Do Betta Fish Have Teeth?

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Do betta fish have teeth and will they bite you or other fish? We will take a look at everything about betta’s teeth in this article.

Although they might not be seen at first, betta fish do have tiny white teeth in their mouth. Like any other creature, they use teeth to process and eat food.

It might seem odd that bettas don’t have large teeth as they are an aggressive species in their own right. If you observe how they tear bloodworms and fish food when they eat, you will know that they do have them.

You might also notice the teeth when they gasp for air when they come onto the water surface, or when you feed them. But the purpose of the teeth is not only for eating, but also for protection.

As they are aggressive fish, they have small, but quite sharp, teeth that they can use for protection. While these teeth don’t seem to be big, they are somewhat sharp and can hurt other fish.

Here is a closer look to betta fish teeth, just pay close attention to the small white dots inside its mouth:

Do Betta Fish Bite You?

A betta fish can definitely bite you, but it largely depends on the fish’s character. Some fish are very relaxed and less aggressive, while others will bite at just about anything that seems to threaten them. And your hand seems to them like some sort of a predator that is trying to reach for them, so they can bite you.

Their bites are not particularly strong, though. Given their size, it is an impressive bite, but it most often won’t be enough to penetrate your skin. A betta’s bite doesn’t particularly hurt, it is just that it might be unpleasant if your betta attacks your hand every time you put it into the tank.

So bites from bettas are quite a usual occurrence, especially if the betta is new to your home, or if it is new to your tank. When the fish gets used to you, bites are less likely than at the start, although with some fish, it might happen more than with others due to their character.

Do Betta Fish Have a Tongue?

Bettas, like other fish, have tongues. While they may not be visible at all, they still have a tongue-like structure at the bottom of their mouth. Unlike our tongues, fish tongues are bony structures. But fish don’t use tongues like we do, for tasting food. They taste food very differently, through various glands and cells located on their bodies.

Tongues play a different purpose with bettas. They work as a protective barrier that covers and safeguards the ventral aorta – the aorta that supplies blood to the gills. Also, it acts as a protective organ against other fish species, and it can protect the fish from harmful food that is hard to swallow.

They have other taste buds throughout their bodies, and several of them. Among them are gills, the fin, the tail, barbels and the whole area surrounding the mouth. So they don’t use tongues for tasting food, but the tongue has a very different role than that of human beings.

Do Betta Fish Bite Each Other?

As bettas become territorial and aggressive towards other betta males, fights can happen. And that of course means that betta fish, especially males, can bite each other. That is not desirable, as the bettas can sustain damage to their fins, and their bodies as a whole.

Ideally, the bettas should be placed in the tank in such a way that they won’t fight each other. That means that placing two males together might not be the best option; in fact, many people advise against it. They can start fighting and biting each other, which can result in injuries, and even death.

As for males biting females, it is somewhat unlikely to happen, but there is a possibility. Breeding is a very stressful time for betta females and also betta males, but females especially can sustain a lot of damage during this time. Even biting can happen when breeding, so you should observe that if you want to breed bettas.

Betta fish biting each other can result in injury to fins, tails, and whole bodies and scales. To reduce this behavior, try not to keep two males together, or, place a tank divider down the middle. Bettas can also start to bite other fish. As they can be aggressive and territorial, they might start to attack other fish, which can include biting.

If the biting is persistent, other fish might get injured. While a betta’s bite is not that strong for us, other fish might feel the impact more than we do. That is why you should avoid bettas becoming aggressive towards other fish, as it can result in severe injuries to other fish and their fins and tails.

Can Betta Fish Teeth Fall Out?

Usually, bettas won’t lose teeth on their own, unless there is a more serious disease or injury that can happen to the betta. Especially in the case of injuries, teeth can fall out or get broken, which can happen due to jaw injuries during fights.

Another reason might be a disease, although it is unlikely that will make them lose their teeth. One of the diseases that can cause teeth to fall out is columnaris, which is a fungal infection that bettas can contract. One of the symptoms of columnaris is mouth swelling and sometimes detaching, which can also cause the teeth to fall out.

If a betta’s tooth or several teeth fall out, then it can be an unlucky occurrence. It might mean that you might want to start feeding them softer foods, and it can deteriorate their health and lifestyle to a degree. But, a broken tooth or a tooth that has fallen out is no major reason for concern. If it is a result of injury due to fights, let your betta a few days to recover.

In general, older bettas are sometimes more prone to teeth falling out or getting broken. Otherwise, teeth rarely fall out of bettas’ mouths, and it can happen in rare cases due to injuries or diseases.

How Strong Are Betta Fish Teeth?

In general, if we compare a betta’s bite to other fish, it is not a particularly strong bite. But it is quite strong relative to its size. For us, when we put our hands in the tank and they bite us, it will not hurt much or at all, and it won’t penetrate the skin. For other fish, it can cause serious damage.

You should avoid a betta biting other fish at all costs, and vice versa. Betta biting other fish might result in damage to other fish’s fins, bodies, scales, and they can sustain serious injuries. For other creatures like snails, betta fish bites are not as menacing as for the fish. They are lucky that they have relatively strong shells that are able to sustain the bites from the bettas.


Betta fish are interesting creatures. What many people might not notice is that they have teeth and a tongue as well. Those teeth are quite sharp and can harm other fish, but for us they don’t represent a huge deal of menace.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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