Do Betta Fish Sleep? How, When & Why They Rest (Explained)

do betta fish sleep
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I have heard and seen this question a few times, do betta fish sleep? Well yes, like all animals betta fish must sleep to stay alive!

Betta fish sleep in a variety of places and positions. Some nestle into the tank’s gravel, some find a hiding place within an aquarium ornament, others can squeeze between the filter and the tank and some will just float around at the top.

Do Betta Fish Sleep - JapaneseFightingFish.org

Very often the first few times you see your betta fish sleeping you will get a shock thinking something is wrong – don’t worry they can sleep in some funny positions! Please let your betta fish have his deserved rest, don’t tap on the tank to see if he’s ok unless you really are worried.

I think these sleeping behaviors show the importance of having tank ornaments and aquarium plants – the betta fish like to use the shadows cast or the holes that are included with the ornaments to sleep in. Since they sleep in these places it is my opinion that they find these places their safe place.

Betta fish will use these safe places to hide when they feel threatened for whatever reason and will retreat here to reduce their stress levels – resulting in a happier betta.

Fun Fact: One favorite ornament that bettas love to sleep on is a hammock. Learn more about this by reading our post — Betta Hammock: Beginner’s Guide To Your Pet Fish Aquatic Cot.

Below is a video I found on YouTube which I found quite funny but educational on betta sleeping behavior.

When do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish sleep at night and have a few rests throughout the day. Luckily very similar to human sleeping patterns. I say luckily because if the betta tank is in your bedroom you will be able to turn off any lighting which in turn will help you sleep :).

Whether or not you keep your tank in your bedroom it is advised that you turn off any lighting at nighttime – this will help your betta get into a sleeping pattern and will help it distinguish between night and day. Would you like to sleep with the light on?

Conclusion

Do you have any Betta sleeping behavior stories, tips, advice? Do you agree or disagree with what I have said? I’d love to hear your comments below – and I am sure many others would too!

Do Betta Fish Sleep - JapaneseFightingFish.org


Last Updated: July 28, 2022

70 thoughts on “Do Betta Fish Sleep? How, When & Why They Rest (Explained)”

  1. Pingback: Do Betta Fish Like Light? - Japanese Fighting Fish

  2. Yeah I was afraid when my betta first slept. It was by the filter in the top corner. I thought for sure something was wrong! But I too have learned that he sleeps quite like us humans! My fish is as happy as can be! We are going on two years and 3 months!!!

  3. When my betta fish, Bobo, slept for the first time I got him, he was in the top corner behind the filter. My sister and I got so scared something was wrong because it was the first day we got him. But he was okay.

    1. Hi Vi, yes people can get scared of the strange positions betta can sleep in! Thinking the fish is stuck or in trouble – thats why I wrote this article to tell people this is normal behavior. I am glad hes ok!

  4. I have a glow in the dark hiding place, it’s like a hollow rock, but my betta has never gone in it. Whenever I walk into the room he always swims to the front of the bowl to look at me, which means he is active, and I have never seen him sleep. What’s wrong?

    1. Kimball, I have a 10 gallon tank and I shut the lights off at night and also their bubble bar.The only movement is the filter.I have had this tank for 4 months now containing a Betta, Tetras, Guiramis,and Plecos.The fish are now in the habit of sleeping at night. They enjoy the dark and peace and quite like us.In the mornings I cut their light on and give them time for their eyes to adjust and for them to wake up before I feed them. After feeding I cut on their bubbles (stimulates them) and they are good to go.My Betta does not go into the ornaments either. I believe it is their nature as a territorial fish to always be aware of their surroundings.My little catfish cleaners like to sleep in the caves.I have learned that each fish is different.

  5. My betta fish Sagwa is so important to me. He’s my first betta and he helped me feel less lonely because I’m a transfer student n I don’t have many friends. He sleeps slightly vertically between the plants. Is that weird? Should I be worried?

    1. No you shouldnt be worried – as long as he is only doing this whilst sleeping. If he is constantly in the vertical position, this could be a form of ‘swim bladder disorder’ – generally caused by overfeeding.

  6. Sushi, my rescue Betta slept his first night by stuffing his head under the jar I was using as a cave. then floated lazily to hide in his fake plant. Now he sleeps either on his leaf hammock, or precariously balanced on the edge of a fabric plant leaf on its side, where he is just below the water’s surface.

  7. I got my betta fish 6 days ago and I think it’s already dying, he is always sleeping but I have to move the water a bit to wake him up but he stays up for about 2 minutes then goes to sleep again, he doesn’t wake up himself i have to wake him, we have him in a glass bowl and we don’t know if that’s okay or not. We think he has fin-rot because one of his fins is raggered and scruffy. He hasn’t ate either of the food I got him for 2 days straight now and I’m really worried I think he is defiantly dying and I don’t know why! I’ve gave him fresh water and the correct food! I’m 13 and have no other pets! Please help me ASAP! 🙁 I’m very upset 🙁

    1. Ok, he does sound ill! And the way you have described his fins does sound like fin rot. This is usually caused by dirty water. Do a full water change of his bowl and read this page about betta fish diseases, fin rot is on there. (the link does not go to my website, it goes to the page I think is the best page on the web on betta fish diseases!)

