A question that is often asked by hobbyist fish keepers is “do betta fish sleep?”.
Betta fish are slower moving and more sedentary than many other types of fish, and often, seem to spend time at rest… but do betta fish sleep? Read on to find out.
All animals of all species need to spend some time at rest and the betta fish is no exception.
However, what we as mammals and humans think of as sleep; a period of unconsciousness with our eyes closed, and going through dream cycles, is not the same for some other species.
Betta fish do not have eyelids and so, the betta does not close its eyes to sleep and rest. This is why fish keepers sometimes think that fish do not actually sleep at all, but they do; just in a different way.
Do betta fish sleep?
The betta fish is diurnal rather nocturnal, meaning that they are lively, active and awake during the day, and sleep at night, following the same pattern that people do.
When bettas go to sleep, they will rest in a safe spot such as among the plants in the tank or in a quiet corner, remaining relatively still during their period of rest.
In order to allow for the betta’s normal sleep cycle, it is important to simulate the cycle of day and night within the tank. This may mean lighting the tank during the day and covering it at night.
How to tell when your betta is asleep
While bettas usually sleep at night when the house is dark and the aquarium lights are off, they may also stop for a rest and a nap during daylight hours. If your betta is resting or sleeping, they will usually lie in an L-shaped position and appear to be floating freely in the water, without using their fins and tail to direct themselves.
As bettas will sometimes sleep near to the top of the tank and appear to be floating on or near the surface of the water, it is sometimes easy to think for a moment that the fish has died! But don’t worry, they will soon “come back to life” if disturbed or if the lights are switched on!
Like all animals, betta fish sleep and it is an essential part of their lives. It is therefore important to ensure that the tank environment and lighting is suitable and that they are able to undergo the required periods of rest without disturbance.