What Do Betta Fish Like In Their Tanks?

Last Updated on 2024-06-19

Life with a betta at home is life with an adventurous, curious, and interactive fish. This is especially the case when you make efforts to set up a betta’s tank to their preferences. So what do betta fish like in their tanks?

Since bettas are so playful and energetic, these fish can benefit from having some specific accessories in their tanks. There should be a mixture of things to play with, hide in, sleep on, and enjoy in whichever way they please. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Betta fish enjoy a variety of accessories and decorations in their tanks to keep them happy, active, and engaged.
  • Key items for betta tanks include live plants, Indian almond leaves, moss balls, tall plants, water sprites, floating and sinking logs, betta hammocks, caves, live treats, and various toys like ping-pong balls, hoops, tunnel toys, and betta shipwrecks.
  • Tank decorations, such as mirrors, smooth rocks, artificial decorations, fish houses, and ceramic jar decorations, can also enhance the betta’s environment.
  • Regularly changing the tank layout and providing a stimulating environment is crucial to keeping bettas happy and entertained.

Do Betta Fish Like Things In Their Tank?

When I first got a betta, I struggled to think about what to put in their tank. However, now I have a lot more experience keeping these bettas, I found there are a few things bettas love in their tank!

Bettas love plants, caves, driftwood, and all manner of aquarium decorations in their tank. To keep them happy, make sure you’re adding enough decorations to stimulate them, and even consider changing the tank around every so often!

When trying to decorate a betta fish tank, consider giving them options that reach different heights. Any objects inside their tanks should have soft, rounded edges, as anything too rough or too sharp could end up wounding them. You must also pay attention to what materials your tank accessories are made from to avoid inadvertently making your betta sick. 

Additionally, there should be spots with openings that allow bettas to swim inside safely. Bettas enjoy having shaded, darker areas to relax inside of, whether they’re looking to get in a nap or hide away from tankmates. Bettas are active, lively swimmers, and just swimming back and forth in a tank will get real boring, real quickly for them.

Here’s a video answering whether bettas like things in their tank.

What Do Betta Fish Like In Their Tanks? 

Betta fish require proper stimulation to remain happy, which will ultimately keep them healthy for as long as possible. This includes a combination of exercise opportunities, regions to explore and play in, and areas for solitude when they need rest. You can add an assortment of things to a betta tank to provide them with what they need to stay active and engaged. 

Live PlantsThe best choice for greenery in a betta tank, which provides resting spots and oxygenates the water.
Indian Almond LeavesThey are used for rest and fun, help keep water clean, and bettas enjoy using them as hammocks.
Moss BallsOxygenates the tank, bettas like pushing them around like toys, and they serve as resting spots.
Tall PlantsCreate depth in the tank, swimming areas for bettas, and shelter for resting.
Water SpriteFloats at the top, provides fun for bettas to swim around, and has soft leaves.
Floating LogsOffer entertainment and shelter, should be appropriately sized.
Sinking LogsMake perfect sleeping places and conserve energy for play sessions.
Betta HammocksLounging spots for bettas, attached to the side of the aquarium.
CavesPerfect for swimming in and out and offer refuge when needed.
Live TreatsStimulating treats like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp.
Betta Training KitTools for interaction and training, help bettas learn tricks.
Ping Pong BallsSmall, lightweight balls that bettas like to push around.
HoopsProvide endless hours of amusement, bettas can swim through them.
Tunnel ToysOffer terrain and interesting areas to explore.
Betta ShipwrecksDesigned for betta preferences, offer tunnels and resting spots.
MirrorsServe an ornamental purpose, bettas swim around and observe themselves.
Smooth RocksMimic a betta’s natural environment, keep aquaticplants in place.
Artificial DecorationsCreate a colorful and invigorating atmosphere.
Fish HousesProvide an extra place to sleep or relax away from other fish.
Ceramic Jar DecorationsServe as hiding spots and swimming areas for bettas.

