While betta fish can be very happy living by themselves, and indeed you should never keep more than one male in your tank, they do need stimulation. The best toys for betta fish will help keep them entertained as well as give them much-needed exercise.
We found the Zoo Med Betta Bling Mermaid to be a fantastic toy for bettas as they’ll swim in and out of her hoop all day! And when he needs a rest the Cousduobe Betta Fish Leaf Pad provides a comfortable hammock where your betta can feel secure.
But do check out some of the other toys we’ve selected below. Whether you want to keep your betta happy with a simple ping pong ball or fancy some more advanced fish training, you’ll find some of the best toys for betta fish here!
So let’s take a look at the list…
- Best For Lounging And Rest: Cousduobe Betta Fish Leaf Pad
- Best Premium Betta Toy: R2 Fish School Complete Fish Training Kit
- Best Engaging Betta Toy: Zoo Med Betta Bling Mermaid With Hoop
- Best For Natural Comfort: SunGrow Catappa Indian Almond Leaves
- Best For Promoting Exercise: Pro Spin Ping Pong Balls
- Best For Curiosity: Fluval Artificial Moss Ball
Best Toys For Betta Fish Reviewed
You’ll find a mix of some of the best toys for betta fish in the list below. Some will help your betta with exercise, some will keep them entertained, and some will even help them rest.
- Type Of Betta Toy: Leaf hammock
- Dimensions: Large leaf = 2.36 (l) x 1.77 (d) inches, small leaf = 1.97 (l) x 1.5 (d) inches
- Key Features: Dual design with one small and one large leaf, suction cup for attaching to tank wall, soft plastic material with no internal wires
- Best For: Lounging And Rest
Betta fish prefer a well-planted tank that gives a similar habitat to the dense vegetation found in their natural habitat of rice paddies and shallow streams. In fact, bettas will often lay down on plant leaves near the surface to rest .
This leaf hammock from Cousduobe mimics this perfectly. The larger 2.36 x 1.77 inch leaf gives your betta a comfortable resting place, and can also give him an additional hiding spot so he feels safe and secure.
And as it’s a dual leaf design, with a smaller leaf too, your betta can use it for interaction and play as well as rest. It’s made of soft plastic with no internal wires inside the leaves, so there are no sharp edges to scratch your betta or damage its delicate fins.
The suction cup allows you to position it on the side of your tank near to the surface as bettas often prefer. But note that whilst the suction cup is strong, it will stick better if you attach it dry and then top up your water level.
Some owners have raised concerns about very slight rough edges at the seams of the leaf, so as with any toy we’d recommend you check for these and lightly sand if needed. But overall many praise this as a comfortable hammock that’s well used by their betta!
- Type Of Betta Toy: Fish training kit
- Dimensions: Soccer field = 11.0 (l) x 6.9 (d) x 2.6 (h) inches
- Key Features: Soccer field and goalposts, feeding wand, betta hoops, football, 2 soccer balls, basketball, limbo bar, color manual and instructional DVD
- Best For: Premium Betta Toy
Bettas are intelligent fish and love interacting with you to keep them engaged and active. And with over 25 different parts, the R2 Fish School Fish Training Kit is one of the most complete and best toys for betta fish!
It comes with a host of activities, from betta hoops to limbo bars, several different toy balls, and even a soccer pitch! The feeding wand lets you attach a food pellet so you can reward your betta as you interact with him.
Just be aware the soccer pitch measures 11.0 (l) x 6.9 (d) inches, so make sure your tank and its opening are large enough if you want to use it.
Not only does this kit come with a full-color manual with over 100 photos, but it also includes a 45-minute instructional DVD featuring the famous fish trainer Dr. Dean Pomerleau. This makes it easy to learn for adults and kids alike!
Whilst some owners report you need patience to teach your betta some of the tricks, many praise the R2 Fish School as having really clear instructions and being great fun for them and their betta fish!
- Type Of Betta Toy: Betta hoop
- Dimensions: Mermaid = 4.0 (height) inches, Hoop = c. 2.0 (diameter) inches
- Key Features: Sealed painted mermaid with painted betta hoop, dual suction cups
- Best For: Engaging Toy
For an engaging toy your betta can entertain himself with at any time, the Zoo Med Betta Bling Mermaid is a great option. Many bettas love interacting with hoops, and as the one on this betta toy is about 2 inches in diameter there’s plenty of room for your fish to swim through.
The mermaid is just 4.0 inches in height so it won’t look out of place even if you own a smaller betta tank. And the painted surface is sealed so there’s no overall roughness for your betta to catch itself or its fins on.
It comes with dual suction cups, one near the mermaid’s head and one near the tail, so you can attach it firmly to the side of your aquarium without it falling off.
Note that while the surface is sealed, some owners have reported that there have sometimes been a few sharp edges around the seam of the hoop. So make sure you check and file any imperfections before use.
