Do Betta Fish Need Toys? Do They Like to Play?

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Finally, it is playtime! Pet owners around the world enjoy daily playing activities with their pets, and so do pets. However, although everyone knows how to entertain a cat or a dog, the topic becomes much more controversial when it comes to fish.

Especially fish which are referred to as the Siamese fighting fish. Do they like to play at all? And do Betta fish need toys?

Generally speaking, they really do not require any toys. Bettas are really not that playful. However, they do require do get regular activity in order to stay in great shape. A decent-sized tank is the first step, to begin with, but a mirror attached to the outside wall of the tank is also beneficial.

Mirror and Betta Fish

Placing a simple mirror along one side of your Betta tank will certainly awaken its natural instincts and make it swim around for a while.

Although seeing its reflection will for a brief moment cause a slightly stressful situation, such stress can only be positive and will certainly help maintain your Betta’s mental health along with the physical one. This is especially beneficial among those Bettas that live alone.

They are active little creatures and tend to get bored over time. However, letting your fish chase its own reflection for a few minutes each day is super-fun. Both for you and your fish pet.

Keeping Your Betta Fish Active

Helping your Betta maintain regular exercise is really important, even if such a thing was perhaps considered ridiculous ten years ago. This will certainly avoid constipation and obesity but will also strengthen their immune system and their overall well-being. Just as for people.

A super-efficient yet natural way of keeping your Betta active is by offering it live treats instead of frozen ones, whenever possible. Firstly, live insects or worms are surely a healthier option, but they will also keep your fish busy for some time. And, of course, active.

Additionally, many Betta parents are well aware of how their fish like to interact with them. Especially after a few months of living in a certain home once they get extremely comfortable around them.

Although there are several commercial toys available to buy online, a simple human finger can sometimes be more than enough. In fact, moving your finger from the outside glass and letting your fish follow you around its tank is pure fun.

If your Betta seems not really attracted by your finger, a good alternative may be a laser pointer. Yes, surprisingly enough, Bettas really seem to enjoy chasing down a laser! If you choose such toy option for your pet, please make sure to only use safe products such as cat or dog laser pointers. Never human.

Also, this is a fun game but it is better to keep it as an occasional activity, to avoid possible increased stress levels.

Do Bettas Like Air Bubbles?

Bettas usually like spending their lives in calmer water and they do need really need air bubbles as long as they have a good filtration system. However, some Bettas are simply delighted to play with air bubbles.

And they really seem to love them! Placing a simple stone in your tank may be a great source of pure fun for your Betta, but please avoid setting this up immediately after adopted. It is probably better to add air bubbles after a few days or weeks, once your fish gets comfortable around its new home.

Do Bettas Need Aquatic Plants?

Yes, Bettas definitely need aquatic plants in their aquarium, I’ve compiled a list of the best plants for betta fish in the linked article. These are not necessary for purely survival reasons, but simply because they will have such a happier life with plants around.

Firstly, these will provide great resting spots and will make them feel safer, as a planted aquarium will be mostly resembling to their natural habitats. But even more, Bettas will happily turn aquatic plants into their personal playground! They simply love them.

Plants are so entertaining to Bettas and can sometimes keep them busy for hours and hours. More importantly, they do so in a perfectly natural way, so please never hesitate to add some greenery to your Betta tank.

Moss balls may be purely amusing, as they will literally float around the surface making Bettas chase them around. But so are many other plants, even those which seem extremely simple to people. Fish will definitely find something interesting in them, or at least climb them away.

Another popular toy for these peculiar fish may be something as simple as a ping pong ball. Indeed, these are quite similar to moss balls, so can make a good alternative if you are not able to find any nearby.

They are extremely light and with no sharp edges, so they are perfectly safe to place into a Betta tank as long as they are first carefully cleaned out and disinfected. Many Bettas have been reported to happily play with their ping pong balls, so this may be a great idea, too.

Do Bettas Like to Play with Tank Mates?

Bettas have strong, individual characters and do not really like to get into playful activities with other fish. If your Betta is “playing” with its tank mate, it is probably not a friendly leisure activity in question.

Especially if you are housing a male Betta with other mates (hopefully not, because they can get really aggressive and are best when kept alone). Female Bettas can sometimes be less territorial, but not enough to start playing around with other fish.

Wrapping Up

Although Betta fish are not too friendly around other fish and prefer to spend their life alone instead, they are very curious and can sometimes find themselves entertained during playtime or exercise.

Planting enough plants inside their aquariums, providing them a small air stone at the bottom, placing a simple mirror in front of them or even just moving your finger around the glass can turn out into fun activities for both of you.

So why not try playtime out with your pet? It may just surprise you.

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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