Indian Almond Leaves

Dried Indian almond leaves, also known as catappa leaves, are great sources of rest and fun in a betta tank, but they also help keep water free from bacteria and other contaminants. Bettas seem to like to use these leaves as hammocks, which is adorable to watch.

(There are so many great benefits of adding Indian almond leaves to your fish tank; they can’t all be explained here! So check out this helpful article on why you should add Indian almond leaves to your tank!)

Premium Indian Almond Leave. Aquarium Decorations Size 6-9″ Pack 50g(20-25 Leaves). Catappa Leaves Rich in Tannin. Superb to be Health Better, Vitality, Succesful Breeding! of Shrimp & Betta Fish Tank
  • 🍀 SUPERB FOR HEALTH OF YOUR BETTA FISH AND SHRIMP – Betta leaf rich in Tannin. it helping the betta fish and shrimp health to be noticeably better. And Enhances the natural color of to them.

Live Plants 

When opting for greenery inside a betta tank, your best bet is to go with live plants. Fake ones can be too rough for a betta, especially since their fins and gills are so delicate. And fortunately, there are plenty of aquatic plants that are low maintenance. 

Live plants not only offer resting spots for your betta, but they can be fun for them to play with. Additionally, live plants help keep oxygen in the water and clear out bad bacteria. And the best part is there are so many different aquatic plants to choose from! Here are the ones I’d recommend:

Moss Balls

Moss balls are small, green balls that help oxygenate your tank and keep the water clean. If you put them in your tank you’ll notice how much bettas enjoy pushing them around like toys as well. On top of this, they are soft, so they also serve as great resting spots for your betta too! And lastly, these balls can be anchored to the bottom of the tank or left to float around.

Exo Terra Moss Ball, Water Clarity and Odor Control for Aqua-Terrariums, PT2478, Green
  • Moss Ball traps phosphate, nitrite and nitrate
  • Easy and effective deodorizer for aquatic turtle terrariums
  • Special absorption resin reduces organic matter accumulation
  • Effectively creates ideal conditions for animals and plants for up to 2 months
  • Treats 10-20-gallon (30-60 L) terrariums/aqua-terrariums

Tall Plants 

Placing tall plants in the back of your tank creates an extra layer of depth and dimension in your tank, as well as places for your betta to swim back and forth through. They also provide shelter for bettas who want to rest away from the rest of their tank mates. 

betta and hornwort

Water Sprite

Water sprites float around the top of the tank, so they don’t take too much space away from the rest of your betta’s setup. Water sprites are fun for your betta to swim around and play with. On top of this, water sprite have very soft, thin leaves that won’t scratch your betta’s fins or gills as they swim through it. 

As well as those other great choices include:

  • Betta Bulbs
  • Anubias
  • Hornwort
  • Java Moss

Floating Logs

Floating logs are another great choice of decorations modeled after logs themselves, with some type of entry and exit point. They sit on top of the water and can offer bettas various forms of entertainment and shelter. Just be sure the logs you choose are big enough for your particular betta, as you don’t want them to get stuck inside. 

Zoo Med Floating Aquarium Log, Small
  • Naturalistic floating log for all types of aquarium fish, newts, frogs, or mudskippers
  • Provides security, comfort and stress reduction for your aquarium animals
  • “Bottom weighted” allowing newts, frogs, or mudskippers to climb on top without the log rolling over
  • Watch your aquarium animals sleep, play, feed, and spawn inside of log

Sinking Logs 

Sinking logs are similar to floating logs, but they sit at the surface of tanks rather than floating through the water instead. Aquarium logs of any kind also make the perfect sleeping place for bettas who need to conserve energy for their next play session. 


Another staple decoration you see in many tanks is driftwood. It’s a great focal point and oftentimes you can use it to anchor plants too.

It’s also going to provide places for your betta to hide and swim through, and if you have any other fish they can hide in it as well.

