Do Betta Fish Sleep? How, When, & Why Bettas Sleep

    Best betta fish tanks by gallon

    One of the main reasons why we love Betta fish so much is that they’re full of personality. Perhaps you may even see yourself in how active, shy, curious, or introverted your Betta fish is. When admiring these traits of our entertaining pets, we tend to wonder just how like us our Bettas are. For example, do Betta fish sleep?

    Fortunately, before this question keeps you awake at night, we have the answer. The short answer is that yes, Betta fish do sleep. However, they don’t do it in a way we humans are very familiar with.

    If we want to be responsible Betta caretakers, we need to understand as much about our pets as possible. Knowing how they rest is an essential and interesting part of this journey. In this article, you’ll discover how Betta fish sleep and other interesting facts.

    Do Betta Fish Sleep?

    do betta fish sleep on the bottom of the tank

    As mentioned before, the answer is yes, Betta fish sleep. Since they’re fish, though, they don’t do it in the way that we’re familiar with as humans.

    Bettas, like most other fish, don’t have eyelids. This means that they can’t close their eyes to enter into a deep slumber as we do. They also don’t experience the same kind of REM sleep that we enjoy.

    How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

    If they don’t have eyelids, how do Bettas sleep then?

    Instead of sleeping the ‘traditional’ (aka human) way, Bettas enter into what’s called a resting state.

    In other words, they “sleep” by resting a portion of their brain at a time. While one side of the brain rests, the other side stays awake to keep the Betta safe from predators.

    During this time, their metabolism and brain activity slows down significantly. They may not be asleep in the traditional sense, but they’re still getting the rest that they need.

    How To Tell If A Betta Fish Is Sleeping Or Dead

    is my betta fish dead or sleeping

    Now that you know how Betta fish sleep, you might be wondering how to tell if your Betta is sleeping or dead. After all, they both look quite similar!

    Plus, since Bettas don’t have eyelids, they often look like they’re staring into space when they’re in a resting state. If you’re not used to this, it can be easy to mistake them for being dead.

    To add to these complicated issues, Betta fish have been known to play dead when they’re stressed out or feel threatened. This is their way of trying to make themselves appear unappetizing to predators.

    Luckily, there are a few ways to tell the difference between a sleeping Betta and a dead one:

    • Check their gills. If they’re moving, your Betta is alive. If they’re not moving, your Betta is either dead or close to it.
    • Check their fins. If your Betta’s fins are clamped close to their body, this is often a sign of stress. If they’re relaxed and flowing freely, they’re likely just sleeping.
    • Look for signs of breathing. If you see your Betta’s stomach moving up and down, they’re alive and well.
    • Do a mirror test. If your Betta flares at their reflection, they’re alive. If they don’t react, they might be dead.
    • Tap the side of the tank lightly. If your Betta suddenly moves and swims away, they’re alive. Just because they’re not moving doesn’t mean they’re dead, but it’s best to check the other signs above too.

    Additionally, a sleeping Betta will usually be in a secluded area, like behind the plants or inside a decor. If you have a Betta hammock or a Betta log, many Betta fish also enjoy sleeping on those because they like its proximity to the water surface.

    If your Betta is dead, they will often just float to the top of the tank. However, there are some instances of dead Betta sinking to the very bottom. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to check the other signs on this list as well.

    When Do Betta Fish Sleep?

    Betta fish don’t really have a set sleep schedule as we do. Instead, they tend to sleep whenever they’re tired and when the conditions are right.

    This means that they might sleep more during the night when it’s dark and quiet. However, they can also take naps during the day if they’re feeling tired or if the tank is too warm.

    Ideally, your Betta’s tank should be kept in a dim room so they can get some peace and quiet when they need it. However, if you have a light on in the room, that’s not necessarily a problem either. Bettas can adjust to a variety of different light schedules.

    Why Do Betta Fish Sleep?

    All animals have to sleep. It doesn’t matter if they’re as big as an elephant or as small as a Betta fish. Sleep is essential for their health and well-being. During sleep, animals’ bodies can rest and heal from the day’s activities. This is especially important for fish like Betta since they’re constantly swimming and using up energy.

