Betta fish are active pets that have a lot of personalities. But how do you make your betta fish happy?
Betta fish can be made happy by giving them activities to do in their tanks. These activities consist of toys, live food for them to hunt, unique food containers they can eat from, aquatic plants they can live in, and other fish for them to interact with.
The rest of this article will cover how to tell whether your betta fish is happy, whether it is unhappy, how to make your betta fish happy, setting up your betta’s life, and FAQs.
How To Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Happy
You can tell your fish is happy if they are building bubble nests, have positive feeding behavior, interact with their tank daily, don’t hide, and swim well.
Bubble Nests And Why They’re Good
Bubble nests are something done primarily by male betta fish. Female fish do them too, but it’s rare. Male fish will create these nests to show that they want to mate. This is a sign they’re happy because they won’t create these nests unless they feel safe.
Positive Feeding Behavior
Betta fish are smart enough to come to you when you are feeding them. So a primary sign of a happy fish is when it eagerly comes to you and waits to be fed. You can help them learn more by doing your feedings in the same spot in the tank; that way, they become more adjusted.
Daily Interaction And Why It’s Important
If your fish is swimming around and interacting with the toys, decorations, and/or other fish that are in the tank, then that’s a sign of a happy fish. This activity keeps them enriched in their daily life. Keep in mind that bettas sleep, so if you see them sleeping, that’s very normal.
Similar to daily interaction, when your fish isn’t hiding, it’s a sign that it’s happy. Bettas enjoy hiding spots, but they should still interact with their environment often, and they shouldn’t be inside the hiding spot for a long time.
Swimming And Why It’s Important
The way your fish swims is a good way to find out if they’re happy or not. Your fish should have no trouble swimming. Even if your fish moves slowly, as long as there’s no sign of struggle, that means your fish is happy and healthy.
Fish will have different swimming speeds. Some will seem almost lazy, while others will zip around the tank. So don’t panic if one fish is swimming fast while another looks lazy. As long as it’s interacting with the environment and not struggling to swim, it’s happy and healthy.
How To Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Unhappy
Now, if you were to reverse the information given above, that would be the sign of an unhappy betta fish. If your fish is hiding, not interacting with the environment, not eager to be fed, swimming poorly, and aggressive towards other tankmates, it is unhappy.
Why A Hiding Fish Is Unhappy
When your fish is hiding away from its tankmates and activities around the tank, this is a major sign that your fish is stressed or ill. Although bettas enjoy staying inside hiding spots such as a cave, they shouldn’t be inside it at all times. It should be easy to spot them daily.
They are very active fish, so seeing them hiding is a sign they may have something physically wrong with them or they’re stressed. This may be because of a lack of companionship if you have no other fish in the tank or if there aren’t enough things to do in the tank.
Daily Interaction With The Environment
If your betta is staying in one place and refusing to interact with its environment, that’s a sign that they’re unhappy in its tank. Be careful to make sure the fish is not interacting with the environment and not sleeping. Sleeping is not the same as not interacting with the tank.
You can tell if the fish is interacting with the tank or not by watching it closely when it’s awake. Check to see if it’s interacting with the other fish in a positive manner and/or playing with the toys you have set up.
Eagerness To Be Fed
Your betta does not have to be eager every day to get fed. For example, they may be sleeping while you’re feeding them, and that will impact their eagerness. However, they should be eager more times than not.
If your fish isn’t excited to eat or to come to you to get the food, then it’s a sign they’re unhealthy and unhappy. Watch to see if they come up to you when you’re in the process of feeding them. If they’re nowhere to be found, they may be unhappy.
Struggling To Swim
Swimming is vital to a fish. If your fish is struggling to swim, this is a sign they are unhealthy and unhappy. You can tell by watching their swimming. Look and see if they’re tilting from side to side or if they’re uncoordinated.
Another way to tell has to do with the hiding. If they’re hiding at the bottom of the tank, look and see if they’re having trouble swimming to the top. If they are, they’re struggling to swim.
Behavior Toward Tankmates
One of the most important things to look out for when owning multiple fish is their behavior toward each other. Watch them for a little while to see how they interact with each other.
If a betta is aggressive to another tankmate, it’s a sign they’re unhappy. How you can tell they’re aggressive is by looking at their fins. If their fins are flared, that’s a tell that they’re being aggressive.
Another sign that they’re aggressive toward others is they’re nipping at tankmates and even chasing after them. If this happens, for the safety of the other fish, you should remove it from the betta’s tank.
How To Make Your Betta Fish Happy
Here are a few items you can add to your fish tank to make your betta fish happy:
- Toys and decorations
- Live food
- Different food containers
- Other fish
Unique Toys And Decorations
Betta fish are very active fish, so adding toys and decorations around the tank will increase their activity in daily life. These toys can be as simple as a little cave you can buy on Amazon or as complex as building your own underwater jungle gym!
Live Food And How To Buy It
Giving live food to your fish will increase their activity as well. Betta fish are hunters, so although regular pellets are good for daily feedings, supplying them with live food will enrich their livelihoods.
Worms are the most common type of live food you can get for your fish. To buy this type of food, look to your local fish market to see what live products they have. You can also feed them shrimp.
Unique Food Containers For Fish
Different food containers can be in the shape of balls or cones. If you do not have access to live food for your fish, putting the food in a shaped container will allow the betta to work to eat, thus stimulating their hunter nature.
There’s one specific food container you can get for your betta. A cone worm feeder. This will challenge your fish, and it also acts as a spacious container to put worms or other types of food that will fit.
