Betta Fish Hiding (What It Means & What To Do)

If you notice your betta fish hiding, then it could be a sign that something is wrong. Before you start changing everything in your tank, you should figure out what’s causing your betta to hide so you know the best way to fix it. In this article, you’re going to find out the most common reasons that cause a betta to hide, and what to do about them!

Key Takeaways:

  • Betta fish hiding can signal an underlying issue, requiring observation and identification of potential causes before making changes in the tank.
  • Common reasons for hiding include insufficient hiding spaces in the tank, strong filter currents, excessively bright lights, poor water conditions, new tank introduction, injury, illness, depression, or betta’s inherent temperament.
  • Solutions involve addressing these issues by providing more hiding spots, adjusting filter currents, regulating light exposure, maintaining optimal water conditions, allowing time for a new fish to acclimate, and providing remedies or adjustments in case of injury, illness, or depression.
  • Understanding betta fish behaviors and individual temperaments is vital, as some fish may naturally be more prone to hiding without an underlying issue.

Common Reasons For A Betta Fish Hiding

There are a lot of reasons that can result in your betta fish hiding, and not all of them are going to be awful. Here are the most common reasons it occurs and what you can do about them.

Reasons for HidingPossible Solutions
Not Enough Hiding SpacesAdd plants, caves, driftwood for more hiding options
Strong Filter CurrentAngle filter output, add holes, cover nozzle with filter sponge
Bright LightsTurn off lights, add adjustable lighting, introduce floating plants
Water Quality IssuesTest water parameters; adjust with water changes or detoxifiers
New to TankAllow time to acclimate, minimize disturbances, keep tank calm
Injury or SicknessObserve for damage, add stress coat, treat with appropriate remedies
Betta’s DepressionIntroduce tank decorations, toys, consider tank mates, larger tank size
Inherent TemperamentAccept individual differences, observe behavior without worry

Not Enough Hiding Spaces

It sounds counterintuitive, but if there aren’t enough hiding places in your betta’s tank then he may end up hiding more often in the same place.

The reason this happens is that they don’t feel safe. In the wild, betta fish can quickly become prey to bigger fish, so they prefer being in areas with a lot of hiding holes.

If your betta feels like he’s too out in the open and he has nowhere to hide then he’s going to stick to his same hiding place all the time.

Solution

The obvious solution here is to add a lot more hiding places for him, caves, driftwood, and plants are going to create a lot of diverse and interesting hiding places for your betta.

And not only are they going to make him feel safe, but they’re also going to give him lots of places to explore so he doesn’t become bored.

Filter Current Too Strong

If you’ve got a lot of hiding places and decorations in your tank and your betta is always hiding in them, then it could be because the current is too strong.

A bettas nice flowing fins, unfortunately, make it difficult for them to swim in strong current.

Solution

If you think the current in your tank is too strong then it can be hard to find a solution. However, there are a few things you can try.

First of all, you can angle your filter output so it’s coming out of the water. This is going to slow the current as well as aerating your tank better.

Secondly, you could try putting some holes in the output hose. Make sure the holes are tiny, and don’t add loads at once. Just add one at a time until the flow is slow enough.

Thirdly, you can try covering the nozzle of your filter with some filter sponge. This is going to drastically reduce the amount of water coming out, slowing the current.

Lights Too Bright

If it’s not the water current and there are enough hiding places then it could be that the light in your tank is too bright. A betta’s natural habitat is normally densely planted with a lot of shade.

If the light in your tank is too bright and your betta senses it then he may constantly try to hide.

Solution

Once again there are a couple of things you can do to fix this issue. The easiest one is obviously turning the lights off. If you don’t have a planted tank then leave your lights off and see if your betta spends more time out in the open.

As well as this, you can also invest in a light with adjustable light settings. This is probably your best bet because your betta will be in a darker tank, but the plants in your tank will still be getting light.

Lastly, try adding some floating plants in your tank. Duckweed is a great choice and it will cause a lot of shadows in your tank which will make your betta feel safer.

Red betta

A Problem With The Water

When there’s something wrong with the water it can often cause your betta to act in a strange way, such as constantly hiding when he didn’t before.

You should test the water with the API Master Test Kit to make sure that the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are all good, and act quickly if not.

Solution

If after testing the water you find out there’s something wrong with it there are a few things you can do.

