Betta fish flaring against mirror

Do You Need Mirror In Betta Fish Tank?

The betta fish is one of the most common tropical fish known for its various colors and fin types. Because betta fish are territorial, they are usually kept alone or only with compatible community fish. Often, it makes your betta fish lonely and bored. A lot of betta keepers use mirrors to entertain and engage their fish.

Welcome back to my blog space. Do betta fish like mirrors? Is displaying mirrors harmful to a betta’s health? Does showing a mirror count as betta abuse? Are mirrors going to make them sick and stressed? How can I show them a mirror safely? Let’s answer these questions in today’s post.

When you place a mirror in your aquarium, your betta sees its reflection and thinks there is another betta on its territory. It flares and swims around aggressively, possibly even hitting its reflection. This is great for mimicking the betta’s natural habitat and helps the fish stay healthy and active. Removing the mirror after a few minutes will make your betta believe he was strong enough to fear the other fish. Also, the fish has now exercised and probably feels pride that its territory has been defended.

Do Betta Fish Like Mirrors?

As far as I understand, betta fish hate mirrors. They see their reflection and start fighting against it. It might seem cruel to stress your betta by forcing them to see their own reflection. However, it’s important to have the chance to flare up in a restricted tank environment once in a while. It’s much better for your betta to be angry at themselves in the mirror instead of taking their aggression out on innocent tank mates, or even their own fins.

What Do Mirrors Do for Betta?

There are 3 main things a mirror does for your betta fish. When we keep fish, we constantly mimic their natural environments and behaviors to keep them happy. I have observed betta fish makes bubblenests after few days of flaring exercise. He’s doing this to compete and show off his dominance. To be honest, I had never believed this logic in the past. But once I introduced another female or male betta, I noticed that they often build bubble nests in a couple of days.

Betta fish can become bored easily and display negative behaviors like glass surfing and fin nipping. I can tell you that, placing a mirror in his tank can relieve boredom and provide entertainment to keep your betta happy. The mirror will provide your betta with something new to look at and explore for a few minutes.

Betta fish are known for becoming constipated, which can be dangerous to their health. If your betta is constipated, placing a mirror in his tank can help him relieve himself. Bettas are able to relieve constipation when they flare their fins. Flaring stretches their muscles enough to help them pass bowel movements.

Should you put a mirror on betta fish?

My recommendation would be to place a mirror at least once a day to allow them to exercise. This is great for keeping them active. Personally, I enjoy watching their graceful fins open and flaring against objects.

How long should the mirror be kept?

You can put a mirror in your betta’s tank daily for 1 to 2 minutes, but never for more than 5 minutes. Don’t leave a mirror on your betta tank permanently. If your betta believes there is always another fish in their tank, they will be aggressive and stressed. They will even stop eating as they focus on defending their territory. So be very careful not to overdo mirror time.

Why is your betta glass surfing?

Another thing to watch out for is accidental mirrors that cause your betta fish’s glass surfing or flaring against. This means there are some reflective surfaces in your tank where your betta fish can see their reflections.

How do I stop my betta from fighting reflection?

Just like having a mirror in the tank constantly, some decorations or tank backdrops can act like mirrors. Please remove any objects in your tank causing reflections. It usually caused by light angles or plastic plants. I had a similar problem with one of my tanks when the background image reflected and acted like a mirror due to my light setup. I taped my background with a black tape outside to cover most angles.

Are betta exercise mirrors abusive?

In my opinion, it is not abusive when used for a short period of time! Flaring every day is great for male betta fish. It gives them exercise and keeps them entertained. But I wouldn’t recommend keeping them permanently or for a long time in the tank. If it’s left in the tank for a long period of time, it can stress them out to the point where they bite their fins and become highly stressed. You can teach several tricks also to your betta to give an exercise as alternative of mirror flaring, check this link for more.

Where to buy a betta fish mirror?

There are various mirror products available that help you play with betta fish. Betta fish floating mirrors and aquarium-wall mirrors are popular choices. But you don’t need those specific products. Any mirrors in your house should work too. There are several fun products to buy, you can find them in amazon or even at our product recommendations page.

Final Thoughts

Using betta fish mirrors are not abusive. But use it in right way, don’t exceed over 5 mins per day. Happy Betta Keeping! The video version of this topic is below.