Betta fish can actually learn some easy tricks. Similar to dogs, they can be taught specific acts with food as an incentive. Below are 3 tricks you can teach your betta. Remember, do not overfeed your betta. You can practice these tricks around mealtime so you won’t feed too many treats throughout the day. These tricks will need to be taught over several days. Be patient and your little guy or girl will get the hang of things soon enough. You will be surprised how quickly they can get the hang of things.
Follow the Finger or Stick
This is a simple and cool trick that some bettas already do naturally. You can see if your betta already naturally has the inclination to follow your finger or a small, tank proof stick. When you have your bettas attention lightly place your finger outside of your aquarium (don’t tap or hit aggressively). Slowly move your finger around to see if your betta follows you.
You can enhance this trick with the use of a small, tank proof training stick and some treats your betta loves to eat.
- Touch the training stick in the water near your betta. Then place a little bit of the food like pellets or blood worms with it.
- Move the stick to another spot in the tank, (not too far from your betta) and also place some food there… Your betta will follow the food and the stick.
- Repeat this several times and your betta will associate the training stick with food. Every time he or she sees it, he/she will go after it because of the delicious snack.
- Over time, you will be able to move the training stick a little bit and your betta will follow it. After some days or weeks, you will be able to move the stick further and further with a loyal betta patiently following your moves.
- This is the basis for training a betta. Many tricks can be expanded on, from just this simple “trick” that has your betta following you.
Hoops and Tunnels
Some enthusiasts create a water-safe hoop or a tunnel to add to their tank. They expand on the “follow the stick” trick and are able to lead their betta through this hoop or tunnel. It’s quite impressive to see. This is how you can get started as well…
- Purchase or make a hoop that is safe to add to an aquarium. Make sure it is big enough for your betta to safely swim through and that it doesn’t have any sharp or rough materials edges to it.
- Once your betta has mastered the “follow the finger” trick try to lead him or her through the hoop.
- It is best to start right by the hoop so that you won’t need to first lead him or her a long distance to start with.
- This trick can be expanded on by guiding your betta through a tunnel or some other safe obstacle.
Jumping Betta – The Flying Fish
As you already know, bettas are excellent jumpers. Some enthusiasts have trained their bettas to jump up for some food.
- Stick some food loosely to the end of your training stick.
- Hold the stick very close to the surface of the water (without dipping the stick in the water).
- Stay very still, and with a little bit of patience, your betta will make the leap and grab the food.
- Over time, you can increase the distance you hold the stick out of the water and there you will have… “The flying Betta”.
These tricks are meant to be fun, bonding experiences between owner and pet. Please do not tease your fish and be sure to reward all the tiny progressions he or she makes. Some betta will get the hang of these tricks fast and some may take a bit longer. Be patient, and you will be amazed by what these smart little guys and girls can achieve.