Do Betta fish sleep? 

In this article, we will answer the question “Do Betta fish sleep?”. We will also discuss the sleeping behaviours, how the Betta fish sleep, and the perfect tank conditions to guarantee your Betta fish a good resting time.

Do Betta fish sleep?

Yes, Betta fish do sleep. However, their sleeping activity is quite different from the sleep we have. They are light sleepers, otherwise, they would be easily preyed on by larger fish or birds in nature, or lose their territory in the tank. Thus, the light sleep allows them to wake up at any movement or sound.

Betta fish are more active during the day and usually sleep during the night. Accordingly, they do not require light at night. Also, there are some lazier Betta fish, which also naps during the day. Some beginner aquarists may be caught off guard and think the Betta fish is dead, but if they are actually napping during the day.

While sleeping, Betta fish become a lot more motionless. An assured method to know if your Betta fish is asleep is to look at the gills. However the rest of the body will remain motionless, the mouth and the gills will keep slowly moving to breathe in and out.

Betta fish do not have eyelids and thus, it is not possible to detect if they are sleeping by looking at the eyes.

How to tell if a Betta fish is asleep?

Essentially, every time that you observe your Betta fish is immobile for a long time, then there is probable that it is asleep. Particularly if a long period of no motion occurs throughout the night.

How do Betta fish sleep?

Betta fish can sleep laying on their side. They can sleep over Java moss and remain laying on their side until they wake up. Some beginner aquarists may think the Betta fish is sick because they are laying on their side. However, if it only occurs during napping periods, it is the way the Betta fish have been found to sleep comfortably. 

It is also important to keep an eye on how long the Betta fish remains on the side. This is because it could be sick, such as swim bladder disease that affects the fish buoyancy. It could also be suffering from temperature shock or toxin poisoning.

Betta fish may also sleep on the bottom of the tank. It is not rare for Betta fish to do this. Moreover, Betta fish will do it even with corydoras and other bottom-dwellers in the tank.

Similarly to sleeping on the side, sleeping on the bottom could also be a sign of an issue. One motive for which Betta will sleep on the bottom is that the filter is excessively strong. If you observe the Betta being pushed by the current or avoiding the surface area then you may be required to change the water filtration strength. 

Another motive is that the water temperature is not proper. Thus, the Betta fish could be moving to the areas in the tank that have a better temperature.

Betta fish also enjoy sleeping on tank structures, such as leaves. Having Anubias and other plants will help you on making your fish comfortable and they will probably sleep on them. Also, you can opt for Betta fish hammocks, they are cheap and your Betta will probably love them.

How else do Betta fish sleep?

Betta fish are exceptionally peculiar fish. They commonly sleep in different manners that could still surprise even most experienced aquarists. If you notice your Betta fish is sleeping in a weird position, there is no need of panicking. First, check if everything is fine. don’t panic straight away.

Some Betta fish can even fall asleep vertically, others stuck themselves between structures, some prefer hiding and others are more traditional and sleep on leaves. Independently of the position, your Betta fish is sleeping, as soon as the Betta fish are getting enough sleeping time, they will be fine and healthy.

Although it seems Betta fish require something to sleep on, few Betta fish can float around while sleeping. However, it is important to always have good and safe structures for your Betta fish to sleep on. If they choose to do so, they will have how to do it. Thus, having some plant and hiding spots is essential when setting up a Betta fish tank.

What does it mean if your Betta fish sleeps more than normal?

If you observe that your Betta fish is sleeping more than normal for its sleeping pattern, it is recommended to double-check if there is anything wrong with your Betta fish or with your tank. Napping during the day is normal behaviour. However, spending most of the daytime sleeping would require some extra attention. Below are some factors that could impact your Betta fish sleeping pattern.

The water temperature is below the recommended 

One of the most common reasons for Betta fish sleeping too much more than normal is the water temperature. If the water is too cold, they might be in temperature shock, their metabolism is slowed down and the Betta becomes less active. The metabolism will work to save energy for vital organs and processes by sleeping more.

To avoid this type of issue, it is recommended to have a heating system in your Betta fish tank. Betta fish are tropical fish that requires warm water temperatures.

The Betta fish is staying too much time in the dark

Another reason that your Betta fish can be sleeping too much is that there is lacking light time. If a Betta fish spends too much time in the dark or without artificial lights, it will understand that period as nighttime and thus, sleeping time.

Additionally, if the light you are using is too low, Betta fish might also understand it as resting time. Thus, it is important to set appropriate lighting equipment for Betta fish tank, with plenty of day and night time.

The Betta fish is getting bored

Betta fish are very intelligent animals. If stimuli are lacking in their tank, they may become bored. Several conditions can make your Betta fish bored. Tank size, decoration, and environmental complexity are some of these reasons. 

For this reason, it is important to your Betta fish that you guarantee it is getting enough stimulation on a daily basis. You can opt for using mirrors, adding peaceful tankmates, and changing the tank decorations weekly.

The Betta fish is ill

It is also possible that your Betta fish is experiencing some type of lethargy. Thus, it is important to observe and check for other symptoms and signals to diseases, such as spots or differences on the fins and gills.

The Betta fish may be getting old

It is normal for older Betta fish to spend more time resting than young ones. Thus, it is normal that your Betta fish begin to sleep more over the years. With this, the Betta fish can recover its strength by resting more.

You own have a lazy Betta fish

It is also possible that your Betta fish is just lazy. There is nothing wrong with being a bit lazier than other Betta fish. These fish will probably have less active patterns and will naturally spend more time resting. 


In this article, we answered the question “Do Betta fish sleep?”. We also discussed the sleeping behaviours and how the Betta fish sleep.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do Betta fish sleep?

Why is my betta lying on the substrate?

Many Betta fish may sleep and rest on the substrate. However, it is important to keep an eye on it to detect any signs of illnesses. In general, resting on the bottom of the tank is a common practice among Betta fish.

Do Betta fish need the lights to be off to sleep? 

Yes, it is important to keep a period with low lights or lights off for your fish to sleep. This should be something around 8-10 hours of lights per day.

Can my Betta fish be lazy?

Yes, a Betta fish may be lazy. This means that its behavioural pattern is less active than the other fish’s and their sleeping pattern may be longer and also distributed throughout the day. However, it is important to observe and look for signs of diseases or symptoms to avoid further health issues.

How many hours does my Betta fish need to sleep?

This will depend on the personality and behavioural pattern of your Betta specifically. However, it is important to keep lights on only for 8-10 hours daily to guarantee they will have comfortable conditions to rest if they want to.

Are Betta fish nocturnal fish?

No, Betta fish are not nocturnal animals. They usually rest during the night and can even nap during the day too. 

Can a Betta fish sleep upside down?

It is possible for a Betta fish to sleep upside down. However, this is very uncommon. It is also important to check for further signals or symptoms in the case your Betta fish is sick.


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