Do Betta Fish Recognize Their Owners? How To TELL FOR SURE

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Are you a loving betta owner? If so, you may sometimes wonder if your betta fish can recognize you.

The short answer is yes, over time, your betta fish can recognize you!

However, betta fish have funny ways of showing this recognition. After all, it’s not like they can pop up to the top of the tank and ask how your day was.

Betta fish tend to show their recognition with attention and response to specific sounds or actions. You may be able to see this in your own tank!

Below, we’ll talk about how betta fish are able to recognize others, as well as how you can tell if your betta fish recognizes you. Read on to learn more about your betta!

Do Betta Fish Have Good Memories?

You may have heard the phrase, “He’s got the memory of a goldfish.” Beyond being a rude remark, it’s also actually not true.

Many fish, the misunderstood goldfish included, actually have excellent memories. Betta fish are no exception to this. (*)

In fact, betta fish are known to remember things for multiple weeks at a time. This can mean:

  • People
  • Other fish
  • The layout of their tank
  • Specific sounds

But how do we know this? Who figured out that fish have such good memories?

The discovery didn’t come easy. Scientists and fish owners had to do some studies to determine what fish remember and just how long they can remember these things. 

Learn more: Do Fish Have Brains? (Yes BUT You Should Know These…)

Fish Memory Experiments

There have been many experiments to test the memory of fish. One of the most well-known studies involved a goldfish and a maze. (*)

The goldfish were trained to find food at the end of a long maze. Scientists discovered that after 6 months of not being in the maze, they remembered the path to find food immediately. 

Goldfish also show signs of remembering patterns such as times or places for feeding. If your fish are always fed on the right side of the tank, they’ll go there when it’s feeding time.

They can also do this with sound. Some fish owners have found that when a specific sound is played during feeding time, the fish will automatically swim to the top of the tank and wait for food when the sound alone is played.

This shows they are able to associate sounds with behaviors!

Though these are just a few examples of the experiments that have been done with fish, the conclusion remains the same: fish, including bettas, have pretty significant memories. 

Betta Fish Recognition

Betta fish are able to recognize you with two senses: sight and sound. 

Before you even walk up to the tank, your betta may be able to see you and recognize you. This means it may swim to the tank glass and follow you around, or wait expectantly for food. (*)

It may also mean you can train your fish based on your voice. Your betta fish can recognize your voice, not necessarily specific words, but the sound itself.

If you speak to your fish during feeding time, your fish may correlate your voice with that activity. The next time you speak next to your tank, you may find your betta waiting for a snack!

Learn more: Can Betta Fish Hear? (You MUST KNOW THIS!)

How Can I Tell If My Betta Fish Recognizes Me?

So you now know that bettas have great memories, but are they able to recognize you? The answer is yes, but how can you tell?

Bettas have a few behaviors that can indicate that they recognize you. These behaviors include:

  • Swimming to the glass
  • Approaching during feeding time
  • Performing tricks

If your betta fish does any of these, it means they probably do recognize you!

1. Swimming To the Glass

Because betta fish have good vision, they may recognize you as you approach the tank. This may result in your betta swimming to the glass to see you more closely.

Your betta fish may also follow your hand around as you move it along the glass. Just be sure not to tap, as this can frighten your betta as it produces a loud sound in the water.

You may also notice your betta swimming to the glass when you begin to speak. If your betta has associated your voice with you, it may know you’re nearby just from the sound of your voice. 

Try speaking to your fish regularly, especially during feeding time. Then, see if your fish becomes more active when you speak to it from across the room.

If your betta does, it likely means it remembers your voice!

2. Approaching During Feeding Time

Have you ever noticed your betta fish swimming to the top of the tank during feeding time? That’s because they remember you!

Betta fish have a general understanding of the passing of time as well as your recurring behaviors. If you usually have a routine, such as feeding the fish from a nearby container at night, your fish will remember that.

The next time your fish approaches you at feeding time, remember that this is essentially its way of saying hello!

3. Performing Tricks

Finally, you can observe your betta fish remembering you by performing tricks with it. Easy tricks to teach your betta include swimming through hoops or eating out of your fingers. (*)

If your betta is able to remember these tricks when you go to show them off, it means they remember you and their training. This is a great way to illustrate just how smart betta fish are. 


The next time your betta swims up to the glass to see you, you’ll know they recognize you. Remember to always show your betta love, so they don’t associate any negative feelings with you. 

You can also try to teach your betta some new tricks. If you’ve ever taught your fish tricks, leave a comment below telling us about it!

If you have other questions about your betta fish, ask them below and we may answer yours next. 

Up Next:

  • Can betta fish see in the dark?
  • Why does my betta fish stare at me?
  • Do betta fish like music?
  • Do betta fish sleep?
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