However, driftwood also has its downsides. Over time it can lower the pH in your tank and if you leave it for too long no matter how well it’s been treated it’s going to begin to rot over time.

If you plan on adding driftwood to your tank make sure you buy it from a seller, instead of using stuff you find naturally.

Also, remember before you add driftwood to your tank you need to make sure that you’ve cleaned it thoroughly first.

Betta Hammocks 

Bettas enjoy lounging so much, there are even hammocks made specifically for them. Bettas can swim around them when they’re feeling adventurous, but they also can also sleep on them when they feel like laying around and taking a nap. You typically attach betta hammocks to the side of an aquarium, so you can place them anywhere you’d like. 

Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock
  • A naturalistic leaf hammock for your betta to rest on
  • Allows your betta to rest near the surface of the water like they do in nature
  • Attaches easily with suction cup (included)
  • Made in the USA


Caves are another popular aquarium decorations, so much so they even come in a variety of designs. Appropriately-sized caves are perfect for bettas to swim in and out of but also offer some refuge when they’re tired. Just be sure to select an option that isn’t made with toxic materials and has big enough entry points for your betta. 

Live Treats 

Since bettas are carnivores, they like the thrill of the hunt. Since pellet food isn’t very stimulating for them, putting some live treats like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp in your betta’s tank allows them to exercise those natural instincts. 

If the thought of seeing your betta eat live treats makes you uncomfortable, you can mix it up with some freeze-dried versions of their favorite treats too. 

Do Bettas Like Toys In Their Tanks? 

Toys can add some cheer and excitement to a betta’s tank. You’ll notice a positive difference in your betta’s vibrancy and temperament when you make an effort to give them toys to play with. Toys also allow you to interact with your betta in a very rewarding way. 

Betta Training Kit 

Betta training kits offer various tools to help you interact with your betta. Believe it or not, betta fish can actually learn tricks, and you can help them with this. Training kits come with a various items and instructions for how to train your betta. 

Ping Pong Balls 

Small, lightweight ping pong balls that are clean – but not cleaned with chemicals – make for ample excitement for your betta. Bettas like to push these balls around and pretend that they’re prey for them to hunt and ambush. 


You should also consider adding hoops to your bettas tank as they will provide your betta with endless hours of amusement. Bettas like to swim through them, and you can even train them to swim through hoops if you reward them with some tasty treats. 

Tunnel Toys 

Betta fish really like having things to swim around and through. Tunnel toys remind bettas of how their natural habitats used to be set up organically, giving them plenty of terrain and interesting areas to explore. 

Betta Shipwrecks

Betta shipwrecks are cute decorations that are designed with a betta’s preferences in mind. They will look like little pirate ships and will usually have a soft surface to sleep on and tunnels to swim through. 

Do Betta Fish Like Tank Decorations? 

Not only do betta’s like decorations, they’re essential for a bettas happiness! They’ll help stop your betta from becoming bored and depressed. Just because bettas often like to live alone, it’s still important to remember that they need enough stimulation in their tank to stay happy.

Smooth Rocks 

Rocks are part of a betta’s natural environment, so using some small rocks in their aquarium can help make their tank feel more like home. Rocks can also be used to keep aquatic plants in place. It’s crucial that rocks are kept sturdy in place, so they aren’t able to float up and potentially harm your betta. 

Artificial Decorations

There are so many types of artificial decorations that mimic items you may have in your home and so much more to create a colorful, invigorating atmosphere for your betta to love. These are made with non-toxic materials that are safe for water. 

Fish Houses 

A fish house will give your betta another place to sleep or relax away from other fish. These can be found in several different designs and aesthetics to match your tastes and your betta’s taste as well. 

What To Look For And Avoid In Decorations?

There are so many different types of decorations you can add to your tank. So instead of listing all of them, it’s better to learn what you should look for and avoid in a decoration. This way when you see something you like, you can make the correct decision every time.

