Who doesn’t love lounging in a hammock? Just like you enjoy hanging out in the canvas sling in your backyard, your betta fish will enjoy a cozy place to sleep in its tank.
You can purchase a betta hammock — or DIY (do it yourself) with common household items. All you really need is a suction cup, creativity, and some betta-friendly material.
What Is a Betta Hammock?
Think of a betta hammock as a bed for your betta fish. A betta hammock is nothing more than a piece of “furniture,” you install in your fish tank to help it sleep or take a nap near the top of the tank.
All betta hammocks have the same basic elements: a suction cup that affixes to the side of the tank and a sling- or leaf-shaped piece of material for your fish to rest on.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the sling shape of the betta hammock (which mirrors a regular hammock) and its position (suctioned near the top of the tank).
Some people use real plants, others use silk, and others still use silicone and other materials.
Where Do Bettas Sleep?
Betta fish sleep anywhere they feel safe and comfortable. In the wild, they sleep in caves, plants, or on the floor of whatever body of water they’re living in — and it’s no different for fish in captivity.
Betta fish also sleep away from the current, which means they will sleep as far from your tank’s air filter as they can. If you have an especially strong filter, you might even find your fish wedged into the corner — or with its head buried in substrate!
Interestingly, betta fish also nap, and they tend to do so near the top of the tank, so they can use their labyrinth organs to get oxygen if needed.
Installing a betta hammock can make your betta’s naps much more comfortable. If it feels safe, your betta may even take to sleeping in the hammock every time it rests.
No matter where your betta sleeps, always remember to turn the aquarium light off at night!
What Are The Benefits of a Betta Hammock?
Bettas love having a flat surface to rest and relax on near the top of the tank, so the first and most important benefit of a betta hammock is that your betta will enjoy it.
As we mentioned earlier, betta hammocks also make it easier for your fish to use its labyrinth organ.
Betta hammocks can make it easier for you to tell if your betta is sleeping, too, so you can always answer the important question of “is my betta sleeping or is it dead?”
(Hint: if your fish is cozied up in its betta hammock, it just sleeping — don’t wake it up!)
Betta hammocks can also prevent your betta from hiding away for hours of the day and night just to get the rest it needs. This means having a betta hammock can improve your betta-viewing experience.
If you’re strapped for space in your tank, a betta hammock can even create a safe haven for your fish without taking up too much room.
When it’s time to clean your tank, betta hammocks are easy to take off and put back on, as well.
Really, the benefits are endless.
Options for Your Betta Hammock
Betta hammocks are popular pet accessories, so they are always available to purchase at pet shops and online.
You can also make a betta hammock yourself in a few different ways. Simply combine a suction cup with:
- Fresh leaves from a live plant in your tank (you may have to replace these often)
- A dried Indian almond leaf
- Silk leaves from an artificial aquarium plant
- Silicon, craft foam, or another betta-safe material
You can get suction cups at the dollar store, and many betta-safe materials are relatively cheap. Just make sure the betta-safe materials are actually safe for your fish.
Thoroughly wash and disinfect any materials you use with betta-safe cleaning products — and always be careful about placing something new into your betta’s tank.
When in doubt, purchase your items from an aquarium store, so you know they are safe for your betta.
Also — if you’re cutting material into a leaf shape, make sure the edges aren’t too sharp, or you could accidentally hurt your fish.
Do Bettas Need a Hammock?
No. Betta hammocks are an optional aquarium accessory. Many fish keepers prefer to skip the suction cup altogether and just float a leafy aquarium plant at the top of the tank.
As long as your betta is getting the rest it needs, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Betta hammocks work best when you want a better view of your betta while it sleeps, you want to give your betta a more comfortable-looking sleeping spot, or you notice your betta chilling near the top of the tank a lot, and you think he or she might like one.
Also, you should keep in mind that every fish is different, and your betta might not care for a betta hammock.
Before you do all the hard work on a DIY betta hammock, be prepared for the possibility that your betta might never sleep in it.
Betta Not Using Hammock?
Some bettas do not like hammocks, and that is totally okay. Again, as long as your fish is sleeping and resting normally — and appears healthy and happy — you have nothing to worry about.
Still, we get that it can be frustrating when your pet doesn’t like or use something you bought or made especially for them. (I have had betta fish AND cats — believe me, I get it!)
To encourage your betta to use its hammock, make sure:
- Your hammock is not near an air pump or water filter — these create currents, and your betta won’t want to sleep or rest near any currents.
- Your air pump or water filter is not too strong — if it is, your betta will find somewhere more secure to sleep.
- Your betta hammock is not next to a heater — bettas can burn their delicate fins.
- Your betta hammock is made of soft materials — hard materials and rough edges can irritate your betta’s skin and cut their fins, so they won’t want anything to do with a hammock that isn’t soft.
- You try moving the hammock around to find the ideal sleeping spot in your betta tank.
If your betta sleeps on the suction cup of the hammock, that means your hammock is not close enough to the top of the tank. Move it up, and your betta should take to the hammock in no time.
If you try everything and your betta still won’t sleep in the hammock, leave it for a while. Sometimes, fish just take time to get accustomed to new furniture.
You can also try using food to lure your betta to the hammock. Sometimes, after visiting a hammock for food, stubborn betta fish realize that it’s comfortable!
At a certain point, you may want to remove the betta hammock altogether, but you don’t have to.
As we talked about earlier, betta fish hammocks are 100% optional, and if the materials are betta-safe, there’s no harm in having a hammock in or out of the tank.
Just make sure you clean and maintain your betta hammock as you would any other aquarium decoration.
Be Cautious About Betta Hammocks with Wires
Many people prefer to make their own betta hammocks because some store-bought hammocks contain wires to help maintain their shapes.
If your betta hammock has a wire inside, keep a careful eye on it and remove it at any sign of wear or tear. A wire that pokes through can tear your betta’s fins or otherwise injure the fragile animal.
Wire or not, clean your betta hammock regularly, so your betta fish does not get any infections from dirty tank decor.
Should I Make My Own Betta Hammock?
The choice is yours! Many betta fish enjoy hammocks, and they have many benefits for bettas and fish keepers alike. If you think your fish might enjoy a betta hammock, you can buy one or make one yourself.
You can also just float a leafy plant at the top of the tank. It’s totally up to you.
Do whatever you think would make you and your fishy friend the happiest, whether that means an almond leaf and a suction cup or a silicon tube suctioned to the side of the tank.
For more info about betta hammocks, DIY projects, and keeping your fish happy and healthy, please see: