How Do Betta Fish Sleep? The Fascinating Mystery Revealed | Kidadl


How Do Betta Fish Sleep? The Fascinating Mystery Revealed

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Betta splendens are popular in the fish pet world.

Bettas are native to Thailand. Although, today, these Siamese fighting fish or the vibrant colored bettas are some of the most popular aquarium animals.

Bettas are highly territorial fishes, and keeping them alone in an aquarium or a small tank is advisable. This is because they nibble at other fish's fins and gills to secure their territory, and this might lead to either of the fish's death. Hence, in most cases, the male betta is usually kept separately in a tank. As betta fish are highly active during the day, it is typically safe to assume they are sleeping at night. However, it isn't easy to notice if the betta sleeps at night or if your betta fish naps during the day. To be clear, like every other animal and humans, betta fish sleep and rest. What does it look like when a fish is asleep? Well, the answer to this question is quite simple. A fish is sleeping when it is motionless, usually lying at the bottom of the water tank.

Check out how do amphibians breathe and how do animals hibernate on Kidadl for more.

How much do betta fish sleep every day?

Do bettas need a strict eight-hour sleep as humans do, or would a sleeping betta fish prefer short naps? Knowing how many hours of sleep this tropical fish needs is essential to keep it fit and healthy. Read on to learn more about the sleeping behavior of betta and how to spot betta fish sleeping.

As humans sleep most of the night, it isn't easy to know when the betta fish sleep in the tank and for how long. Although, bettas sleep when it is dark around at night, with little light and filter source. These fish usually have a light sleep pattern, and they get startled. If they are disturbed during the night, they might try and finish their sleep as they are known to take a few naps throughout the day. You can usually notice this when the betta fish is resting, which it often does at the bottom of the bowl or the tank during the day. If the resting and inactive hours extend throughout the day, there is a chance that the betta may be sick. It is advised to get the fish checked to answer for its extended inactivity and treat it sooner.

How can you tell if a betta fish is sleeping?

How can one notice whether the fish is resting or is asleep? Here are a few ways you can tell how the fish look when they are resting and sleeping and their sleep behavior while doing so.

As the bettas do not have eyelids, it can be trickier to know whether the fish is just lying in the tank, floating freely without movement, taking a small rest, or sleeping. The easiest way you could know whether the fish is asleep is by observing its movements. It is usual for betta fish sleep on the bottom of the tank or near the lower end of the aquarium, keeping its mouth or fins still and moving every once in a while. Often you may notice that betta fish will sleep on the bottom of the tank with its belly touching the bottom. This is mainly because the fish need to find a comfortable spot away from commotion caused by the aquarium filter and avoid the light coming in from the surface or the glass.

If there are a few plants or a cave available in the water tank, the betta would even choose to hide behind the filter or lay on its side with the plant leaf as its bed. Hiding in the cave or other water tank accessories is another way the betta finds a little darkness and sleeps or naps at certain times throughout the day in between its swimming and active day stress. Apart from sleeping on their stomach, the bottom of the tank, or on its side by resting on a plant leaf, betta fish sleep upside down. Although this betta fish sleeping position is quite rare, the fish owner or keeper shouldn't be worried about it as the fish likes to rest and sleep in this position while effortlessly floating in the water.

Betta fish in tank.

When do betta fish sleep?

Are bettas light sleepers? Do they sleep during the day or sleep when the temperature is favorable at night? Read on to learn how their resting schedule changes or works in the tank.

Betta fish need a good rest as most of the day they are active swimming around the water plants, eating food, and swimming near the surface as it breathes the surface air. Even though there are no records of the exact sleep or rest time for these fish, healthy bettas are often seen active and resting throughout the day and night. Many confuse the bettas to be nocturnal fish, as a few of them might take short naps during the day. It is clear that the bettas are indeed not nocturnal, and they do not rest during the day due to the presence of the light alone. They may lay for a while during the day mainly because swimming for prolonged periods of time can exhaust them, and the betta may need to rest. Bettas sleep mainly during the night when their surroundings are calm, and the lights are out for some needed darkness near the tank. One could also notice a sleeping betta fish near the plants, tank accessories, or at the bottom during the day. This is when the betta is sleeping with just a few movements with its fins, mouth, or body.

Is it normal for betta fish to sleep a lot?

Would a betta fish rest a lot of it is sick, feels stress, just like the humans do when they feel ill and stressed, or is it that the fish usually are known to rest for extended hours?

As bettas are pretty active and territorial fish, they do not like the company of other fish, even of their own species. This might make the fish owner think that the betta fish gets lonely. But in reality, the betta is unlikely to get lonely in the tank, provided it has many things to play with. It will swim across the tank, try and play around with lights and it could also jump out of the water once in a while in excitement. All these activities might exhaust the fish, which makes it want to rest. Therefore, it is typical for your betta to sleep at night and during the day.

Although, if your betta is sleeping beyond its usual sleep cycle, is laying on its side for a longer duration, or is swimming upside down, there is a high chance that something is wrong. If the betta is seeking the bottom more often, there is a high chance that the water temperature is too cold for it to handle. In such cases, to maintain the temperature, you can install a temporary heater in the tank, which would make it manageable for the betta fish to live in. If the temperature seems okay and the betta fish is still floating upside down or sideways, there is a chance of swim bladder infection, which needs to be treated soon with medicinal water drops. If the tank is small for the betta fish, even if it likes its own company, there are high chances that the fish would get bored and engage in long hours of sleep. Other reasons why the betta fish would rest for longer durations can be that it is a lazy betta, it has grown old, the tank light is very bright or too dim for the betta.

Know If The Bettas Hibernate

Amphibians and reptiles usually carry out hibernation to survive in cold and unfavorable temperatures.

When it comes to fish, many can say that they slow down during cold temperatures. Although, it won't be correct to say that the bettas hibernate during the winter. The fish may look like it is barely moving, but it isn't hibernating. These situations can also be named betta water shock. In such cases, it is essential to check the water temperature as a cold tank can make the betta sick. The temperature should ideally be between 78-82 F (25.5-27.7 C). There are chances that recent water treatments carried out with ammonia might've affected the betta's health. Make sure that you show the signs to the ichthyologist.

Is your betta fish dead or sleeping?

You can easily mistake knowing if the betta is asleep or dead. Here are a few things to observe while trying to distinguish between a dead fish and a fish sleeping in the water.

Even though the betta doesn't move much while sleeping, if the fish hasn't moved at all, there is a high chance that it is either very ill or even dead. Try and do the following things while the fish lays asleep or moves slowly otherwise in the tank. Try and notice the color of the fish, whether it is faded or vibrant. Focus on its movements, if they are as usual engaging or slow, dicey, and lethargic. If the fins look unhealthy, there are white spots on its body, with a swollen belly, and eyes look bulging out, you can probably assume that the betta is sick and needs treatment. Even after treating the water, providing the correct supply of food, a good source of light, and managing the temperature of the water, if the fish does not move by itself and has been motionless in the water for long, then one can say that the fish is dead.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how do betta fish sleep, then why not take a look at how do birds find worms or how do dolphins sleep facts pages?

Rajnandini is an art lover and enthusiastically likes to spread her knowledge. With a Master of Arts in English, she has worked as a private tutor and, in the past few years, has moved into content writing for companies such as Writer's Zone. Trilingual Rajnandini has also published work in a supplement for 'The Telegraph', and had her poetry shortlisted in Poems4Peace, an international project. Outside work, her interests include music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading. She is fond of classic British literature.

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