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Do Betta Fish Bite? (Do Betta Fish Have Teeth?)

Do Betta Fish Bite? (Do Betta Fish Have Teeth?)

Congratulations! You’ve finally bought colorful betta fish to add an aesthetic touch to your aquarium. But you still wonder if it can bite, and if so, is it harmful? If this is you, then this article is for you.

Do betta fish bite? Yes, they do! Betta fish have small teeth but too small to cause any harm on your skin. Basically, male betta fish tender to attack whenever you cause ripples in the water with your finger. If the bite is “hard,” he can get stuck on your skin.

Do betta fish have teeth? Yes, they do. They use them for devouring food and for protection

Do betta fish bites hurt? No. a bite from a betta fish won’t hurt but might startle you if it happens unexpectedly. If it bites with force, it might get stuck on your skin.

So you want to understand your betta fish? Read on! We have much more for you.

Betta fish are Carnivores

Well, this explains the very first reason why they have teeth. They need them to devour worms, small insects and larvae. In the wild, they hunt for such small beings. Therefore, it would be prudent to supplement their diet with frozen brine shrimps and blood worms whilst in the aquarium.

Why do they bite?


Betta fish are also referred to as “fighter fish.” Why? Because they spend much of their life fighting other fish species. They are naturally territorial fish and will fight any fish that invades their territory.

Nipping and biting are their primary means of defense. They particularly attack bright colored fish and long finned one. As such, it is not advisable to introduce them in tanks with the aforementioned species. This is a natural trait that helps them survive in the wild.

Protecting eggs

The male is the sole protector of the eggs before they hatch. It bites and nips any fish that approaches the nest. In fact, the male betta chases the female away and can fight it death should it stay around the nest.


Try this, introduce your finger in the tank and make small ripples. What will happen? The betta fish will rapidly reach for your finger and bite it. They can mistake your finger for food or act in fright to protect themselves.

As a fish keeper you should, therefore, avoid provoking the betta fish to attack as this might facilitate an aggressive behavior in the long run.

What do betta fish eat?

Now that you know that it is a carnivore, choosing the right kind of food remains the centerpiece. If you are in this predicament worry not, we will highlight some of the best food for your fish.

Betta fish diet should basically be protein-rich and meaty. So which are the most ideal?


Want to excite your betta fish? Feed it with bloodworms, they LOVE them. You can either feed them frozen, in a cube or live. However, avoid dropping the whole cube in the water. Break it into little chunks and feed it to them.


Pellets are staple for the fish. You can either use sinking or floating pellets. This is because, naturally, betta fish feeds of the surface, nonetheless, they are adventurous and might opt for the sinking pellets.

Betta flakes

This is another exciting food. In fact, you might overfeed them given the speed at which they devour this delicious food. Choose floating flakes rather than sinking ones since it is hard to remove uneaten ones.

Freeze Dried

Finally, treat your betta fish with freeze-dried shrimps, bloodworms or krill. Although low in nutrients, they can be substituted for several meals in a week.

What do they eat in the wild?

Betta fish are hardy fish and will eat any “meaty” meal available. They feed on small fish, insects, worms, etc. in the wild.

How long does it for the teeth to grow?

The fresh tropical fish takes about 7 months to fully develop. However, by the fourth day after hatching, the young ones are ready to eat small chunks of foods. By the third week, they can easily devour large foods such as pellets.

Can a female attack male betta?

Actually, it is the other way round, male betta often attack the female. Male betta is naturally aggressive. They are peaceful towards the female only when she has lots of eggs to lay.

More: Can a Male and Female Betta Live Together

The male will entice the female to lay eggs in his bubble nest. Once she lays the eggs, the male will fertilize them and immediately chase away the female. Once the eggs hatch, it advisable to transfer the male to a different tank.

How do you tell when your betta fish is angry or unhappy?

Betta fish are naturally attention seekers. They want to be the center of attraction whenever you approach a tank. If you notice a different behavior, your fish might be unhappy or afraid.

