Bettas are beautiful, lively fish that tend to be territorial. They’ve got different personalities, and each reacts differently to different circumstances, especially when in danger. Hiding is a natural trait for betta fish. But, when your betta wasn’t hiding much before, and it starts hiding, there could be a problem.
Why is my betta fish staying in one spot?
There are different reasons why betta fish stay in a specific spot. It could be stressed, sick, or uncomfortable. The following are some reasons why your betta is hiding.
Not enough hiding spaces
Since betta are naturally wild fish, and they easily fall prey to bigger fish. Thus, they tend to hide a lot. The spaces are necessary to ensure your betta is leading a healthy life. Betta fish are likely to feel threatened when the hiding spaces are few.
Although there aren’t real threats in your tank, bettas need several spots to hide to feel secure.
The fish is new to the tank
A new betta in your tank may be nervous and uncomfortable. The sudden change of water temperatures can shock and depress the betta. It also doesn’t feel safe in the new environment. It may take around one to two weeks for the betta to adjust to a new space.
Don’t worry because, after some time, the betta would get used to the environment and start moving more.
The lights too bright
Betta’s natural habitat is densely planted with paddy fields, mashes and mud. All these elements provide a lot of shade to the fish. Too much light in your tank may render the betta uncomfortable. It may feel the urge to hide constantly.
The water has a problem
When your betta wasn’t hiding before, and it starts hiding, the problem could be the water. Check for levels of ammonia, pH levels and nitrate levels. The water temperature needs to range from 75- 80 degrees Fahrenheit as bettas are tropical fish. They love their water warm.
The pH should be around 6.5 to 7, as bettas prefer slightly acidic water. If the water is too acidic, you might want to add cuttlebone to the fish tank to help regulate it.
A high level of nitrates in the water can suffocate the fish by making it hard to breathe. High ammonia and nitrate levels can chemically burn the betta’s gill.
The high nitrate level interferes with hemoglobin in the fish blood system. With low hemoglobin, it becomes hard for the fish to carry oxygen around its body. It can die in the process.
The betta is sick or hurt
A sick or hurt betta is a weakling. To avoid being vulnerable, it may hide to ensure that it’s safe. A hurt may occur when the betta is moved from one location to the next, and it’s handled inappropriately.
Swim bladder problems can cause poor swimming posture or reduced movement in your fish.
A sick betta may have contracted health issues resulting from nitrite or ammonia poisoning. Their sickness could also result from bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections.
The water filter current is strong
Bettas are naturally not strong swimmers. Those with bigger fins don’t make the situation any better. When the flow from the water generates a stronger current, the betta is likely to seek refuge in one corner of the tank.
The betta is depressed
A betta can easily sink into depression if its tank needs aren’t met. The needs may range from the temperature of the water to the food you are feeding it. They could also be bored of the environment, or when they don’t have toys to play with.
Also, if not stimulated for a long time, the fish can be depressed. Since they are territorial, they want to explore new hiding places in the tank. When they are few or none, they may feel sad and slowly get depressed.
The personality of the betta
Betta’s have different personalities, and your betta may find it difficult to move around. Their personalities make them want to hide, and swimming constantly doesn’t appeal to their souls. If you are sure that your betta isn’t hiding for any other reason, just let it be.
Any new changes in your betta’s territory may make it hide. It could be a new aquarium, changing the positions of the décor, and even introducing new tank mates to your betta. With a sudden change, the betta may be compelled to hide since they aren’t feeling safe.
How to Stop Betta Fish from Hiding in the Corner of the Tank
There are different ways to stop your betta from hiding in one corner of the tank. The method you choose will depend on what’s causing it to hide. Here are few tips to help you out.
Ensure the transfer process is gradual
Don’t immediately remove it from the transportation bag to its new habitat when you buy a betta. Instead, familiarize it with the new environment first. You’ll need to acclimate it. Acclimation is the process of slowly adding your betta into the aquarium from its transportation container.
You’ll have to slowly add around 150ml of your aquarium water to the transportation container after every 5 to 10 minutes. The whole process takes around 20-30 minutes. The fish will slowly start adjusting to the new conditions. After that, release the fish to the new habitat.
Change your light settings
If you leave your lights open, you can try switching them off and watch how the betta reacts. Check if it comes out more. Alternatively, invest in lighting containing different settings. Adjust the lightning to ensure suitable living conditions for your fish.
You can also add floating plants like duckweed in the tank. The plants cause more shadows and ensure that the betta feels safe. Be careful not to clog the water surface since it may interfere with your fish breathing.
Change the water
Test the water to check what’s wrong. Depending on the problem you detect, you should have a specific solution.
You need to adjust to a high or low pH level to an optimal level of around 6.5-7.0 PH.
In case the problem results from ammonia, nitrites or nitrates, change the water immediately. The optimum nitrate level is 20ppm, while nitrites should be at 0ppm.
Do this by carrying out several partial changes. You can change 20 per cent of the water and repeat the process after every few hours. Don’t change all the water in the tank at the same time. A sudden change of water may stress the fish. Worse still, it may die.
After changing the water, ensure the water parameters are suitable for the betta fish to stay. Also, clean the filter unit, and replace any filter cartridges appearing faulty. Lastly, ensure that the water pump is working correctly.
Add decoration into the water.
For the betta to feel safe in any space, hiding space is a must. You can add plants, caves, and driftwood to make betta feel safe. Add plants like pennyworts, Java moss, Pearl weed, and Flame moss. For the caves, go for something that is food-friendly and smooth. These elements would also ensure it gets enough paces to explore.
Also, add toys for the fish to play with. This will stop it from getting bored.
Control your current flow
If the current in your flow is too strong, there are a couple of things to try. Try placing some holes in the output hose. Make your holes are tiny and add slowly add loads. Do this until the flow is slow enough.
Alternatively, try to cover the nozzle of the filter using a filter sponge. The process reduces the water coming from the filter, thus slowing its current. Ensure the sponge curbs the current flow, but doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the filter.
Always have a closer look at the betta
When your betta is sick or hurt, you have to take a closer look and check out for any signs or symptoms it could be sick or hurt. If it’s hurt, add a stress coat to the tank to reduce the stress until it gets better.
Some signs of a sick betta include not eating, cloudy eyes, eyes changing color, and lethargy. Your betta could be suffering from diseases like:
- Swim bladder
- Fin rot
- Dropsy velvet
With a proper diagnosis, you can offer your fish the right treatment.
Betta fish hiding is their normal behavior. However, them hiding in one place or hiding more often than before could be a red flag. Since several reasons could result to this, find the root cause. Discovering the problem is the first step in solving it.