Avoid Sharp Edges

One of the main things you’re going to want to avoid is sharp edges. They could cut the body of your betta, and depending on the type of fins and tail they can quickly ruin them as well.

If you notice sharp edges you should avoid buying the decoration.

Avoid Anything Made Of Metal

Secondly, you shouldn’t put any metal decorations in your tank. While they may look fine at first, they’re slowly going to rust over time.

Not only is this going to be extremely harmful to your betta and the water, but if your betta cuts himself on the rust he could become infected.

Shells & Coral Gravel

You should also avoid adding shells or coral gravel into your tank unless the pH is too low. Both of these things contain calcium which is going to slowly leach into the water over time.

As this happens, the pH in the tank will rise. So if the pH is already stable then you don’t want to ruin the delicate balance.

Avoid Glass

You should also avoid using glass. Generally, glass on its own isn’t a problem. However, if it smashes in your tank then you’re going to have a lot of trouble getting all the pieces out.

Likewise, if the glass chips, or has sharp edges then it will end up cutting your betta as well.

Frequently Asked Questions 

It’s evident that you can’t just place a betta into any regular tank and leave them to their own devices. Setting up a home for betta fish requires some planning and forethought. 

How Big Should A Betta Tank Be?

Your betta tank is not only going to have to account for your betta but the items that accompany the betta in the tank. It is highly recommended that you have a tank that is no smaller than five gallons. Your best bet is to go bigger rather than smaller. 

What Tank Accessories Do Betta Fish Like?

Outside of their plants and toys, bettas benefit from a very gentle filter in their tank to keep the water clean. Heaters are also needed to help keep their tanks at a suitable, warm temperature. They also enjoy a smooth, soft substrate at the bottom of their tank. And remember anything too sharp or large can scratch their delicate fins. Lastly, LED lights are also recommended so you can control their strength. 

What Other Fish Do Bettas Like In Their Tank?

While it could be tempting to have a tank full of bettas, this is highly discouraged as bettas tend not to like each other very much. You should also avoid putting other fish in a betta tank unless it’s substantial in size. 

Some fish that can live in harmony with bettas include cory catfish, snails, ghost shrimp, ember tetras, and African dwarf frogs. 

Do Bettas Like Sand or Gravel?

Bettas can thrive in both sand and gravel as aquarium substrates. Gravel is a popular choice due to its wide availability, affordability, and ease of cleaning, but sand provides a more natural environment and is gentler on the fish’s fins.

The choice between the two depends on personal preference and the specific needs of your Betta, as long as the substrate is kept clean and the water quality is properly maintained.

What Color Rocks Do Bettas Like?

Honestly, bettas don’t really care what color rocks go in their tank. It’s more for your preference. Personally I like a more natural look, but ultimately, any color rock will do

Do Betta Fish Like Balls?

As naturally curious fish, Bettas will love having balls in their tank. You can give them marimo moss balls to rest on or a simple ping pong ball to play with. Aside from making your tank even more beautiful, your Bettas will benefit from having toys to stimulate their inquisitive nature. However, make sure that these toys do not overtake or crowd your tank.

Do Bettas Like Deep or Shallow Water in Their Tank?

Bettas prefer shallow water environments and do not typically swim in deep water. Therefore, it is recommended to keep a Betta tank shallow, with a water depth of no more than 12 inches. This will help the Betta feel more secure and comfortable in its environment. A shallow tank also allows for more surface area, which is important for gas exchange and maintaining consistent water chemistry.


In summary, you can get very creative with your betta’s tank by combining some of the various toys, plants, and decorations that bettas are known to love. Keep in mind that they should have ample opportunity for playing, exercising, and sleeping, and they should have ample room to swim back and forth and around various items in their tanks. 

In this regard, you’re setting your betta up for an incredible life that is as cheerful and merry as it can be. Tank life can be as wonderful or as boring for your betta as you make it. Make it a priority to create the best atmosphere for your betta, and they’ll reward you with plenty of jubilant behavior to watch for years.

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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