Plants That Are Good For Betta Fish
Did you know betta fish are found in shallow water, which has a lot of plant life? Providing them with underwater plants gives them their own shelter that reminds them of home. Java ferns, anubias, and betta bulbs are three aquatic plants that are good for your betta.
Including plants in your tank will give your betta fish more activities, and if you have other fish, they can interact with the plants too.
Pairing A Betta Fish With Other Fish
Placing other fish in with your betta allows for a more engaging community. This means that more daily activities will occur in your tank because the fish can interact with each other and form bonds or friendly rivalries.
However, make sure you get the type of fish that’s compatible with a betta. Some examples of compatible fish are Neon and Ember Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, and Clown Plecos.
Tetras love living in groups, so that makes them a perfect candidate to pair with Bettas. Harlequin Rasboras are gentle fish that also do well in groups. Lastly, Clown Plecos have tough skin, so if the betta nips on it, it won’t do damage.
Do Betta Fish Need Heaters To Be Happy?
Whether or not your fish needs a heater depends on the temperature of the room you’re keeping the tank in. The reason for this is that betta fish are tropical fish, meaning they need warmer water to survive.
The heat range they need is between the mid-70s to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room you’re keeping them in doesn’t go below the mid-70s, then you don’t need to get your fish a heater.
If you’re worried about the room temperature, be sure to check using a thermometer or thermostat. That way, you have a better idea of exactly how high the temperature of the room normally is.
Betta fish don’t require a heater to be happy if the room is already warm enough to get by. However, if the room is colder than the mid-70s, then be sure to get a heater so the fish live in warmth and comfort. Low temperatures could kill them, so be mindful of that as well.
How To Make A Depressed Betta Fish Happy
Using the guide above, you can make your depressed betta happy. First, try the food. It’s possible your fish isn’t getting the right nutrition. Try giving it live food if you haven’t already, or if you don’t have access to live food, use different food containers to give it a challenge.
Another way is to take your fish to the vet. It may be a hassle to transport a fish to the vet, but by using sealed containers, you can take it to a vet that helps fish. It’s possible your betta is unhappy because it’s sick, so be sure to check its health.
Something else you can try is to spice up your betta’s life by adding new toys and decorations. If nutrition isn’t doing the trick, it may be the environment itself isn’t entertaining enough for the fish. Adding new, compatible fish could help with adding new activities.
How To Prepare For A Betta Fish
Preparing for a fish can be a lot to handle. To keep things simple, prepare for your fish by setting up the tank, choosing a feeding schedule, and putting the betta inside the tank.
Preparing A Fish Tank
For starters, you’re going to need a tank of at least 3 gallons. Pick a sturdy aquarium to hold your fish. Water is very heavy, so make sure the structure can hold the chosen amount of gallons you go with.
Next, you have to prepare the tank. Rinse some gravel and layer it at the bottom of the tank. You’ll need about one and a half pounds of gravel per gallon, so go based on that measurement to determine how much you’ll need for your tank.
The water you choose is important too. When you’re done with layering the gravel, start filling the tank with dechlorinated water. You can get this type of water at your local pet store.
Only fill the tank halfway with water. When you reach the halfway point, this is your time to decorate! First, rinse whatever accessories you have for your fish. After, put them in the tank wherever you would like. Make sure to clean anything you put in the tank.
Lastly, when you’re done decorating, you continue to fill up the tank with dechlorinated water. From there, you can finish the tank and fill the water to the top.
A Proper Feeding Schedule
Choose a time of day to feed your fish. Betta fish will need to eat 1-2 times a day. Set up this schedule to fit yours so you don’t miss any feedings.
You can use live food and/or pellets to feed your betta. However, keep in mind that they are carnivores, so using frozen brine shrimp and/or worms is necessary to keep them in good health.
How To Put A Fish Inside A Tank
Luckily, this is the simplest part of the job. After your tank is all set up, you can go buy your betta fish! Bring your betta home and, while it is inside the bag, put it in the tank. The reason you do this is so the fish can get used to the temperature.
After waiting about 15 minutes, you’re all set and can take the fish out of the bag. At this point, it will be used to the water’s temperature and ready to explore its new home.
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Frequently Asked Questions
One frequently asked question is can betta fish live in tap water? They can, but the tap water needs to be treated with a water conditioner that you can pick up from your local pet store.
Another faq is can betta fish eat tropical flakes? Yes, but it is not recommended. Not only do they not enjoy it as much, but it doesn’t look as appetizing to them. Sticking with pellets, frozen worms and brine shrimp, and live food works better.
One last question is, can betta fish live in cold water? No, they cannot. They can’t survive for long in cold water because they’re tropical fish. Keep them in warm water by placing them in a warm room and/or putting a heater in their tank.
Betta fish are active pets that need to have daily interaction to stay happy. Making a betta fish happy seems daunting, but by giving them a lot to do in their daily life, you’re keeping them engaged in their livelihoods. Betta fish are active fish that are made happy by toys, live food, unique food containers, plants, and other fish.
To spot an unhealthy betta fish, look for signs that it is hiding, not interacting with the environment, not eager to be fed, swimming poorly, and aggressive towards other tankmates. You can combat its unhappiness by adding activities to its daily life.
Lastly, prepare for a betta fish by setting up a tank of at least 3 gallons, setting up a proper feeding schedule, and letting the betta adjust to the temperature of the water. Setting up for a betta fish is a difficult process, but with a proper tank and feeding schedule, your betta will adjust to its new home quickly.