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Betta fish are known for their curious inquisitive nature. Any good betta owner will want to do everything they can to ensure their little gem is healthy and happy. This includes having a large enough betta tank, good filter, correct temperature, and a good diet.
All of these are important things but there is one more aspect people sometimes forget. The final key to a healthy happy betta is providing them with a stimulating environment.
Betta Fish Toys For A Lively Happy Betta
How do we provide them with a stimulating environment? With Betta fish toys of course!
Betta fish toys may include a wide variety of things like mirrors, plants, floating objects, hiding places to explore, and more. The important thing is that they are provided with things that they find interesting and can interact with.
- Ping Pong Balls
- R2 Fish School Training Kit
- Betta Hammock
- Sun Grow Leaf Holders
- Betta Mirror
- Floating Log
- Marimo Moss Balls
I’ll go into more detail on these below but first let’s discuss some benefits as well as things to think about when selecting toys.
How Your Betta Benefits from Toys & Decorations
Toys and decorations can be very beneficial for your little betta fish.
As I already mentioned bettas by their nature are curious fish. They like to explore their territory and interact with the things they find there. Providing them with interesting toys and decor will feed into this curiosity and will lead to a happier betta. An active betta is also a joy to watch!
With plenty of non-threatening stimulation, you will also have a betta that is less stressed. This will lead to overall better health and increased lifespan for your little guy.
The toys and decor that float near the surface of the water will also encourage male bettas to build bubble nests. If you haven’t seen this behavior before it is very neat to see!
Another great floating toy for betta fish is simple ping pong balls. Because your betta is curious and likes to hang out near the water’s surface he will surely be drawn to these. They will inspect, bump, and even attack a floating ball in their territory.
These are very cheap so feel free to buy different colors to see which your betta prefers.
Before you let your betta play with a ping pong ball make sure it is thoroughly cleaned. Don’t just throw in an old ping pong ball you had laying around.
Fish training kits are very cool and something I didn’t even know existed until recently. The R2 training kit comes with hoops, tunnels, balls and more. If you are confused about how someone would even begin to train a fish no worry as it also comes with a 45 minute DVD with instructions.
Most of these training methods involve giving food as a reward. When you are training them please be cautious not to overfeed. This can lead to constipation and bloat which is not good for your betta. Betta fish should generally only have 3 – 5 betta pellets per feeding so you need to go slow with the training.
While not really a “toy” betta hammocks are a great addition to any betta tank. They are designed to mimic plant leaves found in a bettas natural environment. Betta fish will use these to lay on or as a place to attach a bubble nest to.
These hammocks are attached to the glass inside the aquarium at the water level. This I find is the biggest drawback to betta hammocks. In order to keep it at the water level, you need to top off the water frequently. In my betta tank, I sometimes forget to do this and the leaf ends up in the air above the receding waterline.
Do you like the idea of a betta hammock but want something more natural. These SunGrow Leaf Holders are a great idea. It’s essentially a ring with a suction cup. You stick the suction cup to the inside of the tank near the water’s surface as you would with a betta hammock. You then take a real leaf and insert it into the ring. It’s that easy.
You don’t want to shove just any old leaf in the ring, however. The standard to use in a betta tank is Indian Almond Leaves also known as catappa. You betta will have a fun time investigating and maybe even sleeping on these large leaves.
These leaves have many other benefits for your betta fish as well. The leaves release tannins which mimic the betta’s natural habitat. The only downside to this is that it will stain the water a tan color but this is in no way harmful to your betta.
Mirrors also make for a good betta fish toy. But why you may ask? No, not because we want our betta to admire himself in the mirror. Male betta fish will see their reflection and assume he is looking at another betta challenging him. This will often cause the betta to flare out its gills and even attack the mirror.
If you haven’t seen this it’s quite a sight. While using a mirror is perfectly fine for short periods of time you don’t want to leave it attached to the aquarium for long. If you leave a mirror permanently on your tank you risk stressing your betta out which is not good for its health. With this in mind, it’s best to only leave it on for about five minutes a day.
Betta fish love having places to hide and explore. Floating logs fit this bill quite well. These float near the surface of the water and have a hollow inside. This gives them somewhere to hide when they feel the need. You may even get them to play peek a boo with you.
It’s probably best not to grab any old piece of wood from outside for you betta to play with. These may leach toxins or other harmful things into your water. Your best bet is to go with a product designed for betta tanks like the Zoo Med Floating Betta Log. These are natural wood but have been treated and cleaned of harmful chemicals.
I couldn’t talk about betta fish toys or decor without mentioning Marimo Moss Balls. These are great if you want to add some vibrant green life without the hassle of living plants. As the name implies, these are living balls of moss. These are small, easy to care for and have low light needs. No wonder they are such a no brainer for a betta tank.
These moss balls will give your betta something to inspect and even nibble at from time to time. In addition to this, they also help to reduce some of the toxic ammonia from the water.
Choosing DIY Betta Fish Toys
All of my recommendations above should give you plenty of ideas on the kinds of toys betta fish may like. You may even be thinking about using something you already have lying around the house. While this can be totally fine there are some things you should think about before throwing just anything in with your betta.
As with any toy DIY or store-bought, always thoroughly wash before you place it in your aquarium
There are many products out there that are perfectly safe when used for their intended purpose. They are not, however, necessarily safe for our pets. Many brightly colored objects that seem great for betta fish may in fact have toxic paint or coatings. These chemicals can leach into the water and cause harm to your little guy.
Artificial Paints and Coatings
If the toy you are considering is not meant for an aquarium and it has some type of artificial paint or coating on it I would not use it. On the other hand, I consider most plastics colored or clear to be generally safe.
You also need to be careful adding natural wood decorations or toys. Does it have a stain or a lacquer finish? If so its a no go. Additionally, certain species of wood can contain harmful chemicals or tannins. Do some research on the type of wood you have to ensure it’s safe to use in an aquarium.
Glue And Adhesives
Another issue is glue and adhesives. Don’t use a hot glue gun or other types of common adhesive to make anything for your betta. These are not safe in aquarium water. You can, however, use aquarium safe silicone if you want to glue something together.
As you may well know, betta fish have long delicate fins. As such, they are easily damaged or torn if they get caught on any sharp edges. Run your fingers along the object you are considering using as a toy.
Do your fingers get caught on anything? Can you feel any sharp edges? If so you can attempt to sand those sharp spots down or simply not use that item for a toy.
Final Thoughts on Betta Fish Toys
I hope this article has given you the inspiration to add some fun to your betta fish’s life. As I have shown you there are a wide variety of things that your betta will like and play with. These all add to the quality of life of your betta.
I personally think Marimo Moss balls are a no brainer. They not only provide something interesting for your betta to investigate and play with but they also help the water quality. But I wouldn’t just throw in a couple of moss balls and call it good.
Feel free to add a few different toys to your betta tank so that there are ample things for him to investigate. This way you won’t ever have to worry about your little guy getting bored.
Best of luck in your betta journey!