21 Fascinating Facts About Bettas You Need to Know

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If you’re considering caring for betta fish and are looking for a good starting point, this is the perfect spot for you.

Before I became familiar with these fish, I was full of queries. Having some key insights in advance would have been extremely beneficial.

In this guide, I’ve compiled 15 fascinating facts about betta fish that are essential for you to know. Let’s dive in!

Also Read: Betta Fish Care Guide

1. Hunger Management in Bettas

Bettas are often perceived as low-maintenance pets, but their feeding regimen requires attention.

Unlike some other fish, bettas can become overweight if overfed, making it crucial to adhere to a feeding schedule of small, controlled portions.

They can survive for up to two weeks without food, which is handy during short vacations. However, prolonged fasting isn’t recommended, as it can lead to health issues and stress.

Also Read: Why Is My Betta Fish Always Hungry?

2. Solitude vs. Community: Bettas in a Shared Tank

Bettas are known for their solitary nature, particularly males who are highly territorial.

While a common myth suggests they prefer to be alone, bettas can coexist with certain peaceful, non-fin-nipping fish in a sufficiently large tank.

However, the classic ‘betta bowl’ is too small for cohabitation, and placing two male bettas together is a recipe for conflict.

Also Read: How Many Betta Fish In A Tank?

3. Bettas and Cold Water: A Risky Mix

Tropical by nature, bettas thrive in warmer waters, with ideal temperatures ranging from 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold water can lead to a weakened immune system, making bettas susceptible to diseases. 

While they might survive in cooler temperatures, their metabolism slows down, impacting their activity and appetite.

It’s a common misconception that bettas can thrive in unheated bowls, but they actually require a stable, warm environment.

Also Read: Can Betta Fish Live In Cold Water?

4. Tank Shape Matters: Long vs. Tall

The shape of a betta fish tank can significantly impact its health and happiness.

Bettas prefer long tanks over tall ones as they naturally swim horizontally rather than vertically.

Long tanks mimic their natural habitat, providing more surface area for swimming and better oxygen access.

Tall tanks can stress bettas, as they frequently need to swim to the surface to breathe.

Also Read: Do Bettas Prefer Long Or Tall Tanks?

5. The Art of Bubble Nest Building

Bubble nest building is a fascinating and unique behavior displayed by male bettas.

These nests are made of bubbles coated with saliva and are a sign of a healthy, mature male betta ready for breeding.

The size and complexity of the nest can vary, reflecting the betta’s health and environmental conditions.

Interestingly, not all male bettas build bubble nests, and the absence of one doesn’t necessarily indicate poor health.

Also Read: Why Is My Female Betta Making A Bubble Nest?

6. Multiple Females in One Tank: The Sorority Setup

Keeping multiple female bettas together, known as a ‘sorority’, is possible but challenging. 

Unlike males, females can coexist if the tank is large enough (at least 10 gallons) and heavily planted to provide hiding spots.

A sorority requires careful monitoring for aggression, as bettas have individual personalities and some may not tolerate others.

It’s essential to have a plan for separation if aggression occurs, as stressed fish are prone to illness.

Also Read: Can You Have Multiple Female Bettas Together?

7. Bettas Eating Tropical Flakes: Nutritional Needs

While bettas can eat tropical flakes, these should not be their primary diet.

Bettas are carnivores, requiring high-protein food like specialized betta pellets or frozen or live brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Tropical flakes can be part of a varied diet, but they often lack the necessary protein content. 

Overfeeding with flakes can lead to digestive issues and water quality problems, so moderation is key.

Also Read: Can Betta Fish Eat Tropical Flakes?

8. The Flaring Behavior in Bettas

Flaring is a natural behavior in bettas, where they puff out their gills and spread their fins to appear larger.

It’s commonly seen during territorial disputes or when they see their reflection, mistaken as another betta.

While occasional flaring is normal and healthy, excessive flaring can be stressful and lead to fatigue.

To prevent constant flaring, avoid placing their tank in front of mirrors and provide a calm environment.

Also Read: Why Does My Betta Fish Flare At Me?

9. Bettas Living in Ponds

Bettas in ponds is a less common setup but can be successful in appropriate climates. 

Ponds provide a larger and more natural environment, but they must be warm enough year-round, as bettas are tropical fish.

They also need areas near the surface, as bettas breathe atmospheric air using their labyrinth organ.

However, keeping bettas in ponds can make monitoring their health and feeding more challenging.

Also Read: Can Betta Fish Live In A Pond?

10. Bettas Staring at Their Owner

Bettas are known for their intelligence and can recognize their owners. They often stare at their owners out of curiosity or when expecting food.

This behavior showcases their awareness and interactive nature.

Some bettas may even follow their owner’s movement around the room, indicating a level of social engagement uncommon in fish.

Also Read: Why Does My Betta Fish Stare At Me?

11. Exposure to Blue Lights in Bettas’ Habitat

Blue light in aquariums can create a calming ambiance, but its impact on bettas is a topic of debate.

While it doesn’t harm bettas directly, prolonged exposure to bright lights, blue or otherwise, can stress them.

It’s important to provide a natural light cycle, mimicking day and night, to maintain their circadian rhythm.

Bettas need periods of darkness for rest, so it’s advisable to turn off aquarium lights at night.

Also Read: Can I Use Blue Light In My Betta Fish Tank?

12. Bettas’ Labyrinth Organ: A Unique Respiratory System

Bettas possess a unique organ called the labyrinth, which allows them to breathe atmospheric air directly.

This adaptation enables them to survive in low-oxygen environments, a trait not found in many other fish species.

They frequently surface to gulp air, making a top-accessible aquarium essential.