But most owners give great feedback for this mermaid hoop as a toy that looks good in their tank and keeps their betta entertained and engaged.
- Type Of Betta Toy: Indian almond leaves
- Dimensions: Each leaf = c. 2.0 (length) inches
- Key Features: Small, dried Indian almond leaves suitable for small and larger betta aquariums
- Best For: Natural Comfort
Indian almond leaves, or catappa leaves, have several beneficial properties. For example, studies have shown the compounds held within them can help improve the resistance of betta fish to Aeromonas hydrophila , , a member of the bacteria family that can cause fin rot.
They are also a great stimulus for your betta who can nibble and play with them, as well as using them for cover to make him feel secure. Catappa are also great if you are looking to breed your betta as they slightly lower the pH, inducing natural breeding conditions .
These leaves from SunGrow are excellent for a small betta tank as each leaf is on average around 2 inches long. So you can add 5 or 6 leaves to a 5 gallon aquarium to give your betta a natural environment without overdoing it.
Some users have reported the leaves can be a little curled when they first arrive, but after soaking in your water they should open out. In fact, most owners give fantastic feedback on these leaves for helping to improve their water as well as feeding their betta’s curiosity!
- Type Of Betta Toy: Ping pong balls
- Dimensions: Each ball = 1.57 (diameter) inches
- Key Features: Seamless ABS plastic construct
- Best For: Promoting Exercise
In nature, betta fish spend quite a bit of time at the surface. As well as hunting for food such as mosquito larvae, they also come up to gulp air using their labyrinth organ . Ping pong balls are a great toy for them to play with as they encourage hunting along with exercise.
There are plenty of packs of ping pong balls available on Amazon. We’ve chosen these from Pro Spin as they’re made from a single construct and don’t have a seam. That way there are no sharp edges that can catch your betta’s fins.
You don’t need a large pack as you can obviously reuse them. Just make sure you soak them briefly in boiling water to sterilize before use – don’t use soaps or any other chemicals that could harm your fish.
Just float a couple on the surface of the water and your betta will nip and chase them around. A simple toy that gives plenty of entertainment for your fish, and while cheap can actually be one of the best toys for betta fish!
- Type Of Betta Toy: Moss ball
- Dimensions: 1.77 (diameter) inches
- Key Features: Plastic artificial moss ball with synthetic fur covering, traps phosphate and nitrite, effective for 2 months, treats up to 20 US gallon tanks
- Best For: Curiosity
Moss balls are great for an inquisitive betta fish and this artificial one from Fluval will keep your betta entertained as well as peaking his curiosity.
The ball is 1.77 inches in diameter so you can easily keep one or two in a 5 gallon betta tank without it looking overcrowded. You can either float the ball on the surface for your betta to nip at, or sink it to the bottom for him to push around.
Note that some users report these moss balls can be difficult to sink, but the trick is to squeeze and fill them with aquarium water for around 5 minutes before trying to place at the bottom. And even then they may take a few days to settle.
The inside of the ball is made up of a plastic shell containing material to trap phosphate. So not only is this one of the best toys for betta fish, but by trapping phosphates it will help reduce algae in your aquarium.
Outside the ball, the soft synthetic fur means your betta can rub against it without the risk of damage to it’s body or fins. Many users give great feedback on this moss ball not only for keeping their betta entertained but also for helping to keep an algae-free tank!
Why Your Betta Fish Needs Stimulation
Whilst bettas are solitary fish, their environment in the wild is full of stimulation. Betta fish originate from South East Asia, where they often live in interconnected pools in rice paddies or shallow streams.
These environments have plenty of space and vegetation for the betta to swim, hunt, rest, and establish territory in.
By mimicking their natural environment in your tank, and providing your betta with toys and stimulation, you can reduce stress for your fish and can even help reduce your betta’s natural levels of aggression .
The Benefits Of Toys For Betta Fish
Providing the best toys for betta fish has a number of benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the top ones.
Prevents Boredom And Keeps Your Betta Stimulated
Bettas are intelligent and curious fish, and like other species can become bored and even depressed if they don’t have enough to stimulate them. You can often tell this is the case if your fish stops eating or acts lethargic at the bottom of the tank .
Giving your betta toys provides interest and helps feed its curiosity. In this way, you’ll be making sure your betta stays happy and doesn’t get bored.
Gives Your Betta Comfort And Lounging Areas
Like many species, your betta fish needs areas in your fish tank where it can establish territory and feel comfortable and secure. And when it comes to resting, betta fish actually lie down, sometimes at the bottom of your tank, but often nearer the surface on a plant leaf.
Providing suitable aquarium plants and betta toys that your fish can hide in or rest on will make him feel secure and help reduce stress .
Promotes Exercise And Hunting Instincts
Betta fish are carnivores and feed on a varied diet in their natural environment, including mosquito larvae and other insects. They often hunt at the surface as well as in and around vegetation looking for food.
