Do Betta Fish Sleep? 6 Fun Facts You Need To Know

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If you’re a new betta owner then one of the most common questions you may be asking yourself is “do betta fish sleep?”  Well, this is not a silly question. For someone who have ever had a betta fish, you might have experienced a time when they look lifeless.

So much so that you truly think they might be dead. However, they might just be asleep. Usually, they do this at night when you are already sleeping, but this really depends on the specific betta.

They each have their own personalities and this includes how often, and when they like to sleep. You could also mistake them for being awake, even though they are truly sleeping, due to the fact that they don’t have any eyelids. You should refrain from tapping their tank when they are motionless for this reason.

Yes, all fish need sleep. Although some fish do not sleep in the same way that land mammals sleep, they do rest. Betta fish are a prime example of this and one way you can tell they are sleeping is due to being motionless. They will do this often at the bottom of the tank, or near the surface of the water.

When this is happening, they may also react slowly to anything that is going on around them, or simply not respond at all. Most bettas will do this at night, so you might not catch them in the act unless you look in on them during the night.

How To Tell Your Betta Is Sleeping

There are a few ways you can tell your betta is sleeping. You could see them lying motionless, not paying attention to anything that is going around in the tank. It could be lying near the surface, or at the bottom of the tank in an L-shape. Some will even lay sideways. Or, you could find it hiding in places like the vegetation, or rocks in the tank. These provide the perfect spots for your betta to hide and feel safe enough to sleep when needed.

Do Betta Fish Sleep?
Bob Is Sleeping

Where Do Bettas Sleep?

Betta fish will sleep in the enclosure that they are housed. This could mean that they fall asleep at the bottom of the tank where you can easily see them. Near the surface. You can find them hiding in places like decorative houses, wood, vegetation, etc.

Anywhere they can find and feel comfortable doing so. It will also be easier for them to do so if you turn off the fish tank lights and lights in the general area for them to know when it is truly nighttime.

How Many Hours Do Bettas Sleep?

This is hard to recommend due to each betta fish being different. If you find that your fish is active during the day, you can assume that they are getting the right amount of sleep at night.

However, if you see that they are very inactive during the day, they could not be getting the rest they need. Try turning off fish tank lights and surround lights in the room the tank is kept, to give your fish the ability to know when it truly is night.

Do Betta Fish Need Darkness To Sleep?

When it comes to betta fish the answer is complicated. Turning the lights off will give your fish the ability to know when it is night time and they can develop a sleep pattern.

However, you will find that bettas will also take naps during the day when there is light. You should give 8-12 hours of light and 12-16 hours of darkness for bettas to get an adequate amount of sleep and develop a sleep pattern.

Do Betta Fish Hibernate?

Betta fish do not hibernate, so if you see the loss of activity it could mean that your fish tank temperature is too low. Your tank should not fall below 76 degrees F due to your fish potentially going into temperature shock.

You should do whatever you can to get your heat up to the levels that are needed, due to temperature shock being extremely dangerous. This could severely impact your betta, if not result in death.

How Do You Ensure Your Betta Fish Sleeps Well?

Bettas are like humans and require an adequate amount of rest. It is a good idea to get your betta fish on a sleep pattern where they know when to go to bed.

Turn the lights off in your tank, and make sure there aren’t bright lights in the direct vicinity. If you see your betta sleeping, let it sleep. Do not tap on the tank to see if there is something wrong, due to them being motionless.

Make sure your tank is at the proper temperature, if it gets too cold you could be sending your betta into temperature shock. Each betta fish is different, so figure out your betta’s sleeping pattern. Are they active during the day, meaning they are getting enough rest at night?

Do they like taking naps during the day? Is their behavior consistent, or has something changed? If they are acting differently, start looking into what can be changed to help them.


As we can see, bettas do in fact sleep. They also happen to sleep in very odd positions, which can lead many to think that they are in fact dead. If you see your betta fish near the surface, at the bottom, motionless they could just be sleeping.

In order to save yourself from a scare every time you see this, you should turn off the tank light and surrounding lights when it is time for them to go to bed. This will help develop a sleep pattern where they can rest peacefully at night, and be active during the day. Do remember that each betta fish is different, some may like to take naps during the day as well.

When you need to look into why they are being inactive is when this is not a normal occurrence. This could be due to lights interrupting their sleep schedule or even a tank that has a temperature less than 76 degrees. Otherwise, let them sleep as needed.

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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