Have you ever wondered whether or not your betta ever sleeps? This is not a silly question, and it's one that many betta enthusiasts have asked at one point or another. In fact, the answer may actually surprise you.
All Fish Need Sleep
Fish may not tuck themselves into bed at night, but they all sleep at one point or another. Fish that are primarily active at night sleep during the day. Fish like bettas that are mainly active during the day do most of their sleeping at night.
The question still remains whether bettas experience sleep in exactly the same way that people do. After all, they can't close their eyes because they have no lids. So it's not immediately apparent what they are up to. Do they fully loose consciousness like people do? Perhaps not since they are very territorial and on constant guard against interlopers, even if they are the only fish in their tanks. Still, they do appear to take time out to rest, and this is the equivalent of sleep for humans.
How to Tell When Your Betta Is Sleeping
Now that you know bettas actually do sleep, you may wonder how to tell when they're doing it. You can assume a betta will take the opportunity to get some real rest anytime his environment goes dark, This typically happens when you shut off his tank light for the evening. After a short time, he'll find a comfortable spot to rest and basically become inactive for a while until something startles him or the light returns.
Bettas sometimes take short naps during the day. If you've ever noticed your pet lying on the bottom of his tank doing nothing in particular, he could be asleep. In other cases, your fish may hang motionless at the top of his tank while he rests. Some people panic when they find their betta in either state because they think their pet has died, and indeed, there is not a lot of difference in the way a sleeping betta and a dead betta look. Thankfully, the fish is simply asleep in most instances.
Bettas also take infrequent naps during the day. You may notice your fish resting at the base of a plant, or perhaps he's even resting amongst the leaves. Bettas like to find a secure place to rest when they can, so they'll scout out spots beneath or inside tank ornaments, behind filters and any place else that makes them feel safe from harm. You can create ideal sleeping spots by adding a bushy plant, either real or a soft, artificial aquarium plant, or by leaning a piece of shale against the side of the tank.
Let Your Fish Have His Rest
It's important for all living creatures to rest, so resist the urge to tap on your betta's tank to check if he's still alive when you find him lying still someplace. Chances are good he's only sleeping, and he'll wake up shortly and begin exploring his environment all over again.