Betta Fish Yawning: Why Does My Betta Fish Yawn?




betta fish yawning

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As we know, betta’s sleep like any other fish, but have you ever noticed them yawning? If so, you might be wondering why bettas yawn in the first place.

Well, it turns out that betta fish yawn for a number of different reasons. For one thing, bettas yawn when they don’t have enough oxygen in their water, which can be caused by poor water quality.

Additionally, bettas yawn when they’re feeling stressed or anxious, or if they have a bacterial infection.

In this article, I’ll explore all of the different reasons why betta fish yawn, and what you can do to help your betta feel more comfortable and relaxed. So, if you’ve ever seen your betta fish yawning, keep reading to find out what’s going on!

Do Betta Fish Yawn?

Although bettas don’t yawn in the same way that people and other mammals do, you might still see your fish appearing to yawn on occasion.

For the most part, this behavior is nothing to worry about. However, there are times when “yawning” can be a symptom of a serious problem that needs your attention.

Why Does My Betta Fish Yawn?

Labyrinth Breathing

One of the main reasons betta fish yawn is simply due to the fact that bettas are labyrinth-breathing fish, which means that they’re able to breathe air using their gills.

When betta fish do this, you might see them opening and closing their mouths rapidly in short bursts, almost like a gasp or a cough. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about.

To ensure that the labyrinth organ is functioning properly and remains healthy, the temperature of the room where you keep your betta tank should be as close to the water temperature in your betta’s aquarium as possible.

Bubble Nesting

Bettas are known to build bubble nests in their tank, particularly when they are spawning and trying to attract a mate.

During this time, bettas will often yawn in an effort to blow out extra oxygen from their gills, which then gets trapped in the bubbles that compose the nests.

Also, changes in water temperature, barometric pressure, or the addition of a new tank mate can trigger bubble nesting.

So, if they are doing this more than usual, you should check your betta tank for any problems or disturbances that might be causing them stress.

Gill Flushing

Another common betta yawn is known as “gill flushing,” which typically occurs when bettas are affected by disease, parasites, or other health problems. If this happens to your betta, you may notice that the gills turn pale or red in color and swell up slightly.

To help reduce your betta’s stress levels and keep their gills healthy, you should make sure to regularly clean and change the water, feed them a high-quality diet, and provide them with plenty of hiding places where they can feel safe from potential threats.

Not to mention, you can add plants to increase oxygen levels. Plants produce oxygen and consume carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, which then oxygenates the water. Additionally, plants absorb nitrates from the water, keeping your betta’s home safe.

Also offer shelter and provide a good place for bubble nests. For example, flat-leaf species of plants make an excellent­­­ betta hammock!

Moreover, the addition of an air stone increases oxygen levels in the water. The air stone produces bubbles which agitate the water’s surface and thus help to draw more oxygen into the water.

However, it’s important not to have too much water movement because bettas don’t enjoy it and can get stressed.

Small Tank Size

When betta fish are confined to small tanks, they can get stressed and develop poor water quality. With time, bettas may end up yawning or flushing their gills more frequently, which can be a sign that they need more space to swim around and feel comfortable.

If you notice frequent yawning in your betta and suspect that they might be stressed by their tank size, consider upgrading to a larger aquarium with plenty of room for them to swim around and explore.

For best results, provide your fish with at least 5 gallons of space, along with plenty of plants, rocks, and other décor to mimic their natural habitat.

However, don’t forget to make sure that your betta’s tank has a lid or cover to help reduce stress and prevent them from jumping out of the aquarium.

Dirty Water

betta fish yawning

Many people believe that bettas don’t need a filter in their tank, but this is simply an urban myth. In reality, all fish tanks should have some form of filtration system.

This helps to circulate the water around the fish’s tank and draws it through various filter media that remove solid waste from the water.

If your betta tank isn’t getting filtered properly, the water can quickly become dirty and lead to poor water quality. This can cause bettas to yawn and flounder more frequently as they try to draw in additional oxygen from their gills.

To prevent this from happening, be sure that you’re regularly cleaning and changing the water in your betta tank, and make sure to use a high-quality filter that won’t clog or get dirty too quickly.

Additionally, ensure that ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero, and nitrate levels should be below 20ppm.

To do this, you can use an aquarium vacuum to clean up fish waste and debris from underneath decorations, in the tank corners, and deep in the substrate. This will prevent rotting and poisoning of the water.

Every so often, do a partial water change of 30% or less, and replace the dirty water with dechlorinated tap water. After the water change, test its quality again.

If it still isn’t up to par, repeat the process until the toxin levels are lowered to an acceptable amount.

Further, approximately once a month you’ll need to take the media out of the filter box and rinse it completely with old aquarium water. According to the filter system manufacturer’s guidelines, every now and then you’ll need to replace the filter media altogether.


Cramming bettas into small tanks can also lead to frequent yawning due to overcrowding. Not only does betta overcrowding make them feel stressed, but it also reduces their oxygen intake and increases the risk of poor water quality.

So, inspect and calculate the betta population in your tank to ensure that you’re not overcrowding them.

If necessary, consider upgrading your tank size or getting an additional betta fish to allow your bettas more breathing room.

Additionally, overcrowding can cause higher levels of waste that will tax the filter and potentially lead to dirty water. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution with bettas and not overcrowd their tank.

After all, your beautiful betta buddy should always be the star of the show!

Talking Betta!

Bettas are smart fish that, crazy as it sounds, can learn to recognize their owner’s voice and figure out when it’s feeding time. When you approach the tank, they’ll even swim up to the front!

So, your betta may be just trying to get your attention when they yawn and flounder more frequently.

Last Words

I know that bettas can be a bit finicky at times, but with the right tank conditions and plenty of space, they can be a fun and lively addition to any home.

Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish or something to keep you company while you work or study, bettas are an excellent choice!

So, don’t forget to take care of your betta’s needs so that they always have the best chance of being happy and healthy.

Do you still have any betta-related questions? Feel free to reach out to me anytime! I’m always happy to help.

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