Pet Sort-Out


Why Does My Betta Fish Stare At Me?

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Bettas are beautiful Siamese fighting fishes that are adored by pet fish lovers all over the world. Originating from the South-Asian freshwaters, bettas are loved for their beautiful plethora of colors. These freshwater pets are known for their genuine bond with their owners as well.

So now, if you too are a Betta fish owner and your question is why does your betta often stare at you then, I would like to clarify that: Betta fishes often stare at their owner because of various reasons typical of their nature. Most pet fish owners exclaim that bettas communicate by staring at us, they think of us as feeders or they simply enjoy watching moving items outside the fish tank

No matter whatever the reason is, a Betta fish staring makes pet owners worry with unnecessary intimidation. These freshwater beauties will also often pace at the glass wall of the fish tank with all force and make you worry. 

In this article, we will discuss every detail about the betta fish staring and find answers to why and how to stop the same. I encourage you to have a thorough reading!

Primary Interaction With A New Betta Fish

Bettas are curious fishes who always keep looking and try to explore the world outside the tank. If you are a first-time pet Betta parent, simply observing your new little pet will reveal a lot about their curious and bonding nature.

It is important to keep bettas in active places so that you can often interact with them and establish a sweet bond. Though they are fresh-water pets, Bettas easily bond with their human parents. 

Your primary interaction with Betta fishes is crucial as it will set the course of your future interaction and bonding. Here are some tips to help you in the process of primary interaction.

  • In the first few days of bringing a betta fish home, place the water tank in an area where your fresh-water pet can see you all the time. 
  • Try engaging with your fish pet in a friendly or fun conversation and try playing along with your finger movements on the outer surface of your fish tank.
  • Feed your new Betta fish with nutritious fish pellets to keep them healthy and active.
  • You may also try adding her fish tank accessories to help them be active and stimulate their curiosity.

Once you try these basic pet fish care and interactions initially. You will observe how much your beautiful pet friend is loving you and following your interactions properly. You may call it initial betta fish training and for fish pet parents it is a beautiful process to experience all in all. 

Why Does Betta Fish Stare At People And Owners?

The striking and shining colors of the fins and tails of Betta fishes add to the aesthetic feels of bedrooms, office rooms, and other aesthetically designed spaces. Most Betta parents adopt them also because they are hardy and do not require much attention and care. 

Betta fishes are curious and friendly simply by nature. They love to bond, play, and engage in fun activities with their owners (more specifically with their feeders). Scientific reports and experiments have explained this along with their habit of staring. [Source: ScienceAsia]

Reports say that Betta fishes have sharp memories and they recognize the face of their feeders. If you are someone who feeds and interacts with them frequently, Betta fishes will swim along and stare at you from inside the tank. 

However, the staring habits of Betta fishes make many parents feel low-key paranoid. If you are one of these parents, we suggest understanding your pet fish from a fresh point of view. 

They get curious about further interaction. You will also act as their visual stimulators sometimes. Pet Betta fishes also associate their feeders with delicious food and thus keep surfacing along with the glass tank when you are around.

Below listed are some reasons why Betta fishes keep staring at their people and owners:

  • Seeing self-reflection on the glass tank

Finding their roots from the family of fighter fishes, Bettas are extremely territorial and hate unwanted tank mates. Seeing their reflection on the tank wall can flare them up to scare away their competitors. However, this situation turns stressful as in this case, the reflection of your Betta does not vanish. To be specific, the competitor does not leave the territorial ground. 

If you find your Betta baby constantly pacing up and down in the aquarium and flaring often, It can be because of their reflection. Glass surfacing or what we identify as constant staring is common because of this same reason.

  • Unclean water content in the fish tank

Bettas are freshwater fishes from southern Asia. They love to stay in clean and healthy water free from any harmful chemicals. If the water in your tank remains unclean for long, it causes ammonia buildup. Ammonia causes stress in Bettas and they surface more and more. This phenomenon is often interpreted by Betta’s parents as constant staring. 

This can be true in some cases, as these smart fishes try to communicate and convey the stressful situation. It is also important to control the water temperature. A temperature ranging from 78 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is best suited for colorful freshwater pets. 

Overfeeding your pet fish can also result in unclean tank water and make your Betta ill.

  • Incompatible tank mates

Bettas make great fish pets and bond well with their human parents, unlike any other water animal kept along with them in the same fish tank. As mentioned earlier Bettas are both aggressive and territorial. Keeping a Betta with any other fish may make them stress the other pet fish to death. 

Bettas are also slow swimmers. If you plan to keep your Betta baby with a comparatively fast-paced fish, chances are they can be killed! Bettas need space to grow and just live a mentally and physically healthy fulfilling life. Most pet fish parents recommend that Bettas are better off alone in the aquariums. 

  • Wrong fish tank size

Most pet fish stores sell one or two-gallon small water tanks as Betta fish tanks. However, in reality, providing your Betta baby with such a small tank is just not possible. Bettas are curious freshwater fishes. They love to swim around and watch everything going on outside the tank. A five-gallon aquarium will be the smallest you can keep your pet fish in.