    Of course, their type of “sleep” differs from one species to another. Some animals have full-on REM sleep, just like us humans. Others simply go into a resting state where they’re not really asleep, but their brain activity is still significantly lower than usual.

    Betta fish fall into the latter category. When they “sleep,” they’re not really asleep in the traditional sense. Instead, they simply enter a resting state where their metabolism and brain activity.

    Sleep also gives Bettas time to process all the information they’ve gathered during the day. This allows them to recuperate from the day and prepare for the next one.

    How Long Do Betta Fish Sleep?

    do betta fish sleep with their eyes open

    The length of time that Bettas sleep varies. In the wild, they may sleep for several hours at a time.

    In captivity, however, they may only sleep for short periods since they’re constantly on the lookout for predators, even though there are none.

    Bettas also don’t have traditional sleep cycles as we do. Instead, they simply sleep when they’re tired and wake up when they’re not.

    This means that they may not sleep for long periods at a time, but they may take multiple naps throughout the day.

    Where Do Betta Fish Sleep In A Tank?

    do betta fish sleep at the top of the tank

    In their natural habitat, Bettas usually sleep in secluded areas where they feel safe and secure. This might be among the plants or in a cave-like structure.

    In captivity, however, they don’t have as many options (unless you provide them plenty.) As a result, they often sleep near the water surface, where they feel most secure. This might be on a leaf, in a Betta hammock, or just near the top of the tank.

    If you really want your Betta fish to have a good sleep, make sure that you include plenty of hiding places inside the fish tank. This will give them a place to go when they want to sleep and feel safe.

    Doing this is easier in a larger tank, so try to aim for at least 10 gallons if you can. This gives your Betta enough space to not just sleep but also move around and explore.

    How To Help A Betta Fish Sleep Well

    do betta fish sleep on their side

    Betta splendens will sleep whenever they feel like sleeping. This could be after an enjoyable exploration or a long day of playing in the bubbles.

    That said, there are a few things you can do to help your Betta fish sleep well:

    1. Keep The Tank In A Dim Room

    Your Betta’s tank should ideally be in a room that’s not too bright. This will help them feel more relaxed and encourage them to sleep.

    Not to mention, you should only turn your aquarium lights on a couple of hours a day to give your Betta time to rest.

    2. Provide Plenty Of Hiding Places

    As we mentioned before, Bettas like to have plenty of places to hide when they want to sleep. This could be among the plants or in a cave-like structure.

    Hiding places make them feel safer and secure. Even though they naturally keep an ear out for predators while they rest, you still want to make them feel as comfortable and safe from predators as possible. This can only be done by installing hiding places.

    3. Keep The Water Temperature Stable

    The temperature in your Betta’s tank should always be stable. Any sudden changes in the temperature can wake up your Betta and even prevent them from going back to sleep.

    The ideal temperature for your Betta tank is between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a colder climate, it’s best to have a heater like the Aqueon Aquarium Heater to keep the water at a stable tank temperature.

    4. Don’t Make Too Many Sudden Movements Near The Tank

    A sleeping Betta fish is easily startled. As mentioned above, they typically sleep with one part of their brain still conscious in order to prevent being ambushed by predators. This means that any sudden movements near their tank could easily wake them up.

    This is especially true if they’re sleeping near the surface of the water. So, try to avoid making too many sudden movements or noises near their tank when they’re sleeping.

    5. Avoid Handling Your Betta Fish Before Bedtime

    Some fishkeepers like putting their fingers inside the Betta fish tank. While this behavior is already not recommended from the get-go, doing this before bedtime is even worse.

    This is because Bettas are very sensitive to changes in their environment. When you put your hand inside the tank, it changes the water temperature and chemistry. This will disrupt their rest and make it harder for them to fall back asleep.

    6. Feed Your Betta A Nutritious Diet

    A healthy and nutritious diet is essential for all animals, including Bettas. A good diet will not only help them stay healthy but also encourage them to sleep well.

