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!

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

Is Your Betta Fish Living Alone?

If so, then you may be interested to know about lots of tank mates that can live with them. So check out the Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide where you’ll learn about 68 different tank mates that can live with your betta, as well as fish to avoid. You’ll also learn how to create the perfect environment for mates, how to introduce tank mates and much more! So check it out!

Betta Tank Mate Guide

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4 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

  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?

    • 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!


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