing it home I can see that there would be absolutely no regrets in my purchase after seeing how frequently my betta fish ends of using it. You know, as I think about it, I have one betta fish in particular that didn’t use his leaf hammock at all. Because I had more than a few spares in a drawer on hand, I decided to attach another one of these betta beds in his tank right opposite the first. Oddly enough as soon as I did that my betta started using the original and now ignores the brand-new one. Saying that to say, you might pick up two. These betta fish are lovely but weird creatures.