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Betta tend to be solidity fish, especially males. Often times, they are housed in a tank along due to the advice that many aquarists and local fish stores provide to new fish owners.
While this sounds good as a practice, the thing is that a betta needs more than water and a container. This is where Betta Fish Toys can come into play. These toys can be used to provide some entertainment and enrichment for your fish. However, what’s the Best Betta Fish Toys available?
I’m not going to list out a ton of toys in the article, but I will provide ones that I feel do a good job. I’ve kept Bettas on and off for the last decade and have advised many hobbyists over the years about Betta care, even when I was educated about them in the 90s when I worked at a local fish store. I hope the research I’ve done on the subject will help you find the right toys and form of entertain for your fish.
Let’s start with the first question – why do Bettas even need enrichment in the first place.
Why They Need Enrichment
Betta fish, otherwise known as Siamese fighting fish are naturally curious fish that need both physical and mental engagement to remain healthy and content. Betta fish get stressed and bored with nothing to interact with in their environment. I’ve even seen Betta’s self mutilate, similar to what Birds do because they are bored.
It’s not even my personal experience that back this up, but this is also backed by studies as well. A study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden1 discusses the effect of environmental enrichment.
The study summarizes with the following excerpt:
We find that enrichment can affect several aspects of the biology of captive fish, for example, aggression, stress, energy expenditure, injury and disease susceptibility.
I can take this study and further link this to their natural habitats. In the wild, Bettas live in shallow waters with a lot of vegetation, where they encounter various objects, plants or other species. Oftentimes, males especially are involved in chasing away fish that come near their bubble nests. Stimulus is all around them
To recreate these conditions at home owners must give access to living or silk made plants for bettas – not only providing hiding spots but also resembling nature more accurately. Using toys like ping pong balls and floating logs can provide entertainment during playtime, causing increased stimulation within the tank environment.
I find dedicating some play time with your betta helps fill the void if they lack tankmates. Ultimately picking out useful items specially designed for your finned pets is key– think about what activities stimulate interest among bettas – considering all this could bring on an enrichment process both mentally & physically.
The 5 Best Betta Toys Reviews (2023)
Let’s take a deep dive into the best betta fish toys so you can make an informed decision about what would work best in your betta’s tank. For all these toys I’m recommending I’m looking at the following:
- The chances of your Betta actually interacting with the toy
- The ease of use for the user
- Quality of the toy and a reasonable price
All these toys should be easy for you to find online or at a local pet store. Let’s look at the first one.
1. Zoo Med Floating Log
The Zoo Med Floating Betta Log is a popular choice among betta fish owners due to its natural-like design and ability to offer an ideal hiding spot for curious bettas. This floating log imitates the native habitat of your Betta, providing them with space to investigate, rest or stay hidden. It also comes along with a feeding hole on top in order for your fish to enjoy their food without needing to venture out of it.
A slight downside associated with this aquarium accessory could be its stability since it relies only on one suction cup attached at the tank wall which may cause dislodging issues sometimes reported by users who state that additional function cups are necessary. Personally, I don’t see a problem with it floating around as this is what would happen in nature and if you build a Betta fish tank correctly, the flow should be low anyway.
All things considered, the Zoo med Floating Betta Log proves itself as an outstanding enhancement addition to any betta environment! Though not necessarily a toy (I would classify it as one of many betta fish accessories), it’s one of my favorites to recommend.
- Material: Durable, non-toxic resin
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches
- Provides a natural-looking hiding spot
- Encourages exploration and relaxation
- Can double as a betta hammock
- Easy to install with a suction cup
- May require additional suction cups for stability
- Paint has been known to chip off over time
2. R2 Training Kit
Do you want to teach your Betta all the cool tricks and post some TikTok videos about his feats? If so this is the kit to get! Created by Dr. Dean Pomerlau and his son Kyle, this kit comes with a variety of activities:
- Soccer balls and nets
- Limbo bar
- Goal post for swimming around
The R2 Fish School Training Kit is an ideal tool for betta fish owners who want to mentally stimulate and engage their pet through interactive playtime. By using positive reinforcement – such as providing treats with a feeding wand once tasks are complete – this unique toy can teach your betta new tricks, aiding in the bonding experience between you two. It’s important to remember that not all species of fish respond favorably or calmly when confronted with unfamiliar objects. Stress levels may increase so make sure the kit will suit your specific type before introducing it into its environment. You can see one of the tricks in the video below (video source).
