Teach Your Betta Tricks!

BeagleSan

betta Trick number 1: How to jump. First, you dip your finger in the tank water, then stick a pellet to your wet finger. wave it above your betta and wait for him to jump to grab the pellet!

Trick number 2: how to flare at your finger (on comand). First, use a mirror to make him flare. Keep your finger right next to the mirror, keep on doing ths for about 2 minutes MAX a day. then he should flare at your finger! When he does reward

Trick number 3: Swimming through a hoop: Use a pipe cleaner and make a hoop, place it in the tank. put it in front of your fish, then place a pellet on the opisite side, then the betta learns to go through the hoop.

I used all of these methods and they woked on my 4 bettas.
 

_Fried_Bettas_

The last thing in the world I want to teach my bettas to do is jump. I like them to stay in the tank. The other two are pretty cool though, especially the flaring.
 

TJBender

betta Trick number 1: How to jump.

The last thing in the world I want to teach my bettas to do is jump.

That was almost word-for-word the first thought to race across my mind after "How to jump" as well
 

jileha

Didn't have to teach her, but when my female picks up a pellet from the surface, she blows up a tiny round drop of water about 2 inches in the air. A little fountain...
Never noticed this with my other bettas.

Another trick I didn't have to teach my bettas: They follow the small red spoon I use to feed bloodworms or similar food wherever I move it. They completely ignore the juicy worms; the spoon is what they are fixated on. Hilarious. I bet I could make them do everything without any additional effort, just move the red spoon where I want them to go.
 

BeagleSan

I always have my water level low so that doesn't happen
 

_Fried_Bettas_

I've only really taught my bettas one thing, and most of them have learned it. If I tap on the rI'm of the tank with my finger, they come right to that spot. Just a habit I've gotten into when I feed them. Even during the times Ancalagon and Ares have been in large 50 or 40 gallon tanks. I would have no idea where they were among the plants and I would tap on the tank rim, real softly even, and they would come swimming up to get their food.
 

mananaica

I've only really taught my bettas one thing, and most of them have learned it. If I tap on the rI'm of the tank with my finger, they come right to that spot. Just a habit I've gotten into when I feed them. Even during the times Ancalagon and Ares have been in large 50 or 40 gallon tanks. I would have no idea where they were among the plants and I would tap on the tank rim, real softly even, and they would come swimming up to get their food.

Oh my gosh, I could really use that with Jorge and Helen.. Haha. -___- How did you teach them that? ~
 

junebug

Just tap the glass every time you put food in. They'll get the idea.

All of my fish do this with two exceptions. Storm, who doesn't care, and the betta uberis, who are afraid of me, hate me, and will not eat anything I feed them anyway

betta Trick number 1: How to jump. First, you dip your finger in the tank water, then stick a pellet to your wet finger. wave it above your betta and wait for him to jump to grab the pellet!

Trick number 2: how to flare at your finger (on comand). First, use a mirror to make him flare. Keep your finger right next to the mirror, keep on doing ths for about 2 minutes MAX a day. then he should flare at your finger! When he does reward

Trick number 3: Swimming through a hoop: Use a pipe cleaner and make a hoop, place it in the tank. put it in front of your fish, then place a pellet on the opisite side, then the betta learns to go through the hoop.

I used all of these methods and they woked on my 4 bettas.

People who teach bettas to jump are crazy.... they already find ways to jump up and wiggle out any opening in their tanks. Why would you want to make that worse??
 

Beeker

My momma fish taught her daughter, who taught her daughter, how to spit. For the past 15 years, if I show up late for feeding time, I get it right in the face.
Nice when they can teach each other tricks.
I haven't figured out why the males don't do it...
 

BeagleSan

Just to jump at your finger I'm not crazy!
 

Jen86

Okay so my other posts make it clear that I'm in no way an expert in betta care. However there is one aspect of it I'm pretty good at, and that's training them to do tricks.

There are tutorials out there for the basic tricks, but you can't really find any for different tricks than following your finger or jumping (which I personally don't recommend) or swimming through a hoop. So I figured I'd explain how I go about training my fish to push beads into a "goal" and how to count.

The fish's personality has a lot to do with the success of this. For example, of the 6 I currently have, I only really train Enki, my youngest. He has the highest energy level and the highest degree of interest in me. My oldest is a grumpy old woman who hates everyone and can be quite manipulative, my other female is very beautiful but very dim, my dragonscale is completely indifferent to my existence, one belongs to my daughter, and my rescue has the personality for it but isn't healthy enough yet to get into it.

