Yes, you read that right! You can learn how to train a betta fish to interact with you, play with you, and even do a few tricks.
We will look into the things that you can teach your betta fish to do and explain to you how to execute them with your own little aquatic friend.
They learn things in nature that are basic instinctual reflexes, like jumping out of the water to catch insects. These characteristics can be used to make your betta jump out of the water for its food in your own home aquarium, for example.
First, Make Acquaintances
Consider that it’s always a good idea to give your new betta fish the time to get to know you before attempting to make it do tricks.
A little meet and greet and acclimatization time will be necessary at first.
Usually no more than a few weeks is all it takes for the fish to get used to seeing you and to get accustomed to its feeding methods and times.
Betta fish actually become very familiar with their caretaker and will differentiate you with other people.
In time, it will automatically swim up to the glass when you come around. It will actually enjoy getting your attention.
So if you interact with it regularly, it will respond much better when you try to make it do some cool betta tricks.
Wash Your hands
Remember to wash your hands every time you handle your betta fish in any way. Simply wash with water, no soap, as commercial soap may be toxic to your betta fish. Also, remember to wash your hands after as well, with soap this time.
Make sure that the surroundings are quiet and that there is not too much movement in the room when you attempt to teach it some new tricks. Noise and movement may cause your fish some stress and it will not respond well.
patience and respect
Be patient and respect your betta fish’s limits. It takes time for it to grasp what you are expecting from it. Use the reward system like treats when it does what you are expecting from it and it will quickly realise your anticipations and will respond it positively.
About Siamese Fighting Fish
Siamese Fighting Fish are more commonly called betta fish and are a very popular fish to have in a home or office. We often see the lone betta in a small aquarium and there is a reason why they are kept deprived of the company of other fish.
The betta is an extremely territorial fish and it will get aggressive in the presence of another fish and will fight for its territory.
This is mostly a male characteristic, but females can also get aggressive if they are kept with a single other female betta in a space that is too small. You can keep females together so long as there are at least 3 or more of them in a good sized aquarium with some hiding areas.
The females establish a form of hierarchy order and if there are only two of them, one of them will be constantly pecked on.
You can keep betta with other small species of fish that are not too colourful and that don’t have fancy fins.
Also, you don’t want to put fish that are fin nibblers into the tank with your betta for obvious reasons.
Neon tetra and some types of plecos are few species that can share the tank with bettas
The species is native to South East Asia, particularly Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, and are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
These fish are insectivores and will not feed on plants that you may place in your aquarium.
It is a common misconception that these fish can be kept in extremely small spaces.
They actually do better in bigger tanks that are around 5 gallons or more.
We often see the small bowls with a single fish, but this is not recommended.
These fish actually like to move around and need a little daily exercise to remain healthy.
Small bowls often don’t have adequate filtration systems in place which limits the amount of oxygen in the water. This also will require more cleaning duties to the owner.
These Siamese Fighting Fish in the wild are normally not as colourful as the bred captive species. In the wild, they will display colours only when they are feeling threatened. Breeding this species has created many different and very interesting colour combinations.
Betta Fish Tricks and Tips
Let’s look into a few fun things you can start learning about your betta today and a few tricks you may want to try to implement with your pet.
How to Train Your Fish to Follow Your Finger
Fish are naturally curious creatures and will be intrigued by movement outside of their tank. They, of course, need to feel confident and safe in order to do this or any other type of trick.
You can use treats like freeze dried bloodworms or other types of treats that your betta may like and that is easily breakable into small pieces.
Gently tap on the glass and wait to see if your fish reacts or turns towards you. We can’t stress enough the fact to tap GENTLY. If you frighten your fish, it will not want to do anything but hide from you.
When you get your fish’s attention, then you can move your finger across the front of the glass and see if it follows. If it does, immediately reward it with a treat.
Do this a few times a day for a few minutes and reward in small treats when it follows your finger.
Once your betta fish has mastered the finger following, then other tricks will be easier for it.