And like other fish, your betta benefits from exercise too! Toys that encourage your betta to swim about the tank help promote his hunting instinct as well as support his growth, and even maintain a healthy immune system .
How To Choose The Best Toys For Betta Fish
There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the best toys for betta fish. Take a look at what you need to think about as well as some of the best types to help make your choice.
Leaves And Hammocks
Rather than sleeping upright, your betta fish may lay down on surfaces like leaves when it’s resting. You can add soft, broad leaf plants such as Anubias to your tank to give your betta somewhere to rest.
Artificial leaf hammocks are a great alternative and one of the best toys for betta fish. They are usually made of soft plastic with a suction cup for fixing to the side of your tank. Just make sure you check and smooth any rough edges before adding to your betta tank.
Teaching Your Betta Fish Tricks
Betta fish are fast learners and can even be taught to use their memory to find locations in their tank . You can help stimulate your betta by training him at home to do simple tricks.
There are several betta toys that promote training. Many come with detailed instructions for how to train your betta, often using food as its reward. Tricks might include swimming through hoops or even under a limbo bar!
Ping Pong Balls And Hoops
Ping pong balls are another cheap and entertaining stimulus, and can be one of the best toys for betta fish. Simply float a few on the surface of the water so your betta can nip and chase them around the tank.
Hoops are also a common toy for bettas and can be placed in your tank for him to swim through, helping him to get plenty of exercise. Again, make sure there are no rough edges on whatever product you use.
Live Or Artificial Moss Balls
Moss balls, whether living or artificial, are another great way of providing entertainment and can also be one of the best toys for betta fish.
The moss ball can be placed in the tank or floated on the surface, and your betta may lean against it, or push it around as it investigates.
Many artificial moss balls have the added bonus of helping treat your water, for example by trapping phosphate. This can help prevent algae outbreaks in your betta’s tank .
What To Avoid When Choosing The Best Toys For Betta Fish
There are also some important things to avoid when choosing the best toys for betta fish, some of which may be more obvious than others.
Sharp Edges, Rough Materials, And Ridges
With their delicate, long flowing fins bettas are particularly prone to rips, scratches, and other damage that can be caused by items in your tank.
Make sure any toy you use has no sharp edges by visually inspecting as well as carefully running your finger over all surfaces, seams, and ridges. Even a slightly raised edge should be carefully filed before use.
Take care to avoid particularly rough surfaces too as these can cause your betta to pick up cuts and abrasions. You can do this by choosing specifically designed betta toys that have smooth surfaces.
Beach Items: Corals And Shells
Whilst you may come across beautiful shells or even coral on a trip to the beach these should never be used in your betta’s aquarium.
It may be obvious that the rough edges of shells or coral could tear your betta’s fins, but there are other factors to consider. Any items brought into your tank from outside could carry dirt, pollutants, or even parasites that could bring in disease.
Not only this but shells and coral will raise the alkalinity of your water. In fact, commercial crushed coral can be bought for this purpose. But in your betta’s freshwater tank you’ll want to keep the pH around 6.5 to 7.5, so shells and coral should be avoided.
A Note On Mirrors
Like many topics when it comes to betta fish care, the use of mirrors for stimulation is somewhat controversial. Some resources recommend you use them sparingly to encourage your betta to flare.
But while you can indeed buy betta fish toy mirrors, the use of any mirror with your betta is not something we recommend.
Male bettas are highly territorial and you may know you should only ever keep one male in a tank. But use a mirror with your betta and he’ll display the same aggression against his reflection. This behavior has been shown to cause both stress and fear in bettas .
Although bettas are happy as solitary fish they are highly intelligent and do need to be kept stimulated. Finding the best toys for betta fish is a great way to do just that!
One of our favorites from the list above is the Zoo Med Betta Bling Mermaid as the hoop will keep your betta entertained for hours on end. And for a restful break, the Cousduobe Betta Fish Leaf Pad provides a soft hammock that mimics your betta’s natural habitat.
So however you want to keep your betta entertained you can be confident you’ve found some of the best toys for betta fish here. Have fun with your fishy friend!
We’ve gathered together the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to choosing the best toys for betta fish. Take a look below.
What Are The Best Toys For Betta Fish?
Toys that promote exercise and engagement, such as betta hoops, along with those that aid rest, like leaf hammocks, make some of the best toys for betta fish.
Can My Betta Fish Really Get Bored?
Yes! Studies have shown that many fish species can become bored, showing signs of lethargy if not adequately stimulated, which can actually lead to depression .
Does My Betta Fish Need Exercise?
Yes. Exercise has a number of benefits for your betta fish including promoting growth, helping respiration, and strengthening his immune system .
Can I Play With My Betta Fish?
Whilst you can interact with your fish using tools such as a feeding wand, don’t place your hand in and touch your betta as the oils in your skin can be harmful to your betta.