Are Betta Fish Smart? {If Yes, How Smart Are Betta Fish?}

Did your betta fish just surprise you and you are wondering are betta fish smart?

Can they learn things quicker and better than other fish?

Are Betta Fish Smart?

Yes, Betta fish are smart. Although Betta fish might not be as smart as some other aquarium members, they are still considerably intelligent.

Are Betta Fish Smart

They are believed to be closely related to cichlids in the evolution tree; thus, sharing some of their intelligent traits. Betta fish further display their level of smartness in the way they show parental care.

Even though Betta fish have less developed brains than mammals, they still show a level of emotion. They can grow to recognise and like their owners.

Can Betta Fish Recognize Their Owners?

Having a lovely fish species like the Betta fish in your fish tank can be quite interesting. The fact that they interact with their environment makes them more appealing.

The question about Betta fish identifying their owners has been a long-standing debate among several aquarists. Although there is no standard answer to this question, there are some general observations.

Betta fish are small but quite intelligent. They behave in various manners that amuse aquarists and aquarium enthusiasts.

Betta fish can identify with objects, persons and recognize patterns. Consequently, there is a high probability that Betta fish will recognise their owners, especially if he feeds them regularly.

Although they have less emotion than Aves and mammals, Betta fish still find a way of attaching to what they are used to.

Betta fish will get used to the presence of an individual, pattern, or object over time. They also have a curious nature that makes them interact consistently with their environment. With these attitudes, there is a high probability that Betta fish will recognise their owner over time.

Can Betta Fish Identify Their Owners

Do Betta Fishes Have Feelings?

Betta fish have the ability to receive some sort of signal for pain. Reactions to avoid pain is as feeling in itself. Sometimes a betta fish can experience emotions that we are able to categorize such as boredom.

We know that a happy betta fish is one that is not:

  • sulking in the corner
  • refusing food
  • leaning to its side

A betta fish who is generally interacting with its tankmates, responding to you and eating plenty of food is happy Betta fish are intelligent and able to recognize their owners voices and movements. You can train a betta fish to play games with you.

Betta fish will begin to become excited when they hear you coming after a while of getting to know you. Assuming that a betta fish’s angry or sad is difficult, but we can compare that with the opposite feeling of being elated when there’s food being offered.

Can You Pet a Betta Fish?

No. You should not be petting a betta fish. If you are making contact or touching a betta fish, they may get frightened. You may actually get bitten by a betta fish as well.

Your frightened betta fish may end up becoming stressed and will sulk in a corner and never want to come back to see you again.

Do not touch betta fish because they have a natural slime coating. If you touch it, you may remove some of this coating. Its coating is important to prevent diseases.

Instead of touching your Betta fish you can get your little pet to feed off of your finger. Your Betta fish could also interact with you by following your finger as well.

How Can I Play With My Betta Fish?

Betta fish can get bored. They would appreciate some time to play with you. You can teach your Betta fish to do the following things:

  • follow your finger
  • eat from your hand
  • swim through a hoop
  • play soccer
  • use ping pong balls

A betta fish that is not getting enough attention and is bored will end up hiding behind plants for a long period of time. These fish are inquisitive and intelligent.

There are plenty of betta fish toys available at your local fish shop. Try them out next time you visit to pick up some fish food. Pick up a hoop or ball for your betta fish as well.

Should I Talk to My Betta Fish?

We recommend talking to a betta fish even though they’re not going to respond to you verbally. This is because betta fish are able to sense vibrations in the water.

They can they are sensitive to the sounds of human voices as well. With time, they will be able to learn the intonation and sound of your voice.

You can repeat their name over and over again each time you visit your Betta fish. After a while, it has been proven that betta fish may be able to respond to their name.

There are not going to show you the type of affection that dog or a cat would, but you can still develop a great relationship with a betta fish as they learn to respond to you, follow your finger, play games or eat out of your hand.


If you intend to add some fun and interaction elements to your tank, then Betta fish provides you with a valuable option. They interact and identify with various elements in their environment, including persons, patterns, noise, and objects.

Betta fish needs a clean, warm, and stable tank to remain active. They also love live plants and decorations because it provides them with comfort and lots of hiding spaces.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.

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