Do Betta Fish Get Lonely or Bored?

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Many people wonder whether bettas get lonely if they are on their own in an aquarium, and can they get bored? We will answer both of these questions in this article, and talk more about them.

The fact is that bettas are not the best tank mates for many fish due to their aggressive behavior. That is why many betta owners decide to have bettas as the solitary fish in their tanks.

But then, questions start arising whether the lone betta ever gets lonely if it is on its own. The answer to that question is, no, bettas don’t get lonely.

Betta fish are fully sentient beings, which means that like us, they can feel emotions and sensations.

Many people believe quite the opposite, but everyone who has ever owned a betta fish or any other fish will tell you about their special bonds with their fish.

But can bettas ever get lonely or bored? Can it affect them in any way, and can it even increase the stress levels of the betta fish?

To understand better the situation with the bettas, we must answer the two questions separately. So, do betta fish ever get lonely or bored? Let’s find out.

Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?

The answer to this question is quite simple: no, bettas don’t get lonely in their tank, or are very unlikely to get lonely, even if they are in the tank on their own.

What is more, bettas actually prefer to be lonely in many cases, as they can become territorial and aggressive towards other fish that can come into the tank.

In fact, bettas in their natural habitats most often live alone. They stick to their own territories, and only ever connect or see other fish when they want to breed.

Very rarely will they hang around other fish, wanting to socialize. That is why bettas are the perfect fish if you want to keep just the one fish in your tank; the bettas won’t get lonely.

They even hate it when other fish are constantly around them or in their faces. They might feel insecure or stressed, especially if they don’t have enough space for themselves.

Bettas are considered the loners of the home aquariums, and often get aggressive if they don’t have enough privacy.

Many owners might get worried as their betta looks rather lonely in their tank; but not to worry, your betta won’t get lonely, and will even prefer loneliness.

Do Betta Fish Get Bored?

Now that is another different topic to loneliness. Boredom is not like loneliness; it occurs when the tank is completely void of any interesting things for the betta to interact with or to do.

In most cases, the betta fish owner will have to provide entertainment to prevent the betta fish from getting bored.

Bettas can get bored in your tank, and it is not a good sight to see. They might become depressed or more lethargic than otherwise.

That is precisely why small bowls with little to no vegetation or other artifacts in the tank are not recommended.

Bettas should have an interesting and engaging environment around them, with occasional engagement from the owners.

Actually, boredom is a sign of stress in some cases. It is not like boredom with us when we don’t have anything to do. We do hobbies when we get bored, while with bettas, it might indicate greater problems.

Stress is a factor for boredom, and you might see your betta hide a lot and squeeze itself into corners. Lethargy and depression are also connected to this issue, so try to keep stress as low as possible.

How to Entertain Your Betta Fish?

To prevent boredom, you can do some things that will help your betta become more engaged and interested in new things. Here are some things that can help with boredom.

Add non-aggressive tank mates

If the betta is alone, it might get boring, especially if the tank is void of any interesting things.

You can solve this issue by adding some non-aggressive tank mates that will give the betta some company. It is mighty important to add only non-aggressive fish, as the bettas might start to clash or fight with aggressive tank mates.

Adding the tank mates can also make the whole tank more interesting. But also be mindful about the size of the tank and the fish you add into it; if the tank is too small to accommodate the new fish, it might do the betta more harm than good.

Use a mirror

Mirrors can be used to entertain the bettas. If a betta sees itself in a mirror, it might start flashing its fins and gills, leading to a very entertaining sight for you.

These gills are very interesting and are rarely seen if the betta is on its own. Plus, it gives the betta more excitement.

They flash their fins against possible predators and other betta males to make themselves look more menacing.

So, when they see themselves in a mirror, they will think it’s another betta, so they will naturally start to flash their fins. Although this behavior can be encouraged only once in a while, not constantly, as it can lead to excessive amounts of stress.

Add decorations with hiding places

As we already said, empty tanks are more likely to lead to boredom than fully decorated tanks. You can give your betta something to do with decorations and hiding places.

They will be able to swim around the decorations and hide between the pieces. Also, it will make the tank a much more interesting place to look at.

Some simple decorative pieces such as small rocks or live plants can work wonders with the bettas in your tank, and it might keep them from getting bored.

Play with your fish

Spend some time with your fish, play with them, and they will not get bored as easily as they did in the first place. Engagement from the owner is very important, and it also helps you to build a relationship, or a bond with the fish. Encourage them with some playful behavior, and you can even buy various toys or equipment for playing with them.

Also, observe them and know when they need you to come and play with them. Bettas are actually very good fish for learning new things and for playing with you. This is why they need stimulation from the owner often.

Add live food which your betta can hunt on

Although this one might sound cruel, it is actually a natural behavior of the bettas. These fish are predators in their natural habitat, and you can satiate their need for hunting by adding some smaller fish or other animals that they can prey on.

Bettas love to eat live foods, and this will also increase the quality of their diet, and it will make the fish much happier.


Betta fish are interesting creatures. They do not mind being lonely in your tank and want to get lonely. In fact, they might even prefer loneliness over living in community tanks.

But they still require a lot of love and engagement from your part, which can keep them from getting bored and help them to remain much happier in your tank.

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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