So what I do is get a pen light, and that works about the same as a clicker when you train dogs. DO NOT FLASH IT DIRECTLY IN THE BETTA'S EYES.

I have no idea if this is harmful to them, but it can't be pleasant, and there's no reason to do it. I'll flash it in their general direction, about 45 degrees to the side. They can see the flash clearly but it doesn't hurt their eyes.

For about a week, all I do is help the fish associate the flash with a reward. I feed them one pellet or one piece of bloodworm at a time, and I will flash just before they eat it or right as they eat it.

I normally feed 5 pellets once a day, but when training I'll break this up into 2 or 3 feedings of 1-2 pellets per feeding. And I always flash and feed in the same area of the tank, so they know that's the place where training happens. This way when I'm ready to teach them tricks, they're already in a part of the tank where they have room to move around, and they're near the top.

So once they associate the flash with food, I'll flash, but wait about a second, until I see the fish looking along the surface of the water. Then I'll drop the food in. That way, no matter where they are in the tank, they'll know that the flash means they should look along the surface of the water, and even if they're not rewarded yet, they're about to be. It teaches them that the flash means food is coming.

The first trick I do isn't very useful by itself, but it's easy and makes the later, more impressive tricks easier. I teach them to count. It's easy enough, I flash twice, and when they're looking up at the surface of the water, I drop two pellets at once. I'll do that for a week, and then I'll move up to 3.

Because I don't want to overfeed, I've never gone higher than 3, but I'm sure they can count higher than that.

Once he has the concept of 2, I'll have him do that once every other day, to keep his memory fresh, and I'll get plastic floating beads and a little plastic half circle, and teach the betta to move a bead into the half circle for a treat. Then, by changing the hand signal, I can teach him to move 2 beads, rather than just one, for a treat. Since he already knows the difference between one and two, he picks up on it quickly.

I also train him to follow my finger, which there are tutorials for everywhere.

I start by dropping the beads and the hoop in his tank and giving him a few days to get comfortable with them. But while I'm watching, I will flash and reward him every time I see him nosing the beads around, so he understands that he's supposed to push them.

Once he's comfortable, I will move the hoop into the training area. Then, when I have his attention, I will use my finger to push a bead into the hoop. He follows my finger, and when the bead is in the hoop, I flash and reward him.

To command him, I will hover my finger over a bead (I do not train them to jump out of the water, so he watches my finger, rather than jumps toward it) and quickly but smoothly move my finger about an inch above the surface of the water in the direction of the hoop.

I will flash and reward every time he pushes the bead in the right direction for the first couple days (unless they figure it out right away, my favorite girl, Morrigan, SIP, took all of 8 seconds to figure it out). Then I'll make him push the bead farther and farther before flash/rewarding. Until finally he has to move to all the way into the hoop to get his reward.

To do two beads, I will simply use two fingers for the command and then model what I want him to do by moving one bead, then another, until both are in the hoop. Once they're both in the hoop, I'll flash and reward.

Now, I always have about 5 beads he can play with, but he knows when I want him to move 1, 2, or 3.

It takes a long time, probably took me about 3-4 months of daily training, but it's awesome when people claim that fish are dumb, and I do that trick with Enki, and then I'll look at them and ask, "can your dog count to 3?"

Morrigan took the best to training. She could count, she could swim in circles, do loop-d-loops, and match prime colors. I was working on training her to fetch, and she was getting pretty good at it, when her age caused her to start slowing down. EnkI takes pretty well to it, but he requires a bit more patience than she did, and he occasionally backslides, where she really didn't.

She would also sometimes run up and move beads into the hoop or do other tricks on her own when she saw me approaching the tank, hoping I'd feed her. She was by far the easiest to train.

But even fish that aren't as intelligent or social are still motivated by food, and can still be taught tricks. And they seem to enjoy it.
 

2211Nighthawk

Dude that is... awesome. Like I needed an excuse to brag about my fish even more. Dang I might have to try that... life's a little jecktic right now but when it settles down again. heh. I like that.
 

Jen86

Dude that is... awesome. Like I needed an excuse to brag about my fish even more. Dang I might have to try that... life's a little jecktic right now but when it settles down again. heh. I like that.

Dude I brag about my fish more often than I brag about my kid (which is a lot). There are never enough reasons to brag about them.

And if life is hectic you can always just do the flash and feeding thing. That usually takes a couple weeks anyways, and it's super quick to do. Lol, if time is an issue I'd recommend only training one at a time, though. I once tried training all of the girls in my sorority tank, and.... yeah, that was a mess. Morrigan was the only one who was super interested in it, anyway. Her sister Badb was a little interested but the rest only cared about doing whatever it took to get fed.
 

lookijustneedhelp

why are you against jumping? that's what I have my girl do. is there any harm in it except that they might go flopping on the floor?
 

