How Long Do Betta Fish Sleep? Sleep Pattern & Oversleeping

Many new betta owners wonder about how long betta fish sleeps and their sleep patterns.

Your bettas need to sleep for at least 12 to 16 hours. This means you should provide your fish with 12 hours of daylight and 16 hours of darkness.

It is worth noting that their sleep patterns are a bit different than humans. For starters, betta fish are very light sleepers.

They’re always vigilant and on guard from would-be predators. Moreover, bettas are also worried about losing their territory to another fish.

These are just some of the reasons why betta fish get spooked so easily.

In modern days, most bettas live in captivity in a safe and healthy aquarium. This doesn’t mean they’re heavy sleepers. Bettas still prefer to sleep light.

The Sleep Pattern of Betta Fish

Their sleep patterns are very similar to humans. They are active during the day and sleep at night.

This is part of the reason why bettas are so popular.

Pro tip: Just like humans, lazy bettas like to sleep during the day.

This unusual sleeping pattern may also sometimes become a cause of concern for beginner betta owners.

Why isn’t your betta moving? Is it usual for bettas to sleep this long? How is it possible for bettas to sleep without making a single movement? All logical reason points out the obvious: it’s dead, right?

In our defense, the lack of eyelids makes it harder to tell if they’re alive.

This brings us to the next point…

How to Tell if Bettas Asleep?

You can tell that your betta is alive and sleeping by looking at their face.

Check if It’s breathing

Like humans, bettas need to breathe in their sleep. They don’t just stop breathing when sleeping.

So if your betta doesn’t appear to breathe, it’s probably dead. Take another close look at its mouth and gills.

You’ll notice that your betta is actively drawing in water through its mouth.

In the same vein, the betta is drawing water out through its gills.

It is normal for the mouth and gill movement of sleeping bettas to be slow. This is normal because bettas consume less oxygen when they’re asleep.

Slight Color Change When Betta Sleeps

Also, you might notice a slight color change when your betta is asleep.

This isn’t an indication of illness – your betta is just sleeping.

Most fish, including bettas, are known to lose their vibrant patterns when asleep. This is a self-defense mechanism that makes the betta less visible to predators.

Everything has to be about survival and self-preservation – these are fragile creatures after all!

It is worth noting that healthy bettas should recover their colors after waking up.

If your betta’s color does not darken and become richer, it’s probably unhealthy.

Betta’s Sleeping Position

Another clue that your betta is asleep is its position.

Bettas often sleep vertically with their head pointing toward the bottom of the tank.

Their fins may or may not be open during this.

The sight of a vertical betta – still and motionless – is a scary sight indeed. But it’s nothing to worry about.

Take a step back, compose yourself, and look for signs that it’s still breathing.

Do not turn the lights on, tap on the glass, or poke the betta.

No one likes being poked at when they’re asleep!

If you’re still clueless about your betta’s sleeping patterns, check-in during feeding time. If there’s one thing that bettas absolutely love, it’s their feeding frenzy.

Most bettas almost never skip meal-time.

Where And How Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish sleeps in different positions and at different spots.

Look for the following signs and symptoms to confirm if your betta fish is sleeping or not.

Lying Sideways

One thing that scares every new betta fish owner is seeing their betta fish lying sideways.

It is an unusual behavior that could indicate a serious illness or disease. However, sometimes it is not as critical as it appears to be.

If you see your betta fish laying sideways for a while, especially during the night, it’s not a cause for concern.

This means that your betta is sleeping. Make sure to check their gills and mouth to confirm this.

If you notice that your betta is sideways for a prolonged time, consult your vet immediately.

This is one of the symptoms of swim bladder disease that could often be confused with sleep. Keep an eye out at your betta from time to time and observe their behavior.

Staying Near The Bottom Of The Tank

Apart from sleeping sideways, betta fish can also be found at the bottom of the tank. Sleeping near the tank’s bottom is more common than any other position.

Your betta could be sleeping at the bottom of the tank for various reasons.

