Why is your Betta sleeping so much and how can you stop it?

Betta fish sleeping on leaf

Many betta owners are very aware of their fish's activity. However, in comparison to other fish, your betta may appear sluggish or like to sleep more. Is this typical? How can you know whether your fish is resting normally or if something is wrong? Here are several indicators to look for.

What is Sleeping in Bettas?

Bettas, like all other fish, sleep. Most fish do not sleep like you or your fluffy pets, and they do not require a comfortable bed or even eyelids. Instead, fish sleep in a low-metabolism condition. Although most of their brain functions have been disabled, they are still capable of responding to any immediate danger. The lateral line, a fish's specialized organ for sensing water movement and vibration, is a fast-reacting organ that may wake up a sleeping fish.

Because your fish will sleep in the dark, all indoor tanks require a photoperiod with light and dark cycles. Tropical fish require 10-14 hours of light every day on average. An automated light timer is a necessary addition to your system if you are unable to switch the lights on in the morning and off at night. Even some lights have a morning and evening phase where the light gradually shifts from dark to light and vice versa. Unless you reside at a very high latitude, your light period should match your local light and dark cycles.

Because fish do not have eyelids, they cannot close their eyes while sleeping. Many terrestrial creatures use their eyelids to lubricate their eyes, and lubrication is all around you while you live underwater. Sleeping fish may seek refuge in a fissure or cave, or, if a betta, seek for a quiet, flat sleeping area, such as a leaf or d├ęcor item. Bettas enjoy sleeping in huge flat leaves, such as the stick-on betta leaf hammocks found in most pet stores. Bettas without leafy decorations may locate a home on top of a flat rock or even on the aquarium substrate's bottom.

Why Do Bettas Sleep a Lot?

Bettas are among the more laid-back fish, requiring longer rest times than many other aquarium fish. Their long, ornate fins need a lot of energy to draw through the water, which is something that many other pet fish lack. Long fins are seen in certain fancy goldfish kinds, and these fish take substantially more energy to swim than their short-finned counterparts, especially if they have thick, compact bodies.

Consider swimming in a pool while wearing a ball gown. Pulling around a lot of things that doesn't assist you swim might be a challenging method to swim. This looks a much like a betta fish with a big ornate tail dangling about. They take lengthy rest times in between meals in order to live.

Temperature plays an important role on fish metabolism, growth, and immunological function. Different types of fish have an ideal temperature at which they perform optimally. This is a tropical temperature of 78-82F for bettas (25-28C). A heater will be required in your betta tank to maintain the water at the optimal temperature for their activities. Your betta will rest longer than normal if the water is too chilly since their metabolism will be slowed.

Signs of Increased Sleeping in Bettas

Even within a regular range, your betta's activity level might vary greatly. It's crucial not to compare your betta to any other fish you've ever had or any fish you've seen online. Your betta may only be active at feeding times, or they may be continuously zipping around their tank. There is no "normal" ratio of swimming vs. sleeping time for all bettas.

It's crucial to track your betta's swimming vs. sleeping habits over time. New fish are more prone to hide or rest than fish who have been in their tanks for a time. A new fish's usual active adjustment period might last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Start a log and record videos to compare to different time periods if you're worried about your fish sleeping more than normal. Keep a close eye on meal times and how your betta reacts to food put to their tank. These notes will be extremely useful in establishing what is causing your betta's excessive slumber. Check your fish's weight to check whether it's gaining weight, which might be causing it to become less active.

How to Stop Increased Sleeping

If your betta's sleeping time has increased, the first thing to check is the temperature of the water. Remember that bettas prefer warm water and will require a heater in their tank. Instead of using stick-on thermometers, use an in-tank thermometer. This will provide you with the most consistent temperature. While digital thermometers are more handy, they do not last as long as traditional glass thermometers.

It's time to assess your betta's food if their water temperature is adequate and all other water parameters are within normal limits. If their betta food container is older than 6 months, the vitamin C level has depleted and will need to be replaced. You should feed your betta two to three times each day, with enough pellets to fit into one of their eyes. Supplementing with frozen meals is appropriate for bettas if they eat pellets with a full nutritional profile for the majority of their diet.

If your betta is eating enough high-quality food and is in a warm tank with adequate water quality, but is still sleeping a lot, it's time to contact an aquatic veterinarian. Mycobacteria, often known as fish tuberculosis, is a common betta condition that can cause your fish to become sluggish and sleep more. The sooner your fish receives medical attention, the faster it will recover.


"Bleckmann H, Zelick R. Lateral line system of fish. Integr Zool. 2009;4(1):13-25." ;