How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

You might be wondering, how do betta fish sleep? 

While betta fish do sleep, their slumber might look different from what you expect. 

Unlike humans, bettas can rest in various positions such as on their sides, at the bottom of the tank, or even vertically. 

Betta fish also require a cozy environment to ensure they get the rest they need. 

Keep reading to learn how betta fish sleep, when they sleep, and how to tell if your betta fish is sleeping.

How Does a Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish are diurnal creatures, meaning they’re active during the day and rest at night. 

Your betta fish might sleep in different positions, like on their side, curled up, or even vertically.

Betta fish need sleep to maintain their health and energy levels. They take short naps and have a low metabolism when resting. 

Don’t be alarmed if their color appears faded while sleeping – it’s a natural self-defense mechanism.

To help your betta fish sleep better, maintain a consistent water temperature and provide a spacious tank.

A stress-free environment is essential for a good night’s sleep. 

When Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish sleep just like you do, but they have their own unique sleeping patterns. 

They tend to slumber at night when it’s dark, which is similar to most animals and humans. 

Apart from nighttime sleep, bettas also enjoy taking short naps throughout the day.

It’s essential to give your betta fish a comfortable and stress-free environment for rest. 

Adding some plants, like this one, and hiding places in the tank will make them feel secure.

Be sure to turn off the aquarium lights at night, as this mimics their natural habitat and encourages them to get a good night’s sleep.

Signs of a Sleeping Betta Fish

Signs of a Sleeping Betta Fish

There are several ways to tell that your betta fish is sleeping. 

In this section, we’ll go over the most common indicators, which include their various sleeping positions and physical appearances.

Sleeping Positions

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, have different sleeping positions. 

They may choose to rest at the bottom of the tank, on floating plants, or even near the surface of the water. 

It’s essential to observe your betta fish to understand its typical sleeping pattern. 

For instance, some bettas might prefer to lie on plant leaves, while others find comfort on the tank substrate. 

These various sleeping positions are all normal for bettas and are not a cause for concern.

Physical Appearance

When your betta fish is asleep, you’ll notice several changes in its physical appearance. 

It might seem lethargic with its fins open and eyes still open, as they don’t have eyelids like humans. This resting state may cause their colorful scales to lose vibrancy temporarily.

Additionally, their gills might slow down while still functioning to support their breathing needs. 

If your betta appears relaxed and in a comfortable position, it’s likely that it’s just catching some sleep. 

It’s important to monitor your betta fish and recognize when it’s just having a snooze. 

Understanding these signs will help you determine whether your fish is sleeping or dealing with a potential health issue. 

If your betta’s sleeping pattern or behavior changes unexpectedly, consult a veterinarian or aquatic expert for further advice.

How Much Sleep Do Betta Fish Need Each Day?

Betta fish typically needs around 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day, including their daily naps. 

Don’t worry if you see your fish motionless; it’s just taking a well-deserved rest.

In fact, bettas actually sleep in various ways. Some might lay at the bottom of the tank, while others float near the surface. 

Keep in mind, a proper sleep schedule helps maintain your fish’s health.

Creating Ideal Sleep Conditions

Creating Ideal Sleep Conditions

There are several ways to create ideal sleeping conditions for your betta fish. 

To ensure your betta fish rests well, it’s essential to focus on aquarium setup, controlling temperature, and proper lighting.

Aquarium Setup

The first step to creating an ideal sleep environment is setting up your aquarium properly. 

Betta fish prefer sleeping in sheltered, shady locations such as near plants or in a cave, like this one from Amazon

To accommodate their preferences, include decorations like caves, plants, or other hiding spots for them to rest in. 

Remember that a well-designed aquarium setup will not only help them sleep but will also reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Controlling Temperature

Maintaining a stable water temperature is crucial for betta fish. 

They thrive in warmth and prefer temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Sudden temperature changes can stress your fish, so it’s essential to invest in a reliable heater and an in-tank thermometer to monitor and control the water temperature.

If your heater fails, or if the water gets too cold, your betta fish might experience stress, illness, or worse. 

So, make sure your aquarium is equipped with a quality heater, like this one, and a thermometer to ensure a comfortable environment for your betta. This thermometer is highly recommended and available on Amazon.


Betta fish, like humans, sleep at night when they are inactive. 

To create an ideal sleep situation, follow a consistent day-night cycle by turning off the aquarium light at night. 

Regular lighting schedules mimic their natural habitat and help your betta fish maintain their circadian rhythm, making it easier for them to rest.

FAQs About How to Do Betta Fish Sleep

Do Betta Fish Sleep With Light On or Off?

Betta fish prefer to sleep in a dark environment. 

It’s important to turn off the light in their aquarium at night to mimic their natural habitat and help them get proper rest. 

If there’s too much light, it might disrupt their sleeping patterns, causing stress and impacting their overall health.

Does a Betta Fish Sleep Lying Down?

Betta fish can sleep in various positions, including lying down. They might sleep on their side, at the bottom of the tank, or on a plant leaf. 

Each betta fish is unique, so their preferred sleeping position might vary. 

Just remember, betta fish are also known to lose their color while sleeping as a form of self-defense, so don’t worry if your fish looks pale during rest.

Do Betta Fish Sleep in One Spot?

Bettas don’t always sleep in the same spot. They may choose different areas of the tank to rest, such as the bottom, on plants, or in hiding spots. 

Therefore, it’s important to provide them with a comfortable environment that includes plants and caves where they can feel secure and find their ideal place to sleep. 

By providing a variety of options for your betta fish to rest, you can help them establish a natural and healthy sleep pattern. 

Do Betta Fish Breathe When They Sleep?

Yes, betta fish do breathe when they sleep. Although they may appear inactive or motionless during sleep, their gills are still working to extract oxygen from the water. 

As water passes over their gills, oxygen is extracted and carbon dioxide is expelled. This process is essential for their survival, even when they are sleeping.

Keep an eye on your betta’s breathing patterns while they’re awake, as changes could indicate stress or illness.

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