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Last update: August 10, 2021

Betta Hammock – Create a comfy bed for your betta fish

If you want to create a fun and comfortable spot for your betta, there is nothing better than a hammock.

They are affordable, look great and best of all – betta love them!

And today, I am going to teach you everything you need to know about them.

What is a betta hammock?

Quick, picture a hammock in your mind…

Hammock between two palm trees on beach

You thought of this, right?

I know I did. Well, I would have if I hadn’t spent the last 10 years raising betta.

You see, a betta hammock looks a little different than the hammock above.

Okay, a lot different…

Betta hammock inside aquarium just below surface water

Betta hammocks are essentially a flat surface that sits underwater and attaches to the glass of your aquarium with a suction cup.

While there are many different types of betta hammocks, the most common style resembles a leaf.

What are the benefits of a betta hammock?

There are two good reasons why you should grab a betta hammock for your tank…

1. Betta fish like to snooze in their hammocks

Blue betta fish resting on leaf-style hammock near surface of fish tank

While a betta hammock might not resemble the hammocks that humans laze around in, it serves the same purpose:

A betta hammock provides your betta with a safe spot to rest and relax.

It’s no secret that bettas enjoy a good nap.

And, bettas can sleep in some odd spots. You may find that your betta sleeps floating, head buried in your substrate or even hidden among your plants.

But by far, the most popular place for bettas to chill is just below the surface of your aquarium.

Simply place a betta hammock just below the surface water, and your betta will have a comfy place to sleep – think of it as a bed for your betta.

Did you know? Betta fish sleep with their eyes open. This allows them to quickly escape from any predators that try to sneak up on them while they sleep. Check out our guide to betta sleep to make sure your betta is getting enough shut-eye.

2. Easy access to oxygen

Betta sitting on hammock near surface of water gulping in mouthfuls of air

Bettas are one of a few fish with a labyrinth organ. Think of it as a lung – this organ allows your fish to take a breath of air from the surface of the water.

Occasionally, gulping for air is considered normal behavior and has been observed among bettas that are happy and healthy.

Many bettas that we own have been specifically bred to have large fins.

While these fins may make the betta impressive to look at, they do have a downside: They make it more difficult for your betta to swim to the surface and stay there.

By placing a hammock just below the surface, your big-finned betta will have a place to rest while he gulps in air.

Does your betta need a hammock?

I must admit, I can definitely see the appeal of betta hammocks:

Bettas love them

Betta looking out front of aquarium while sitting on hammock

Most bettas are drawn to hammocks like a magnet and will happily spend hours just chilling in their little spot near the surface.

Since bettas seem to be naturally drawn to hammocks, installing one in your tank could make your betta happier.

They can easily be moved

Cleaning time? A betta hammock can easily be removed when you wipe down your tank. When you are finished, simply place it back.

They don’t take up much space

Betta on leaf-style hammock above SpongeBob pineapple and next to aquarium thermometer

If you have taken up the entire bottom of your aquarium with SpongeBob’s pineapple and other fun decorations or plants, then you might not have room leftover to provide your betta with a comfy spot to chill.

A hammock sits at the very top of your aquarium, allowing you to decorate below however you see fit.

With that said…

A betta hammock is by no means an essential aquarium accessory.

In fact, if you can provide your betta with an alternate spot to rest, then you can skip the hammock altogether.

I personally use live plants in my aquarium. While they do require grooming, plants with wide leaves can provide your betta with a comfy place to chill.

Betta sleeping on leaf of plant

A more hassle-free approach could be to use a tall fake plant – remember, silk is best and won’t tear your betta’s delicate fins.

Even so, I have used a betta hammock in my hospital tank. Moon, my adopted veiltail betta, appreciated having the hammock to rest on while she recovered from a nasty bout of fin rot.

If you can provide your betta with an alternate flat surface to chill on near the surface of your tank, then skip the hammock.

But if you can’t? Grab one. They only cost a couple of dollars and can result in a visibly happier betta!

Where should I place my betta hammock?

Instructions on most hammocks recommend that you place it ¾ inches (2 cm) below the surface of your aquarium.

Really, you can place it at any height. Experiment. You might find that your betta is just as happy chilling in his hammock halfway down your aquarium.