One prominent reason bettas choose this position is because of the filter’s current. When the filter current is too strong, bettas are forced to come to the bottom so they can sleep peacefully.

Another common reason your betta prefers sleeping at the bottom of the tank is the water temperature.

If the water is too hot or too cold, bettas will look for a neutral spot to rest in.

Resting On Leaves

Some betta fish like to keep themselves close to nature while they sleep.

Hence you will find them lying on top or leaning against a live plant in the tank. Plants provide support to bettas and make them feel comfortable.

You will usually find your betta fish sleeping near live plants like algae or anubias.

If you do not have live plants in your tank, you can also get a leaf hammock for your betta. It’s highly recommended to ensure your betta sleeps peacefully.

Other Betta Fish Sleeping Positions and Spots

Not all bettas are alike, especially when it comes to their sleeping positions. You may notice peculiar and odd sleeping patterns in your betta, but it is nothing to worry about.

As long as your betta is not lying still for longer periods, they are doing absolutely fine.

Apart from laying sideways or near the tank’s bottom, some bettas prefer sleeping in a vertical position.

If you find your betta lying still in a vertical position, chances are that they are in a slumber. It would be best if you observed their gills and mouth to confirm this.

In addition to this, some bettas do not feel comfortable sleeping out in the open.

They usually look for places to hide so they can sleep peacefully and comfortably. You will usually find such bettas hiding between plants, toys, or decorations inside the tank.

Moreover, some bettas require external support to sleep comfortably. If you find your betta nestling between leaves or in the middle of two pebbles, this indicates they are busy taking a nap.

However, your betta fish may prefer to sleep; it is completely safe and healthy. You only need to observe their sleeping position and timings to understand them better.

If you notice any unusual behavior in your betta’s sleeping routine, it could be indicating a more serious issue. Immediately consult your vet in such cases.

Tips To Ensure Your Betta Fish Sleeps Well

Betta fish are known as cheerful and playful aquatic pets. To ensure your betta fish lives up to their reputation, make sure they are well-rested.

Let’s take a look at a few helpful tips and tricks that could help your bettas get the beauty sleep they need.

Turn Off the Lights at Night

Most betta fish prefer sleeping during the night and in complete darkness.

Considering that bettas do not have eyelids, sleeping in a brightly lit tank is not something they prefer. So, when the sun comes down, you need to tone down on the brightness too.

Turn off all the lights in the fish tank to ensure your betta fish can sleep peacefully. This also helps maintain a proper sleeping schedule for your bettas and keeps their health in check.

Provide Shade for Daytime

Apart from sleeping during the day, betta fish also prefer taking a few naps during the daytime.

To make sure that they can sleep comfortably during the day, most betta fish need shade. As a betta fish owner, you can easily provide enough shaded spots for your betta to doze off on.

First of all, you can pick a dimly lit area for a betta fish tank away from direct sunlight. This would make it easier for you to draw the curtains and make a cozy environment for your betta’s daily nap.

Secondly, you can use plants to provide shade for your betta.

Tall plants or floating plants work are ideal for blocking out all the bright light that your betta is trying to avoid. Just make sure the plants you choose are betta-fish friendly and safe for them.

Last but not least, you could use decoration items to provide shaded spots in the tank. Items like tunnels or bridges work as perfect confiding spots for your betta to sleep on.

Provide Resting Spots for Your Betta

All bettas have different preferences and choices when it comes to how they sleep. Some bettas like to sleep in a floating position, while some prefer physical support.

Experts recommend you provide multiple sleeping options for your bettas so they could choose one according to their liking.

You can plan resting spots or beds for them near the bottom of the tank or fill up your tank with appropriate decorations. This way, your betta can pick and choose their favorite sleeping spot. Or they could switch to a new one once they get bored of their current resting place.

Add a Betta Hammock to Your Tank

Since most betta fish are looking for a comfortable and homely spot to sleep on, betta hammocks are perfect for this purpose.

Betta hammocks are a special kind of decor item you can attach to the tank with the help of suction cups.