    Make sure that you’re feeding your Betta a high-quality diet that’s rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for their overall health and well-being.

    You can either feed them live foods or pellets that are specifically designed for Bettas, like Ultra Fresh Betta Pro Shrimp Patties and Tetra Betta Small Pellets. You can even feed them human food every now and then.

    Avoid feeding them too much, though. Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity and swim bladder disease.

    7. Give Them Time To Adjust To Their New Environment

    If your Betta fish is new to your home, then it’s going to take them some time to adjust to their new environment. During this adjustment period, they might not sleep as well.

    This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Just give them some time to adjust, and they’ll eventually start sleeping better.

    Is Your Betta Sleeping Too Much? What It Means And How To Stop It

    Just like humans, Bettas need their beauty sleep. However, Betta fish typically don’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

    This is something new Betta owners may miss if they don’t watch closely. If you’re a new Betta owner and you notice that your Betta has been spending more time sleeping than usual, it could be a sign of a problem.

    Here are a few things that can cause your Betta to sleep too much.

    1. Temperature

    The tank temperature is the first reason your Betta is probably sleeping too much.

    It’s a Betta’s natural instinct to sleep more during the cooler months and less during the warmer months. This is because they’re cold-blooded creatures and their bodies tend to be more sluggish in the colder temperatures.

    Besides, Bettas prefer warm water in general. If you think that the temperature of the tank is too cold, then you should consider investing in a heater.

    2. Poor Water Quality

    Another reason why your Betta might be sleeping too much is poor water quality. Bettas are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and poor water quality can be very stressful for them. This stress can lead to a number of health problems, including excessive sleeping.

    Luckily, the solution is simple. Just set a regular water change schedule and install a good filtration system. You might also want to consider adding some live plants to your tank. Plants can help in oxygenating the water, and they also absorb some of the invisible toxins in the water.

    Of course, the best way to check your water parameters is still to use a testing kit, like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

    3. Disease

    If your Betta is sleeping more than usual, it could be a sign of disease. Some common diseases that can cause excessive sleeping are:

    • Dropsy
    • Fin rot
    • Mouth fungus
    • Velvet disease

    If you suspect that your Betta is sick, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to a successful recovery.

    4. Stress

    Stress, in general, is a common reason why Bettas sleep too much. Some things that can cause stress are:

    • Poor water quality
    • Not enough hiding places
    • Lack of food
    • Sudden changes in the tank’s environment

    If you think that your Betta is stressed, try to make some changes to their environment. This could include adding more hiding places or changing the water more often.

    5. Old age

    As Bettas get older, their metabolism slows down, and they tend to sleep more.

    A sleeping fish in its twilight years is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

    Just make sure that they’re still eating and drinking regularly and that their water quality is good.

    If you can ensure that, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

    6. Pregnant

    If you have a female Betta who’s currently pregnant, she might sleep more than usual.

    This is because she’s using a lot of energy to care for her eggs. Again, just make sure that she has plenty of food and clean water.

    7. Boredom

    Another common reason why Bettas sleep too much is boredom.

    If your Betta doesn’t have anything to do, they might just decide to take a nap.

    To keep your Betta from getting bored, make sure to give them plenty of toys and objects to play with.

    You can also try to change up their environment every once in a while.

    Betta Fish Not Sleeping – What It Means And How To Help Them Sleep

    If your Betta fish isn’t sleeping, it could be a sign of a problem. Here are a few things that can cause your Betta to not sleep:

    • Diseases
    • Injuries
    • Stress
    • Poor water quality
    • Tank doesn’t feel safe or secure
    • Boredom
    • Not enough food

    As you can see, there are a number of different things that can cause your Betta to not sleep. Some of these, like diseases and injuries, can be quite serious, while the rest are easy to manage. Here’s what you can do to help them:

    1. Maintain The Fish Tank

    If the water quality in your tank is poor or if your tank is dirty, it can be a major stressor for your Betta.

    This stress can lead to a number of health problems, including not being able to sleep.

