Why do betta fish commit suicide?

In this article, we will answer the question “Why do betta fish commit suicide?”. We will also discuss some manners to prevent betta fish suicidal behaviour.

Why do betta fish commit suicide?

Betta fish can commit suicide due to several reasons, from water conditions issues to running from tankmates’ attacks or when trying to capture prey. Betta fish’s suicidal behaviour is jumping out of the tank and staying out of the water. Thus, it can be accidental sometimes.

Can betta fish jump?

Your betta fish is capable of jumping. Betta fish can and do jump, although only a few inches above the water’s surface.

Wild betta jumping behaviour

Bettas, often known as Siamese cats, live in the wild in Thailand. Fighting fish can be found in ditches, rice fields, and marshes, as well as other still or stagnant waters. 

The atmosphere changes throughout the year, depending on the season. The lack of rain during the summer months causes portions of the betta’s environment to dry up, and the ammonia concentration in water become extremely severe.

When this happens, the fish leap into the air, physically moving on to a new body of water. It’s possible that the bettas end up in another pond or waterway if they’re fortuitous. The fish may continue to move until they reach a larger body of water with more food, less rivalry for territory, and more prospective mates. 

Bettas can survive on dry land for a short time if they breathe through their labyrinth organ and keep their gills and body moist. 

Bettas also jump out of the water to catch insects on the surface of the water and emergent aquatic plants.

So, how far can you take your Betta Fish? 

In terms of activity and jumping ability, betta fish aren’t very noteworthy. It’s only possible for your pet to leap only a few centimetres out of the water on average, but even that can be enough to send your fish soaring out of its aquarium and into harm. Bettas are very clever fish that are capable of learning even the most basic of tricks with relative simplicity.

Some owners have even trained their pets to jump through little hoops in exchange for food or to eat treats from their fingertips. A pet betta fish may be seen jumping in this video clip. The fact that Bettas have adapted to be skilled jumpers means that this is not harsh. Jump with your pet as a method to maintain it moving and to keep it from becoming bored. 

Plakat bettas are the finest jumpers, in broad terms. Platas are the most closely related species to native bettas, and their strong, thick bodies and short, wide fins make it quite easy for them to leap from one place to another. Jumping is usually much more difficult for fancy varieties of bettas with elaborate, flowing fins, owing to the weight of their tail.

What causes betta fish to leap out of their aquarium?

A betta fish in captivity, on the other hand, will never run out of water because it lives in an aquarium and will have a constant supply of food. Any number of factors might cause a domestic betta fish to leap from the water of its tank.

Poor water conditions

Poor water quality and faulty water parameters may be the primary cause of your betta fish jumping out of its tank. If no freshwater is added to your betta’s habitat, ammonia levels will quickly rise, harming your fish, just as they would in the wild. As a result, in order to get out of the potentially dangerous aquarium, your betta may do whatever feels natural and jump out of the poor water and into a more secure pool. 

Furthermore, if the temperature of the water in your tank goes too low, climbs too hot, or the pH level in your tank becomes unsuitable, which may be the result of thermostat malfunction, your betta fish may do what felt natural to it and leap out of the aquarium in pursuit of a more appropriate environment.

Overcrowded or small tank

Bettas are fiercely territorial fish that require their patch to patrol and claim. For example, a large territorial area could be several feet wide in the wild for a betta to call home. So, if you place your pet in a vase or a fishbowl, it will feel claustrophobic and confined. The basic line is that betta fish tanks with plenty of space are the way to go. A tank of at least 5 gallons is ideal for your betta fish. 

A larger tank, on the other hand, is always preferable. Many new betta fish owners believe that a smaller tank means less upkeep, but this is not the case. Because a larger tank holds more water, the organic waste products produced by the residents are diluted more than in a small tank. As a result, the water quality is generally better. 

A larger tank also has a larger surface area, which improves the efficiency of the gaseous exchange process. That means there will be more dissolved oxygen in the tank’s water. Bettas require a lot of oxygen to flourish, thus a well-oxygenated tank is essential.

Unsuitable tank mates

Bettas are territorial fish that can become hostile if they believe their territory is being invaded by a competition. It is thus difficult to maintain two male bettas in the same aquarium at the same time.

However, some bettas are highly social fish who require a little company to avoid growing frustrated and bored. Small, tranquil fish that won’t nip the betta’s fins or bother it make the finest tank mates for bettas. Snails and shrimp can also be included in your betta’s aquarium. These gentle invertebrates are beneficial since they graze on algae and other detritus on the tank’s bottom. If your betta is bullied by other fish, it may jump out of the tank in an attempt to flee.


If a betta is a newcomer to the household, it may not be used to having its tank cleaned out. The vision of a huge finger or an underwater suction directly next to it might be enough to get your fish to jump out of the tank.

However, in certain cases, you’ll be available to apprehend the fugitive and bring it to safety before any serious harm is done.

Hunting behaviours

When found in the wild, betta fish are mostly carnivorous, consuming bug larvae and other water-bound insects. Betta fish can also leap out of the water to catch insects that are floating above the water, as seen in this video. 