If it’s to do with the ammonia, nitrites or nitrates then you should perform a water change immediately, to help lower the ppm of each. You want to get the ammonia and nitrites at 0ppm and the nitrates at 20ppm.

As well as this you can also try adding ammonia detoxifier. While it’s not going to remove ammonia from your tank it is going to make it inert. Which is beneficial to the bacteria in your tank that still need to eat it.

If the pH level is too high or low (not neutral) then you’re going to need to adjust the pH levels. If you want to know how to do that then you should read this article.

New To The Tank

If your betta is new to the tank then he may hide all day until he feels safe. This is a very common sign in new bettas and it’s not something you should worry about.

Solution

Unfortunately, there isn’t a solution for this. All you can do is try and keep the tank nice and calm until he is more comfortable. It may be a good idea to leave the lights off in the tank for a while as well as making sure the tank isn’t being disturbed.

Do you have a Blind or partially blind Betta fish? Read some tips on how to take care of them.

betta care facebook group

Your Betta Is Hurt

If your betta is hurt then he’s going to hide more often. A vulnerable animal in the wild is more likely to be preyed upon, so they’ll do everything they can not to show they’re in pain.

Solution

When your betta comes into the open have a good look at him and see if you notice any damage. This is most likely to happen if he’s recently been shipped to your house and he wasn’t handled very well.

If you notice any damage on your betta then you should add some API Stress Coat to the tank. This is going to reduce the amount of stress he feels until his injuries are better.

Your Betta Is Sick

As well as being hurt your betta might also be sick. Once again to avoid being vulnerable if he’s sick then he may hide in the tank.

Solution

If your betta is sick then you’re going to need to check him for symptoms. Some common symptoms of sickness including not eating and lethargy. Here’s a list of betta sicknesses and illnesses which will help you diagnose your betta.

A Depressed Betta

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s possible for your betta to become depressed, this normally occurs in tanks where his needs aren’t being met. However, if he’s not stimulated for a long time then depression can also occur.

Solution

To fix depression in your betta you should start by adding lots of new stimulus to the tank. Decorations and toys are a great start. If you think your betta has a peaceful temperament and the tank is big enough then you can also add some tank mates for him.

You should also make sure that he’s in a tank that’s big enough. If you have a betta then 5 gallons is the minimum size his tank should be, however, bigger is always better.

And lastly, you could try showing him his own reflection. This will awaken his instinct to protect and defend his territory and could shake him out of his depression.

If your Betta fish is turning brown, find out the possible reasons here.

Blue Betta

Your Bettas Temperament

And lastly, it could just be your betta’s temperament. All bettas have different personalities and attitude and this might just be a part of your bettas. If he’s hiding all the time and you’re certain that it’s not being caused by anything else then don’t worry about it!

Maybe he’ll come out of his shell in his own time.

Click here if you’re looking for a complete guide on Betta fish care!

FAQ

Why Is My Betta Hiding In The Corner Of The Tank?

If you notice your betta hiding in the corner of the tank then the most probable cause is that there are not enough hiding places in the tank. When there aren’t enough hiding places, he’s going to try and back up as far as he can to stop other fish or predators from attacking him

Why Is My Betta Not Eating And Hiding All Day?

If you notice this happening then there could be a few reasons why it’s occurring. First of all, if you’ve just introduced your betta to his new home then it’s probably because he’s stressed and needs time to adjust.

However, if you’ve had him for a while and this is happening then it could be being caused by illness or injury.

Why Is My Betta Hiding in Plants?

Betta fish hide in plants due to various factors such as the need for shelter, security, and environmental stressors. They also hide because of inadequate hiding spaces, strong currents, bright lights, and poor water conditions.

Recap – Why Is Your Betta Fish Hiding?

As you can tell there are quite a few different reasons your betta fish could be hiding. Here’s a quick recap of the most common ones:

  • There aren’t enough hiding spaces, fix this by providing him with plants, driftwood, and decorations.
  • The filter current is too strong. Try aiming it out of the water slightly if possible, otherwise, put holes in the output nozzle or try covering it with a sponge.
  • Maybe the lights are too bright. Try turning them off, providing more shade or buying adjustable lights.
  • It could also be a problem with the water conditions. Check the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels.
  • If he’s new to the tank then he could be hiding.
  • He could also be sick, diseased or hurt.
  • It’s also a sign of depression in bettas when they hide and don’t move all day.
  • And lastly, it could just be his temperament.

