How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Last Updated on April 12, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your betta fish sleep when you’re not around? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! In fact, some people even wonder if their pet fish sleep at all.

To know more about betta sleeping patterns and behaviors, just keep reading below!

Do betta fish sleep?

Betta fish are tropical fish and are a popular pet at home. There is much discussion about whether or not they sleep and the answer is that they definitely do!

Just like us and other animals, your fish need rest. Usually, bettas are active during the day and can be seen sleeping at night but that is not always the case.

Some betta fish may take naps during the day and stay awake at night because they are known to be light sleepers since fishes need to stay alert for possible threats and dangers.

What does a sleeping betta fish look like?

It’s hard to know what bettas are up to because they can’t close their eyes. So, whether or not they experience sleep the same way humans do is still an open question.

Bettas do appear like they are in periods of “rest” which seems similar to humans sleeping. But since they can’t close their eyes, how will you tell if your betta is sleeping?

Although challenging to know for sure, here are some telltale signs that your betta may be resting or sleeping:

  • Your betta is lying on its side, the gravel, or at the bottom of the tank.
  • Your betta is reclining on a plant leaf.
  • Your betta is hiding inside decorations or behind the filter.
  • Your betta is tucked between two objects.
  • Your betta is floating at the surface of the water.

You can assume that your betta fish will take the opportunity to rest whenever his environment goes dark. This usually happens when you shut off the tank light for the evening, and after that, he’ll find a comfortable spot to sleep until something startles him or the lights return.

This is one of the reasons why investing in aquarium lights is important because bettas need all the rest they can have to rejuvenate their energy!

Betta fish sleeping patterns explained

“Why is my betta fish dozing off too much?”

“Why are they not sleeping at all?”

“Do they sleep during the day?”

“Is it okay if they sleep at night only?”

All bettas sleep differently than the other. Some may sleep for 8 hours while other fish sleeps for more than 10 hours.

That is why understanding your betta’s sleeping behavior and patterns can help you provide them with the best environment possible for comfort and safety!

Bettas sleep too much

Once you already know the normal sleeping schedule of your betta, it will be easier to notice if they are getting enough or too much sleep.

In cases when you notice that your betta is sleeping too much, here are possible explanations as to why they do so:

1. Your room or betta tank is too dark

Since betta sleeps more in darkness, if your room or water tank is too dark, then your fish will most likely sleep longer.

The best way to make sure that your betta fish is comfortable, happy, and healthy is by providing him with lots of light. A good aquarium lamp will help you do just this! Just make sure that they get light for at least 8-12 hours a day.

2. Your tank has no decor or toys

Betta fish needs to get stimulated for periods of time. If your tank can’t provide the stimulation (or just simply small) that your betta needs, then they might just excessively sleep due to boredom.

To ensure that your betta doesn’t get bored while living in an aquarium, you should choose a size that is appropriate for them. However, if it’s already too late and they’re getting restless with the same old decor, you could try adding some new scenery.

Remember to always keep your little fish active so that they’ll thrive and live happier!

3. Your water temperature is too cold or hot

It is essential to consider your betta’s water tank temperature if you want to give them the best environment. The recommended temperature for betta ranges between 72 to 82 Fahrenheit (22.2 – 27.8 Celcius) that’s why don’t forget to include a heater in your tank.

Also, make sure that you check the water temperature daily to save your fish from experiencing unnecessary stress.

4. Your fish could be sick

If you feel that the environment of your fish is not the problem, then you may also want to consider if your betta is sick.

Common illnesses that your fish could experience are:

  • Fin rot
  • Dropsy
  • Fungus
  • Ich
  • Velvet
  • Columnaris
  • Anchor worms

These illnesses require immediate treatment that is why you should always monitor your fish’s health and behavior.

5. Your betta is aging

Old age can also make bettas sleep longer. Typically, betta fish can live for 3-5 years that is why it’s not uncommon for them to slow down and sleep more during their final years.

Not getting enough sleep

If it seems that your betta is almost awake all day, here are possible reasons why they sleep less:

1. Your fish has unwanted tank mates

Bettas are infamous for being territorial and aggressive at times. If they are living with unwanted tank mates then this could stress your fish out and eventually affect their sleep.

2. Your room or tank is too bright

Bettas need darkness to be able to sleep. If the room or tank is too bright all day then expect that your fish will not get the right amount of rest he or she needs.


New betta owners may panic at first when they see their pet fish motionless in the aquarium. It’s easy to mistake your sleeping fish for a dead one if you are new to fish keeping.

Every living creature needs their sleep time, so resist the urge to tap on your betta’s tank when he is lying still someplace. Chances are good that he has fallen asleep and will wake up shortly before exploring his environment all over again.