Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Do Betta fish sleep? Good question. But before we answer that question, let’s think about why that is such an interesting question. We love our pets, and we like to relate to them in every way we can. Of course we want to keep them alive and healthy. But then as we start to relate to our pets, we also become increasingly interested in how to keep them happy. We want to invest in books that tell us not only about the food they need, but also about the food they like. We also want to know what entertains them and what makes them feel safe. Betta fish might interest us at first because of their beautiful colors and designs, then their personalities, but eventually we start to think all the things we have in common with our fish.

Like all higher life forms, yes, our Bettas sleep. It might not seem as obvious as when our other pets sleep. Dogs curl up, sometimes even in beds, close their eyes, and they even move their limbs and make noises when they dream, just like humans. Betta sleep isn’t quite as obvious. For one thing, they do not close their eyes. This is because they have no eyelids to close. Some people argue that Betta sleep isn’t “true” sleep, rather it is more of a dormant mode, but that is just mincing words. Bettas sleep for the same reasons we humans do, just differently.

Why Do Bettas Sleep?

Sleep is a great mystery to us humans. We understand that we need some downtime to recuperate maybe, but there is so much that remains unknown. Basically Betta sleep has the same main functions as human sleep: restorative and adaptive.

How Do Bettas Sleep?

Unlike sharks who have to keep swimming while they sleep, Betta fish are very still when they rest, like we are. Betta fish are also like us in that they like a safe, comfortable place to rest, and they tend to get most of their rest when it is dark, but they will also take naps during the day. Bettas, however, are a little more varied in the kinds of places they find safe and comfortable to rest. Here are some of the places that Betta fish have been known to choose as their “beds:”

Since every Betta is different, make sure you offer a variety of safe, cozy places such as these to sleep. But be sure to consult a good Betta fish care guide before you introduce plants into their tank.

Bettas have their favorite sleep positions too, just like us. Some Bettas sleep in an L shape with their tails off to one side.

Some people say that their Betta fish yawn, and they certainly can look like that is exactly what they are doing. When this happens, you might find that Betta yawns are just as contagious as people yawns.

And yes, everyone has looked at their sleeping Betta and wondered “oh no, is it dead?” Bettas do look dead when they sleep, but resist the urge to tap on the glass too often just to be sure. They do need their rest!

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