Betta Fish jumping out of the aquarium. What to do?

The betta is a beautiful and fascinating fish, however they can also be a little prone to making some inappropriate jumps. If you’ve been taking care of the species for a long time, you’ve certainly watched it jump seemingly out of nowhere. And even worse, he often ends up jumping out of the aquarium. But why does this happen? And how to stop your betta from jumping out of the aquarium?

There are many reasons for your betta to jump out of the aquarium, among them we can highlight poor quality water, small aquariums, stress and even trying to get something out of the aquarium. Also, they are fish that have a natural tendency to jump. To discourage this behavior we must maintain water quality, de-stress the fish and, when possible, cover the aquarium.

We will understand in this article more about the causes of this behavior, and how to make it less frequent in betta fish.

Why is my betta jumping out of the aquarium?

As discussed above, there are many factors that can encourage your betta to jump out of the aquarium. Most have to do with the environment he lives in, but unfortunately, this is a recurring issue in bettas. Despite this, we have ways to alleviate this problem. We will highlight below some of the causes for this unwanted behavior.

poor quality water

A dirty aquarium is the source of 90% of the problems that we can find, whether diseases or inappropriate behavior. In case the betta is jumping out of the aquarium, this is also true. If you don’t maintain your aquarium properly (especially if you don’t have a filter), there will be a buildup of substances harmful to your fish, such as ammonia and nitrites. In these cases, the betta will certainly want to find cleaner water for him, and may even try to get out of the aquarium, anyway. Remember that your pet has no idea that when it jumps out of the aquarium, it will fall to the ground and away from any water.

In addition, other inappropriate parameters can make your betta decide to try his luck by jumping out of the aquarium. For all fish species, it is important to pay attention to pH. In case this value is outside the ideal range for the betta, he may also find it better to try to escape from there.

small aquariums

Unfortunately, most of the time, bettas live in aquariums that are completely unsuitable for them, especially in terms of size. Bettas need tanks of at least 18 liters, but they are often living in tanks with only 1 liter of water. This causes a lot of problems for the species, and can lead your fish to try to escape the aquarium.

If it lives in a few liters of water, that alone would be enough to stress the fish enough for it to try to escape. However, there is another problem, small aquariums accumulate dirt much faster, that is, the concentration of ammonia and nitrite can go up a lot and quickly. To the point of making the water uninhabitable. It’s no surprise that your betta is jumping out of the tank under these conditions.

Inappropriate temperature for the species

Just as a high concentration of ammonia and an inappropriate pH can affect your fish, a non-species standard temperature can also encourage it to jump out of the tank. Bettas are tropical fish, which need considerably warm water to survive. Therefore, they are very uncomfortable with very cold water and this not only generates stress, but also affects their health. Even worse than having cold water, is having water that varies a lot in temperature. Small changes are inevitable, but in certain regions, on the same day we can have a difference of more than 10 degrees Celsius from day to night. This is horrible for your fish’s health, and may encourage it to jump out of the tank.

Read More – How Do Fish Sleep? Read this article and find out!

excessive stress

Regardless of the species, a stressed fish is always more likely to jump out of the tank. This is obviously no different in the case of bettas. Stress causes several health problems, that is, it can not only cause jumps, but also diseases. Some of the main sources of stress for the betta are what we have already mentioned: dirty water, inadequate parameters and small aquariums. However, other factors also affect it, such as inappropriate aquarium mates, too much noise, or lights that affect your sleep.

Stimuli outside the aquarium

Any object or animal that passes over the aquarium can cause your betta to jump. They are curious and voracious fish, so whenever they see something that could be food, there is a high chance they will try to catch it. Plants near the water’s surface, insects flying by, or even someone’s hand passing over the aquarium can encourage a jump.

Some Bettas just like to jump

As we mentioned earlier, it is not uncommon for fish of the species to simply like to jump. Some species are more prone to jumping than others. In the case of the betta, it is one of the species in which this behavior is common. But of course each fish is a different individual, so despite the species, for the most part, having some typical behaviors, each betta will have its own personality. Some may jump all the time, while others will simply never do so.

How to stop your Betta from jumping out of the aquarium?

Now that we know the source of the problem, we need to know how to discourage your betta from trying to jump out of the aquarium. As we’ve seen, there are many causes, so we’ll also need to have a few different approaches to success.