Your betta will actually clue you in as to where you should place your hammock.

Betta resting on suction cup of hammock

If your betta sits on the suction cup instead of the hammock, then he is trying to tell you to raise the hammock closer to the surface so that he can gulp air easier.

With that said, two locations are unsuitable for your hammock to be installed:

1. Near your filter outflow

… Or anything else that causes water movement.

You see, betta fish don’t like too much water movement. If you place your hammock in a strong water current, your betta will not sleep or rest on it.

2. Near your heater

Betta sitting on leaf-style hammock too close to aquarium heater

Bettas are tropical fish, so your tank should have a heater installed to keep the water at a constant temperature.

Try to avoid placing your betta’s hammock too close to the heater. Your betta will snooze here, and if his delicate fins rest on the heater, they could be damaged.

Remember: Before you add anything to your aquarium, including a betta hammock, rinse it in dechlorinated water to remove any chemicals and other nasties remaining from the manufacturing process.

My betta won’t use his hammock. What do I do?

While most bettas love their hammocks, others refuse to go anywhere near them.

Let’s take a closer look at why your betta isn’t using his hammock.

The hammock is in a strong current

Betta ignoring his new betta hammock placed in aquarium

First, you want to consider the placement of your hammock. As I discussed earlier, if a current flows by it, then your betta probably won’t rest there.

Bettas often use hammocks to rest. And, nothing is relaxing about a strong current pushing you off your leaf.

Move your hammock to a nice, calm spot in your aquarium, away from your filter outflow, bubbler and anything else that causes water movement. Your betta will be much more likely to take to his hammock.

Your betta doesn’t like the location of the hammock

Even with the hammock in a calm spot, your betta may refuse to take interest.

Spend some time watching your betta, getting to know his habits. You might find that his favorite spot to hang is toward the bottom of your aquarium.

By moving the hammock to your betta’s usual resting place, your betta may choose to use the hammock instead.

You leave the lights on

Betta using leaf-style hammock as shade

Bettas like to sleep at night, in darkness. If you keep your lights on 24/7, then your betta might prefer to use the hammock as a shady spot to escape the harsh light rather than climbing on top.

Use a good aquarium timer or turn your lights off manually each night. With a day/night sleeping schedule in place, your betta will be more likely to use his hammock.

Your betta fish doesn’t understand what to do

While most bettas are naturally attracted to hammocks, there are some that just don’t get it.

Unfortunately, you can’t explain to him that you spent good money on his new comfy resting place – it turns out that fish are pretty bad listeners!

However, there is one thing your betta does understand…

Food.

Betta fish eating food while resting on his leaf

By feeding your betta just above his hammock, he may begin to associate it with the wonderful feeling of feeding time and actually use the darn thing.

Are betta hammocks dangerous?

No, when used correctly, betta hammocks are not dangerous.

Washing your new betta hammock and cleaning it regularly will ensure that it remains a safe bed for your betta.

Just like ornaments and fake plants, the hammock can collect uneaten fish food and other gunk. A quick wipe down while cleaning your tank will keep it in tip-top condition.

When cleaning, you should inspect your leaf to make sure it has not started to deteriorate.

Some leaf-style hammocks contain metal wire so that it keeps its shape when your betta rests on it.

If the hammock becomes damaged or deteriorates, this wire can poke through and rust – or worse, tear the fins of your betta.

Rusted wire poking through betta hammock

If you notice this, immediately remove the hammock from your aquarium and toss it in the trash.

What are the alternatives to betta hammocks?

Betta hammocks are cheap, commonly available and just work. It is for that reason that they are the most popular way of providing betta with a comfortable spot to chill.

If you are not feeling a hammock and want something more natural, tall plants with wide leaves can be used to achieve a similar effect.

Another natural option is Indian almond leaves. Bettas love to rest on these large dried leaves. Plus, they have other benefits that will keep your betta tank healthy.

Take the betta below – he chose an Indian almond leaf over his hammock.

Betta fish choosing Indian almond leaf over a hammock to sleep on

Be mindful that Catappa leaves will deteriorate over time and release tannins into your aquarium, which can cause your water to turn yellow. It’s not a bad thing, but many people don’t like the effect.

You could also use tall ornaments. However, these need a flat space on top for your betta to sit comfortably.