Sources:

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!

8 thoughts on “Betta Fish Hiding (What It Means & What To Do)”

  1. So all of a sudden my betta is hiding in his cave and tail biting. I had gotten a couple tankmates for him, a baby bristle pleco and a Cory catfish. He did nothing but chase the Cory catfish all around the tank and killed the pleco so I remove the Cory catfish and of course the pleco and now he’s back to being by himself but he’s hiding in his cave and rarely comes out. I kind of have to wiggle the cave to get him to come out to eat. when I do he eats fine but goes right back to the cave. He’s never done this before, also after removing the Cory catfish she started the tail biting, at least that’s when I noticed chunks of his tail missing. The only thing that has changed about his tank is the filtration system. I went from a whisper to a penn he used to sit all day and his betta hammock now he just hides in the cave at the bottom of the tank there is a little difference in water movement but not much as I have flow turned all the way down please help I want him happy again he used to swim right up ton the front as soon as I walked up

    Reply
  2. My betta is in a 3.5 gallon tank. I put him in a different tank to change the water, and then put him back. He has been hiding in one of his plants and won’t come out unless I am feeding him. He has’t done this before, and ive set the filter lower and turned off the lights. It may be too expensive to put him in a bigger tank. What do I do?

    Reply
    • When you’re changing your betta’s water you should keep them in the tank to reduce their stress. I’d also look into getting a bigger tank as soon as you can, as the small conditions aren’t going to be good for him either. Hope this helped!

      Reply
  3. My Betta is hiding behind one of his plants, when I feed him normally he swims right up, but now he just sits there are ignores it or he swims to it but doesn’t eat, he also swims away really fast if I lift up the lid or even put my hand up there which he didn’t do before. I think he might be sick or something but I don’t know.

    Reply
    • Hey, I can see why you’re concerned about your Betta’s recent changes in behavior. I get how worrying that can be; even small changes can be signs of a bigger issue. Let’s try to figure out what might be going on.

      Possible Reasons for Changes
      Stress: Sometimes changes in the environment, like water quality or a new tank mate, can stress Betta fish. Stress reduces their immune system’s effectiveness, making them more susceptible to illness.
      Illness: Physical symptoms like clamped fins, discoloration, or bloating could indicate sickness.
      Dietary Issues: Overfeeding can also lead to bloating and discomfort.
      Immediate Steps to Take
      Water Test: Use a quality water test kit to check parameters like ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH levels. Any imbalances need to be addressed immediately.
      Isolate: If possible, move your Betta to a quarantine tank. This will help if medication is needed and will prevent any potential spread of disease to other fish.
      Consult a Vet: If you notice any physical symptoms, consult a vet experienced in aquatic animals for diagnosis and treatment options.
      Longer-Term Strategy
      Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on water parameters and your Betta’s behavior. Regular maintenance, like smaller but frequent water changes, can help prevent future issues.
      Diet Review: You might want to review what you’re feeding him. High-quality, varied foods are generally better for their digestive systems.
      Quick Questions
      Have you recently introduced any new plants or decor that might be affecting the water quality?
      What’s the current water temperature? Betta fish prefer warmer waters, usually between 76–82°F (24–28°C).
      In summary, your Betta’s behavior certainly seems like a red flag. Given your knack for fishkeeping, you’re probably already on top of most of the basics. So, take a close look at the finer details. Your little finned friend could be giving you subtle hints that something’s off in his watery world.

      Reply
  4. I got a betta and introduced him into a tank that alr had some cardinal tetras and a couple guppies. The betta is a half-moon and I have a lot of plants, wood, and hiding spots. The tank is a 30-gallon and he’s just been hiding. It’s his first day so I kept the light off to let him adjust. Is it normal for him to be hiding? He’s explored the tank and came out to swim a bit. He also ate when I gave the other fishies some brine shrimp. I haven’t had a betta since I was young and just want to know if I should be concerned or not? It seems fairly normal but when should I expect him to come out more?

    Reply
    • Hey Fransesca, it seems fairly normal for your betta to be hiding for a little bit while he adjusts to the tank. In a couple of days he should be fine!

      Reply

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