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Are Betta Fish Smart And How To Train Them?

are betta fish smart

Betta fish is no doubt one of the most popular aquarium fish out there. And with such high demand, people also expect high from such fish. Besides having vibrant colored fins and an all-around showy appearance, some may be curious are betta fish smart.

Betta fish are actually quite intelligent. They can identify their owners and do a variety of tricks if sufficient training is given. Not only that, but they also display several survival-related behaviors. Bettas are believed to be quite clever, and many of them have individual personalities, which makes them one of the more brilliant fish out there.

Are Betta Fish Smart Personality-Wise?

When you go to pet stores, betta fish are usually displayed in a separate plastic bag, so you might not believe a betta fish is smart. As a result, you may think they’re “disposable” fish. Secondly, there is not a lot of fascination for a betta in the community.

Betta fish are also known as Siamese fighting fish because, as the name implies, they enjoy fighting other fish, mainly other male betta fish. A betta fish demands a lot of conditioning as well as a lot of room to swim.

Bettas are fiercely territorial and will defend their area violently against other male betta fish. This is why they are so aggressive and why two male bettas cannot be kept together in the same tank.

This begs the question, are betta fish smart. Bettas are clever fish who require a lot of physical and mental activity to stay happy. A bored betta will become stressed, which can ultimately make your betta sick and lethargic.

Thus, if speaking personality-wise, the betta fish has developed certain natural instincts that may classify them as ‘smart’. These naturally grown nuances are a great way of showcasing the accurate intelligence of the betta fish and an effective survival strategy.

Oxygen Conservation

are betta fish smart

It is worth noting that bettas have a unique organ known as the labyrinth organ. The fish’s labyrinth organ allows them to breathe and absorb oxygen from the air. The fish can survive in water with low oxygen levels because of this organ.

As a result, when other fish species that rely on oxygen in the water perish, the betta may survive by inhaling atmospheric air. If they detect a low oxygen level, they will reduce their oxygen use. They will also return to the surface to refill their oxygen supply and swim less to preserve energy and oxygen.

Bubble Nests

A male betta fish builds bubble nests during the mating process. The nests are generally made in a tank corner or behind a broadleaf near the water’s surface. The male betta fish creates a huge nest by blowing bubbles that cling together.

After a long courtship ritual, the female betta puts her eggs beneath the nest, where the male fertilizes them. After that, the male fish collects the eggs in his mouth and transports them to the nest one by one. This complicated yet unique process shows how smart a betta fish really is.

Recognize Their Owners

If you interact with your betta fish regularly, he will ultimately recognize you as his owner. Sometimes it is seen that as you move your finger around the outside of the betta tank, you will know that it begins to follow the finger.

Some owners claim that their bettas even learn to respond to their voices. When your betta fish behaves in this manner, it signifies that the betta trusts you and that you may teach the betta fish to do more complicated tricks.

Are Betta Fish Smart Enough To Do Tricks?

Betta fish are intelligent enough to pick up a few basic tricks. Not only does this demonstrate how intelligent bettas are, but it also demonstrates that these fish require and appreciate physical and mental stimulation to be happy and stress-free.

It is also critical that you interact with your betta every day, in addition to giving him a well-decorated tank with lots of hiding spots, caves, and plants for him to explore. You can teach your betta fish tricks like hand feeding and hoop-jumping.

First and foremost, you must train your betta to follow your finger. Some bettas will do this right away. However, if your betta fish is not interested in you, you may need to put in more effort. Try trailing a delicious bait like a blood worm just below the waterline in your fingers.

Your betta should follow the treat. Give your fish his prize after he finishes. Essentially, you must continue this process until your betta learns to link your finger movement with a food reward. Once you have trained your betta to follow your finger, it is pretty easy to do other tricks with your betta fish.

Tricks like hand feeding and hoop-jumping will become easy once you habituate your betta to follow your finger. Thus, if you are wondering are betta fish smart, then the answer is yes. If appropriately trained, betta fish can do pretty brainy things.

Are Betta Fish Smarter Than Goldfish?

Are Betta Fish Smarter Than Goldfish?

As goldfish lack a labyrinth organ, they are unable to breathe atmospheric air like bettas. Thus, while a betta could survive low oxygenated water, a goldfish will die eventually.

Goldfish lay eggs as a part of their mating process. The goldfish parents abandon their young to fend for themselves once the eggs are laid. In fact, if the adults are not removed from the tank, they will consume the eggs. For a betta, it is a whole other story.

Goldfish are highly motivated by food and can be very curious. So, if you reward your goldfish with a morsel of food or a treat, you might be able to teach him to follow your finger back and forth across the glass. Unlike betta, goldfish cannot jump through hoops.

FAQs on Are Betta Fish Smart

Do betta fish have feelings?

YES. Betta fish have the proper anatomy to accept pain signals and create natural chemical analgesics to avoid unpleasant stimuli. They also go through feelings that we humans may relate to.

Do betta fish recognize their owners?

YES. Studies have shown that betta fish can recognize its owner. This is seen when a betta fish follows the owner’s finger or starts swimming close to the glass in the owner’s presence.

Can a betta hear your voice?

YES. Betta fish can hear voices. Although it may not be so clear, betta fish can listen to noises and recognize its name. The tank water may dampen the sound.

Final Thoughts

So are betta fish smart? Absolutely. Betta fish is one of the smarter aquarium fish due to their survival instincts. If you interact regularly and are trained correctly, you can teach your betta fish to learn new tricks like hand feeding and hoop-jumping.