How to Make Your Betta Fish Happy with 5 Enrichment Ideas
Beautiful betta fish have beautiful finnage and are spirited creatures. However, they live sedentary lives in tiny bowls. If you’ve already seen our betta fish tank setup guide and upsized your betta’s aquarium with the necessary equipment, you may be wondering what else you can do to keep your pet fish entertained. Betta splendens is a wild Betta that lives off food and rests. Based on these activities, let’s discuss 5 creative enrichment ideas to mentally and physically stimulate your betta fish and give it the best life possible.
1. Toys and Decorations for Betta Fish
Make an underwater jungle playground for your betta. Fish tank ornaments are great for your betta to use. Be sure to keep decorations from being too sharp and that the holes are large enough for your betta fish without getting stuck. The floating betta log is great for bettas who like to swim close enough to the surface to get a breath of fresh air. The natural-looking decor acts as a tunnel that your betta can use to swim, nap or build a bubble nest. There is also another opening on the side for you to feed fish foods through to prevent his meal from being stolen by other fish or sinking too quickly into the gravel.
A floating betta log makes a great place to explore, rest, eat, and make bubble nests.
2. Betta Fish Exercise Mirror
Betta fish are also known as “Siamese fighting fish” because they will fiercely defend their home turf against others of their own species. While it is not recommended to keep two bettas close together, you can make your betta work out by using a floating mirror that reflects the betta’s reflection for a few minutes every day. Most bettas are quick to react when they see their reflection. They will flail their gills, stretch out their fins, and make their bodies look tougher. After a few minutes of watching him dance back and forth in front a “intruder”, you can take out the mirror and possibly give him some treats.
Putting in a few minutes every day to look at a mirror is a good way to get some exercise for your fish.
3. Fish Food
Because betta fish are hunters and not ambush predators, they spend a good amount of time searching for insect larva, small crustaceans, and other tiny aquatic animals to eat. While floating betta pellets are a good staple for daily feedings, there is usually not a lot of challenge in “catching” them since slow water current is recommended for their aquariums. You can encourage your betta’s hunting skills by giving her a variety of fresh foods. Blackworms are available at most local fish markets. You can also hatch your own baby shrimp or keep cultures of microworms and daphnia at home. This activates the bettas’ pursuing, patrolling and pouncing abilities. It also rewards them with a full stomach. A worm feeder cone is a good alternative if live fish foods aren’t possible. Watch your betta fish discover how to get the yummy morsels from the frozen food cone. In a community tank, the cone also helps to slow down the more aggressive fish from gobbling all the food and give everyone a chance to eat.
If you don’t access to live fish foods, a worm feeder cone can provide an entertaining way for your betta fish to get its food.
4. Aquarium Plants
Betta splendens are originally found in shallow waters with tons of dense vegetation, so why not give your little buddy a lush, green forest to call home? While he will tolerate any kind of aquatic plant, he prefers large anubias plants for resting on. Floating plants and tall background plants are great because they offer interesting structures for swimming in and building bubble nests. You don’t need to worry about taking care of live plants. Indian almond and catappa leaves are another option. These leaves not only tint the water with antifungal and mild antibiotic properties but also serve as fallen foliage for your beta to explore.
For more recommendations, read our article on the top 10 betta fish plants for your aquarium.
Not only are live aquarium plants beautiful, but they also help to purify the water that your betta lives in.
5. Tank Mates for Betta Fish
If you have a 10-gallon or larger tank with plenty of hiding spots, you may be able to add some peaceful roommates to your betta aquarium. You can watch other fish in your tank and see social hierarchies being established, rivals competing for food, and exciting entertainment to observe. The betta fish is territorial and will avoid any fish with flowing or colorful fins. Plus, steer clear of nippy animals that may want to take a chunk out of your betta. Schooling nano fish are often preferred because then your betta has a hard time targeting any one individual. Find out which 5 best tank mates are for your betta fish.