HomeAquarium FishBetta Glass Surfing - Why It Happens & How To Stop It

Betta Glass Surfing – Why It Happens & How To Stop It

Betta fish often swim against the glass in aquariums looking for food or a mate. Owners can identify this as Betta Glass Surfing. If you want to know why your betta is running into aquarium walls, keep reading!

Glass Surfing

Every betta owner has experienced glass surfing at one point or another. Glass Surfing is an irregular behavior in which the fish will continually move up and down the tank. It’s often a sign that something is wrong with your fish and should be treated as such.  We recommend you watch out for these signs when noticing this routine from your betta fish.

If you see your betta glass surfing, then you need to understand why it’s occurring so you can fix the problem. There are many reasons for this occurrence, and here are some tips on how to prevent them.

Causes & Prevention: Betta Glass Surfing


Betta glass surfing is a problem that requires an immediate solution. There are many reasons why this occurs, and they vary in severity, so it’s essential to identify the exact cause of your Betta’s behavior before you can find a suitable treatment plan for your Betta fish.

If you want to stop your betta from glass surfing, there are a few causes. To find out what’s causing it, and then take the appropriate action to fix it. Here are some of the most common reasons for them doing this behavior and how you can prevent this issue:

Poor Water Conditions

Bettas can become stressed when the water conditions they live in are poor. One of the most common symptoms is glass surfing, where a betta will repeatedly jump out of his fishbowl and onto any nearby hard surfaces like floors or windows just to get away from these unfavorable surroundings.

When the water quality deteriorates in your betta tank, a dangerous chemical buildup can occur. This will lead to ammonia and other harmful substances that will be bad for our friends! So we must make sure that the water is perfect, so they don’t get sick or worse.

You need to be just as concerned about the temperature in your fish tank as you are with chemicals. Your betta’s ideal water temp is 78°F, but they can survive between 76-85°F, so keep that in mind when regulating it.

If your water gets too cold, you’ll observe that the fish will start to grow lazy. This is because they can’t produce enough heat on their own and rely solely on the warmth of your aquarium’s heater or a lamp for energy.

On the other hand, if it becomes so hot in there that these sources don’t provide any relief, then you might see them being more active than usual as they try to cool themselves off by swimming around aimlessly without any direction. This type of behavior that we’ve seen previously with betta is “Betta glass surfing.”

Your tank is your betta’s home, and if you don’t take care of it, there are many dangers that can come about. This includes temperature shock in a betta which often leads to death or long-term health-related problems such as fin rot.

So the best thing if you want the safest environment possible would be to ensure that their aquarium has a heater, so they never have too warm water on accident again.

Overfeeding your betta fish will cause it to produce more waste. This excess ammonia can be harmful and lead to poor water conditions in the tank.

Overstocking tanks or overfeeding Bettas is not only bad for their health but also puts you at risk for developing some super nasty stuff going on with your aquarium’s water quality.

If there are too many nutrients (like extra food), then they might overwhelm the nitrifying bacteria, which helps break down ammonia into less toxic substances.

How to Prevent Poor Water Conditions

There are several different methods to prevent the water conditions in your aquarium from transforming into poor quality. And routine maintenance is invariably a great place to start with, to keep the tank in pristine conditions.

Routine Maintenance of Tank

Ammonia is a dangerous chemical that can build up in your tank and poison fish quickly, so it’s essential to test the ammonia levels on a regular basis. The API Master Test Kit makes testing easy by coming with all of the tools you need for quick reading results.

First of all, make sure the ammonia level has not become too high – this often leads to poisoning, quickly killing off your fish within hours if left untreated!

Second, when creating new tanks, we recommend checking daily while older ones allow some leniency before re-checking again (generally about once per week).

You can reduce the buildup of harmful chemicals by performing water changes in your tank every couple of weeks. Vacuuming out any excess dirt, like from plants or substrate, will also help.

It’s not easy to keep a small fish tank stable, especially for bettas. Bettas should never be housed in tanks smaller than 5 gallons because they need all the room that is offered by a larger space.

Monitor Tank’s Temperature

If you want to protect fish in your aquarium, then it is essential to make sure the water temperature stays at a healthy level. The most reliable way to do this is with an aquarium heating system and cooling fan. When temperatures are drastic outside, invest in these two items to maintain suitable conditions inside your tanks.

Luckily, both of these items are low-priced, and once you own them, they’re going to persist for many years. When picking a heater for your betta, it would be best to look for a heater with at least 5 watts of power per gallon of water that you plan on heating.

Don’t Overstock your Tank

If you desire to make your fish happy, make sure that they have plenty of room. The more space in the tank and water for them to swim around in, the better off they’ll be.

Don’t Overfeed your Betta Fish

Betta fish are small, so it’s hard to tell if they’re getting enough food. It’s best not to feed them too much, and you should probably give them two more petite eats a day rather than one big meal because their stomach is about the size of an eyeball.

I like to serve my Betta fish one or two tiny meals per day. The occasional odd days without food are essential for them as it reduces the risk of illness and swim bladder infirmity, which would be very painful.