- Training method: Positive reinforcement
- Includes: Hoops, balls, limbo poles, goal posts, feeding wand
- Provides mental stimulation and interactive playtime
- Teaches betta fish tricks using positive reinforcement
- Includes various accessories for different training exercises
- Includes training lessons and instructions
- May not be suitable for all fish species
- Requires dedicated time and effort to train fish
3. Zoo Med Exercise Mirror
The Zoo Med Betta Exercise Mirror is a floating device made to give brief stimulation and exercise for your betta fish. Putting it in the tank will cause them to confront their own reflection, so they can flare out their fins, like natural territorial behavior which exercises both body and mind of the animal.
This is considered one of the more controversial toys on this list. A mirror while it can provide stimulation for your betta and also cause stress with overuse. It should be removed after several minutes.
Use only briefly then take out immediately after some time has passed. You want to simulate an in the wild event where a betta would come across a rival to his territory. He will flare and try to fight his reflection than take it away mimicing the rival running away. Never leave a mirror in an aquarium long-term.
- Type: Floating mirror
- Usage: Flaring aid for photos and occasional show off
- Provides short-term stimulation and exercise
- Encourages natural territorial behaviors
- Easy to use and remove from the tank
- Prolonged use may stress betta fish
4. CAVN Pen Light
The CAVN Pen Light with Pupil Gauge LED Penlight may not be explicitly designed as a betta fish toy, but it is nonetheless it can work well as one. It is a tool for medical professionals when evaluating the size and reaction of patient’s pupils, however, it’s one of the best laser pointers you can buy for either training or entertaining your fish or interacting with him.
Even though this penlight isn’t intended to provide enrichment directly to your betta fish, in can be used in a variety of works. One of the unique ways I’ve seen laser pointers use is to help pose schooling fish when taking photos for aquascaping competitions. While the use may not be the same as a schooling fish, you can direct your betta fish to different areas of the tank with the point or even use it to make the betta do tricks.
As always, never point a laser pointer directly into an animal’s eye.
- Material: Plastic
- Color: White
- Size: 5.3 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches
- Weight: 0.32 ounces
- Ideal tool for medical professionals
- Features a pupil gauge and LED light
- Comes in a pack of two for convenience
- Compact size and lightweight design
- Not specifically designed for betta fish enrichment
5. Zoo Med Leaf Hammock
The Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock is a practical decoration more so than a fish toy. It allows your pet to rest in comfort on the leaf. This durable plastic leaf can be securely attached using its suction cup, giving them an ideal spot where they are safe and comfortable. One thing I will say about this is that this decoration isn’t always accepted by a betta fish so you may have some mixed results.
This is a good decoration to try if you don’t want to use live plants. However, I would encourage using large-leafed live aquarium plants, floating plants, or other decor like driftwood so your betta can rest on it.
- Material: Soft plastic
- Attachment: Suction cup
- Provides a comfortable resting place near the water’s surface
- Easy to install with a suction cup
- Blends seamlessly with aquarium decor
- May require occasional adjustments for stability
- Not all Bettas will use it
Bonus – A Ping Pong Ball
A simple ping pong ball is one of the cheapest and most entertaining toys you can use with a betta fish. I listed it as a bonus because some of you may have one just sitting in your home. Betta fish love pushing this ball along, and they can be trained to move the ping pong into a goal. If you have one laying around, definitely give it a try and enjoy your betta fish chasing this ball around!
