How to Make Your Betta Fish Happy with 5 Enrichment Ideas
Betta fish are amazing creatures with beautiful finnage and spirited personalities, but they often lead very sedentary lives in way-too-tiny bowls. If you’ve already seen our betta fish tank setup guide and upsized your betta’s aquarium with the necessary equipment, you may be wondering what else you can do to keep your pet fish entertained. Betta splendens is a wild Betta that lives off food and rests. Let’s talk about 5 enrichment ideas for your betta fish that will help it live the best possible life.
1. Toys and Decorations for Betta Fish
Want to provide an underwater jungle gym for your betta to explore? Find some fish tank ornaments and interesting caves that he can swim around or dive inside. Make sure there are no sharp edges or holes that your betta fish can get stuck in. We like floating betta logs because bettas love to swim close to the surface for a breath of air. The natural-looking decor acts as a tunnel that your betta can use to swim, nap or build a bubble nest. There is also another opening on the side for you to feed fish foods through to prevent his meal from being stolen by other fish or sinking too quickly into the gravel.
A floating betta log makes a great place to explore, rest, eat, and make bubble nests.
2. Betta Fish Exercise Mirror
Because they are fiercely protective of their turf against their own species, betta fish are often called “Siamese Fighting Fish”. Although we do not recommend having two bettas, you can use this protective instinct to give your betta some exercise by giving it a floating betta mirror for a few moments each day. Most bettas will react to seeing themselves in the mirror by flaring up their gills and stretching their fins out, making their bodies appear as tough and large as possible. After watching him move back and forth in front the “intruder”, it is time to take the mirror out and maybe give him a treat.
A few minutes each day with a mirror can provide some exercise for your betta fish.
3. Live Fish Food
Because betta fish are hunters and not ambush predators, they spend a good amount of time searching for insect larva, small crustaceans, and other tiny aquatic animals to eat. While floating betta pellets are a good staple for daily feedings, there is usually not a lot of challenge in “catching” them since slow water current is recommended for their aquariums. Get your betta to apply her hunting skills by offering a variety of live foods. Blackworms are available at most local fish markets. You can also hatch your own baby shrimp or keep cultures of microworms and daphnia at home. The bettas are rewarded with full bellies when they find their next meal. If live fish foods are not possible for you to obtain, try using a worm feeder cone instead. You can place a cube filled with frozen bloodworms, or any other fish food in the cone and watch your betta fish figure out how to extract them. A cone is also useful in community tanks to keep aggressive fish from eating all of the food. It gives everyone a chance for food.
If you don’t access to live fish foods, a worm feeder cone can provide an entertaining way for your betta fish to get its food.
4. Aquarium Plants
Betta splendens were originally found in shallow water with lots of dense vegetation. Give your little friend a lush, green forest as a home. Although he can live with almost any aquatic plant, his favorite are large anubias plants for him to relax on. Tall background plants and floating plants at the water surface are also much appreciated because they provide interesting structures to swim in between and build bubble nests amongst. Catappa and Indian almond leaves are also options if you’re not able to maintain live plants. Not only do they tint the water with tannins that have mild antibiotic and antifungal properties, but they also act as fallen foliage for your betta to investigate.
For more recommendations, read our article on the top 10 betta fish plants for your aquarium.
Not only are live aquarium plants beautiful, but they also help to purify the water that your betta lives in.
5. Tank Mates for Betta Fish
If you have a 10-gallon or larger tank with plenty of hiding spots, you may be able to add some peaceful roommates to your betta aquarium. You can watch other fish in your tank and see social hierarchies being established, rivals competing for food, and exciting entertainment to observe. Because of the betta fish’s territorial temperament towards its own kind, avoid other fish with colorful and flowy fins. Keep your betta away from nimble animals that could try to take over your tank. Because your betta can’t target one person, schooling nano fish is often better. For specific suggestions, learn about the 5 best tank mates for betta fish.