Do Betta Fish Sleep?

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The jury is still out on whether Betta fish actually sleep. There has been very little study done on the subject. Sleep is generally defined as a natural, cyclic loss of consciousness during which the body’s powers are restored. What existing tests have revealed is that there is very little change in a fish’s brainwaves. This is generally how sleep is measured.

So while they may not actually sleep, it is agreed that they do take periods of rest where they are inactive and sluggish. During this time, they will generally go to the bottom of the tank and hide in crevices, cracks, and among the leaves of aquatic plants. Since this happens mostly at night, you might assume they do not sleep, because you’ve never caught them at it!

It is important for your betta’s overall health to give them regular cycles of day and night. Plant life, and other decorative items in the tank not only make their tank more attractive, they provide refuge and a sense of security for your betta. Also, since bettas do not have eyelids and cannot close their eyes, this gives them places of relative darkness in case they wish to rest during the day.

In nature, fish get their day and night cycles naturally. However, your betta will have to depend on you to make sure they receive this. If the tank is lit by artificial light, I recommend your betta gets somewhere between six to ten hours of darkness every night. You can regulate this by simply turning the tank lights on and off at specific times, or you can put the lights on a timer to more closely mimic a natural cycle.

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  1. says

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  2. says

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  3. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says

    Betas and most fish in general do not sleep, as that is too dangerous in their natural habitat. It is also important that they are NOT put in a full sized tank but kept in a Beta tank which has about 8-20 inches of water, since their natural habitat is in small, shallow pools that may be stagnant. the Beta bowls are not recommended. They are tetrapods and use their gills to breath oxygen in the water and when necessary,surface air. They are also facultative air breathers, meaning they don’t need to do so to survive but it is an adaptive plus for their survival in droughts.