3 Little Ladies and a Sugar Jar

We have some new roommates in our home: Opi, Vi and Fie (Short for Opal, Violet and Fiona). Moose and I are fighting the urge to buy a dog, so we are temporarily appeasing ourselves with our three new, lovely Beta Fish friends. (Are we kidding ourselves?)

Did you know female Betas can exist peacefully together? I thought they all fought, but apparently it’s only the males. Typical.

My fellow Pet-Lovers, have no fear. We talked fairly extensively to the “Fish Guy” at PetCo before sticking these girls together. Talking extensively to people is a talent of Moose, so we got the whole fish lowdown.

But I didn’t stick these ladies in any plain, old, round fishbowl. It will be a quaint old sugar jar for them. I bought this oversized mason jar at a garage sale a few years back. Actually, I am pretty sure the lady just gave it to me for free. The cursive raised print is so charming I feel like I’m in Loren Bray’s shop. It also says “five pounds” on the back. It’s the little things like this that give regular objects character.

I actually used this jar for a terrarium for quite some time. Thinking outside of the box helps make common items much more interesting!

Do you have any pet babies?

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104 comments

  1. I don’t have any pets anymore, but I did have a dachhound and yorkie… the most adorable dogs ever! I also think it’s great that you think outside the box to create. You probably would have spent a little bit of money purchasing a fish tank, but you turned your jar into one– cool! You should give us some tips on how to turn everyday items into something else lol

  2. That is a lovely idea! I have three fish (2 zebra danios and a molly). Originally, I had 7. The other 4 “disappeared.” While I love my fish, I wonder which of them is really a serial killer.

    Maybe I should try some lady betas!

  3. What a great idea for a fish bowl!

    I had a beta fish a couple of years ago, while living in a college dorm. He, too, was a substitute for a dog. His name was Stinky. (He died after I let my mom look after him for a couple of weeks while I was traveling. Poor guy.) It probably wasn’t the nice thing to do, but if I let my finger hover just above the water, sometimes he would jump at it, trying to bite it. I will have to look into getting female betas. I had no idea you could house them together like that.

    • Oh no!

      I had a goldfish in college and he lasted for 3 years (!!). Quite the feat for Frank the Goldfish. Unfortunately, I went on vacation and my mom forgot to feed him. I cried when I came home!

    • I love bonzai trees… but I can never take care of it correctly. They’re very finicky. Fish are even more finicky. Change the temperature a bit and they get sick and die. I have bamboo. Just add water and that’s it, I’ve had mine for 5 years.

  4. That is really great idea. It both saves money & adds character. Just a word of warning: Bettas are addicting. I can’t have any other pets, but I’ve found that having a betta is suprisingly fulfilling-minus the no cuddling rule. & it’s really difficult not to expland the family.
    My fish is always performing for me. He’s a pretty smart guy and not terribly aggressive, as far as males go. He loves his castle habitat as much as I loved creating it… at least I think so. 🙂 Enjoy your new pets & their home.

  5. That’s a cute idea! I bet your little ladies are very happy in their new home. Several years ago, I had a male Beta I was given for my 15th birthday. I named him Colin (from the Secret Garden) and he almost lasted a year before he flung himself out of his bowl and onto my bedroom floor. He was pretty while he lasted, though. 🙂

  6. Very cute-just Tweeted your blog entry. 🙂 I have one betta, a male named “Sal”. He’s pretty sturdy and even moved across country with us! I had no idea that you could move a fish, but they actually have travel fish bowls at the pet store, with covers and little oxygen tablets to put in the water as well. Of course, bettas come to the surface to breathe air, which is what makes them great pets for a bowl–much better than goldfish.

  7. hia, I saw this and thought your little jar and your little fish are very cute, having a tank ourselves with guppies, tetras and mollys I am quite surprised to see that you dont have a heater or a filter, will they be ok in the jar? its a great idea I wish we could get away with it

    • That’s actually why we bought Betas! Apparently because they are from Thailand, where the essentially live in watery muck, they can live in very small spaces and dirty water. Therefore, no heater or filter needed!! Don’t worry, we were very thorough with the “Fish Man” from Petco about it. (And part of the appeal of Betas!)