The labyrinth organ illustrates the betta’s adaptability, allowing them to thrive in diverse environments beyond well-oxygenated water.

13. Color Changing in Bettas

Bettas are known for their vibrant colors, but they can change color based on various factors.

Environmental changes, diet, age, and stress levels can all influence their coloration. Young bettas often develop more vivid colors as they mature, while older bettas might fade. 

It’s crucial to monitor these changes, as a sudden loss of color could indicate stress or health issues.

Also Read: Stress In Betta Fish

14. Bettas and Their Interaction with Toys

Bettas are curious and can engage with toys in their tank, enhancing their environment. 

Items like floating logs, mirror toys (used sparingly), and live plants can stimulate their minds and encourage physical activity.

These interactions help prevent boredom and stress, promoting a healthier lifestyle. It’s fascinating to observe bettas exploring and interacting with different elements in their habitat.

15. Bettas’ Response to Music

Interestingly, some betta owners report that their fish respond to music.

While there’s no concrete scientific evidence to support this, anecdotal observations suggest that bettas may react to the vibrations or sound waves produced by music.

Calm, soothing music might create a relaxing environment, but loud or jarring sounds could potentially cause stress.

It’s a unique aspect of betta behavior that showcases their sensitivity to their environment.

16. Bettas’ Nesting Preferences Beyond Bubbles

While male bettas are famous for their bubble nests, they also exhibit other nesting behaviors.

In the absence of ideal surface conditions, some bettas might use plant leaves or tank decorations to support their nests.

This behavior underscores their adaptability and the importance of providing a stimulating, naturalistic environment.

Observing these alternative nesting strategies offers insights into the betta’s natural instincts and resourcefulness.

17. Bettas’ Sensitivity to Water Currents

Bettas originate from calm, stagnant waters and thus have a low tolerance for strong currents.

In aquariums with powerful filters, they can become stressed or exhausted from constantly swimming against the flow.

It’s crucial to use a gentle filtration system or adjust the current to mimic their natural habitat. 

Observing a betta’s swimming behavior can help gauge whether the water flow is comfortable for them.

18. The Sleeping Habits of Bettas

Bettas have distinct sleeping habits that can be fascinating to observe.

They often rest at the bottom of the tank or on plant leaves, and they might even lie on their side, which can be alarming to uninformed owners.

A lack of movement during these periods is normal, as bettas enter a restful state. Providing a safe and quiet environment at night supports their natural sleep cycle.

19. Bettas’ Ability to Recognize Patterns and Colors

Bettas are not only capable of recognizing their owners but also can distinguish between different patterns and colors.

This cognitive ability is a testament to their intelligence and adaptability.

Enriching their environment with various colors and shapes can provide mental stimulation and reduce boredom.

It’s yet another aspect that sets bettas apart from many other fish species.

20. Tail Types and Their Significance

Bettas come in various tail types, each with unique beauty and potential health implications. Types like Veiltail, Crowntail, and Halfmoon have different fin lengths and shapes.

These variations can affect their swimming abilities and vulnerability to issues like tail biting or fin rot.

Understanding the specific needs of each tail type is essential for proper betta care and maintaining their majestic appearance.

21. Bettas and Plant-Based Enrichment

Live plants are not just decorative; they play a significant role in a betta’s well-being.

Plants like Anubias, Java Fern, and floating Water Sprite provide hiding spots, reduce stress, and improve water quality.

Bettas enjoy weaving through the foliage, which mimics their natural environment. 

Additionally, live plants help maintain a balanced ecosystem in the tank, benefiting the overall health of the betta.


What Makes Betta Fish Special?

Betta fish are special because of their ease of care and adaptability, making them ideal for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

They have the ability to live in smaller spaces compared to many other fish, which is convenient for those with limited space.

Additionally, their interactive nature, such as flaring and responding to human presence, adds a unique charm to their appeal.

How Smart Are Betta Fish?

Betta fish are relatively intelligent among fish species, exhibiting behaviors such as maze navigation and recognizing their owners.

They can be trained to perform simple tricks, like jumping through hoops, which demonstrates their learning capabilities.

Their observed behaviors of exploring and interacting with elements in their environment further indicate a level of curiosity and cognitive ability.

What Makes Betta Fish Happy?

Betta fish are happiest in environments that cater to their natural needs and provide mental stimulation.

They thrive in well-maintained tanks that mimic their natural habitat, ensuring their physical and psychological well-being.

  • Proper Tank Size: A minimum of a 5-gallon tank is recommended for a single betta, as it gives them ample space to swim and explore without feeling cramped.
  • Appropriate Water Conditions: Keeping the water temperature between 76-80°F and maintaining a neutral pH balance are crucial for their health and comfort.
  • Enriched Environment: Adding live plants, hiding spots, and mild current in the tank stimulates their natural behaviors and reduces stress.
  • Balanced Diet: Feeding them a variety of high-protein foods like betta pellets, frozen brine shrimp, or daphnia ensures they receive all necessary nutrients.


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Bettas require careful feeding management, as they can become overweight if overfed, and prolonged fasting can lead to health issues, despite their ability to survive up to two weeks without food.
  • Male bettas are territorial and prefer solitude, but can coexist with non-aggressive fish in a large tank; small ‘betta bowls’ are inadequate for cohabitation and can lead to conflict.
  • Bettas thrive in warm water between 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit; cold water can weaken their immune system and slow their metabolism, contradicting the myth that they can thrive in unheated bowls.
  • Bettas prefer long tanks over tall ones, as they naturally swim horizontally, which mimics their natural habitat and provides better oxygen access, whereas tall tanks can cause stress.
  • Male bettas build bubble nests as a sign of health and readiness for breeding; however, not all males build these nests, and their absence doesn’t necessarily indicate poor health.