Does the Betta Fish get depressed? (+5 tips)

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Page last updated: 19/09/2022

In this article, it will be discussed if the Betta fish can get depressed. Besides that, the article will disclose warning signs one should be aware of to observe if their fish is depressed and ways to notice their well-being.

What is the Betta Fish?

The Betta fish, also known as the siamese fighting fish is a fish originally from Southeast Asia and usually found in freshwater places. They are a popular line of fish to be made as pets, being one of the most common aquarium fish in the world.

They usually attract people to get them because of how colorful they are and of how low maintenance they can be. They have been domesticated for a long time, and at first, in Thailand, they were used as battling fish, for beating purposes, in similar ways as people do cockfights.

In that, two male Betta fishes were put together in the same tank, and people would bet on who would win. The battle between them would consist of fin nipping, flared gills, and extended fins.

The Betta fish are highly territorial, the males tend to attack each other when living in the same tank. Because they won’t have a way to escape, it can lead to the death of one or both fishes. Female Bettas can also be extremely territorial.

Although they behave like that, they can live well with other fishes, it just requires the owner to have a bigger aquarium, and then the Betta will establish his territory in it.

As said before, the Betta fish is a low-maintenance fish. They can tolerate low levels of oxygen, meaning they can stand water not so clean.

Does the Betta Fish get depressed?

Yes, the Betta fish can get depressed. Many things can cause a Betta fish to become depressed. Now let’s take a look at what can cause them to feel depressed.

Signs your Betta Fish is depressed

Your Betta fish might indicate it is depressed through many symptoms, now we will discuss what are those warning signs.

Change in their eating habits

When your Betta Fish is depressed he won’t eat as much as he did before. Betta fish usually eat every time food is put out for them. But if you start putting in some food and you realize he is not coming up to take it right away, it can be a sign that they are depressed.

The change in their appetite can also make them lose weight, so that is another way their owner can realize that they might be depressed; it will also leave a lot more food waste in their tank, so that is another way to see your Betta fish has changed its eating habits.

Less energetic behavior

Betta fish are usually swimming around the tank only stopping at a leaf to take some rest. If your fish is depressed you might notice that he won’t be as active as before. They tend to sit in one place, and if he moves it won’t be too far.

To an outside looker, it may seem as if he is just floating around for a long period. It will seem to you like he never moves.

Does the Betta Fish get depressed? (+5 tips)

He doesn’t care when you are around

Bettas usually move as their owners do when they are close to the tank. You may see that when you are around the tank or go feeding them. They will go to the surface or move from side to side as you move.

But when your Betta fish is depressed, they won’t move, they tend to not pay any attention to you.

Their color change

Betta fish are usually known for how colorful they are. But when they are depressed, their color tends to fade, it won’t be as vibrant as it was before. It might also happen that some stripes appear across them, those are stress stripes.

Becoming aggressive

You can see your Betta fish are becoming depressed if they become aggressive. If they are sharing a tank with other fishes, they might start attacking them. 

One might also notice that they are flaring regularly if they are depressed, this can cause their body to become stressed and make their immune system weaker.

What can make your Betta Fish happy

There are some things one can pay attention to be sure their Betta fish is happy. 

But for them in a big tank

Having enough space to swim is one of the best ways to make your Betta happy, they should be in a fish tank that is, at least, 5 gallons big.

Decorate their tank

So your Betta fish is happy, you should put leaves, caves, and many ornaments in the tank. This will keep them entertained, it will give them a lot of things to explore. Tunnels and caves are their favorite places to hide, so make sure you put a lot of them in.

Having plants will also make their tank resemble their natural environment. Although it might not be practical to have natural plants in the tank, you can add silk plants to it.

Rearrange their take

In time, it is important to change the disposition of the thing in their tank. This will give them a whole new place to explore, which will make them excited and not let them get bored about their day-to-day.

You can also change the disposition of the things around the tank, so they can observe the outside in a different configuration as well. A happy Betta will be a natural explorer, so try to keep him as motivated as possible.

Introduce them to other tank mates

Bringing other fish to the tank might be a good way to make them excited. Although they are solitary fish, they can relate to fishes that aren’t as dominant as they are.

So look for other brands of fish that won’t compete with your Betta for the domination of the tank, you might be safe.

Give them good quality food

When the Betta is not well nourished, they can get depressed. So try and also give them food that will fill all of their nutritional needs. Remember that when they are happy, they will have a great appetite.

Interact with your Betta

Try to interact often with your Betta. You can do that by putting your finger right above the tank, waiting for him to move to it. Aside from that, you can move in front of the tank and see if he moves following you.

Remember that a depressed Betta won’t move, so if he is following you, it is a sign that he is happy.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ): Can Betta fish get depressed?

Why do Betta fish get depressed?

Betta fish can get depressed usually because of the lack of stimulation. With that said, it is extremely important to establish a frequent stimulation of your Betta fish. It can be by changing his environment, by playing with them, or by keeping them around other fish in the tank.

Is my Betta fish lazy?

If your Betta fish is laying around, and you just got them, it might be that he is just getting used to his new environment. Sometimes it can also be that they are just resting. 

But normally, once they have adjusted to the tank, they are usually very active. One thing one should check if they think their Betta is lazy is if the water temperature is warm enough, if it doesn’t contain nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite in it, and if the ph levels are okay.

But be aware if they continue, after a couple of days, in this low-energy way. It might be a sign your Betta fish is depressed.

How can I save my dying Betta fish?

If you notice your Betta fish is looking for air in the bottom or on the surface of the tank, if their color is turning pale, their eyes are unresponsive and their gills are fanning, they might be in a critical condition.

Sometimes Bettas can be extremely ill and the person won’t notice since they tend to hide when they are not well. They can develop viral illnesses, or have some hereditary condition. Instead of just medicating your Betta right away, try putting him in quarantine and see if he stops gasping for air and starts eating better.

If you feel unsure, try to find a Vet that is fish-certified, then can give you a professional orientation on how to treat them, and what to give them if they need to be medicated.

Can I put a mirror in front of my Betta fish tank?

You can put a mirror in front of your Betta tank, but just be aware of the amount of time you will leave it there. During some periods, having the mirror in front of them can cause them to be stressed, but it is good stress. It will keep them energetic and entertaining. It will let them explore their natural aggressiveness, as they can go on chasing the image in the mirror.

But if you put the mirror on for a prolonged period, it might make him agitated to the point that he might become manic or exhausted, and this may harm them. Since they will be in constant attack mode.

Why is my Betta fish hiding in the cave?

A reason that your Betta fish might be hiding in their cage is that they are unhappy or that they might be sick. They are not a type of fish that stays only in one place. So if you notice that your Betta fish is not moving around, it might be time to consider that he might be depressed and try the strategies to make him happy.

If that still doesn’t fix his mood, it might be a good time to look for a Ver with a fish certificate that can help you understand what illness your fish has and how it can be treated. If it is only a situation where cleaning the tank, and putting him in quarantine will work, or if it might be a moment to consider giving him some medication.

Remember that Betta fish hide their symptoms when they are sick until they are in serious condition. So be aware of how he is behaving on a regular day, so you are not caught off guard by it.

Conclusion

In this article, it was shown that the Betta Fish can get depressed. The article also revealed what can cause them to feel sad, signs to identify it and how to deal with it. The article also disclosed ways one can identify that their Betta Fish is happy.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.

References

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/science/depressed-fish.html