Saturday, August 18, 2018

How to Hide Your Betta’s Reflection | Hack My Betta Tank



Why do Betta Fish Flare at Their Reflections?

A common problem that fish owners see is their pet betta keeps seeing his own reflection in the aquarium wall and he won’t stop flaring at it. The reason why he’s spreading his gills, fins, and tail is because he’s trying to make himself look bigger and scare away the supposed competition from his territory.

This flaring behavior seems to happen most often when:
  • a betta fish is introduced to a new aquarium
  • the tank light is on but the room lights are off
  • the sunlight hits the tank just right during certain parts of the day

Is It Stressful for My Betta to Flare at His Reflection?

So is this really a problem? I mean, it's kind of cool seeing your betta fish displaying all his glory. Well, some bettas will get used to it and eventually ignore their reflection. Sometimes the reflection only shows up for a short while each day, so a little sparring exercise can be good for them. However, in my case I noticed that my betta was extensively flaring for hours at a time at his reflection, and small tears and holes were starting to develop in his finnage. Nothing too serious – they’d always heal up – but then new tears would appear because he was stretching his fins so much for so long. Not good.

Betta fish flaring at his aquarium reflection

How Do I Hide My Betta’s Reflection in His Aquarium?

So there are a few things you can try, like:
  • Move the tank or adjust the angle of the light so that the light doesn’t create a reflection
  • Don’t leave the tank light on more than 8-12 hours (which will also help with algae), and only turn on the tank light during the daytime when the room is also well-lit
  • Plant tall bushy plants (live or fake) that block the offending wall
  • Use a matte, non-reflective background to cover the back and/or sides of the tank

reflective black fish tank background from Petco or Petsmart

The last bullet was the problem for me. I had a black aquarium background from Petco or Petsmart, and it was highly reflective. I ended up swapping it out for a piece of matte, black poster board and taped it to the back of the betta tank. Yay, no more reflection! I think my betta Soundwave actually misses his sparring partner a little, but this will make his home more comfortable and less stressful in the long run. Super easy betta tank hack!

Question of the Day

What tips do you have for preventing your betta fish from flaring at his reflection too much? Comment below to share your experiences with the fish fam community. Enjoy your aquarium and I’ll see you next time!


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