Conclusion

Your betta will enjoy chilling at the top of your aquarium.

And, a betta hammock allows him to do so in comfort and style.

If your tank is missing a resting place near the surface, then grab one today – your betta will be happier for it!

Do you use a hammock in your betta tank? Let me know in the comments below!

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

Comments (38)

This was a cool article. Most of us that own Bettas know that they like to chill out every now and then from their curious explorations. Our Betta ‘Vanessa’ loves to rest on the leaves of our Anubias or even just lay on the substrate. I would have never thought about the fact that these fish are labyrinths and just might prefer to have a spot to rest near the surface of the water. Good info.

Hi again, Ben.

Yep, Betta are little buckets of personality. Vanessa is a lovely name for a fish, is it named after anyone in particular?

I don’t think I have ever named one of my fish a ‘people name.’ I suppose letting my kids name them doesn’t help break that trend. A few current names include Pancakes, Fortnite Fiend and Pewdiepie.

Hi Ian!
This isn’t quite related, but would you know how best to clean fake aquarium plants? Ours are these Japanese silicone ones; very soft, almost fragile. Are they boilable?

Sorry Catherine,

This is one question I won’t be any good for. The only fake plants I have ever had were yeeeeears ago when I had silk plants for a Betta. I couldn’t say how to clean these ones. I do know silicone has a very high temperature resistance (why you can get muffin pans made from it) but I’m not sure if yours are actually silicone or something silicone-like.

Gee, you are testing my memory here. I can recall cleaning them after a brown algae outbreak in a new tank and I was worried about the algae staining the leaves. I soaked them in warm water and H202 overnight. Came out clean. I probably did clean them more than that, but that’s the only time I can vividly recall. Again, this was yeeeears ago, back when I had more hair. H202 should be safe to use on most decorations.

Hee hee sorry!
H202? Um… is that a brand name or hydrogen peroxide? Soak them in something like a 50/50 solution?

H202 is just Hydrogen Peroxide, I get sick of typing it out all the time, so have gotten into a bad habit of typing it out. I asked one of my friend who currently uses plastic plants and he says a rinse under hot water followed by a quick bleach dip – 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, scrubbing at stubborn bits with a toothbrush.

Ooh bleach just sounds scary to me lol.. Is it really fine for the fish? Even if there’s some residue left? I think I prefer the sound of the peroxide.. ought it to be diluted? if so, what ratio? Thanks so much!

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the peroxide ratio, it’s been years since I’ve done this. Peroxide is harmless though as when it’s added to water, it breaks down into h2o – water! As long as you rinse it off. It would have to be diluted, as straight peroxide would discolor your fake plants. I’d google and see what others are doing here. Plenty of people use bleach without issues, as long as you are thoroughly rinsing before you add them back to your tank, there shouldn’t be an issue.

my very placid betta does not appear to be too interested in his hammock. I will continue to move it about. mind you he does not appear to be bothered about anything. I bought a mirror to stimulate natural behaviour and he was off, did not see him for 24 hours (wuss)

Hi Chris,

Each betta has their own unique personality. It sounds like you have an odd one. Don’t worry, you’ll figure him out soon enough!

I have 2 male Dumbo Half Moon Betta’s. Tim has huge fins & prefers the Betta Hammock. Rusty is not as big & his fins are not quite as large as Tim’s. I suspect Rusty is much younger. He prefers snoozing in his floating Betta Log. We did anchor it to the side to keep it from floating into the filter flow. He clearly didn’t like that. The log is his number 1 place to snooze!

Hi Diane,

That’s hilarious, It’s funny how betta each have their own unique personalities and likes/dislikes. I’m glad you figured out what Tim and Rusty like best!

Ours sure loves hers! It’s just so cute to see her snuggle up on it. Great and fun information in this article- keep it up!

Hi Patrick,

I’m glad to hear your betta is a hammock lover. It’s adorable to see! Thank you for the kind words.

I loved your articles, got addicted to it. If i can also offer tips, what i do is to get some plants like fox tail and instead of burrying, roll them up like u do with paper to toss it away and leave it floating on the extreme side away from the filter. it will stay there and the bettas LOVE to stay there, hidden, even hard to find. I did find they also LOVE very snuggle caves.