      Also ideally you would not keep him in a glass bowl. Betta fish should really be kept in a 5 gallon filtered tank for the happiest and healthiest life! 🙂 hope this helps.

  8. well thats not necssary i got a betta fish today and i got fish bowl (starter kit)and my betta fish is doing just fine in a bowl. I also asked the guy in the pet shop and he said its ok for a betta fish to be in a fish bowl

    1. ppl from pet shops, or at least the major ones, usually don’t know anything. once one told me to have a clown fish (saltwater) and a betta live together!!!!

  9. My male betta sleeps under his cute little plastic tree because I only have a tank with the slit in the middle to seperate two beta One died of coldness and he was my first beta

    1. Hi, I have just checked our subscription form that is on every page, and it worked for me.

      Also I have just checked our email list and you have been subscribed! 🙂 no need to worry!

  10. Hi I have a male fighting fish. I’ve had him for 1 week. He lives in a round typical fish bowl with rocks and one leaf plant thing. He eats all his food. But he is constantly most of the time on the edge of the bowl vertical (head facing up) and just sits there…. Some time he swims around but rarely. Should I get a new bowl? Or what? It’s very odd.

    1. Hmm… the cold may have something to do with it, but he doesnt sound well with that description. You should look up ‘Betta fish swim bladder disorder’ on Google and see if that can help you help him.

  11. Hi I love this chat forum…its the best!
    I have had my betta for 3 months now and i love him. Hes a full red half moon, called Fin !
    He interacts with me every day. When he sees me approaching he swims up to me. Some tines when i look in from the top he blows me bubbles, bless him! He more i interact with him the more grand he becomes, putting on a show of graceful swimming with many twirls. He also flaps his little fins and comes right up to the glass, although it has occurred to me that what i think is pleasure to see his owner may be a sign of fighters aggression, i don’t know???
    But he also sleeps in funny places and in strange positions (propped on leaves, wedged between stones)which at first i thought meant he was dying or worst still dead, but then i worked out he was just sleeping :0)
    So glad to hear other owners have has the same shocks!!!
    Terri

  12. I’m glad this article was written as my white betta (Ed) has started going to the top right next to my heater and was worried,but now I’ve read this I’m abit more confident.
    I’ve only had him a few days so abit worried about him eating as I haven’t seen him eating even though I put some bloodworm in the tank today so anymore help would be highly appreciated please

    1. If this is a new home it is very common for betta fish to lose their appetite for a few days. Bloodwroms do usually change their minds though! Keep an eye on it but if its only been a few days dont be too worried. (Keep looking out for other betta fish signs of illness though).
      Thanks for joining the betta fish conversation! 🙂

  13. well im young nd had two other bettas in the past but actully i just found out alot bout them today at petsmart the guy was really nice nd helped me out cuz this was my 3rd betta i got today cx nd i love him soo much nd i got scared when i saw him laying down i was like oh my jesus lord is he dead?!?!? but im glad i looked up if half moon bettas sleep nd lucky they do like all animals ❤

  14. Hello I got my first betta fish today and I named him Sheldon. He’s a multicoloured veil tail and loves to chase his tail. Is that normal for a betta fish?

  15. Hi!
    My betta, Blizzard, likes to lay on the gravel. At first glance I thought he was dead, but I saw his gills moving and his eyes twitch every so often. It’s kinda cute actually 🙂

  16. Thanks for this site. I noticed the betta at Wal-Mart and it occurred to me it would make a good apt. pet so I started looking for info before buying and found this site first. I learned a lot. 🙂

  17. Thanks for this site. I noticed the betta at Wal-Mart and it occurred to me it would make a good apt pet (lonely here) so I started looking for info before buying and found this site first. Glad I did as I was considering a bowl. I learned a lot. 🙂

  18. Hello, i have a crown tail betta that i haven’t ever seen sleep, I’m sure it happens. This morning (just a few minutes ago) i didn’t see him anywhere in the tank. I looked behind the filter, in his pineapple house and figured he was in his squidward house. He usually comes up to me when i get up to the front but this time he didn’t. I checked up on him a little earlier than usual because I got up early. I panicked because i didn’t see him at all and moved the house around and he came out lazily. After a few moments huge started acting like himself. I am hoping he was sleeping after reading your article there. But i got scared because he recently got over a body fungus and wanted to make sure he wasn’t quietly dieing. I love him lots, his name is Fidwick (:

    1. Aww! It sounds like he was sleeping back there, in a little hidey hole. Poor thing with body fungus, have you got something to treat him? Keep Fidwick’s water extra clean 🙂

  19. My betta sleeps under the legs of his Eric and Ariel statue. At first I freaked out thinking somehow the cat had gotten Confetti with the lid on his tank but he soon swam up to me then I soon found where his hiding whole is 🙂

  20. Hi, I have a rock with MANY holes in it, and one has an opening at the end where a betta can fit in it. Only a little bit of his body would be sticking out and his tail too. I’ve had 3 betta fish, and they’ve all seemed to like this hole and this rock. Is it because they all like the hole or because they (smell?) the betta fish before them

  21. ha ha when i got my betta (soos) he hung out around a dying plant i had in the corner but now he loves this ciramic log in his tank its so cute when he slightly sticks his head out of one end. 🙂

  22. hi.. my milo beta has 2 molly”s in with him they seem to be doing fine, they are in cold water tank though is that right?