As these small living spaces limit their movement, Bettas tend to keep surfacing the glass walls. This situation is again interpreted by Betta’s parents as constant following or staring. Thus, it is highly advisable to find a big-size fish tank for these colorful Betta babies. 

  • Visual Stimulation

Smart, beautiful, and friendly as they can be, Bettas demand constant brain and visual stimulation to engage themselves in fun activities. This is why Betta’s parents are advised to constantly talk and play around with their pets. If there is any lack of visual stimulators, accessories inside the tank and if the pet parents are not much interactive as well, Bettas get bored and stressed.

This situation also encourages them to constantly stare out of their water for visual stimulation. Human movement is a part of finding brain stimulation for themselves. 

How To Stop Betta Fish From Staring?

Having its origin as a fighter fish, it is normal for Betta fishes to surf the glass tank and keep staring from inside. Their curious nature precisely justifies these habits. However, if you dislike your Betta fish starting and glass surfacing more than normal, here are some preventive measures you can take into consideration!

  • Regular tank cleaning:  Unclean water and dirt and ammonia accumulation on the tank walls are also results of overfeeding your fish. It is wise to keep the water clean and feed your Betta only the right amount of treats and nutritious food.

As a pet Betta parent, you can also choose to add a good water filter to keep the water clean. Unclean water is the most common stress-causing factor in fish. Betta’s natural habitat is freshwater. It is important to check you are providing her the same to prevent flare staring and glass surfacing the fish tank.

  • Using tank heaters: Temperature rise inside the water tank or excessive cooling also stress Bettas. It is important to keep a good check on the temperature level inside the water. 

Try installing a decent water heater to stop excessive dropping of the temperature. For the summer months try your hands on readily available aquarium fans that can be clipped on the side walls. 

If the water temperature is the cause of Betta surfacing or staring, these tools will act as the best preventive measures. 

  • Controlling the light inside the aquarium: Ample light makes any fish aquarium look brighter and beautiful all day. However, light also creates reflections of your betta on the glass surface. Dimming the light inside the tank will eliminate the reflection of your Betta and stop them from flare staring and the grass surfacing.
  • Using a big-sized aquarium: As I mentioned earlier small tanks are simply not appropriate for Betta fishes. A five-gallon fish tank is the basic and smallest tank you can find for your fish pet. It is better and for all those concerned parents, it is also easy to clean bigger fish tanks. 

Bettas require ample space to swim and explore things to remain at the best of physical and mental health.

  • Know about the right tank mates for your Betta: As mentioned in previous points, constant staring and glass surfacing may result from unwanted tank mates. Bettas love to bond with human parents but are super-aggressive and territorial with anyone unwanted side the tank. 

So, it’s better to keep only one fish in a big tank to allow them to play and surf around freely. 

  • Proper accessories for the Betta Tank: Crowing up a fish tank with artificial accessories causes stress in Betta fish. Bettas or any other fish loves to feel at home. Live aquarium plants are thus great choices for proper Betta tank decor. 

Try adding plants like Hornwort, Java moss, Betta Bulb, Java Fern, and Anubias. Betta fishes will love the natural touch to their home and will get time to explore and play around with such natural tank accessories.

How To Bond And Play With Your Betta Fish?

Betta fishes make great entertainer pets that you can play with. Engaging your pet fish in brain stimulations can stop them from constant staring and grass surfacing.

Playing with your Betta fish will also help you bond with them. Here are a few examples for budding pet Betta parents to try.

  • Hoop training:  Introduce a few small hoops inside your fish tank and train your Betta babies to jump through the same. Use fish treats to encourage them to jump through the hoops. Bettas are smart. Thus, with little training, they will master the art of hoop-jumping easily.

However, make sure to not tire your fish while training them for the hoops.

  • Doodle drawing on aquarium surface: Use dry erase markers to paint doodle drawings on the outer surface of your fish tank. This will make your Betta fish come and explore new things on the tank wall. This way you can bond with your fish pet and also help them with brain stimulations.

Using Dry markers will also help you have a clean tank surface with an easy cloth wipe. 

  • Floating decorations inside the tank:  Betta fish toys and many aquarium plants are readily available in many online stores and local pet fish shops. You can get floating logs for your fish to swim through and play around with them. Many pet Betta owners have mentioned how Bettas love to sleep and nest inside the log. 

However, on the tank cleaning day, make sure to thoroughly clean each fish toy and other aquarium accessories. 

  • Ping Pong Play: Dropping a small ping pong ball inside the Betta aquarium will help them have fun and playtime all by themselves. Fix an allotted time to drop a ping pong ball to enable your little fish to play around. However, it is not wise to let the ball stay in the aquarium all day long, as it may stress your fish baby. 

I hope these fun games, tricks, and care tips will help you resolve the intimation of your Pet Betta fish staring. These smart and curious fish babies deserve all the care and attention to live a healthy life. Our healthy choices and guided actions will help them to have a beautiful life. Happy Betta Parenting!