Are your Bettas bored? Do they have nothing to do but fight with other fish?
Then get them toys!
In this article, we will list some great toys for Betta fish that will keep them happy and occupied so they get along with your other fish.
Why Your Bettas Need Stimulation
It might seem natural to make your Betta the star of its own show in a tank by itself, with no plants, no decorations, and no other fish.
After all, Bettas are solitary fish in nature.
They don’t naturally pal around with other fish of their own kind.
But the difference between a solitary Betta in nature and a solitary Betta in a fish tank is that the Betta in nature has lots of stimulation.
Bettas are intelligent fish that navigate by landmarks like rocks, submerged plants, and driftwood to find the tiny insect and crustaceans they eat.
They are constantly fending off their own predators and from the time they will use their considerable intelligence to find a mate.
Best Toys Your Bettas Will Love
Here are some great selections that will make your Betta’s aquarium almost an amusement park for your fish.
Coconut Shell Cave
Half a coconut shell makes a great cave for your Betta to hide in.
In the wild, Bettas use overhangs and caves as places to rest, spawn, and hide from predators.
If you have male and female Bettas, they may use a coconut shell cave as their spawning ground.
But if you have just one Betta, they will use it for rest during the day and sleeping at night.
Driftwood isn’t just decorative. It is also a great place for your Betta to explore and hide.
Be sure to incorporate driftwood into your aquarium decor for double duty as decoration and toy.
Fish Training Kit
We weren’t kidding when we said Bettas are intelligent fish.
You can teach them to jump, swim through hoops, and play the fishy equivalent of Foosball.
Your friends will be amazed by the intelligence of your fish. Online you can find a fish training kit with an instructional DVD.
Your Betta doesn’t want to be in the spotlight all the time.
A floating log gives your Betta a place to hide, to enjoy contrasting bright and dim light, and a location for taking short naps.
Be sure your floating log has no sharp edges. You don’t want collisions with the log to harm your Betta’s beautiful fins.
A sinking log isn’t really just another piece of driftwood used to decorate your aquarium.
Sinking logs are usually made from plastic with a hollow interior to give your fish a place to hide and rest.
As with floating logs, it is important to choose units that are free from sharp edges that could damage your Betta’s fins.
Hammock (Leaf Pad)
Humans like to take naps. Bettas also occasionally snooze during the day and sleep when their lights are off at night.
A hammock gives your Betta a safe and secure place to sleep closer to the surface of the tank, where it can be sure it won’t miss feeding time.
Do you use a laser pointer to play with your cat? You can also use a laser pointer to get the attention of your Betta.
Just as you would not shine a laser pointer directly into the eyes of your cat, you shouldn’t shine a laser pointer directly into the eyes of your Betta.
Remember, fish don’t have eyelids they can close to protect their eyes from too-bright light.
But your Betta can have a great time chasing a laser light around the tank.
Male Bettas are energized by mirrors. They will put on a display of aggression to ward off the male Betta they think they see in the mirror.
It’s important not to make a mirror a permanent fixture in your Betta tank.
Using the mirror from the side of the tank for up to five minutes at a time, no more often than once a day, will definitely wake up a male Betta.
A moss ball is a ball of live moss that floats in your aquarium.
It is soft enough that it won’t damage your Betta, but sturdy enough that it stands up to poking and probing, and investigation.
As a living thing, the moss ball is constantly changing and can capture your Betta’s attention.
Moss balls also provide oxygen to the tank and improve water quality.
Ping Pong Ball
Bettas hunt for food at the surface of the water.
Ping pong balls float, so Bettas will instinctively swim up to surface of their tank to check ping pong balls out.
Dip the ping pong ball in boiling hot water before you place it in the tank to sterilize it.
Don’t use soap or antiseptic to sterilize the ball.
Plants give your Bettas a place to hide, play, and explore.
Live plants are especially useful because they provide oxygen and take up nitrates and ammonia, improving water quality.
But you can create an attractive aquascape with silk plants, too.
Clamshells make an ideal hiding place for Bettas.
If you place the fake clamshell on its side, your Betta has a protective hideout with a great view of its surroundings.
But don’t use real clamshells you find on the beach. Always use resin or fake clamshells in your Betta tank.
Real clamshells can leach calcium that raises the pH of the water in your aquarium to unhealthy levels.
Teaching Your Betta to Jump
Jumping comes naturally to Bettas.
They can jump from puddle to puddle to survive during the dry season, and they can jump away from predators.
You can teach your Betta to jump by feeding them from your finger.
Take the cover off your aquarium, place a piece of frozen Betta food on your finger tip, and hold your finger just above the water at the beginning of feeding time.
If you do this often enough, eventually your Bettas will jump whenever the cover is off their tank and you give them their cue by holding your finger (with or without food) above their tank.
Bettas have tiny teeth that can’t injure you. (Don’t try this trick if you have other residents in your aquarium with larger teeth.)
The only precaution you need to keep in mind when you are teaching your Betta to jump is to keep the cover on their aquarium when you are not there.
You wouldn’t want your Betta to spot a housefly and jump out of the tank. Don’t give your Betta a chance to go solo with this trick.
Terracotta pots are a great way to protect aquarium plants from bottom-dwelling fish like catfish.
You can also choose terracotta pots with features your Bettas will enjoy exploring higher in the water.
How You Can Tell Your Betta Is Bored
If you enjoy your Bettas, you will observe them just about every day. Some Bettas are naturally lethargic.
Other Bettas are always hyper. It’s when your Betta buddy’s behavior changes that there is a problem.
Symptoms of Betta boredom include:
- Poor appetite. Bettas tend to be involuntary eaters. If they detect food, they will eat it. In the wild, this instinct protects them from frustration. Loss of appetite means your Betta is sick, or is in serious need of stimulation.
- Lethargy. Lethargy and poor appetite tend to go together. When your Betta is sick and doesn’t want to eat, lethargy naturally follows. But sometimes the problem is a lack of stimulation in your Betta’s environment.
- Tail biting. Bettas use their tiny upturned teeth to grab insects floating on the surface of the water above them. Biting to feed is a natural behavior for Bettas. When they don’t have anything else to do, sometimes they will bite at their own tails. Tail bites not only affect the beauty of your fish, they leave it susceptible to parasites and bacterial infection.
Basic Steps for Preventing Betta Boredom
Even before you buy toys for your Betta, there are some basic steps you can take to provide your Betta with a healthy environment.
One of the most basic steps in setting up a Betta’s aquarium is to add live plants. They oxygenate the water.
They use fish waste as fertilizer, lowering nitrite and ammonia level and improving water quality.
They beautify the tank. And they give your Betta places to explore.
Another step in setting up your Betta’s aquarium is adding hideouts.
Chances are that you aren’t going to put your Betta in a tank with other fish that could actually do it harm.
With Bettas, the threat to tank mates is usually the other way around. But Bettas instinctively seek hiding places.
Your Betta will be happier with a place to hide that it doesn’t have to share with other fish.
You can make feeding a frenzy by giving your Bettas occasional treats of live mealworms, water fleas (Daphnia), or mosquito larvae.
You can even play with your Bettas and teach them tricks.
But for all those times you aren’t there, the best antidote for Betta boredom is a collection of Betta toys.
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