When unhappy, it will hide in plants or decorations. Other times you can find it around the corners of the tank. When threatened, it often flutes its fins out, the gill beards protrude and its colors become more visible.

do betta fish have teeth

Which are the most ideal water tank conditions?

For a betta fish to thrive and become colorful, you ought to keep it in the following conditions:

Temperature: A betta fish will thrive in aquarium water of temperature between 25.5 to 26.5 C. as such, you will require a heater and a thermometer to keep the temperature constant.

pH level: They prefer water that is neutral or slightly acidic. As such, anything between 6.5 and 7.5 can be ideal for the fish.

Light: Betta fish require 8-12 hours of light and 14-16 hours of darkness. You should turn off the light some hours to bedtime. Too much light can stress the fish which weakens its immune system.

Which are some of the most compatible betta fish tank mates?

As earlier mentioned, betta fish are aggressive fish and can easily harm other species in the tank. As such, their tank mates are few. However, the few are well adapted to live with a betta fish. Let’s have a look.

Compatible tank mates

  • Bristlenose Plecos: they have tough plates that outdo betta fish teeth
  • Neon Tetras: These schooling fish are quick and easily outswim the betta fish should it attack them.
  • Harlequin Rasboras: They naturally co-exist with the betta fish.
  • Ember Tetras: Like their brothers – neon tetras – they are quick. They are also friendly to the betta fish.
  • White cloud mountain minnows: they are schooling fish and quite hardly like the betta fish
  • Feeder Guppies: They are dull and have short fins, therefore, ideal tank mates.
  • African Dwarf Frogs: Their peaceful nature makes them good tank mates for your betta fish.

More: Betta Fish Tank Mates

What is its lifespan?

A betta fish can live for almost 3-5 years in captivity. All you have to do is feed it well, keep it in optimum conditions, and with the right tank mates to avoid unnecessary fights.

Related Questions

Do betta fish bite other fish?

Yes, they do. This happens when it feels threatened by the other fish. Also, it bites fish that have long fins and those that are colorful.

You can also expect a male to bite female betta. Why? Once the female has laid eggs, the male chases her from the bubble in a bid to protect the eggs.

Can betta fish kill other fish?

Yes, it can kill. This happens when an opponent is not ready to give up. It bites and nips the fins of the opponent until death.

Can decorations hurt the betta fish?

Yes, especially if they have rough edges. Betta fish is an active fish and might get hurt in the process. Buy smooth decorations to mitigate the risk.

Do betta fish bite their own tails?

Yes, they do. The reason as to why they bite their tails remain a bone of contention. Many say it is hunger, stress or boredom that causes this weird behavior. Still, others say it is hereditary or due to aggression. Whichever the case, expect your betta fish to bite his/her tail.

Thankfully, you can mitigate this by:

  • Reducing aquarium lighting
  • Keep your aquarium water clean by changing it once or twice every month
  • Introduce tank mates

How can I play with my betta?

It is extremely easy to entertain a betta fish. How? You may ask. Well, follow the following tips:

  • Move your finger along the water surface or across the aquarium. It will follow your finger. When moving along the surface, drop some shrimp or bloodworm.
  • Place a ping pong ball on the surface and let the fish push it around. However, do not overdo it as it might get stressed or bored.
  • You can excite your betta fish by placing a mirror on the outside. The fish reacts to its flare reflection and becomes more active and attractive.
  • Floating decorations are also a boon to your betta. They swim through them, push them around and even create bubble nests in them especially betta logs.

Do betta fish like their owners?

Yes, they do, especially if you are the one feeding them. They are intelligent creatures and can be taught how to follow a finger, push decorations around, etc.

Can you touch a betta fish?

It is not advisable to touch any fish. Why? Because your finger might rub off the slime coat making them prone to infections. Also, touching them might transfer harmful bacteria.


Betta fish is an awesome fish to keep. It is colorful, active and always ready to entertain you. to enjoy this package, keep it in clear water, feed it well and choose the most appropriate tank mate.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to your nearest pet store and get yourself this colorful tropical fish.

Oh, don’t forget to bring along some floating decorations.