Do Betta Fish Get Bored?

Do Betta Fish Get Bored?

Betta fish are not the most active fish, so their general behavior will be slower than most. The longfin bettas will be much less active than the shortfin bettas, as their long fins weigh them down and prevent them from moving properly. Shortfin bettas should be almost always active, and longfin bettas should have similar levels of activity, though they have much longer resting periods.

Betta fish can, in fact, get bored. They are intelligent animals, and can be trained to do relatively skilled and complex tricks, and due to the excessive stimulation they get in the wild that is not replicated in aquariums, it is very easy for them to get bored. The good news is that it is also very easy to entertain them, and you do not have to be at home in order to keep them entertained for the whole day.

in this article, we will discuss symptoms of boredom, other factors, decorations in plants, simulation, and bettas in community tanks.

Symptoms of Boredom

Betta fish do become bored with their surroundings and tank. There are several different symptoms of boredom, the most common being lethargy and inactivity. For example, a bored betta will often avoid the filter flow in order to use as little energy as possible.

Symptoms of boredom in bettas will closely resemble symptoms of depression. Since fish anti-depressants aren’t commonly available, you may as well start treatment for boredom instead of depression. In addition, boredom is much more common than depression. Even if your betta is depressed, some of the treatments for boredom and depression are the same.

However, these symptoms may also be early warning signs of other potential diseases, or parameter imbalances, which we will discuss in the section below. We will not discuss diseases, as these symptoms are too broad in scope to pinpoint a specific disease or specific family of diseases. In addition, these symptoms cannot determine whether the affliction is viral, bacterial, parasitic, or toxic in nature.

Other Factors

Before you conclude your betta is bored (since these symptoms can be caused by several other issues) some of which are very serious, you should first ensure that your betta is actually being affected by boredom instead of something else.

The first things to check are your water parameters. By water parameters, we mean your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and temperature. If you have any level of ammonia or nitrite, your betta is not bored; it is dying.

Ammonia causes severe chemical burns on your betta, and often causes severe damage to the gills. Nitrite binds to hemoglobin in the blood and prevents it from carrying oxygen, effectively suffocating your fish. If your nitrates are over 40 parts per million it is considered unsafe, but betta fish often show no signs of damage at these levels. However, if they have been elevated for a long period of time, it will lead to lethargy and other diseases, such as Hole in the Head.

In addition, if your temperature is too low, anything less than 78 degrees, your betta will act lethargic and inactive. This is due to the fact that betta fish are cold-blooded animals, meaning they regulate their body temperature based on the temperature around them. They have no way to raise their body temperature on their own, so they are dependent on the temperature of the water.

This means if the temperature is far too low for them, their metabolism will not be high enough for them to remain active most of the time, so their body will compromise by being less active in order to stay alive.

Decorations and Plants

Decorations and plants are a great way to cheer up your betta. You should test decorations with that tissue test, in order to ensure that you won’t hurt your betta. Plants are soft enough for the most part, although hornwort can become extremely sharp in hard water. This can result in torn fins and missing scales.

Decorations are great, especially cave like decorations, or tall decorations the betta can rest on. Having multiple decorations is always a good idea, as this will help your betta feel more secure. If it has multiple different places that it can call its own that it can retreat to when it feels threatened, you will have a very happy fish.

In addition, having tall stem plants in a betta’s tank will initially make it more active. This is due to the fact that the plant replicates your betta’s natural environment, and betta’s love to spend their time weaving in and out of the tall stem plants. This is a good way to provide an activity for your betta without actually being there 24/7.

If you already have multiple decorations and plants that your betta is active around and within, you may want to try rearranging them. Rearranging a tank makes betta believe that it is in an entirely new place, and due to this, it will spend time checking out its new digs.

Do not rearrange tank too frequently; rearranging it more than once a month can cause excessive stress to the betta. This is because it believes it is being moved to a new place, so it will not have enough time to adjust to the new area before you “move” it.


There are also many more interactive ways to simulate your betta. One such way is feeding live food, such as white worms, blackworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, fairy shrimp, and scuds.

The live food may take days or weeks for the betta to hunt down, depending on how much you feed. The betta’s natural instinct to hunt down food will keep it active and engaged for the next few days. In addition, you can interact more directly with your fish by using a fish training kit. This allows you to interact on a personal level with your fish, as well as teaching new tricks that you can show people when they come over. Most of these kits include jumping tricks, though it is best not to teach your betta these tricks as they are notorious for jumping out of aquariums.

Betta fish are also similar to cats in that they will follow a laser pointer around the tank. You have no idea how hilarious it is to see a betta fish chasing a laser pointer all around until you actually see it in person.

In addition, dry erase markers also make them very curious. Get a dry erase marker and an eraser, and start drawing on your fish’s tank. Most of them will follow the marker around, and some of them even interact with the drawings you leave behind after you are gone. The best part of this is none of it is permanent and it can easily be removed from the glass tank.

Community Tanks

Community tanks are tanks that house multiple species of fish. Betta fish are compatible with much other fish, most notably schooling fish such as harlequin rasboras and Corydoras catfish.

Some betta fish are simply too territorial to keep in these tanks, as the “intruders” in their area will constantly stress the betta. A constantly stressed fish is susceptible to disease and will live a shorter life, so it is best to avoid stressing your fish.

That being said, if your fish is extremely bored, passes the mirror test, and is a laid back fish, you may want to move it into a community tank in order to give it more interactivity. However, if your fish is constantly flaring at the other fish or chasing them around, this situation will not last long. You should remove your betta and use a different method to keep it entertained.

In conclusion, betta fish can get bored. The good news is it is a very simple thing to fix, and there are many different solutions you can apply. Most of these solutions are cheap and easy; some are even free. Some of them will resort in an even more amazing tank then you have now, and none of them are harmful to your fish.

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