My betta pacing side to side at the front of the tank?

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Original poster
Jun 20, 2019
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About 8 days ago, I recently got a veiltail betta. He started out with a 1.5 gallon tank. Then moved the betta to a 10 gallon tank 2 days later, along with a whisper filter and some decorations. (for artificial plants, it's silk.) Adjusted the height of the filter, as the "water fall effect" was causing too much of a strong current. Everything is fine now. As my previous betta keeping was pretty bad, (I was really young, it was kept in a bowl :() I observed his behaviors and any signs of possible sickness. (did some heavy research before I got the betta, so I don't make the same mistakes.) Everything seemed fine. He was eating normally, came up to me when I go towards the tank, fins and scales looked healthy. Nothing unusual.

Then about a day later, I noticed him making a bit of a terrible bubble nest. Based on size, my veiltail looks young. He's about 1.5 or 2 inches. What I mean "terrible" is that the bubbles he make are a bit far apart. I even saw him making the nest and he wouldn't put them close together. There are no strong currents to move the bubbles, and he started making them away from the filter, at the side of the tank's left corner facing me. By the end of the day, I noticed his aggressive behavior. Whenever I hover my hand for a second to drop a pellet, he jumps and bites my finger. Whenever I'm near the tank, he swims side to side and even flares when I look at him.

Maybe he's just being territorial? I guess another question is: do male bettas get aggressive during and after making a bubble nest?

I'm just trying to make sure. As I mentioned here, he wasn't doing any of this for a couple of days after I got him.


AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
Welcome to AC!

I don't think you have anything much to worry about, his behavior seems within normal limits. How often do you feed a pellet & what kind? 2-4 is probably a good amount throughout the day. You don't want him to get fat nor starving.

Maybe he's hungry & knows fingers mean food. Are you feeding away from the bubble end of the tank? He may feel you're threatening his nest, no matter how lame it seems to you. You might try floating a silk leaf or 2 near the nest end to help collect the bubbles together (until you get brave & try a live plant or 2, lol. I'm a plant person). If he's young, there's often a learning curve to nest building. & that also means his breeding hormones are kicking in. They do tend to protect the nest, even from females, until everything (nest & female) seems just right to him.

I think your betta seems ok & much more active than some. Do you test the water? How often do you change some water? Clean water helps him feel healthy & sometimes my fish are extra hungry after a water change.

How about posting a pic or 3? We'd love to see! & maybe we'll see something that might help.
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No freelancing!
Aug 14, 2001
Real Name
Agreed, sounds normal. Another point---some males are just bad at nest building. It's one of those things that's no longer preventing a fish from breeding. Males want a bubble nest, they don't care who it comes from. Breeders will use a spoon to pull a nest from a good builder and gift it to a crummy builder to use. That means 'bad bubble builder' genes get passed on.
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