Do you currently own or have you been thinking about buying a Zoo Med Laboratories Betta Bed Leaf Hammock (affiliate link)? Almost every betta fish loves them and they’re a great addition to any tank, but they can present a problem to the health of your fish and its water quality. The hammock is simplistic, easy to add, and a natural replication of their ecosystem allowing them to rest an inch or two under the water’s surface.
Oddly enough though, the manufacturer decided to place a metal wire inside the stem of the leaf to provide it with support and the ability to adjust its direction and location in the water. Over time and while being submerged, this wire will start to rust and quickly be visible on the end that is positioned inside the suction cup. The leaf is still strong enough to support a betta fish’s weight on its own, it just won’t be able to bend into different positions once fixed. Follow these easy steps below to prevent metal from mixing with your betta fish’s water.
Tools Required (pictured above):
- An adult if you’re too young to handle this on your own
- An exacto knife (any blade including a pocket knife will do)
- Needle-nose pliers
- A little patience
Remove the leaf and suction cup from the package or from your tank and separate. Once they are separated you can place the suction cup to the side because it is not the affected area. Place the leaf on a cutting board or other hard and flat surface. At the tip of the stem you will need to carefully cut away some of the plastic that surrounds the tip. Keep trimming away small portions at a time until you expose the metal wire just enough to grab it with pliers. Take care to preserve and salvage as much of the end as possible because it still needs to hold the leaf in place inside the suction cup.
Now that you have the wire exposed, you’ll need to hold the leaf in place while you extract the wire. For this step I decided to use two pairs of needle-nose pliers and I recommend you do the same (one on the stem for holding the leaf and one on the wire). Once you have the leaf firmly in place, grab the wire with the other pair of pliers. Carefully but forcefully pull in the opposite direction to remove the wire from inside the stem. It may give you a bit of a fight but just keep pulling slowly, taking care to not damage the stem or leaf. Once you have it fully removed that’s it, you’re done (almost).
Your betta fish’s hammock is now safe. Throw the metal wire away, put your tools away, and rinse the leaf and suction cup under hot water for a few moments. Re-insert the leaf into the suction cup and secure the betta bed hammock back into your tank for your betta fish’s enjoyment! Pass this information along to help other betta fish owners too by sharing it below.