Skip to Content

How to Safely Play With Your Pet Fish: Tank Tips

get 5 secrets to thriving plants

Do your fish appear to be bored? Are they staggering in the same spot, tank wall surfing, or even getting aggressive because they have nothing to do? If so, it may be time to play with your pet fish.

You can play with your pet fish by using a ping pong ball, allowing them to feed off your hands, adding floating toys to the tank, or adding hoops to the tank. Playing with your fish will help decrease their boredom but can also help increase the bond between you and your fish.

Keep reading to learn more about different ways to play with your pet fish. It is also important to note that not all fish are interested in playing, but certain species do love to play, such as the Betta fish.

Use a Ping Pong Ball

Adding a ping pong to your aquarium is a great way to keep a fish mentally stimulated and entertained.

It may take a few tries for your fish to understand what is exactly going on though! 

To start, find a small ping pong ball and make sure it is disinfected. You do not want any unnecessary bacteria going into your tank. 

Once cleaned, you can place the ping pong ball on the surface of the water. Make sure your hands are cleaned and you move the ping pong ball around. 

The fish should come up to the surface and nudge the ball around

If you do this for a few minutes each day, your fish will understand what to do and their bond will grow with you. 

Again, it is important to keep in mind that not all fish play, but a species are known to. These include the Betta, goldfish, mollies, Oscars, and more! 

Feed Them off Your Hands

Much like a baby or any baby animal, feeding time is a great way to bond with your pet fish. 

Instead of dumping a bunch of fish food flakes at the top of the tank, you can place a few flakes in your hand and place your hand slightly below the surface of the water. 

This will encourage your fish to eat out of hand and build a bond. It is also mentally stimulating. 

On top of using fish flakes for hand feeding, you can also use live food options such as brine shrimp or small blood worms. 

This will fascinate the fish and get them excited to see your hand at the top of the tank. 

Floating Toys

Like ping pong balls, floating toys are another great option for playing with your fish. 

There are multiple toys that can be found online or at local pet stores that your fish can nudge around. This will keep them mentally stimulated and entertained.

You can play with floating toys by trying to persuade your fish to go from one end of the tank to the other with a little nudge. 

Reflective Mirrors

Reflective mirrors are a great way to keep a fish mentally stimulated, especially if they are in a tank by themselves. 

Mirrors can be found with suction cup backs attached to any aquarium’s tank walls. 

Betta playing in front of mirror

Betta fish particularly love mirrors because they are territorial and typically live alone. They will watch themselves in the mirror, thinking another fish is entering their territory. 

This will allow them to mimic their territorial behavior and natural fighting urges. Using a mirror will also prevent a fish from nipping at its own fins or others and will prevent boredom

Swim Through Hoops

Small hoops can be purchased to add to your tank, or you could also make your own! 

Add a small aluminum ball and encourage your fish to nudge the ball into the hoops. 

This will be mentally stimulating and will also encourage bonding between you and your fish.

Whenever your fish goes through a hoop, you can give them a small snack such as a brine worm, to encourage them to keep going through the hoops. 

Positive reinforcement will help you train and bond with your fish.

Fish that are Great to Play With 

As mentioned, some species of fish love to play more than others. 

Keep in mind that this does not mean your fish will love to play, but if you have these particular breeds, it is worth a shot. 

  1. Betta Fish
  2. Oscars 
  3. Goldfish
  4. Angelfish
  5. Guppies
  6. Swordtails
  7. Platys
  8. Tetras
  9. Danios
  10. Mollies