How to Train Your Betta Fish to Jump
After the initial time where your fish has gotten to know you and its feeding routine, you can start to make it jump out of the water for its food. It will now be used to you being around its tank and it knows that it will get fed routinely.
You will want to do this trick, or any other trick, when your fish is hungry and not after it has been fed. It’s always a good idea to use food as a form of bribery when attempting to make your fish do tricks. They will always respond better when there is food involved in the process as a reward.
You can put a piece of food on your fingertip and place it about an inch from the surface of the water.
At first, you may have to lower your finger closer to the surface to show your betta the food and make sure that it knows what it is aiming for.
You can wet your finger a little bit so that the food sticks to it or you can even place it on something else if you don’t want your fish to touch your finger.
A straw, a stick or any other long material can do the trick. Just make sure it is safe for your fish to peck at.
Make sure that it is quiet and that you don’t make sudden moves while holding the food above the surface.
The fish will not come to the surface if it feels scared or threatened in any way.
You may not succeed the first time you try, and this is normal. Keep trying until you get your fish to jump for its food.
This should be a fairly easy thing to teach your betta because they do this action in nature.
In time, probably several weeks, you will be able to remove the food and the fish will continue to jump.
Remember to reward it after each jump with a little food.
If your fish stops to jump, then you may have to reinitiate the food on your finger method.
You will need to keep your betta aquarium covered when your fish learns this trick.
If it jumps when you are there, it may try to jump when you are not and an accident may happen.
Keep your betta safe from harm and place an aerated cover on the tank to make sure that it doesn’t accidentally jump out of the aquarium.
How to Train Your Betta Fish to Swim Through a Hoop
This is one of the most difficult tricks that you will ask your fish to do. It may learn the trick quickly or it may not learn it at all. Be patient with your fish and don’t get upset if it can’t do this.
Use a pipe cleaner and form it into a large hoop, or any other hoop type thing that you may have in your home.
Make sure that the pipe cleaner, or whatever else that you are using, is safe and that it is clean. Place it inside the tank right next to the glass.
Move your finger across the front and as you have taught it to follow your finger, it will move through the hoop by simply following your finger. Give it a treat when it goes through the hoop.
Next, move the hoop further away from the glass and eventually maybe even make the hoop smaller and smaller. Reward your betta fish every time it goes through the hoop.
Here is an example of what betta fish are capable of with a lot of patience and determination.
How to Make Your Betta Fish Flare
Male betta fish are extremely territorial and that is why they are kept alone. They do not like the company of other male betta fish. They will be aggressive and fight off any threat they feel. One way to intimidate the opposing fish is to make itself look bigger by flaring its gills and fins.
You will need a mirror and a pen with a coloured cap. Place the mirror in front of the tank with the pen next to it and let it see its own reflection. When it flares, move the pen forward and reward it with a treat.
This will have to be repeated several times before you can successfully remove the mirror and be certain that the fish is associating the flaring with the pen. Make sure to use the same pen every time. Eventually all you will need is the pen to make your betta fish flare.
Flaring is actually a good exercise for the betta fish, but make sure not to have it do it excessively.
Can you Pet Your Betta Fish?
You can safely but carefully touch your betta fish so long as you don’t apply too much pressure or do it too often.
If you see that this stresses the fish, then don’t do it at all.
If the fish doesn’t mind being touched by you, then it’s ok to do it occasionally.
The fish has a slimy coating on its skin to protect it from disease. By petting it, you may be removing some of this coating and exposing it to harmful toxins that may eventually make it sick. So be mindful to have clean and wet hands or this can be really dangerous for your betta.
You can have fun with your betta fish just as long as you don’t put unnecessary pressure on it or over exert it.
Remember not to force it to do anything it doesn’t want to do and never hold food from your pet simply to make it do the tricks that you want it to do.
Betta fish are very intelligent and will recognize its caretaker and will normally enjoy interacting with you. Give it time to adjust to its new surroundings and establish a stress free environment of trust.
Have fun showing your betta fish some cool tricks and show your sceptic friends that fish are actually pretty smart. If you know more tricks, let us know by posting a comment.