Why do bettas jump out of their tanks?

If you are curious or worried about why your betta fish jump out of their tank, then this article is for you.This comprehensive guide will give you all the information about their leaping behavior.


In this blog

  • Why do bettas jump out of their tanks?
  • How to prevent bettas jumping behavior?
  • What needs to be done if bettas jumped out of the aquarium?
  • What is the alternative to cover the bettas tank or than a lid or hood? 
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Why do bettas jump out of their tanks?

One of the reasons why a betta may jump out of an aquarium has to do with the condition of the water. If you don’t clean your aquarium regularly, ammonia will build up in it.

In addition to high ammonia levels, sudden changes in pH and temperature can also cause the betta to try to jump out of the tank.

Poor water parameters or water chemistry in bettas tank

Bettas are hardy species and do well in a wide range of water conditions,but this doesn’t mean they can survive in poor water conditions.

Poor water conditions are not suitable for any aquatic animals.To survive in aquarium settings it is very important to replicate exact water conditions for them,if you fail to do so then your fish will surely do anything to jump out of their tank.

Same goes with bettas too,hardiness doesn’t give them the certificate to tolerate poor water conditions.If the water quality is not good,bettas will jump out of the tank and will eventually die if left unattended.

Aquarium water temperature too high in bettas tank

Bettas do well in temperature range between 75-80 degree fahrenheit and being a hardy species they are known to withstand various temperature ranges too.

If the tank temperature is too high beyond the level they require to thrive in an aquarium setting ,it might make them uncomfortable and ultimately make them jump out of the tank.

It is evident that temperature plays a key role in an organism’s metabolism and if it is not maintained then it can have negative impacts on their health and behavior too.

Overcrowded bettas tank

Bettas are known as fighting fish,because of their aggressive nature and they do best when kept in solitary tanks.Male bettas especially cannot share their space with other species inchlicing their own kinds except female for breeding in their tanks.

Females can be house in community tanks with other species as will as with their own kinds.Male bettas are more in demand and if they are kept in overcrowded tanks it will aggravate their aggressive behavior and if other species are bullying them by nipping their long flowing fins.

Disturbed sleep cycle of bettas

Every species on this earth has a biological clock which maintains their sleep cycle and any disturbances in those patterns can cause negative impacts on them.

Similarly fishes do have their biological clocks and due to disturbances in aquariums their sleep cycle will affect and this will stress them out.This stress will make them leap out of their tanks.

So,as a betta owner it’s very important to check if there are any disturbances in their tanks,including loud noises.

Try to monitor their behavior everyday and remove anything which is troubling them and which triggers them to jump out.

Bettas might be looking to catch something outside the tank

If they notice a fly or any insect around the aquarium, the betta may pop out and try to catch it.And it’s quite common for them to do this as they like to eat this way in their natural habitat to.Make sure you are putting them back immediately if they are see doing this. 

Too strong aquarium filter in bettas tank

Bettas do well in aquariums with slow water currents and filters which don’t produce high water currents in the aquarium.

If the filter is producing too strong water currents then bettas won’t like them and starts swimming erratically. Not only this it might overwhelm them so much that they even try to leap out of their tanks to escape such strong water currents produced by powered filters.

Bad tank mates alongside bettas

Tank mates play a vital role in aquarium species lifespan and behavior,if they are housed with compatible tank mates,they will have a good lifespan and the tank atmosphere will be good too.

But when they are kept with tank mates that are not suitable for them , then be prepared to face the consequences.There will be lots of fighting for food,resources,space and territory.

If bettas are kept with species that are too flashy or brightly coloured, highly aggressive ,occupying the same levels as bettas in the tank and if there are fin nippers with them,then surely bettas will jump out of their tanks.So,it’s very important to choose their tank mates wisely.

Too much brightness in bettas tank

If there is too much brightness in bettas tanks or the tank is kept in direct sunlight then it can stress them out and ultimately this makes them leap or jump out of their tanks.

Bettas just like to jump

Betta fish like to jump, which is why they can get out of the tank. This especially happens when all conditions in the tank are perfect and there is nothing else that can be done to achieve this. In this case, you can conclude that your fish tends to come out of the tank.

