Are you wondering do betta fish sleep? Because bettas don’t have eyelids, it can be hard to tell if they are asleep, or if they even sleep at all. But bettas do sleep, just like people. Let’s learn all about the sleeping habits of betta fish.
What Does A Sleeping Betta Fish Look Like?
It can sometimes be hard to tell whether your betta fish is sleeping, or if they are sick or dead. Here are some tell-tale signs that your betta is taking a nap:
- Their body position. A betta may sleep on their sides, or with their noses pointed down, or in some other unusual position. If you notice them in an unusual position, but remaining still, they may be sleeping.
- Slow breathing. Just like people, bettas breathe more slowly when they are asleep. If you watch carefully, you’ll notice that their mouth movement and respiration is much slower than normal.
- Pale color. Bettas are known for their bright, vivid colors, but not when they sleep. When they are sleeping, their colors become less vivid, so they are harder for predators to see and safer as they take a nap. Their color is quickly restored when they wake up.
A sleeping betta fish can look a lot like a sick betta fish when you notice them looking pale and laying on the substrate. But if they wake up and are quickly looking and behaving normally, it’s nothing to be concerned about.
Do Betta Fish Sleep On Their Sides?
Betta fish often sleep on their sides, so they can stretch out and rest their fins. They may also sleep resting on the substrate, or on a leaf.
They may sleep curled up in a ball, or stretched out vertically in a line. When they are comfortable and relaxed, they may end up in any position.
Do Betta Fish Sleep On The Bottom Of The Tank?
Betta fish also sometimes sleep on the bottom of the tank. In fact, a betta will sometimes rest on the bottom of the tank or on tank décor, even when they aren’t sleeping.
It takes a lot of energy for bettas to swim with their long, beautiful fins, so sometimes they take a load off and rest or nap on the bottom of the tank.
If your betta spends a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, it could be a sign of problems. Bettas can spend time on the bottom of the tank to avoid temperatures that are too high or air filter currents that are too strong.
If a betta fish is overfed, it can lead to swim bladder problems that make it difficult to maintain buoyancy, so keep an eye on a betta fish to make sure it perks up and resumes normal activity when it wakes up.
If your betta fish is on the bottom of the tank and upside down, or on the bottom of the tank struggling to breathe, these can be signs of serious problems.
Check your tank temperature and water conditions, reduce filter flow, and see if it helps. If you need to reduce the tank temperature, point a fan or an air conditioner at the outside of the tank and allow it to reduce the heat gradually, to avoid shocking your betta or your aquarium’s beneficial bacteria.
Do Betta Fish Hibernate?
Betta fish do not hibernate. Like people, they like to sleep at night and be awake during the day, with occasional daytime naps or resting. If a betta sleeps a lot during the daytime, it may be a sign that the tank is too cold or that there isn’t enough light.
Do Betta Fish Need Darkness To Sleep?
Betta fish prefer to sleep in the dark or nap in the shade, but light and dark are more important than that.
Bettas are native to tropical areas near the equator, where there isn’t a lot of seasonal variation in the time or amount of light. It’s best to use a timer and give them 12 hours of light during the day and 12 hours of darkness at night.
Adding plants for shade, and some décor with dark hiding spots, will also help your betta find comfortable napping places.
Bettas are also intelligent fish who notice and respond to the regular patterns of life around them. They learn when feeding time is, and get used to the routines of your household.
Maintaining a fairly regular schedule of light and dark, sleeping and waking, feeding and playing, helps to reduce stress for a betta.
How Long Should A Betta Fish Sleep For?
Bettas sleep at night, but don’t usually sleep continuously for hours and hours. They may sleep for a while, wake up lightly and notice that everything is still dark and calm around them, and then go back to sleep.
Because their eyes are always open, and these waking intervals can be short, it’s actually hard to tell exactly how long betta fish sleep for.
What Does It Mean If Your Betta Sleeps All The Time?
If your betta fish is sleeping for long periods of time during the day, there can be several causes. Here are the things to be aware of:
- There isn’t enough light. If your tank isn’t getting 8-12 hours of light every day, your betta may sleep too much.
- The temperature is uncomfortable. If an aquarium is too hot or too cold, it may cause a betta to sleep more than is normal.
- The betta isn’t feeling well. Lethargy and oversleeping can be a sign of a wide range of fish diseases. Make sure your aquarium water is healthy, and keep an eye on your betta for any other signs of illness, like swimming upside down, or loss of color.
- The betta is bored. Bettas are intelligent fish who need some stimulation to stay healthy. Try changing up their décor, adding betta toys, or occasionally feeding living food to keep your betta mentally engaged. You can also teach a betta simple tricks to keep them from getting bored.
- Your betta is getting old. As bettas age, they naturally slow down and sleep more, just like people. Bettas live for 3-5 years, but most male bettas are already a year old when they are sold. If your betta has been happy and healthy for a couple of years, it’s natural for them to start napping and resting more often.
How Do You Ensure Your Betta Fish Sleeps Well?
For the most part, bettas will maintain healthy sleep habits on their own. But there are a number of things you can do to help your betta get a good sleep and stay happy. Here are the best things to do:
- Protect your tank from direct sunlight. Direct daylight may be too bright for a betta to take nice naps, and will cause your aquarium to change temperature too dramatically during the day.
- Maintain a stable tank temperature. Along with keeping the tank out of the sun, avoid anything that quickly or dramatically changes the temperature of your betta’s tank.
- Create a healthy balance of light and dark. Providing a good, consistent amount of light and dark helps a betta’s circadian rhythms, which helps them sleep well at night, and also aids their digestion and overall health.
- Provide shady napping spots. Bettas will use the entire vertical area of their tank, spending time everywhere from the surface to the bottom. You can use décor and plants to make dark caves and shady resting spots at the top, middle, and bottom of the tank, so a betta can rest wherever they feel comfortable.
- Consider using betta-specific tank decorations. Betta logs and betta hammocks are specifically designed for the comfort and preferences of betta fish, and make great places for sleep.
It’s hard being a betta fish. Bettas are naturally very territorial, so they are always on the lookout for competitors. They are predators, so they are always on the hunt for food. They are also prey animals, so they have to hide from predators.
Finally, they have beautiful oversized fins that take a lot of energy to maintain. With so much work to do, it’s no wonder that they need a lot of sleep to keep up.
A healthy betta fish sleeps at night and often rests during the day, and it’s no cause for concern.
Rather than try to wake up your betta, just give it some time to wake naturally and resume its ceaseless vigilance. Let your betta fish sleep peacefully through the night just like you do.