Do Betta Fish Have Tongues? {Can They Lick Things?}

Betta fish have quite a few distinguishing physical characteristics, including their beautiful flowing fins and dopey, expressive faces.

Do Betta fish have tongues? Have you ever seen it? Can they use their tongue to make noises?

In this article, we will examine closely to find out, do betta fish have tongues?

Do Betta Fish Have Tongues?

Yes, betta fish have tongues, but they aren’t the same type of tongues that humans have. Instead, a betta fish has a bony tongue that is used for two main reasons:

  1. prevent them from swallowing food that is too big
  2. protecting other parts of the mouth and the structures within.

Let’s look a little deeper into if betta fish have tongues and what they can do with them!

Do Betta Fish Have Tongues

What Do Betta Fish Do With Their Tongues?

If you’re wondering if your betta has a tongue, the answer is yes! Betta fish have tongues, and while they can’t taste with them or move them like we humans can with our tongues, the betta’s tongue still serves a purpose.

A betta can use its tongue to:

  • Prevent swallowing things that are too large and could cause choking
  • Helps to protect the gills and the ventral aorta, which is the aorta that provides blood to the gills from being harmed by hard or spiky food

Do Betta Fish Stick Their Tongue Out?

No, betta fish don’t stick their tongues out. A bettas tongue is a bony organ and it can only move minuscule amounts in an up and down motion.

Unlike humans and other animals, betta fish don’t use their tongues as an aid for chewing. As a rule, fish don’t actually chew their food; instead, they swallow it whole.

Because of this, it isn’t necessary for the betta’s tongue to move enough to be stuck out of the mouth.

Do Betta Fish Lick Things?

No. The bony structure in their mouth is sometimes referred to as the tongue of a betta fish. Even though this is true, betta fish have tongues, it is not the same organ we have in our mouths.

A Betta fish cannot use this tongue to stick it out and make fun of you. They can lunge out and bite without their tongues.

In today’s video for this article, I chose a betta fish biting the tongue of a cat for your viewing pleasure. The cat wasn’t hurt in the making of this video. Enjoy!

YouTube video

Can Betta Fish Speak?

No, betta fish can’t speak, but they can hear and recognize voices.

Betta fish aren’t a talkative species.  If you want a noisy fish, the pygmy gourami, also called the sparkling gourami, is another labyrinth fish and close relative of the betta.

They can make a very loud “croaking” noise that is easily heard across the room from the tank. These fish have similar behaviors to bettas and can be great additions to aquariums as unique, chatty fish.

What Is Sticking Out of My Betta Fish Mouth?

If you see something sticking out of your betta’s mouth, it isn’t likely to be their tongue. It could be:

  1. a fungal infection
  2. pieces of food

Some fungal infections show up as fuzzy mold sticking out of the mouth. Alternatively, if a betta has a piece of food stuck in its mouth that it can’t swallow, it can also hang out of its mouth.

So if something is protruding from your betta’s mouth, try to get a closer look to make sure there is nothing wrong that you need to address.

Do Betta Fish Make Noise?

Yes. Betta fish can make some sounds that you may or may not hear. They have been recorded and you may have to listen carefully to hear these sounds:

  • Click
  • Pop
  • Crunch
  • Chomp

Why Do Betta Fish Make Clicking Sounds?

Betta fish make clicking sounds to indicate they are:

  • Excited
  • Angry

Bettas also communicate to each other with subtle clicking sounds that you may not hear.

They could be introducing themselves to a new betta in the tank or warning them to back off. Betta are territorial and clicking helps them communicate that.


Thanks for visiting for this article on Betta fish. We have plenty more informative articles for your interest. Check out our home page and search bar for hundreds of more selections that could benefit you and your aquatic life. Bye for now!


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.