Do Betta Fish Like Listening to Music?

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This is rather a peculiar question that many novice Betta keepers are interested in. The answer couldn’t be any simpler – no, Bettas cannot enjoy music. Or, at least, there is no compelling scientific evidence to prove otherwise.

That being said, there are several aspects that we can discuss here. For instance, do Bettas hear sounds outside the tank? Do loud sounds scare them? Can they recognize your voice?

Let’s have a look!

Can Betta Fish Hear Music?

Yes, bettas can hear music. Outside the humans’ perception and interpretations, music is, at the most basic levels, noise. Most importantly, Bettas have ears covered by a thin layer of skin, which makes them pretty much invisible to the naked eye.

Any type of noise, including rhythmic ones that make up music or come from a water filter, will create vibrations when traversing any type of environment. This includes air and water. The Betta’s ears will catch these vibrations, and their brains will decode the sounds.

They obviously lack the cerebral capacity to identify rhythm and differentiate between chaotic noise and music.

So, your Bettas will hear music, but it won’t mean anything to them since they’re not capable of understanding it. For them, it’s just regular noise.

Can Betta Fish Hear Your Voice?

Yes, Bettas can sound your voice, except rather poorly. As you may have noticed, sounds appear muffled when underwater. That’s because the sound is deformed based on the environments it travels. That’s both because the human ear isn’t designed to distinguish sounds in an aquatic environment.

Aside from that, water particles are denser, further deforming the sound. So, your Betta will hear your voice as an interrupted, muffled sound wave. It cannot distinguish specific words too well, although it can happen.

An important thing to note – sound travels faster through water, causing it to appear louder than it truly is. This means that certain sounds can cause harm to Bettas, just as they can cause harm to humans as well, above a certain decibel threshold.

Can Loud Music Hurt Your Betta?

Yes, loud enough music can stress out and hurt your Betta. That’s because their hearing organs can only handle so much noise before experiencing problems. As we’re already established, sound travels faster through water which will amplify its decibels.

Fish and many other aquatic creatures rely heavily on sounds to navigate their environment, hunt, detect threats, etc. That’s because the light isn’t reliable underwater since it cannot travel too deep into the environment. Sounds, however, move faster and longer through water, helping fish navigate through their habitat easier.

Many fish will also use sounds to communicate to one another and use water vibrations to distinguish between predators and prey. Sharks do that, for instance.

Extremely loud sounds will hurt the fish just as they hurt humans beyond a certain threshold. These can cause

If you like listening to music in the presence of your Bettas, keep the volume in check.

Do Bettas Get Scared From Loud Noises?

Yes, loud noises can scare Bettas, especially if they’ve never heard them before. Bettas can get accustomed to certain noises if they’re exposed to them repeatedly, and they’re not too loud.

Sudden, extremely loud noises will scare your aquarium fish, Betta or otherwise. So, if you’re planning on having a party soon, try to move the fish in another room if possible. If not, don’t go overboard with the music since extremely loud noises can cause Bettas visible discomfort.


All fish are capable of distinguishing sounds through the water. They will perceive these sounds thanks to the vibrations passed on by water molecules. They will also distinguish sounds entering their environment from the outside, such as your voice.

Extremely loud sounds and music will cause Bettas to experience discomfort and might even hurt them.

You don’t need to shush around them. As a general rule, every sound that’s too loud for you is probably too loud for your Bettas.

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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