Just like any other pet, fish can become bored, too. And while they won’t chew up your shoes, keeping them occupied will ensure they live a healthier life.
We buy toys for our dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, birds, and beyond. But how often does anyone get toys for their fish? The key is to play off of what fish already do naturally. Adding things into their tanks that will occupy them and hone their natural instincts is a sure-fire way to have healthier happier fish that are more interesting to watch. Here are six easy hacks to curb your fishes’ boredom.
Ping pong balls: These are a cheap and easy way to amuse your fish. Bettas particularly enjoy moving them around the tank, but just about any fish will be curious enough to check it out. It will stimulate their senses, and it’s a cool party trick to show people when they come to visit.
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Tubes and tunnels: Many fish decorations incorporate these attributes to some degree, but you can improve on them by making your own. PVC pipe from your local hardware store connected with a couple of elbows joints will make an interesting place for your fish to explore and hang out. You can weight it to the bottom of the tank and cover it with rocks and plants if you don’t like the look of the pipes. For something a little fancier, you can use terra cotta planters in the tank.
Mirrors: Fish aren’t vain, but mirrors are especially interesting to fish like bettas that live alone. They will be interested in their reflections and will flare, charge, and be curious about the “fish” on the other side. As an added advantage, a mirror on the back side of a tank helps add dimension and makes a small tank appear larger.
Related: Take a Walk On the Wild Side of Bettas
Shells, rocks, and sand: Something you already have in your tank can be interesting to some species of fish. Cichlids, for example, will love rearranging their tank space (for fishy feng shui, we assume). They will dig holes, build hills, and create their own territory.
Air stones and bubble wands: These make for a neat feature in your tank for you to look at, but will also amuse your fish. Fish that enjoy stronger moving waters will hang out in the bubbles, and flit and flee through them.
Food: Finding ways to make their food slightly harder to acquire is another way to stimulate your fish. Breaking away from the usual flakes and pellets and trying something like frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp will shake up their diets, and give them something to do. Live foods also help get your fish to hunt, which is a natural stimulant for them.
Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.