How High Can Betta Fish Jump?

If you just brought home your first betta fish, you might be wondering—how high can betta fish jump? Betta fish can jump 2 – 3 inches high. 

Sadly for your betta, that’s high enough for them to land outside of their tank if they’re not careful.

So, we’ll help you understand why bettas jump out of their tank and how to prevent it.

How High Can Betta Fish Jump?

Despite their small size, betta fish can easily jump two to three inches out of the water.

Much of this has to do with their biology, given that they hunt for insects in the wild. Nevertheless, jumping is dangerous for bettas in a tank, given how easy it is for them to jump over the rim.

5 Reasons Why Bettas Jump

Your betta may be jumping for a variety of reasons. Some are serious situations you should change immediately, while others are harmless.

Blue Betta

1. They Want More Space

Pet stores are often misleading about how much space bettas need, given that they usually keep their fish in tiny bowls.

Although the pet store clerk may have told you to move your betta into a larger tank upon arriving home, your tank still might not be big enough.

Bettas need a minimum of five gallons per fish to have a happy, healthy life.

So, if your betta doesn’t have this much space, change their tank.

Keep in mind that bettas are surface dwellers. Therefore, they’ll be far more grateful for a shallower tank that offers plenty of surface area than a deep tank with little space to roam at the top.

2. Poor Quality Water

Aside from not having sufficient space to stretch their fins, bettas need space for biological reasons. They naturally release ammonia into the water, but a high ammonia concentration can kill them.

The reason for this is that ammonia prevents them from extracting energy from their food. Lethargy, followed by a comma and death, results from a high ammonia concentration in water.

Ammonia can also cause temperature and pH fluctuations in the water, making it unlivable for your fish.

Therefore, your betta might be jumping out of their tank because the ammonia concentration is too high.

Not only can a larger tank prevent ammonia build-up since this toxin can disperse over more gallons of water, but changing your betta’s water often is crucial for ammonia management.

We recommend changing 10 – 20 percent of your betta’s water with dechlorinated water every week.

3. They Want a Snack

From fruit flies to mosquitos, bettas will sometimes harness their natural instincts to capture food they eat out in the wild.

In fact, a betta’s jaw has an upward curve to assist them in capturing bugs that hover over the water. Therefore, your betta may jump out of their tank to catch an insect.

Of course, this can lead to death if they jump too far and you’re not there watching it happen.

Therefore you should prevent it by keeping your betta’s tank in a bug-free zone (such as away from fruit that attracts fruit flies). You can also put a screen over the tank for good measure.

4. Their Sleep Schedule Is Off

It may sound strange, but betta’s value their sleep. And, just like humans, they perform best when they’ve gotten enough of it—that includes being in the right headspace to know they shouldn’t jump out of their tank.

The good news is that bettas like to sleep at night, though they sleep longer than humans.

So, you should ensure your betta has access to 12 – 16 hours of darkness per day and 8 – 12 hours of light.

Yes, this means if you’re a night owl, you shouldn’t force your tank-jumping betta to be the same. Instead, move them to a part of your home where they can get a good night’s rest in the darkness.

5. They’re Playing

You know how dangerous it is for your betta to jump out of their tank. But they might not recognize those dangers, especially if they’re bored.

So, try adding some plants in their tank or other floating objects.

Remember, betta fish remain at the top of their tank, so that fancy castle nestled in the substrate likely won’t do the trick for keeping them occupied.

That said, if you have betta-suitable toys in the tank and your fish still insists on jumping, it could be because they enjoy it. After all, no two bettas are the same, so who are we to judge how they like spending their time?

Tips for Preventing Betta Fish From Jumping Out of Their Tank

Tank jumping is a potentially life-threatening situation for your betta fish. If they overshoot the jump and you’re not present, the result won’t be pleasant.

To prevent your betta from jumping, perform the following tasks:

  • Cover the tank
  • Check the water quality
  • Change them to a bigger tank, if needed

Let’s look closer at each of these points.

Cover the Tank

Covering the top of your betta’s tank may either “cover” or solve the problem.

If your betta is jumping out of playfulness, putting a breathable cover over the tank will keep them safe.

But tank covering alone isn’t enough if you suspect that there’s a deeper problem, such as not enough darkness for your betta to sleep.

Check the Water Quality

You can pick up water quality kits from a pet store, allowing you to check the quality of your betta’s water quickly.

It’s also necessary to change your betta’s water regularly in addition to ensuring the temperature, pH, and ammonia levels are at safe levels.

Change the Tank Size

Make sure you offer your betta at least five gallons of water per fish.

However, the larger the tank you can give them, the better. Having plenty of swim room and more water to dilute ammonia is crucial to prevent your betta from jumping out of their tank.

The Bottom Line

So, how high can betta fish jump?

High enough to land them in harm’s way if you aren’t careful! For this reason, following the advice we shared here is crucial so that your betta fish is less likely to jump out of their tank.