MissRuthless

People always say "you can teach bettas to do tricks" but no one ever explains how they did it, or what they did, I don't even know if I've ever heard firsthand from someone who did it. This is so awesome. I almost want to get another betta. I taught my first one to kiss my finger, but that was simple and obvious. Basketball though?! Shoot.

My angels are very food motivated and already follow my hands, kiss my fingers and such so I almost feel like they could maybe pick up on some of this... I wish I had more time to devote to things like fish training. I've got my hands full currently trying to teach the new baby bird to poop where she's supposed to and stop trying to eat my phone.
 

Jen86

why are you against jumping? that's what I have my girl do. is there any harm in it except that they might go flopping on the floor?

I'm not necessarily against it. I've heard that they can get overzealous and hot the rim, but I don't know how likely that is. For me, because I just use hand and finger signals, I want them to focus on watching my finger instead of jumping for it.

People always say "you can teach bettas to do tricks" but no one ever explains how they did it, or what they did, I don't even know if I've ever heard firsthand from someone who did it. This is so awesome. I almost want to get another betta. I taught my first one to kiss my finger, but that was simple and obvious. Basketball though?! Shoot.

My angels are very food motivated and already follow my hands, kiss my fingers and such so I almost feel like they could maybe pick up on some of this... I wish I had more time to devote to things like fish training. I've got my hands full currently trying to teach the new baby bird to poop where she's supposed to and stop trying to eat my phone.

Right? I noticed that today. The only tutorials I can find online are for the same 3 tricks: follow your finger, jump, and swim through a hoop.

Cool. But there's so much more they can do.
 

MissRuthless

You should start a website!! For real - I bet you could get a decent amount of traffic with a betta tricks 101 blog, and you could just sneak in there a section about proper care and the dangers of vases and bowls...
 

DanielleFish

I've become bored with my betta (Shy Guy).
There. I said it.
You can hang me, electrocute me, or tickle me to death now that I've admitted my crime.

Anyway, I wanted to interact with Shy Guy more so that I won't be bored and he won't be lonely. (I haven't been spending as much time with him as I'd like.)
I've read on the web that teaching your betta tricks is a great way to interact with them and stimulate their lil' fish minds. So I wanted to try it.
First I tried getting him to follow my finger. It *kind of* worked. I stick my finger in the water and he comes swimming right up. But as soon as he realizes he doesn't get food anymore, he swims away.
Then I tried teaching him to swim through a hoop, based off of following my finger. He swims around the hoop to get to the treat when I put the treat out, and when I don't put a treat out (I just ask him to follow my finger through the hoop), he just sits there and stares at me.
Finally I tried getting him to flare on command. He simply will not do it! I can barely get him to flare for the mirror, let alone for the pen. When I hold up the pen and mirror, he flares for the mirror. Then, when I remove the mirror and show him the pen, he gives me a look like "meh" and swims away into his plants.

So I'm at a loss as to how to teach this not-so-old fish new tricks.
Suggestions please!
Thanks!
 

david1978

Same way you train a puppy with treats.
 

DanielleFish

Same way you train a puppy with treats.
*waits for answer to elaborated upon*
 

david1978

Stick a piece of food on your finger I'm sure he will follow it around at the surface.
 

jamisonkp

The best way to train puppies is through positive reinforcement (this also works for cats, chickens, horses, fish, anything)
If they do something you like they get a treat. So if Shy Guy flares at the mirror he gets a treat.
Problems could arrise from overfeeding so shorter sessions might be better.
With the hoop give him a treat when he swims near it so he gets used to being near it and thinks that the hoop=food=good. Then stop giving him food when he swims near it and only give him some if he swims through it. Stuff like that. It might be slow, it might take days or longer but eventually I'm sure he will get it.
I think your betta is lucky to have someone who seems to care a lot about him.
 

Lping7

Bettas aren't the best for learning tricks, cichlids and puffers are better, not saying its impossible to teach a betta tricks but they seem to be slow and lazy so ya
 

DanielleFish

Bettas aren't the best for learning tricks, cichlids and puffers are better, not saying its impossible to teach a betta tricks but they seem to be slow and lazy so ya
I'm just thinking this particular betta might be a little...slow. Because I had two other bettas who could jump out of the water, come when called, swim and jump through hoops, all that jazz.
 

jamisonkp

Maybe your current betta is normal and all the others were extraordinary haha or if he's newer maybe he is still getting used to his new home. My bettas personality changed completly from the first few weeks I had him to when he finally got comfortable in his home.
 

