Betta Fish

Do Betta Fish Like Mirrors?

4 min read

Aquarium betta fish are bred for their beauty.

Most people who buy a pet betta fish buy a male because males have much larger fins and brighter colors than their female counterparts.

Betta fish flare when they see their reflection in a mirror which can be stressful. So, betta fish probably don’t like mirrors but mirrors do have some benefits for betta fish if used appropriately.

do betta fish like mirrors

When a betta fish sees another unfamiliar betta fish in their territory they flare its fins and brighten its colors to make itself look bigger and scare the other betta fish off.

The main thing that happens when you place a mirror in front of your betta is, they see their reflection, think it is another fish, and flare their fins at them to scare them away.

Males are generally more aggressive and territorial than females but females are also aggressive and territorial.

So in essence, is it beneficial to trick your betta fish into flaring?

Here are the common well-known benefits of placing a mirror in front of your betta fish to make them flare.

Natural Instinctual Behavior

In the wild and even in their tank a betta fish, especially a male, will scour their territory making sure there are no threats around.

When your betta fish is in an aquarium, if you don’t do anything, their natural behavior may deteriorate.

Many people think it is beneficial to initiate your betta’s wild instincts to make them think they are still in the wild.

I’ll go ahead and say this now though, you shouldn’t do it for more than 30 seconds at a time so your betta doesn’t get too stressed out which can backfire and lead to illness.

Safer Aggression For A Peaceful Tank

If you have a male betta fish, it is probably alone, but you may have some tankmates, especially if you have female bettas.

It is believed by many that if you make your betta fish flare, then it will satisfy their natural aggression, so they don’t take it out on other species in the tank.


They can become very bored, especially if you have a male betta fish all alone.

When you put any fish in an aquarium, you are trying to mimic the wild environment that they came from.

When you place a mirror in front of your betta fish, they think it is another fish. If you pull the mirror out, when they flare, they will think they scared the other betta fish away.

This will keep their dominant wild instinct alive and make them feel more lively and confident since they are presumably protecting their own territory.

If you do this for 30 seconds at a time several times per week, it will keep your betta fish from becoming bored.

Constipation in a Betta Fish

There is proof that if your betta fish is constipated, using a mirror to make them flare can release constipation by making them contract several muscles that they wouldn’t have used without the mirror.

The proof lies in several constipated betta fish actually pooping when they flare in front of a mirror.

Contracting these muscles every week can also prevent constipation.

Induces Bubble Nest – Breeding

Betta Fish

A lot of times, when you use a mirror to make a male betta fish flare, it makes them feel like they have established their territory and chased their enemy away.

Since the male has established its dominance, unbeknownst the betta fish in the mirror was fake, many times the male betta fish will start building a bubble nest.

The male does this by blowing bubbles at the surface of the water. The bubbles stick together and stick to something at the surface of the water like floating plants, decorations, or something that was placed there specifically for the male to use for a bubble nest like a piece of bubble wrap.

If a female is in the tank, or where the male can see the female, it is more likely he will build a bubble nest when a mirror causes him to enter his fake world of manly dominance.


You can use a mirror to make your betta fish flare to create a magnificent picture!

How Often Should I Give My Betta A Mirror?

Every betta fish is different.

It is safe to show your betta fish a mirror for 30 seconds every day, but you still need to watch your betta fish to make sure they don’t get too stressed out over it.


I hope we have shown the benefits of using a mirror and that betta fish probably don’t like mirrors if they are left in their tanks. While there are some benefits of using a mirror it is important to use it correctly.

Be careful not to get your betta fish too stressed out over a mirror and only do it for 30 seconds at a time several times per week.

Just remember, every betta fish is different so get to know your fish.

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

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