How Do I Play with My Pet Fish?

5 min read

As a fish tank owner, at one point or the other you must have wondered if there was anything you could do to bond with your pet fish rather than just staring at it?

The Ultimate Guide To Saltwater Fish…

You must have asked yourself,

How do I play with my pet fish?

You can play with your pet fish by:

  • Using toys, tank ornaments and physically playing with them yourself.
  • You can train them to jump through a hoop.
  • You can feed them straight from your hand. You can use laser pointers.
  • You can use fake plants, rocks and caves.
  • You can use toys that float and put mirrors in the tank.
Pet Fish

The question may sound absurd (even to you), but trust me, it is possible. It is also very important that you do!

You may not realize this but playing with your pet fish can be so much fun, especially if you manage to teach them some super-cool tricks!

In this article, I will be giving you tips on how you can play with your pet fish.

Before I do, I would like to list out the benefits of doing so (just in case you’re the type that doesn’t think playing with your pet fish is necessary).

Benefits of Playing With Your Pet Fish

Pet fish are not as dumb as you think, on the contrary, they are intelligent creatures that need stimulation, just like humans.

According to a BBC report, fishes are capable of forming alliances with the fishes they hunt with. The report also claims that fish who live in coral areas with lots of rocky obstacles tend to be smarter than the fishes who don’t.

Another study showed that fishes who live in areas with lots of plants, toys and other forms of stimulating objects exhibit a lot more sharpness than fishes who live in “boring” environments.

What does this tell you? It means that the more you stimulate your fish, the healthier they become. Not just physically, but mentally.

Physical and mental health is very important for your pet fish!

How You Can Play with Your Pet Fish

There are several active and passive ways you can have fun with your fish.

They are –

  • Using toys and tank ornaments
  • Physically playing with them yourself

Most aquarium fish would prefer the toys and ornaments, but certain species (like the Bettas), wouldn’t mind playing with humans.

Using toys has an advantage for those who have busy schedules and can’t always be around to physically play with their fish.

Also, delicate fish species may not be so comfortable coming in physical contact with humans, so ornaments and toys are your best bet.

Listed below are ways through which you can play with your pet fish, both with toys and physical entertainment from yourself.

1. You Can Train Them to Jump Out of a Hoop

I know this sounds fishy haha, but it is very possible, although this trick is easier to do with Bettas.

Just follow these steps –

Get a small, fish-sized hoop and fit it into the water. Then get your fish’s attention by hanging some bait on the opposite side of the hoop (preferably fish food).

  • Try and lure them to swim through the hoop to get the bait. If they succeed, then you can gently raise the height and get them to do it again.
  • Keep raising the height of the hoop with every successful swim until the hoop has been raised a few centimeters above the surface of the water.

The more you do this, the more your fish will get used to it, and you’ll stand a better chance of having your fish jump out of the water and through the hoop!

As I mentioned before, Bettas are the species most likely to learn this trick. But who says you can’t try it with other species?

2. You Can Feed Them Straight from Your Hand

This is another way to physically stimulate your fish.

Yeah I know, you may have never done it before and it may seem strange, but it works!

Once again, bettas are more likely to eat out of your hand than any other fish species. For some reason, they are very comfortable around humans.

This is not to say it can’t work with other fish species, because it can, and it has.

It is recommended that you start by feeding them a little bit above the surface level. Be certain they have you in their sights.

When they spot you with the food in hand, they can start getting close to you.

As you make progress, you can begin dipping your hand in the water and feeding them (do this slowly so you don’t scare them away).

When they become accustomed to you feeding them from hand to mouth, they won’t mind jumping slightly out of the water to grab some of those delicious treats!

3. You Can Use Laser Pointers

Cats aren’t the only animals that love laser pointers, your pet fish loves them too!

Shine a laser pointer in the tank and move it around. Observe how they’ll chase the beam around out of curiosity.

This is a great exercise for them, and it’ll be fun for you to watch!

4. You Can Use Fake Plants

This is the most effective way to keep your fish active, as it works extremely well. Majorly because they make your fish feel more at home (especially coral species).

The fake plants also make the smaller fish feel secure from the big fish. Such reassurance helps them reduce their stress levels.

Aquarium fish also like biting on fake plants for fun, so it’s a great exercise for them!

5. Using Rocks and Caves

Just like the fake plants, rocks and caves will also make your aquarium fish feel like they are in their natural habitat.

Placing plastic caves in your tank will give your fishes a means of having a great adventure, as they will love to swim in, out, and around it.

They can also sleep in it as it will make them feel safe.

6. Toys That Float

Betta fish love hitting the surface of the water, so floating toys will be great for them.

You can place a few floating balls on the surface of the water. Your fish will be tempted to bump the balls with their noses for fun.

These toys will keep them active for as long as they desire.

It’s a great way to get them to play.

7. Place Mirrors in The Tank

Having a small mirror in the tank will spark the curiosity in your fish, especially the territorial species (like the Betta fish).

Watching them stare at themselves will be quite entertaining for you too!

However, be careful not to leave the mirror in the tank for too long, just so they don’t become stressed and aggravated.

aaredfish PetAquariums How Do I Play with My Pet Fish?


Playing with your fish both physically and with the use of toys and ornaments is a great way to keep your fish physically and mentally healthy.

Why bore those innocent little souls with inactivity? Give them something healthy to do today!

I trust this article has answered your question – How do I play with my pet fish?

Have fun and take care of those little guys!

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

Have you any questions?