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How To Perform Betta Fish Mirror Exercise?

Betta Fish Mirror Exercise

Betta fish is perhaps the most popular aquarium fish out there. They are solitary creatures and prefer to ab alone. Thus, you may feel like your betta fish is getting bored without any tank mates. Well, you need not worry as there is the betta fish mirror exercise that you can try with your betta fish.

Before learning how to perform the betta fish mirror exercise, we must first know whether or not it is safe to put a mirror with the betta fish. Well, there is no harm in occasionally introducing a mirror in front of the betta fish as it helps ignite in them their natural instincts and aggression. It is a great way to get rid of boredom and is quite healthy for your betta fish. The betta fish mirror exercise has a lot of benefits.

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What is Betta Fish Mirror Exercise and How it Works?

Betta fish mirror exercise is when betta fish owners show a mirror to their betta fish. You may notice some signs of aggression from your betta fish when you do this. However, you need not panic as it is completely natural and sometimes quite helpful too.

It is a known fact that betta fish are very aggressive and territorial in nature. They absolutely do not like the idea of sharing their space with other fish. In fact, this behavior gives betta fish their traditional name of the Siamese Fighting Fish.

You may notice your betta fish flare at the sight of another betta fish. This behavior is more common in the case of a male betta fish. Female betta fish can live in sororities. Such flaring of fins by a betta fish is a sign of aggression and generally means that one betta fish needs to back out; otherwise, a fight will ensue.

Flaring is a common act, but too much of it can certainly harm your betta fish. Flaring does not necessarily take place only in the presence of another fish. It can happen without any specific stimulation. Generally, flaring is a sign of stress, and if your betta fish is flaring too much, you need to look into what is causing it.

Flaring is not always a bad sign. A betta fish may flare at the sight of you too. The betta fish may flare not only because it may think that you are a predator, but also because it feels like it is time to feed. You may notice such flaring during feeding or when you are conducting water changes.

As stated earlier, flaring is sometimes quite helpful for a betta fish. However, for a betta fish to flare you must create a suitable environment. Adding another betta fish to the tank just for this purpose could be quite dangerous. Instead, you can add a mirror to your tank such that your betta fish sees himself in the mirror.

This will trigger the flaring as the betta fish will feel like its reflection is just another betta fish. However, you must keep in mind that consistent flaring by a betta fish for a long period of time can reduce its lifespan. Thus, it is advised not to prolong this betta fish mirror exercise.

Benefits Of Betta Fish Mirror Exercise

Betta fish mirror exercise can cause your betta fish to flare which in turn is quite beneficial for your betta fish. The only thing to keep in mind while introducing a mirror in front of your betta fish is not to keep it there for a long time. It can stress out your betta fish.

Here are some of the reasons why you should think of performing a betta fish mirror exercise.

Triggers Natural Instinct

Betta fish are born aggressors. They are named the Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason. In the wild, they spend their time scavenging for food and fighting other male betta fish out of their territory. However, in an enclosed environment, like that in the tank, such things are not possible.

This leads your betta fish to become bored. Boredom may cause stress to your betta fish which is the last thing you need in your betta fish. Adding another betta fish is too risky as it will definitely lead only betta fish to survive. Thus, in such cases, a mirror comes in handy.

By seeing his own reflection in the mirror, a betta fish will flare, which will trigger its natural instinct of being the aggressor. He will swim frantically and try to fight his own reflection. In this way, you can make sure that your betta fish does not get bored and feels attached to its natural side.

Safe Environment

By a safe environment, we not only mean safe for your betta fish but also safe for other tank mates of your betta fish. By conducting such betta fish mirror exercise, you ensure that the betta fish does not get stressed. Too much stress can cause harm to both your betta fish and its tank mates.

By properly channelizing its aggression towards its own reflection, we can prevent any sort of aggression from your betta fish towards other tank mates. The presence of the mirror will also ensure that while being aggressive, the betta fish cannot hurt any other creature.

Thus, by performing such exercises you can not only relieve the stress from your betta fish but also ensure harmony among the tank mates in your betta tank. However, make sure to remove the mirror after some time as it can stress out your betta fish even more.

Other Benefits

Besides ensuring that safety is maintained in the tank and triggering the natural instincts of the betta fish, a betta fish mirror exercise also has other advantages. For instance, flaring can help stretch the internal muscles of a betta fish, which can help with constipation.

A mirror will cause the betta fish to flare, which will help relieve the constipation pressure in your betta fish. However, this is not always the solution, and you should make sure never to overfeed your betta fish. A betta fish mirror exercise can also prevent your betta fish from getting lethargic.

Adding a mirror in your betta tank can also promote the breeding instincts in your betta fish. Seeing his reflection in the mirror, your betta fish may consider its reflection as a mate competitor. Thus, it will trigger the production of a bubble nest, thereby promoting breeding instincts in your betta fish.


It is strongly advised not to overdo this mirror exercise. It can really stress out your betta fish. It is recommended to perform this betta fish mirror exercise periodically every day or week. You can do this for about 30 seconds every day or for 5 minutes twice a week. It depends on you.

It may also happen that your betta fish sees his reflection in some other way. This can be observed if your betta fish starts flaring for no apparent reason. It is advised to look for and remove such accidental mirrors as they can really harm your betta fish.

3 Best Exercise Mirrors For Betta Fish

1. Zoo Med Floating Betta Exercise Mirror

– Reduces the boredom– Betta fish may not pay any heed
– Suspended with a floating ball for betta
– Triggers natural instinct
– Quite a cheap product

2. Alfie Pet Roxanne Circle Exercise Mirror with Floating Ball

PROSCONS- Easy to use- Some bettas may not be interested- Boredom breaker for the betta fish- Relatively more expensive- Promotes betta’s natural behaviorPROS & CONS

3. Alfie Pet Paula Square Exercise Mirror with Suction Cup

– Provides an enriching activity for your betta– Betta fish may seem rather uninterested
– No assembly is needed
– Suction cup available


Is betta fish mirror exercise beneficial?

YES. A betta fish mirror exercise is quite helpful for your betta fish as it triggers the natural instinct in your betta fish and ensures a safe tank environment for other tank mates.

Can betta fish see their reflection in a tank?

YES. Your betta fish can see their reflection in a clean tank. To prevent this from happening, you can place something opaque on the other side of the tank where your betta fish is seeing the reflection.

How to entertain a betta fish?

You can add exercise mirrors for your betta fish. You can also add a ping-pong ball for your betta fish to play with. Add decors like hoops and caves.

Final Thoughts

Thus, if you see your betta fish getting bored, then you can perform the betta fish mirror exercise to activate its natural instincts and ensure the safety of the betta fish and the tank mates. Just make sure not to overdo the betta fish mirror exercise.