How Do Bettas Sleep? [How Do You Know They Are Sleeping?]

Image of a sleeping betta

Bettas sleep in various positions. Some bettas sleep vertically, while others sleep under the plants, on top of the ornaments, in the substrate, or in caves. Bettas remain still while sleeping with their eyes open due to the absence of eyelids. However, they’re alert to any threats while sleeping.

Let’s learn more about the sleeping patterns of bettas.

How And Where Do Bettas Sleep?

Bettas follow the same circadian rhythm that humans follow. They sleep at night and are active during the day.

However, their sleep is different from that of human sleep. They are more in a resting state than in a deep sleep like humans.

While sleeping, bettas become still. Their eyes are open due to the absence of eyelids, but there’s no eye movement.

Some bettas even sleep with their fins open.

Bettas are also usually alert to danger while sleeping and react quickly to any threats.

There’s no specific place where bettas like to sleep.

They can sleep anywhere in the tank as long as they feel safe and comfortable.

Some bettas prefer sleeping at the bottom of the tank, while others can sleep afloat in the tank.

Some bettas even look out for hiding places while sleeping.

They may sleep wedged behind the heater, squeezed between the filter, head buried in the gravel, under plants leaves, top of the ornaments, or even in caves or rocks.

How Long Do Bettas Sleep?

Bettas need adequate sleep to rejuvenate their bodies. They sleep for around 10 to 12 hours daily.

Being diurnal, they sleep at night and are active during the day.

However, bettas do take infrequent naps during the day as well. You can notice your bettas taking short naps during the day.

Also, each fish is different from the others.

So you can see some bettas sleeping frequently, while others are sleeping less and being more active.

You don’t have to worry much about how many hours bettas sleep.

They will be healthy as long as they’re active and have their meals properly, even though their sleeping hours vary.

How Do You Know Your Bettas Are Sleeping?

Most experienced aquarists know when their fish are sleeping.

However, it’s difficult for new aquarists to know if their fish are awake or asleep.

When we talk about bettas, they are usually active throughout the day, except when they take short naps.

So if you notice your bettas laying still without any movement, you can say that they are resting.

Given below are some telltale signs of sleeping bettas:

  • The best way to determine whether bettas are asleep is by noticing their gills. While sleeping, their whole body will be pretty motionless. However, their gills and mouth will move slowly as they breathe in and out.
  • Bettas will not respond to external stimuli. For example, if you put any food inside the tank, they won’t react as they usually do when awake.
  • Another way to determine is by tracking their sleep schedule. If you find that your bettas are stationary for a prolonged period, especially during the night, then they are sleeping.
  • Bettas are usually top or mid-level swimmers. So they are likely resting if you notice them laying at the bottom of the tank in the substrate or under the plant leaves.
  • Also, bettas will not get affected by the current while sleeping. They will be seen floating at the same place.
  • Lastly, some aquarists have noticed that their bettas appear to lose some color when they sleep. However, this is not true for all bettas.

If you find your bettas sleeping, it’s better not to disturb them.

Interrupting their sleep may lead to stress and other health-related issues.

How To Put Bettas To Sleep?

Sleep is very crucial for the healthy development of bettas.

So you must provide a suitable environment for them to rest and sleep.

Given below are some ways to ensure that bettas get sound sleep.

1. Create a day and night cycle.

Bettas follow the same circadian rhythm as humans. They sleep at night when the sun sets and are awake when the sun rises.

So it’s essential that your bettas get a consistent day and night cycle for sound sleep. For that, you can install a light timer.

Adjustable timers are the best option as they provide convenience and flexibility and can be set up manually or automatically.

Bettas will automatically sleep when the lights are off. It also helps to set their sleep-wake cycles.

2. Provide ample resting place.

Resting betta

Resting places make bettas feel secure as they can sleep without any fear.

So you should provide ample resting place for bettas to get adequate rest.

Decorations such as rocks, caves, bridges, tunnels, plants, etc., offer a relaxing spot for the bettas to sleep in darkness.

Providing a safe place to rest also helps to calm the sick fish.

3. Avoid loud noise.

Bettas need a calm environment to sleep.

So it’s advisable to maintain silence at night to ensure the bettas get sound sleep.

Also, you should avoid moving around the tank while bettas are asleep.

If you have a TV near the tank, you should keep the volume low so that their sleep doesn’t get disrupted.

4. Place the tank at a suitable place.

The aquarium’s location also plays a vital role in providing sound sleep to bettas.

You should always place the aquarium in a shady location.

Since bettas take naps during the day, they must get shade. Direct sunlight can disrupt their sleep.

Besides, exposure to direct sunlight for a prolonged duration can raise the water temperature.

To avoid these issues, you can have tall and floating plants that are safe for bettas to block the harsh light.

5. Manage other pets.

Many aquarists keep other pets such as dogs and cats in addition to a fish tank.

Having other pets can sometimes intervene in the bettas’ sleep.

Bettas can get disturbed if the other pets howl, especially at night. However, this shouldn’t stop you from keeping other pets.

You just need to ensure that they are kept away from the aquarium. You can do it by providing proper space to the other pets.

6. Keep compatible tankmates.

Keeping compatible tankmates is another way to ensure that the bettas get adequate sleep.

In the case of a community tank, it’s important that all the tankmates get along with each other.

For example, housing bettas and cichlids together can be stressful to bettas.

Bettas have long and flowing fins. An aggressive cichlid can harass the bettas by tearing or nipping their fins.

Bettas won’t be able to sleep peacefully in the presence of cichlids. They will be in constant fear of getting bullied.

7. Maintain favorable tank conditions.

Maintaining favorable tank conditions is another way to ensure that your bettas get adequate sleep.

It’s crucial that they get an environment that best replicates their natural habitat.

You can maintain the water quality, feed a balanced diet, maintain favorable water parameters, and house compatible tankmates that help bettas relax and sleep better.

Such a conducive environment reduces the chances of your bettas waking up from sleep.

Related Questions

Do bettas need darkness to sleep?

Yes, bettas need darkness to sleep. It’s vital to switch off the light at night for them to get adequate rest.

However, bettas take short naps during the day, even if there’s light in the room.

Do bettas sleep upside down?

Bettas usually don’t sleep upside down. However, they may sleep upside down if they’re suffering from swim bladder disease.

If they are sleeping upside down immediately after the water change, it can be due to temperature shock.

It’s crucial to take timely action if you notice bettas sleeping this way.

Do bettas sleep on their sides?

Bettas can sleep on their sides for some time.

However, it’s a matter of concern if you notice them sleeping on their side for a longer duration.

Bettas usually sleep on their sides due to ammonia issues, constipation, temperature shock, or when they’re suffering from swim bladder disease.

Swim bladder disease affects bettas’ buoyancy, and so they face trouble staying upright while sleeping.

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