How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Fish, like all animals, need sleep in order to rest their bodies and carry out bodily functions, like growing, healing or fighting off pathogens. Sleep is a mental and physical low power mode that slows down the metabolism and focuses on maintaining the body’s infrastructure.

But, fish sleep looks a bit different than mammalian sleep. Most fish don’t have eyelids, and those that do usually don’t close them to sleep. So, sleeping fish might look wide awake to our eyes.

In fact, some fish continue to slowly swim even while they are sleeping in order to keep enough water passing over their gills.

Different fish species have their own strategies for getting some snooze time in. Some are diurnal, so they’re active during the day and sleep at night. Others are nocturnal, they rest during the day and become active after dark.

Some fish remain in the open, others hide, some sink to the bottom, and some have unique approaches, like encasing themselves in giant mucus “sleeping bags” overnight.

How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish lying on leaf

Bettas are diurnal fish, so they sleep mostly at night, but you’ll also see them take little catnaps throughout the day.

This species is a pretty low energy fish, so don’t be surprised to find them snoozing on a regular basis. But, each fish is different, and their behavior may change a bit as they age.

Younger fish tend to be more active than older ones. Some Bettas are lazy, and  may only perk up and swim around at meal times and lounge the rest of the day. Others may be quite active, cruising around more often than not. 

It all depends on the individual fish.

Most Bettas like to lay down to rest. In nature, their favorite spots are broad plant leaves.

In the aquarium, they’ll lay along the substrate, behind filter intakes, inside decor or on plant leaves. 

Some will even point their heads down at the substrate with their tails floating towards the water’s surface. It’s the weirdest thing.

Should I Wake My Sleeping Betta?

No! Let the poor little guy sleep!

Tapping on the glass, or otherwise disturbing your Betta, can frighten and stress your fish. 

You don’t have to be quiet around your Betta tank. Just don’t actively try to wake them up. 

Nifty Products That Can Help Your Betta Sleep

2 Pack Betta Leaf Hammock

I love these little two leaf Betta hammocks. Some fish will like the upper leaf that’s near the surface, while more shy fish will get between the upper and lower leaves.

Place these near the surface, in spots that get very little to no water flow. That way, the Betta can lay on the leaf without having to fight a water current.

Since you get two, maybe try putting them on opposite ends of the tank to see which your fish will prefer.

Sale
2 Pack Betta Fish Leaf Pad Cousduobe Improves Betta's Health by Simulating The Natural Habitat - Natural, Organic, Comfortable Rest Area for Fish Aquarium
2 Pack Betta Fish Leaf Pad Cousduobe Improves Betta's Health by Simulating The Natural Habitat - Natural, Organic, Comfortable Rest Area for Fish Aquarium

    Last update on 2023-01-28 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Zoo Med Floating Betta Log

    This floating hollow log is a great place for a Betta to hide when they feel sleepy. It gives your Betta a snug little place, sheltered from water current, where they can take a quiet nap.

    Zoo Med Floating Betta Log
    Zoo Med Floating Betta Log

      Last update on 2023-01-27 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Zoo Med Laboratories Sinking Ceramic Betta Log

      Also from Zoo Med, this sinking ceramic log decoration is just the right size for a tiny hiding space for a Betta. 

      This is particularly good for Bettas that like to snooze close to the substrate or tuck themselves into tight corners.

      Zoo Med Laboratories AZMFA50 Sinking Ceramic Betta Log 4.25 inche
      Zoo Med Laboratories AZMFA50 Sinking Ceramic Betta Log 4.25 inche

        Last update on 2023-01-28 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Final Thoughts

        All animals need rest. Sleep is an important time when our bodies restore and repair themselves.

        Fish, and Betta fish in particular, are no different. Bettas are low energy output fish that enjoy long snoozes, even during the day.

        They can sleep along the bottom, on a plant leaf, or even sometimes facing head down into the substrate.

        If at all possible, try not to disturb a sleeping Betta. They don’t enjoy being woken up any more than we do.

        I hope you find this article helpful.

        I wish you and your fish the very best!

        Katherine Morgan
        Katherine Morgan

        Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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