Despite being kept in captivity, Bettas exhibit the same hunting instincts that they do in nature. As a result, if a fly or other small bug lands above the waterline, such as on the plants in your betta’s tank, don’t be shocked if your betta jumps out of the water to catch it. 

That’s OK unless your pet misjudges its leap and tumbles over the aquarium’s side and onto your living room floor or countertop.

How to keep your betta fish from committing suicide?

Because you now understand that your betta fish is able to leap to its death, it is your responsibility as a responsible pet owner to take the necessary precautions to keep your pet safe. 

The good news is that there are a few basic ways that you may use to prevent your fish from accidentally leaping out of the aquarium and harming themselves.

Put a lid on

Yes, it seems self-evident, but you’d be surprised how many amateurs don’t have a tank lid. 

A lid or any type of cover is not included in many modern fish tank designs. You may have seen aquariums without a lid that have dangling lights over the top. Although they appear to be highly smart, a furious betta fish could die in such an aquarium. Vases and bowls, on the other hand, do not have lids. However, these vessels aren’t ideal for bettas in the first place. 

Constantly maintain your betta in a good container with a top or cover slide that fits properly to prevent escape attempts.

Keep your tank correctly

Poor water quality is extremely harmful to betta fish. Your fish will suffer if the water in its tank is contaminated with ammonia and nitrates, and it may even try to escape by jumping out. 

Consequently, you’ll need to suction the substrate once a week to remove organic wastes, fallen leaves, and leftovers, which will accumulate over time. It’s not a good idea to keep organic matter in the tank since it can decay and release toxins into the water, which will harm your betta. 

It is also necessary to do partial water changes on a weekly basis, with up to 20 per cent of the water level being changed with clean, dechlorinated freshwater. To eliminate sludge and maintain the filter system running efficiently, rinse the filter media with old tank water once a month. Replace the filter media as needed, according to the filter manufacturer’s instructions.

Give your enough space for your betta fish

Your betta fish requires space in its tank to wander around and establish a territory, just like it would in the wild. As a result, the minimum tank for a betta fish should be 5 gallons, while 10 gallons is preferable, especially if you want to raise a community of fish.

Night and day

Betta fish, like you and me, need to know when it’s night and when it’s the day. If your betta can’t tell the difference, it won’t know when to eat, be active, and sleep

As a result, you’ll require a lighting unit that runs for at least eight hours every day. My tanks have simple timers attached to the lighting units, so I don’t have to remember or be present to manually turn on and off the lights for my fish. It makes no difference when the time the lights are turned on as long as your betta has a distinct night and day situation. 

If your betta’s aquarium has too much light, it will not be able to get enough sleep and will get anxious. Stress can cause strange behaviour, such as your betta attempting to flee its tank and eventually committing suicide.


In this article, we answered the question “Why do betta fish commit suicide?”. We also discussed some manners to prevent betta fish suicidal behaviour.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why do betta fish commit suicide?

When Bettas die, do they float? 

A possible contributor to the spread of such a picture is the fact that it is so widely distributed. However, betta fish do not float instantly after they die, unlike other types of fish. The idea that a betta fish dies and floats on the surface of the water indicates that the body is deteriorating and losing its capabilities. 

Why can betta fish have some difficulties while swimming?

Inflammation of the swim bladder can also be caused by parasites or bacterial diseases. A powerful hit to the swim bladder, such as by hitting into something in the tank, fighting, or falling, might cause permanent injury. Rarely, fish are born with congenital abnormalities that impair the swim bladder, but symptoms normally appear at a young age in these circumstances. 

Is my betta in any way ill or dying? 

Indications of a sick betta fish involve scratching its fins against objects in the tank as if it were itching itself; bloated, bulging eyes; raised scales that reach out onto you; apathy; and a mushed fin as opposed to a spreading fin.

Why do betta fish float at the surface?

If there isn’t enough dissolved oxygen in the water, your Betta fish may swim to the top to breathe air from above the water’s surface. In addition, the water near the surface of the water column contains more oxygen levels than the water at the bottom.

Do betta fish freeze to death?

Bettas are tropical fish that require a temperature of 76-82°F to survive. If you don’t have a heater, the temperature in your betta’s tank will most likely vary and drop below 76°F. Temperature shock is common as a result of fluctuations and unexpected reductions in temperature, and it can be lethal quickly. 

Is it possible to detect if a betta fish is unhappy? 

A worried or unwell betta, on the other hand, may exhibit the following symptoms: Colour is faded and muted. Fins are clumped together and held near to the body. Stress stripes are more visible in female bettas and less so in males. A fish meal that has been given recently may be ignored due to a lack of appetite, lethargy, excessive hiding, and darting.


Why Do Betta Fish Commits Suicide (7 Reasons). https://bettafishworld.com/why-do-betta-fish-commits-suicide-7-reasons/

Why Do Betta Fish Commit Suicide? https://bettasource.com/betta-fish-suicide/