    As we already mentioned in a prior section, the best way to fix this problem is to do regular water changes and to make sure that you’re using a good filtration system.

    You should also keep the tank clean at all times.

    2. Don’t Overfeed Them

    If you’re overfeeding your Betta, it can cause them to not sleep. This is because they’ll be too full and uncomfortable. Make sure to only feed them what they can eat in one sitting.

    3. Introduce Some Plants

    If your tank is too bare, it can cause your Betta to feel stressed. This stress can lead to a number of health problems, including not being able to sleep.

    You can try adding some live plants to your tank. As mentioned above, plants help oxygenate the water, and they also provide some hiding places for your Betta.

    4. Get A Bigger Tank

    If you have a smaller aquarium, it can cause your Betta to feel stressed. This stress can lead to a number of health problems, including not being able to sleep.

    Luckily, a bigger tank will give your Betta more room to swim and explore. It will also help to reduce stress levels.

    5. Provide Hiding Places

    If your Betta doesn’t have any hiding places, it can cause them stress and trouble sleeping as well.

    To fix this problem, you can try adding some caves or plants to your tank. This will give your Betta somewhere to hide when they’re feeling stressed or tired.


    how do betta fish sleep in a tank

    Do Betta fish sleep with the light on?

    Most Betta fish prefer to sleep in the dark. However, there are some Bettas that don’t mind sleeping with the light on.

    If you’re not sure whether your Betta likes the light or not, try turning it off for a few days and see if they sleep more.

    Do Betta fish hibernate?

    Tropical fish like Bettas don’t hibernate. They only enter a resting state that’s similar to napping or sleeping.

    There’s no reason for a tropical fish to hibernate.

    Why does my Betta fish sleep by the filter?

    There are a few possible reasons why your Betta might sleep by the filter.

    One reason could be that the water is more oxygenated there.

    Another possibility is that the filter provides a little bit of white noise, which can help Bettas sleep.

    Do Betta fish sleep on leaves?

    Sometimes, Betta fish will sleep on aquarium plants, like leaves. This is normal behavior.

    The leaves provide a little bit of comfort and security.

    Plus, the leaves are situated near the surface, it also gets them closer to oxygen in the air, which they sometimes breathe in.

    How often do Betta fish sleep?

    You might see a Betta fish sleeping throughout the day.

    That’s because Bettas don’t have a sleep cycle, so they will sleep when they feel like sleeping or when they need to rest.

    Why is my Betta sleeping so much?

    If you notice your Betta fish sleeping a lot, it could indicate stress, illness, or simply a natural behavior.

    Stressors like improper water conditions, tank size, or abrupt changes can affect Bettas.

    Illnesses such as fungal or bacterial infections, parasites, or swim bladder issues may also cause excessive sleep.

    Ensuring a proper habitat and monitoring water parameters can help maintain a healthy and active Betta fish.

    How do I know if my Betta is sleeping?

    To determine if your Betta fish is sleeping, look for signs of inactivity such as floating near the surface, resting on the substrate, or reduced movement.

    You may also notice that its colors are duller during sleep.

    However, be cautious as Bettas often rest but remain alert, so don’t assume it’s always sleeping.

    How many hours do Betta fish sleep?

    Betta fish typically sleep for about 8-12 hours per day.

    Their sleep patterns can vary based on environmental conditions and individual behavior.

    Providing a calm and dark sleeping area for your Betta fish is essential to ensure they get enough rest.

    Is my Betta fish sleeping or dead?

    The behavior of betta fish during sleep can often be mistaken for death.

    Betta fish tend to sleep near the surface, staying still for long periods.

    It is crucial to observe their gill movements to confirm if they are alive.

    If the gills are moving, your betta fish is simply resting and not dead.


    It’s natural to be curious about how Betta fish sleep – after all, we want them to have their beauty rest too.

    Fortunately, science has supplied us with the answer: fish rest, although not in the same ways as humans do. We hope reading the facts from this article will help you improve your Betta fish keeping and make your Betta happy and healthy!

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