Betta fish are crowd favorites for their majestic appearance. Yet they are not simply beautiful, but also one of the smartest aquatic pets that you could keep. Just like any other smart creature, Betta fish need stimulation.
Betta fish need toys to keep themselves entertained. They are highly intelligent, requiring physical and intellectual stimulation to keep them happy. You can use toys to train and interact with your betta fish.
Bored Betta fish become stressed over time. And you can bond with your Betta fish by playing with it too! So read the entire article to find out which toys you might want for your Betta fish, and where to get them.
Do Betta Fish get Bored in Tanks?
Betta fish are quite active in the wild. They can live in a community, have meaningful interactions with other fish and respond to stimuli. They can express a range of emotions and are extremely territorial.
Their intelligence means that they need stimulation. Without any meaningful activity, Betta fish will gradually become bored, aimlessly wandering around the tank. In extreme cases, they will even become stressed.
Betta fish will show a few signs of stress.
- They will refuse to eat.
- They will be lethargic.
- In extreme cases, they might start nibbling on their tail.
Being territorial, multiple Betta fish in the same tank with nothing to do spells disaster. So, it’s wise to make sure your Betta fish do not get bored.
Do Bettas like Toys?
Most pet fish will not interact with their environment. Goldfish will swim up to their owners or frequent a specific spot in the tank. But only because they expect to be fed. So, most pet fish have little need for toys.
Toys, on the other hand, are Betta fish’s best friends. Toys are helpful for Betta fish, for a lot of reasons.
- Betta fish like to interact with their environment.
- Toys help change their mundane routine.
- Multiple Betta fish can play with toys without becoming aggressive.
- Physical and intellectual workout keeps Betta fish stress-free.
- Betta fish find normalcy within their limited space in the tanks.
Betta fish used to be called Siamese Fighter fish, and for good reason. They were bred to be aggressive and territorial. But you can keep a group of perfectly happy Betta fish in the same tank if you can keep them busy.
Toys are the safest method to interact with your Betta fish. They can learn to recognize their owners, and you can teach them how to perform simple tricks.
How Can I Play With my Betta Fish?
Touching or petting a Betta fish is rarely recommended. Getting hands-on with your Betta fish will cause stress, if not harm it. The fish find the experience unnatural and feel severe discomfort.
Toys can bridge the gap between you and your favorite pets here. And they don’t have to fit the conventional description of toys either. Here are some toys you and your Betta fish can play with.
Simplest Ways to Play
You don’t necessarily need to get your hands on a bunch of toys right away to interact with your Betta fish. There are a couple of ways you can play with your pets with household items.
- You can take a marker and write on the wall of the tank. Your Betta fish will react to the scribbles, and swim over to check it out. Make sure to use a dry erase marker so your tank walls don’t become permanently stained.
- You can briefly hold a mirror in front of your Betta fish. It will respond by flaring, spreading out its fins and tail to look as big as possible. While this is beautiful to look at, be very aware that the Betta fish is displaying aggression towards the reflection.
These are some simple ways to get started on playing with your Betta. However, using the mirror can be problematic if you have multiple Betta fish, especially a male. This will trigger their aggression towards others.
Create a Jungle Gym
Betta fish are naturally curious, and they love to examine things in their tanks. So, you can improve their mood by just changing the tank environment into an interactive one. Especially if you can create a jungle gym for your pets to swim through.
You can consider creating a jungle gym by using some of my suggested items.
- Aquarium gravel is the basic element to making the tank environment look more natural. You can also switch things up by using fluorescent gravel, which will give off a glow both you and your Betta fish can enjoy.
- You can add pebbles to double down on the river floor aspect. This will also add new things to stoke your Betta fish’s curiosity.
- Your Betta fish love swimming through tunnels or hiding in niches. So, you can consider getting structures that serve both purposes.
- Adding more options for swim-throughs is always a good idea. You can add logs and caves for your Betta fish to swim. You can also consider getting rock dens for your pets to swim under and rest in.
- Lighting in the tank won’t just highlight how beautiful your Betta fish look. It can also be fun for your Betta fish if you use fluorescent gravel. Mild luminosity LED lights are the best, as they are sturdy, and shine with perfect brightness.
More Toys for Playing
You can also choose to use more toys to let your Betta fish have fun. You can teach it new tricks too. But you have to consider if they are safe for use. Here are some options for you to consider.
- Try moss balls. They are safe toys so long as you replace them every two months. You can let your Betta push it and then push it back to them, starting a game of soccer.
- You can get hoops for your Betta fish to swim through. Wiggle a bit of food on the other side as encouragement and they will learn to weave in and out.
- You can also shine laser pointers in the tank. It will draw your pet’s attention and make it follow the light.
How Can I Train My Betta Fish?
Betta fish are smart, but they won’t spontaneously pick up a pattern. So, you have to remember a few things while training them.
- Be patient.
- Only spend about 10 minutes for training each day.
- Use food to motivate the Betta.
- Talk to your Betta fish. Many owners claim their Betta recognize and respond to their voices.
You can always check out Betta enthusiast groups of forums to find more tricks and games to play. And remember that your Betta fish need a proper place to rest after it’s exhausted from playing.
Letting Your Betta Fish Rest
You’ve probably noticed that your Betta fish spend some time snoozing. Typically, you’ll find them motionless near the surface of the tank, or with their head buried in the gravel. While Betta fish can manage to sleep on their own, you can help make it easier.
You can help out by getting your Betta fish a hammock. Not one in the typical sense per se. These hammocks are leaf-like structures with a suction cup attached at the bottom. You can stick the cup on your aquarium walls near the water surface.
This may seem a bit extra, but you’re providing your Betta with a great option to relax. A hammock your Betta fish enjoy their sleep with quite a few benefits.
- It’s a comfortable surface that your Bettas can plant themselves on.
- You’re creating a designated safe spot in the tank for relaxation.
- Your Bettas do not have to come up to the surface for air.
How to Install a Hammock?
You can stick your Betta’s hammock horizontal to the water surface, about 2 cm below it. Positioning is very important, as the Betta won’t use an ill-positioned one.
You should install the hammock away from these locations.
- The tank’s filter outflow.
- Moving water.
- Tank lighting.
- Near the tank heater.
If your Betta fish do not use the hammock, note where it likes to sleep. You can place it at that location. If it still doesn’t understand the function of the hammock, sprinkle some food on the leaf, and it’ll learn to rest on it.
Toys are a great way to engage and develop a bond with your favorite pets. Your Betta fish’s mental and physical health depends on how active they are. But remember to clean the toys and the tank often to avoid bacteria development. With that said, have fun!