Betta Fish Training
Betta fish training is something that so many betta owners consider trying at some point. They see how their betta interacts with them and just consider the possible tricks and fun things they might be able to teach a betta to do.
You’d be surprised how easy betta fish training can be once you realize that bettas quickly respond to something called conditioning. A bit about conditioning before we move on to how you can use it on your own Siamese fighting fish! Conditioning is basically a tool we can use to teach animals/pets to recognize that two different things are related to each other. The classic example of this is Pavlov’s dogs that developed the habit of salivating whenever a bell rings. They associated the bell with getting treats and eventually started salivating in anticipation whenever a bell was rung – even if no treats were given.
You can use a similar technique to help with your betta fish training!
There are several accounts of people teaching their betta fish tricks. The first is one I remember reading at some point about a betta fish that was taught to pull on a little ball if it wanted to eat. This ball was tiny but connected to a bell that rang. This person used (if I recall correctly) some meaty treat to initially trick the betta into pulling on the ball. Every time he did, he was rewarded with a betta pellet or a bloodworm (many bettas’ favorite treats).
A second account I read recently involved even more complicated betta fish training! The betta was ultimately taught, over the course of a few weeks, to swim through a submerged ring on command! This process was a bit more complicated but still involved conditioning the betta to do what the owner wanted. In small steps, the fish was first trained that a flash of a lightbulb meant a treat was coming. Through ever more complicated steps, and slowly over a few weeks, the process before getting a treat was lengthened.
First, the betta had to swim around a bit before a treat was given. Once he learned this, he was taught to swim over to a pencil tip. Then, a treat was only given if he followed the pencil tip for a short distance through the tank (following the movement of the pencil that was outside the aquarium glass). As time went on, he was trained to swim through the ring that was right beside the glass. Finally, the ring was slowly moved to the middle of the fish tank and the fish kept swimming through it. The whole time, immediately before a treat was given the light was flashed so the betta fish training was kept regular.
One way to get started is with a good betta fish training kit which simplifies the whole process!
The key to conditioning a betta like this is to stick with the process. Don’t expect any fancy tricks overnight. Do your training a few times per day and slowly make the desired task more complicated. Your betta will learn the ropes remarkably fast – often within a few weeks! Always be consistent and always use a good quality bloodworm treat!