Why does my betta fish stare at me?

In this blog we’ll take a look at the possible reasons and understand why your betta is staring at you.


In this blog

  • Why does my betta fish stare at me?
  • What are the possible reasons your betta fish is staring at you?
  • What needs to be done when your betta is staring at you?
  • Is there any scientific proof for bettas’ staring behavior?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Why does my betta fish stare at me?

A brief and simple explanation for this question is that they think they are being fed.They are staring at you because they are expecting a meal.

Fish are intelligent creatures that can build associations with surrounding stimuli. Classical conditioning is an unconscious process that occurs when the associated stimulus is paired with a neutral stimulus.

Betta fish are very sensitive to movement and are aware of any activity taking place outside the aquarium.Over time,they will establish a connection with the owner and begin to associate your presence with food.

The betta is also short-sighted, which means the fish may only check for inconspicuous movements outside its tank.

Spending more time with your bettas allows you to better understand their behavior and determine if they are hungry or simply bored and need attention.

What are the possible reasons your betta fish is staring at you?

People keep bettas because they want to watch them as they explore their aquarium environment. But what happens when the fighting fish reverses the script? 

Bettas stare because they think it’s time to eat

Over time, the betta fish develop a link between you approaching the aquarium and their feeding,causing them to assume they are fed each time you approach the aquarium.

Bettas will learn that sometimes your presence near their tank will point them to food.

When your betta sees you, it will come to the front of the tank and stare at you.

Bettas stare at you because you are their source of entertainment

Unfortunately, the life of betta fish is quite dull. Your presence is their only concern. It changes their day. Betta is a unique fish and they are interested in the world outside their aquarium.

Some betta keepers have an aquarium near the TV. They say their bettas like to stare at every move coming from the television.

Bettas stare because they can sense movements

A betta is sensitive to movement, and a betta fish may sense that you are walking around in its tank, and being near the tank will allow it to recognize your face, but if you are far away you can still notice it staring at you, it senses your movements.

Since they are so curious about their surroundings, they only keep an eye on the changes happening outside of their world.

Bettas stare because they can’t blink

Every fish keeper knows that fish don’t have eyelids, and neither can bettas blink or close their eyes.

just because the betta is facing your general direction doesn’t mean they are staring at you.Their eyes remain open at all times. 

  • Bettas have no eyelids and sleep with their eyes open.
  • Bettas can’t close their eyes because they don’t have eyelids. 

Bettas leaps out of the tank to stare

When oxygen levels are low inside the tank, bettas come to the surface to replenish their oxygen supply. In fact, you might think that your betta wants to look or stare at you so much that he jumps out of the water.

Bettas stare because they are simply curious

Betta is a curious fish, but curiosity is not for other fish. They prefer to have ties with the feeding human owners.It is a better choice than building close relationships with other fish.Whenever you are near the aquarium, they love to stare at you.

Bettas stare because they are seeing their reflections on the tank glass

If you find that the betta is constantly pacing back and forth in the tank and flashing frequently, it may be due to his reflection.Glass surfacing or what we identify as constant staring is common in them.

What needs to be done when your betta is staring at you?

There are a few things you can do to get your betta to stop staring, but it’s important to understand that staring doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your fish.

Feed your betta fish some betta flakes

An easy solution is to feed the betta with betta flakes,as he is probably hungry or expecting to be fed. If he continues to stare or watch you after feeding, he may be bored and wants to interact with you.

Always keep your bettas entertained

Bettas live in a very simple environment with little stimulation, which can get them bored quickly. You can teach them tricks like following your fingers or jumping out of the water. 

Spending time stimulating him in front of his tank will help with their boredom and prevent depression.

You can also purchase plentiful toys to entertain your fish. Floating logs and floating exercise mirrors are just some of the toys you can buy for your betta to give him a chance to experience new things.

Rearrange or redecorate your bettas tank

Bettas are great observant, paying attention to the layout of the aquarium, memorizing the location of each decoration and recognizing when it changes. 

Replacing the decorations in the tank will bring something new to your betta as their routine remains relatively the same.

Get a bigger tank for your betta fish

Some fish stare at their owners out of curiosity. Others stare outside the tank because their aquatic environment is so small and boring.

Get a bigger tank and decorate it with caves, driftwood, pots and more. Create a fascinating environment that encourages betta to spend their days exploring rather than staring at you.

Make sure the water parameters are suitable for bettas

As per some betta keepers when aquarium conditions deteriorate, their fish stare. They believe that a betta’s stare is a means of communication, a way of letting you know their tank is in the worst condition.

  • Aquarium water temperature: 75°-81°F or 23.8°-27.2°C
  • Aquarium water pH: 6.5-7.5
  • GH: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm) 
  • KH: 3-5 dKH (53.6- 89.4 ppm)
  • Ammonia level: 0 ppm
  • Nitrites level: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrates level : <20 ppm

Is there any scientific proof for bettas’ staring behavior?

Betta fish are naturally curious and friendly. They love to bond with their owners (their feeders, more specifically), play, and engage in fun activities. Scientific reports and experiments have explained this along with their habit of staring


Bettas make wonderful fish pets. They are capable of establishing a relationship with their human companions.Your first interaction with bettas is critical as it sets the course for your future interaction and connection.

Fish that live in a limited environment have a lot to observe before they get bored. They are attracted to sudden changes because the world they live in remains the same every day. 

Bettas develop a connection between your approach to the tank and their feeding, making them think they are feeding every time you approach their tank. This is one of the reasons why they stare at their owners.

Betta fish can detect light changes and movement, and spend a lot of time observing what’s going on outside the aquarium because that’s where they see the greatest stimulation.They are likely just focused on the activity, causing them to stare.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of vision does a betta have?

The eyes of the betta fish are located on the sides of the head and can see in two different directions at the same time. This is called monocular vision.

Can betta fish sense vibrations?

Betta fish can detect vibrations and movements and spend a lot of time watching what’s going on outside the tank because that’s where they’re most stimulated. Most likely, they are just focused on the activity, which makes them stare.

Do bettas stare due to poor water conditions?

If the conditions in the aquarium worsen, their fish stare. They believe that the gaze of the bettas is a means of communication, a way to let you know that their aquarium is in poor condition.

Do betta fish get excited to see their owners?

Betta fish quickly learn to recognize their human companions, they know when it’s time to feed and they rejoice when you approach their tank.

Do bettas really communicate with their owners by staring?

Betta fish often stare at their owners for a variety of reasons specific to their nature. Most pet fish owners say that betta stares at us and communicates, thinks we are feeding, and enjoys moving things out of the aquarium.

Do bettas recognise their owners’ faces?

Betta fish have a keen memory, and they can recognize the faces of their feeders. If you are someone who regularly feeds and interacts with them, the betta will swim along the tank and stare at you from the tank.