Look my old betta before he died at his cave, there are other pictures of him at his caves https://www.instagram.com/p/BbzzW0hHBCf/

Hi Jenny,

What an adorable little betta. I love the idea of the fox tail hidey-hole. That is an adorable pic of your betta. I’m sorry for your loss. You sound like a wonderful owner.

I’ve had my Betta for a month now. I got him a hammock a few days ago, He doesn’t seem interested, but I do put his on it when I feed him. I turn off the filter so the food doesn’t move around, plus. he has started just today sleeping on top of his thermometer. he is almost pain when I feed him he practically eats out of my hands already!, Any ideas how to get him used to the hammock, and maybe wanting to use it, because he constantly swims and I’m worried about him. he does disappear behind his house or when I clean the tank he will go inside the house so he does have a hiding place.

Hi Paula,

Each betta has their own unique personality. If he still doesn’t take to it after eating on top of it, then he may just prefer your thermometer. Sometimes they can just randomly decide to use their hammock, even if they did not use it for months before. So if he isn’t taking to it, leave it in there below the water line, just in case… He may come around yet. Betta are odd.

My betta Jazz lil interest in her leaf which I had placed mid way in the tank until I read your article so I moved it closer to the surface as you stated and now shes checking it out I would love to see her resting on it but until then I’ll just have to wait and see what happens thanks so much for the tip!

Hi Denise,

Each betta has their own odd personality. That’s what makes them such great fish. I hope Jazz falls in love with her leaf!

Oh… my leaf is too low in the tank and way too close to the filter current. No wonder my betta keeps swimming near it and messing with it, but not resting on it!

I will move it tomorrow when I do a partial water change and see if that makes a difference. Thank you!

Hi Tiffany,

That sounds like a double whammy of why a betta wouldn’t go near a leaf. Keep in mind it may take a few days or even weeks for your betta to use his hammock (he might also use it while you are not looking) or he might just not be a betta hammock kinda guy. I’m sure you have experienced this, but your betta has his own unique personality, and he just might not like laying around.

I ordered one online and haven’t installed it yet because I’m not sure if my betta will use it since I have a 2.5 gallon tank and had an adjustable sponge air pump filter that even in low setting still disturbs quite a bit of the tank surface, should I put it in the other side so that the flow is mild or should I take away the sponge air pump filter or can I do some DIY to customize the strength of the air flow? I noticed that in low setting my betta (Blaze) was still blown upward when he swims close to the airlift that I can see him stumble a bit from the sudden blow.

Hi Rhyan,

If you put a bleed valve on the airline, it will allow you to controll the airpressure without damaging the pump. Your are correct in that betta do not need much current at all!

You see…
My 2 bettas are a 40 gallon community and a 10 gallon community. The 40 gallon has 2 filters but I’m removing one cuz the old one is very crappy is poorly designedand so I’m establishing a stable BB colony in the new one (Fluval C-3) before I remove the old one (Topfin 40). My betta always likes to stay in his little cave at the bottom (since the aquarium is aerated so he doesn’t seem to gasp for air a lot) he chases away any other fish that poke their heads in his cave. It’s not aggressive chasing but the betta just pokes his head out and the fish move along and when its feeding time, he goes to the filter intake where I feed all the fish. (He’s eating healthily). When he sleeps, he just sleeps in the cave on the gravel. I don’t have any tall ornaments except for a tall plant which the tetras like to swim around but the betta never sleeps there. Should I get a hammock? He’s happy and healthy now.

The other betta never sleeps. He always moves around even one time at 12:00 am I saw it swimming while all the fish looked like they were dead (sleeping).

Hi Tom,

It sounds like your betta are doing just fine without a hammock. It’s hard to say if a hammock would make him happier or not since it’s possible he will reject it. Betta are odd like that, and have their own personalities.

I want to get my male Betta a hammock BUT I always check reviews on things I buy. So the problem is, I just don’t know which one to get. I have read that the hard plastic ones can cut their skin, and others have wires in them to make them more sturdy BUT Sometimes the wire breaks through the plastic and rusts causing alot of problems, On the ETSY website I have found some really nice and sturdy wooden ones, But the one I really want is a 3 sided leaf set made out of silk. That one has pretty good reviews. Any Suggestions?? I am also looking for some toys for him to keep him active….I considered the moss balls, but it said that they can kill your fish, I have considered a floating betta log with a feeding hole at the top, BUT the reviews said that they will sink after awhile. A hoop? Right now all he has are a rock arch to hide in and a tiny cave and one silk plant. He also have a ping pong ball in there because they say they like to push them, but mine won’t go near it! Live Plants? One other very important question: My Betta has 4 Platy tankmates and they seem to be getting along just fine, HOWEVER I have seen him chasing them occasionally! What is he doing? He is not flared when doing this. Could he be just playing? I mean, he gets close enough that he COULD ATTACK if he wanted to but he doesn’t. I stand by with my net to get him out if things get out of hand! PLEASE HELP!! Thank You! Debi

Hi Deborah,

I think you may be overthinking this, Betta don’t need the same degree of entertainment as a dog. A large tank with plenty of plants and decorations is more important that a log or hoop. The problem I see with the silk betta leaves is that it may not be sturdy enough to support his weight. That’s why most betta leaves have a wire inside. You sound like a very diligent owner. If you are monitoring your tank daily, you’ll be all over any issue that arises. Unfortunately, everything you add to your tank has an element of danger. It’s the nature of fish keeping. But with care and oversight, all of the products you listed can be used safely.

It’s very likely he is chasing the platy to keep them out of “his” territory. This is a possibility that your tank is two small for these to co-exist. Generally you would need a 10 gallon + size tank for a combination like this. This way, both can have their own space and your betta won’t feel threatened.

I purchased the ZooMed betta hammock and positioned it as directed in his 1.5 gallon acrylic aquarium. My betta just loves it! When I repositioned the hammock the suction cup left a ring on the side of the tank. I then placed it in another location but it doesn’t stay stuck anymore. I find the hammock on the tank floor and my betta looking at me, like “Say what?” I called ZooMed and was informed that after continued use in water the suction cup won’t adhere anymore. I was also told the ring is caused by mineral deposits, and unlike suction cups out of water, in the water causes them to lose their adherence to the surface. ZooMed is sending me a replacement! I just wonder if other versions have the same issues.

Hi Victoria,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Just a quick question, when you wipe down your glass with a scraper (use an expired credit card) does the suction cup once again stick to the now-clean surace?

The tank is acrylic (hard plastic?) and that ring outline from the suction cup appears to be calcified, hence, the credit card scraper method doesn’t remove the deposit. I don’t want to use anything abrasive because it would most likely scratch the surface.

I positioned the suction cup to a clean area and it still doesn’t adhere. Thought about switching out the suction cup to the type used on windows but there’s no hole to insert the leaf. If what ZooMed states is true, I’ll have to replace the product because of the suction cup. I only had it in the tank for about 4 months. Perhaps if the tank was glass, this would not have happened.

My betta has an amazing memory . . . he keeps lingering around the spot where the hammock was placed!

Awww your poor betta misses his leaf 🙁

Oh, I didn’t realize it was a acrylic tank. This seems to happen with a lot of plastic tanks when certain types of suction cups are used and I do not fully understand why, I have never owned an acrylic tank. I spoke to a member of my local fish club and they believe it may be a reaction between the material of the suction cup and the tank. I am not sure, so don’t take this as gospel. If anyone else has further information to help Victoria, please weigh in here. I certainly agree you shouldn’t scrape this tank.

All my bettas in the past have loved having hammocks so when setting up for my new betta I thought I’d get one. However, I’ve noticed that my new betta spends more time sleeping on the suction cup for the heater than the hammock. I realized the hammock might be in an uncomfortable spot so I moved it towards the back of the tank and kept it close to the surface but he is still choosing the heater over the hammock. I was wondering if it’s dangerous for him to sleep there and if I should try to coax him out or if I should let him be. He hasn’t gotten burned or anything and the tank generally feels warm, so I don’t think it’s a heating issue rather than him just being lazy and thinking it’s a nice calm spot to rest. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this.

Hi Laura,

Betta are odd fish and sometimes despite your best efforts, he will call the shots as to where he sleeps. He is very likely fine where he has chosen to sleep.

Hi Ian,

Thank you for your helpful input. Funnily enough, about a day after posting my betta started using his leaf! It’s as if he knew we were talking about him.

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