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Do Betta Fish Sleep? ( 11 Facts That You Need to Know)

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Do Betta Fish Sleep? ( 11 Facts That You Need to Know)my betta is sleeping between my decors at the bottom

All fishes including Betta Fish sleep. They need to sleep to rejuvenate and restore energy which is need for the next day. Betta Fish in the wild are natural hunters during the day.

Their main diet consists of:

  • Mosquito larvae
  • Worms
  • Insects
  • Smaller Fish

In the tropics where there are abundant Betta Fish that thrives in the rice paddies, there are a lot of mosquitoes infested areas where it lays its eggs and produces in larva. The Betta Fish are actually a main part of the ecosystem that controls the population of the insects and mosquitoes.

mosquito larva

There are semi aquatic freshwater earthworms that are also abundant in the river systems and rice paddies in Thailand. These genus Glyphidrilus earthworms are essential to the organic rice farming in Thailand but of course, you need someone to control the population in case it gets out of hand.

Betta Fish will happily hunt for Zooplankton, Crustaceans and other water-bound insects as their main diet since these are also very common in the rice paddies of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

Of course if there is a smaller fish that is caught unaware by the Beatt Fish, it can be its meal for the day. Remember that the Betta Fish has extremely sharp teeth which can be compared to a shark, it is just that they are so small that when they bite our finger it does not affect us.

How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Bette Fish sleeps at night since it is not a nocturnal fish. It mainly hunts during the day. The Betta Fish can sleep anywhere namely:

  • Resting on a leaf
  • Resitng on a Rock Surface
  • Resting inside a cave
  • Resting between live plants

sleeping on leaf

You might think that the Betta Fish is dead or lethargic but it is simply resting or sleeping on a leaf. Remember that the Betta Fish can partially be on the surface since it has a special breathing organ called Labyrinth which can breathe atmospheric air.

betta fish internal anatomy showing the Labyrinth

Betta Fish are territorial fishes that when it feels that it is comfortable it can be found everywhere resting. My Betta Fish is very comfortable caught sleeping on my live plants.

betta fish sleeping on plant

The best way on how to tell if your Betta Fish is sleeping is to look at his gills. He will be doing regular breathing on his gills and mouth. They do not have eyelids, that means they sleep with eyes open.

Slow Breathing

You will normally catch him motionless for a duration of time even if you put your finger on the surface especially at night. This will be evident if he just lay on one location. It is best not to disturb or flick your finger on the aquarium and respect his private moments which is crucial for rest and recovery.

I have to mention that when the Betta Fish is breathing it is slower than usual because when the Betta is sleeping it needs less energy so less oxygen is needed thus explaining the breathing.

Color Change?

Betta Fish will also have a slight color change when sleeping. This is completely normal since the Betta Fish has to be unnoticeable as a part of a camouflage so that if there a prey, the Betta Fish is not easily spotted.

You have to remember that the lighter color is just for the night when he is sleeping. When awake the full rich color returns. In case, if your Betta Fish color is still pale then he might be sick and you have to do the proper diagnose procedures.

Do Betta Fish Sleep on the bottom of the tank?

my betta fish favorite spot at the bottom of his tank to sleep

My Betta Fish is always sleeping at the bottom of tank. Other fish hobbyist notice that their Betta Fish may be sleeping near the top surface.

While others may have noticed that their betta fish sleeps in different places. Between the live plants, on top of a leaf, inside a cave.

Different Betta Fishes have different personalities. But there is one thing to know, if your Betta Fish is sleeping on the surface most of the time and then you introduced a water filter then suddenly the Betta Fish sleeps at the bottom tank.

It simply means that the water current is too strong for the Betta Fish to continue to sleep on its former favorite near the surface position.

There will also be another reason where the heater is located in your Betta Fish Tank. If there are areas where it is warmer, then the Betta Fish will naturally gear towards on sleeping near the area where it is warmer since they are a tropical fish.

Your Betta Fish in time will find a favorite place to sleep.

Do Betta Fish Sleep Upside Down?

It is not common for a Betta Fish upside down. This may a symptom that the Betta Fish is likely to be sick. If you Betta Fish is having problems on swimming up or down, it might be swimming upside down or on a side.

This will be a problem with the swim bladder. The bladder might be infected with bacteria or fungus. It might also be infected with Ick or White Spot. If there are White Spots on your Betta Fish then it those parasites that might have injured the swim bladder.

Follow the proper remedies especially regular water changes to make sure that your Betta Fish stay healthy all the time.

Do Betta Fish Sleep on their side?

Yes there are Betta Fish that sleeps on its side especially if you have a lot of large leaves inside your Betta Fish Tank. But if there are no comfortable surface to sleep with its side then it may again be a problem with the swim bladder.

If the Betta Fish has a swim bladder malfunction then he may be swimming on his side or upside down since he cannot balance.

If your Betta Fish always on its side then there may be several factors causing this awkward position:

  • Tank too small to navigate
  • Water is toxic
  • Water is too cold
  • Weak Immune System

The recommended Betta Fish Tank capacity must be at least 2.5 gallons or more. If you are trying to breed a male and a female betta fish then a 5 gallons will the minimum. If the betta fish tank is too small then there will be not enough space for your Betta Fish to swim and eventually water will be toxic because of waste.

If you do not do the regular water changes on a weekly basis then there will be poor water parameters. Be sure to maintain water quality by testing pH when adding water.

If there is no heater on your Betta Fish aquarium then the Betta Fish will likely get stressed and in the long run develop a weak immune system and get sick.

If your Betta Fish has a weak immune system then it may lead into illness which can cause problems with the swim bladder.