Also Read: How Long Does it Take for Fish Eggs to Hatch

Don’t Choose the Wrong Tank Mates

Some bettas are so aggressive that they cannot be housed with other fish. However, it is also feasible for the aggressiveness to go both ways; if you have a faster swimmer in your tank than your Betta fish, they may stress him out too.

One of the most significant weaknesses we know about Bettas is their lack of speed- this means that he could get stressed when faced by an even more speedy tank mate.

Therefore, this stress caused by other tank mates may be the reason for Betta Glass Surfing.


It is essential to be careful when adding tank mates and make sure they won’t agitate your betta. Sometimes fish that are usually seen as non-violent might begin to aggravate them too, so if you notice this happening, it’ll become a lot harder for you to prevent glass surfing in the future.

One way to prevent your fish from fighting each other is by adding decorations. This will create a sense of territory for the fish, and they won’t have reason to contact one another. If you’re looking for something more radical or drastic than decoration placement, then try dividing your tank in two using an aquarium divider.

Betta Fish Seeing His Own Reflection

Your betta fish may have a hostile response to his own reflection, which is why he’s moving up and down by the side of your tank. Betta fish are highly territorial because they can’t scare their reflections into leaving as other animals would do in this situation.

Bettas tend to get aggressive when seeing their reflection. If you think your betta is doing this, he will be pacing up and down the side of the tank as well as flaring at himself in his mirror image across from him. Examine that there are no reflective surfaces nearby or move them away so they can’t see themselves anymore.

How to Stop your Betta fish Seeing his Reflection

Stopping your betta fish from viewing his own reflection isn’t as easy as it seems. But fortunately, there are some things you can attempt to reduce the chances further.

Dimming light in your Aquarium

One of the most reliable methods to help your betta stop seeing his own reflection is by dimming the lights. This does not indicate that you want total darkness, just darker than what’s around it in a room.

I found this helped my fish immensely when he was pacing back and forth against the glass enclosure!

If you dim the light just a little bit more than what’s in the room around it – say to about 25% brightness instead of 100%, then they won’t be able to see themselves as quickly and will relax much more effortlessly.

Nevertheless, if this solution doesn’t work for you, then there are other things that you can do.

Add a Backdrop

Instead of focusing on what is in front of you, place something interesting behind your tank to draw the betta’s attention away from it. You could use a planted backdrop or just some black fabric for this purpose.

When you want to see your betta from all angles, it can be a bit challenging. However, there’s no need for concern as other options are available to get the perfect angle without having a background.

Add Plants

Adding the right plants to your aquarium can be a great way of adding color and beauty. Live, natural plants are best for your fish, but silk ones should also work well enough. Avoid plastic or artificial substitutes at all costs because they may damage their fins!

Place the plants around the sides of your tank. This will create a more natural landscape for your betta, and if he does see his reflection in one spot, it won’t be as intrusive because other items must be blocking him from seeing himself fully.

Don’t Get the Wrong Tank Size

The best betta tank size is more significant than most people think. All pet stores sell tanks that are 1 gallon or 2 gallons in size and claim they’re big enough, but the truth is these tanks aren’t anywhere near large enough for a betta fish to thrive. The smallest aquarium you should house your bettas in should measure at least 5 gallons of water, and anything less can cause damage or injure them.

It’s often said that a betta can survive in as little of space as 1 or 2 gallons, but this is far from the truth. A happy and healthy fish needs at least 5 gallons to swim around freely without feeling confined. If your tank doesn’t have enough room for them, they may become bored with their surroundings or even feel stressed by not being able to move about quickly due to the limited water area available for swimming.


When it comes to fish aquariums or tanks, bigger is always better. A tank that’s smaller than 5 gallons should be replaced with one of at least 10 gallons in size or larger because any fish will need more space for their health and well-being as they grow older.

The best approach you can take to care for your Betta fish properly is by buying them an appropriately sized aquarium so they’ll have enough room to live comfortably throughout the course of their life span without feeling cramped or stressed out from being overcrowded with other aquatic creatures like themselves.

There are many reasons to get a larger tank, but if you’re not sure where to start, then don’t worry! Larger tanks require less work than smaller ones.

The advantage of having a giant aquarium is that it requires little maintenance, and they take longer for conditions in the water to deteriorate compared with small tanks.

Is Betta Glass Surfing Normal?

When you see your betta surf the surface of his tank, it’s normal. Sometimes they act a little bit wacky, and nothing can be done about it.

There are also times when glass surfing is expected- such as in new homes or with any changes to their tanks like water change, decoration changes, adding new fish mates for them to get along with better (or just one!)

When you notice him getting impatient by swimming on top of the tank without stopping at all during feeding time, then this means he needs more space.


So, if you are suffering from the difficulty of Betta Glass Surfing with your betta fish, then you should figure out what’s prompting it as soon as possible. However, don’t get discouraged as sometimes there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do about it except giving your fish time and hope for a temporary solution like removing lights or lowering water levels that might help them feel more secure in their environment.

Fishkeeping Expert
Fishkeeping Expert
With years of collective fishkeeping knowledge, we are pleased to share the tank maintenance tips and fish care advice we've picked up along the way. Fishkeeping Expert is home to all fishkeeping tutorials and guides that will help you keep your fish healthy.


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