Fish and humans live in totally different habitats. Do you think fish appreciates bonding with their owners and how? The straight answer is yes! Betta fish have the ability to see and remember you. They are curious in nature, inquisitive and love interacting with their surroundings. Although a fish has a very small and simple brain structure, and it seems impossible, but they can identify and remember patterns, and on this basis, we can say that fishes are smarter than we think!
Bettas mostly associate their owners with food and playtimes, so the more you interact with your them, the more likely they’ll recognise you. Betta can also love their owners – while they don’t have the emotional capacity of a dog or a cat, I believe that bettas are still capable of feeling emotions.
From experience of keeping them for years, I know that I’ve formed emotional bonds with them, and my relationship with different betta fish varies from one to another. You’ll know a betta has bonded with you when they are trusting enough to feed from your hand and greet you when you’re close by. Trust is the first step in betta training.
Are you and your betta ready? Let’s take this to the next level and get training for the Betta Olympics! Not ready yet? Read on!
First off, bettas are solitary creatures by nature. They don’t need a lot of “fun” activities to stimulate them, but they definitely can, on occasion, exhibit symptoms of actual boredom. Having said that, why would you not want to bond with your pet? Surely part of the reasons why you get a pet is to love them, to form a new relationship and bond with them?
Ever heard of betta blues? When bettas are kept in a tank that is not meeting their basic necessity, it can lead to betta blues. Your betta will show behavioural changes, such as reduced swimming and activity in general and lack of appetite. Remember that all bettas have different temperaments and personalities, so being engaged and aware of their daily routine is good practice from day one. Boredom can lead to lethargy, decreased appetite, tail nipping and ultimately their demise if you ignore the symptoms and don’t act upon it.
This section will cover only the entertainment element, but there are other things you can do to improve their wellbeing, such as redecorating their tank, changing their scenery, varying their diet and adding toys to their tank.
First of all, let’s talk about what types of bettas can be trained. The answer is simple: any type! From long finned, to plakats, females and wild type! Although they may differ in appearance, all bettas love to eat! This is one of their main motivation and is a useful aspect for training.
It may be easier to get a shorter finned fish to jump out of the water than a longer finned friend. Also keep in mind that larger fins can sometimes be more susceptible to fin tears and your betta’s health should always come first!
Both males and females can learn tricks. An individual’s drive and trust contribute the most to their ability to perform.
Be creative with the tools – you don’t have to spend a lot to entertain your betta. Simple tools such as sticks, pointer sticks or toothpicks will do just fine. Use what you have around you, from DIY to advanced 3D printed hoops, betta tunnels, straw agility course or other other water-safe materials to any other household items such as curtain hoops, or as simple as using your finger, betta training can be so much fun! You can also use a tweezer or pipette as a pointer to motivate your betta with food rewards.
Here are just some ideas for training. You can get your betta to jump on command or swim through a hoop/hoops, follow an agility course, playing with a ball and follow a pointer. There is no limit. Just make sure it’s a fun activity between the two of you!
Although this activity is light-hearted fun, please be sure to put your betta’s safety and wellbeing first and take care during training. A lid for your tank goes a long way!