Why Do Bettas Jump Out Of Their Tank? 4 Popular Reasons

Bettas are known for their activeness and lively personalities. Thus, they make for great additions to your home tanks. However, bettas being playful are not always a good sign. Sometimes, they even attempt to jump out of their tank, which can be bizarre for inexperienced aquarists.

Why do bettas jump out of their tank? And what can you do to fix this problem? Scroll down to read more about this strange habit of bettas!

4 Reasons Why Bettas Jump Out Of Their Tank

blue betta

There are various reasons why bettas jump out of their tanks. Sometimes, it is an indication that your tank is not well kept. But in other cases, this is merely an incident.

Bettas do not have enough space

Generally speaking, a 1-inch betta needs at least 2 gallons of water to survive and thrive. However, not all aquarists are mindful of this detail. They try to put as many bettas in one 5-gallon tank as possible, not knowing how cramped it could be.

When forced to live inside such a small aquarium, bettas quickly get bored. As they do not have their personal territory and cannot swim around comfortably, the only option left is to jump.

Furthermore, when the tank is overcrowded, the nitrate and ammonia levels will undoubtedly increase. As a result, bettas will feel stressed and irritated, leading to more jumpy behaviors.

The water conditions are unfavorable

Bettas are sensitive to their surrounding environment. If they think the water has yet to meet their demands, chances are they will react profusely.

For example, bettas tend to jump if they detect a waste buildup in the water. Pollutants and toxins are a no for these fish, so they believe somewhere outside the tank will offer fresher and cleaner water.

Or, a fluctuation in the temperature and pH levels is also disconcerting. Once bettas do not feel at home in their habitat, they sure will try to escape.

Bettas want to catch something outside of the tank

Sometimes, bettas jump outside of the tank simply for entertainment. Maybe they see some flies that they wish to catch. Maybe they want to play around and diversify their activities. If this is the case, then there is nothing to be worried about.

Bettas suffer from a low-quality sleeping cycle

Bettas rely on a sleeping cycle to function normally. If disturbed, they can be confused and at a loss regarding what to do next. Not having enough sleep or having too much sleep directly leads to bettas acting frustrated and restless.

How To Stop Bettas From Jumping Out Of Their Tank

Invest in a large enough tank

betta jump to owner's finger

If you provide your bettas with enough space to swim around, they will be less likely to get jumpy. A 5-gallon tank should not host more than 2 bettas. In case you want a bigger school, try to invest in a 10-gallon or even a larger tank. Anything smaller will not suffice.

Maintain the water’s conditions

Anything from the temperature and pH level to the freshness of your water must be ensured. Having a favorable environment is crucial to bettas’ survival, as they have to be sound and relaxed.

Remember to change the water once a week, get rid of waste buildup, and filter your water thoroughly.

Minimize the disruption to bettas’ sleeping cycle

As stated above, bettas need an established sleeping cycle. But too many factors can tamper with this, with lighting being the most noticeable culprit.

If you feel like you have put on too many lights, consider switching some of them off for at least 8 hours. This way, your bettas are notified of their bedtime and do not stay alert for 24 hours.

Put a cover on the tank

Placing a lid on top of your aquarium should be able to prevent bettas from jumping out. That said, it is only a circumstantial solution. In the long run, you are advised to make changes that last for a long time, not putting a bandage on a bullet hole.


1. What do I do if my fish jumps out of the tank?

If your betta jumps out of the tank, make sure to return it to the water immediately. The chances of survival will be the highest if the jump happens within the last 10 minutes. Should the fish lay outside of the water for more than 10 minutes, they tend not to live.

Once added back to the tank, check out your fish’s physical appearance. It is likely to suffer from dried-up gills, difficulties in breathing, and a loss of slime coating. Add a bit of aquarium salt to the tank to fix these problems, then wait for an hour or so to see if your betta can be healthy again.

2. How long can a betta live out of water?

Betta can survive being left out of water for 10 minutes at most. And this is under certain circumstances only. If the weather is too moistureless or hot, your betta may die within the first few minutes after being exposed.

3. How high can a betta fish jump?

betta is ready to jump

Many people are under the impression that bettas cannot jump high, mostly due to their tiny size. But surprisingly, bettas can reach a height of at least 2 to 3 inches if they are healthy! Sometimes, the jump is even more impressive. Thus, it is important not to underestimate your bettas’ ability.


The question “Why do bettas jump out of their tank” is now already addressed. Hopefully, this article has provided useful information regarding how bettas behave. Next time you see your fish being jumpy, look out and see if there is anything wrong with them!