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Do Betta Fish Like Watching TV?

This may seem like an awkward question to ask until you realize that many animals actually enjoy watching TV. Cat and dog owners would certainly agree. So, if cats and dogs can watch TV and show interest, why not Bettas or aquarium fish in general as well?

There’s no doubt that Bettas can see the images coming from the screen, but do they enjoy them?

Let’s see what we can dig into this subject.

Why Do Bettas Like Watching TV?

Yes, this is how a loaded question looks like. This question already begins with the assumption that Bettas enjoy watching TV and that now is time to explain why that is. So, first things first, there is no compelling evidence whether Bettas enjoy watching TV or not.

What we do know is that Bettas show interest in the movement and light coming from the TV. They have no idea what they’re watching, which means they can’t appreciate the images; they only show interest strictly based on movement and light.

Animals with more complex brains, like cats and dogs, will also understand what they see, like people and other animals. You can even see cats and dogs recognizing their own species in various TV shows, which you can’t really say about Bettas.

Is Alternating Light Bad For Betta?

The answer is no unless it interferes with Betta’s sleeping schedule. Bettas have a stable day-night cycle, and any lighting that will disturb that cycle will affect them, alternating or not. They can also cope with flashing lights so long as they are not too powerful or too hot.

You don’t need to worry about the TV’s flashing lights disturbing your Betta unless it’s nighttime. Bettas need a healthy day-night cycle like most aquarium fish, otherwise, they might get sick. So long as your TV’s lighting isn’t disturbing the Betta during its resting hours, you have nothing to worry about.

Do Betta Fish Need Entertainment?

Yes, bettas do need entertainment, because they can get bored. All creatures that possess a brain need more or less constant stimulation to remain mentally healthy and stable. This is true for humans, primates, birds, fish, and any other living creature with a nervous system developed enough.

Bettas, especially, are inquisitive, intelligent, and highly curious fish that will constantly scrutinize their environment, along with anything piquing their interest. Keeping Bettas happy isn’t difficult since they do an excellent job by themselves, provided they have the right environment.

This is why keeping Bettas in cups or very small habitats with little-to-no diversity is counterproductive for their state of mind. Bettas will be unhappy in such environments, and you will see that soon enough. They might grow lethargic, eat less, and show visible signs of apathy and sadness.

In the wild, the Betta engages in a variety of activities to keep itself occupied. These include hunting, navigating the environment, playing with other Bettas, hiding, etc. You can satisfy these basic requirements by providing the Betta with a lush, wide, and populated environment filled with plants, wood, and various aquarium decorations.

These will keep the Betta active and engaged throughout the day. You can also resort to a few tricks to stimulate your Betta, including:

  • Placing a mirror inside the tank – This will give Betta the impression that there’s another Betta with them, which will trigger the Betta’s territorial response. The Betta will try to fight its reflection occasionally, keeping its mind busy and active. Bettas are smart, but not that smart, right?
  • Sinking logs – These will provide your Betta with useful hiding places whenever the fish feels stressed or scared. It will also provide them with extra opportunities to explore their environment.
  • Ping Pong balls – Place this on the water’s surface and watch your Betta attacking them relentlessly. Their hunting instincts are kicking in, as the Betta will confuse the ping pong balls for prey.
  • Underwater decorations – We include here shipwrecks, caves, logs, vegetation; whatever it can keep the Betta active and investigating.

Do Bettas Like Watching Other Betta Fish on Video?

Yes, so long as the video is clear enough for the Betta to distinguish that it’s seeing another fish. Just like with an underwater mirror, the Betta will react to images of other fish swimming, especially if the screen is in close proximity.

The presence of other fish may activate the Betta’s territorial instincts or, at the very least, tickle its curiosity. It doesn’t matter whether that fish is real or only gives the impression; the Betta won’t make the difference.

Conclusion

Bettas are energetic and active fish that require constant stimulation to remain healthy and engaged in their environment. You can help them in this sense by providing them with a spacious and rich habitat filled with plants, decorations, hiding spots, etc.

It also helps to bring in some tank mates, preferably including other Bettas as well.

If you care about your Betta’s wellbeing, don’t keep it in a cup. Provide it with optimal living conditions, and your Betta will live a healthy and happy life over the years.

Updated: November 16, 2021

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