Do Betta Fish Sleep a lot? How Often Do Betta Fish Sleep?

I have mentioned that Betta Fish needs sleep in order to function properly. If you have a sleep deprivation then this will lead into illness.

You have to always turn off the light at night for the Betta Fish to go into resting state. Betta Fish sleeps at night and occasionally they do take some naps during the day.

The Betta Fish is very active during the day especially when you are playing or when it is feeding time!

They take a lot of naps. In nature they are very light sleepers because there might be danger at any given time, if there is a slight movement or noise they will react immediately.

It is imperative for you not to tap or flick on your Betta Fish Tank when it is nighttime. If you always tap all the time then they will easily stress out which may lead into illness.

How Many Hours Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta Fish in the wild are active hunters during the day. They need a lot of energy to jump, tackle and prey on insects that are top of the surface since they are carnivorous fishes. They are like small sharks in the rice fields. Good thing they remain small enough for us to make them pets.


They have extremely sharp teeth, if they grew as big as an Oscar or a Piranha then you will be in big trouble when taking care of them as pets.

Betta Fishes need a lot of sleep during the night, it will be around 8 to 12 hours. Since they are found in the tropical countries: Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam rice paddies they are super active during the day and needs to sleep at night.

It is when the mosquitoes lay their eggs at night and form into larva for the Betta Fish to benefit during the day when scouting for food.

Do Betta Fish Sleep with their eyes open?

Yes, Betta Fish do not have eyelids like us and sleep with their eyes open as most of the fishes do. They normally find a comfortable spot to stay and most times they stay near the surface provided with there is a leaf present.

Can Betta Fish sleep during the day? Do Betta Fish sleep with the light on?

Yes, Betta Fish do take some naps occasionally and need to take some breaks. Sometimes if they are bored and nothing much to do or eat they will take quick naps

Betta Fish in the wild need to hunt during the day and most of them active. If your Betta Fish which is kept in captivity is not used to hunting as their cousins the wild do then, he may be take short naps. Betta Fish in captivity are used to being fed, but they instinctively they are still active.

They are day fishes and not the nocturnal ones.

Do Betta Fish sleep in the dark?

Yes, Betta Fish need to sleep at night since they are not nocturnal fishes. Betta Fish need the much rest and recovery time to sleep especially when everything is dark and no activity.

It is important to shut off lights at night since they need to rest.

Do Betta Fish sleep near the surface? What are the sleeping positions?

Betta Fishes have different personalities just like humans and mammals. Not all Betta Fish are the same. Some may be very aggressive and some a bit docile.

During the Ancient Thailand when there are fighting bouts on Betta Fishes, some will be constant winners, this just means that there are different qualities on every Betta Fish.

There are Betta Fish that are just bred for fighting and some are Bred for competition and shows with elegant fins for display.

This alone will answer the question that Betta Fish may sleep at the bottom of the tank, on surface, on top of leaf, between the plants, on top of a smooth stone or under a small cave if you have a cave decor or depends on how you made the landscape on your valued Betta Fish tank.

What If Your Betta Is Sleeping all the time?

If your Betta Fish sleeps all the time during day and night then there might be several problems.

Sick?

Your Betta Fish might be sick. A normal Betta Fish during the day is very active and always curious looking for food to eat and hunt. You have to observe some symptoms on his body:

  • White spot
  • Swelling
  • Sores
  • Ulcers

Your Betta Fish might be invaded by the Ick, a parasite that latches to body and especially gills. This is normally caused by introduction of new member in the community and the parasite infects everyone in the tank.

If there is a swelling of the body then it means that you are feeding your Betta Fish too much. The best feeding is just once a day and you should practice at least 1 or 2 days without giving food once a week to clean his body from excessive food. If you are feeding him all the time then it will lead into constipation and ultimately indigestion and will cause illness.

If there are noticeable sores and ulcers on the body then your Betta Fish might have infected by bacteria or fungus. This happens all the time if you do not follow the regular 25% weekly water changes.

Old Age?

The normal captivity lifespan of a Betta Fish is around 2 to 4 years. If your Betta has been with you around 2 years already then it might be slower than usual.

It will spend more time in recuperating and resting. It would be better to feed him only once a day since Betta Fish metabolism will be slower during old age.

He requires a lot of resting and sleeping and it would be good not to disturb him.

Lazy?

As i have mentioned before that all Betta Fishes have different personalities. Some are born fighters, some are born hunters and some are just do not like to hunt as compared to their wild counterparts.

If you have conditioned your Betta Fish with regular feedings then he might not be as aggressive looking out and scouting his surroundings since everything is provided.

Betta Fish that are pampered and well taken care might lose some natural instincts as compared to the ones in the rice paddies that are constantly on the lookout on the surface to hunt and prey on insects.

Betta Tank Broken Light?

It would be wise to repair any damaged light on your aquarium so that the Betta Fish will know day and night. Or better yet if you are a very busy person, get a timer for your aquarium ight and program it to turn on and off on specified hours.

Small Tank?

small betta container in pet stores

If there is no room to swim around then your Betta Fish will naturally just stay in one place. Be sure to get him at least 2.5 or 5 gallons of Betta Fish Tank and live plants or decors where he can hide, rest and play.

Water Temperature Settings?

Betta Fish are tropical fish and if you do not have a heater in your tank then you are killing your Betta Fish slowly. Cold water will stress the fish and the long term effects is weak immune system which will lead to illness.

It would be wise to buy a thermometer so that during your weekly cleaning routine you can check if the heater is still working. The correct temperature settings would be ranging around: 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit

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