Do Betta Fish Get Bored? And How To Stop It

Do betta fish get bored? At some point, you’ve probably looked at your betta and wondered. It can be hard to know because they’re so different from us. Keep reading to find out if bettas get bored and what you can do to stop it!

Do Betta Fish Get Bored?

If you’ve got your betta in a tank which isn’t stimulating enough then he will certainly get bored. While it may be a different kind of boredom to what we experience it’s still boredom nonetheless.

Think about what a betta would be doing in his natural environment. He’d be patrolling an area, always on the lookout for competition, food, and females. While this constant fight for survival can be stressful at times, one thing is for certain, it’s not boring.

Because of this, you should do everything you can to make sure he’s being entertained enough.

If you’ve got your betta in a small tank with no decoration, feeding him the same food every day with no change in his environment then he can quickly become bored. And this boredom can often lead to depression and stress.

How To Tell If Your Betta Is Bored

If your betta is bored then it can often be hard to tell. The best thing you can do is be aware of his normal behavior and when he starts acting out of the ordinary you can figure out why. But if you’re still not sure, here are some common signs that your betta is bored.

Tail Biting

Watching your betta tail biting is often a stressful thing to see, and if you do notice it then you should act quickly to resolve it.

If your betta starts tail biting then it could be a sign that he’s bored and frustrated. Because he has nothing else to do he starts taking out the pent up frustration on himself. It’s not uncommon for a betta to rip half his tail off in a few hours.

However, tail biting can be a symptom of much more than just boredom, so you shouldn’t immediately assume boredom is causing it.

(If you want to know more about tail biting read this article.)

Lethargy

Does it look like your betta just can’t be bothered to do anything? While lethargy is a symptom of many illnesses and diseases, it can also be a symptom of boredom.

When your betta is bored for too long it’s almost like they start giving up. They can’t be bothered to move around their tank, or patrol it for competitors. They just sit.

Slow To Eat

Another sign of a bored betta is that they’re slow to eat. Because he’s so used to the same food, or he knows there’s no chase, he’s not going to rush for his food. He may just slowly swim up to it, or ignore it for a while altogether.

If you notice your betta doing this then he could be suffering from boredom. However, once again, a whole range of diseases and problems could be causing this.

Other Signs

There are so many signs individual to each betta that you should look for. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your own betta’s behavior and when he’s acting differently.

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Why Does It Matter If Your Bettas Bored?

Hopefully, just the fact that your betta is bored should spur you into action to change things up for him. But if it doesn’t, here is why it’s so important to make sure your betta is entertained.

It’s Cruel

Obviously, being locked up and bored is incredibly cruel for any animal. Just because bettas can’t speak or communicate that they’re bored doesn’t mean it’s not cruel. If it was a dog or cat in a similar situation would you still just leave them to be bored?

While bettas may not have the same level of sentience, it’s still there, and they should be treated accordingly.

His Immune System Will Become Weakened

If your betta is bored all the time then that boredom can quickly turn to frustration. If he takes the frustration out on himself or if it starts to make him stressed then it could end up weakening his immune system.

And once his immune system is weak then he is more prone to diseases and illnesses.

How To Stop Your Betta From Getting Bored

Luckily, if you think your betta is getting bored, or you want to help him avoid boredom altogether, there are a lot of things you can do to keep him entertained. Here are some of the best ways.

Add Live Plants

One of the best things you can do is add live plants to your tank. Plants make the tank feel a lot more natural, give your betta a lot of places to swim through and explore, and just make the tank look better for you as well.

And don’t worry about the lighting on your tank, there are a lot of low light plants you can grow such as java fern and java moss. Or you can even add some marimo moss balls which will grow fine with just a room light!

You will never see a betta in a planted tank that doesn’t like plants!

Upgrade His Tank

Time and time again you see bettas in tanks that are too small for them. Tanks that are 1 gallon or 2.5 gallons in size are simply too small. If you’re going to look after a betta you should be housing him in a tank that’s a MINIMUM size of 5 gallons. However, bigger is always going to be better.

If you don’t have a 5 gallon tank for your betta then you should buy one as soon as you can. These are the best 5 gallon tanks currently on the market right now.

Add A Floating Log

Bettas love hiding and they love toys as well. If you add a floating log to your tank you’re going to combine both things. Floating logs provide a great place for your betta to hide but he can also push them around when he swims.

If you want to get a floating log you can pick them up pretty cheap off Amazon.

Put Your Tank Near A Television

Okay, so I’m not 100% certain this will work, but it stands to reason it will. Betta’s are drawn and stimulated by bright colors. So by putting your tank close enough to a TV that your betta can see it could stimulate him. The constantly changing colors could be the entertainment he needs!

Provide A Balanced And Varied Diet

Another great thing you can do is make sure you’re feeding your betta a variety of food. Don’t just give him two pellets twice a day. Shake things up a bit.

One day you could give him some daphnia, the next day a pellet and some bloodworm. The day afterward fast him etc. By constantly changing his diet you’re going to keep him entertained.

He’s never going to know what’s coming and he’ll always be on the ‘hunt’ for food. This is a great cheap way of entertaining your betta as well as giving him a balanced diet.

And on the subject of food make sure you’re feeding him lots of live food. Bettas are hunters. You don’t want him to become slow and lose his edge. Feed him live food as often as you can and he’ll stay sharp and keep on hunting. Brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and daphnia are great choices.

Let Him Flare

You often get told that you shouldn’t let your betta flare, however, for short amounts of time it can be a positive experience. While constant flaring will stress his body occasional flaring will cause eustress. A type of positive stress that’s good for the mind and body of all living things.

There are two ways I know of to make your betta flare. One is to show him a mirror and watch him flare at it. This way is confined to that one spot.

Or secondly, depending on your tank, you can turn off all the lights outside the tank and turn the inside lights up as bright as they go. Doing this will cause the whole tank to reflect in on itself.

However, if you’re going to let your betta flare only do it for 30-45 seconds a day.

Not only will this instantly cure his boredom, but he will begin to patrol the tank afterward looking for any rival bettas.

Add Tank Mates

Okay, this is one definitely depends on your betta and his temperament. But if you think your betta won’t mind then why not add some tank mates. There are so many different, tank mates that can live happily with your betta.

So start small with snails and shrimp, and if he doesn’t mind them then move onto bottom dwellers and eventually mid-range inhabitants!

Adding tank mates will be a constant source of stimulus for your betta. Just make sure he’s not going to attack them before you add them.

Play With Your Betta

And lastly, why don’t you play with your betta. You can teach him tricks or run your finger along the tank for him to follow. This is the easiest way to entertain your betta and it doesn’t cost you anything!

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Do Bettas Get Bored – Recap

Now that you know bettas get bored, you should take the necessary action to make sure that it doesn’t happen to yours. Remember, there are ways you can spot boredom in your betta as well as ways to help relieve it! Here are some of the most important things to remember:

  • Some of the ways you can tell if your betta is bored are if you notice him tail biting, acting lethargic, and not dashing to get his food.
  • However, there are a lot of different signs so it’s important to know your betta and notice any changes in his behavior.
  • If you let your betta stay bored not only is it cruel, but it’s also going to weaken his immune system.
  • Some ways you can stop your betta from being bored include: adding live plants, putting him in a big enough tank, adding a floating log, putting a TV near his tank, providing him an interesting and balanced diet, letting him flare, adding tank mates, and playing with him.

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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