Improve water quality

The first action to take is to ensure that your water is of good quality, so doing some tests can help a lot at this time. Ammonia and nitrite tests are a great way to understand how your aquarium water is doing. Ideally, these values ​​must always be zero or very close to zero. If these tests are zero, it is a sign that your aquarium is most likely free of substances toxic to fish.

But if ammonia or nitrite are above zero, it’s a big sign that you need to pay more attention to your aquarium maintenance. To resolve the issue, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Do frequent partial water changes. In this case, at least 20% of the water should be changed once a week.
  • Having a quality filter is also essential as it will help keep your water clean and your fish healthy. If you already have a filter, also maintain it at least once a month.
  • Remove any decaying organic matter in the aquarium. This means removing fish and other animals that may be dead, dead plants that are decomposing and, above all, leftover feed accumulated in the corners.
  • Feed only what your betta needs excess feed can accumulate in the aquarium, causing the concentration of ammonia in the water to increase.

By doing all these steps, your betta will feel much more comfortable in your tank, and can greatly reduce its inclination to jump out of the tank.

Have a suitable aquarium for your betta

This means having an aquarium of the right size, with the right temperature for your betta and with the other parameters also in the ideal range for him. Bettas need to live in temperatures ranging from 22 to 30 degrees Celsius, and in addition, they do not accept sudden changes in this temperature, even if the variation is within the acceptable range for the species.

So, if you live in a very cold area, or if the temperature in your area changes a lot during the day, you will need a heater with a thermostat. With these equipment, you will automatically regulate the temperature of the aquarium, keeping it within the ideal range for the betta, and without major variations.

Another very important factor to consider is pH. Like temperature, pH needs to be in the optimal range (6.6 and 7.4) and cannot change too quickly. This means you need to take extra care not to change the pH of your aquarium too much, especially when doing partial water changes.

And as for the size, it is very simple, have an aquarium of at least 18 liters so that your betta can live well. If your tank is smaller, get a bigger one, do the aquarium cycling (still no betta inside) and then move your betta there. He will live much better. One more tip, is to add plants to this aquarium, they love some plants to rest and hide when they feel more shy. Even floating plants, which help to cover an area of ​​the water’s surface, can prevent the betta from jumping out of the aquarium.

Eliminate factors that can stress the betta

Several factors can make your betta stressed, but some are very common. Unsuitable aquarium mates are torture for the betta. Therefore, if you want to set up an aquarium with more fish, choose only fish that can live with betta. But remember that if you have more fish, the aquarium needs to be even bigger.

Excessive noise near the aquarium can also stress any fish. Observe your betta and see if its behavior changes in conditions of greater noise, in any case, even if it doesn’t, it’s best to avoid excessively loud noises near any aquarium.

Another important point is to understand that your betta also sleeps and, like us, the light cycle helps him regulate his sleep. So program the aquarium lights so they don’t stay on when your fish should be on Sunday. Just as our rooms are lit up when we sleep, so should the betta’s aquarium.

Remove external stimuli

If your aquarium is in a place where a lot of insects pass, or if there is vegetation nearby, just above the water, these factors can encourage your betta to jump. In nature, even before be tamed they hunted insects that land or fly over water, so their instinct will surely make them try to jump to catch up with them.

Also, if you often play with your betta, encouraging it to jump to get food, it’s best to stop. While this is a valid and even beneficial trick, if your betta already has a tendency to jump out of the tank, you shouldn’t encourage him any further.

cover the aquarium

The truth is that all of the above methods contribute to inhibiting this behavior, but the only 100% effective way to prevent your betta from jumping out of the aquarium is to put a lid on the aquarium. This isn’t necessary in all cases, but if your fish doesn’t respond to any of the above methods, it’s better to cover the tank than let your betta die. If you don’t want to keep the tank covered all the time, do it at least when you’re not around. This way you guarantee that your betta won’t jump out of the aquarium until you’re around to help.


Bettas are fish that already have a natural tendency to jump, but this is not true of all fish of the species. In many cases, what causes this behavior is an inadequate aquarium, or an external environment that encourages it, either by stress, or by external stimuli. So, take the steps mentioned above to increase the chances that your betta won’t jump. But if this is not enough, the best way is to purchase a lid for your aquarium. This will prevent your fish from leaving the aquarium and will solve the problem in a 100% efficient way.