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Do Betta Fish Sleep?

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f you have a betta (or bettas – we think they are kind of like chips – you can’t just have one), you may wonder, “Do betta fish sleep?” Such a curious and interesting question. You’ve never seen your betta’s eyes closed, but you’ve certainly seen them being still and possibly restful, maybe on a leaf or decor or even at the bottom of their tank. 

How Many Hours Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Just like man’s other best friend, the dog, healthy bettas typically sleep about 12 to 14 hours per day. 

Do Betta Fish Sleep with the Light On?

While your betta may nap when the aquarium light is on, they are likely to seek out darker spots in the tank. Their nighttime sleep ritual should be dark. In nature, they sleep at night in the dark and wake during daylight. So, darkness is very important for your betta to get a good night’s sleep.

What Do Betta Fish Do at Night?

Bettas are diurnal just like us. This means that they are active during the day and sleep at night. So, your betta sleeps at night just like you do!

Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Yes, bettas sleep! They don’t sleep exactly like humans or mammals. They do not close their eyes because they don’t have eyelids. (Their moist environment keeps their eyes clean and hydrated so they don’t need eyelids like we do.) Instead of saying that betta fish sleep, it may be more correct to say that betta fish rest. Bettas and other fish are very light sleepers. They must be on guard against predators in the wild and immediately ready for food when mom or dad come around in captivity. 

How Do Bettas Sleep?

In general, fish sleep (or rest) by putting half of their brain to sleep, while the other half stays alert. This is called unihemispheric sleep or unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS). Many animals that live in water exhibit this sleep instinct. This type of sleep allows wild bettas to watch out for predators and protect their territory, while still getting some much needed rest. 

Another interesting thing about betta fish is that when they are sleeping their color may be muted. This is another defense mechanism that is obviously much more crucial for wild betta fish, but also shows up in our pet betta buddies.  

As far as positionally, resting bettas can be found in a plethora of positions. From curled up like a cat or dog to vertically with their head pointing down to lying on their side to a typical swim position, bettas like to get comfy, and they have their own preferences just like us humans.

When Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Siamese fighting fish sleep at night when it is dark, just like their human parents. Nighttime is when bettas accumulate most of their daily sleep, but they also take catnaps throughout the day as well. 

Now you know the answer to “Do betta fish sleep?” and so much more about betta fish and their sleep (rest). So, don’t poke the aquarium glass or yell at your fish. Give them a second to wake up. Just grab some food and they’ll be swimming to the top to greet you and get a snack in no time. Keep your aquarium light schedule so that it caters to outside conditions and your betta will be well-rested.


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