Do Betta Fish Get Lonely

Last Updated on October 6, 2020

Seeing a fish tank with a single betta fish inside will always make people ask if the fish gets lonely. We humans imagine ourselves in such a situation and it may make us feel as though we would want a companion in life instead of facing everything on our own.

It is different from betta fish especially if you get to know their usual habits and temperament.

So, do betta fish get lonely? Let’s find out below!

Do betta fish have feelings?

Researchers have observed that fish have feelings although it may not be as intense as human emotions. Fish can’t articulate and describe their feelings through words the way humans do but we can observe it in their behavior. Many scientists are now aware of the effect of stress to fish and how the fish’s environment plays a vital influence on the fish’s health and well-being.

Dr. Culum Brown has observed that fish can multitask, recall locations of objects in its environment, can form social groups with hierarchy and cooperate with each other, and have memories which are actually long term. You can read more about his amazing work through this link: Fish intelligence, sentience, and ethics.

Your betta fish will learn to recognize you and will notice every time you approach its tank you will interact with it either through feeding or doing maintenance. Some betta fish are so curious during tank maintenance that they will follow your every move as you clean around its home. betta fish are territorial creatures and this could be a reason the fish is so interested in what you are doing inside its territory.

Betta fish can feel pain, fear, agitation, and stress. A healthy betta will show much interest and be active when mealtime comes. It can feel exhaustion and tiredness too. We can see some betta fish especially the ones over 4 years old taking naps and snoozes more often.

A betta fish can seem lonely if it is not healthy and left to just survive in a poorly maintained environment. The betta will seem lethargic and bored since it just probably stays in one area of the tank most of the time. betta fish that do not get enough stimulation in their tank will also display behavior that will make them look bored. 

A healthy betta is a happy betta fish. It will look vibrant and alert. It has a good appetite too.

Do Betta Fish Get Lonely

Do betta fish get bored?

Giving your betta its basic needs will most probably keep your betta happy and healthy. Excellent water condition, the right temperature, correct diet and feeding time, the regular schedule of light exposure and sleeping in the dark, and daily stimulation will ensure that your betta will have a great life.

Lacking in one of these may make your betta look bored. Most probably it is because your betta isn’t getting the needs that make it become very lethargic and looking bored. This may confuse beginner betta fish keepers. Always get the basics covered first before thinking your betta needs companionship because most probably it will not appreciate it.

Related: Fish You Can Put with a Betta

If you have all the basics covered and still observe that your betta doesn’t seem interested in doing anything then you can try the following.

Mirror Reflection Activity

Use a compact pocket mirror or the betta mirrors being sold online. Your betta fish’s territorial instinct will be triggered when it sees its reflection because it will think there is another betta in the fish tank. betta fish are highly territorial and its reflection will trigger gill flaring and fin fanning which are its response to other betta fish.

Do this only once a day for 5 minutes maximum because too much will exhaust your betta and will make it think its home is constantly under attack. That will stress out your betta fish and may lead to more serious problems.


Plants will give your betta a sense of being in a natural environment. Stem plants can create obstacles through which it can swim through. Broad-leaved plants can provide shade and support for sleepy betta fish. Floating plants also offer shade near the surface of the water. 

Imitation plants made of silk which can provide the same effect are also available if you do not want to worry about keeping live plants. Ready-made aquarium decorations with caves and other hiding places are also great to add to your betta fish tank if you want more places to explore for your betta fish.


A simple floating ball can catch the attention of your betta. Make sure it’s big enough that your betta cannot swallow it. They usually make these out of plastic and should be able to entice your betta for some minutes of fun.

Some betta fish keepers can “train” their betta fish during feeding time. betta fish are intelligent creatures and can learn tricks like passing through a small plastic hoop to get a bloodworm treat.

Do betta fish like to be alone?

It is highly likely that your betta fish enjoys being alone since it is a very territorial fish and highly aggressive towards other betta fish intruding into its environment. betta fish look calm alone and will quickly become alerted when another fish it sees as a threat appears.

Tankmates can be a splendid idea if your betta is not very aggressive. Each betta fish is unique and some may have a better temperament than another. Deciding to incorporate a betta in a community tank requires some research. Compatibility is of most importance in choosing tank mates. Be sure to have enough room for your betta fish and its tank mates. A 10-gallon tank is a minimum advised for starting a community tank with a betta fish.

Here are the usual tank mates considered for betta fish.

  1. Neon Tetra
  2. Ember Tetra
  3. Cory Catfish
  4. Harlequin Rasbora
  5. Kuhli Loach
  6. Female Guppy with not much colors
  7. Dwarf Plecos
  8. Snails such as Assassin Snails, Trumpet Snails, Mystery Snails, Nerite Snails
  9. Red Cherry Shrimp 
  10. Ghost Shrimp

Related: Can 2 Female Betta Fish Live Together?

How do I know my betta is happy?

A healthy betta is a happy betta. Be sure to have all its needs met then you are sure to have a happy and healthy fish. Perform your role as a good fishkeeper by providing a good home to your betta fish. Remember to do water changes, follow a proper feeding schedule and avoid overfeeding, provide good water conditions, keep the regular light and dark cycle going, and have the correct temperature in the tank. 

A betta shows much interest when you approach its tank. It will eat the food offered. Patrolling its territory is also one thing a betta loves to do. A sleeping betta fish means that it is comfortable in its territory.

A betta fish may seem lonely on its own in a fish tank your betta will not find this very troublesome at all. Having a well maintained 5-gallon tank for itself is actually a grand idea for your betta fish. It will enjoy being alone rather than being with other aggressive fish such as another betta. 

Keeping your betta fish on its own also has its advantage since you will only need to focus on one star of the show. If you include your betta fish in a community tank, they will research ahead of time. Not all betta fish is the same as how they react to tank mates. Some may thrive in a community tank and some may just be too territorial. Have a back-up plan ready just in case your betta turns out to really like just being alone.