Do Betta Fish Have Brains? (The Answer May Surprise You)

Are you curious about the intellectual properties of your betta? Do various questions keep you up at night? Are you frying your brain while thinking about the brain of your Betta? Are you confused about even if it exists altogether or not? Then my friend, are at the right place.

Today we will discuss the brain and intelligence of betta and whether it exists or not.

So, Do Betta Fish Have a Brain?

Okay now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Does the brain organ exist in our betta fish? The answer to this question is, Yes it does! Good news for the brain-eating zombies indeed. There are quite a few sea creatures that survive without brains for example the sea star, sea cucumber, sea lily, sea urchin, sea anemone, sea squirt, sea sponge, the coral, etc. but luckily or unluckily (is having a brain really that important?) that is not the case with Betta.

Do Fish Have Brains

Proof of Betta Having Brains

Okay, so there are a few characteristics of Betta’s behavior that prove that they are intelligent and intelligence directly translates to the existence of a brain. According to research, it is said that betta fish are in fact fairly intelligent. Now we will discuss some points which prove Betta’s intelligence and hence also prove the existence of a brain.

1. Hunting instinct and Fighting Capabilities

Have you ever seen a dumb hunter? Most likely not. In order to be a good hunter, a person needs to be very sharp-minded and vigilant. The same is the case with Betta fish. Betta fish have a hunting instinct. They like to hunt for live food rather than survive on the pellet fish food. They can also fight with other fish when the need arises. So this strong hunting and fighting capability prove that Betta is intelligent and does indeed have a brain.

2. High level of Parental care

Ask your parents how difficult it was to raise you and how much “brain” power is required. The same is the case with Betta fish, they show tremendous care towards their young ones. Betta has a complex way to keep their young ones and eggs safe from other fish. All of these parenting qualities do prove that Betta fish have brains and they are even good at using them.

3. They get Stressed out by the Environmental Conditions very Easily

If you did not have a brain would you care about the environment you are in? Would the cleanliness of your room even be perceivable to you if you were just a brainless blob? Definitely not. My point here is that Betta fish easily get stressed out by bad environmental conditions. An unclean or overcrowded tank can make betta stressed out. This suggests that they are highly sensitive to the environment which further suggests that they do have brains.

4. Betta Fish play with their Owners

Have you ever tried moving your finger around the sides of the fish tank? Do give it a shot. Maybe not immediately but after some time the Betta starts to follow your finger. If you place your finger at the top opening of the tank, the Betta might even jump towards it. All of this proves that Betta fish do have some level of intelligence.

5. They have Memory

There was a myth that Betta fish like some other fish have a memory span of just about 30 short seconds. This myth was debunked and after scientific research, it is said that Betta has a memory span of up to 5 months. 5 whole months. Now that is a very long time. This memory span in itself is proof that Betta does have brains.

Male Betta Fish Anatomy

6. Betta can be Trained

You may teach your Betta fish to do things like follow your finger, eat food from your hand, swim through a hoop, play soccer, jump out of the water, or come up to be patted with some time and patience, etc. The most effective reinforcement for desired behavior is a fish meal. This ability to be trained suggests that they are intelligent beings. Only an intelligent species with a brain can be trained like this.

7. They play with their Reflections

Some Betta owners place a mirror in front of the fish tank. The Betta fish respond to this and play with their reflection. Just like human babies get fascinated by their reflection and play with it, the same is done by the Betta fish too.

8. Bettas watch TV

Some Betta owners have even said that if the Television set is kept at a reasonable distance the Betta fish show interest in it and watch it. Watching TV in itself requires intelligence and Betta fish do indeed have this intelligence.

9. They get Depressed

Depression is a brain problem and Betta is affected by it. Turns out that not only can our grilled little friends become depressed, but some scientists consider fish to be a promising animal model for developing anti-depressants.

10. They recognize their owners

Betta fish are said to recognize their owners. When their owners go by, some bettas become excited and swim to the front of the tank. The more you engage with your betta fish, the more likely it is that they will identify you. Bettas mainly associate their owners with food and playtimes. Betta fish can feel affection for their owners. All of these things suggest strong emotional intelligence.

The Bottom Line On Do Betta Fish Have Brains?

I hope through this article some of your queries about the Betta brains were resolved. Betta is a complex beautiful creature with a fairly intelligent brain. Their parenting techniques, hunting instincts, and reaction to environmental changes are some of the few things which prove their intelligence. If you give proper time to your Betta you can even train them and get popular among your friends. So the betta is in fact one brainy little dude. This was all that I wanted to say about the Betta brain. Till next time happy fishkeeping folks!

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