Betta hammocks are usually flat in shape or the shape of a leaf, and they provide a resting spot for betta fish.

You can also find other shaped hammocks in the market. However, leaf-shaped hammocks are the most popular ones.

Why Is My Betta Fish Oversleeping?

Betta fish are full of personality and love to explore their surroundings. They are especially active during the day and often interact with their tank mates.

With that said, it’s not usual for bettas to sleep during the day.

If you notice this happening too often, something might be disrupting their sleep patterns.

Here are a few reasons why your betta fish may be oversleeping. 

Temperature Changes

Bettas require a very specific temperature range for survivability.

If the water is too cold, they’ll go into temperature shock. In some cases, their metabolism may slow down.

This means they are much less active than they should be.

So how can you tell if your water’s temperature is too low? Check to see if the temp is under 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

This means your betta is too cold and needs warmer water.

Start by increasing the temperature gradually. Do not suddenly heat up the tank because it will only make things worse.

Slowly increase the temperature in small increments over an hour.

This will create the perfect conditions for your betta to regain its lost energy.

Pro tip: Use a heater to regulate the temperature at a constant 77 degrees.

Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the tank.

Low Light Conditions in the Tank

Bettas use light intensity as a cue for when to wake up and sleep.

They prefer to sleep in darker environments and become more active in the morning.

This explains why your betta is oversleeping: you’re keeping the lights dim for too long.

Therefore, your betta assumes it’s time to sleep.

Your Betta Fish is Bored

Betta fish are extremely intelligent creatures and have their own personality.

In fact, they can recognize their owners and become responsive in close proximity to them.

This means that bettas require plenty of physical and mental stimulation – just like humans.

Otherwise, they’ll simply get bored. What do most humans do when they get bored? They often turn to sleep.

Therefore, if you want your betta to be more active, provide them with more stimulants.

Include plenty of decorations in your betta fish’s tank. Include lots of plants and toys for betta to explore.

Pro-tip #1: Don’t use mirrors for bettas because they get spooked. Unfortunately, Bettas aren’t smart enough to tell the difference between a rival male and reflections. This will cause your betta to flare their fins to intimidate the ‘rival male’. While this may look really impressive, doing so stresses out your betta. Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems in betta fish.

Pro-tip #2: You shouldn’t keep two betta males in the same tank. But you can introduce peaceful tank mates to keep your betta company. Start with small Gouramis and Corydoras catfish.

Your Betta is Sick

Oversleeping may be an indication of illness.

If everything in your tank is fine but your betta sleeps a lot, it’s sick.

The same applies to hiding out for several days without resurfacing. Combine this behavior with an erratic swimming pattern, and you know your betta is ill.

Now would be the perfect time to look for any obvious indicators of illness, Look for white spots, white growths, lumps, and bumps on the skin.

Any of these could indicate the presence of infections and disease.

Bettas often get constipated if you overfeed them.

They’re not very responsible with their eating habits and will easily overeat. This means it’s up to you to provide them with a balanced diet.

Constipated bettas often rest on the tank bottom or on their keel. If this happens, do not feed them for 24 hours.

Then offer them bloodworms to restore their energy levels.

Is Your Betta Getting Too Old?

If your Betta is reaching the end of its life, it will sleep more often. Older betta fish need to have their rest as and when they need it.

The average life span of betta fish is around 4 years.

This process is gradual and doesn’t happen overnight. In most cases, you’ll probably not even notice.

Your Betta is Too Lazy

It isn’t uncommon for bettas to sleep out of sheer laziness.

Your best bet is to provide them with entertainment and hope they’ll become more active.

If nothing else, at least make sure your betta fish exercises more often.

This is because betta fish are prone to obesity, a precursor to various illnesses.

Wrapping Up

Bettas that get a good night’s sleep are healthier and happier.

You can improve their sleep pattern by doing a few things.

Start by providing them with more darkness at night. Ensure that the lights are turned off come nighttime.

And always remember, do not wake your sleeping betta.

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