How Much do Betta Fish Sleep?

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As the owner of a Betta Fish, one question that might come into your mind is the following: Do they sleep? If yes, how much? We are going to answer these questions for you and a few more in this comprehensive article.

It might be hard to imagine how any fish can sleep while they are floating in the water. We are here to tell you that, in fact, every fish sleeps. They simply need it, just like us. This can be observed on your Betta Fish too. Sometimes they just stop swimming around and stay motionless for a while.

While your fish are at sleep, their only moving part is going to be their gills. Now before you start spying on your fish, let’s talk about the sleeping habits of Bettas!

Do Betta Fish Sleep?

The Betta Fish needs to sleep and has its own biorhythm just like any other fish species. It really depends on what time it is during the day. Don’t expect some weird sleeping habits here, as they don’t differ from us humans at all when it comes to sleep.

Bettas take a long rest at night and maybe a short nap during the day. This, of course, depends on how healthy they are and how active they were during the day. If you notice a poor sleep cycle from them, then expect them to be frustrated and restless during the day.

This is also when there is a risk they might jump out of the tank.

How Long do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish can sleep up to 16-18 hours a day. This is because they are warm-blooded and active during the day. They can take quick naps during daytime, but they will sleep mostly during the night, because they are diurnal fish.

Betta Fish Sleeping Schedule

Betta fish sleep at night. A betta fish sleeps anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day, but some more active betta fish sleep for only 10 hours.

Depending on the personality of your betta fish, during the day, your betta fish may be very active or it may be lazy and sleeping most of the day.

If your Betta is sleeping a lot during the day, there could be something wrong with it or its environment. If you think something is wrong with your fish, please read my article about betta fish diseases as it might help you diagnose what is wrong with your Betta Fish.

How Much Sleep do Bettas Need?

This is, often times, not something you should worry about. Bettas sleep during the night and they get as much sleep as they need. It is not something you can put an exact number on because it’s not easy to tell. After all, no two Bettas are the same just as no two people are the same when it comes to sleeping habits.

All you can do is to make sure your fish sleep at night and stay awake during the day. It is also healthy for them to take a couple of naps in the morning or during the afternoon. This is important because Bettas can feel just as bad after a night of no sleep like us after a night shift.

It you notice that your Betta Fish is less and less active during daytime then it’s definitely a bad sign. Make sure to keep an eye on them from time to time.

How do Bettas Sleep?

If you notice that your Betta stands still and only its gills are moving then it’s most certainly sleeping. This is how they should spend the night. Your Betta Fish can even get comfortable if there is some moss in your aquarium and lay back there on its side.

They do it by laying down on their side, which can be shocking for beginner fish keepers when they first see it. You should only be concerned if your fish does it too often. In case your Betta sleeps on the bottom of the aquarium, then you should check if the filter is too strong.

They find it hard to sleep if the water current is too strong. In this case, their only option is to sleep on the bottom.

What Lights to Use for Betta Tank?

Imitating the natural environment of the Betta Fish is key. The aquarium lighting you buy should provide the amount of light they get in the tropical waters they live in. This is just as important for their well-being as the water conditions and the food you give them.

Bettas are definitely not deep water fish, as they live in shallow waters with lots of natural light. However, there are reasons why you shouldn’t allow sunlight to directly hit your aquarium. It will only make your tank work as a magnifying glass, raising the water temperature too high.

On the other hand, sunlight will only make algae grow faster so you will need to deal with that too.

Can Betta Fish Sleep While Lights On?

The sleep pattern of a Betta Fish shouldn’t be disturbed by lights. Just like us, they got used to sleeping on the dark. When it gets dark, it’s an indicator for them that it’s time to sleep. During daylight, they only take naps but they definitely need the tank to be dark for a long night’s rest.

You should leave the lights on for 8-12 hours starting in the morning and then switch to 12-16 hours of darkness. This will give them a great sense of when they need to sleep and lead them to a healthy sleep pattern.

Can Betta Fish See in the Dark?

We can say that the eyesight of the Betta Fish is pretty weak in darkness. However, their eyes are designed mostly for semi-murky waters. What provides them assistance in the dark is their lateral line. If you look closer, you can see that there are small holes on them.

Thanks to these lines, the Betta Fish is always aware of the water pressure surrounding its body. This prevents them from bumping into any object they might get close to in the dark. Although they don’t see much, their eyes are open all the time. After all, they have no eyelids so they can’t close their eyes for sleeping.

Do Betta Fish Sleep at Night?

It depends on the species. Some bettas like to sleep at night, while others do not.

Bettas that prefer sleeping at night include halfmoon bettas and crowntail bettas. These fish often sleep on the substrate and may even hide underneath a small piece of rock or driftwood.

Some bettas, such as traditional longfin and bubble-eye bettas, tend to sleep during the day and are more active at night. These fish tend to float near the surface of the water and may even swim in circles as they sleep. They typically don’t burrow into the substrate or hide under objects as other species do.

How Often do Bettas Sleep?

Bettas generally sleep at night, but they sometimes sleep during the day. This is especially true of youngsters.

So I guess you could say bettas sleep whenever they want to, which is usually at night or when they get sleepy. Young bettas may take naps during the day, too.

Do Bettas Dream?

Duh! Of course, they dream! As far as we know, all animals dream. Studies showed, that even plants dream! They just don’t have the same kinds of dreams that animals do. I’m sure that bettas can have some pretty strange dreams though!

Do Bettas Sleep Upside Down?

When you see Bettas sleeping upside-down, then they are most likely swimming sideways during the day as well. This is most likely because they have Swim Bladder Disorder. Basically, their stomach swells because of overfeeding or even constipation, causing dysfunction to the bladder.

As the Betta Fish finds it more and more difficult to move, it will end up swimming and sleeping in weird positions. This problem can be solved by feeding them foods that contain more fiber. Fasting is another thing that works. If you want to feed them anything during Swim Bladder Disorder, we recommend you to give them peeled, crushed and boiled peas for a while.


As you can see, Betta Fish also need a good night’s sleep. If the circumstances are right and they are healthy, then they are guaranteed going to sleep well. It is important, however, to keep your eye open for signs of unhealthy sleeping patterns.

These might indicate that there is a problem with the water condition, the way you feed your fish or the lighting in the aquarium. You need to fix those as soon as possible before your Betta Fish develops more serious health issues. Usually this is not a problematic matter, just something you should look out for.

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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