DanielleFish

Maybe your current betta is normal and all the others were extraordinary haha or if he's newer maybe he is still getting used to his new home. My bettas personality changed completly from the first few weeks I had him to when he finally got comfortable in his home.
Maybe so. I have had him for a little while now, by my best guesses he's about 10 months old. I've had him for about 6 months.
 

jamisonkp

Oh, that's probably enough time that he's defintiely confortable by now.
I don't know what it could be, it might just take a lot more time, or maybe he's just stubborn.
 

Demeter

Agree with sticking food on your finger, my bettas will follow my hands constantly. The females even nip my hands/arms during water changes. Most all my bettas will jump out of the water to grab food on my finger, they'll also take blood worms from my hand too.

Another thing to get your boy more active and to flare is by dropping a ping pong ball in the water. Do not leave the ball in for too long, he will either constantly go after or it get bored of it.

You can also train the betta to eat from tweezers or a pipette, making him more willing to follow something and swim through a hoop.

So basically, use food for everything but flaring. Flaring is more of an aggression response. I've seen a person have a bird mirror toy floating around in the tank for the betta to get exercise, it's a great idea.
 

Iverg1

As some of you know I have a betta and I have taught my baby betta to do tricks. Some people have asked to see so I'm making this thread (apologies mods if this is in the wrong place) and since I can't remember what the thread it was and I'm too lazy to find it. So here's my baby girl tutu girl

You can also teach bettas other tricks I'm hoping to teach her to jump through hoops follow my finger and jump on command. I know some other members have taught their bettas tricks too.
 

BigManAquatics

Have to admit I am impressed! Mine all just flare at my finger when I put it in the tank.
 

Iverg1

Thanks! Got her to do it by hand feeding but the "downside" is whenever she sees my finger she thinks she's getting fed. Or when I stick my finger in the water she nibbles on them.
 

BigManAquatics

Thanks! Got her to do it by hand feeding but the "downside" is whenever she sees my finger she thinks she's getting fed. Or when I stick my finger in the water she nibbles on them.
I don't mind fish nibbles. The mollies still nibble on my arm hairs when I vacuum.
 

CatfishGuy

I taught my male paradise somethin like this, the lad tail smacks my fingers as if he's high fiving me.

Cool tricks!

EDIT: paradise gourami, not paradise betta
 

BubblesTheBettaFish

Hi! So, I was wondering what tricks I can show my betta (like following my finger) and what household items I can use as toys (like bottle caps). I want to put some more fun in my bettas life
 

Fishymom64

You can teach them how to jump out of the water for a pellet (please note that you should probably have a kid for this one) my betta enjoys a floating log but I don’t know what household items would work.
 

kallililly1973

I’ve heard they may play wit ping pong balls just wash a new one good if you try it out
 

rhyan

I just flash a mirror in front of his tank and he flares and retreat in the back of some plants and then swims back in front of the tank I just to this twice a day every weekends and just for a minute for him to exercise.
 

WrenFeenix

Fishing lures (without the hooks) make for great fish toys, probably because they are designed to catch the attention of fish. That is, if you have lures on hand like I do. If you don't, I recommend getting a couple anyway. There are a lot of lures under an inch long, and some are shaped like bugs. Perfect for bettas.
You can tie a string to them and drag them through the water to make them waggle. The shiny, moving, rattling fish or bug-shaped object makes my fish so excited.

Only get the solid, plastic/wood lures, called "hardbaits". The "softbaits"; the fake worms and such, have chemical attractants in them that may not be good for your fish.

Edit: At the pet store that I work at, there's a lazer pointer designated for employees to use to entertain fish (and cats). It's hilarious to see a cloud of tetras chasing a red dot.
 

TropicalFlow

I’ve tried several theories of getting my betta to “play” or do tricks with me. It’s nothing complicated ! All I want is for him to follow my finger around. Any suggestions?
 

YellowGuppy

Food. It ALL starts with food! And, in your betta's mind, it all ends with food, too.

Check out a few YouTube tutorials and give it a shot for a month or two. Feel free to take photos of videos of your progress to share later on!
 

peachsonas

True! Food association is key. Even if you just do something simple like putting your finger on the glass while you feed him will help him realize finger = food
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
3
Views
372
VeiltailKing
Replies
4
Views
653
BottomDweller
Replies
2
Views
1K
chrt396
  • Question
Replies
23
Views
514
Sputnik
Replies
10
Views
966
klj7678

Random Great Thread!

New Betta Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom