How Do Betta Fish Know There Is Food In The Aquarium?

How Do Betta Fish Know There Is Food In The Aquarium?

When it comes feeding time for my betta fish generally the routine goes along something like this. I walk up to the aquarium with a jar of betta pellets in hand. The betta fish sees me while lurking in the shadowy depths of its cave and vigorously swims to the top of the aquarium to meet me. Generally the betta fish comes right up against the closest side of the aquarium and tries to swim at me through the glass. I think a few of these betta fish pellets and drop them in the aquarium behind the betta, well out of the betta fishes line of sight, and within 1 to 2 seconds the pellets floating on top of the water are vigorously and viciously eaten by the apparently famished little betta fish inside.

So that got me wondering, “How do betta fish know there’s betta food in the aquarium?” Out of all of the millions and billions of questions you can ask about betta fish in general, that one seems a little far out there and low on the totem pole of answers you really need to know. However, I’m actually kind of glad that I wondered this because the answers I found were actually quite fascinating.



Betta To Smell You With My Dear

You see, these beautiful yet feisty little fishy’s called bettas have adapted and enhanced themselves biologically over time to have some pretty nifty betta food radar. Their eyesight however, is certainly not one of those cool enhancements. Believe it or not betta fish are fairly nearsighted. They’ve got some pretty good eyesight for short distances however, and their little fishy eyes can see a fair amount of the color spectrum and identify individual shapes incredibly well. But their eyesight alone certainly doesn’t account for their almost instantaneous awareness of edible food placed in their betta home.

You see, one of their first little betta biological sensors that gets triggered when you drop some betta food in the aquarium is their sense of smell. Bettas have an extraordinary sense of smell. Sounds strange doesn’t it? What good is a sense of smell when you’re underwater all day long? Actually, their sense of smell is also linked to their sense of taste which is really highly developed in betta fish. Have you ever fed your betta a pellet seen him quickly gobble it up only to spit it out a mere fraction of a second later? He almost wish their sense of taste wasn’t so great huh?

When you drop the pellet or piece of betta food of whatever kind into your bettas aquarium, as soon is that food hits the water it will start releasing natural chemicals that betta fish can sense. Within only a second or two, the hungry betta fish is already gone to the identification process of that food and magically made that food disappear from its tank. The natural chemical sensors that betta fish have are not actually all-inclusive to the betta fish species. Pretty much every fish has the special chemical sensors that can help them figure out what to eat and what to stay away from. These chemical sensors are scattered all throughout the fish his entire body and not only located in the mouth of the betta fish. Their heads and their faces have these chemical sensors and many fish have them running along the sides of their bodies as well.



Hear & Feel More Betta

Betta fish come pre-equipped with a sort of hearing structure fairly similar to your own “ears”. There similar in the sense that there hearing structure is comprised of bone shapes that are not too uncommon from the hammer, anvil, and stirrup bones you yourself use to hear things. However, even though betta fish can “hear” things, a lot of betta fish have something in the aquarium that’s fighting against that really cool ability. Filtered tanks cause a lot of background noise kinda difficult for betta fish to hear things. Or any fish really for that matter.

Your betta fish has some pretty sensitive sensors that sense changes in pressure located along its body. If you take a close look at your betta fish starting from his head running down the side until he gets to the base of the tail you can actually see a small little curved line. That would be the pressure sensors that I’m talking about. This line of pressure sensors on betta fish is also called the lateral line. This too is not unique of the betta fish, as many fish actually do have these as well. Generally this line is a bit darker against the color of the betta fish’s skin and scales.

If you were to use a microscope to take a closer look at this lateral line on the betta fish’s body you would see that tiny little indentations make up this dark streak. In the center of every indentation contain highly sensitive cells that are biologically tuned to detect changes in pressure, motion and temperature differences in the water your betta is swimming in. But I talk about them being sensitive, that word doesn’t really do it justice. They are very very very sensitive. So sensitive in fact that when you got the pellet of betta food into the water, the betta fish can actually “feel” it.


Betta Than Aware

Betta fish originate from almost perfectly still waters such as rice patties, slow-moving rivers and streams. Places in nature that don’t lend themselves well to crystal-clear conditions. Generally the waters that these betta fish naturally originate from our murky to say the least. If you take that into consideration it doesn’t seem to surprising that betta fish have developed these superior senses of smell, taste, hearing, fantastic short-range vision and pressure senses.

In nature, while betta fish primarily feed on tiny insects that are unlucky enough to land on a surface of water that has a betta fish lurking underneath. They also feed on tiny little swimming creatures that just so happened to be accidentally sharing their swimming area with a betta fish. Insect larva such as of the mosquito is considered a delicacy for a hungry betta fish. Even if the betta fish wasn’t hungry he would make an exception for aquatic worm or mosquito larva. Because the betta fish doesn’t have really great long distance vision, having these other finely tuned senses help the betta fish get the food he’s hungry for. These amazing natural senses help the mail betta fish tell when there is a female swimming nearby. And of course, the female betta fish has the sensors to and can use them to find a male. These senses also alert the betta fish any danger nearby so you can quickly evacuate the area. Betta fish can feel the energy exerted by larger fish in the area. I would imagine my little brother developed these senses as well… he was never around when I was angry growing up!