Why Does My Betta Fish Stare At Me? The Answer May Surprise You

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are extremely popular due to their colorful appearance and hardy nature. But Betta fish owners sometimes notice their Betta fish staring at them and wonder why. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason, you may still be curious to figure out “why does my Betta fish stare at me?”

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered why your Betta fish is staring at you. It’s a common occurrence among Betta fish owners, and you may be wondering if it’s a cause for concern. Keep reading to find out whether and/or when you should worry!

So, Why Does My Betta Fish Stare At Me?

Don’t be alarmed if you ever walk into a room and find your Betta fish staring at you. There are a couple of reasons your Betta fish may be staring at you, or at least seem like it’s staring at you (you could just be in its line of sight).

Staring behavior in Betta fish is generally not something to worry about. However, there could be a problem with the tank, or environment, causing them distress. It’s a good idea to ensure they are happy in their tank and rule out any health issues first. Sick Betta fish may seem lethargic and can stare motionlessly for considerable periods of time. Because of this, it’s a good idea to check that your Betta is lively in the tank if it’s awake. 

Betta fish are pretty intelligent and interactive, so they may be staring at you because they’re trying to tell you something like they want to play, or they could just enjoy looking at you.

Your Betta Fish Might Recognize You

Your Betta fish might stare at you because it knows you! Betta fish can recognize their owners’ faces, so if your Betta starts staring when you walk into the room, it’s probably because it recognizes you as its owner. The more interaction you have with your Betta fish, the more likely they will recognize you as such and react accordingly. They will associate seeing you with the activities you do together, whether it’s dinner or entertainment. 

Betta fish have good memories and can remember things from weeks ago. If you move things around in their tanks, they will still remember where objects were before. The same applies to you. Bettas will remember your face and shape, even after weeks of not seeing you.

As you are the one to feed it and give it attention, your Betta fish may get excited when you walk into the room. They may expect some stimulation upon seeing you, whether it’s food or attention. And if you interact with your Betta daily, it will recognize you as their source of play and entertainment. 

It’s Your Betta Fish’s Dinner Time

One of the reasons your Betta may be staring at you is to let you know that the proverbial tank is empty, and they’d appreciate some dinner. Betta fish are clever and, after some repetitive interaction, will come to associate your presence with feeding times. This pavlovian response isn’t that different than with other pets such as birds, cats, and dogs.

Because your Betta fish associates you with food, don’t be surprised if it starts staring at you around feeding times. If your Betta is staring at you more often, it could be that it is trying to convince you to give it more food. 

Refer to the size of your Betta and the feeding guide on its food container to make sure you are feeding your Betta accurately in terms of amount and frequency. Don’t let your Betta fool you into giving it too much food. Just like furry friends, Betta fish aren’t above begging for food.

Instead of just dropping the food in, an excellent way to bond with your Betta fish is to feed your Betta with tweezers or divide the meal into small batches. The Betta will begin to associate you more clearly with food, and this will help you bond.

Another perk to feeding your Betta a little at a time is that you can prevent overfeeding them. Overfeeding can result in wasted food, make the water toxic, and make the tank dirty more quickly. Scoop out any uneaten food and only feed your fish the recommended amount of fish pellets.

Your Betta Fish May Be Looking For Entertainment

Once it has recognized you as its owner, your Betta may look to you for attention and stimulation. Providing entertainment for your Betta is essential to prevent boredom and lethargy. If there aren’t many objects in the tank to interact with, it may also turn to you to provide some entertainment.

If you aren’t often able to spend time interacting with your Betta, it’s a good idea to purchase some objects for it to play with to avoid getting bored. Items that Bettas enjoy are water plants, rocks or structures that they can swim through, or floating toys. 

If the lighting around your tank is low, there are water plants that thrive under low light, such as Anubias or dwarf Anubias for smaller tanks, Java Fern, and  Java Moss. These can bring some color to the tank, which Bettas love, and also provide them with entertainment, and great hiding places.

Regarding toys, Betta fish love floating logs. They float near the water’s surface and provide entertainment for your Betta – it can swim through it or rest inside it. Betta fish prefer to rest near the surface of the water, so a floating log gives them a great resting spot.

It’s important to check that your Betta’s tank is big enough. Getting your Betta a bigger tank will give it more room to swim around and explore. If a tank is too small, Bettas can become bored and get into the habit of staring at you because it, literally, has nothing better to do. 

According to PetMD, the recommended minimum tank size for a single Betta is five gallons. If you have more fish than just the one Betta in a tank, you’ll need to look at getting a larger tank.

Why Does My Betta Fish Stare At Me

Your Betta Fish Is Being Naturally Curious

Betta fish are extremely curious about what is happening around them, inside and outside the tank. Your Betta could be staring because they want to know what you’re up to. It’s also possible that whatever you are doing is entertaining to them at the time.

Your Betta is instinctually aware of their surroundings, which sometimes leads to staring if they are trying to figure out what something is. For instance, if they see movement nearby and are trying to decipher what, or who, it is.

Bettas do not have the best eyesight, so if yours has been staring at you for a while, it could be trying to figure out what you are. If you are sitting in a chair or holding something large, it might not recognize you immediately and could need some time to be able to recognize you.

Your Betta Fish’s Eyes Are Open When They Sleep

Betta fish typically have the same sleeping patterns as humans. They are active during the day and sleep at night. So when it gets darker, your Betta may decide it’s time for a snooze. If you find your Betta staring at you, it might not be staring at all, it might actually be sleeping.

Betta fish don’t have eyelids, so their eyes always remain open, even when asleep. It may look like it’s staring at you, but if it’s not moving, it’s probably just sleeping.


Aside from the possibility of lethargy due to illness, your Betta fish might stare at you because it recognizes you as its source of entertainment and food. These fish are clever and naturally curious, so they might be looking at you because they are bored and want to engage with you.

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