How to prevent bettas jumping behavior?

Top screen or tank cover or hood to cover bettas tank

One ​​of the best solutions for keeping a betta in their aquarium is to simply cover the top with a hood or screen top.This should be a priority, but it’s also important to make sure the betta is not popping up or leaping out for other reasons.

Maintaining the pristine water conditions in bettas tank

  • Ideal water temperature in bettas tank: 75°-81°F (23.8°-27.2°C)
  • Ammonia and Nitrite levels in bettas tanks: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrate levels in bettas tank: <20 ppm.
  • GH range in bettas tank: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm)
  • KH range in bettas tank: 3-5 dKH (53.6- 89.4 ppm)
  • Ideal water pH in bettas tank: 6.5-7.5.

Putting bettas in a spacious tanks

It is very important to keep bettas in spacious tanks for their proper growth and longer lifespan.Smaller and overcrowded tanks are not good for their health.

Tank shape and size is very important to bettas.Their tank must be at least 3 gallons and If you’re planning on having a lot of fish in a community tank, then you need a bigger and spacious tank 1 gallon of water for every inch of mature fish.

Providing them lots of hiding spots too to each betta fish so that they can hide and rest there when they feel overwhelmed instead of jumping out of the tank.

Bettas are very particular about their spaces and if any fish invade their space it might create a fight in the tanks which will ultimately make the tank environment stressful.

Such situations make them uncomfortable too and they dont be left with any other option,except jumping or leaping out of their tanks.

Adding suitable tank mates for bettas

Adding suitable tank mates can also keep them sane and will avoid leaping behavior too.It is very important to choose their tank mates wisely to avoid stress and jumping behavior.Here is the list of suitable tank mates for bettas:

  • Kuhli loaches. 
  • Ember tetras.
  • Malaysian trumpet snails.
  • Harlequin rasboras.
  • Cory catfish.

Using suitable aquarium lighting in bettas tank

Bettas need to be exposed to light for about 14-16 hours (minimum) in any 24 hour period. You can purchase a timer for the aquarium lights to ensure they are well controlled.

Some aquariums already have timers installed, but if they don’t, you can always put a timer in the outlet that controls the light.Fluorescent lights have always been the best lighting option for aquariums and the reason being it does not generate much heat. 

Therefore,it does not raise the temperature of the water in the aquarium.

What needs to be done if bettas jumped out of the aquarium? 

In natural habitat, bettas live in shallow waters such as paddy fields, swamps and ponds. It gives them the benefits of survival. However, all fish are vulnerable when out of the water.

In most cases, betta fish can live outside the aquarium, but probably less than two hours.

The fish can be very flexible, you can try to put it back in the aquarium or take a small bowl and fill it with tank water. Watch the fish for several hours to see if it comes back to life.

What is the alternative to cover the bettas tank or than a lid or hood?

If the tank does not have a lid, it can be covered with floating plants. The surface of the water.

Living plants not only prevent betta fish from popping out, but also help clean the water.

Floating plants are very suitable for removing nitrates and other elements from water that can be harmful to fish.


If ammonia levels get too high, your betta fish will do anything to find clean water conditions, including leaping or jumping out of the tank.In addition to high levels of ammonia, extreme pH and temperature fluctuations can also cause your betta to try to jump out of its tank.

Poor water quality in the aquarium can cause fish to pop out and look for a better environment. Other factors such as lack of hiding spots, low oxygen levels, and improper pH balance can also cause fish to jump out of the aquarium.

  • Proper tank maintenance is the key to best bettas health and behavior too. 
  • Cover their tanks with suitable screen tops.
  • Maintain pristine water conditions.
  • Monitor water conditions with water testing kits everyday to know the levels of ammonia,nitrite and nitrates in their tanks.
  • Avoid loud noises and too much brightness in their tanks.
  • Avoiding flashy and aggressive tank mates,better to keep male bettas in solitary tanks.

Frequently asked questions

Is it normal behavior if bettas jump out of the tank?

Bettas tend to jump as a way to escape from aquariums where the water quality is poor and the temperature is too high.