Do Betta Fish Get Lonely and Bored?

If you’ve welcomed a betta fish into your home, you are probably wondering if its life in the tank is as colorful as its fin. Since, we, humans are sociable by nature, you may worry that your fish may not be swimming happily in the betta fish tank all by itself. Do betta fish get lonely? Let’s find out by diving deeper into the social needs (if there is) of your betta fish.

do betta fish get lonely

Do Male Betta Fish Get Lonely?

Nope, your betta fish is not feeling lonesome in the fish tank. It may appear lonely, puttering around all by itself, but rest assured, your betta is not lonely.  If given a choice, it would prefer a solitary life in its betta fish tank. Colorful and elegant your fish may appear to be, male bettas are by nature aggressive and territorial.

In their natural habitat, the male bettas love the solitude. They do not mingle and prefer to stay in their territories all the time. In case they run to each other, it normally results in a betta fish fight, thus, they got the monicker of ‘fighting fish’.

And when we say fight, it means a real, nasty battle, with one of them ending floating lifelessly. This is the reason why you should not think of housing two male bettas in one betta fish tank.

Having said that, are you curious to know if the male bettas can distinguish other fish species and if yes, are they more tolerable and less aggressive towards them? Fortunately yes, your male betta can live with other fish species.

In case you want to give your pet a fish tank companion, we gladly share with you a list of the best tank mates for your male betta.

What Varieties of Fish Can Live With a Male Betta?

Having tackled the issue of ‘do betta fish get lonely or not’, here are some factors you have to think of when choosing a swimming companion for your male betta.

First, do not buy slow-moving fish species with large fins because your betta might mistake it for another betta fish. By now, you already know that male bettas hate their kind. Plus, slow-moving fish are at risk of getting attacked.

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Second, avoid getting the ones with bright-colored fins especially the red ones. This color signifies aggression in the animal kingdom.

Third, do not get those large and fin nipping fish because they may be the ones who’d harm your pet. Predatory fish species should also be avoided.

Instead, what you have to look for are the small shoaling fish that are not brightly colored, preferably in a group of five (5). This can prevent your male betta from bullying one of them as they are always grouped into a shoal. Here are some good examples of small shoaling fish:

  • Colombian Tetra
  • Green Neon Tetra
  • Dawn Tetra
  • Head and Tail Light Tetra
  • BlackLine Rasbora

Then, you can also add into the male betta fish tank the bottom dweller fish species such as the following:

  • Zebra Loach
  • Snowball Pleco
  • Candy Striped Pleco
  • Albino Cory
  • Bristle Nose Pleco

What if you own a female betta fish, is the temperament same as its male counterpart? Let’s see…

Do Female Betta Fish Get Lonely?

Though aggression still occurs, it is more likely that a female betta fish will get lonely.

Since it can get lonesome, can I have two (2) female bettas together? Absolutely yes, unlike the males, the female bettas are more tolerant of each other. They can co-exist peacefully with other females, provided that the hierarchy or social order has been established in the betta fish tank. This is called a sorority tank.

A sorority is a bunch of female bettas living together in one tank with each of them having their unique behaviors and territorial instinct.

Since their nature is not as aggressive as the males, the great news is that it is much easier for you to look for fish species that can co-exist with your female betta.

If you are planning on keeping more than one female betta, be sure to house them in a big betta sorority fish tank. This gives them enough space to swim around as well as hide in their personal space if they want to be alone.

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do betta fish get lonely

What Kinds of Fish Can Live With a Female Betta?

First, color is not an issue when it comes to selecting a tank mate. You can buy brightly colored fish without the fear of inciting aggression.

Second, quantity is a non-issue among female bettas. They are not as territorial, so you don’t have to worry about the problem of space invasion. If you like, you can even add in a slightly bigger fish species.

Ideally, what you have to look for are the fast-swimmers and shoaling species that are as peaceful and are not fin nippers such as:

  • Yoyo Loach
  • Clown Pleco
  • Panda Cory
  • Gold Tetra
  • Blue Tetra
  • Neon Tetra
  • Penguin Tetra
  • Mosquito Rasbora
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Guppies

How to Set-up a Sorority Tank?

You may want to know how they can be happier swimmers in the company of other female bettas and other species in a sorority tank.

BUT, heads-up, there are some instances when a female betta gets into an aggressive mode. This is why there are some steps to follow when planning on creating a sorority tank.

  • Get the right size of the sorority betta fish tank. It shouldn’t be smaller than ten (10) gallons. The females may not be as territorial, still, they require enough space to swim around and build their territories. Betta fish fights can occur if you house them in a small sorority tank.
  • The right number of fish is important. Ideally, there should be four (4) or more fish in the tank. In case you put less than four bettas, there is a chance that the weakest among them will be bullied that can result in death.

