Do Betta Fish Have Teeth And Can They Bit?

Betta fish are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish and have a reputation for being one of the heaviest fish in any aquarium. This reputation can make anyone thinking of pairing their Betta fish or buying one asking if they have teeth.

If you look closely at your betta with a microscope or a magnifying lens, you will notice that this pet fish has white teeth, even if they are small. You can also see it if you flash the camera into the fish’s mouth and zoom in on the image.


Why Do Bettas Use Their Teeth?

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The main function of your betta’s teeth is to break down large pieces of food so they can be digested. These fish mainly eat meat, although they also eat vegetables because they have large stomachs.

Insects such as mosquitoes, midges and bloodworms lay their eggs in the water, offering frozen betta larvae that are rich in protein and water content. They also thrive on pellets, fresh plants, algae, and live food such as flying insects.

For this reason, the betta needs to attack and grab live prey to prevent it from escaping before killing it. The teeth make it easier for them.

Bettas use not only teeth to attack but also to chew and chew pellets, insects and algae for easy digestion.

To attack

Bettas are known as Siamese Fighting Fish for good reason. These fish are aggressive and will defend their territory, often to the death.

They quickly fight with anything they come across especially other male fish. Teeth are very important for their defense.

Sharp betta teeth. It uses it to attack and tear its enemy’s tail, fins, and scales. This is why it is advisable not to keep two males in the same tank.

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Do not pair it with other fish, especially if it is brightly colored or has a flowing tail and fins. If naturally aggressive, it can attack any type of fish.

  • Also read: How to Take Care of Betta Fish (Care Sheet & Guide 2021)

Do Bettas Bite People?

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The tendency to bite boils down to the individual temperament of the fish. Some Bettas are relaxed and shy and won’t bite even if your hand is within their reach. However, other betta fish will see your hand as a threat and attack, biting it.

Even if a hickey goes for your hand and bites it, human skin is too strong to bite, so they won’t damage the skin and cause harm.

Bettas are usually not aggressive towards humans. Betta fish that “bite” you may just be curious.

Do Bites Hurt?

Betta bites are not painful to humans because their mouths and teeth are too small to cause a painful bite. However, it is painful for other hickeys.

A “love” bite usually feels more like a slight tickle. However, others have said that it feels like a strange pinch.

If you want to experience how it tastes, you can place the food on a clean, oil-free finger and let the betta eat off the finger. If you dare, it will bite your finger as well as the food.

However, it is not recommended to do this too often. The reason is, a betta fish can bite and not let go, not because it attacks you, but because its jaw is stuck.

You run the risk of injuring your fish if the jaw gets stuck and cannot be released.

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Why Do Bettas Bite People?

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  • curiosity

Bettas are not aggressive towards humans. If your pet fish bites your finger, it’s likely that it sees your hand looming into the tank, and it becomes curious.

These fish do not have hands to touch and find out strange things in their territory. For this reason, they use their mouths to pick up items just to see if they are edible.

  • Self defense

Bettas sometimes bite you because they perceive your approaching hand as a potential threat. So it reacts defensively by biting you.

That’s also why you shouldn’t put your hands in the tank too often, as this can stress the fish.

  • As it happens

Fish can bite you accidentally if there is food on your finger. While Bettas are usually pretty accurate, they may get a little carried away if they’re hungry.

Do Betta Fish Bite During Spawning?

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If your male betta shares an aquarium with the female and the tank conditions are good, you may be witnessing spawning behavior.

Signs of aggression during spawning are common, and it is not uncommon for males and females to bite each other. However, the bite can be a good sign or a worry, depending on the intensity of the bite.

When biting is a good sign

The betta may bite another (it can be male or female). This is a good sign that the bitten fish may back off a little or not move at all.

This means that he is not ready or unsure if he wants to marry, but he is not against the idea. The bites should be small, not full bites. They may not always bite at laying eggs and still be attracted to each other.

When biting is a bad sign

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Biting can sometimes be a sign of aggression. However, such bites are usually aimed at the fins or tail, and you may want to separate them if you see them.

An aggressive bite during spawning means they don’t want to mate, and they mean it. Both men and women can become aggressive during this process.

You can tell an aggressive bite from the recipient’s reaction. For example, if he darts away and tries to avoid the offender, then there is no way they will mate.

You will have to wait a while until you try breeding them again.



Betta fish have teeth, but they are not meant to hurt you. They use fish to defend themselves against enemies, explore the surface, and eat food.

Always keep an eye on your pet fish if you keep more than one in the same tank and separate them if they start biting each other.

A betta’s bite will harm other fish, but it shouldn’t hurt you.

Featured Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock