Aquarium botanical holiday gift guide banner for betta aquariums by Betta Botanicals, for blackwater aquariums and botanical style aquariums.


Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Aquarium Hobbyist!

Don’t blink! It’s already November and the holidays are right around the corner! Do you have a fishkeeper in your life that you struggle to shop for? Not sure where to begin? No worries, we have your back! Check out this easy holiday gift guide for beginner and experienced hobbyists alike.


Perfect Aquarium Botanicals For Beginners

For hobbyists new to fishkeeping or botanical method aquariums, we recommend these botanicals for an easy introduction. They contain medium levels of tannins and biofilms which offers a soft introduction to the flourishing life in a botanical method aquarium.

Aquarium botanicals like magnolia grandiflora leaves in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Southern Magnolia Leaves

These larger leaves are great for larger aquarium setups. We love magnolia leaves for their unique waxy texture, which slowly breaks down over time to reveal delicate leaf “skeletons” that add texture to any botanical method aquarium (these leaves LAST, bonus!). If the botanical newbie in your life wants a truly unique aesthetic for their first botanical method aquarium, this gift is the way to go.

Aquarium botanicals like texas live oak leaf litter in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Texas Live Oak Leaves

Tannins? Check. Durability? Check. Perfect size? Check! Texas Live Oak leaves are a favorite here at Betta Botanicals this holiday season. These small leaves add a light golden hue to water, making them a great choice for beginners that aren’t fully ready for that blackwater aesthetic.

Aquarium botanicals like indian almond betta bark in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Indian Almond Catappa Tree Bark

From the same tree as the famous Indian Almond Catappa Leaves, this tree bark is a great addition to beginner biotopes. Also called “betta bark”, these botanicals are tannin-rich and provide health benefits for your aquarium inhabitants. You have two options for this beginner botanical favorite: bark sticks and rough-cut. This allows you to truly customize your holiday gift this year!

Low-Tannin Aquarium Botanical Gifts

If the fishkeeper in your life likes botanical method aquariums but doesn’t want a completely tea-stained appearance, these are the perfect gift ideas! These botanicals release low levels of tannins, providing a soft golden hue to the water while adding natural detail to any aquascape. They benefit any critters that come from natural habitats where leaf litter is present, but dark stained water does not.

Aquarium botanicals like fern frond leaf litter in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Fern Fronds

As an experienced botanical method aquarium keeper, fern fronds are one of my favorite botanicals. They have a delicate, curly aesthetic that adds a unique look to any freshwater scape. For the fishkeeper that doesn’t want dark tannins but still wants a beautiful, unique botanical detail for their aquascape, I couldn’t recommend this leaf more!

Aquarium botanicals like red mangrove leaf litter in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Red Mangrove Leaves

Does your fishkeeping friend have a unique aquarium? Maybe it’s brackish or saltwater instead of freshwater. No worries, this is the botanical for you! Red mangrove leaves can be kept in any aquatic ecosystem, from fresh to salt and everything in between. They provide light tannins to the ecosystem, and seem to be of preference to aquatic crustaceans! If you don’t have any crustaceans in your tank, these durable leaves will last. You can also find these leaves as a part of our Everglades botanical pack.

Aquarium botanicals like oak twigs and branches in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Oak Twigs

Whether a botanical accent or the main hardscape in your botanical method aquarium, these oak twigs are an intricate addition to any aquascape. They are small in size, perfect for nano tanks (less than 10 gallons), or a great substrate addition for larger tanks. I personally love these to add detail and complexity to my tanks. Fish display natural behaviors navigating the twigs when laying upright or at an angle, rather than as a part of the substrate. They also quickly cultivate biofilms, making them great for your aquatic inverts like shrimp and snails!

High-Tannin Aquarium Botanical Gifts

For the certified #tanninbae in your life, we recommend these high-tannin stocking stuffers this holiday season!

Aquarium botanicals like Indian Almond Leaves in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Catappa Leaves

The tried and true classic for betta keepers and botanical method aquarium lovers alike. Catappa leaves are famous for a reason - the high concentration of tannins released provide antibacterial and antifungal benefits that keep fish happy and healthy. These are always good to have on hand, I like to throw these in hospital tanks when treating sick fish! We offer these popular leaves in both large and small sizes. Whatever your hobbyist’s tank size, there are gift options for you!

