There’s nothing we won’t do to make sure our bettas are as happy as possible. Not all fish behave the exact same way; this is part of the joy of owning a betta fish. Some betta fish might not mind some soft music at a low volume, while others will instantly become stressed out.
Understanding how bettas react to sound can help guide you towards what kind of music to try to see if your betta is one of the rare ones who seems to like grooving to some slow jams or swimming around to some dance music. There’s no conclusive data showing whether or not bettas like music, so observation and adaptation to your own betta’s needs is key.
How Can Betta Fish Hear Sound?
Bettas are quite sensitive to sound. They have very small ears, but they have a layer of protection in order to prevent them from getting clogged. When a sound occurs, bettas will hear and feel the vibrations created by the sound. As such, bettas are able to recognize their human’s voice and can even be trained using verbal cues to perform tricks.
When it comes to music, they don’t hear the melodies and the singing as we do. The sound has to travel through the water in order to get to your betta. When sound waves interact with the molecules in the water, vibrations travel through it, and your betta can hear and feel it. Bettas can’t hear music and understand the soothing effects it can have on other creatures.
Music and other sounds also travel through water much faster than it does for us. As such, bettas will hear and feel the sound. Because of this, it’s fairly easy to overload their senses if you are exposing them to frequent, frantic noise, which can include music. It can also disrupt their sense of security as it prevents them from hearing other important sounds around them.
Do Betta Fish Like Music?
There is no consensus as to whether or not bettas like music. Some betta parents have suggested their bettas seem to be either soothed or excited by the sound of certain types of music played at a low volume. Others have found that their betta seems to be stressed out by all the vibration and noise. Just like people, every betta is different.
While music is pleasurable to our ears, bettas don’t interpret it the same way due to their unique way of hearing sound and the blockage of the sound waves caused by water. These disruptions can make it, so the music gets chopped up, and bettas might only hear certain parts of the song. It’s likely that your betta won’t hear the music, depending on the volume.
It might be tempting to try music as a way to keep your betta entertained, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work. Bettas do need various forms of entertainment to avoid becoming bored. There are plenty of ways you can provide forms of fun and exercise for your betta without music, though incorporating the right kind of music might potentially work.
What Kind Of Music Do Betta Fish Like?
There isn’t necessarily a genre of music that bettas prefer, though there are certain genres that would be more suitable for bettas to listen to than others. Thus, you could potentially eliminate some kinds of music in favor of others that follow what bettas are known to respond to better. How the music is played is also a very important factor.
Music that has low-frequency sounds as opposed to high-frequency sounds is much more easily tolerable to your betta. This type of music tends to have a more soothing effect for fish that respond well to music. Even though most bettas won’t respond to music, they’ll be able to tolerate low frequencies much more easily.
Soft, Calm Music
Based on anecdotal evidence, betta fish can more easily tolerate music that is soft and calm. Consider music that you would find relaxing to listen to, and it’ll likely be a suitable option for your betta. This music is also much more likely to remain quiet throughout, with no sudden bursts of loudness.
Light Jazz Or Easy Listening Music
In terms of genres, there’s no concrete way to determine what bettas like. However, based on the way they hear, genres such as light jazz or easy listening could be safer bets if you want to play some music in the background without stressing your betta out. R&B and classical music can also be a good choice since it tends to be softer.
Instrumental music, compilations of nature sounds, or meditative music can be another option that your betta might not react negatively to. Some betta owners have had success with this type of music and have even seen their bettas sway around their aquariums, though this is all anecdotal.
Music Without Abrupt, Loud Sounds
Music that has loud drumming or has bouts of loud noise can scare your betta due to its sudden nature. This type of music is more likely to make your betta swim away and hide or swim around frantically due to stress. It’s possible that your betta can interpret the harshness as a sign of danger.
Music Played At A Low Volume
No matter what kind of music you’re playing, you should only play it at a low volume. This is especially crucial if you plan on playing music in the same room your betta’s aquarium is in. It’s recommended you don’t set your betta’s aquarium close to anything that makes frequent noise or they’ll be quite unhappy.
Your Calm Singing
Since it is known that bettas can learn their human’s voice, you might find some success in softly singing near your betta’s aquarium. Just be sure you keep the volume low and don’t press yourself up against the glass. It’s likely that more bettas would have a more positive reaction to this since it’s your voice, and they trust you.
Can My Betta Fish Dance To Music?
If a betta happens to enjoy music, it is possible that they will sway around or swim around to the sound patterns they pick up. This movement could be interpreted as dancing to some. Since bettas are fairly lively fish that are known to respond to other stimuli, such as your voice, one might see them moving around and consider it their own unique form of dance.
That said, be wary of how your betta is swimming around in response to music being played. If your betta appears to be just slowly gliding around back and forth, you don’t have to be concerned. However, if their swimming pattern becomes frantic and unruly, it’s best to turn off the music as this is a strong sign that your betta is stressed.
Music tends to make people and some other animals dance because of the beat. Your betta isn’t going to hear the beat or the rhythm the same way you do. This means that your betta is likely not going to be inspired to dance in the way we can when we hear a song we love; it’s more coincidental that they’re swimming around.
Why Is Loud Music Bad For Betta?
If you decide you want to try playing music for your betta, avoid playing music loudly. Additionally, avoid music that has loud, abrupt sounds within it. If you’re just planning on playing music around the house, be wary of the volume, as loud music can be bad for betta for many reasons.
Bettas Are Small
Due to a betta’s small stature, they are much more sensitive to the sounds and vibrations caused by loud music. As mentioned, bettas not only hear sounds, but they feel sounds as well. Anything that is too loud or too harsh will affect them deeply compared to bigger fish.
Every fish is different, of course, and this is very evident when observing bettas. Since bettas are so small, however, it is known that they can have a harder time tolerating a lot of noise, especially loud noise.
Their Senses Are Disrupted
Bettas have sensitive receptor systems that can become disrupted by sudden, loud noises. This system allows bettas to sense what’s around them, especially when it’s dark. This helps them avoid swimming into things and getting injured. In essence, their equilibrium can be disturbed, making it hard for them to gather their senses and interpret their surroundings.
The Vibrations Are Intolerable
Hard rock music or heavy metal would produce way too many strong vibrations for your betta. The loudness can be stressful for fish, and stress can be detrimental to a fish’s health if they are exposed to it for too long. Your betta might end up hiding in an effort to protect themselves from the excessive noise.
Their Behavior Can Be Disrupted
The shock of loud music and the sounds it produces can scare your betta to the point that their behavior changes. For example, if they are housed with another betta or other fish, your betta might be privy to attacking or becoming aggressive as a reaction to the excessive noise.
Some fish, including bettas, have also gone blind or lost their sense of hearing due to frequent exposure to loud noise. As such, it’s not worth the risk to your betta’s wellbeing to play loud music around them.
Their Natural Instincts Are Disturbed
Even though your betta lives in a controlled environment in your aquarium, loud noise can still have an impact on some of their natural instincts. For example, if your betta lives with other fish, they might struggle to communicate with each other. Their ability to sense predators, though they likely don’t live with any, is also disrupted, so your betta could feel a general sense of danger.
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Music is not a necessary component in the happiness of your betta. However, there’s a good chance it’s a big part of yours, so playing it is not an issue. What’s important is what kind of music you play, how loud the music is, and how close the music is being played to your betta’s aquarium.
This doesn’t mean you can’t listen to music at all if you have a betta at home. If you want to play music that can stress your betta out, it’s best to do it in a different room, with headphones on, and/or at a reasonable volume. While your betta might dance, make sure they are doing a happy dance and not an aggressive one.