Call them Siamese Fighting Fish or Labyrinth Fish; the Betta Splendens Fish is no ordinary plain Jane fish.
In terms of personality and looks, it ticks all the right boxes. They’ve been selectively bred to ensure they’re available in lots of beautiful colors and fin types.
But why does my Betta fish stare at me is a question asked by many pet fish owners.
Could it be that his water temperature isn’t hot enough, and he’s trying to communicate that to you? Bettas make popular pets but should be kept in a filtered, heated aquarium.
They prefer temperatures between 76° and 84° F. At lower temperatures, they become sluggish and susceptible to disease.
You’re His Food Source
If you keep Betta fish, you will notice that sometimes when you walk in the aquarium area, he tends to stare at you.
Most Betta fish do this. In fact, most pet fish of any species do this. They do, after all, get to recognize you as their owner.
As you’re their owner you’re also looked upon as their food source. If they’re feeling hungry they come out to simply stare at you.
They learn that sometimes your presence hovering around their aquarium indicates food for them.
As you get to know your Betta fish, there are certain things you will learn about their behavior.
You can even get to know what some of their body movements mean and when they’re asking for food. Fish are more intelligent than we give them credit for.
They can quickly learn to associate us with food. When your Betta fish sees you, they will come to the front part of the aquarium facing you and stare at you.
They are already anticipating that you’re going to feed them.
You’re Their Entertainment
Unfortunately, the life of a Betta fish is pretty dull. Yes, you can provide them with a beautiful tank, but their life is mundane.
The world inside their tank remains the same day after day. You can make the tank just a little bit more interesting with live aquarium plants.
Your presence is the only thing of interest for them. It changes their day. Bettas are unique fish, and they do take an interest in the world outside their tank.
Some people have their fish tanks near the TV set. They say that their Bettas like to stare at all the movements coming from the TV set.
Anything that moves is entertaining for a Betta. They hover in one spot and stare for a while, mesmerized.
The instincts of Betta fish tell them to be still and to pay attention to movement. Fish instincts kick in when they detect motion.
It could be something to eat, or it could be another fish wanting to devour them.
These fish are territorial and aggressive, so it is best not to have more than one male in the tank. A few female Betta’s can live together at ease in the same tank.
Being a predatory fish, the Betta male itself is instinctively alert. If they sense another male in their vicinity, they become motionless. They stare in sheer agitation at the looming danger.
Why does my Betta fish stare at me? It’s all he can do, as he has no eyelids. As humans, we have eyelids. Our blinking is an involuntary action that we don’t even think about. We blink to protect our eyes.
So to answer the question, why does my Betta fish stare at me? He doesn’t have an option. Fish live in water, so they don’t need additional moisture for their eyes the way we do.
The interesting thing is that even though fish don’t have eyelids, they never sleep. A fish that’s sleeping keeps its eyes open because even in this area of its life, it can’t close its eyes.
The Aquarium isn’t Large Enough
Many fish, such as the Betta, isn’t kept in large enough tanks. Fish experts recommend not having anything smaller than a 5-gallon tank.
Not only that, some tanks or containers are so small that they can’t be made attractive for the fish.
Bettas are freshwater fish, and they want clean water free from harmful chemicals. If the water in your tank is never changed, it causes ammonia buildup.
This can cause stress with your Betta fish. They need to surface more and more. For some Betta owners, it’s as though their fish is surfacing to stare from another angle.
You can’t just plop a couple of Betta fish in a tiny tank of cold water. Their natural environment in countries where they come from, such as Thailand, is warm.
It will help if you keep your tank temperature above 76°F. In a tiny bowl, there isn’t room for a heater or filter. Your Betta fish stares at you because it’s trying to communicate some message to you that you’re doing things wrong.
You need a larger aquarium in a warm environment for your Betta to thrive and be happy.
He Leaps Out of the Aquarium to Stare
Betta fish have an organ known as the Labyrinth organ. It allows them to breathe air that comes from the surface. It also means that the Betta fish can survive in waters that are low in oxygen.
They’re used to surviving in rice paddies and even in some stagnant water. Sometimes then your Betta isn’t staring at you underwater, but he does it at the surface too.
You may even believe that your Betta has deliberately surfaced to stare at you.
When oxygen levels are low, they go to the surface so as to replenish their oxygen supply. In fact, you might think that your Betta is so eager to stare at you that he leaps clean out of the water.
Fish do this for various reasons. The Betta fish may land on the floor but resourcefully stores water to squirt himself with.
He’s Just Curious
Why does my Betta stare at me? Bettas are curious fish, but their curiosity isn’t for other fish. You can’t just assume that all pet fish get along.
They also begin to feel stifled when they are in a tank with too many other fish. Their curiosity with movement doesn’t extend to other fish, however.
They prefer to develop a bit of a bond with their human owner, who feeds them. That is the preferred choice than to develop any close relationship with other fish.
They love to stare at you whenever you’re in the vicinity of the fish tank.
If you come up close to the fish tank, you’ll see your Betta fish swimming at a rate to the edge of the tank. He opens and closes his mouth, too, as though he wants to say something.
Bettas make great fish pets. They’re capable of establishing a bond with their human owners. Many people who own these fish want to know why their Bettas stare at them.
We’ve covered all the reasons they could be doing it, but most times, it is just a case of them doing what fish do.
Don’t keep your Bettas with lots of other fish. Please give them a decent-sized fish tank. See that the aquarium is attractive and stimulating with some exciting fishy toys. Clean the tank regularly, as well as the aquarium toys.
When you know that you’ve done everything possible to provide the best for your Betta fish, you’ll eliminate a lot of their staring.
A passionate content creator on pet behavior, nutrition choices, and health, Mike is an experienced pet expert. He has been writing on multiple websites to compensate for his passion for cats. Mike grieves around plenty of pets in his parents’ house. At the start of his career, he had a sturdy intention to be a part of pet care by any means.
With his affiliation to Purrfect n’ Pawesome, he found a way to satiate his craving to participate in pet health, wellness, and behavior analysis. He has been a significant part of our team and a major contributor in equipping our site with useful, authentic, and research-backed articles.
“I love pets as much as I love to travel to explore multiple places and lifestyles. I have been attached to this pawsome platform for many years, and my experience regarding pets has enhanced significantly by using various devices to write articles. I believe in writing my thoughts and experiences, so I try to write down the experience and learnings for my readers no matter where I am and what my mood is.”