Aquarium botanicals like Betta Tea - retinting tea bags in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Betta Tea - Blackwater Botanicals Retinting Tea Bags

Betta tea is one of our newer offerings and a hit among Betta Botanicals fans! This unique “botanical” is actually a botanical blend, quickly adding rich, dark red tannins to your friend’s aquarium. This is a betta keeper must-have this holiday season, as this blend has been specifically designed to benefit the health of bettas. For quickly re-tinting a botanical aquarium, this tea keeps things simple. We recommend this gift for beginner and experienced fishkeepers alike! (PS - This “tea” is for aquarium use only. It might look delicious, but please don’t drink it!).

Aquarium botanicals like alder cones in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Alder Cones

We call these little guys “tannin-bombs” for a reason! While they don’t last as long as some botanicals, these are the perfect option for quickly re-tinting your water. We also love these for shrimp tanks and as supplemental food sources for other aquatic inverts! Alder cones have a beautifully detailed appearance and high surface area, providing plenty of space for cultivating biofilms and bacteria. This is a personal favorite, and I know the fishkeeper in your life is sure to love them too!

Gifts for Shrimp Keepers

Botanicals are good for all freshwater aquarium inhabitants - not just bettas. Shrimp are small, active inverts that add movement and color to your hobbyist’s tank while acting as an effective “clean-up crew”. If your fishkeeping friend keeps shrimp, we have gift options for you, too. Check out these awesome botanical stocking stuffers curated specifically for shrimp!

Aquarium botanicals like bamboo leaf litter in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Bamboo Leaves

Shrimp are one of our favorite inverts at Betta Botanicals! If the aquarium hobbyist in your life loves shrimp as much as we do, bamboo leaves are the perfect gift choice. Not only do bamboo leaves release tannins and provide shelter, but they are also calcium-rich (meaning that their shrimp colonies will stay happy and healthy). If your friendly neighborhood fishkeeper loves Asian biotopes, it’s a win-win!

Aquarium botanicals like seed pods for shrimp in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Seed Pods

We know this is a pretty large category, but seed pods are always a good idea for shrimp keepers (especially if you pair your shrimp with larger fish like bettas). Whether alone or part of a larger community tank, shrimp enjoy having shelter and hides where they can hang out and destress. Seed pods also release tannins into the ecosystem and grow biofilms as they settle in, providing supplemental food for shrimp and other inverts. If the aquarium hobbyist in your life keeps shrimp, consider adding seed pods like Magnolia Grandiflora, Dregea Pods, or Monkey Pots to their stocking this year!

Aquarium botanicals like miyagi's shrimp sticks in a blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Miyagi’s Shrimp Stix

The most enriching way to feed your shrimp, these shrimp sticks encourage your colony to line up allowing you to do health checks, count berried females and see if your shrimp are getting enough calcium. They are handmade, full of organic vegetables that are ideal for your shrimp, and fortified with calcium to help them have stronger molts. We feed these to our shrimp and snails once per week, especially when we have company coming over and want to show off our rainbow assortment of shrimp.

Complete Ecosystem Kits for Aquariums

Botanicals? Check! Available in 10-gallon and 20-gallon sizes, these all-inclusive ecosystem kits provide everything you need to set up your perfect botanical ecosystem aquarium. What does all-inclusive look like? Manzanita wood and a variety of specially-curated botanicals including leaves, seed pods, and bark. The number of botanicals included should keep your hobbyist’s aquarium tannin-rich for up to 6 months, depending on their tank size and inhabitants. The 10-gallon kit is recommended for nano setups ( or tanks that are 10 gallons or less). For larger setups, we offer the 20-gallon ecosystem kit.

Ecosystem kits for ecosystem aquariums by Betta Botanicals, for betta aquariums, biotope aquariums, and blackwater aquariums.

The best part of this gift is that it is COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE! Select one leaf, one seed pod, and one bark variety to include with the collection of botanical goodies. Whether the fishkeeper in your life is new to botanical method aquariums or a certified tannin bae, this is the perfect gift if you’re looking to go all-out this holiday season.

Written by Clare Mangan, @The.Grumpy.Betta with edits from #TanninBae Himself 


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