      I still clean the tank every week! No mucky water for my gals.

  8. watch out with those fish. i’ve talked extensively too to the ‘fish guy’ and even seen tanks FULL of female bettas, but I have never had any luck keeping them together 🙁

    Also, I think I love you for that Dr. Quinn reference <3

  9. sarahnsh says:

    I really wish I had myself a pet baby. 🙁 My fiancee is allergic to everything, but I think that the only thing he wouldn’t be allergic to is fish. I’ve had male Beta fish before, but never female. I always wanted the fish to be together, because it seemed pretty lonely for them to be alone, but whenever the males looked at each other they would get all riled up.

  10. <3 the article, the jar is too cool, but I'm inspired if getting one myself, but what did you use to make the fish jar? I'm concerned at the materials to make the fish prosper cause I'm low maintenance when it comes to fish!

  11. I bought female betas once, under the same impression you have, that they don’t need air because of a labyrinth of vessels in their heads that allow them to breathe from the surface, and the Petco man was wrong. Females need air bubbles! Males are able to survive in rice patty puddles, but not females. Another thing to know is they live at water temps in the 70’s.

  12. carolyn4u says:

    Absolutely stunning! Love the character, colors, and creativity you put into this project. I used to have a small family of tropical fish living with me but they aged and died 🙁

  13. I just bought a Beta (Male) and I went with a new age fish bowl. But now that I have seen yours I could have saved the money and used one of my countless jars that I have 🙁 So glad to have seen this I think I still have the receipt!
    LOVE IT!

  14. KLS says:

    Sooo cute!!! And really not trying to be a debbie downer here, but I have to say… I am not sure this jar is the best for these fish… in college, I got a special type of goldfish, and instead of putting him in a regular bowl, I put him (or her) in a special clear vase which tapered a bit at the top… he died a few weeks later… I was told it was because there was not enough of the water’s surface area in contact with the air, so the water was not staying as oxygenated as possible… although who knows, maybe the fish just died because it was time to die… but I have heard that the amount of surface area of the water to the air is important to the fish… Best of luck to you!

  15. Alyssa says:

    My male Betta, also a recent addition to my small family – is in a large, old glass sweets jar. It holds just over 3 gallons of water. The petshop told me that it was overkill, but after some research I realized that the bigger the better for bettas (most sites recommend 5 gallons per betta). I’m looking into breeding them, they are amazing pets. 🙂 You made a good purchase there!
    A beautiful display.

  16. pen2sword says:

    Cool idea! Glass jars are great for everything, aren’t they? I always keep my eye out for ones with neat details like the writing on yours.
    I had to laugh, though, when you mentioned Loren Bray. My mom has my whole family watching Dr Quinn just about every night. Loren is everyone’s favorite, I think. 🙂

  17. My husband wants a dog. I’m pushing for fish, especially since we have an empty 75 gallon fish tank sitting in our family room. It would look much nicer with some fish in it. I hope you enjoy your girls in the sugar jar.

  18. I’ve had Bettas before. John Gotti, Lucky Luciano, and Don Corleone. I’m not good at keeping them alive. And they look lonely. I may try female Bettas. Yours are pretty!

  19. Anna says:

    oh.. wonderful! 🙂 I have a betta myself, though he’s in a traditional bowl.
    very snappy layout of the jar. looks like they’re going to be pretty happy.

  20. I just realized as I came back to look at your blog again, I have that same yellow lamp. 🙂 Really like the Jar, I am going to look for one like that, hope to find one.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post.

  21. ddLynnssundry says:

    Love thier new unique home in your obviously sunny, happy yellow one. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Love the feel of your blog.

  22. Congrats on your new additions. I have a cat and my newest addition is a friend’s cat I’m watching for an extended period of time. Let’s say they’re not getting along as well as your female betas, but they have warmed up 🙂 Congrats on FP!

