Experiencing a bout of skittishness is common with bettas, but when the case becomes extreme, it can have detrimental effects on your fish’s emotional and physical health. Skittish bettas can act in such a way due to a variety of reasons; find your answer is by tackling a slew of potential causes.
Troubleshoot Noise Issues
The first step is to troubleshoot whether there is a noise issue affecting your tank. While the sound itself is not the likely caused due to bettas’ inability to hear in the same way humans do, they can sense the vibrations that sound creates. If possible, move the tank away from the stereo, which may be providing a low pounding vibration, or any similar sources of sound. Be careful as you walk towards the tank to not step heavily, which can also result in disturbing vibrations and send your skittish betta into hiding.
Avoid other loud noises or sudden movements in the vicinity of your fish tank. Find a quiet space in your home that has low traffic, if possible. If the proximity to such noise cannot be changed, use a towel or other buffer around the tank for a while to absorb the vibrations, allowing for a period of acclimation.
Increase Sense of Security
Give your betta an increased sense of security by changing the environment in which he or she lives. Add a few real or fake plants to allow your fish to find “safe places” while also adding to the look of your tank. Small caves and rocks are other additions that can offer places for your betta to feel safe while acclimating to his or her surroundings. If the light is bright, dim it or increase shade to the tank to create subtle lighting.
If your betta is hiding at feeding time and you are concerned nutrients are being missed, consider switching to live worms over frozen food or pellets. Over time, a betta that feels protected will become more secure with you and is more likely to swim in open waters.