If you stop to watch your betta for a few minutes you will see him surface, sticking his mouth above water, to suck in air. Though they have gills, they still rely on their labyrinth organ (similar to lungs) to gain oxygen from the atmosphere. This allows them to survive in poorly oxygenated waters where other fish species would suffocate and parish. Betta fish spend much of their resting time floating near the surface. They will even sleep there if they have a surface to rest on or against. In their natural habitat Bettas will hoist themselves onto submerged leaves and other debris where they can relax comfortably and still get the air they need. If there is not a surface to perch on in their aquarium they will find other ways to rest their wary fins. You may find your betta wedged between the filter and tank glass or simply squished into a corner.

Do Betta Fish Sleep?


An answer that may surprise a lot of people is: Yes- all fish need sleep. Depending on how active your fish is, directly results in how much sleep they need. Fish that are mainly active during the day time, such as Betta fish will do the majority of their sleeping of a night time while predominately active night fish will sleep during the day.

Unlike humans, Betta fish do not have eye lids. They also do not drift away into a deep sleep but they do take time to rest when needed. A Betta fish will find a comfortable place where they will rest and become inactive for a period of time. Creating a spot for your Betta to rest will allow them to feel secure and safe. Real plants, artificial aquarium plants or a fish hammock create the perfect resting spaces for Betta fish.

Why Offer a Resting Place

Offering your betta a place to rest near the surface will help to reduce stress and create a feeling of security for your fish. For sick or weakened Bettas, this is particularly important so they are able to reserve some of their energy, focusing on healing rather than straining to reach the surface to breathe.

Choosing the Right Resting Place for Your Betta

You can provide your Betta with one of the following to imitate a similar resting area that would be available in their natural habitat:

Live or Silk Plants

Keeping a variety of live or synthetic aquarium plants in your aquarium will not only make your betta feel more secure but it will also allow him to choose from a variety of places where he can relax. Choose plants of varying heights and textures so your Betta has options.

Floating Logs

Zoo Med Laboratories has created a Floating Betta Log specifically designed for betta fish. It not only floats, it has a hole so that Bettas can surface or blow a bubblenests in a calm environment.  The floating Betta log creates a place where your fish can sleep but also play, breed and feed.

Styrofoam Cups

Frequently used by betta fish breeders to create a secure place for the male to build a bubblenest. In breeding the cup is cut in half lengthwise and placed at the surface so that the convex portion protrudes from above water. If you are just looking to make a hammock for your betta, flip the cup over so that the majority of it is suspended underwater. This creates a nice surface where the Betta can lay and rest.

Betta Leaf Hammock

Zoo Med Labs has created a Betta Leaf Hammock. The suction cup allows you to adjust the floating synthetic leaf so it floats in just the right spot. The rings have a Styrofoam insert that keeps it at the surface. Bettas love to blow bubblenests in them as well as float inside the ring. For more details on this Betta hammock a video is available below.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Alicia says:

    Nice article Christie! Thanks for the great ideas. What a great idea using the styrofoam cup. My guy spends a lot of his time relaxing inside his Zoo Med Log. He currently has a nice bubble nest inside.

    • Christie F. says:

      Thanks Alicia. I appreciate the tip off about the floating log. It really is a great idea.

  2. Jason S. says:

    Interesting. I had always passed by these products, assuming they simply had “Betta” slapped on the label to attract new betta owners. Now that I’ve heard evidence to the contrary (not just here, either) I’ll have to try it in my new 5.5.

  3. Erica says:

    I love the logs as do my bettas. They particularly love swimming in and out of them. I do though have to warn people that the paint will fall off during washing (I just give them a gentle wash with my hands) but have not seen any harmful effects with the areas missing paint chips. I have heard bad things about the hammock though because metal holds the leaf and suction cup together. In the water too long, the metal will rust. I also heard that a betta got gutted by the metal rod (I don’t know the full details) but it was pretty horrific. I use tall silk plants for my bettas to rest on. I would go with those or floating live plants.

    • Kelso says:

      They actually have no metal on them. I have one my betta absolutly loves and there is no metal at all.

  4. Mildred G. says:

    I got the floating log for my Betta. He loves it!
    I have neon tetras in the tank with him, and they scarf up the food so fast!
    I use the hole in the top of the log like a food ring for his food.

  5. Gabbie says:

    aww thats soo cute 🙂 i thinking of getting one of those for my female betta even though i have a plant for her

  6. I have a community tank which holds all my betta females.The tank is full of live plants but the one they really like is the java moss.I always see them on top moss relaxing and they are also scattered through big clumps of it’s stringy like greenery.They also love dried almond leaves.

    • Christie F. says:

      Same here Cecilia. My bettas love java moss. I think it’s because they can get all tangled inside it and it holds them right where they want to be.

  7. Nichole says:

    This leaf WAS awesome until my husband went home and found the fish on the floor. We have no cats/children/or other animals that could of fished him out. I strongly believe that this leaf enabled him to commit attempted suicide. Currently he is in critical condition. “He may not make it.”

    • Christie F. says:

      I’m so sorry Nichole. This is terrible news about your fish. Bettas are amazing jumpers and have a bad reputation of surprising their owners by jumping onto the floor. I even had one jump from his tank through a hole the size of a quarter. I had to cover all the holes in my tank hood (around the filter) so I wouldn’t lose any more.

      • bettaman says:

        make a raft. (get a bit of polystyrene or bubblewrap, tie a piece of thick coloured fishing line to a stone so that the raft floats about a couple of inches from the surface and then punch it full of holes. get any sort of aquatic plant and trim them back so they will fan nicely out and and away from the ‘raft’ but remain below the surface, then stick the ends of the plants into the holes you have just made. this does two things it provides a planted area close to and below the surface for resting and a shaded area below for the betta to ‘get away from it all.’
        ps. they don’t jump out of the tank if you place the raft away from the edges of the tank.

