Why on earth do you need betta fish toys? That’s a fair question. Most folks don’t think of fish as interactive pets but more like home decor. And with some types of fish, that’s a fair assessment.
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Other folks believe what unscrupulous pet sellers tell them and think that a Betta fish will be deliriously happy living in a tiny container like a mason jar instead of needing a proper fish tank where he can spread out his fins and SWIM!
But, you see, while Betta fish are undoubtedly ornamental fish they are also highly intelligent and interactive! In the wild your pet fish would be a very busy fellow. Bettas are naturally curious and defensive creatures. He would stake out a territory, patrol and defending it from invaders. Along the way he’d find all the best places to find food and take naps.
These natural behaviors are what make Bettas very interactive pets who do lots of interesting things for you to enjoy watching. Heck, you can even train them to do tricks on command when you give them the right kind of betta fish toys and treats.
Betta Fish Toys... Hammocks
One of the first betta fish toys most folks become aware of is a Betta fish leaf hammock. And bettas really, REALLY like them. Though we are not ichthyologists (and we don’t play one on TV either) we figure that Betta fish like to nap on these because it’s safer to be hidden and look like a yucky curled up leaf than a tasty fish snack to passing predators when you are snoozing.
In any case, here are a few of the Betta fish leaf hammocks available from Amazon.
Niteangel Betta Hammock, Betta Fish Bed Kit, 2 Packs (Large,Betta Fish Leaf Pad Betta Hammock Toys Plastic Aquarium PlantsZoo Med Laboratories AZMBL20 Betta Hammockpranovo Betta Hammock Plant Leaf Pad Fish Spawning Grounds BreedingSunGrow Betta Leaves by Replicate natural habitat for betta &pranovo 2 Pack Betta Hammock Plant Leaf Pad Fish Spawning
None of these betta leaf beds appeal to you? Why not make our own DIY betta hammock? It would be simple to find an artificial leaf at your local hobby shop (just be sure it does not have a metal wire inside the stem. If it does remove it with a pair of needle nose pliers before putting itinto your tank. Rust is BAD for fish!) and attach it to a suction cup.
Or you can use some plastic canvas secured in place with zip ties. Just be sure to trim it so there are no jagged plastic edges exposed that your pet Betta can tear his fins on.
PRO TIP: If you’re worried about getting the plastic canvas trimmed smooth enough why not get one of those round a plastic canvas coaster blanks instead. No trimming needed because the edges are already smooth.
Betta Fish Toys... Moss Balls
A super easy betta fish toy is a moss ball. It doesn’t matter if floats or if it sinks to the bottom of the tank your fish will enjoy it. In fact, having both is a good thing because it will encourage your Betta fish to move about his home and inspect the ball or nibble on them.
BONUS: These balls also help keep your betta tank clean because the moss actually eats nitrates (the bad stuff that builds up in aquarium water and needs a water change to get rid of).
Do not panic if your moss ball is all dried out when it arrives, that’s normal. It’s also a good thing if you want it to float for a while. The moss is just in a dormant state and will perk right up once you put it into your Betta tank.
Note: Moss balls for fish tanks, like the Fluval moss ball, will float until they become saturated with water. If you want it to go straight to the bottom of your tank, treat it like a sponge, dunk it into your betta tank and squeeze it until it’s saturated. That will help it absorb water and expel air pockets.
WARNING! Do not get a decorative moss ball like the ones they sell in the home decor section of hobby shops. These are moss covered styrofoam balls and DO NOT BELONG IN FISH TANKS!
BETTA FISH TOYS... Caves
Betta fish like hidey holes, the more the better. They are places to explore, hangout and hide to better ambush dinner! That means aquarium cave decorations are a sure winner when it comes to betta fish toys. Luckily there are LOTS of fish tank decorations that you can use to add a cave to your aquarium.
Two of the most popular betta caves are the “Betta Coconut Cave” and the “Floating Log”. Both make excellent toys for your betta fish and are attractive in your aquarium. Using both ads variety as you’ll have one betta fish cave floating on the surface (great for nap time and bubble nests) and the other on the tank bottom.
Keep in mind that your betta fish won’t care if his “Betta Cave” is an actual cave. Any object or aquarium decoration you put in his tank that makes a hole of some kind will make him happy. It can be a glazed flower pot tipped on its side, a hunk of driftwood with a arched hollow or a crazy pineapple house!
Just be sure your betta fish cave is big enough for your fish to easily turn around in. Also make sure that it does not have sharp edges of any kind so he doesn’t cut his fins while exploring or napping inside
BETTA FISH TOYS... TAnk Decorations
Just like you, your betta will thrive if he has interesting things to check out and do. That means that just about anything you put into his tank counts as “betta fish toys”. Just remember your Betta will swim all around as well as weaving over, under and thru anything you put into his tank! DO NOT put something in with him that will tear his fins.
This is so important it bears repeating! When you’re looking for betta fish tank decorations the two things you need to keep in mind are NO ROUGH EDGES and LOTS OF HIDEY HOLES! Otherwise the sky’s the limit.
Beautiful betta tanks come in all shapes and sizes. So, if you’re feeling silly, by all means get yourself a Spongebob Squarepants pineapple house if you’re a fan. Looking for something a bit more sophisticated? Put a sunken ship or Roman ruin in the bottom of your tank if that’s your thing.
Pro Tip: Set interesting objects OUTSIDE your betta tank for your pet fish to interact with on occasion. Your betta really is a curious creature and will come check it out. Give it a try and let us know how it goes. Find us on Twitter here @SpiffyPet
BETTA FISH TOYS... Mirrors
If you’re looking for a cool new betta toy why not give a floating betta mirror a try? This tiny little mirror dangles from a floating bobber. It will move around with the current and the nudges your fish gives it. Another good option is a small “wallet mirror” or any mirror without any metal or water soluble glue in it’s design.