Choosing The Right One
When looking for the best betta fish toys to give your pet, it is important to take into account their unique needs and inclinations. By providing an array of accessories that appeal to their natural tendencies you will ensure they are contented, strong and engaged. Firstly, prioritize items with no toxicity which won’t release any hazardous materials in the aquarium water. With the exception to a ping ball, stay away from other items that are not designed for aquarium fish, as there is a likelihood that it is not safe for use in an aquarium.
Likewise be wary of toys with pointed edges or rough textures since these could potentially hurt them. If needed sand off such imperfections using either sandpaper or nail file for added protection.
Consider how the toy mirrors its native environment when selecting products: giving hiding spots, plants & floating objects can recreate its normal habitat while inspiring exploration & fun activities – some may love chasing bubbles whereas others relax on top by resting near surface-level on leaf hammocks, etcetera!
Think about whether all selected components blend well within your Betta tank without taking up excessive area or producing stress levels. Ultimately, observe how it behaves around those toys and decor.
One last thing to note is the activity level of your Betta itself. In my experience, Plakat bettas are going to be pretty active while fancier tail varieties like elephant ears will struggle to do things like train with the Fish School training kit. Understand what your Betta is compatible of physically.
Toys are nice and have novelty to them. However, natural environmental enhancers are overall better in the long-term. Here are a few non-toy options.
Indian Almond Leaves
Indian Almond leaves (also referred to catappa) present several benefits such as releasing tannins into water softening it along with having antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Tannin rich waters was actually used by owners who used their fish to fight to allow them to heal. Your betta will appreciate the preferred water parameters the leaves provide and will enjoy resting on them. It’s not a toy, but a great way to enrich their natural environment.
Bettas are very curious about Marimo Moss balls and adding a few will spark their curiosity. Not only do they enjoy interacting with them, but they also help remove toxins and nitrates from your tank. They are great to use in small tanks and are relatively inexpensive to obtain.
Who doesn’t like more fish? It may surprised you, but Bettas do a lot better with other fish in their tank. You will need at least a 10 gallon tank to add other tankmates and you want to make sure you add the correct ones. If you add fish that look like them, they may try to fight them. If you try to add fish that are too active, they can outcompete and even nip at your Betta. To help, here are a few options that Betta fish like:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do betta fish use toys?
Bettas are curious fish and will interact with a variety of toys. Cheap and fun items like ping pong balls help keep the mental stimulation, energy levels, and overall happiness of your betta high. Adding these toys are inexpensive, which makes it an excellent choice.
How do you keep a betta entertained?
To keep your betta amused, introduce a small plastic ping pong ball into the top of their tank so they can get accustomed to it. You may even be able to teach them certain tricks like swimming through hoops when you move your finger or jumping out of the water if you offer them food from your hand.
How often should I use the Zoo Med Betta Exercise Mirror?
It is recommended to employ the Zoo Med Betta Exercise Mirror with care and only for brief periods in order to prevent stressing out your betta fish. It shouldn’t be used multiple times a day. Every other day is about the most I would personally use it for.
Are there any alternatives to betta fish toys?
Instead of betta fish toys, consider adding natural live plants to the tank along with decorations and providing a more varied diet for your fish. Also, tankmates are a great way to provide entertainment and enrichment to your betta.
What should I avoid when choosing betta fish toys?
When selecting items to provide playtime entertainment for betta fish, one should be aware of the potential dangers posed by cheaply made and improperly constructed toys. Sharp edges or rough surfaces could injure your pet, while toxic chemicals may leach into their water environment if it is not manufactured correctly.
For the benefit of your betta, it is essential to provide them with an exciting selection of toys and accessories. It’s crucial that you think about what their natural habitat would include for stimulation purposes as well as considering any safety implications when selecting these items in order to create a desirable environment for this fish species.
Have you ever used this toys with your Betta? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!
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I’m thrilled that you found Aquarium Store Depot! Here you’ll find information on fish, aquariums, and all things aquatics related. I’m a hobbyist (being doing this since I was 11) and here to help other hobbyists thrive with their aquariums! I adhere to a high quality Editorial Process and Review products with real life field usage and practical analysis.