Do Betta Fish Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

One of the most endearing characteristics of betta fish is that they refuse to act like regular fish. Bettas are funny, intelligent little creatures that are fun to observe and interact with. 

Betta fish sleep with their eyes open because they have no eyelids. Therefore, they require some precise routines for a healthy sleeping state to compensate for their inability to block out direct light. Betta fish, therefore, sleep very differently from your other pets. 

Betta fish sleep in a specific way that every owner should understand. After reading this feature, you’ll be able to identify and maintain the healthy sleeping habits of your watery friends. 

Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish owners often ask whether their fish sleep. If you’re wondering the same thing, don’t worry. It’s actually quite tricky to figure out their sleeping habits that are quite distinctive yet understated. Unlike your other pets, Bettas don’t require fluffy pillows or a memory foam mattress to sleep. 

As you know, nearly all animals need to sleep, including humans. Sleep is essential for brain health and is vital for biological function- for your Bettas too. During sleep, your little Betta reduces its metabolic rate and conserves energy.

Despite having most of their brain function shut down, they can still respond to any immediate threat, even when confined to the safety of their tank. In the wild, fish must stay alert to survive. Even when sleeping, Betta fish remain aware of potential danger. To respond quickly to external environmental factors, their sleeping state is more akin to resting as opposed to the deep sleep of other animals or our REM sleep cycle. 

Betta fish on light blue background with bokeh

How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

If you think your Betta’s sleeping habits might seem strange, wait until you learn how they sleep. You may become concerned if you notice your betta fish is constantly resting. Meanwhile., for others, their fish don’t seem to sleep at all. Individual fish have different behaviors.

Betta Fish Sleep Nap During the Day and Sleep During the Night

A Betta fish’s sleep cycle is similar to ours, so make sure you sync your aquarium lights to your own sleeping habits for a healthy tank life. During the day, the Bettas are awake, eating, and drinking. Like us, they also take daytime naps but mostly sleep at night when it’s dark. 

Betta Fish Can Go Completely Still When Sleeping

Bettas become very still when they sleep. It’s easy to tell if your Betta is sleeping based on the time of day. The most reliable way to tell if a Betta is sleeping is if he doesn’t move at night or float, trance-like in the middle of the tank. They also sleep like a structure at the bottom or top of the tank. 

Betta Fish Sleep Inside Aquarium Ornaments

Betta fishes will wedge themselves into any hole or crevice they feel is safe. Sometimes, they may sleep on a flat surface, such as a large aquarium leaf or behind a shadowy aquarium ornament. 

Betta Fish Sleep on Betta Hammocks

If you really want to give your Betta some luxury, purchase a Betta hammock or make your own. They love snoozing just below the surface of the water, and these hammocks act as a safe and comfortable spot for them to relax. 

Betta Fish Sleep in Leafy Greens

Bettas really love sleeping in the plants of your aquarium. Your Betta may spend most of its time nestled, completely motionless, dozing inside some large aquarium leaves. They can also sleep on top of or underneath the leaves.

How Can You Tell If A Betta Fish Is Sleeping?

In contrast to our other house pets, Betta fish cannot snuggle up in a thick blanket and shut their eyes. It’s difficult to tell if Betta fish are sleeping or not since they don’t have eyelids. You may find it a bit alarming to see a Betta fish sleep!

Betta Fish Sleep in Suspended Animation

When you watch your pretty little Bettas swimming around their tank, you may become worried if they’re suddenly motionless. When sleeping, they will go completely still. As long as their gills are still moving, you can be sure your Betta is sleeping soundly. 

Betta Fish Lose Their Color When They’re Sleeping

The Betta fish are known for their vibrant colors, though sometimes, while they sleep, their color fades a bit. However, this is not a cause for any concerns since this is a natural defense mechanism.

Betta Fish Sleep in Funny Positions

Betta fish can often sleep in some funny positions when you see them for the first time. It’s not uncommon to find Bettas sleeping on the bottom of the tank or floating on the water’s surface while they are sleeping. The fish may rest in SunGrow leaves or a large Capatta leaf, or they may choose some other area of the tank where they can take a nap.

Betta Fish Sleep When Their Tank Is Dark

Make sure your tank light is only on for a limited number of hours during the day, and always ensure that the tank is in complete darkness at night. As a result, you and your Betta will know when it’s daytime and when it’s nighttime when he should be sleeping.

Betta Fish Take Naps During the Day

Betta fish sometimes take naps during the day. If you ever notice your Betta lying on the bottom of its aquarium and doing nothing, it may be sleeping. Other times, your fish may hang motionless at the top of the tank when resting.

Betta Fish Sleep in Many Different Positions

The most important thing is not to panic if you see your Betta fish sleeping in a strange position. They may sleep on their side, curled up like a dog, in an L position, or even vertically, with their heads down. Some bettas also can sleep with their fins spread open. 