Sticking a mirror into your betta tank will encourage your fish to flair. This is fun to watch and good exercise but it can be stressful for your pet fish. That’s because when they see themselves in the mirror they think it’s another fish they need to scare off. What you are seeing is them defending their territory.
Fun Fact: Flairing can even help them to go to the bathroom. So if you have a constipated betta you may want to give them a mirror to play with
WARNING! A little of this betta fish toy goes a long way. NEVER put any mirror in your betta tank for more than 5-6 minutes once or twice a week. As we already mentioned this can over stress your Betta fish and make him ill.
BETTA FISH TOYS... Aquarium Plants
When we chat with new Betta owners and mention plants are some of the best toys for their pet fish the first thing we hear is “Aquarium plants aren’t “Betta fish toys”. Truth is, plants make great toys for your betta fish.
Think about it from the viewpoint of your fish. Aquarium plants give him something to investigate, swim thru, sleep on, hide in and potentially eat. They do all that and make his tank prettier for you to look at. The only question is do you want live aquarium plants or artificial ones.
Live plants make great betta toys because they are something that your pet fish would find in his natural environment. They decorate the tank which most fish keepers appreciate. Better still they make the tank healthier for your fish because they eat waste and breath out oxygen! Your fish may even nibble on them a tiny bit. But don’t worry, unlike goldfish, Bettas won’t gobble them up!
Artificial plants are a good alternative to live plants for some folks. You can even use them in combination with live plants. Just be sure they are the soft silk or rubber kind of artificial aquarium plants. Because the hard plastic ones have sharp edges that will scratch your fish or tear his fins as he swims around and thru them. They also become brittle and tend to break as they age.
DIY Betta Toys
Feeling crafty? There’s no need to dash out to the store if you don’t want to. There are lots of DIY Betta toys you can put together with stuff from around your house. To get your creative juices flowing, here’s how to make betta fish toys your fin friend is sure to love.
Ping Pong Betta Fish Toy
Drop a “ping pong ball” (or other small light weight ball) into his tank and watch him nudge it around! Traditionally ping pong balls are white or a golden yellow color but recently we’ve seen big multi-color bags popping up everywhere. If you use these please let us know if your betta prefers one color over another. Find us on Twitter here @SpiffyPet
KEVENZ 50 Counts 40mm Beer Ping-Pong Multipul Color Balls, PlasticKEVENZ 50-Pack 3-Star 40mm WhiteTable Tennis Balls,Advanced Tournament Ping PongKEVENZ 50-Pack 3-Star 40mm Orange Table Tennis Balls,Advanced Ping Pong
Draw On The OUTSIDE Of Your Betta Bowl
If your betta fish tank setup is made of glass you can simply draw on the outside of your fish tank. Your design makes an interesting betta fish toy. You can use a crayon or dry erase marker and let your creativity inspire you. We like smiley faces, hearts and stars but feel free to go crazy and see what your fish likes. (Be sure to check how well your marker erases in a small area first. 'Cause some brands erase better than others).
Paper Cutout or Post-It Note
If you aren’t feeling artistic (or have an acrylic fish tank) you can just cut out paper shapes (may we suggest a heart?) or place a post-it note on the outside of your betta tank. Chose different shapes, doodle on the cutout and move the paper around daily. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you and your betta fish can have with just this simple “toy”.
Outside Tank Betta Toys
As we mentioned briefly above betta fish tank toys don’t have to be INSIDE the tank to be entertaining. It’s easy and fun to put items outside your betta tank for them to notice and interact with.
For example you can set a little statue, a soda pop can or stuffed animal up against the tank wall. Observe what happens. Being a curious fellow, your betta will head over to find out what’s up. Be sure to swap them out and move them around every day or so to keep the fun fresh!
WARNING! Your Fingers Are NOT Betta Fish Toys!
We get asked all the time “Can I pet my betta fish?” And as much as you may be tempted (and those little fellows will tempt you once they learn you are a source of yummy treats and fun) do not pet your betta fish.
In fact it’s best if you never touch them at all. Your fingers will remove the protective slime coating they need on their scales and at the same time, you will transfer bacteria that can be deadly to them
More Betta Fish Toys on Amazon
Betta Feeding Ring - Reduces Wastage & Maintains Water Quality - Practical Floating Food Square held by Secure Suction Cup - Suitable for Flakes & other Floating Fish FoodsSunGrow Betta Bed Kit by Non-plastic, BPA-Free Hammock - Natural, Organic, Comfortable Rest Area for Fish Aquarium - Improves health by Simulating Betta's Natural HabitatR2 Fish School Complete Fish Training KitTetra LED Cube Shaped 3 Gallon Aquarium with Pedestal BaseBetta Plant, Amazon Sword By Blue Spotted - Great For Betta Fish and Use With Blue Spotted Betta Leaf Pad & Betta LogAll Natural 7Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants Small 6 Inch Pineapple House Aquarium Ornament from Penn Plax – Durable Resin Safe for All FishZoo Med Laboratories AZMBP5 Dial-A-Treat Food, 0.12-Ounce50 Mini Catappa Leaves - Best way to create Tropical rainforest environment for Betta & Gouramis - Beneficial Leaf tannin turns water black, lowers pH naturally - Boosts health and breeding chancesPenn Plax Squidward's Easter Island Home OrnamentPenn Plax Krusty Krab OrnamentZoo Med Laboratories Betta Bling Mermaid With Hoop
I hope by now you see how easy it is to have fun with your betta fish. By giving him plenty of room and enriching his environment you give him the freedom to simply do the things a betta should do. Be sure to let us know which of these betta fish toys you and your fish enjoy the most!