The right number of fish in a tank is six (6) for every ten (10) gallons of water.

  • Age matters. It is best to build a sorority tank using younger bettas because they are less aggressive.
  • Do not skip the proper introduction. You have to introduce the bettas one by one into the sorority tank. Do not place or introduce them all at once because this can only create damage to the ammonia cycle.
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What about boredom? Is it also different for both sexes? Let’s plunge deeper into what your betta might be feeling right now…

Do Betta Fish Get Bored?

Unlike other pets, bettas are solitary creatures. For as long as everything it needs is provided for, your betta fish should be one happy and content swimmer. Unlike you, it does need a lot of recreational activities to make it happy. However, it does not mean that it doesn’t get boring.

Signs of a Bored Betta Fish:

  • Lethargy

Although being lethargic could be a sign of a health problem, but if there’s nothing medically wrong with your fish, most likely it is boring.

  • Decreased Appetite

Your pet is a food lover. When it’s chow time, your betta should excitedly swim up to the surface for its meal. But, if it does not show any interest, any medical problems should be ruled out before you can say that loss of appetite is a sign of boredom.

  • Tail Nipping

If your betta has nothing interesting to do, it may turn its frustration or boredom to its beautiful and colorful tail. Your betta has teeth, so in case you fail to address this problem, tail nipping can damage its beautiful tail.

The boredom symptoms we mentioned above may be the same if your fish is either depressed or stressed.

Since anti-depressant meds for fish are not readily available, you might as well begin treatment for boredom rather than for depression. Plus, boredom is more common than depression. And, even if your betta is indeed going through a bout of depression, the way to manage boredom and depression is the same for betta fish.

How to Deal With Your Betta’s Boredom?

No worries, it doesn’t require magic to make your betta fish happy and entertained by following some of our tips below:

1. Redecorate the Fish Tank

To cheer up a bored betta fish, add, change, or even rearrange the decors in the fish tank. You do not have to spend a lot to make your fish happy. For example, if the fish tank has those leaf hammocks on the right corner of the fish tank, try moving it in the center. You’d be surprised how happy your fish would be with such a minor change.

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What about plants? These are mood changers. Good examples are the tall stem plants. These types of plants are naturally present in your betta’s natural habitat. That said, it’s no surprise that bettas enjoy weaving in and out of these plants.

2. Give it Live Food

Feeding your bored betta fish with something alive and moving will surely kick off its ‘adrenaline rush’. You can find these safe live worms, brine shrimps, and scuds in your local fish shop.

3. Take Time to Play With Your Betta

If you’ve got that extra time in your pocket, why not spend it with your betta fish? Simply run your fingers back and forth across the fish tank. As you do this, you’d see your fish follow your fingers. Such a simple activity and yet, it provides your pet that lovely time it wants from you.

4. Teach New Tricks

Do you think you can’t teach a fish some hilarious tricks? Then, you are wrong. Since betta fish can get bored, you may want to challenge it physically and mentally.

Want to teach it how to jump through a hoop? Create a hoop out of a piece of plastic. Now, you have to know the favorite food of your fish because you will use this as a bait. Hang the hoop in the tank and then place the bait a few spaces behind it. This will then encourage your fish to jump through the hoop to get its fave food.

As it becomes comfortable jumping through the hoop, you can eventually make it more challenging by hanging the hoop a bit higher.

5. The Mirror Trick

Did you know that you can use an ordinary mirror to stimulate a bored betta? This fish species react once they see their reflection. If it sees itself in the mirror, its spirit will liven up, encouraging it to flex its lethargic muscles and flare its fins.

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How Do You Know if Your Betta Fish Is Happy?

Now that you’ve done the things that can make your pet happy, the next question is how to determine if your efforts are appreciated by your small swimming pet. Here are some of the signs of a happy betta:

  • Is your betta eating heartily? As soon as you place its food into the fish tank, it will begin to eat because a happy betta has a hearty appetite.
  • Is your betta energetic? A happy betta should be swimming around its tank and in your presence, should be watching you as you move around the area.
  • If it’s a male betta you are caring for, building a bubble nest is a sure sign of a happy fish.


Final Thoughts…

Do betta fish get lonely? As you’ve seen, because of their solitary nature (especially the males), they may be loners but it does not mean they are lonely. Yes, the females can survive beautifully without companions but they can also thrive colorfully if placed in a sorority fish tank.

Though they are solitary creatures, boredom can also kick in if they do not have enough stimulation in their betta fish tank. There are simple things you can do to make your small pet happy and entertained in its ‘lonesome environment’.

Here are some betta fish tank ideas to solve the boredom of betta fish.

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