  23. Every morning, when we wake up for school(6:15), my fish comes out of his SpongeBob house and taps his head against the glass of his tank to indicate that he is hungry and wants breakfast.

  24. My 2 kids just got betta fishes each today. they are put in 1 gallon glass like bowls. What kind of a heater should I get as I just now read that they should be kept w/in temps of 78. My house is not 78 by any means.. closer to 70. I’m getting a bit worried. It’s their first ever pets.

    1. Hi Pam, thanks for the question. Ok so betta fish are quite hardy and can live in conditions that are less than perfect but they may not be very happy and it will effect their lifespan. There was a guest post done advising some ideal tanks / sizes and settings. We like to say a betta fish likes 5 gallons of personal space and the tank would be filtered with a slow filter and also heated to ~78-79 degreesF.

      Adding a heater to a one gallon tank can be dangerous. They can heat the water up too fast and the quick changes in temperature are not good for the fish. You will need to ensure it is a reliable heater with a thermostat. Less than 10 watts. A quick look on Amazon and I found these Hydor 7.5w Slim Heater and Aqueon AQE06194. I have used neither so please research the customer reviews.

      And I’m sorry that you have already bough the tanks and the fish, but my actual advice would be to get larger tanks so that the heater can be used safely and the water conditions are better.

  25. My crowntail Dorian has lived with me for about a month. Today when I got home I thought he was sick because he was floating on his side. Well, he was upright and then he drifted to his side. I read on one website that bettas sleep on their sides. Is this true? He was in a one-gallon tank, but we moved him to a three-gallon tank when I thought he was sick. He’s there to stay, but I was also wondering if it was alright to have the bubble feature on? It’s in the middle of the tank. Dorian is quite a character. He darts around most of the time and he swims to me when I talk to him. Once he blew a big bubble at me when I told him hi.

  26. Okay so yesterday I purchased to male betas but I got the split tank so they can’t get to each other. I bought two artificial plants for each of them a cave for each of them and the leaf Hamic the one blue beta seems a little happier but he sleeps at the very top of his tank the other one is always in the corner very rarely swims around and is always sleeping on the top they just kind of floating around in every once in a while swim should I be worried?

    1. Even with a divider that stops the betta’s from fighting each other the fact they can see each other can lead to stress in the fish – which can lead to sickness.

  27. My crowntail raven lives in a 10gallon aquarium with a cory cat named zippy they get along great … last night raven was wedge vertically in berween a plant and the corner of the tank kinda freaked me out seeing normal as he sleeps in the alligator skull i have for him but now up and moving around struttn his fins lol

  28. Good article, but not all animals sleep. It’s debated whether tree frogs sleep or just enter a period of dormancy. My betta sleeps on the leaves of my anubias nana. He’s about to be moved to a pretty heavily planted 20 gallon, along woth his anubias, so this may change! I also have a dwarf gourami (in another tank) who prefers to sleep inside of a decoration, I think it all depends on each individual fish. Less of the light from leopard geckos’ tanks reaches my betta tank though so this may affect it! There’s about a 4 hour period of difference in the light periods for the fish and geckos in the summer (10 for fish, 14 for geckos) so I try to block it out for them.

  29. I feel so stupid now! I was freaking out about my baby betta because it looked like she was getting herself stuck in the pebbles, which I have heard can happen. I guess she was just sleeping.

  30. i just got my twin tail half moon Betta and it is just sleeping at the top of the tank behind the filter is it ok becuase i just got him.

  31. We just got a new betta fish. The water is clean and has been treated, and we feed him every day. For a few days now, he has been hiding behind the plants and rocks in his tank and only moving to eat or find a new hiding place. He doesn’t seem sick, but we are worried. What should I do?

  32. Tonight I couldn’t fall asleep and I kept remembering things I should prepare for tomorrow so I turned the lights on three times. The third time my beta swam up agitated from the bottom to the top of his tank and when I looked at him he gave me a dead serious look! I was confused! It was so funny and cute! Im gonna behave!

  33. Im v late to this, but I just got my betta, and oh boy is he lazy lol. He’s got a 10 gallon, with lots of plants and 2 logs to hide under. He legit just sleeps, wakes up for food, swims for a bit then right on top of the log nest to the plant he sleeps, or in the corner he just kinda curls up, orrrrr nestles in the rocks

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