What Does a Stressed Betta Fish Look Like?

Betta fish are one of the most popular types of fish kept as pets. They are small but curious and friendly fish that love to be around people. However, they can also be shy when they feel threatened. That’s why they may hide or even become stressed.

If your betta fish is stressed out, it may not look like its happy self. It may hide its face, stop eating or even become lethargic. It may also exhibit other strange behaviors like rubbing its body, floating at the top of the tank and even biting at its fins. Trying to figure out what may be stressing your fish can be difficult. In this article, we will explain some of the most common causes of stress in your Betta fish and how you can help it return to its happy self.


Betta Fish Diet and Nutrition

Betta fish are carnivores, so their diet is primarily meat-based. They will eat anything from daphnia to live brine shrimp and bloodworms. This means they can’t survive on a diet of flakes or other processed foods, which are low in protein and fatty acids, click to find out more.


Artificial Lighting and Temperature Change

There are many ways that betta fish can become stressed and for many owners, it is hard to tell what is causing the stress. One of the most common causes of stress in Bettas is changes in artificial lighting or temperature.

Betta fish thrive in warmer temperatures around 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. If your Betta’s water temperature drops below 60 degrees, they may start to become lethargic. And if it drops below 55 degrees, they may stop eating and develop ichthyophoniasis which is a parasitic infection that attacks the skin, fins and gills of your Betta.

If you notice your betta fish becoming stressed after a change in artificial lighting or temperature, try doing a 10-15% water change or moving their tank to an area with better lighting and temperature control.


Hide and seek Games

One way to get your Betta fish out of hiding is through the game of hiding and seek. This game may seem like a child’s game, but it can be fun for you and your Betta fish. The game starts by putting a treat on the bottom of the tank in an area where your betta would want to find it. Once you have done that, you then place your hand over the top of the tank and make a “shhh” sound. At this point, you wait patiently with your hand covering the top of the tank until your Betta pops out from the bottom looking for food. You then lift your hand up to reveal that there is now no food left in this area. Your betta will then show curiosity by moving around or even swimming to another area. You can repeat this process over and over again until your betta finally finds its meal hidden somewhere else in the tank.


Other Triggers Apart from Pets

Some other common triggers that can make your fish feel stressed are:

-Changes in the tank environment, like changing the water quality or moving decorations around.

-The addition of a new fish to the tank, which could lead to aggression or territoriality.

-A change in feed type, such as when you switch from flake food to pellets.

-Stressful conditions, like loud noises, bright lights and intense vibrations.

If any of these situations seem to be affecting your Betta fish’s happiness it may be stressed.


Clean your tank regularly

One of the most common causes of stress in a betta fish is unclean water. This can lead to bacterial and fungal infections, which can be detrimental to your pet’s health. When you clean your tank, you remove all traces of the bacteria and fungi that may be growing in there. This prevents any illnesses from developing and helps maintain a healthy environment for your betta fish. If your betta seems stressed or hides at the bottom of its tank, it may be a sign that it needs a good cleaning.



Betta fish are naturally active, busy fish that need plenty of stimulation and care. They also require a clean and well-lit environment. When cared for properly, a Betta fish can live up to three years. If you notice your Betta fish has stopped eating, is lethargic, or is showing other signs of stress, it may be time to take them to the vet for a checkup.