Betta fish do not sleep the same way as we do. Despite this, you will notice they spend much of the day resting, usually in a hammock or flat-leaf. Observing the movement of your Betta’s gills is the best way to determine whether or not they are sleeping. They will remain mostly motionless, but their gills and mouth will slowly move as they breathe in and out.

betta care facebook group

Do Betta Fish Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

If you’re a new betta owner, you might wonder how your new friend sleeps. As we’ve discussed above, Betta fish sleep in the most baffling and amusing ways but do they sleep with their eyes open or closed?

All fish live in a watery environment where the water hydrates and cleans their eyes. As a result, most fish, including your Betta, do not need eyelids and have evolved without them. Because they lack eyelids, they can’t close their eyes while sleeping. That’s why it’s never a good idea to leave the lights on permanently in your Betta’s aquarium. 

Betta fish are aware of the day and night cycle even though they live underwater. Since they can’t close their eyes like other animals, they need darkness to know when to sleep. 

How Long Do Bettas Sleep?

Bettas are among the more lazy fish in the kingdom of the fish, requiring more extended rest periods than many other pet fish. Pulling through the water with their long fins and elaborate tails takes a lot of effort. So they need to spend a lot more time resting. 

Don’t panic if your Betta fish sleeps or rests for most of the day. It’s common for Betta fish to sleep up to 14 hours each day. You may have difficulty determining how much time your Betta should sleep. The sleeping habits of Bettas vary greatly. 

As long as your Betta is active during the day, sleeping during the night, and resting during the resting phases, it’s generally considered that your Betta is getting enough sleep. 

If your Betta is inactive a lot, especially during the day, then it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Monitor Your Betta Fish for Signs of Problems

As you watch your Betta fish for a few weeks, you will soon understand what a regular sleeping schedule looks like for them. Keep a record of their normal behavior to determine if something is wrong with your Betta’s sleep patterns. 

Their Tank Is Too Cold

If your Betta’s tank is too cold, your Betta may sleep more. They become less active when their water temperature is low, and their metabolism slows down. Because of this, they will have less energy, which means they will sleep more.

There Is Not Enough Light 

As discussed above, it’s essential to maintain a consistent light-to-dark ratio for a healthy Betta sleeping pattern. You shouldn’t leave your lights on for too long, or they’ll think they need to sleep more. In addition, dull aquarium lights may not be bright enough, causing them to sleep more.

Their Tank Is in Direct Sunlight

For an optimum resting place, a Betta tank must be in a quiet spot away from any direct light source. As Bettas do not have eyelids, they cannot block out light during sleep, and as a result, they may have a disturbed sleep cycle. It’s a good idea to add decorative items like caves and tunnels for shade to your aquarium and some tall, leafy plants.

Unsuitable Tank Temperature

The correct temperature is essential for Betta’s metabolism, growth, and immune system. The optimal tank temperature for Bettas is approximately 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit or 24-27 Celcius. A heater will be necessary to maintain the water temperature at the optimal level for the activity of your Betta.

Their Tank Is Too Boring

Boredom can also lead to excessive sleep. Sleep is the only thing your Betta can do if your tank is too small or empty. You can liven up your tank with new tank decorations or expand your Betta family by adding some new tank friends.


How Many Hours Do Betta Fish Sleep? 

It is absolutely normal for Betta fish to sleep between 12 to 14 hours every day. This includes their resting and napping phases throughout the day. Not only is their excessive sleeping common, but it’s also essential for their health. Betta fish, like other animals and us, need sleep to function. 

Can Bettas Sleep On Their Side?

The most common reason for a Betta fish laying on its side at the bottom of the tank is because it’s sleeping. You may also see them lying on their sides while resting on a large leaf or Betta hammock. This amusing sleeping position is nothing to worry about- it’s quite comfortable for them. 

Is There Anything I Can Do To Help My Betta Fish Sleep?

Home your Bettas in an appropriately sized tank. This should be your first call when considering a healthy and happy Betta. Get a decent aquarium light for your tank, too, with a timer function if possible. Despite all efforts to take care of your watery friends, sometimes it’s possible to forget to turn off their lights and disrupt their sleeping habits. 


If you own a Betta fish, you’ll likely lose hours admiring its beautiful colors and idiosyncratic behavior. And now you know that your betta fish does sleep; you just can’t tell because they don’t have any eyelids.  

However, there is much more to understand about your Betta buddy other than their lack of eyelids. Their sleeping habits require constant attention, and it is your responsibility as their caregiver to make sure they sleep at optimum conditions conducive to a healthy Betta fish.  

To ensure your Bettas enjoy their daytime naps and bedtime at night, ensure their darkness levels are monitored. Provide them with plenty of toys to keep them occupied, and they’ll light up your life. 

Generally, Betta fish sleep in some very strange yet amusing positions, so don’t panic if you wake up one morning to find your favorite friend sleeping with his head in the sand or floating still in the middle of the tank. These are all relatively normal sleeping habits for Betta fish.