  8. Lindsey says:

    My betta is getting older (I’ve had him over 3 years now) and the other day I realized how I needed something more for him to rest in. So I went to the pet store and bought him both the leaf hammock and the floating betta log. I didn’t do anything to entice him over to either one and just let him figure them out on his own. Well, I’ve never seen him on the leaf but he sure loves his log. It’s so cute how he swims into it then turns around and pokes his head out to watch. The only disadvantage with the log is that since it floats, it will move all around the tank if not held in place by a couple of plants. Other than that, I would HIGHLY recommend it. I hope to get another betta in a few weeks to put in my new 5 gallon tank. I am definitely going to buy a betta log for this one too.

  9. Samantha says:

    I am getting a betta soon and I just wanted to know what the best plant could be. Silk plants, or what? Also i was wondering can you put plastic plants in there. Or would that tear his fins? Please reply with good info. Oh and if those kind of plants are good, then how many should get?

    • Kimberly says:

      I prefer silk as they are less apt to tear those beautiful fins.
      There are so many types to choose from. The taller plants ans flowering plants act as a “hammock” if they reach an inch or two below the water surface.

    • Chloe says:

      No the plastic will not tear the fins, my betta fish ( sushi) loves his plastic plant just in case check all the edges first before you put it in your tank.

  10. Nick says:

    I have banana lilies that float right near the surface for my betta to rest on. The leaves that break the surface of the water are PERFECT for the betta’s bubble nest. I HIGHLY recommend you get some nice banana lilies for your tank.
    Be a bit wary of the floating logs. they seem to tear the betta fins and have a sandpapery disposition. also, the leaf hammock’s leaf sometimes has the metal bit holding it rigid sticking out, thus it can really hurt your fish.

  11. jas says:

    hi, this betta leaf is known to rust and break off.
    i suggest taking it apart and then putting acrylic glue around the metal post and then put it back on the suction cup and let it draw for 24 hrs.
    the glue should coat it enough so the metal isnt exposed

  12. betta luv says:

    hey is their any real diffrence between the sinking log and floting log made by this company besides one sinks and one foats???and are the plants realy betta safe because i saw a few things on their web site that made me wonder

  13. Jacquie says:

    I bought a leaf hammock for my betta when I first got him, but he showed no interest in resting on it. Instead he tried to make a bubble nest under it. I turned the leaf upside down so that the bubbles would be more stable and it hasn’t been without a healthy froth of bubbles since. He is a very happy and healthy little guy and very loved by his human (me).

  14. nic says:

    I’ve had one betta now for 5 month, and got a second about 2 month ago. both are living happy (as for as i can tell) and both will have new tanks coming soon; however, both bettas have yet to make bubble nest should I be worried about this?

  15. Betta Info says:

    I love how betta fish just like to chill on the edge of a leaf.
    I think another reason why they like this toy is because it gives them somewhere shallow to go, I think they like to rest near the top of the water, as in the wild some of the small streams would have been shallow.

  16. amanda says:

    my betta has been swimming at the top of the tank alot recently and its kind of weird. i know they go to the top to get air and when it is time to eat but lately he seems to be doing it more and for longer periods of time. is this normal?

  17. peacefulcounselor says:

    Each betta is different. I have 13 bettas, all rescues from a local department store known for not taking care of its fish. When I first get them and they are really ill, I medicate the water and they spend a lot of time resting on silk plant leaves near the surface so it doesn’t take so much energy to get to the top for air. Some were so sick it hurt their mouths to eat so I hand fed them softened pellets with tweezers while they rested near the top. Now that that this bunch is healthy ( one red veiltail is 5 inches long), each one has his own preferences about how close to the top he stays. Several stay at the top, swimming and playing, most of the day. Some patrol their tank all day at the bottom. It just depends on his personality. Then again, the first sign of tuberculosis is shallow, freqent gasping of air at the surface. If your fish is healthy and eating, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  18. JAne says:

    Can i use a paper cup instead of styrofoam? My tank isn’t really big…but i’d like to give it something to use like that. The styrofoam cups are too big…:/

    • Chloe says:

      The paper cup will get soggy and fall apart which means your betta fish could chock on the paper, killing it. I would not use a paper cup. TRUST ME!!

  19. Chloe says:

    My betta fish has 2 plastic horse toys in his tank and he always goes under them and sleep. Is that normal

  20. Sydney says:

    I have a crown tail male betta fish that i got yesterday. At the time i didnt know betta fish need air to breathe so i put on a ceramic bowl cover (with no air holes, but space between water and cover), to keep it from jumping out. When i found out that they need air (several hours later), i took the cover off. Will my fish be okay?

  21. Sydney says:

    Whats ur email

  22. jessie says:

    i was in the hospital for surgery and when i came home someone had given me a betta in a big vase. I had no idea they were so different than other fish. i think i did everything wrong.now bernaldo looks awfull, his beautiful fins are looking like sticks and he is so thin and not eating. There was a female with him that harassed him all the time so i took her out( she had bad fins too) before i saw how bad he looked i had put in 2 more females and 2 bottom feeders. i dont know how to cycle, or what i should do for him, he doesnt look like he will last mush longer…please help me save him..

  23. Sandra says:

    I have two ceramic dishes in my 40 L tank, mi betta fish sleeps under one of them and some time rests over one of them, i think he enjoys swimming around them, but just now i’m wondering if it is a good idea to have them in there or should i remove them? they are all white and have flowers painted on them. Could someone please tell me if its ok to have them with my fishy?

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