  23. faerylandmom says:

    What a neat idea! And totally fitting for someone who calls their blog “Withywindle.” 🙂 What a merry place you have here.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  24. fromma2ga says:

    i too want a furry animal friend to love in my apartment but really its not the best idea considering im planning on leaving but to make do i also bought beta fish to keep me company! i even bought the tank with a barrier in it so they wouldn’t eat each other or something. funny i didnt learn about females living peacefully until after i had them for like 6 months…so now goose and skittles continue to live separately but i think its more because im a little scared. the fish jar was a cute idea!

  25. I had a friend who taught her beta to kiss her goodnight. She would lean over his bowl and he would lunge towards her lips. She thought it was sweet, I thought he was trying to kill her.

    Congrats on freshly pressed! I love the look of your blog. Well done.

  26. I love the idea of a jar for a fish tank.
    I had a Beta fish named Mr. Scary, he was a very ugly fish. Now I have two dogs, a Pom named Suki and a Pit named Bones. I had a Sheltie that was recently put down.

  27. Aw, they look precious! My boyfriend and I got our male Betta, Naboo, not too long ago. He lives in our 30 gallon with a bunch of other fish– a few gouramis, danios, cherry barbs, a couple of ram cichlids and some dwarf frogs. They make surprisingly good additions to a peaceful community tank, providing you don’t have anything in there that’s too closely related (like a Paradise Fish.) He surprisingly enjoys swimming in the current and lets us pet him/nibbles our fingers.

    An interesting discovery we made: most shops say to just give them betta pellets, but ours also loves tropical fish flakes, sinking algae wafers, and especially bloodworms every now and then. His colors have become even more vibrant since we started supplementing his diet.

  28. rtcrita says:

    Awww…that’s so adorable! I think old jars are great. I have some old ones, too.
    I really like the layout of this blog–the colors and the trims on your sidebar items. It’s very fresh and whimsical! Perfect for spring. 🙂

  29. Connie T says:

    I had a male betta fish. I bought his a 3 gallon tank, it had a nice light over it. I put in a little heater to keep his water warm in the winter. He loved to lay in the fabric plants I had in his tank. He always swam to look at me when I would walk by. He liked his little tank. The reason I put a heater in the tank is because once his eye got big like a bubble and I thought he would die but I heated up his water and kept his tank clean and he healed all up and lived.

  30. yutsa says:

    i have two male betas. the halfmoon and the fire-shaped tail one. named recca and flamo. just curios what plant you put inside? My betas’ aquarium is just plain only water and fish. love your idea to putsomething green

  31. Ells says:

    As much as I appreciate the cuteness of your fish container – they should almost definitely have a filter. I don’t know about keeping betas specifically (I have 2 ryukin goldfishes and a little school of white cloud minnows), but having a filter will help make sure there’s enough oxygen in their water, and help maintain the water balance. Remember healthy water conditions = healthy fish!

    You might be able to get one for their existing container – Maybe you could go back and talk to the friendly fish lady again..? 🙂

  32. kristenbenzin says:

    Don’t mean to rain on your parade but those fish need a larger living space and a heater. They can survive in small bowls etc but won’t live long or happily. Google them. They’re a tropical fish. Not a coldwater fish. They need a larger surface area than that jar will provide them. Not your fault, you didn’t know pet store jerks always sell them to people and say you can keep them in small jars etc, totally shouldn’t.

  33. anne says:

    Good luck on holding off for a ‘real’ pet, lol! I like fish, but you just can’t pat them. I kinda prefer furry critters. I once had two fish – a fancy goldfish and a plecostamus(sp?) – in a huge aquarium… they got so big, the goldfish’s body was the size of my fist! They were pretty cool, but when they died… well, try flushing those suckers down the potty! Yikes!

  34. Babies? One, my dog, he’s almost going to outgrow the baby stage. My cat’s quite old, she’s not a baby anymore, though she certainly tries or likes to act like one at times, I’m not sure which! My sister has one Beta, we were afraid to buy others because of the same reason as you, we were afraid they would fight. The guy at the pet store didn’t know much about them, so we stuck to the safe side and bought just one.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser
    http://www.theeverydaymuser.wordpress.com

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